Dragons Save Christmas
By David Stevens
Part 1 (2013)
It was one of those days where the wind was whistling across the arid snow-field. The call of the winter was building, but none of that mattered as the old man swung his huge feet out of his bed. He stood up and stretched, then with still slightly blurry eyes (too much eggnog last night) he reached out and picked up his trousers. He stepped lithely into them for a man of his great age. Next he pulled on his jacket adding a thick belt, and then bending and squinting, he looked down to find his black boots. His white beard as always stood out perfectly, framing his smiling happy face.
He was awake, alert and had things, far too many things to do this morning. First though he had animals to pat and talk to as well as feed, or there would be complaints. The reindeer had arrived as they always did and in plenty of time for the big day, it was to them that he strolled whistling a jolly tune, a smile fixed firmly on his face.
As he approached the first of the reindeer stalls a loud barking cough filled the air, followed swiftly by a heart rending sneeze. Santa, the old man, halted; concern blooming in his thoughts as he listened hard. The sneeze was repeated and others joined in. The reindeer were ill and by the sound of it they were suffering badly with colds and barking coughs. Oh dear, it was going to be Christmas-eve in just a few short hours! The busiest time of the year for him and without the reindeer to pull the sled for him. Christmas was in danger of being cancelled for the first time in many long centuries!
Santa opened the first door and looked in. Rudolf with his nose so red, looked up at Santa with his eyes filled with moisture and his nose flickering as he breathed. He was looking pathetic, standing on wobbly legs, shivering as though he was cold. Santa halted, he looked again and then he called for help.
“Help!” He screamed, “The reindeer are ill! Help,” he called attracting the attention of every elf in the building. Toys froze in mid-air, paintbrushes stopped in mid-stroke, the business of Christmas halted with Santa’s call.
Elves poured from every doorway, all running as fast as they could towards the source of the cry for help. Santa stood aside letting the elves see. One pushed forward through the gathering. He held the magic bag the one used to make do and mend when an elf cut himself, or had gotten a little tipsy on the eggnog, or had overdone the Christmas cake. He looked at the befuddled reindeer and shook his head. He looked at Santa and said clearly so all could hear.
“That’s one sick reindeer and he will be that way for the next three days!”
He shook his head again and departed knowing that he could do nothing to help any of them. Santa watched as his last hope for Christmas walked away, shoulders slumped, dragging his magic bag of useless remedies behind him.
Christmas could not be cancelled Santa thought, to do so was unthinkable. He looked around at the elves, all of whom had reached the conclusion that without reindeer how was Santa going to deliver all the nice children’s presents?
Santa sat alone in his office looking out of the window at the falling snow, searching for an answer. He looked at the desk and a tiny voice said something just discernable into his left ear - a fairy had spoken. Santa reached out knowing that what he was about to do was a first for him, but also that he had no choice, there was only one thing he could do if he was going to save Christmas. He dialled a number from memory and waited. He knew it would take time for the person he was ringing to answer, if they answered at all. For the next three minutes Santa listened to the dialling tone, it rang and it rang and then finally a voice said, “Hello.”
“David is that you? It’s Santa and I need your help!”
Santa told David everything. He told him about Rudolf and the other reindeer, and about the presents, the sleigh, the sky and the snow, and finally he told him that if he could not come up with an answer then Christmas would have to be cancelled this year!
David listened - he thought quickly, which he had a habit of doing. He then cut across Santa telling him to listen. David was in full-on bossy mode and Santa got the shock of his life, because he had never heard David in such a firestorm of ideas. The end result was that Santa was told to do nothing and David would get back to him very soon, but he was to carry on as normal. David told Santa not to worry it would be alright - he could and would sort it out. Then to Santa’s annoyance David hung up on him, leaving him as confused as he had been at the start, but at least he had some hope now. If David could do what he said he would and save Christmas, then Santa could relax, but the question that continually rang through his mind was, ‘could he, could David save Christmas?’
In a large house in the Midlands of England a telephone connection burned with voices, shortly a computer connection added to the electric use, and at the same time a red dragon of immense proportion reared up filling the office window with its head. Robert the young dragon had arrived. He listened, nodded and agreed. David’s plan was now underway. An hour later all around the world creatures rarely seen took to their wings. The dragons had heard the call and had answered. They would save Christmas if it was at all possible.
Farloft stepped out into the daylight his wings spread wide as he launched himself into the air heading North. Soon he met Alv flitting through the clouds, then a griffin cross called Yogoloth joined them. Soon the sky was filled with the beating of dragon wings.
The last strap had been tightened by cook, who had only come out to give David a flask of coffee, held in a check patterned duffel bag and filled with some thick cut chicken sandwiches she had made, when she had heard of the disaster for Christmas that David was attempting to avoid. Robert the dragon spread his wings wide. He looked back over his shoulder, twisting his head so he could see his passenger.
A puff of oily smoke filling the air as he said, “Hold on we are taking off.”
With that the red dragon’s wings beat down hard, pushing him and David sitting on his back in his wheelchair high into the air.
One quick circuit of the house and grounds, a flash of fire to say good bye to those waving up at him and Robert headed North towards Santa’s home. Four hours later the ground beneath his wings looked white, the snow was blowing in the wind, but there before him rising from the ground was a large candy striped pole with a red flashing light at its top. Robert circled low descending close to the pole, he was mightily glad that Her Ladyship had given both him and David a nice thick warm scarf to wear against the cold. The ground closed and with a rather inelegant slip and slide he landed. What was revealed to his dragon eyes stunned him. Robert saw a sight he had never expected to see in his life - a true gathering of dragons - thirty-six dragons and all different in aspect or colour, but all of them there to save Christmas if they could.
Farloft and Alv stepped forward rubbing muzzles with Robert the latest arrival, as a cheery voice boomed out “Welcome,” into the driving snow. Santa was standing there waiting for them to arrive.
It would take four dragons to pull the sleigh. It would not be as fast as the reindeer, but Santa had allowed for that. The other thirty-three would fly along side and replace those that needed replacing when they got tired. They worked out a rota which in the end required David’s input, as all of the dragons wanted to show that they were at least as good as the sneezing reindeer. Next the sleigh was loaded, which as magic was used took very little time or room up, which was a good thing as David was going along for the ride and that meant a quick modification to the sleigh; taking the form of removing a chair so David’s wheelchair could slot in next to Santa.
The hot chocolate and cookie machine was filled and Santa looked on in amazement. He then boarded the sleigh picking up the whip as he always did intending to crack it above the reindeer heads. David reached out taking it gently from him and dropping it over the side.
“These are dragons Santa, they might not take too kindly to any sort of whip.”
Santa nodded he had not thought, so he said, “Dragons roll…” and roll they did.
Dragons do not accelerate gently they more leap into the air and flap hard to gain height, which was a novel experience for Santa; as was pulling a sleigh in harness for the dragons.
All around the sleigh the beating of dragon wings filled the air. David reached out for a mug of Santa’s special hot chocolate. He was proud of his friends and their dragons, and thankfully Christmas was on the way to being saved by them all …
To be continued.
Merry Christmas one & all…
Dragons Save Christmas
By David Stevens
Part 2 (2014)
“Up, up and away,” shouted out Santa.
Before him stretched a line of four assorted dragons, whilst many others surrounded his sleigh waiting to depart. A gathering of mythical creatures, which had been drawn together by David Stevens from all over the world, and every one of them there to help Santa save Christmas. The grin on Santa’s face as he looked at the mighty wings and scales as they unfolded could light up the whole of the North Pole. As one the wings drove down then up as the claws attached to powerful feet dug into the smooth compacted ice. The sleigh moved forward, not in the smooth even way it would if Santa’s reindeer were doing the pulling, but forward in a jerking, yanking, hop skip and a jump kind of way.
Santa was standing up in his sleigh, cheering the dragons on as they accelerated over the ice of the North Pole. Shortly the first dragon, a mighty creature called Farloft, launched upward into the sky and the other three harnessed dragons swiftly followed suit - as the dragons pulled Santa’s sleigh from the cold ice into the sky and away. Santa was air-born. Christmas was on the way to being saved, and all because he had called David Stevens, the mage, in desperation when he had discovered that the reindeer were too ill to fly. From the ground cheers of joy echoed up into the crisp wintry sky as the elves waved them off.
Ahead waited the world, ahead waited children eagerly trying to remain awake so that they might see Santa Clause arrive with his special gifts. Little did those children know that as Santa landed his sleigh on their home’s roves magic would disperse, so that no matter how hard any child might fight to remain awake, they would fail as a magical sleep and lovely dreams pervaded their thoughts. Santa is never seen, that is how it should be, that is how it has always been, and that is how it will always be according to Santa himself, when David had asked him about the possibility of a child being awake.
Delivery followed delivery as the sleigh drawn through the air by dragons, not reindeer, headed to the sun and a new day - Christmas day. Santa had a route he followed, a route that everyone knew well, a route that the military around the world recognised. His sleigh had been tracked ever since the first radar system had been developed. The watchers watched, cheering him on knowing it was him. His speed through the air confirmed any doubt.
Located deep beneath the ground in Wisconsin America, is a top secret instillation placed there to monitor everything that flies near to or over America.
“I have a bogey sir. It’s coming in over the ocean at six thousand feet.”
“That will be Santa Clause. Ignore him. He is just doing his normal Christmas Eve deliveries.”
“Sir it’s moving too slow and flying too low. I have tracked Santa a few times and he moves much faster and much higher than this.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes Sir. Certain.”
“Scramble interceptors let’s take a look at it.”
At the touch of a button the data was fed to the nearest interceptor squadron and a minute and a half later two fighter jets exploded into the sky, climbing fast. On their radar a target appeared. A target they swung wide around so as to be able to approach it from the rear.
Santa was sitting next to David, the reins loosely held in his hands. All around him the beat of dragon wings filled the air. In front of him pulling for all they were worth the dragons flew. David reached forward pulling the bright red leaver with a green Christmas bauble at its top, causing the thickest, richest, hot chocolate to ever be found anywhere to dribble into Santa’s mug. The one that had ‘Merry Christmas’ emblazoned in red around its body. David handed the mug to Santa, then sitting back a little to get comfortable and pulling up the thick rug he had been given, he like Santa sipped at his own luxurious drink.
“Do you think we will be able to complete the objective?” he asked Santa.
“It will be close. The dragons are not as fast as my reindeer, but they are doing a terrific job so far.”
From up front a lone voice filled the air. A deep resonating voice, Farloft’s voice, which thundered out ‘Ten green bottles hanging on a wall,’ other voices joined in and soon the clouds echo to the riotous singing of 35 or so assorted dragons, none of whom can hold a key.
Santa smiled, adding to his statement, “And they are a lot noisier as well!”
David laughed enjoying the sound of success and wondering what all the children would say if they knew that dragons were delivering Santa and his presents, not his normal reindeer. Poor Rudolf with his nose so red from a cold, David thought.
A huge dragon named Alv looked over his shoulder as the wing tip of a blue green dragoness lightly touched him. She was staring behind her looking a little concerned. Alv looked further around and then he saw why, two grey streaks were flying fast towards them. He called out to some of his companions and as one they pealed off away from Santa and the sled, circling up through the clouds and around, gaining the rear of the approaching craft. The first the pilots knew off the change in the situation was when one of them found that his cockpit had developed a face looking in at him. A blue tinged face with large teeth all lined up. Dragons do not appear on radar…
The pilot jerked in shock and called out into his radio attracting the attention of his companion, who was in the process of realising that he could not change direction as six dragons had boxed his plane in. A head appeared next to his cockpit, the long neck of the creature allowing the dragon to fly above the much slowed jet whilst leaning down to inspect the occupant. The pilot smiled nervously. He had recognised the sled and the large man in red who was standing up waving cheerily at him. He waved back, which seemed to please the rather too close dragon, who peeled away slightly before flying past the plane and settling in behind the sleigh.
He looked back at the pilot he had scared and grinned a cheeky grin as both planes peeled away, heading back to base and at the same time confirming that the intruder was friendly. Though, it would be right to say that both pilots wondered if the ground crews would believe them, when they told them that Santa’s sleigh was not being pulled by the expected reindeer, but by four large dragons. If they believed that then they might believe that it was also flying in the company of thirty or so more of the mythical creatures and that Santa had a man in a wheelchair sitting next to him.
“That was interesting,” exclaimed David, as he turned his head away from watching the fast departing fighter jets.
“It certainly was,” boomed out Alv, as he moved up to the head of the line to replace Farloft as lead dragon. Other dragons did likewise freeing up the first wave of sleigh pulling dragons for a well deserved rest on the wing.
They had delivered many presents and each time Santa had departed the sleigh alone having delivered them and returned, and they had moved on. So what was so different about this house David wondered? David had a map with their progress marked on it so he could visualise what they were doing. They had covered the first half of
and onward to new Canada Zealand and then all of Europe. Now as David looked forward beyond the flying
dragons he could see the white cliffs of
appearing in the distance. Only seconds later they passed over a village and Santa,
as he had done each and every time, landed the sleigh and got out. Dover
“I think you will want to see this one David and besides I need your help.”
David looked up seeing the cheery face and nodded looking down at his wheelchair, which somehow levitated up and out of the sleigh to land beside Santa Clause. Then the world turned black and sooty and next David found himself in a child’s bedroom. Judging by the pretty pictures and pink all over the place it was a girl’s room, a young girl’s room. Santa opened his magical black sack and extracted a rocking horse, which he placed at the foot of the bed. The child slept on totally unaware of their presence.
“Why did you need me Santa,” David asked?
“This young lady is special. She lost her father last year and her mother is a police woman who works all the hours she can just to maintain the roof over their heads. She has done far more than any child could ever be expected to do. She has adapted and turned her loss into a promise of a future. The reason why I think you should be here is because she wants to be a writer. She tells some very special stories all about fairies and magic, and I was wondering if she might not deserve some encouragement. What do you think David?”
“What do you have in mind?”
“I was looking at this rocking horse and wondering if…”
“Yes I think you might be right.”
David produced his wand and waved it over the rocking horse as Santa watched. When he put it away a sprinkling of stars hung over the wood. These faded leaving behind some glittering dust, which settled on the horse and its saddle. The horse moved, wings opened out and stretched. The ponies carved neck extended. The hooves became claws and the polished painted wood became covered in bright purple scales. The rocking horse had become a dragon, a small dragon, perfectly designed for a small girl to ride and one that would grow as she grew.
Santa nodded his head pleased by what he saw as the dragon once more became a rocking horse, but now locked within the body of that toy lived an entity that could be called upon to carry the rider into the world of magic and mystery.
One day soon David expected to look out of his office window and see a smiling young girl, sitting astride of a delightful dragon, having popped in for tea. Cook would have a fit with another dragon to feed, but she would be delighted with another child around the place on occasions. As for Robert, David’s young red dragon, he would just love the company to play with.
“Perfect, absolutely perfect…” said Santa looking at the sleeping girl. David extracted and cast his wand once more and watched as the girl turned over in her sleep. Now she would be dreaming about becoming a dragon riding maiden setting out on grand adventures. Soon those dreams would become reality for her. Then there would be no shortage of stories for her to write, and a great future awaited her as a dragon rider and writer.
“Time to leave, there is still a very long way to go,” Santa said, as the world turned black and sooty once more.
Once back aboard Santa’s sleigh, with Santa again at the helm, the dragons pushed forward lifting the sleigh from the roof, eager to be about saving Christmas. David looked down as the sleigh turned an airborne circle to see a patio door slide open and a young woman step through it, looking up. She did not seem surprised to see the sleigh as she lifted her arm high and waved at them. David waved back knowing that he was looking at the mother of the young girl and another person with the belief in the lands of fairy that was required to see magic as it really is.
Santa’s laugh boomed out, “Merry Christmas!” as the dragons once more began to sing. All around them wings beat at the air and still she waved. One day David knew he would meet her and her daughter, perhaps not together, but he would meet them. For now they had Christmas to help save and many more presents to deliver.
To be continued.
Merry Christmas one & all…