Young Adult Fiction posted December 23, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
Kris brings joy to girls and boys.

The Toymaker

by Aussie

Ploughing through heavy snow drifts, Kris made his way to his log cabin on Smoky Mountain.

He unloaded the stack of wood to fuel his fire. As the fire grew, it cast dancing shadows on the walls of his ancient cabin. After lighting a few more candles, he sat down to work on the wooden toys for girls and boys.

He knew many poor children had no gifts at Christmas and decided centuries ago to rectify that huge problem.

As he chipped away at a block of wood, his pet reindeer, Alaska, nuzzled his ear. Alaska had been Kris's only animal friend since forever. Alaska could also speak English to Kris as he worked.

"What are you making this time Kris?" Quizzed Alaska.

"A toy soldier for a little boy who lives so far away," Kris patted his friend Alaska.

"Kris, we have lived for such a long time?" Alaska scratched his antlers on the fireplace, "do you think we will live forever?"

One of the tallow candles gutted and went out. Kris looked at Alaska and shook his white beard.

"Well, we are magical folk, we have been making toys for children forever and I can't see us stopping anytime soon. Also, you are moulting, and need to scratch someplace else!" Kris roared with laughter.

The beautiful smell of roasted meats wafted from the ancient kitchen.

"What are you two up to now?" said Kris's wife Belle.

"Working dear, just chipping away for Christmas Day."

Kris put the finishing touches to a toy soldier he had carved out of wood from the nearby forest. The soldier had wire-jointed legs so he could dance. Then Kris painted the soldier's jacket red with white cuffs and collar, red cap and black boots. The toy soldier was smiling.

"Thank you Kris, now I can dance for a little child when you deliver me on Christmas Eve," said the toy soldier.

"Dinner is ready, and Alaska, outside you go, now." Belle hid her kindly smile behind her hand.

The magical, married pair sat down to roast chicken, duck, wild boar stuffed with chestnuts and cranberries, potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. After dinner, Kris waved his glove and the washing up disappeared.

As the snow increased in ferocity and slammed against the leaded windowpanes, Kris opened the door for Alaska; he settled himself in Kris's armchair and lit his pipe. Reindeers love to smoke crushed forest berries; especially magical reindeers.

Loud banging was heard on the door of the cabin. Kris got up to open the door, struggling with the snow piled against the wood.

"Hullo, Hullo!" Sixteen elves and myriad of faeries rushed through the open door.

The biggest elf, Tinger, dropped a load of red bags beside the fireplace.

All the elves warmed themselves in front of the roaring fire and Belle served them all egg-nog to warm them up. The faeries settled on the mantelpiece.

"Get out of my chair, you silly reindeer."
Kris was weary now, all the work was finished and the elves had packed the red bags with the toys Kris had carefully crafted.

"Well, that's it for another Christmas, I hope you will take good care of our cabin as we fly to Florida to be with our human family?"

Loud squeaking was heard as the faeries danced around the room, excited to be looking after the cabin for another year. The elves began to sweep the floors and clean the kitchen. They all loved to have a home inside for themselves.

Overnight the heavy snow abated and Alaska was harnessed to Kris's sleigh. The elves and faeries help load the many red bags full of gifts for the children of the World.

"Hey, wait a minute... we have to go to Florida to see my family!"

"Don't worry Kris, I can take the sleigh to your house and on Christmas Eve we can leave town to drop off all the gifts after your family are fast asleep."
Tingler the elf crossed his arms, puffed out his chest and was so proud that he had come up with the idea of Kris and Belle visiting family and then Kris taking the sleigh at midnight to deliver twelve months worth of making toys.

"Your not just a handsome elf my friend - a smart one to boot."

Belle climbed into the sleigh after it had been unloaded. Alaska galloped along the road and lifted off to the skies, heading for Florida.

"Grandpa, Grandma!"
Tory pushed his dilapidated wheelchair down the hall towards his grandparents. It's been so long since you came to visit us here in Florida. Did you have a good time in the Smoky Mountains?"

Belle lifted Tory from his old chair and danced him around in her arms. Kris looked on wistfully, wishing he could change Tory from a crippled boy to a boy that could run and walk like others.

"Mum and Dad are out shopping. They don't have too much money." Tory wiped tears from his small face.

"Why would they spend too much money?" Kris looked seriously at his grandson.

"Dad lost his job at the factory and, and..." "Hush, child," Belle cradled the boy to her ample bosom.

"Well, lets see, how can we help the family?" Kris thought to himself.

To change the subject of poverty at Christmas, Kris busied himself dressing the Christmas Tree. His heart went out to his son with no job and Tory who was so upset that he thought Christmas would be a disaster for the Kringle family.

"What kind of angel is that grandpa?" Tory gazed at the golden Angel Kris had placed on the top of the tree.

"Oh, that's Gabriel, the Angel that brought good tidings to Mary. He told her she was going to have a baby boy and was to call him Jesus. Which means Wonderful!"

"Tis not," said Tory, "the tree angel is a girl."

