Season's Greetings from the home of the BASH!!!!

Christmas at the North Pole was ALWAYS hectic. Everyone was always frantically trying to complete last minute arrangements, to make those final plans, to insure that everything was ready when the Big Elf made the call. But, it had NEVER been like THIS!!!

The elves in the Reindeer Barn heard Santa as he threw open the great wooden doors. There was no ho,ho,ho in his voice, only concern.

"What do you mean, SICK??" he asked as he approached the first stall.

Twillit had been the head reindeer elf or as long as anyone could remember. In all those years, he had NEVER had to tell Santa that his reindeer COULDN'T make the trip! He scurried to Santa's side, then waited quietly for the questions to begin.

"Twillit, is it true??" Santa asked, obviously concerned.

"Yes sir, Santa. I would never have thought it could happen, but it is true. ALL the reindeer are sick! Not one of them is up to making that trip tonight!"

Twillit hesitated, then began reciting the list of sick and injured reindeer.

"Dasher and Cupid have harness rashes. Dancer's tooth ache has gotten worse. Donder and Vixen both have inner ear infections, and the Doctor won't allow them to fly. Prancer, Blitzen, and Comet got new shoes this week, that rubbed blisters. They are barely able to walk at ALL! Oh, and poor Rudolph's head cold is so bad, he can't even BREATHE through his nose, much less glow!"

Twillit had NEVER failed Santa before. The beloved reindeer had always been ready for the annual trip. He could not even look Santa in the eye. Twillit hung his head in shame.

"Worry yourself not, Twillit! It could not be helped. You have done well. We have only to make a change of plans."

Santa stood in the warm reindeer barn, the familiar smell of harness leather and hay filling the air, staring off into space. The elves dared not move, they dared not break the spell. Santa was deep in thought. It was as if the world was holding its breath!

Suddenly, Santa Claus put his finger aside his nose and broke into a relieved chuckle.

"I know JUST who I can call!!! Get the sleigh ready!!" Santa shouted over his shoulder as he hurried to the phone on the wall near the huge barn doors.

The elves were intrigued by Santa's behavior, and definitely curious as they watched him quickly dial a number. As the elves hurried to load the enormous sleigh, they strained to hear Santa's conversation.

"Yes, IMMEDIATELY! Oh, don't worry about THAT, Katie! Pixie dust will take care of everything. Well, let's see... I usually use 8, plus Rudolph, so I think I'll need at least 15, maybe MORE!!!"

The elves breathed a huge sigh of relief as they heard Santa close the conversation with a 'WONDERFUL'! We'll have the sleigh ready to leave as soon as you arrive!"

Santa hung up the telephone and turned back toward the elves. "TWILLIT!! Get the harnesses ready! But you're going to need to make a few SMALL changes!"

Santa eagerly leaned over and began whispering instructions to Twillit. He smiled as he watched the expression on Twillit's face......first shock, then amazement, finally turning into a broad smile!

"It WOULD work!!" Twillit thought, much relieved.

He quickly began supervising the loading of the famous sleigh, always finding room for one more package. The elves were just putting the last gifts into the sleigh when they heard it. It seemed to come from above, a great roaring sound that actually shook the ancient oak rafters of the reindeer barn.

Everyone raced to the door to find the source of the noise, but halted as Santa waved them back to the sleigh.

"Complete your packing. The 'reindeer' have arrived!!!" Santa's jolly laugh had returned, as he almost skipped out of the barn to greet his volunteer 'reindeers'!

Santa extended his gloved hand to the tall uniformed man who stood in the door of the great silver plane. The pilot's broad smile brought a twinkle to his eye as he watched the legendary elf approach. He turned to his passengers, and with a quick warning to be on their best behavior, he watched them race from the plane and hurry into the barn.

The tall, uniformed man waited impatiently in the doorway of the great jet, eager to see his wee ones begin their journey. He glanced toward the barn as he heard the large, wooden doors open wide, then bang against the barn wall.

What he witnessed, was not to be believed!!! His wee ones were harnessed to the legendary sleigh, and were standing quietly, their faces alight with excitement. Elves scurried to each furry 'reindeer', stopping only long enough to sprinkle the mysterious glittering dust onto each volunteer, before hurrying on to sprinkle more pixie dust.

Santa Claus lifted his gloved hand to make final adjustments to the contents of the sleigh. He looked forward at the harnessed 'reindeer' and smiled. Their faces were absolutely glowing with excitement, their tongues lolling as they smiled and eagerly awaited word to begin. One last glance told him the pixie dust was just about ready, they would be airborne in another few seconds. He hoped his 'reindeer' wouldn't mind the aftereffects of the magic dust. It DID have a tendency to cause unexpected airborne moments, but it always wore off in a couple of days. No problem, he thought. No one will ever notice!!!!

"Take the rest of the evening OFF!" Santa said as he waved farewell to the smiling elves. "We'll be back by morning!"

With a jolly "Ho-Ho-Ho!!!", Santa grasped the reins and gently snapped them taut. He smiled as he watched his very WEE reindeers race across the snow, then leap skyward. He chuckled as he heard gleeful shouts of joy, followed by several "ARROOOO's" as the sleigh gained altitude and began circling in the starlit sky!!

Santa Claus laughed aloud as he watched the joyous excitement of the harnessed volunteers. This WAS going to be a fun trip, he thought, as he got his list out and prepared to get down to business.

The tall uniformed man was still staring open-mouthed at the sleigh that was speeding away overhead. Just before the sleigh disappeared into the night sky, he heard that deep rich voice call back, "MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, and to ALL a Good NIGHT!"

Who were the wee volunteers???? Watch your wee ones closely, pixie dust DOES take some time to wear off!

"Merry Christmas from the BASH Author, Carol J. and the BASH Illustrator, Karen D.!!!!"


This ORIGINAL story has been created and written by Carol Johnson.
ORIGINAL illustration done by Karen Donnelly.
It is NOT to be reproduced in ANY way ....PERIOD!!!!

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