Children Fiction posted December 25, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level
An unexpected visitor from the North Pole.

Eskimo Santa

by Sis Cat

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring . . . except Eugene Morris Funkelbean, who had hidden behind the frosted Christmas tree, armed with a toy laser gun, determined to catch his parents in the act of putting presents under the tree and prove once and for all that Santa Claus does not exist.
When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter. Eugene sprang from the tree to see what was the matter. Away to the window he flew like a flash; tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow, gave the luster of midday to an Eskimo! He drove nine huskies . . . so lively and quick. Eugene cried in torment, “Where is St. Nick?”
More rapid than beagles, his courses they came as he whistled and shouted, and called them by name. “Now, Potock! Now, Murdock! Now, Cold-Duck and Hydrox! On, Oldsock! On, Ticktock! On, Fifi and Xerox! Steer clear from the trees. Don’t wet the wall. Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
A long, low dog sled, constructed of wood and bone, tied together with walrus hide, landed on the front lawn. Eugene hid behind the tree again. Instead of the stranger coming down the chimney, the Eskimo magically appeared in Eugene’s living room. The boy shuddered and peered through the ornamented branches.
Wearing a parka of caribou skin, the stranger might have fled from a furrier’s shop. Fox, wolf, and bear fur trimmed his coat. He wore mittens shaped like animal heads. His trousers hung over his mukluks, or waterproof boots
sewn from seal and walrus skin. On his forehead, he wore goggles carved from a flat piece of bone with two slits for eyes to help cut down on the snow’s glare. The hood fitted snuggly around a broad, brown face with dark, brown eyes and straight, black hair.
Could this short, stocky man be my father? thought Eugene, behind the tree.
With a sealskin sack slung over his back, the stranger looked like a robber about to attack. He spoke not a word, but went straight to work. Eugene aimed his toy laser gun and said, “Where’s Santa, you jerk?”
Dropping his bag, the stranger turned around, startled. His mittens rose, but his face relaxed into a smile when he saw the boy with a toy laser. The Eskimo’s eyes twinkled and he let out a laugh. “So, Eugene, you finally stayed up to see me.”
The boy kept his gun aimed at the intruder. “Who are you?”
The Eskimo went along with his game and kept his mittens raised. “I’m the one your people call Santa Claus, but you can call me Angakok.”
Eugene pronounced slowly. “An-ga-kok, what happened to your white beard and red suit? Why, you’re not my father. You’re an Eskimo!”
“Who did you expect to live at the North Pole?” Angakok laughed.
Keeping his laser trained on Angakok, Eugene peered out the window at the dog sled’s eight Siberian huskies, plus a red husky as their lead dog. Rudolph? Except for Rudy, the white huskies blended into the blinding snow. Eugene only saw their slanted, blue eyes, chocolate noses, and panting, pink tongues. “What happened to your reindeer?”
“See my parka? I’m wearing them. Now, may I put my arms down? They’re tired.”
“Gee, I’m sorry.”
Eugene lowered his toy laser, and Angakok rubbed his sore shoulders. He then went to work removing gifts from his sealskin sack and placing them beneath the Christmas tree.
Eugene watched and then interrupted, “But I thought Santa was white.”
“That’s what your parents tell you.”
“But if you’re the real Santa, why don’t I ever hear about you?”
“Would your parents want a dark-skinned Santa to visit their child on Christmas Eve?”
Eugene shrugged. “No, I don’t think so.”
“So they fabricated a Santa into their own image and likeness, with a flowing, white beard, crystal, blue eyes, and rosy cheeks. This is not the first time your people have done this. Do you know whose birthday it is this morning?”
“Jesus, the Christ Child!”
“How do you picture Him?”
The boy knitted his brows. “The pictures in Sunday school show a tall man with blonde hair and blue eyes.”
Angakok pointed his mittened finger. “Tell me. Are there any tall, blonde, blue-eyed people in the Middle East?”
Eugene shrugged. “Tourists and soldiers?”
“See, Eugene, by your people changing Jesus’s features, they made Him more acceptable to them. That is what they did to old Angakok, too.”
The boy sighed. “I didn’t know there wasn’t a Santa. My friends are right. There is no Santa Claus.”
“Oh, but there is, Eugene. We are our own Santas whenever we are kind, giving, and loving to the people of the world.”
Finished placing gifts beneath the tree, Angakok’s mittened hands lifted Eugene until they rubbed noses together, a brown face and a white face, both smiling. He then set the boy down and picked up his seal sack. A surprised expression crossed Angakok’s face. “Oh, I almost forgot. Reach inside the right sleeve of my parka.”
Eugene squinted at the strange directions, but inserted his small hand into the warm, furry sleeve and retrieved an ivory carving of an Eskimo in a sled pulled by a dog. “Santa, I mean, Angakok, that’s you!” But when the boy raised his head, he saw that the man had vanished.
Outside, Angakok, sprang to his dog sled and yelled, “Huk! Huk!” and away they all flew over a big Mack truck. Eugene heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all, whether brown or white!”


Christmas Story contest entry


With much apologies to Clement Clarke Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," I wrote "Eskimo Santa" twenty-nine years ago when I used to write and draw fantasy and science fiction. My drawing illustrates my story. I am unable to draw now.

I wrote this story so long ago that I am unable to recall what inspired me, but I believe I wanted to comment about race in a light-hearted manner. The name we use for this First Nations people today is Inuit and not Eskimo. Angakok is the Inuit name for medicine man or shaman. I recall that I had studied Inuit clothing to describe it accurately as a contrast to Santa's red and white suit.

Thank you for reviewing and I wish you "Merry Christmas to all, whether red or white!"
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