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Full text of "The life and adventures of Santa Claus"


LFrankBaum 




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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/lifeadventuresofObaum 






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THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF 

SANTA CLAUS 




THE NEW-BORN SANTA CLAUS, CHUBBY AND PIWK, PAGE II. 





THE BOWEN-MERRILL COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS, INDIANAPOLIS 



»^w-— •c^i *s*j£^'7* i 



COPYRIGHT IQ02, THE HOWES-MERRILL COMPANY. 



MANHOOD 

The Laughing Valley 43 

How Claus Made the First Toy 54 

How the Ryls Colored the Toys 62 

How Little Mayrie Became Frightened 75 
How Bessie Blithesome Came to the 

Laughing Valley 83 

The Wickedness of the Awgwas 95 
The Great Battle Between Good and Evil 108 

The First Journey with the Reindeer 120 

"Santa Claus! " 136 

Christmas Eve 139 
How the First Stockings were Hung 

by the Chimneys 153 

The First Christmas Tree 165 

OLD AGE 

The Mantle of Immortality 175 

When the World Grew Old 190 

The Deputies of Santa Claus 196 



THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF 

SANTA CLAUS 

B B 



CHAPTER FIRST 






AVE you heard of the great Forest oi 
Burzee ? Nurse used to sing of it whei 
I was a child. She sang of the big tree^ 
trunks, standing close together, with their roots 
intertwining below the earth and their branches 
intertwining above it; of their rough coating of 
bark and queer, gnarled limbs ; of the bushy 
foliage that roofed the entire forest, save where 
the sunbeams found a path through which to 
touch the ground in little spots and to cast 




C^e MU aitD aDbcuturcg of ^attta Claug 

weird and curious shadows over the mosses, the 
lichens and the drifts of dried leaves. 

The Forest of Burzee is mighty and grand 
and awesome to those who steal beneath its 
shade. Coming from the sunlit meadows into 
its mazes it seems at first gloomy, then pleasant, 
and afterward filled with never-ending delights. 

For hundreds of years it has flourished in all 
its magnificence, the silence of its inclosure un- 
broken save by the chirp of busy chipmunks, 
the growl of wild beasts and the songs of birds. 

Yet Burzee has its inhabitants — for all this. 
Nature peopled it in the beginning with Fairies, 
Knooks, Ryls and Nymphs. As long as the 
Forest stands it will be a home, a refuge and a 
playground to these sweet immortals, who revel 
undisturbed in its depths. 

Civilization has never yet reached Burzee. 
Will it ever, I wonder ? 






CHAPTER SECOND 



€t)e Cljtlo of tyc tfomt 



NCE, so long ago our great-grandfathers 
could scarcely have heard it mentioned, 
there lived within the great Forest of 
Burzee a wood-nymph named Necile. She was 
closely related to the mighty Queen Zurline, 
and her home was beneath the shade of a wide- 
spreading oak. Once every year, on Budding 
Day, when the trees put forth their new buds, 
Necile held the Golden Chalice of Ak to the 
lips of the Queen, who drank therefrom to the 
prosperity of the Forest. So you see she was a 
nymph of some importance, and, moreover, it is 
said she was highly regarded because of her 
beauty and grace. 



■C^e life atto atfoeuturc?; of ^anta Clang 

When she was created she could not have 
told; Queen Zurline could not have told; the 
great Ak himself could not have told. It was 
long ago when the world was new and nymphs 
were needed to guard the forests and to min- 
ister to the wants of the young trees. Then, on 
some day not remembered, Necile sprang into 
being; radiant, lovely, straight and slim as the 
sapling she was created to guard. 

Her hair was the color that lines a chestnut- 
bur; her eyes were blue in the sunlight and 
purple in the shade; her cheeks bloomed with 
the faint pink that edges the clouds at sunset; 
her lips were full red, pouting and sweet. For 
costume she adopted oak-leaf green; all the 
wood-nymphs dress in that color and know no 
other so desirable. Her dainty feet were sandal- 
clad, while her head remained bare of covering 
other than her silken tresses. 

Necile's duties were few and simple. She kept 
hurtful weeds from growing beneath her trees 



€^e Life ano aobentureg of ^>attta Claujs 

and sapping the earth -food required by her 
charges. She frightened away the Gadgols, who 
took evil delight in flying against the tree-trunks 
and wounding them so that they drooped and 
died from the poisonous contact. In dry seasons 
she carried water from the brooks and pools and 
moistened the roots of her thirsty dependents. 

That was in the beginning. The weeds had 
now learned to avoid the forests where wood- 
nymphs dwelt; the loathsome Gadgols no longer 
dared come nigh; the trees had become old 
and sturdy and could bear the drought better 
than when fresh-sprouted. So Necile's duties 
were lessened, and time grew laggard, while suc- 
ceeding years became more tiresome and un- 
eventful than the nymph's joyous spirit loved. 

Truly the forest-dwellers did not lack amuse- 
ment. Each full moon they danced in the Royal 
Circle of the Queen. There were also the Feast 
of Nuts, the Jubilee of Autumn Tintings, the 
solemn ceremony of Leaf Shedding and the 

5 




C^e life and atfoentureg of £>auta Claujs 

revelry of Budding Day. But these periods of 
enjoyment were far apart, and left many weary 
hours between. 

That a wood-nymph should grow discontented 
was not thought of by Necile's sisters. It came 
upon her only after many years of brooding. 
But when once she had settled in her mind 
that life was irksome she had no patience with 
her condition, and longed to do something of 
real interest and to pass her days in ways hitherto 
undreamed of by forest nymphs. The Law of 
the Forest alone restrained her from going forth 
in search of adventure. 

While this mood lay heavy upon pretty Necile 
it chanced that the great Ak visited the Forest 
of Burzee and allowed the wood-nymphs — as 
was their wont — to lie at his feet and listen to 
the words of wisdom that fell from his lips. Ak 
is the Master Woodsman of the world; he sees 
everything, and knows more than the sons of 
men. 



%ty Hit ana atfoetttuteg of ^>anta Clauss 

That night he held the Queen's hand, for he 
loved the nymphs as a father loves his children ; 
and Necile lay at his feet with many of her sis- 
ters and earnestly harkened as he spoke. 

"We live so happily, my fair ones, in our for- 
est glades," said Ak, stroking his grizzled beard 
thoughtfully, " that we know nothing of the sor- 
row and misery that fall to the lot of those poor 
mortals who inhabit the open spaces of the earth. 
They are not of our race, it is true, yet com- 
passion well befits beings so fairly favored as our- 
selves. Often as I pass by the dwelling of some 
suffering mortal I am tempted to stop and banish 
the poor thing's misery. Yet suffering, in mod- 
eration, is the natural lot of mortals, and it is not 
our place to interfere with the laws of Nature." 

"Nevertheless," said the fair Queen, nodding 
her golden head at the Master Woodsman, "it 
would not be a vain guess that Ak has often 
assisted these hapless mortals." 

Ak smiled. 




C^e life ano atfoentuteg of ^>anta Clauss 

" Sometimes," he replied, " when they are 
very young — < children,' the mortals call them 
— I have stopped to rescue them from misery. 
The men and women I dare not interfere with; 
they must bear the burdens Nature has imposed 
upon them. But the helpless infants, the inno- 
cent children of men, have a right to be happy 
until they become full-grown and able to bear 
the trials of humanity. So I feel I am justified 
in assisting them. Not long ago — a year, may- 
be — I found four poor children huddled in a 
wooden hut, slowly freezing to death. Their 
parents had gone to a neighboring village for 
food, and had left a fire to warm their little 
ones while they were absent. But a storm arose 
and drifted the snow in their path, so they were 
long on the road. Meantime the fire went out 
and the frost crept into the bones of the waiting 
children." 

" Poor things ! " murmured the Queen softly. 
" What did you do ? " 

8 



%X)t JLffc anD atfoenturcjs of ^attta Clang 

" I called Nelko, bidding him fetch wood from 
my forests and breathe upon it until the fire 
blazed again and warmed the little room where 
the children lay. Then they ceased shivering 
and fell asleep until their parents came." 

" I am glad you did thus," said the good 
Queen, beaming upon the Master; and Necile, 
who had eagerly listened to every word, echoed 
in a whisper : " I, too, am glad ! " 

"And this very night," continued Ak, " as I 
came to the edge of Burzee I heard a feeble 
cry, which I judged came from a human infant. 
I looked about me and found, close to the forest, 
a helpless babe, lying quite naked upon the 
grasses and wailing piteously. Not far away, 
screened by the forest, crouched Shiegra, the 
lioness, intent upon devouring the infant for her 
evening meal." 

"And what did you do, Ak ? " asked the 
Queen, breathlessly. 

" Not much, being in a hurry to greet my 

9 





C^e life anD atfoentureg of ^>anta Clang 

nymphs. But I commanded Shiegra to lie close 
to the babe, and to give it her milk to quiet its 
hunger. And I told her to send word through- 
out the forest, to all beasts and reptiles, that the 
child should not be harmed." 

" I am glad you did thus," said the good 
Queen again, in a tone of relief; but this time 
Necile did not echo her words, for the nymph, 
filled with a strange resolve, had suddenly stolen 
away from the group. 

Swiftly her lithe form darted through the for- 
est paths until she reached the edge of mighty 
Burzee, when she paused to gaze curiously 
about her. Never until now had she ventured 
so far, for the Law of the Forest had placed the 
nymphs in its inmost depths. 

Necile knew she was breaking the Law, but 
the thought did not give pause to her dainty 
feet. She had decided to see with her own eyes 
this infant Ak had told of, for she had never yet 
beheld a child of man. All the immortals are 

10 



€^e Life ano atfoentuteg of ^>anta Claug 

full-grown; there are no children among them. 
Peering through the trees Necile saw the 
child lying on the grass. But now it was sweetly 
sleeping, having been comforted by the milk 
drawn from Shiegra. It was not old enough to 
know what peril means; if it did not feel hunger 
it was content. 

Softly the nymph stole to the side of the babe 
and knelt upon the sward, her long robe of rose 
leaf color spreading about her like a gossamer 
cloud. Her lovely countenance expressed curi- 
osity and surprise, but, most of all, a tender, 
womanly pity. The babe was new-born, chubby 
and pink. It was entirely helpless. While the 
nymph gazed the infant opened its eyes, smiled 
upon her, and stretched out two dimpled arms. 
In another instant Necile had caught it to her 
breast and was hurrying with it through the 
forest paths. 





I~"^HE Master Woodsman suddenly rose, 
with knitted brows. " There is a strange 
presence in the Forest," he declared. 
Then the Queen and her nymphs turned and 
saw standing before them Necile, with the sleep- 
ing infant clasped tightly in her arms and a de- 
fiant look in her deep blue eyes. 

And thus for a moment they remained, the 
nymphs filled with surprise and consternation, 
but the brow of the Master Woodsman gradu- 
ally clearing as he gazed intently upon the beau- 
tiful immortal who had wilfully broken the 
Law. Then the great Ak, to the wonder of all, 
laid his hand softly on Necile's flowing locks 
and kissed her on her fair forehead. 



Ci)c life atiD atfoctttureg of ^>anta ClaujS 



" For the first time within my knowledge," 
said he, gently, "a nymph has defied me and my 
laws; yet in my heart can I find no word of 
chiding. What is your desire, Necile ? " 

" Let me keep the child ! " she answered, be- 
ginning to tremble and falling on her knees in 
supplication. 

" Here, in the Forest of Burzee, where the ( J~ e 
human race has never yet penetrated ? " ques- 
tioned Ak. 

" Here, in the Forest of Burzee," replied the 
nymph, boldly. " It is my home, and I am 
weary for lack of occupation. Let me care for 
the babe ! See how weak and helpless it is. 
Surely it can not harm Burzee nor the Master 
Woodsman of the World ! " 

" But the Law, child, the Law ! " cried Ak, 
sternly. 

" The Law is made by the Master Woods- 
man," returned Necile ; " if he bids me care for 
the babe he himself has saved from death, who 




13 



C^e life and atfocnturcg of ^>anta Claujs 

in all the world dare oppose me ? " Queen 
Zurline, who had listened intently to this con- 
versation, clapped her pretty hands gleefully at 
the nymph's answer. 

"You are fairly trapped, O Ak ! " she ex- 
claimed, laughing. " Now, I pray you, give 
heed to Necile's petition." 

The Woodsman, as was his habit when in 
thought, stroked his grizzled beard slowly. Then 
he said : 

" She shall keep the babe, and I will give it 
my protection. But I warn you all that as this 
is the first time I have relaxed the Law, so shall 
it be the last time. Never more, to the end of 
the World, shall a mortal be adopted by an im- 
mortal. Otherwise would we abandon our happy 
existence for one of trouble and anxiety. Good 
night, my nymphs ! " 

Then Ak was gone from their midst, and 
Necile hurried away to her bower to rejoice 
over her new-found treasure. 




CHAPTER FOURTH 



Claug 




"ANOTHER day found Necile's bower the 
I % most popular place in the Forest. The 
nymphs clustered around her and the 
child that lay asleep in her lap, with expres- 
sions of curiosity and delight. Nor were they 
wanting in praises for the great Ak's kindness 
in allowing Necile to keep the babe and to care 
for it. Even the Queen came to peer into the 
innocent childish face and to hold a helpless, 
chubby fist in her own fair hand. 

"What shall we call him, Necile?" she/ 
asked, smiling. " He must have a name, you/ 
know." 

"Let him be called Claus," answered Necile, 
< l for that means 'a little one.' " 



Clje JLtfe and aofcenturcs of ^attta Claug 

" Rather let him be called Neclaus," * re- 
turned the Queen, "for that will mean 'Necile's 
little one.'" 

The nymphs clapped their hands in delight, 
and Neclaus became the infant's name, although 
Necile loved best to call him Claus, and in after- 
days many of her sisters followed her example. 

Necile gathered the softest moss in all the 
forest for Claus to lie upon, and she made his 
bed in her own bower. Of food the infant had 
no lack. The nymphs searched the forest for 
bell-udders, which grow upon the goa-tree and 
when opened are found to be filled with sweet 
milk. And the soft-eyed does willingly gave a 
share of their milk to support the little stranger, 
while Shiegra, the lioness, often crept stealthily 



* Some people have spelled this name Nicklaus, and others 
Nicolas, which is the reason that Santa Claus is still known in 
some lands as St. Nicolas. But, of course, Neclaus is his right 
name, and Claus the nickname given him by his adopted mother, 
the fair nymph Necile. 

16 



C^e Life and $Dtocntureg of |a>attta Claug 



into Necile's bower and purred softly as she lay 
beside the babe and fed it. 

So the little one flourished and grew big and 
sturdy day by day, while Necile taught him to 
speak and to walk and to play. 

His thoughts and words were sweet and gen- 
tle, for the nymphs knew no evil and their 
hearts were pure and loving. He became the 
pet of the forest, for Ak's decree had forbidden 
beast or reptile to molest him, and he walked 
fearlessly wherever his will guided him. 

Presently the news reached the other immor- 
tals that the nymphs of Burzee had adopted a 
human infant, and that the act had been sanc- 
tioned by the great Ak. Therefore many of 
them came to visit the little stranger, looking 
upon him with much interest. First the Ryls, 
who are first cousins to the wood-nymphs, 
although so difFerently formed. For the Ryls 
are required to watch over the flowers and 
plants, as the nymphs watch over the forest 




Ctye life and atfoenturcg of ^>anta Claug 

trees. They search the wide world for the food 
required by the roots of the flowering plants, 
while the brilliant colors possessed by the full- 
blown flowers are due to the dyes placed in the 
soil by the Ryls, which are drawn through 
the little veins in the roots and the body of 
the plants, as they reach maturity. The Ryls 
are a busy people, for their flowers bloom and 
fade continually, but they are merry and light- 
hearted and are very popular with the other 
immortals. 

Next came the Knooks, whose duty it is to 
watch over the beasts of the world, both gentle 
and wild. The Knooks have a hard time of it, 
since many of the beasts are ungovernable and 
rebel against restraint. But they know how 
to manage them, after all, and you will find 
that certain laws of the Knooks are obeyed by 
even the most ferocious animals. Their anxie- 
ties make the Knooks look old and worn and 
crooked, and their natures are a bit rough from 

18 



Wqz life attD aobetttuteg of £>anta Claujs 

associating with wild creatures continually; yet 
they are most useful to humanity and to the 
world in general, as their laws are the only laws 
the forest beasts recognize except those of the 
Master Woodsman. 

Then there were the Fairies, the guardians 
of mankind, who were much interested in 
the adoption of Claus because their own laws 
forbade them to become familiar with their 
human charges. There are instances on record 
where the Fairies have shown themselves to 
human beings, and have even conversed with 
them ; but they are supposed to guard the lives 
of mankind unseen and unknown, and if they 
favor some people more than others it is because 
these have won such distinction fairly, as the 
Fairies are very just and impartial. But the idea 
of adopting a child of men had never occurred 
to them because it was in every way opposed to 
their laws; so their curiosity was intense to be- 



19 




C^e Life anD atfocnttttcg of ^>anta Claug 

hold the little stranger adopted by Necile and 
her sister nymphs. 

Claus looked upon the immortals who 
thronged around him with fearless eyes and 
smiling lips. He rode laughingly upon the 
shoulders of the merry Ryls; he mischievously 
pulled the gray beards of the low-browed 
Knooks; he rested his curly head confidently 
upon the dainty bosom of the Fairy Queen 
herself. And the Ryls loved the sound of his 
laughter; the Knooks loved his courage; the 
Fairies loved his innocence. 

The boy made friends of them all, and 
learned to know their laws intimately. No for- 
est flower was trampled beneath his feet, lest 
the friendly Ryls should be grieved. He never 
interfered with the beasts of the forest, lest his 
friends the Knooks should become angry. The 
Fairies he loved dearly, but, knowing nothing 
of mankind, he could not understand that he 



C^e Life ano atfocnturcs of ^attta Clang 

was the only one of his race admitted to friendly 
intercourse with them. 

Indeed, Claus came to consider that he alone, 
of all the forest people, had no like nor fellow. 
To him the forest was the world. He had no 
idea that millions of toiling, striving human 
creatures existed. 

And he was happy and content. 






YEARS pass swiftly in Burzee, for the 
nymphs have no need to regard time in 
'any way. Even centuries make no 
change in the dainty creatures; ever and ever 
they remain the same, immortal and unchanging. 
Claus, however, being mortal, grew to man- 
hood day by day. Necile was disturbed, pres- 
ently, to find him too big to lie in her lap, and 
he had a desire for other food than milk. His 
stout legs carried him far into Burzee's heart, 
where he gathered supplies of nuts and berries, 
as well as several sweet and wholesome roots, 
which suited his stomach better than the bell- 
udders. He sought Necile's bower less fre- 



C^e life ano atfocnturcg of ^>attta Clang 

quently, till finally it became his custom to 
return thither only to sleep. 

The nymph, who had come to love him 
dearly, was puzzled to comprehend the changed 
nature of her charge, and unconsciously altered 
her own mode of life to conform to his whims. 
She followed him readily through the forest 
paths, as did many of her sister nymphs, ex- 
plaining as they walked all the mysteries of the J^§ 
gigantic wood and the habits and nature of the 
living things which dwelt beneath its shade. 

The language of the beasts became clear to 
little Claus; but he never could understand 
their sulky and morose tempers. Only the 
squirrels, the mice and the rabbits seemed to 
possess cheerful and merry natures; yet would 
the boy laugh when the panther growled, and 
stroke the bear's glossy coat while the creature 
snarled and bared its teeth menacingly. The 
growls and snarls were not for Claus, he well 
knew, so what did they matter? 

2 3 




%\>t Hit ana ^tfocntureg of ^anta Claujs 

He could sing the songs of the bees, recite 
the poetry of the wood-flowers and relate the 
history of every blinking owl in Burzee. He 
helped the Ryls to feed their plants and the 
Knooks to keep order among the animals. The 
little immortals regarded him as a privileged 
person, being especially protected by Queen 
Zurline and her nymphs and favored by the 
great Ak himself. 

One day the Master Woodsman came back to 
the forest of Burzee. He had visited, in turn, 
all his forests throughout the world, and they 
were many and broad. 

Not until he entered the glade where the 
Queen and her nymphs were assembled to greet 
him did Ak remember the child he had per- 
mitted Necile to adopt. Then he found, sitting 
familiarly in the circle of lovely immortals, a 
broad-shouldered, stalwart youth, who, when 
erect, stood fully as high as the shoulder of the 
Master himself. 

24 



Ctyc itfc attD aofomtureg of ^>anta Claus 

Ak paused, silent and frowning, to bend his 
piercing gaze upon Claus. The clear eyes met 
his own steadfastly, and the Woodsman gave a 
sigh of relief as he marked their placid depths 
and read the youth's brave and innocent heart. 
Nevertheless, as Ak sat beside the fair Queen, 
and the golden chalice, filled with rare nectar, 
passed from lip to lip, the Master Woodsman 
was strangely silent and reserved, and stroked 
his beard many times with a thoughtful motion. 

With morning he called Claus aside, in kindly 
fashion, saying : 

" Bid good by, for a time, to Necile and her 
sisters; for you shall accompany me on my 
journey through the world." 

The venture pleased Claus, who knew well 
the honor of being companion of the Master 
Woodsman of the world. But Necile wept 
for the first time in her life, and clung to the 
boy's neck as if she could not bear to let him 
go. The nymph who had mothered this sturdy 

25 




C^^^j/t 



Cl)e Life and atfomturcg of ^anta Cianjs 

youth was still as dainty, as charming and beau- 
tiful as when she had dared to face Ak with the 
babe clasped to her breast; nor was her love 
less great. Ak beheld the two clinging together, 
seemingly as brother and sister to one another, 
and again he wore his thoughtful look. 




26 




Clang ^tecofcerg ^umanftt 



PH H^AKING Claus to a small clearing in the 
I J forest, the Master said : " Place your 
hand upon my girdle and hold fast 
while we journey through the air; for now shall 
we encircle the world and look upon many of 
the haunts of those men from whom you are 
descended." 

These words caused Claus to marvel, for until 
now he had thought himself the only one of his 
kind upon the earth; yet in silence he grasped 
firmly the girdle of the great Ak, his astonish- 
ment forbidding speech. 

Then the vast forest of Burzee seemed to fall 
away from their feet, and the youth found him- 

27 



m$z Life attD attoeittm-eg of ^attta Clang 

self passing swiftly through the air at a great 
height. 

Ere long there were spires beneath them, 
while buildings of many shapes and colors met 
their downward view. It was a city of men, and 
Ak, pausing to descend, led Claus to its inclo- 
sure. Said the Master: 

" So long as you hold fast to my girdle you 
will remain unseen by all mankind, though see- 
ing clearly yourself. To release your grasp will 
be to separate yourself forever from me and 
your home in Burzee." 

One of the first laws of the Forest is obedi- 
ence, and Claus had no thought of disobeying 
the Master's wish. He clung fast to the girdle 
and remained invisible. 

Thereafter with each moment passed in the 
city the youth's wonder grew. He, who had 
supposed himself created differently from all 
others, now found the earth swarming with 
creatures of his own kind. 

28 



C^e JLtfe ano aofocnturcg of ^>anta Claus 

"Indeed," said Ak, "the immortals are few; 
but the mortals are many." 

Claus looked earnestly upon his fellows. 
There were sad faces, gay and reckless faces, 
pleasant faces, anxious faces and kindly faces, 
all mingled in puzzling disorder. Some worked 
at tedious tasks ; some strutted in impudent 
conceit; some were thoughtful and grave while 
others seemed happy and content. Men of 
many natures were there, as everywhere, and 
Claus found much to please him and much to 
make him sad. 

But especially he noted the children — first 
curiously, then eagerly, then lovingly. Ragged 
little ones rolled in the dust of the streets, play- 
ing with scraps and pebbles. Other children, 
gaily dressed, were propped upon cushions and 
fed with sugar-plums. Yet the children of the 
rich were not happier than those playing with 
the dust and pebbles, it seemed to Claus. 

" Childhood is the time of man's greatest 

o 

29 



Ctjc life ants airtjcntitrtjs of ^anta Claire 




content," said Ak, following the youth's 
thoughts. "'Tis during these years of innocent 
pleasure that the little ones are most free from 
care." 

" Tell me," said Claus, <<why do not all these 
babies fare alike?" 

" Because they are born in both cottage and 
palace," returned the Master. " The difference 
in the wealth of the parents determines the lot 
of the child. Some are carefully tended and 
clothed in silks and dainty linen ; others are 
neglected and covered with rags." 

" Yet all seem equally fair and sweet," said 
Claus, thoughtfully. 

"While they are babes — yes;" agreed Ak. 
" Their joy is in being alive, and they do not 
stop to think. In after years the doom of man- 
kind overtakes them, and they find they must 
struggle and worry, work and fret, to gain the 
wealth that is so dear to the hearts of men. 
Such things are unknown in the Forest where 

3° 



Clje life and ^Dftcitturcg of |a>attta Clangs 

you were reared." Claus was silent a moment. 
Then he asked: 

" Why was I reared in the forest, among 
those who are not of my race ? " 

Then Ak, in gentle voice, told him the story 
of his babyhood : how he had been abandoned 
at the forest's edge and left a prey to wild 
beasts, and how the loving nymph Necile had 
rescued him and brought him to manhood 
under the protection of the immortals. 

" Yet I am not of them," said Claus, mus- 
ingly. 

"You are not of them," returned the Woods- 
man. " The nymph who cared for you as a 
mother seems now like a sister to you; by and 
by, when you grow old and gray, she will seem 
like a daughter. Yet another brief span and you 
will be but a memory, while she remains Necile." 

" Then why, if man must perish, is he born ? " 
demanded the boy. 

" Everything perishes except the world itself 

31 



€^e life attti ^LDtientxtrejs of |a>anta Clang 

and its keepers," answered Ak. " But while life 
lasts everything on earth has its use. The wise 
seek ways to be helpful to the world, for the 
helpful ones are sure to live again." 

Much of this Claus failed to understand fully, 
but a longing seized him to become helpful to 
his fellows, and he remained grave and thought- 
ful while they resumed their journey. 

They visited many dwellings of men in many 
parts of the world, watching farmers toil in the 
fields, warriors dash into cruel fray, and mer- 
chants exchange their goods for bits of white^ 
and yellow metal. And everywhere the eyes of 
Claus sought out the children in love and pity, 
for the thought of his own helpless babyhood 
was strong within him and he yearned to give 
help to the innocent little ones of his race even 
as he had been succored by the kindly nymph. 

Day by day the Master Woodsman and his 
pupil traversed the earth, Ak speaking but sel- 
dom to the youth who clung steadfastly to his 

3 2 



C^e life ant) atfocnturcg of ^attta Clang 

girdle, but guiding him into all places where he 
might become familiar with the lives of human 
beings. 

And at last they returned to the grand old 
Forest of Burzee, where the Master set Claus 
down within the circle of nymphs, among whom 
the pretty Necile anxiously awaited him. 

The brow of the great Ak was now calm and 
peaceful ; but the brow of Claus had become 
lined with deep thought. Necile sighed at the 
change in her foster-son, who until now had 
been ever joyous and smiling, and the thought 
came to her that never again would the life of 
the boy be the same as before this eventful 
journey with the Master. 




33 




*^sm 



CHAPTER SEVENTH 
Clawg JLcafccg tlje forest 

WHEN good Queen Zurline had touched 
the golden chalice with her fair lips 
and it had passed around the circle in 
honor of the travelers' return, the Master 
Woodsman of the World, who had not yet 
spoken, turned his gaze frankly upon Claus 

jjfojjLand sai d: 
Q« "Well?" 

|f|il§ The boy understood, and rose slowly to his 

feet beside Necile. Once only his eyes passed 

around the familiar circle of nymphs, every one 

of whom he remembered as a loving comrade ; 

but tears came unbidden to dim his sight, so 

he gazed thereafter steadfastly at the Master. 

" I have been ignorant," said he, simply, 

34 , 




8%|// (, / 



€fyc JLifc ana &tfotntom$ of ^>anta Claujs 

" until the great Ak in his kindness taught me 
who and what I am. You, who live so sweetly 
in your forest bowers, ever fair and youthful 
and innocent, are no fit comrades for a son of 
humanity. For I have looked upon man, find- 
ing him doomed to live for a brief space upon 
earth, to toil for the things he needs, to fade 
into old age, and then to pass away as the 
leaves in autumn. Yet every man has his mis- 
sion, which is to leave the world better, in 
some way, than he found it. I am of the race 
of men, and man's lot is my lot. For your ten- 
der care of the poor, forsaken babe you adopted, 
as well as for your loving comradeship during 
my boyhood, my heart will ever overflow with 
gratitude. My foster-mother," here he stooped 
and kissed Necile's white forehead, " I shall love 
and cherish while life lasts. But I must leave 
you, to take my part in the endless struggle to 
which humanity is doomed, and to live my life 
in my own way." 

35 




€l?e Life auu at&cittiircg of ^attta Ctaug 




"What will you do?" asked the Queen, 
gravely. 

" I must devote myself to the care of the 
children of mankind, and try to make them 
happy," he answered. " Since your own tender 
care of a babe brought to me happiness and 
strength, it is just and right that I devote my 
life to the pleasure of other babes. Thus will 
the memory of the loving nymph Necile be 
planted within the hearts of thousands of my 
race for many years to come, and her kindly 
act be recounted in song and in story while the 
world shall last. Have I spoken well, O Master? " 

"You have spoken well," returned Ak, and 
rising to his feet he continued: "Yet one 
thing must not be forgotten. Having been 
adopted as the child of the Forest, and the 
playfellow of the nymphs, you have gained a 
distinction which forever separates you from 
your kind. Therefore, when you go forth into 
the world of men you shall retain the protection 

36 



Cljc Life and atfocnturcg of ^>anta Claug 

of the Forest, and the powers you now enjoy 
will remain with you to assist you in your la- 
bors. In any need you may call upon the 
Nymphs, the Ryls, the Knooks and the Fairies, 
and they will serve you gladly. I, the Master 
Woodsman of the World, have said it, and my 
Word is the Law ! " 

Claus looked upon Ak with grateful eyes. 

" This will make me mighty among men," 
he replied. " Protected by these kind friends I 
may be able to make thousands of little chil- 
dren happy. I will try very hard to do my 
duty, and I know the Forest people will give 
me their sympathy and help. " 

" We will ! " said the Fairy Queen, earnestly. 

" We will ! " cried the merry Ryls, laughing. 

" We will !" shouted the crooked Knooks, 
scowling. 

"We will!" exclaimed the sweet nymphs, 
proudly. But Necile said nothing. She only folded 
Claus in her arms and kissed him tenderly. 

37 




C^e JLtfc auti ^Dticntxircjs of ^anta Claujs 

" The world is big," continued the boy, turn- 
ing again to his loyal friends, " but men are 
everywhere. I shall begin my work near my 
friends, so that if I meet with misfortune I can 
come to the Forest for counsel or help." 

With that he gave them all a loving look 
and turned away. There was no need to say 
good by, but for him the sweet, wild life of the 
Forest was over. He went forth bravely to meet 
his doom — the doom of the race of man — the 
necessity to worry and work. 

But Ak, who knew the boy's heart, was mer- 
ciful and guided his steps. 

# * # # # 

Coming through Burzee to its eastern edge 
Claus reached the Laughing Valley of Hohaho. 
On each side were rolling green hills, and a 
brook wandered midway between them to wind 
afar off beyond the valley. At his back was the 
grim Forest; at the far end of the valley a broad 

38 



Clje life and 9LDticnturejs of f^attta Clau$ 



plain. The eyes of the young man, which had 
until now reflected his grave thoughts, became 
brighter as he stood silent, looking out upon 
the Laughing Valley. Then on a sudden his 
eyes twinkled, as stars do on a still night, and 
grew merry and wide. 

For at his feet the cowslips and daisies smiled 
on him in friendly regard; the breeze whistled 
gaily as it passed by and fluttered the locks on 
his forehead; the brook laughed joyously as it 
leaped over the pebbles and swept around the 
green curves of its banks ; the bees sang sweet 
songs as they flew from dandelion to daffodil ; 
the beetles chirruped happily in the long grass, 
and the sunbeams glinted pleasantly over all 
the scene. 

" Here," cried Claus, stretching out his arms 
as if to embrace the Valley, "will I make my 
home!" 

That was many, many years ago. It has been 
his home ever since. It is his home now. 





\ „ 

/ \ 



CHAPTER FIRST 



/ \ 



€ljc Laughing Pallet 

HEN Claus came the Valley was empty 
save for the grass, the brook, the wild- 
flowers, the bees and the butterflies. 
If he would make his home here and live after 
the fashion of men he must have a house. This 
puzzled him at first, but while he stood smil- 
ing in the sunshine he suddenly found beside 
him old Nelko, the servant of the Master 
Woodsman. Nelko bore an ax, strong and 
broad, with blade that gleamed like burnished 
silver. This he placed in the young man's hand, 
then disappeared without a word. 

Claus understood, and turning to the Forest's 
edge he selected a number of fallen tree-trunks, 

43 





o Cl)c life anD ^ofocitturcg of ^attta Claujs 



p? which he began to clear of their dead branches. 

(j He would not cut into a living tree. His life 
among the nymphs who guarded the Forest had 
U taught him that a live tree is sacred, being a 

created thing endowed with feeling. But with 
the dead and fallen trees it was different. They 
had fulfilled their destiny, as active members of 
the Forest community, and now it was fitting 
that their remains should minister to the needs 
of man. 

The ax bit deep into the logs at every stroke. 
It seemed to have a force of its own, and Claus 
had but to swing and guide it. 

When shadows began creeping over the green 
hills to lie in the Valley overnight, the young 
man had chopped many logs into equal lengths 
and proper shapes for building a house such as 
he had seen the poorer classes of men inhabit. 
Then, resolving to await another day before he 
tried to fit the logs together, Claus ate some of 
the sweet roots he well knew how to find, drank 

44 



Cl)e Lffe anD atfocnturcg of ^anta Clangs 



deeply from the laughing brook, and lay down 
to sleep on the grass, first seeking a spot where 
no flowers grew, lest the weight of his body 
should crush them. 

And while he slumbered and breathed in the 
perfume of the wondrous Valley the Spirit of 
Happiness crept into his heart and drove out 
all terror and care and misgivings. Never more 
would the face of Claus be clouded with anxie- 
ties; never more would the trials of life weigh 
him down as with a burden. The Laughing 
Valley had claimed him for its own. 

Would that we all might live in that delight- 
ful place! — but then, maybe, it would become 
overcrowded. For ages it had awaited a tenant. 
Was it chance that led young Claus to make 
his home in this happy vale ? Or may we guess 
that his thoughtful friends, the immortals, had 
directed his steps when he wandered away from 
Burzee to seek a home in the great world ? 

Certain it is that while the moon peered 

45 





C^e Ltfe and aDtjenturejs of ^anta Claws 




over the hilltop and flooded with its soft beams 
the body of the sleeping stranger, the Laughing 
Valley was filled with the queer, crooked shapes 
of the friendly Knooks. These people spoke no 
words, but worked with skill and swiftness. The 
logs Claus had trimmed with his bright ax 
were carried to a spot beside the brook and 
fitted one upon another, and during the night 
a strong and roomy dwelling was built. 

The birds came sweeping into the Valley at 
daybreak, and their songs, so seldom heard in 
the deep wood, aroused the stranger. He rubbed 
the web of sleep from his eyelids and looked 
around. The house met his gaze. 

" I must thank the Knooks for this," said he, 
gratefully. Then he walked to his dwelling and 
entered at the doorway. A large room faced 
him, having a fireplace at the end and a table 
and bench in the middle. Beside the fireplace 
was a cupboard. Another doorway was beyond. 
Claus entered here, also, and saw a smaller 

4 6 



C^e life ana atfocnttro of ^attta Clang 



room with a bed against the wall and a stool 
set near a small stand. On the bed were many 
layers of dried moss brought from the Forest. 

" Indeed, it is a palace ! " exclaimed the smil- 
ing Claus. " I must thank the good Knooks 
again, for their knowledge of man's needs as 
well as for their labors in my behalf." 

He left his new home with a glad feeling 
that he was not quite alone in the world, al- 
though he had chosen to abandon his Forest life. 
Friendships are not easily broken, and the im- 
mortals are everywhere. 

Upon reaching the brook he drank of the 
pure water, and then sat down on the bank 
to laugh at the mischievous gambols of the rip- 
ples as they pushed one another against rocks 
or crowded desperately to see which should first 
reach the turn beyond. And as they raced away 
he listened to the song they sang: 








C^e Life anti 3tftenture0 of ^auta Claug 

" Rushing, pushing, on we go ! 
Not a wave may gently flow — 
All are too excited. 
Ev'ry drop, delighted, 
Turns to spray in merry play 



As we tumble on our 



way 



Next Claus searched for roots to eat, while 
the daffodils turned their little eyes up to him 
laughingly and lisped their dainty song: 

" Blooming fairly, growing rarely, 
Never flowerets were so gay ! 
Perfume breathing, joy bequeathing, 
As our colors we display." 

It made Claus laugh to hear the little things 
voice their happiness as they nodded gracefully 
on their stems. But another strain caught his 
ear as the sunbeams fell gently across his face 
and whispered : 

48 



fltyz life ano atfocnturcg of ^anta Claug 

" Here is gladness, that our rays 

Warm the Valley through the days; 
Here is happiness, to give 

Comfort unto all who live ! " 

"Yes! " cried Claus in answer, "there is hap- 
piness and joy in all things here. The Laughing 
Valley is a valley of peace and good-will." 

He passed the day talking with the ants and 
beetles and exchanging jokes with the light- 
hearted butterflies. And at night he lay on his 
bed of soft moss and slept soundly. 

Then came the Fairies, merry but noiseless, 
bringing skillets and pots and dishes and pans 
and all the tools necessary to prepare food and 
to comfort a mortal. With these they filled 
cupboard and fireplace, finally placing a stout 
suit of wool clothing on the stool by the bed- 
side. 

When Claus awoke he rubbed his eyes again, 
and laughed, and spoke aloud his thanks to the 

49 





Clje life and aDbetttureg of ^>anta Claujs 

Fairies and the Master Woodsman who had sent 
them. With eager joy he examined all his new 
possessions, wondering what some might be used 
for. But, in the days when he had clung to the 
girdle of the great Ak and visited the cities of 
men, his eyes had been quick to note all the 
manners and customs of the race to which he 
belonged; so he guessed from the gifts brought 
by the Fairies that the Master expected him 
hereafter to live in the fashion of his fellow- 
creatures. 

" Which means that I must plow the earth 
and plant corn," he reflected; "so that when 
winter comes I shall have garnered food in 
plenty." 

But, as he stood in the grassy Valley, he saw 
that to turn up the earth in furrows would be 
to destroy hundreds of pretty, helpless flowers, 
as well as thousands of the tender blades of 
grass. And this he could not bear to do. 

Therefore he stretched out his arms and ut- 



5° 



%tyt Life anD aDfoenttireg of ^anta Claugs 

tered a peculiar whistle he had learned in the 
Forest, afterward crying: 

" Ryls of the Field Flowers — come to me ! " 

Instantly a dozen of the queer little Ryls 
were squatting upon the ground before him, 
and they nodded to him in cheerful greeting. 

Claus gazed upon them earnestly. 

" Your brothers of the Forest," he said, " I 
have known and loved many years. I shall love 
you, also, when we have become friends. To 
me the laws of the Ryls, whether those of the 
Forest or of the field, are sacred. I have never 
wilfully destroyed one of the flowers you tend 
so carefully; but I must plant grain to use for 
food during the cold winter, and how am I to 
do this without killing the little creatures that 
sing to me so prettily of their fragrant blos- 
soms ? " 

The Yellow Ryl, he who tends the butter- 
cups, made answer : 

" Fret not, friend Claus. The great Ak has 

5i 





C^e Life ano atfocnturcg of ^>anta Clang 

spoken to us of you. There is better work for 
you in life than to labor for food, and though, 
not being of the Forest, Ak has no command 
over us, nevertheless are we glad to favor one 
he loves. Live, therefore, to do the good work 
you are resolved to undertake. We, the Field 
Ryls, will attend to your food supplies." 

After this speech the Ryls were no longer to 
be seen, and Claus drove from his mind the 
thought of tilling the earth. 

When next he wandered back to his dwelling 
a bowl of fresh milk stood upon the table; 
bread was in the cupboard and sweet honey 
filled a dish beside it. A pretty basket of rosy 
apples and new-plucked grapes was also await- 
ing him. He called out " Thanks, my friends ! " 
to the invisible Ryls, and straightway began to 
eat of the food. 

Thereafter, when hungry, he had but to 
look into the cupboard to find goodly supplies 
brought by the kindly Ryls. And the Knooks 

52 



C^e Life and atfoenturcg of ^anta Clang 

cut and stacked much wood for his fireplace. 
And the Fairies brought him warm blankets 
and clothing. 

So began his life in the Laughing Valley, 
with the favor and friendship of the immortals 
to minister to his every want. 




S3 





T 



.CHAPTER SECOND 



^otD Clawjs jttaDc tl)e tftrgt Coy 



r""l ~~^RULY our Claus had wisdom, for his 
good fortune but strengthened his re- 
solve to befriend the little ones of his 
own race. He knew his plan was approved by 
the immortals, else they would not have favored 
him so greatly. 

So he began at once to make acquaintance 
with mankind. He walked through the Valley 
to the plain beyond, and crossed the plain in 
many directions to reach the abodes of men. 
These stood singly or in groups of dwellings 
called villages, and in nearly all the houses, 
whether big or little, Claus found children. 

The youngsters soon came to know his merry, 
laughing face and the kind glance of his bright 

54 



%ty Itfe ano aDbeittutejs of ^anta Claus 

eyes; and the parents, while they regarded the 
young man with some scorn for loving children 
more than their elders, were content that the 
girls and boys had found a playfellow who 
seemed willing to amuse them. 

So the children romped and played games 
with Claus, and the boys rode upon his 
shoulders, and the girls nestled in his strong 
arms, and the babies clung fondly to his knees. 
Wherever the young man chanced to be, the 
sound of childish laughter followed him; and to 
understand this better you must know that chil- 
dren were much neglected in those days and re- 
ceived little attention from their parents, so that 
it became to them a marvel that so goodly a 
man as Claus devoted his time to making them 
happy. And those who knew him were, you 
may be sure, very happy indeed. The sad faces 
of the poor and abused grew bright for once; 
the cripple smiled despite his misfortune; the 
ailing ones hushed their moans and the grieved 




*•••« 



C^e Life ana aafoentureg of ^anta Claujs 




ones their cries when their merry friend came 
nigh to comfort them. 

Only at the beautiful palace of the Lord of 
Lerd and at the frowning castle of the Baron 
Braun was Claus refused admittance. There 
were children at both places ; but the servants 
at the palace shut the door in the young stran- 
ger's face, and the fierce Baron threatened to 
hang him from an iron hook on the castle walls. 
Whereupon Claus sighed and went back to the 
poorer dwellings where he was welcome. 

After a time the winter drew near. 

The flowers lived out their lives and faded 
and disappeared; the beetles burrowed far into 
the warm earth; the butterflies deserted the 
meadows; and the voice of the brook grew 
hoarse, as if it had taken cold. 

One day snowflakes filled all the air in the 
Laughing Valley, dancing boisterously toward 
the earth and clothing in pure white raiment 
the roof of Claus's dwelling. 

S6 



€l)e Life ana aMjcntureg of ^anta Claus 



At night Jack Frost rapped at the door. 

" Come in ! " cried Claus. 

" Come out! " answered Jack, « for you have 
a fire inside." 

So Claus came out. He had known Jack 
Frost in the Forest, and liked the jolly rogue, 
even while he mistrusted him. 

" There will be rare sport for me to-night, 
Claus! " shouted the sprite. "Isn't this glorious 
weather ? I shall nip scores of noses and ears 
and toes before daybreak." 

"If you love me, Jack, spare the children," 
begged Claus. 

"And why?" asked the other, in surprise. 

"They are tender and helpless," answered 
Claus. 

" But I love to nip the tender ones ! " de- 
clared Jack. " The older ones are tough, and 
tire my fingers." 

" The young ones are weak, and can not fight 
you," said Claus. 

57 






Ci)e life anD awjentiiress of ^>anta Clause 



"True," agreed Jack, thoughtfully. "Well, I 
will not pinch a child this night — if I can re- 
sist the temptation," he promised. " Good night, 
Glaus ! " 

" Good night." 

The young man went in and closed the door, 
and Jack Frost ran on to the nearest village. 

Claus threw a log on the fire, which burned 
up brightly. Beside the hearth sat Blinkie, a 
big cat given him by Peter the Knook. Her fur 
was soft and glossy, and she purred never-ending 
songs of contentment. 

" I shall not see the children again soon," said 
Claus to the cat, who kindly paused in her song 
to listen. " The winter is upon us, the snow will 
be deep for many days, and I shall be unable to 
play with my little friends." 

The cat raised a paw and stroked her nose 
thoughtfully, but made no reply. So long as 
the fire burned and Claus sat in his easy chair 
by the hearth she did not mind the weather. 

58 



C^e Life ano atfoeutureg of ^>anta Claug 

So passed many days and many long evenings. 
The cupboard was always full, but Claus became 
weary with having nothing to do more than to 
feed the fire from the big wood-pile the Knooks 
had brought him. 

One evening he picked up a stick of wood 
and began to cut it with his sharp knife. He 
had no thought, at first, except to occupy his 
time, and he whistled and sang to the cat as he 
carved away portions of the stick. Puss sat up 
on her haunches and watched him, listening at 
the same time to her master's merry whistle, 
which she loved to hear even more than her 
own purring songs. 

Claus glanced at puss and then at the stick 
he was whittling, until presently the wood be- 
gan to have a shape, and the shape was like the 
head of a cat, with two ears sticking upward. 

Claus stopped whistling to laugh, and then 
both he and the cat looked at the wooden image 
in some surprise. Then he carved out the eyes 

59 




Ctje JLtfe ana atfoctttureg of ^>attta Claujs 

and the nose, and rounded the lower part of the 
head so that it rested upon a neck- 
Puss hardly knew what to make of it now, 
and sat up stiffly, as if watching with some sus- 
picion what would come next. 

Claus knew. The head gave him an idea. He 
plied his knife carefully and with skill, forming 
slowly the body of the cat, which he made to sit 
upon its haunches as the real cat did, with her 
tail wound around her two front legs. 

The work cost him much time, but the even- 
ing was long and he had nothing better to do. 
Finally he gave a loud and delighted laugh at 
] the result of his labors and placed the wooden 
cat, now completed, upon the hearth opposite 
the real one. 

Puss thereupon glared at her image, raised 
' her hair in anger, and uttered a defiant mew. 
The wooden cat paid no attention, and Claus, 
much amused, laughed again. 

Then Blinkie advanced toward the wooden 

60 



Ctye Lffc anD aofocuturcg of ^>anta Clatijs 

image to eye it closely and smell of it intel- 
ligently. Eyes and nose told her the creature 
was wood, in spite of its natural appearance ; 
so puss resumed her seat and her purring, but 
as she neatly washed her face with her padded 
paw she cast more than one admiring glance at 
her clever master. Perhaps she felt the same 
satisfaction we feel when we look upon good J£y 
photographs of ourselves. '^pl 

The cat's master was himself pleased with his 
handiwork, without knowing exactly why. In- 
deed, he had great cause to congratulate himself 
that night, and all the children throughout the 
world should have joined him in rejoicing. For 
Claus had made his first toy. 




6t 




CHAPTER THIRD 



f oto tl)c 3W ColotcD tyz €o?$ 




A HUSH lay on the Laughing Valley now. 
Snow covered it like a white spread and 
pillows of downy flakes drifted before 
the dwelling where Claus sat feeding the blaze 
of the fire. The brook gurgled on beneath a 
heavy sheet of ice and all living plants and in- 
sects nestled close to Mother Earth to keep 
warm. The face of the moon was hid by dark 
clouds, and the wind, delighting in the wintry 
sport, pushed and whirled the snowflakes in so 
many directions that they could get no chance 
to fall to the ground. 

Claus heard the wind whistling and shrieking 
in its play and thanked the good Knooks again 
for his comfortable shelter. Blinkie washed her 



Ctye Life and aotoetttut^ of ^attta Clang 

face lazily and stared at the coals with a look 
of perfect content. The toy cat sat opposite the 
real one and gazed straight ahead, as toy cats 
should. 

Suddenly Claus heard a noise that sounded 
different from the voice of the wind. It was 
more like a wail of suffering and despair. 

He stood up and listened, but the wind, 
growing boisterous, shook the door and rattled 
the windows to distract his attention. He 
waited until the wind was tired and then, still 
listening, he heard once more the shrill cry of 
distress. 

Quickly he drew on his coat, pulled his cap 
over his eyes and opened the door. The wind 
dashed in and scattered the embers over the 
hearth, at the same time blowing Blinkie's fur 
so furiously that she crept under the table to 
escape. Then the door was closed and Claus 
was outside, peering anxiously into the darkness. 

The wind laughed and scolded and tried to 

63 




C^e Life and atfoentureg of ^>anta Claus 

push him over, but he stood firm. The help- 
less flakes stumbled against his eyes and dimmed 
his sight, but he rubbed them away and looked 
again. Snow was everywhere, white and glitter- 
ing. It covered the earth and filled the air. 

The cry was not repeated. 

Claus turned to go back into the house, but 
the wind caught him unawares and he stumbled 
and fell across a snowdrift. His hand plunged 
into the drift and touched something that was 
not snow. This he seized and, pulling it gently 
toward him, found it to be a child. The next 
moment he had lifted it in his arms and carried 
it into the house. 

The wind followed him through the door, 
but Claus shut it out quickly. He laid the res- 
cued child on the hearth, and brushing away 
the snow he discovered it to be Weekum, a little 
boy who lived in a house beyond the Valley. 

Claus wrapped a warm blanket around the 
little one and rubbed the frost from his limbs. 

64 



%\\t Hit ano atfoenturcss of ^anta Claus 



Before long the child opened his eyes and, see- 
ing where he was, smiled happily. Then Claus 
warmed milk and fed it to the boy slowly, while 
the cat looked on with sober curiosity. Finally 
the little one curled up in his friend's arms and 
sighed and fell asleep, and Claus, filled with 
gladness that he had found the wanderer, held 
him closely while he slumbered. 

The wind, finding no more mischief to do, 
climbed the hill and swept on toward the north. 
This gave the weary snowflakes time to settle 
down to earth, and the Valley became still again. 

The boy, having slept well in the arms of his 
friend, opened his eyes and sat up. Then, as a 
child will, he looked around the room and saw 
all that it contained. 

" Your cat is a nice cat, Claus," he said, at 
last. " Let me hold it." 

But puss objected and ran away. 

"The other cat won't run, Claus," continued 
the boy. " Let me hold that one." Claus placed 

65 





Ctyc life and atfocuturcg of ^anta Clang 

the toy in his arms, and the boy held it lovingly 
and kissed the tip of its wooden ear. 

" How did you get lost in the storm, Week- 
um ? " asked Claus. 

" I started to walk to my auntie's house and 
lost my way," answered Weekum. 

" Were you frightened ? " 

" It was cold," said Weekum, " and the snow 
got in my eyes, so I could not see. Then I kept 
on till I fell in the snow, without knowing where 
I was, and the wind blew the flakes over me and 
covered me up." 

Claus gently stroked his head, and the boy 
looked up at him and smiled. 

" I'm all right now," said Weekum. 

"Yes," replied Claus, happily. "Now I will 
put you in my warm bed, and you must sleep 
until morning, when I will carry you back to 
your mother." 

" May the cat sleep with me? " asked the boy. 

" Yes, if you wish it to," answered Claus. 

66 



C^e Life ano atfoentureg of ^>attta Ciaujs 

" It's a nice cat ! " Weekum said, smiling, as 
Claus tucked the blankets around him ; and 
presently the little one fell asleep with the 
wooden toy in his arms. 

When morning came the sun claimed the 
Laughing Valley and flooded it with his rays; 
so Claus prepared to take the lost child back 
to its mother. 

" May I keep the cat, Claus ? " asked Week- 
um. " It's nicer than real cats. It doesn't run 
away, or scratch or bite. May I keep it ? " 

"Yes, indeed," answered Claus, pleased that 
the toy he had made could give pleasure to the 
child. So he wrapped the boy and the wooden 
cat in a warm cloak, perching the bundle upon 
his own broad shoulders, and then he tramped 
through the snow and the drifts of the Valley 
and across the plain beyond to the poor cottage 
where Weekum's mother lived. 

"See, mama! " cried the boy, as soon as they 
entered, " I've got a cat ! " 

67 





C^e Life ano atfoctrtmreg of ^anta Clang 

The good woman wept tears of joy over the 
rescue of her darling and thanked Claus many 
times for his kind act. So he carried a warm 
and happy heart back to his home in the Valley. 

That night he said to puss : " I believe the 
children will love the wooden cats almost as well 
as the real ones, and they can't hurt them by 
pulling their tails and ears. I'll make another." 

So this was the beginning of his great work. 

The next cat was better made than the first. 
While Claus sat whittling it out the Yellow Ryl 
came in to make him a visit, and so pleased 
was he with the man's skill that he ran away 
and brought several of his fellows. 

There sat the Red Ryl, the Black Ryl, the 
Green Ryl, the Blue Ryl and the Yellow Ryl in 
a circle on the floor, while Claus whittled and 
whistled and the wooden cat grew into shape. 

" If it could be made the same color as the 
real cat, no one would know the difference," 
said the Yellow Ryl, thoughtfully, 



C^e Lift ano &mntmc$ of £>anta CIau£ 



" The little ones, maybe, would not know the 
difference," replied Claus, pleased with the idea. 
" I will bring you some of the red that I color 
my roses and tulips with," cried the Red Ryl; 
"and then you can make the cat's lips and 
tongue red." 

« I will bring some of the green that I color 
my grasses and leaves with," said the Green 
Ryl; "and then you can color the cat's eyes 
green." 

" They will need a bit of yellow, also," re- 
marked the Yellow Ryl ; « I must fetch some of 
the yellow that I use to color my buttercups 
and goldenrods with." 

" The real cat is black," said the Black Ryl; 
" I will bring some of the black that I use to 
color the eyes of my pansies with, and then you 
can paint your wooden cat black." 

" I see you have a blue ribbon around Blink- 
ie's neck," added the Blue Ryl. "I will get 
some of the color that I use to paint the blue- 

6 9 




Cljc Life and atfoctrtiircg of ^attta Claim 

bells and forget-me-nots with, and then you can 
carve a wooden ribbon on the toy cat's neck 
and paint it blue." 

So the Ryls disappeared, and by the time 
Claus had finished carving out the form of the 
cat they were all back with the paints and 
brushes. 

They made Blinkie sit upon the table, that 
Claus might paint the toy cat just the right 
color, and when the work was done the Ryls 
declared it was exactly as good as a live cat. 

" That is, to all appearances," added the Red 
Ryl. 

Blinkie seemed a little offended by the atten- 
tion bestowed upon the toy, and that she might 
not seem to approve the imitation cat she walked 
to the corner of the hearth and sat down with 
a dignified air. 

But Claus was delighted, and as soon as morn- 
ing came he started out and tramped through 
the snow, across the Valley and the plain, until 

70 



C^e Life attD atfomtutrejs of ^anta Claug 



he came to a village. There, in a poor hut near 
the walls of the beautiful palace of the Lord of 
Lerd, a little girl lay upon a wretched cot, 
moaning with pain. 

Claus approached the child and kissed her 
and comforted her, and then he drew the toy 
cat from beneath his coat, where he had hidden 
it, and placed it in her arms. 

Ah, how well he felt himself repaid for his 
labor and his long walk when he saw the little 
one's eyes grow bright with pleasure! She hugged 
the kitty tight to her breast, as if it had been 
a precious gem, and would not let it go for a 
single moment. The fever was quieted, the pain 
grew less, and she fell into a sweet and refresh- 
ing sleep. 

Claus laughed and whistled and sang all the 
way home. Never had he been so happy as on 
that day. 

When he entered his house he found Shiegra, 
the lioness, awaiting him. Since his babyhood 

71 






C^e Life attD atfocntureg of ^>attta Claug 

Shiegra had loved Claus, and while he dwelt 
in the Forest she had often come to visit him 
at Necile's bower. After Claus had gone to 
live in the Laughing Valley Shiegra became 
lonely and ill at ease, and now she had braved 
the snow-drifts, which all lions abhor, to see him 
once more. Shiegra was getting old and her 
teeth were beginning to fall out, while the hairs 
that tipped her ears and tail had changed from 
tawny-yellow to white. 

Claus found her lying on his hearth, and he 
put his arms around the neck of the lioness and 
hugged her lovingly. The cat had retired into 
a far corner. She did not care to associate with 
Shiegra. 

Claus told his old friend about the cats he 
had made, and how much pleasure they had 
given Weekum and the sick girl. Shiegra did 
not know much about children ; indeed, if she 
met a child she could scarcely be trusted not to 



72 



C^e Life attti aofocntiro of ^anta Claujg 

devour it. But she was interested in Claus' new 
labors, and said : 

" These images seem to me very attractive. 
Yet I can not see why you should make cats, 
which are very unimportant animals. Suppose, 
now that I am here, you make the image of a 
lioness, the Queen of all beasts. Then, indeed, 
your children will be happy — and safe at the 
same time ! " 

Claus thought this was a good suggestion. So 
he got a piece of wood and sharpened his knife, 
while Shiegra crouched upon the hearth at his 
feet. With much care he carved the head in the 
likeness of the lioness, even to the two fierce 
teeth that curved over her lower lip and the 
deep, frowning lines above her wide-open eyes. 
When it was finished he said : 
" You have a terrible look, Shiegra." 
" Then the image is like me," she answered; 
" for I am indeed terrible to all who are not my 
friends." 

73 




€^e life and aofocntuteg of ^>attta Claug 

Claus now carved out the body, with Shiegra's 
long tail trailing behind it. The image of the 
crouching lioness was very life-like. 

" It pleases me," said Shiegra, yawning and 
stretching her body gracefully. " Now I will 
watch while you paint." 

He brought the paints the Ryls had given 
him from the cupboard and colored the image 
to resemble the real Shiegra. 

The lioness placed her big, padded paws upon 
the edge of the table and raised herself while 
she carefully examined the toy that was her like- 
ness. 

" You are indeed skilful! " she said, proudly. 
" The children will like that better than cats, 
I'm sure." 

Then snarling at Blinkie, who arched her back 
in terror and whined fearfully, she walked away 
toward her forest home with stately strides. 





CHAPTER FOURTH 

^oto tittle jHa?rie Became frightened 

THE winter was over now, and all the 
Laughing Valley was filled with joyous 
excitement. The brook was so happy at 
being free once again that it gurgled more bois- 
terously than ever and dashed so recklessly 
against the rocks that it sent showers of spray 
high in the air. The grass thrust its sharp little 
blades upward through the mat of dead stalks 
where it had hidden from the snow, but the 
flowers were yet too timid to show themselves, 
although the Ryls were busy feeding their roots. 
The sun was in remarkably good humor, and 
sent his rays dancing merrily throughout the 
Valley. 

75 




€^e Life ano atfoentutcjs of ^>anta Claujs 




Claus was eating his dinner one day when he 
heard a timid knock on his door. 

" Come in ! " he called. 

No one entered, but after a pause came an- 
other rapping. 

Claus jumped up and threw open the door. 
Before him stood a small girl holding a smaller 
brother fast by the hand. 

" Is you Tlaus ? " she asked, shyly. 

"Indeed I am, my dear! " he answered, with 
a laugh, as he caught both children in his 
arms and kissed them. "You are very welcome, 
and you have come just in time to share my 
dinner." 

He took them to the table and fed them with 
fresh milk and nut-cakes. When they had eaten 
enough he asked : 

"Why have you made this long journey to 
see me ? " 

" I wants a tat ! " replied little Mayrie ; and 
her brother, who had not yet learned to speak 

76 



C^e Life ana atfocnturcg of ^anta Clang 

many words, nodded his head and exclaimed 
like an echo : " Tat ! " 

" Oh, you want my toy cats, do you ? " re- 
turned Claus, greatly pleased to discover that 
his creations were so popular with children. 

The little visitors nodded eagerly. 

" Unfortunately," he continued, " I have but 
one cat now ready, for I carried two to children 
in the town yesterday. And the one I have 
shall be given to your brother, Mayrie, because 
he is the smaller; and the next one I make 
shall be for you." 

The boy's face was bright with smiles as he 
took the precious toy Claus held out to him ; 
but little Mayrie covered her face with her arm 
and began to sob grievously. 

"I — I — I wants a t — t — tat now!" she 
wailed. 

Her disappointment made Claus feel miser- 
able for a moment. Then he suddenly remem- 
bered Shiegra. 

77 



€;^e life anD atfoenturcg of ^>anta Claujs 

" Don't cry, darling!" he said, soothingly; "I 
have a toy much nicer than a cat, and you shall 
have that." 

He went to the cupboard and drew out the 
image of the lioness, which he placed on the 
table before Mayrie. 

The girl raised her arm and gave one glance 
at the fierce teeth and glaring eyes of the beast, 
and then, uttering a terrified scream, she rushed 
from the house. The boy followed her, also 
screaming lustily, and even dropping his pre- 
cious cat in his fear. 

For a moment Claus stood motionless, being 
puzzled and astonished. Then he threw Shieg- 
ra's image into the cupboard and ran after the 
children, calling to them not to be frightened. 

Little Mayrie stopped in her flight and her 
brother clung to her skirt; but they both cast 
fearful glances at the house until Claus had as- 
sured them many times that the beast had been 
locked in the cupboard. 

78 




C^e Life anti atfoetttuteis of ^>attta Claug 

" Yet why were you frightened at seeing it ? " 
he asked. " It is only a toy to play with ! 

" It's bad ! " said Mayrie, decidedly, " an' — 
an' — just horrid, an' not a bit nice, like tats! " 

" Perhaps you are right," returned Claus, 
thoughtfully. " But if you will return with me 
to the house I will soon make you a pretty cat." 

So they timidly entered the house again, hav- 
ing faith in their friend's words ; and afterward 
they had the joy of watching Claus carve out a 
cat from a bit of wood and paint it in natural 
colors. It did not take him long to do this, for 
he had become skilful with his knife by this 
time, and Mayrie loved her toy the more dearly 
because she had seen it made. 

After his little visitors had trotted away on 
their journey homeward Claus sat long in deep 
thought. And he then decided that such fierce 
creatures as his friend the lioness would never 
do as models from which to fashion his toys. 

" There must be nothing to frighten the dear 

79 



C^e Iffe ana atfoettttros of ^aitta Claug 

babies," he reflected; "and while I know Shiegra 
well, and am not afraid of her, it is but natural 
that children should look upon her image with 
terror. Hereafter I will choose such mild-man- 
nered animals as squirrels and rabbits and deer and 
lambkins from which to carve my toys, for then 
the little ones will love rather than fear them." 

He began his work that very day, and before 
bedtime had made a wooden rabbit and a lamb. 
They were not quite so lifelike as the cats had 
been, because they were formed from memory, 
while Blinkie had sat very still for Claus to look 
at while he worked. 

But the new toys pleased the children never- 
theless, and the fame of Claus' playthings quickly 
spread to every cottage on plain and in village. 
He always carried his gifts to the sick or crippled 
children, but those who were strong enough 
walked to the house in the Valley to ask for 
them, so a little path was soon worn from the 
plain to the door of the toy-maker's cottage. 

80 




C^c Life ano aobcnturcg of ^>attta Claus 

First came the children who had been play- 
mates of Claus, before he began to make toys. 
These, you may be sure, were well supplied. 
Then children who lived farther away heard of 
the wonderful images and made journeys to the 
Valley to secure them. All little ones were 
welcome, and never a one went away empty- 
handed. 

This demand for his handiwork kept Claus 
busily occupied, but he was quite happy in 
knowing the pleasure he gave to so many of 
the dear children. His friends the immortals 
were pleased with his success and supported 
him bravely. 

The Knooks selected for him clear pieces 
of soft wood, that his knife might not be 
blunted in cutting them ; the Ryls kept him 
supplied with paints of all colors and brushes 
fashioned from the tips of timothy grasses ; the 
Fairies discovered that the workman needed saws 
and chisels and hammers and nails, as well as 



C^e life ano atfoctttureg of ^attta Clauss 

knives, and brought him a goodly array of such 
tools. 

Claus soon turned his living room into a most 
wonderful workshop. He built a bench before 
the window, and arranged his tools and paints 
so that he could reach everything as he sat on 
his stool. And as he finished toy after toy to 
delight the hearts of little children he found 
himself growing so gay and happy that he could 
not refrain from singing and laughing and whist- 
ling all the day long. 

" It's because I live in the Laughing Valley, 
where everything else laughs ! " said Claus. 

But that was not the reason. 




82 




i^oto I3e$i3fe I3ltt^e0ome Came to t^e lauding ballet 



ONE day, as Claus sat before his door to 
enjoy the sunshine while he busily carved 
the head and horns of a toy deer, he 
looked up and discovered a glittering cavalcade 
of horsemen approaching through the Valley. 

When they drew nearer he saw that the band 
consisted of a score of men-at-arms, clad in 
bright armor and bearing in their hands spears 
and battle-axes. In front of these rode little 
Bessie Blithesome, the pretty daughter of that 
proud Lord of Lerd who had once driven Claus 
from his palace. Her palfrey was pure white, 
its bridle was covered with glittering gems, 
and its saddle draped with cloth of gold, richly 

83 



C^e iLtfc anD aDfeentweg of ^>anta Claujs 

broidered. The soldiers were sent to protect 
her from harm while she journeyed. 

Claus was surprised, but he continued to 
whittle and to sing until the cavalcade drew 
up before him. Then the little girl leaned over 
the neck of her palfrey and said : 

" Please, Mr. Claus, I want a toy! " 

Her voice was so pleading that Claus jumped 
up at once and stood beside her. But he was 
puzzled how to answer her request. 

"You are a rich lord's daughter," said he, 
" and have all that you desire." 

" Except toys," added Bessie. " There are no 
toys in all the world but yours." 

"And I make them for the poor children, 
who have nothing else to amuse them," con- 
tinued Claus. 

" Do poor children love to play with toys 
more than rich ones ? " asked Bessie. 

" I suppose not," said Claus, thoughtfully. 

"Am I to blame because my father is a lord? 



C^e Life ant) aDbetttureg of ^>anta Claug 



Must I be denied the pretty toys I long for be- 
cause other children are poorer than I ? " she 
inquired, earnestly. 

"I'm afraid you must, dear," he answered; 
" for the poor have nothing else with which to 
amuse themselves. You have your pony to ride, 
your servants to wait on you, and every comfort 
that money can procure." 

" But I want toys ! " cried Bessie, wiping away 
the tears that forced themselves into her eyes. 
" If I can not have them I shall be very un- 
happy." 

Claus was troubled, for her grief recalled to 
him the thought that his desire was to make all 
children happy, without regard to their condi- 
tion in life. Yet, while so many poor children 
were clamoring for his toys he could not bear 
to give one of them to Bessie Blithesome, who 
had so much already to make her happy. 

" Listen, my child," said he, gently; "all the 
toys I am now making are promised to others. 





C^c life ana aDtoetttirceg of ^anta Clang 



But the next shall be yours, since your heart so 
longs for it. Come to me again in two days 
and it shall be ready for you." 

Bessie gave a cry of delight, and leaning over 
her pony's neck she kissed Claus prettily upon 
his forehead. Then, calling to her men-at-arms, 
she rode gaily away, leaving Claus to resume his 
work. 

" If I am to supply the rich children as well 
as the poor ones," he thought, " I shall not have 
a spare moment in the whole year ! But is it 
right I should give to the rich ? Surely I must go 
to Necile and talk with her about this matter." 

So when he had finished the toy deer, which 
was very like a deer he had known in the Forest 
glades, he walked into Burzee and made his way 
to the bower of the beautiful Nymph Necile, 
who had been his foster mother. 

She greeted him tenderly and lovingly, listen- 
ing with interest to his story of the visit of Bes- 
sie Blithesome. 

86 



C^e Life ana atfoentutess of ^anta Claug 

" And now tell me," said he, " shall I give 
toys to rich children ? " 

" We of the Forest know nothing of riches," 
she replied. " It seems to me that one child is 
like another child, since they are all made of 
the same clay, and that riches are like a gown, 
which may be put on or taken away, leaving 
the child unchanged. But the Fairies are guard- 
ians of mankind, and know mortal children 
better than I. Let us call the Fairy Queen." 

This was done, and the Queen of the Fairies 
sat beside them and heard Claus relate his rea- 
sons for thinking the rich children could get 
along without his toys, and also what the Nymph 
had said. 

" Necile is right," declared the Queen ; " for, 
whether it be rich or poor, a child's longings for 
pretty playthings are but natural. Rich Bessie's 
heart may suffer as much grief as poor May- 
rie's; she can be just as lonely and discon- 
tented, and just as gay and happy. I think, 

87 



€^e Life and atfoenturcg of ^anta Claug 

friend Claus, it is your duty to make all little 
ones glad, whether they chance to live in palaces 
or in cottages." 

" Your words are wise, fair Queen," replied 
Claus, " and my heart tells me they are as just 
as they are wise. Hereafter all children may 
claim my services." 

Then he bowed before the gracious Fairy 
and, kissing Necile's red lips, went back into his 
Valley. 

At the brook he stopped to drink, and after- 
ward he sat on the bank and took a piece of 
moist clay in his hands while he thought what 
sort of toy he should make for Bessie Blithe- 
some. He did not notice that his fingers were 
working the clay into shape until, glancing 
downward, he found he had unconsciously 
formed a head that bore a slight resemblance to 
the Nymph Necile ! 

At once he became interested. Gathering 
more of the clay from the bank he carried it to 



C^e JUtfe anD aobcntureg of ^>anta Claug 



his house. Then, with the aid of his knife and 
a bit of wood he succeeded in working the clay 
into the image of a toy nymph. With skilful 
strokes he formed long, waving hair on the head 
and covered the body with a gown of oak- 
leaves, while the two feet sticking out at the 
bottom of the gown were clad in sandals. 

But the clay was soft, and Claus found he 
must handle it gently to avoid ruining his pretty 
work. 