"Hmm, must have got my angels mixed up. Anyway, Gabriel did visit Mary and she did bring Jesus into the world. And that is what Christmas is all about. Without Jesus there would be no Christmas."

"Well, what does Christmas mean?" Tory played with the useless brakes on his old wheelchair.

"Christmas is a word that means we celebrate Christ the Lord who came to the world to save us from nasty Satan." Kris yawned.

The doorbell rang and Tory's parents walked in laden with food given by The Door of Hope Church. Tory's face dropped. He knew they were poor; no gifts at least they would have a nice meal together as a family.

They all sat down to sandwiches given by the church, afterwards, Belle helped Jane and Toby clean up.

"It's getting late and time you were in bed young man. Santa won't come unless you are asleep." Tory's mother kissed his forehead.

"Yes, it's time we were in dreamland too," winked Kris to Belle.

They all made their way to their bedrooms after leaving carrots for Rudolph and a glass of milk and biscuits for Santa.

When Kris and Belle were alone, they discussed the family problems.

"We have to help them out and Tory needs a new wheelchair," Said Kris.

"Well, you know how to deliver gifts, my love," Belle tugged his beard.

"I'll wait till Alaska arrives and then we can go get a new wheelchair for Tory, I know just the place for a special chair - it's called The Red Arrow."

"How did you know the name of the chair?" Whispered Belle.

"We watched the movie, The Bone Collector and the detective was scooting around in a Red Arrow."

"I suppose you are going to ask Denzel Washington where he got his Red Arrow," Belle laughed out loud.

"Very funny my sweetie, no I'm going to get one from a shop that specialises in helping disabled folks. I know a friend who can help me even though the shops are shut for the holidays, he will find that chair for me."

The clock in the hall struck midnight and with a swift kiss, Kris made his way through the attic to the roof top. He knew Alaska would land on the roof, loaded with goodies for the children.

Right on time, the clatter of hooves was heard by Tory who wasn't asleep. He was too excited to sleep. He also knew his grandfather was a magical person who made wooden gifts for children. This was his secret, his mother didn't know about his magical grandparent's. His son on the other hand, did.

"Hi, Ho, off we go!" Kris climbed aboard and grinned at Belle.

"Our first stop is a friend who will find me a wheelchair for Tory."

As they met with Mr Socks, Kris explained about the Red Arrow. Mr Socks smiled and told Kris he had one in his shop front and would give it to Kris after all the toys had been delivered.

Hours later, with an empty sleigh, Kris loaded the brand new wheelchair on to the sleigh.

"Haven't worked out how to get this set of wheels downstairs yet, guess I'll have to use magic."

As Kris walked into the living room, he was amazed at the great pile of gifts under the Christmas Tree. Boy, had Belle been busy.

"You're not the only one that can make magic my dear one." Belle smiled and gave Kris a great big hug when she saw the Red Arrow float across the living room to rest under the tree.

"Let's go to bed my darling man - it's almost Christmas Day."

Yelling, laughing and screaming came from the living room as Tory found his new chair and all the gifts under the tree. He knew grandpa had been busy with magic.

Tory's mum and dad walked slowly down the stairs, still rubbing sleep from their eyes.

"Good heavens, where did all these gifts come from?" Tory's mum was gobsmacked, not so his dad. Toby knew dad had been using magic and one day he would too.

"I had a win on the pokies," said Kris with a sheepish grin.

"Must have been a gigantic win?" Said his son, smiling a wink at his father.

And so they all sat around in the living room to sounds of ripping paper and clapping and whistling from each family member. Kris sat in the chair by the fire and promptly fell asleep. Then Tory tugged on his sleeve in earnest.

"Grandpa? Grandpa?"

"What is it my boy? I was dreaming about the Smoky mountains and you woke me up!"

"There is a toy left in one of the red sacks, is it for me or another little boy?"

The soldier grinned as Kris lifted him out of the sack. "He is a dancing soldier, Tory."

They all moved to the kitchen where the chairs were hard and Kris pulled a sheet of plywood out and sat on it. He looked across at his wife and daughter-in-law busying themselves, carving ham and turkey and putting plum puddings in the steamer for sweets afterwards. The smell was delicious.

"Tory, remember I told you about the dancing soldier?" Kris smiled.

"Yes I do grandpa, is he mine? Can I play with him, can I, can I?"

"Now you just hang on a minute, I have to set Captain Arrow up so he can dance for you."

Kris showed the boy how thin and pliant the wood was, then he started to jump Captain Arrow up and down until he was dancing a merry jig for all the family to see and enjoy.

After giving thanks for the bounty on the table and all the gifts given and enjoyed. Kris slept soundly, arms wrapped around Belle.

Tory's mum and dad gave thanks for the special phone call on Christmas Day. The factory had a new job for dad.

The Smoky Mountain cabin burnt down when Alaska dropped his clay pipe on the floor. Alaska the reindeer was too scared to tell Kris. Anyway, what is magic for? Kris would build a new cabin in the mountains and life would go on forever for the magical couple and the love and joy they delivered every year to so many poor children. And so, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas dear Fanstorians.

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