Santa's Selected

There have been many stories about Santa. Santa is one of the Chosen. As each story is retold, his legendary status grows. While it is true the mystique adds to the timelessness of Santa, only kids and those young at heart seek the truth. Known by these common human names - Santa, Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen - they are all real. Their stories are also tales of legendary lyrics. I am here to tell you the true tale of Santa's Helpers, his tireless companions, the Elves and the Selected Reindeer. The lore of all human civilizations have recordings and references to our existence. I was the first Rudolph.

"The first", you exclaim? Yeppers, you are about to find out the truth of Santa's Reindeers. Of course, the kids already know it is magic. Only the unbelieving seek to learn the magician's secrets. I caution the weak of mind and the elderly to read on ONLY if you have the will to become young and enlightened.

I affirmed for you the truth of the existence of Santa and shall not discourage your belief. I in fact tell you your beliefs to be well founded. He does live and I thank God he lives. I have known him my entire life and I was honored when I was selected to lead his sleigh one blizzardly winter with -20 visibility. I was thrilled when I was given the name Rudolph by Scribes and Writers of Words.

How old am I? I ain't as old as Santa, but I do remember the separation of the tectonic plates. Back when the world was much different than it is now, I was taught by my elders that Elves traveled to all points of the landmass. It was believed we were able to live to ages exceeding nine hundred sun cycles. It turns out we actually live much longer. The first Great Quake {the Quake that was believed to end all Quakes} happened when I was a wee sprite of an Elf only eight sun cycles in age. It is also when our race began evolving. Things changed.

It is recorded in our history how the Chosen, the Elves, the Animals, the Humans, and all other manner of living creatures migrated with the spreading of the land. Santa was and is a generous individual. The Elves respected this value above all others. Elves will give you anything you may need and we often gave away things that were not needed but rather simply a pleasure to have. Humans were distrustful of Elves due to the innate Human racial flaw of prejudice against others. Elves have an average height of 5.2 pixets - about knee high to Humans. We have no need for food. We instead derive our nourishment from the living energy emitted by and surrounding all living things. The Milk of Human Kindness and generosity, the eminent domain of Santa, is the most tasty and empowering food source we have.

While a few Elves migrated with the human civilizations and lived peacefully with them for many eons of cycles, they did evolve and mutate as the lands continued to spread. We called these Mutated Elves, now as a dormant race and for all intentions extinct, Lycanthropes. Their tales are also legendary but will not be discussed here. It was a sad thing when our elders realized what a change in dietary habits could cause our race. It was how we became what we are today.

At first, only the Elders were able to transform. They found the more abundant the good will of humans became, the more dramatic the changes became. We also discovered our own mortality. Not the same as human mortality, but mortal nonetheless. When once there were thousands of us, there are now only a few hundred of us left. When an Elf crosses over, his vitality and life essence is dispersed among all the Elves.

Most of the time, the Elders could change themselves into imitations of the furrier animals and always smaller than their own body size. Then they discovered they could 'combine' their changeling abilities and allow one Elf to assume a larger form. Because Elves have no natural enemies and because we have no natural predators against us, this was usually done only for the amusement of new Elves. The other times this was done was whenever Santa chose to deliver some of the many things we Elves made just to pass the time. The Eight Senior Elders would become Reindeers strong enough to pull Santa's sleigh. Santa would give away tools, clothes, games, and toys to all the Human dwellings. He would make special deliveries to the less fortunate humans and in so doing would receive the kindness of human gratitude.

We also have the ability to take what we consider to be "long strides". By Human standards, we would appear to fly. Even with a full sleigh, the eight had enough strength to pull Santa's sleigh over the waters in a giant bound. A single long stride may cover several clicks. As the land masses continued the inevitable spread into the Continents we have today, we found this striding ability allowed us to still travel to all points of the Land. This was a most excellent game and one of our original Reindeer games, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Eight of our Elders are and will remain Santa's eight reindeer. Only by rite of passage, when a Reindeer Elder crosses over, does the next Elder in line take his place. A couple of the many requirements in the Rite of Passage are the mastery of changing form and proficiency with the many Reindeer games we play.

I was a slow learner and my ability to change was difficult. Try as hard as I could and all I could succeed in doing was making my nose swell like a balloon about to burst. It glowed a bright red. Needless to say this alarmed the elders and frightened my peers. I was particularly saddened the day I was hiding in the Santa's Sleigh shed trying to change my form. I would have settled for a change into a ladybug if I could manage it. But, alas, all I did was get my nose to glow so brightly the light caught Santa's attention. He came out to see who was in his shed.

He did NOT say anything mean or hurtful, he only stared. I shall never forget the look of bewilderment I saw in his eyes. I was convinced at that moment I would never become one of Santa's Reindeer. I was discouraged, but time has a way of making you see things differently. I did continue to practice in secret. I still attended, sitting off by myself away from others, all the training classes for the new Elves. Oh, how I envied them. My striding was clumsy compared to even the newest of the Elves. My stride had increased to my satisfaction and comparable in distance to the Elders' Strides, but my bounds were stumbling and uncoordinated. It was when I tried to change which left the others laughing.

I withdrew into myself more and more as the cycles passed. I found myself becoming isolated from the others. In time, I was able to change into a rabbit or a cat, but always my nose would be the first to change and it would remain glowing until the change subsided. My biggest concern was the larger the form was I would change into, the brighter my nose shone. I was convinced that if I should ever gain the right of being one of Santa's Reindeer, which is the inalienable right of all Elves, my nose might burst. I had no idea what effect a burst nose would have on an Elf since no other Elf ever had such a condition as I, but I was convinced it would not be pleasant.

I still practiced my changing on a daily basis and always it took immense concentration. Santa did not seem to mind that I used his shed for my practicing. At first, I would scamper away and hide when he came in while I was there. He would glance my direction and wink. A smile would play upon his face and I would feel the tension leave my body. Eventually, as my transitions became smoother, I gained the confidence to occasionally practice while he could see me. My nose would always cause him to laugh. Yeppers, it hurt sometimes when he laughed, but I could tell his was NOT a mean laugh. I would sometimes make my nose swell more and it would cause Santa to laugh even more merrily, I would chuckle with him, but I was still aching inside. It was the Winter of the Turtle the year my life changed forever and the year Santa gained a Reindeer.

The Winter of the Turtle had long been foretold as being the harshest winter since the Ice Age ended after GQ-VII {the last Great Quake to end all Quakes}. The harsh winters we had been having during recently passed Cycles had savaged the Humans. They had lost a great civilization on the Continent Atlantis during a minor land shift. The Elves and a few enlightened humans adapted and still live in solitary mourning for their lost comrades. Their change evolved into a permanent thing and they have all but been forgotten by man.

Santa's list was a lengthy one this cycle and there were murmurings among the Elders about the Reindeers stamina and limitations on pulling what was to be the largest load yet. I was out in the sleigh shed. While all the others found changing to be second nature to them, I found I could NOT pass on my daily practicing. Forgetting to practice, for me, was like forgetting to wake up. I had to do it. I would use Santa's cushions from his sleigh #1 to cover my nose and thus kept the light from attracting any attention.

One thing I had observed and kept to myself was the fact that whenever Humans seemed to be having the most hardships, their goodwill was stronger. I would notice it because my nose would glow brighter. On this evening, I almost did not go to the shed because my Elf sense of direction was barely functional through the solid sheets of snow blowing in swirls of puffy chills. The visibility was recorded by Santa as -20 by the poor sense of sight possessed by Humans.

The trip was worth it. Inside the shed, the constant drumming had an isolating effect on me and I welcomed it. My concentration was at a peak tonight. Santa was giving the Elders a pep talk on their navigational skills and he was explaining how his newest sleigh design utilized his best aerodynamic design yet with an automagical load dispersal bed. The anxiety he felt of possibly missing just one deserving child during this Christmas Eve Blizzard was weighing heavy on his heart. Those thoughts became distant and I dreamed my dream of becoming one of Santa's Reindeer when my time came. It was only a dream since I had never achieved a change into the fawn favored by all the new Elves.

