Saturday 9 December 2017

Daddy-style Fairy Tales: Little Peter's Christmas Miracle

My kids are 10 and 12 and love to hear my fairy tales which I tell while tucking them into bed. Ok, "love to hear" may be less accurate than "willing to endure," but I'm not one to split hairs. If I interrupted their play-filled day to tell them the same story, they'd no doubt consider it child abuse. But, at bedtime, they'd listen to me recite my tax returns if it bought them an extra ten minutes with the lights on. As they say, "timing is everything."

     Still, I enjoy watching their little faces while I'm reading. They're so cute when they grimace and roll their eyes, and I challenge myself to see how many times I can make them groan.

     After hearing this one, my son groaned (yes!) and commented, "Well, that was a huge waste of valuable sleeping time," but his face flickered with a smile he fought to contain.


     If you have little children who enjoy rolling their eyes and groaning, or who, perhaps, are willing to do so in exchange for an extra ten minutes at bedtime, then sit them down and recount this short tale of Christmas magic...

Little Peter's Christmas Miracle 

      Once upon a time, in a land far from those who lived close by, a very old man lived all alone in a cottage in the forest, at the edge of a small village. He had never married and had no children and was known to be sad and lonely. He was also crotchedy—probably because he was sad and lonely, but, perhaps, because of anal fissures. No one could be sure.

     Every day, he would venture out from his little house and slowly, very slowly, make his way into town to buy groceries, after which he would trundle, slowly, very slowly, to the park and sit on a bench and feed the birds while listening to the children frolicking, close by.

     Peter was the littlest of all the boys his age, but he had the biggest heart and also anime eyes, which were really cute, but totally distracting. These are the kind of congenital mishaps that occur, sometimes, in small villages, if cousins marry. Little Peter noticed the old man and came to sit beside him on the park bench.

     "My name's Peter," he said, which was not obvious, yet very true, and a perfectly good way to introduce yourself, if your name happens to be Peter.

     The old man did not look at little Peter, or acknowledge him in any way, except to say, "Too much information. What do you want?"

     "I just want everyone in the who-o-ole world to feel love and to be happy," replied little Peter, flashing a Cheshire smile and his anime eyes, which, of all of his features were two of the safest ones to flash.

     The old man took no notice, which surprised little Peter because everyone was always impressed by this anime eyes—especially when he added his Cheshire smile.

     In his most crotchety voice, the old man began, "Kid, I just want to feed the birds..."

     "That's really nice!" interrupted Peter, enthusiastically.

     "... to my cat!" finished the old man. And with that, he suddenly grabbed one of the little birds by its throat and shoved it into a small cloth bag. For someone who was slow, very slow, on his feet, he was fast, very fast, with his hands.

     "Ohhh!" exclaimed little Peter.

     The old man tied closed the rustling, squeaking bag, crotchety-pleased to have shocked little Peter.

     "You can't do that!" exclaimed Peter.

     "Ha! I just did."

     "But that's a Christmas Dove and it's only three days until Christmas!"

     "Sounds delicious!" grunted the old man, rising from the bench.

     "Wait 'til Santa finds out!" warned little Peter.

     The man hesitated. "You believe in Santa?"

     "Of course!" said little Peter.

     "Well, I'm really old and I've never seen him! Christmas means nothing to me."

     Little Peter was shocked that someone would ever say such a thing and his hands flew to his mouth, his grin collapsing into the shape of a something circular. But then, at that very moment, his glistening anime eyes caught those of the old man and in them, he glimpsed a hundred years of hurt and disappointment. In his heart, he instantly felt the old man's pain and anguish. In his stomach, he felt a bit hungry; his butt was tingling slightly, as well, but such details were not relevant and so, never became part of this story.

     As the old man ambled away, slowly, very slowly, the small sack squealing and fluttering on his shoulder, Peter resolved to bring happiness to this sad figure by creating a true Christmas miracle!

     It took him two days to set his plan in motion.

     The van rental had been especially tricky as he could barely reach the pedals and didn't know how to drive. But Peter had flashed his Cheshire grin and anime eyes and explained to the rental agent that he was on a mission to perform a Christmas miracle, and the rental agent had suddenly smiled, ear to ear—but, more importantly, turned his back to put away the rental forms. And that's when Peter grabbed the keys and bolted for the van. Making good use of the bumper, he managed to escape the parking lot and drive across town to meet up with the other boys his age whose help he had enlisted. And no one was injured or killed, so his plan was really beginning to look like a Christmas miracle.

     It was now late on Christmas Eve and, under cover of darkness, he and the other boys his age made their way down the tiny road that led to the old man's cottage, backed the van to his doorstep and rang the bell. The old man was slow to be rousted but, finally, he opened the door and came face to face with little Peter, Cheshire grin and anime eyes set all aglow, by the light of his tiki torch.

     "What's going on? What do you want?" shouted the old man.

     Peter giggled with a maniacal variety of glee, and pronounced, "It's going to be a Christmas miracle!" whereupon he snapped his fingers and two of the other boys shoved a burlap sack over the old man's head, pushed him into the back of the van, and drove off to Santa's village where they knocked on Santa's door. (For this small town was very near the North Pole and everything in it was made of ice and covered in snow. Did I not mention that? Oh. Well, it was. That's why Peter's butt had been tingling from frostbite while he sat on the park ice-bench. Also, the rental van was a ski-do-type van.)

     Santa came to the door wearing only underpants and a sock. Another sock was in his hand and he looked flustered; obviously in a rush. Santa was hairy and he was very old, so all the hair on his body was white. Coincidentally, his underwear was also white fur so that it looked like he was naked and especially hairy, down there. Everyone except the old man thought that it was gross. "Good heavens, boys. Don't you know it's Christmas Eve? I don't have time for—did you kidnap an old man?"

     "Well, technically, old-man-napped... and, old men nap all the time, so..." Little Peter flashed his Cheshire smile and anime eyes and Santa's heart melted so it was a good thing he wasn't Frosty the Snowman.

     "Ho, ho, ho. What can I do for you, little Peter?"

     "I brought someone who needs to meet you," replied little Peter, pulling the sack off the old man's head. The old man stood there in the soft glow of the porch light, face to face with Santa.

     "You!" Santa exclaimed.

     "Who else would I be, Santa?" replied the old man.

     Little Peter was now more confused than usual. "Wait a minute! I thought you didn't believe in Santa."

     "Get me a cane!" demanded the old man.

     Little Peter thought it very rude demanding candy from Santa, especially on Christmas Eve. "Oh no you di—in't..." he muttered, and he and the other boys his age began to giggle nervously, anxious to see how Santa would punish the old man for his insolence.

     But Santa remained quiet and still, and the old man turned to little Peter. "I never said I don't believe in Santa, you idiot! I said I've never seen him."

     "Well now you have!" said little Peter, beaming proudly. "All because of my Christmas miracle!"

     "I'm blind, moron. Where's my cane?"

     I may have forgotten to mention that he tapped his way to town, using a white cane. This was one reason that he had to walk slowly, very slowly.

     "Oh," said Little Peter.

     "And where's my oxygen tank?"

     "You want an oxygen tank for Christmas?" asked little Peter, even more bewildered than usual because, although little Peter had a big heart, he had a small mind; so small that he wouldn't have known a Snow Dove from a common Brown Bat and could only think slowly, very slowly.

     "No, you knucklehead, the great big oxygen tank that I have to lug around everywhere I go."

     Oh yeah, that was another reason that he had to walk slowly, very slowly; because he had a heart condition and had to carry a huge tank of oxygen with him, everywhere he went.

     "Oh," said little Peter who finally seemed to come up to speed and who, incidentally, was 25 years old, like all the other boys his age.

     The old blind man turned, mistakenly facing no one, and said, "As long as I'm here, Santa, let's talk about that Rubic's Cube you put in my stocking last Christmas..."

     Santa later testified in court, and little Peter and the other boys his age were sentenced to prison on charges of kidnapping and grand theft, auto. But it was an ice-prison and they managed to escape during a heated argument.

     The old man was actually a great magician—this is why he was fast, very fast, with his hands. He had once been very powerful and had, in fact, given Santa his magical powers, way back when he, Santa, and the world were young. More recently he made helium balloon animals and sold them online, shipping them in little boxes that tended to float and saved money on delivery charges.

     After this incident, the old blind man slowly, very slowly, returned to his daily routine of tapping his way into town, lugging his oxygen tank, sitting in the park, trapping birds for his cat, alone in the knowledge that he was sad and lonely because he didn't actually have a cat. The truth was that lately, every time he'd made it to the grocery store, it was closed, so he had been forced to come to the park and trap birds to eat at home. What he didn't realize was that his Braille watch was running slow and he was now always going to town at night, after store hours, when the only ones in the park were gangs of losers partying and smoking cigarettes, like Peter.

Also, the birds tasted a lot like common Brown Bats.

Alternate Endings:
     After this incident, the old blind man slowly, very slowly, returned to his daily routine of tapping his way into town, lugging his oxygen tank, sitting in the park, trapping birds for his cat, alone in the knowledge that he was sad and lonely because...

(A) ...his cat never ate any of the birds he brought home for it. Only the cat knew that he was actually a rabbit. Also, it was made out of a balloon.

(B) ...he had never married because he got tired of the blind dating scene.

(C) ...he was German and afraid people would call him a not-see.

(D) ...he never enjoyed jokes because he couldn't see the humor in them.

(E) ...he never married. He'd once had a girlfriend, but after she broke up with him, he just couldn't make himself start seeing other people.

(F) ...he was racist and constantly worried that he might be black.


One basic difference between my 2 kids...

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