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The Naughty Elf Present


A cautionary tale for anybody who thinks they know it all, masquerading as a childrens' story. I wrote this for a Christmas contest a year or two ago, and it's been posted at Renderosity and DA for a while.

Everybody knows that there's something very, very special about Santa that lets him deliver presents to all the good children all over the world in just one night. And there's something very, very special about Santa that allows such a large fellow to get down all those chimneys.

Especially the chimneys of houses that don't have chimneys! I asked Santa about these things, and do you know what his answer was? "Ho! Ho! Ho! One night or a million nights, it's the same thing!" and "Ho! Ho! Ho! ALL houses have chimneys!"

Now everybody also knows that elves are by their very nature mischievous creatures. And if you were a mischievous elf who had to spend all year wrapping presents you'd probably play the same sort of tricks that they do. One of their favourite little pranks is to wrap up all manner of horrible things as presents! But can you guess how many children have opened up a present from Santa only to find toenail clippings, nose pickings, or even more horrible things? Well, none actually. Because Santa always catches them. Always!

The punishment for naughty elves is usually just lines. Lots of them. This is because lines are a very boring punishment, and being bored is just about the biggest punishment imaginable for an elf. Just imagine having to write "I am a silly little elf who thinks it is funny to gift-wrap reindeer poop" a million times. But Santa sometimes likes to play his own little jokes on the pranksters. Occasionally he'll say, "Ho! Ho! Ho! No lines for you today! I've just thought of something amusing for you to gift wrap instead!" Have you ever seen somebody trying to gift-wrap an elephant? Or a dozen slippery, slimy eels? Or a bowl of warm custard - without the bowl of course?

But there is one special punishment that Santa reserves only for the very naughtiest of the very naughty elves. There is a big wooden door, behind which Santa keeps 'The Naughty Elf Present'. When an elf has been too naughty for lines or normal gift-wrapping punishment Santa takes a big iron key from under his beard and unlocks this door. All the other elves peer and stretch and crane their necks to try and see what's inside the room, but all they ever see is a pile of gift wrap, a pair of plastic scissors, and a roll of sticky tape. Then Santa locks the naughty elf in the room, tucks the key back in his beard, and walks off chuckling. And all the other elves rush to door to listen. But all they ever hear is the sound of gift-wrap being cut with plastic scissors, sticky tape being zipped off the roll... and some very strange wibbly-wobbly noises!

When Santa returns and unlocks the door, usually around tea-time on the following day all the elves are still listening at the door. Santa shoos them away, takes the big iron key from under his beard, and unlocks the door again. "Ho! Ho! Ho! You couldn't do it!" he always exclaims, "Here, let me show you how!". And you wouldn't believe how fast Santa moves! It seems like a hundred arms going left and right and up and down and back and forth and future and past and all the other directions that there aren't words for! And after no more time than it takes you or me to to put a Christmas card in an envelope and stick the flap down, Santa steps out of the room leading the naughty elf by the hand. The elf is all wibbly-wobbly, knees atremble, eyes going round and round in all kinds of strange directions. And in his other hand Santa holds the most wondrously gift-wrapped parcel you could ever imagine - but if you try to look at it too closely your eyes start wobbling and you start feeling dizzy.

Now the naughty elves never, ever will tell what 'The Naughty Elf Present' actually is. And Santa never did tell me either, although I did venture a guess or two. Something multi-dimensional? A tesseract perhaps? Or maybe something like the optical illusion that looks like a two-pronged tuning fork at one end and a set of three cricket stumps at the other?

Santa just laughed again, "Ho! Ho! Ho! Multi-dimensional! Tessaract! Optical illusion! Saying words means you don't understand!" And then with a big harumph he leant forward, put on a serious expression and did a bit of deep-in-thought, beard-stroking. After a few minutes of contemplation he gasped and looked at me with a shocked expression - and gave his big, jolly laugh again! "Ho! Ho! Ho! That's what your scientists, physicists and mathematicians look like when they're making up words! They even made up a word for making up words! They call it 'theorizing'! They theorize wormholes, superstrings, and branes. But they really just don't have a clue!"

And then Santa sighed once again, the way that parents do when they realise that their children are just too young to understand. "How foolish! All these things are just my chimneys!"

And as everybody knows, Santa groks* chimneys!

*If, like my sisters, you're not a sci-fi or computer afficionado and don't know what 'grok' means then see Grok - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia