Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time, a little boy was born, and he was named Nicholas.
Nicholas loved playing with all the animals in the forest, for he had no brothers or sisters. One day, a friendly deer led him to a cave.
Inside, dozens of small people with large ears worked making all kinds of things. They worked and moved so fast, Nicholas had a hard time keeping up.
One of the little people ran over and stood in front of him. Nicholas crouched to be almost on eye-level. "Hi. I'm Nicholas. Who are you?"
"My name's Pete. I'll call you Nick."
"How come all of you are so little?"
"We're not little. We're elves. See my ears? You're the huge one because you're a human."
"What do you do in here?"
"This is our workshop. When something in the village breaks, we fix it. If a villager needs something, we make it. We can make anything."
"How come no one knows about you?"
"Because we're magic."
"I want to be magic," Nicholas said. "Can you make me magic?"
The elf thought for a few seconds while scratching his head. "I think so. We will have to surround you with magic, but that's only part of it. Most of all, you must believe magic exists."
Nicholas felt his eyes grow round. "What if I stop believing?"
A tear fell from Pete's eye. "Then it goes away. As if it never existed."
"Well, then, that's easy. I'll always believe."
Time passed and Nick rescued a magic woman from a snowdrift.
"Oh, thank you. You're a saint. My own Saint Nick." She kissed him on the cheek.
They fell in love and got married. Nick had never been so happy as when the pastor said, "I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Claus."
About this time, Nick began hearing wishes from little boys and girls around the world. He talked to Pete, who said the elves would make everything but Nick would have to deliver it all.
"I'll need a sleigh. Do you think we can get the deer to pull it?"
Pete was silent for a moment. "I'll talk to them. A few have learned to fly like birds. Those would probably be the best. We call them reindeer because they have to be tethered by their reins to keep from taking off."
When it came time for the first delivery, the snow was icy. Even the reindeer were sliding everywhere, unable to gain a foothold. Nick told everyone to just stand as still as possible and he'd be right back.
A few minutes later, he returned with a wagon filled with sand. Everyone cheered. "Sand! Sand! Sand from Nick!"
And this is the absolute 100% true story of how Nicholas Claus became first Saint Nick and later, Santa Claus.
I'll be absent here in January, hoping to get a good start on a new writing project. Look for me again on Wednesday, February 3.