Tonight, the dream felt different. I felt different. I was one of the Eight. I could feel my muscles expanding and swelling, surging with the power of Human Kindness. I remembered watching the Eight transform earlier during the Ceremony during Christmas Eve Pre-Cycle. I felt as you do during the instant in time when you know you must be asleep but you are still aware. All my senses seemed heightened beyond anything I had ever dreamed of before. My stride was graceful and in perfect unison with the others. Santa was busily checking his list and organizing his pack. The sky was clear as on a mid-summer morning. It was a glorious feeling, which I hoped would never end.

There was a light intruding through my closed eyelids. It was not an offensive light, but it was an intrusion nonetheless. I did not want to lose this feeling. Yet I knew if I tried to close my eyes tighter, I could risk losing this moment of concentration. The light grew brighter and I opened my eyes knowing I would see my nose.

Just then, the Shed door opens and what to my wondering eyes does appear, but Santa and his Eight Reindeer. I was so startled to see them, the new sleigh already inside and almost fully loaded, I gasped when I saw them. My nose swelled and glowed so brightly I was then able to see all the Elves standing behind them and coming from all the houses. I could see them as clearly as I had seen the clear sky in my dream. I immediately thanked God for ending the Blizzard.

Then I noticed some of the Elves were straining to stand in the wind. The blizard was still blowing full gale, but I could see a great distance easily. Moved by the wills of the wind, they looked as clumsy sliding about as I often felt. Only now, I did not feel clumsy. The sight of Santa Shielding his eyes and the open, gapping mouths of the Elders and the Wide eyes of the others felt comical to me. Was I still dreaming?

Then Santa laughed. He laughed that laugh which I had come to enjoy hearing. He laughed heartily and with joy. I felt the tears coming unbidden to my eyes as the others began to laugh the infectious laugh of the generous. I stood proudly and held my head high as I looked down at them. I was not ashamed of my tears. I felt only a humble humility.

Santa's eyes were also watery I noticed. I also realized I was taller than Santa. I was taller than any of the Eight. Santa says, "Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" I replied in a voice that sounded not like the "New" Elf I knew, but rather in a voice heard plainly outside and carried by the wind, "I will."

Santa then reached up to me and pulled the Cushion from my nose. I realized then it was the cushion I could see swelled and glowing. It was reflecting the light back into my eyes. I saw then a reflection from the ice wall outside of the largest and most magnificent Reindeer I had ever seen. Then I saw the red glow of the nose. That was me? My eyes watered more. These warm tears were new to me because, for a change, they were tears of pride. They felt good. I felt good.

Santa fixed up an extra lead harness and after the Eight were in place he hooked me up to his sleigh. I was a bit nervous until I looked back over the heads of the Eight and saw Santa placing the old worn out cushion on the seat of his new Sleigh. He gave me a wink and I realized it was the wink he often gave me. He asks me if I am ready and I answered with a new found confidence, "I am."

He calls each of the other Reindeers' names in a cadence. At the snap of his whip we were off in a flash. My dream was true. Despite the turbulent winds, the sleigh ride was as smooth as the first drop of dew on the still morning waters. Our stride was strong and fluid. The bounds were in such perfect harmony I scarcely felt the ground beneath my hoofs. No child was missed. No needy family was overlooked. I was exhilarated with a flood of experiences - past and present - being shared with me by the Eight.

That was the first time Santa had 9 Reindeer and he has had 9 ever since. Santa selects the ninth one each year. To be Santa's Selected, there is only one additional requirement to the Reindeer proficiency skills. You must also be able to make your nose glow. Yeppers, for a while, I got to lead the sleigh each Christmas, but the others were eventually able to learn what I did as second nature.

I love the song. If you don't know it, here it is:

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall?
The most famous reindeer of all?

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Has a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it glows.
All of the other Reindeer,
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
Join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve,
Santa came to say,
'Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?'
Then how the reindeer loved him,
As they shouted out with glee.
Rudolph the Red nosed reindeer,
You'll go down in history.

Now you know the rest of the story.