" Perhaps the rays of the sun will draw out 
the moisture and cause the clay to become 
hard," he thought. So he laid the image on a 
flat board and placed it in the glare of the sun. 

This done, he went to his bench and began 
painting the toy deer, and soon he became so 
interested in the work that he forgot all about 
the clay nymph. But next morning, happening 
to notice it as it lay on the board, he found the 
sun had baked it to the hardness of stone, and 
it was strong enough to be safely handled: 





C^e life ano atfoentureg of ^>anta Claus 




Claus now painted the nymph with great 
care in the likeness of Necile, giving it deep- 
blue eyes, white teeth, rosy lips and ruddy- 
brown hair. The gown he colored oak-leaf 
green, and when the paint was dry Claus him- 
self was charmed with the new toy. Of course it 
was not nearly so lovely as the real Necile ; but, 
considering the material of which it was made, 
Claus thought it was very beautiful. 

When Bessie, riding upon her white palfrey, 
came to his dwelling next day, Claus presented 
her with the new toy. The little girl's eyes were 
brighter than ever as she examined the pretty 
image, and she loved it at once, and held it 
close to her breast, as a mother does her child. 

" What is it called, Claus ? " she asked. 

Now Claus knew that Nymphs do not like 
to be spoken of by mortals, so he could not tell 
Bessie it was an image of Necile he had given 
her. But as it was a new toy he searched his 
mind for a new name to call it by, and the first 

90 



C^e life ana adfcentuteg of ^>anta Claug 

word he thought of he decided would do very 
well. 

" It is called a dolly, my dear," he said to 
Bessie. 

" I shall call the dolly my baby," returned 
Bessie, kissing it fondly ; " and I shall tend it 
and care for it just as Nurse cares for me. 
Thank you very much, Claus ; your gift has 
made me happier than I have ever been be- 
fore ! " 

Then she rode away, hugging the toy in her 
arms, and Claus, seeing her delight, thought he 
would make another dolly, better and more 
natural than the first. 

He brought more clay from the brook, and 
remembering that Bessie had called the dolly 
her baby he resolved to form this one into a 
baby's image. That was no difficult task to the 
clever workman, and soon the baby dolly was 
lying on the board and placed in the sun to 
dry. Then, with the clay that was left, he 

9 1 



C^e titt atto atfocuturcg of ^anta Claus 

began to make an image of Bessie Blithesome 
herself. 

This was not so easy, for he found he could 
not make the silken robe of the lord's daugh- 
ter out of the common clay. So he called the 
Fairies to his aid, and asked them to bring him 
colored silks with which to make a real dress 
for the clay image. The Fairies set off at once 
on their errand, and before nightfall they re- 
turned with a generous supply of silks and laces 
and golden threads. 

Claus now became impatient to complete 
his new dolly, and instead of waiting for the 
next day's sun he placed the clay image upon 
his hearth and covered it over with glowing 
coals. By morning, when he drew the dolly 
from the ashes, it had baked as hard as if it had 
lain a full day in the hot sun. 

Now our Claus became a dressmaker as well 
as a toymaker. He cut the lavender silk, and 
neatly sewed it into a beautiful gown that just 

92 



C^c Life aitD atfocntiircg of ^>anta Claus 

fitted the new dolly. And he put a lace collar 
around its neck and pink silk shoes on its feet. 
The natural color of baked clay is a light gray, 
but Claus painted the face to resemble the 
color of flesh, and he gave the dolly Bessie's 
brown eyes and golden hair and rosy cheeks. 

It was really a beautiful thing to look upon, 
and sure to bring joy to some childish heart. 
While Claus was admiring it he heard a knock 
at his door, and little Mayrie entered. Her 
face was sad and her eyes red with continued 
weeping. 

"Why, what has grieved you, my dear?" 
asked Claus, taking the child in his arms. 

"I've — I've — bwoke my tat!" sobbed Mayrie. 

"How?" he inquired, his eyes twinkling. 

"I — I dwopped him, an' bwoke off him's 
tail; an' — an' — then I dwopped him an' bwoke 
off him's ear ! An' — an' now him's all spoilt ! " 

Claus laughed. 

"Never mind, Mayrie dear," he said. "How 

93 




C^e life and aDfoentureg of ^>anta Claug 

would you like this new dolly, instead of a 
cat?" 

Mayrie looked at the silk-robed dolly and 
her eyes grew big with astonishment. 

" Oh, Tlaus ! " she cried, clapping her small 
hands together with rapture ; " tan I have 'at 
boo'ful lady ?" 

" Do you like it? " he asked. 

" I love it ! " said she. « It's better 'an tats I " 

" Then take it, dear, and be careful not to 
break it." 

Mayrie took the dolly with a joy that was 
almost reverent, and her face dimpled with 
smiles as she started along the path toward 
home. 



94 




CHAPTER SIXTH 



€^e WitUlmt$$ of t^e atngtoag 



I MUST now tell you something about the 
Awgwas, that terrible race of creatures 
which caused our good Claus so much 
trouble and nearly succeeded in robbing the 
children of the world of their earliest and best 
friend. 

I do not like to mention the Awgwas, but 
they are a part of this history, and can not be 
ignored. They were neither mortals nor immor- 
tals, but stood midway between those classes of 
beings. The Awgwas were invisible to ordinary 
people, but not to immortals. They could pass 
swiftly through the air from one part of the 
world to another, and had the power of 

95 



C^c Lffc and atfocututeg of ^>anta Clang 

influencing the minds of human beings to do 
their wicked will. 

They were of gigantic stature and had coarse, 
scowling countenances which showed plainly 
their hatred of all mankind. They possessed no 
consciences whatever and delighted only in evil 
deeds. 

Their homes were in rocky, mountainous 
places, from whence they sallied forth to ac- 
complish their wicked purposes. 

The one of their number that could think 
of the most horrible deed for them to do was 
always elected the King Awgwa, and all the 
race obeyed his orders. Sometimes these crea- 
tures lived to become a hundred years old, but 
usually they fought so fiercely among them- 
selves that many were destroyed in combat, and 
when they died that was the end of them. Mor- 
tals were powerless to harm them and the im- 
mortals shuddered when the Awgwas were 
mentioned, and always avoided them. So they 

9 6 



C^e Life anD aofoentuteg of ^>anta Claus* 

flourished for many years unopposed and ac- 
complished much evil. 

I am glad to assure you that these vile crea- 
tures have long since perished and passed from 
earth ; but in the days when Claus was making 
his first toys they were a numerous and power- 
ful tribe. 

One of the principal sports of the Awgwas 
was to inspire angry passions in the hearts of 
little children, so that they quarreled and fought 
with one another. They would tempt boys to 
eat of unripe fruit, and then delight in the pain 
they suffered; they urged little girls to disobey 
their parents, and then would laugh when the 
children were punished. I do not know what 
causes a child to be naughty in these days, but 
when the Awgwas were on earth naughty chil- 
dren were usually under their influence. 

Now, when Claus began to make children 
happy he kept them out of the power of the 
Awgwas; for children possessing such lovely play- 

97 






C^e Life ano atfoetttuteg of £>attta Claug 

things as he gave them had no wish to obey the 
evil thoughts the Awgwas tried to thrust into 
their minds. 

Therefore, one year when the wicked tribe 
was to elect a new King, they chose an Awgwa 
who proposed to destroy Claus and take him 
away from the children. 

" There are, as you know, fewer naughty 
children in the world since Claus came to the 
Laughing Valley and began to make his toys," 
said the new King, as he squatted upon a rock 
and looked around at the scowling faces of his 
people. "Why, Bessie Blithesome has not 
stamped her foot once this month, nor has 
Mayrie's brother slapped his sister's face or 
thrown the puppy into the rain-barrel. Little 
Weekum took his bath last night without 
screaming or struggling, because his mother had 
promised he should take his toy cat to bed with 
him ! Such a condition of affairs is awful for 
any Awgwa to think of, and the only way we 



€^e Life and atfoentureg of ^anta Claug 



can direct the naughty actions of children is to 
take this person Claus away from them." 

" Good ! good ! " cried the big Awgwas, in a 
chorus, and they clapped their hands to applaud 
the speech of the King. 

" But what shall we do with him ? " asked one 
of the creatures. 

"I have a plan," replied the wicked King; 
and what his plan was you will soon discover. 

That night Claus went to bed feeling very 
happy, for he had completed no less than four 
pretty toys during the day, and they were sure, 
he thought, to make four little children happy. 
But while he slept the band of invisible Awgwas 
surrounded his bed, bound him with stout cords, 
and then flew away with him to the middle of 
a dark forest in far off Ethop, where they laid 
him down and left him. 

When morning came Claus found himself 
thousands of miles from any human being, a 
prisoner in the wild jungle of an unknown land. 

99 



€i)c Life ano atfocnturcs of ^>anta Claug 



From the limb of a tree above his head swayed 
a huge python, one of those reptiles that are able 
to crush a man's bones in their coils. A few yards 
away crouched a savage panther, its glaring red 
eyes fixed full on the helpless Glaus. One of those 
monstrous spotted spiders whose sting is death 
crept stealthily toward him over the matted 
leaves, which shriveled and turned black at its 
very touch. 

But Claus had been reared in Burzee, and 
was not afraid. 

"Come to me, ye Knooks of the Forest!" 
he cried, and gave the low, peculiar whistle that 
the Knooks know. 

The panther, which was about to spring upon 
its victim, turned and slunk away. The python 
swung itself into the tree and disappeared among 
the leaves. The spider stopped short in its ad- 
vance and hid beneath a rotting log. 

Claus had no time to notice them, for he was 
surrounded by a band of harsh-featured Knooks, 




C^e Life attD aobcntureg of ^anta Claus 

more crooked and deformed in appearance than 
any he had ever seen. 

" Who are you that call on us ? " demanded 
one, in a gruff voice. 

"The friend of your brothers in Burzee," 
answered Claus. " I have been brought here by 
my enemies, the Awgwas, and left to perish 
miserably. Yet now I implore your help to re- 
lease me and to send me home again." 

" Have you the sign ? " asked another. 

"Yes," said Claus. 

They cut his bonds, and with his free arms 
he made the secret sign of the Knooks. 

Instantly they assisted him to stand upon his 
feet, and they brought him food and drink to 
strengthen him. 

" Our brothers of Burzee make queer friends," 
grumbled an ancient Knook whose flowing 
beard was pure white. " But he who knows our 
secret sign and signal is entitled to our help, 
whoever he may be. Close your eyes, stranger, 



€t)e JLife anD atfowtureg of ^attta Claujs 

and we will conduct you to your home. Where 
shall we seek it ? " 

"'Tis in the Laughing Valley," answered 
Claus, shutting his eyes. 

" There is but one Laughing Valley in the 
known world, so we can not go astray," re- 
marked the Knook. 

As he spoke the sound of his voice seemed to 
die away, so Claus opened his eyes to see what 
caused the change. To his astonishment he 
found himself seated on the bench by his own 
door, with the Laughing Valley spread out be- 
fore him. That day he visited the Wood- 
Nymphs and related his adventure to Queen 
Zurline and Necile. 

" The Awgwas have become your enemies," 
said the lovely Queen, thoughtfully ; " so we 
must do all we can to protect you from their 
power." 

" It was cowardly to bind him while he slept," 
remarked Necile, with indignation. 



€^e Life and aobentuteg of ^>anta Claug 

" The evil ones are ever cowardly," answered 
Zurline, " but our friend's slumber shall not be 
disturbed again." 

The Queen herself came to the dwelling of 
Claus that evening and placed her Seal on every 
door and window, to keep out the Awgwas. 
And under the Seal of Queen Zurline was placed 
the Seal of the Fairies and the Seal of the Ryls 
and the Seal of the Knooks, that the charm 
might become more powerful. 

And Claus carried his toys to the children 
again, and made many more of the little ones 
happy. 

You may guess how angry the King Awgwa 
and his fierce band were when it was known 
to them that Claus had escaped from the Forest 
of Ethop. 

They raged madly for a whole week, and then 
held another meeting among the rocks. 

" It is useless to carry him where the Knooks 
reign," said the King, " for he has their protec- 

103 



Ctye life and atiticnturcjs of ^>anta Clang 

tion. So let us cast him into a cave of our own 
mountains, where he will surely perish." 

This was promptly agreed to, and the wicked 
band set out that night to seize Claus. But they 
found his dwelling guarded by the Seals of the 
Immortals and were obliged to go away baffled 
and disappointed. 

"Never mind," said the King; "he does not 
sleep always ! " 

Next day, as Claus traveled to the village 
across the plain, where he intended to present 
a toy squirrel to a lame boy, he was suddenly 
set upon by the Awgwas, who seized him and 
carried him away to the mountains. 

There they thrust him within a deep cavern 
and rolled many huge rocks against the entrance 
to prevent his escape. 

Deprived thus of light and food, and with 
little air to breathe, our Claus was, indeed, in 
a pitiful plight. But he spoke the mystic words 
of the Fairies, which always command their 

104 



W$t Life and atfomtutcg of ^anta Claug 

friendly aid, and they came to his rescue and 
transported him to the Laughing Valley in the 
twinkling of an eye. 

Thus the Awgwas discovered they might 
not destroy one who had earned the friendship 
of the immortals; so the evil band sought 
other means of keeping Claus from bringing 
happiness to children and so making them 
obedient. 

Whenever Claus set out to carry his toys to 
the little ones an Awgwa, who had been set 
to watch his movements, sprang upon him and 
snatched the toys from his grasp. And the chil- 
dren were no more disappointed than was Claus 
when he was obliged to return home disconso- 
late. Still he persevered, and made many toys 
for his little friends and started with them for 
the villages. And always the Awgwas robbed 
him as soon as he had left the Valley. 

They threw the stolen playthings into one of 
their lonely caverns, and quite a heap of toys 

105 




€Ije Hit ana QDUntuw of ^>attta Claug 




accumulated before Claus became discouraged 
and gave up all attempts to leave the Valley. 
Then children began coming to him, since they 
found he did not go to them ; but the wicked 
Awgwas flew around them and caused their steps 
to stray and the paths to become crooked, so 
never a little one could find a way into the 
Laughing Valley. 

Lonely days now fell upon Claus, for he was 
denied the pleasure of bringing happiness to the 
children whom he had learned to love. Yet he 
bore up bravely, for he thought surely the time 
would come when the Awgwas would abandon 
their evil designs to injure him. 

He devoted all his hours to toy-making, and 
when one plaything had been completed he 
stood it on a shelf he had built for that pur- 
pose. When the shelf became filled with rows 
of toys he made another one, and filled that 
also. So that in time he had many shelves filled 
with gay and beautiful toys representing horses, 

1 06 



Ctye JLtfe ano atfoentirceg of ^>anta Claug 

dogs, cats, elephants, lambs, rabbits and deer, as 
well as pretty dolls of all sizes and balls and 
marbles of baked clay painted in gay colors. 

Often, as he glanced at this array of childish 
treasures, the heart of good old Claus became 
sad, so greatly did he long to carry the toys to 
his children. And at last, because he could bear 
it no longer, he ventured to go to the great Ak, 
to whom he told the story of his persecution by 
the Awgwas, and begged the Master Woodsman 
to assist him. 




107 




C^e d&reat OBattle OBettoeen (Koon ana €Ul 



AK LISTENED gravely to the recital of 
/ ^ Claus, stroking his beard the while 
with the slow, graceful motion that be- 
tokened deep thought. He nodded approvingly 
when Claus told how the Knooks and Fairies 
had saved him from death, and frowned when 
he heard how the Awgwas had stolen the chil- 
dren's toys. At last he said : 

" From the beginning I have approved the 
work you are doing among the children of men, 
and it annoys me that your good deeds should 
be thwarted by the Awgwas. We immortals 
have no connection whatever with the evil crea- 
tures who have attacked you. Always have we 

1 08 



€i)e Life and atfocntureg of ^>anta Claujs M 



avoided them, and they, in turn, have hitherto 
taken care not to cross our pathway. But in 
this matter I find they have interfered with one 
of our friends, and I will ask them to abandon 
their persecutions, as you are under our pro- 
tection." 

Claus thanked the Master Woodsman most 
gratefully and returned to his Valley, while Ak, 
who never delayed carrying out his promises, at 
once traveled to the mountains of the Awgwas. 

There, standing on the bare rocks, he called 
on the King and his people to appear. 

Instantly the place was filled with throngs of 
the scowling Awgwas, and their King, perching 
himself on a point of rock, demanded fiercely: 

"Who dares call on us?" 

" It is I, the Master Woodsman of the World," 
responded Ak. 

" Here are no forests for you to claim," cried 
the King, angrily. "We owe no allegiance to 
you, nor to any immortal ! " 




109 



C^e life aito aobetttirces of ^>anta Clausi 

" That is true," replied Ak, calmly. "Yet you 
have ventured to interfere with the actions of 
Claus, who dwells in the Laughing Valley, and 
is under our protection." 

Many of the Awgwas began muttering at this 
speech, and their King turned threateningly on 
the Master Woodsman. 

"You are set to rule the forests, but the plains 
and the valleys are ours ! " he shouted. " Keep 
to your own dark woods ! We will do as we 
please with Claus." 

"You shall not harm our friend in any way! " 
replied Ak. 

" Shall we not ? " asked the King, impudently. 
" You will see ! Our powers are vastly superior 
to those of mortals, and fully as great as those 
of immortals." 

" It is your conceit that misleads you ! " said 
Ak, sternly. " You are a transient race, passing 
from life into nothingness. We, who live for- 
ever, pity but despise you. On earth you are 



€^e Life ana aDbentureg of ^>attta Claug 

scorned by all, and in Heaven you have no 
place ! Even the mortals, after their earth life, 
enter another existence for all time, and so are 
your superiors. How then dare you, who are 
neither mortal nor immortal, refuse to obey my 
wish ? " 

The Awgwas sprang to their feet with men- 
acing gestures, but their King motioned them 
back. 

" Never before," he cried to Ak, while his 
voice trembled with rage, " has an immortal de- 
clared himself the master of the Awgwas ! Never 
shall an immortal venture to interfere with our 
actions again ! For we will avenge your scorn- 
ful words by killing your friend Claus within 
three days. Nor you, nor all the immortals can 
save him from our wrath. We defy your pow- 
ers ! Begone, Master Woodsman of the World ! 
In the country of the Awgwas you have no 
place." 

" It is war! " declared Ak, with flashing eyes. 




€^e Life anD aofcenturcg of ^anta Claujs 

"It is war!" returned the King, savagely. 
" In three days your friend will be dead." 

The Master turned away and came to his 
Forest of Burzee, where he called a meeting of 
the immortals and told them of the defiance of 
the Awgwas and their purpose to kill Claus 
within three days. 

The little folk listened to him quietly. 

" What shall we do ? " asked Ak. 

" These creatures are of no benefit to the 
world," said the Prince of the Knooks ; " we 
must destroy them." 

" Their lives are devoted only to evil deeds," 
said the Prince of the Ryls. " We must destroy 
them." 

" They have no conscience, and endeavor to 
make all mortals as bad as themselves," said the 
Queen of the Fairies. "We must destroy them." 

" They have defied the great Ak, and threaten 
the life of our adopted son," said beautiful 
Queen Zurline. " We must destroy them." 



CIjc life ano atfoentureg of ^>anta Claujs 

The Master Woodsman smiled. 

" You speak well," said he. " These Awgwas 
we know to be a powerful race, and they will 
fight desperately; yet the outcome is certain. 
For we who live can never die, even though 
conquered by our enemies, while every Awgwa 
who is struck down is one foe the less to op- 
pose us. Prepare, then, for battle, and let us 
resolve to show no mercy to the wicked ! " 

Thus arose that terrible war between the im- 
mortals and the spirits of evil which is sung of 
in Fairyland to this very day. 

The King Awgwa and his band determined 
to carry out the threat to destroy Claus. They 
now hated him for two reasons : he made chil- 
dren happy and was a friend of the Master 
Woodsman. But since Ak's visit they had rea- 
son to fear the opposition of the immortals, and 
they dreaded defeat. So the King sent swift 
messengers to all parts of the world to summon 
every evil creature to his aid. 




"3 



€t)e life ana atfoentutcg of ^>attta Claug 

And on the third day after the declaration of 
war a mighty army was at the command of the 
King Awgwa. There were three hundred Asiatic 
Dragons, breathing fire that consumed every- 
thing it touched. These hated mankind and all 
good spirits. And there were the three -eyed 
Giants of Tatary, a host in themselves, who liked 
nothing better than to fight. And next came 
the Black Demons from Patalonia, with great 
spreading wings like those of a bat, which swept 
terror and misery through the world as they 
beat upon the air. And joined to these were 
the Goozzle-Goblins, with long talons as sharp 
as swords, with which they clawed the flesh from 
their foes. Finally, every mountain Awgwa in 
the world had come to participate in the great 
battle with the immortals. 

The King Awgwa looked around upon this 
vast army and his heart beat high with wicked 
pride, for he believed he would surely triumph 
over his gentle enemies, who had never before 

114 



Clje life anD aotoentwcg of ^>attta Claug 

been known to fight. But the Master Woods- 
man had not been idle. None of his people was 
used to warfare, yet now that they were called 
upon to face the hosts of evil they willingly 
prepared for the fray. 

Ak had commanded them to assemble in the 
Laughing Valley, where Claus, ignorant of the 
terrible battle that was to be waged on his ac- 
count, was quietly making his toys. 

Soon the entire Valley, from hill to hill, was 
filled with the little immortals. The Master 
Woodsman stood first, bearing a gleaming ax 
that shone like burnished silver. Next came 
the Ryls, armed with sharp thorns from bramble- 
bushes. Then the Knooks, bearing the spears 
they used when they were forced to prod their 
savage beasts into submission. The Fairies, 
dressed in white gauze with rainbow-hued 
wings, bore golden wands, and the Wood- 
nymphs, in their uniforms of oak-leaf green, 
carried switches from ash trees as weapons. 

IJ 5 



C^e Life atiD £Dfcenture0 of ^>anta Clau# 



Loud laughed the Awgwa King when he be- 
held the size and the arms of his foes. To be 
sure the mighty ax of the Woodsman was to be 
dreaded, but the sweet-faced Nymphs and pretty 
Fairies, the gentle Ryls and crooked Knooks 
were such harmless folk that he almost felt 
shame at having called such a terrible host to 
oppose them. 

" Since these fools dare fight," he said to the 
leader of the Tatary Giants, " I will overwhelm 
them with our evil powers ! " 

To begin the battle he poised a great stone 
in his left hand and cast it full against the sturdy 
form of the Master Woodsman, who turned it 
aside with his ax. Then rushed the three-eyed 
Giants of Tatary upon the Knooks, and the 
Goozzle-Goblins upon the Ryls, and the fire- 
breathing Dragons upon the sweet Fairies. Be- 
cause the Nymphs were Ak's own people the 
band of Awgwas sought them out, thinking to 
overcome them with ease. 

116 



Clje Life ana aobentureg of ^anta Claug 

But it is the Law that while Evil, unopposed, 
may accomplish terrible deeds, the powers of 
Good can never be overthrown when opposed 
to Evil. Well had it been for the King Awgwa 
had he known the Law ! 

His ignorance cost him his existence, for one 
flash of the ax borne by the Master Woods- 
man of the World cleft the wicked King in 
twain and rid the earth of the vilest creature it 
contained. 

Greatly marveled the Tatary Giants when 
the spears of the little Knooks pierced their 
thick walls of flesh and sent them reeling to 
the ground with howls of agony. 

Woe came upon the sharp-taloned Goblins 
when the thorns of the Ryls reached their sav- 
age hearts and let their life-blood sprinkle all 
the plain. And afterward from every drop a 
thistle grew. 

The Dragons paused astonished before the 
Fairy wands, from whence rushed a power that 

117 



C^c Life anD atfocutiircg of ^>anta Clans 

caused their fiery breaths to flow back on them- 
selves so that they shriveled away and died. 

As for the Awgwas, they had scant time to 
realize how they were destroyed, for the ash 
switches of the Nymphs bore a charm unknown 
to any Awgwa, and turned their foes into clods 
of earth at the slightest touch ! 

When Ak leaned upon his gleaming ax and 
turned to look over the field of battle he saw 
the few Giants who were able to run disappearing 
over the distant hills on their return to Tatary. 
The Goblins had perished every one, as had the 
terrible Dragons, while all that remained of the 
wicked Awgwas was a great number of earthen 
hillocks dotting the plain. 

And now the immortals melted from the 
Valley like dew at sunrise, to resume their du- 
ties in the Forest, while Ak walked slowly and 
thoughtfully to the house of Claus and entered. 

" You have many toys ready for the children," 
said the Woodsman, " and now you may carry 

118 



C^e life ano atfoentwcjs of ^>anta Claug 

them across the plain to the dwellings and the 
villages without fear." 

" Will not the Awgwas harm me ? " asked 
Claus, eagerly. 

" The Awgwas," said Ak, " have perished ! " 

* -3f * * # 

Now I will gladly have done with wicked 
spirits and with fighting and bloodshed. It was 
not from choice that I told of the Awgwas and 
their allies, and of their great battle with the 
immortals. They were part of this history, and 
could not be avoided. 




119 




CHAPTER EIGHTH 



C^e first gjouroei? toity t^e KefnDee* 



THOSE were happy days for Claus when 
he carried his accumulation of toys to 
the children who had awaited them so 
long. During his imprisonment in the Valley 
he had been so industrious that all his shelves 
were filled with playthings, and after quickly 
supplying the little ones living near by he saw 
he must now extend his travels to wider fields. 
Remembering the time when he had jour- 
neyed with Ak through all the world, he knew 
children were everywhere, and he longed to 
make as many as possible happy with his gifts. 
So he loaded a great sack with all kinds of 
toys, slung it upon his back that he might carry 



C^e Life ano aabcntutes of ^attta Claug 

it more easily, and started off on a longer trip 
than he had yet undertaken. 

Wherever he showed his merry face, in hamlet 
or in farmhouse, he received a cordial welcome, 
for his fame had spread into far lands. At each 
village the children swarmed about him, follow- 
ing his footsteps wherever he went; and the 
women thanked him gratefully for the joy he 
brought their little ones; and the men looked 
upon him curiously that he should devote his 
time to such a queer occupation as toy-making. 
But every one smiled on him and gave him 
kindly words, and Claus felt amply repaid for 
his long journey. 

When the sack was empty he went back again 
to the Laughing Valley and once more filled it 
to the brim. This time he followed another 
road, into a different part of the country, and 
carried happiness to many children who never 
before had owned a toy or guessed that such a 
delightful plaything existed. 



€I)e life and aofoettatteg of ^anta Ciaug 

After a third journey, so far away that Claus 
was many days walking the distance, the store 
of toys became exhausted and without delay he 
set about making a fresh supply. 

From seeing so many children and studying 
their tastes he had acquired several new ideas 
about toys. 

The dollies were, he had found, the most 
delightful of all playthings for babies and 
little girls, and often those who could not 
say "dolly" would call for a "doll" in 
their sweet baby talk. So Claus resolved to 
make many dolls, of all sizes, and to dress 
them in bright- colored clothing. The older 
boys — and even some of the girls — loved the 
images of animals, so he still made cats and 
elephants and horses. And many of the little 
fellows had musical natures, and longed for 
drums and cymbals and whistles and horns. So 
he made a number of toy drums, with tiny sticks 
to beat them with ; and he made whistles from 



C^e JLtfe atto aDtoenturcg of ^>attta Claus 

the willow trees, and horns from the bog-reeds, 
and cymbals from bits of beaten metal. 

All this kept him busily at work, and before 
he realized it the winter season came, with deeper 
snows than usual, and he knew he could not 
leave the Valley with his heavy pack. More- 
over, the next trip would take him farther from 
home than ever before, and Jack Frost was mis- 
chievous enough to nip his nose and ears if he 
undertook the long journey while the Frost 
King reigned. The Frost King was Jack's father 
and never reproved him for his pranks. 

So Claus remained at his work-bench; but 
he whistled and sang as merrily as ever, for he 
would allow no disappointment to sour his tem- 
per or make him unhappy. 

One bright morning he looked from his win- 
dow and saw two of the deer he had known in 
the Forest walking toward his house. 

Claus was surprised; not that the friendly 
deer should visit him, but that they walked on 

123 




C^e Life ana adventures of ^>anta Clans? 

the surface of the snow as easily as if it were 
solid ground, notwithstanding the fact that 
throughout the Valley the snow lay many feet 
deep. He had walked out of his house a day or 
two before and had sunk to his arm- pits in 
a drift. 

