Santa Claus was puffing on his exercise bike when the new Head Elf marched into his office.
“We’ve looked at the records of every child, Santa. Each one is bad and deserves no present. You and the reindeer can have a quiet night at home this Christmas Eve instead.”
“No good children anywhere?” Santa Claus tumbled off the bike in panic. “But… the world will be full of disappointed kids on Christmas morning.”
“Well,” the Head Elf said with a shrug, “That’ll teach those horrible brats to behave.”
“What did they do that was so bad?”
The Head Elf clapped his hands and another elf rushed in, pulling a huge cart loaded with a mountain of paper. He pulled out a sheet and read from it.
“Let’s see . . . Anastasia from Finland. She tantrums at bedtime, so she doesn’t deserve a present. And Mickey from Australia won’t take the bins out unless he’s told five times. Nothing for him, either. And Katie from Mexico calls her sister snot-face, and Marco from Italy . . .”
“Are all children like this?”
“Yes, Santa. All children are bad.”
“But the elves are busy wrapping the presents; they’re nearly ready to go.”
“Ah, yes, I had thought of that. We’ll give them to the elf kids instead.”
“But the elf kids never miss out. This year they’re getting ski rafts to slide down the glaciers in the North Pole. The rafts can fly them back up the glaciers too. Cool, huh? Besides, if we give all the presents to the elf kids, they’ll end up with ten thousand each.”
“Never mind,” the Head Elf replied smoothly. “I’ll find a use for the leftover presents.”
Santa sighed, and told the Head Elf to leave. He was feeling sick at what he had heard.
But Fifi the work-experience elf had been listening. She knew the Head Elf was running a toy shop and planned to sell the toys instead. She had to stop his selfish plan.
She worked all night at the computer. The next day, she rushed up to Santa and told him to load up the sleigh.
“What’s the use?” said Santa sadly. “They’re all nasty. They don’t deserve anything.”
“Yes, Santa, all kids do bad things sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad children. Have a look at this.”
She had a huge list of her own.
“Hmmmm,” said Santa, brightening a little. “Anastasia helped her friend with maths all year. Mickey walked his dog every night even when he was tired and didn’t want to. Katie cleaned her sick grandmother’s house without being asked to. What lovely children!”
“That’s right. All kids do nasty things, but they all do nice and helpful things too.”
“Wonderful news! Elves! Start wrapping again, no time to waste. We’ve got presents to deliver. And tell that Head Elf I’ve got a new job for him. He can scoop up the reindeer poo. Ho Ho Ho.”
©Jo Antareau 2011, image credit
Bedtime Stories downloadable tales for children are an AWO initiative, run in support of the National Year of Reading 2012. We encourage you to print and read these stories with your kids, and revel in the joy a wonderful story can bring. All stories are original and have been penned by established and emerging Australian authors. Every month, we will publish four stories running to a central theme, each on a Monday morning. See here for more.