So when the deer came near he opened the 
door and called to them : 

" Good morning, Flossie ! Tell me how you 
are able to walk on the snow so easily." 

" It is frozen hard," answered Flossie. 

" The Frost King has breathed on it," said 
Glossie, coming up, " and the surface is now 
as solid as ice." 

" Perhaps," remarked Claus, thoughtfully, " I 
might now carry my pack of toys to the chil- 
dren." 

"Is it a long journey? " asked Flossie. 

"Yes; it will take me many days, for the 
pack is heavy," answered Claus. 

" Then the snow would melt before you 

124 



C^c JLtfe ana atfocntuteg of |a>anta Claus 

could get back," said the deer. "You must 
wait until spring, Claus." 

Claus sighed. " Had I your fleet feet," said 
he, "I could make the journey in a day." 

" But you have not," returned Glossie, look- 
ing at his own slender legs with pride. 

"Perhaps I could ride upon your back," 
Claus ventured to remark, after a pause. 

" Oh, no ; our backs are not strong enough 
to bear your weight," said Flossie, decidedly. 
" But if you had a sledge, and could harness us 
to it, we might draw you easily, and your pack 
as well." 

" I'll make a sledge ! " exclaimed Claus. "Will 
you agree to draw me if I do ? " 

"Well," replied Flossie, "we must first go 
and ask the Knooks, who are our guardians, for 
permission; but if they consent, and you can 
make a sledge and harness, we will gladly assist 
you." 

" Then go at once ! " cried Claus, eagerly. 
125 



Cije Life ana aabenturess of ^>anta Claws 

" I am sure the friendly Knooks will give their 
consent, and by the time you are back I shall 
be ready to harness you to my sledge." 

Flossie and Glossie, being deer of much in- 
telligence, had long wished to see the great 
world, so they gladly ran over the frozen snow 
to ask the Knooks if they might carry Claus on 
his journey. 

Meantime the toy-maker hurriedly began the 
construction of a sledge, using material from his 
wood-pile. He made two long runners that 
turned upward at the front ends, and across 
these nailed short boards, to make a platform. 
It was soon completed, but was as rude in ap- 
pearance as it is possible for a sledge to be. 

The harness was more difficult to prepare, 
but Claus twisted strong cords together and 
knotted them so they would fit around the 
necks of the deer, in the shape of a collar. 
From these ran other cords to fasten the deer 
to the front of the sledge. 

126 



C^e Hffe and a&bcntureg of ^anta Claug 

Before the work was completed Glossie and 
Flossie were back from the Forest, having been 
granted permission by Will Knook to make the 
journey with Claus provided they would return 
to Burzee by daybreak the next morning. 

"That is not a very long time," said Flossie; 
" but we are swift and strong, and if we get 
started by this evening we can travel many miles 
during the night." 

Claus decided to make the attempt, so he 
hurried on his preparations as fast as possible. 
After a time he fastened the collars around the 
necks of his steeds and harnessed them to his 
rude sledge. Then he placed a stool on the 
little platform, to serve as a seat, and filled a 
sack with his prettiest toys. 

" How do you intend to guide us ? " asked 
Glossie. " We have never been out of the Forest 
before, except to visit your house, so we shall 
not know the way." 

Claus thought about that for a moment. 
127 



C^e Utt ano aDbetttureg of ^>attta Clang 

Then he brought more cords and fastened two 
of them to the spreading antlers of each deer, 
one on the right and the other on the left. 

" Those will be my reins," said Claus, " and 
when I pull them to the right or to the left you 
must go in that direction. If I do not pull the 
reins at all you may go straight ahead." 

" Very well," answered Glossie and Flossie ; 
and then they asked : " Are you ready ? " 

Claus seated himself upon the stool, placed 
the sack of toys at his feet, and then gathered 
up the reins. 

"All ready!" he shouted; "away we go!" 

The deer leaned forward, lifted their slender 
limbs, and the next moment away flew the sledge 
over the frozen snow. The swiftness of the mo- 
tion surprised Claus, for in a few strides they 
were across the Valley and gliding over the 
broad plain beyond. 

The day had melted into evening by the time 
they started ; for, swiftly as Claus had worked, 



C^e tift ana aabenturcg of ^>attta ClaujS 

many hours had been consumed in making his 
preparations. But the moon shone brightly to 
light their way, and Claus soon decided it was 
just as pleasant to travel by night as by day. 

The deer liked it better; for, although they 
wished to see something of the world, they were 
timid about meeting men, and now all the 
dwellers in the towns and farmhouses were 
sound asleep and could not see them. 

Away and away they sped, on and on over 
the hills and through the valleys and across the 
plains until they reached a village where Claus 
had never been before. 

Here he called on them to stop, and they im- 
mediately obeyed. But a new difficulty now 
presented itself, for the people had locked their 
doors when they went to bed, and Claus found 
he could not enter the houses to leave his toys. 

" I am afraid, my friends, we have made our 
journey for nothing," said he, "for I shall be 
obliged to carry my playthings back home again 

129 



C^c life aito aafcetttureg of ^>attta Claug 




without giving them to the children of this 
village." 

"What's the matter?" asked Flossie. 

" The doors are locked," answered Claus, 
" and I can not get in." 

Glossie looked around at the houses. The 
snow was quite deep in that village, and just 
before them was a roof only a few feet above 
the sledge. A broad chimney, which seemed to 
Glossie big enough to admit Claus, was at the 
peak of the roof. 

"Why don't you climb down that chimney?" 
asked Glossie. 

Claus looked at it. 

" That would be easy enough if I were on 
top of the roof," he answered. 

" Then hold fast and we will take you there," 
said the deer, and they gave one bound to the 
| roof and landed beside the big chimney. 

" Good ! " cried Claus, well pleased, and he 



130 



Ctje Life and aDtocntuteg of ^>anta Claug 

slung the pack of toys over his shoulder and got 
into the chimney. 

There was plenty of soot on the bricks, but 
he did not mind that, and by placing his hands 
and knees against the sides he crept downward 
until he had reached the fireplace. Leaping 
lightly over the smoldering coals he found him- 
self in a large sitting-room, where a dim light 
was burning. 

From this room two doorways led into smaller 
chambers. In one a woman lay asleep, with a 
baby beside her in a crib. 

Claus laughed, but he did not laugh aloud 
for fear of waking the baby. Then he slipped a 
big doll from his pack and laid it in the crib. 
The little one smiled, as if it dreamed of the 
pretty plaything it was to find on the morrow, 
and Claus crept softly from the room and en- 
tered at the other doorway. 

Here were two boys, fast asleep with their 
arms around each other's neck. Claus gazed at 

131 




C^e Hit ana atfoentureg of ^>attta Claug 

them lovingly a moment and then placed upon 
the bed a drum, two horns and a wooden ele- 
phant. 

He did not linger, now that his work in this 
house was done, but climbed the chimney again 
and seated himself on his sledge. 

"Can you find another chimney?" he asked 
the reindeer. 

" Easily enough," replied Glossie and Flossie. 

Down to the edge of the roof they raced, 
and then, without pausing, leaped through the 
air to the top of the next building, where a 
huge, old-fashioned chimney stood. 

" Don't be so long, this time," called Flossie, 
" or we shall never get back to the Forest by 
daybreak." 

Claus made a trip down this chimney also 
and found five children sleeping in the house, 
all of whom were quickly supplied with toys. 

When he returned the deer sprang to the 
next roof, but on descending the chimney Claus 

132 



W$z Life auo aobentureg of ^anta Claug 

found no children there at all. That was not 
often the case in this village, however, so he lost 
less time than you might suppose in visiting the 
dreary homes where there were no little ones. 

When he had climbed down the chimneys of 
all the houses in that village, and had left a toy 
for every sleeping child, Claus found that his 
great sack was not yet half emptied. 

"Onward, friends!" he called to the deer; 
"we must seek another village." 

So away they dashed, although it was long 
past midnight, and in a surprisingly short time 
they came to a large city, the largest Claus had 
ever visited since he began to make toys. But, 
nothing daunted by the throng of houses, he 
set to work at once and his beautiful steeds car- 
ried him rapidly from one roof to another, only 
the highest being beyond the leaps of the agile 
deer. 

At last the supply of toys was exhausted and 
Claus seated himself in the sledge, with the 

*33 



C^e life anD 3Ltit»cnturcjS of ^>anta Claug 

empty sack at his feet, and turned the heads of 
Glossie and Flossie toward home. 

Presently Flossie asked: 

" What is that gray streak in the sky ? " 

" It is the coming dawn of day," answered 
Claus, surprised to find that it was so late. 

" Good gracious ! " exclaimed Glossie ; " then 
we shall not be home by daybreak, and the 
Knooks will punish us and never let us come 
again." 

" We must race for the Laughing Valley and 
make our best speed," returned Flossie; "so 
hold fast, friend Claus ! " 

Claus held fast and the next moment was 
flying so swiftly over the snow that he could 
not see the trees as they whirled past. Up hill 
and down dale, swift as an arrow shot from 
a bow they dashed, and Claus shut his eyes to 
keep the wind out of them and left the deer to 
find their own way. 

It seemed to him they were plunging through 

*34 



C^e JLifc ano aofcentutxg of ^>anta Claujs 

space, but he was not at all afraid. The Knooks 
were severe masters, and must be obeyed at all 
hazards, and the gray streak in the sky was 
growing brighter every moment. 

Finally the sledge came to a sudden stop and 
Claus, who was taken unawares, tumbled from 
his seat into a snowdrift. As he picked himself 
up he heard the deer crying: 

"Quick, friend, quick! Cut away our har- 
ness ! " 

He drew his knife and rapidly severed the 
cords, and then he wiped the moisture from his 
eyes and looked around him. 

The sledge had come to a stop in the Laugh- 
ing Valley, only a few feet, he found, from his 
own door D In the East the day was breaking, 
and turning to the edge of Burzee he saw Glos- 
sie and Flossie just disappearing in the Forest. 





£s>anta Clang ! " 



CLAUS thought that none of the children 
would ever know where the toys came 
from which they found by their bedsides 
when they wakened the following morning. But 
kindly deeds are sure to bring fame, and fame 
has many wings to carry its tidings into far lands ; 
so for miles and miles in every direction people 
were talking of Claus and his wonderful gifts to 
children. The sweet generousness of his work 
caused a few selfish folk to sneer, but even these 
were forced to admit their respect for a man so 
gentle-natured that he loved to devote his life 
to pleasing the helpless little ones of his race. 

Therefore the inhabitants of every city and 
village had been eagerly watching the coming of 

136 




€Ije life ana atfoetttureg of ^anta Claug 

Claus, and remarkable stones of his beautiful 
playthings were told the children to keep them 
patient and contented. 

When, on the morning following the first trip 
of Claus with his deer, the little ones came run- 
ning to their parents with the pretty toys they 
had found, and asked from whence they came, 
there was but one reply to the question. 

" The good Claus must have been here, my 
darlings; for his are the only toys in all the 
world ! " 

"But how did he get in?" asked the children. 

At this the fathers shook their heads, being 
themselves unable to understand how Claus had 
gained admittance to their homes; but the 
mothers, watching the glad faces of their dear 
ones, whispered that the good Claus was no 
mortal man but assuredly a Saint, and they 
piously blessed his name for the happiness he 
had bestowed upon their children. 

" A Saint," said one, with bowed head, " has 

J 37 



C^e life and aotocntutcg of ^>attta Claujs 

no need to unlock doors if it pleases him to 
enter our homes." 

And, afterward, when a child was naughty or 
disobedient, its mother would say: 

" You must pray to the good Santa Claus for 
forgiveness. He does not like naughty children, 
and, unless you repent, he will bring you no 
more pretty toys." 

But Santa Claus himself would not have ap- 
proved this speech. He brought toys to the 
children because they were little and helpless, 
and because he loved them. He knew that the 
best of children were sometimes naughty, and 
that the naughty ones were often good. It is 
the way with children, the world over, and he 
would not have changed their natures had he 
possessed the power to do so. 

And that is how our Claus became Santa 
Claus. It is possible for any man, by good 
deeds, to enshrine himself as a Saint in the 
hearts of the people. 





T 



~^HE day that broke as Glaus returned 
from his night ride with Glossie and 
Flossie brought to him a new trouble. 
Will Knook, the chief guardian of the deer, 
came to him, surly and ill-tempered, to com- 
plain that he had kept Glossie and Flossie be- 
yond daybreak, in opposition to his orders» 

"Yet it could not have been very long after 
daybreak," said Claus. 

" It was one minute after," answered Will 
Knook, " and that is as bad as one hour. I shall 
set the stinging gnats on Glossie and Flossie, 
and they will thus suffer terribly for their dis- 
obedience." 



*39 



Clje JLtfe and atfoentirceg of ^>anta eiaug 

"Don't do that!" begged Claus. "It was 
my fault." 

But Will Knook would listen to no excuses, 
and went away grumbling and growling in his 
ill-natured way. 

For this reason Claus entered the Forest to 
consult Necile about rescuing the good deer 
from punishment. To his delight he found his 
old friend, the Master Woodsman, seated in the 
circle of Nymphs. 

Ak listened to the story of the night journey 
to the children and of the great assistance the 
deer had been to Claus by drawing his sledge 
over the frozen snow. 

" I do not wish my friends to be punished if 
I can save them," said the toy-maker, when he 
had finished the relation. " They were only one 
minute late, and they ran swifter than a bird 
flies to get home before daybreak." 

Ak stroked his beard thoughtfully a moment, 
and then sent for the Prince of the Knooks, 

140 



C^e Life attD aDtocututeg of ^attta Claug 

who rules all his people in Burzee, and also for 
the Queen of the Fairies and the Prince of 
the Ryls. 

When all had assembled Claus told his story 
again, at Ak's command, and then the Master 
addressed the Prince of the Knooks, saying : 

" The good work that Claus is doing among 
mankind deserves the support of every honest 
immortal. Already he is called a Saint in some 
of the towns, and before long the name of Santa 
Claus will be lovingly known in every home 
that is blessed with children. Moreover, he is a 
son of our Forest, so we owe him our encour- 
agement. You, Ruler of the Knooks, have 
known him these many years ; am I not right 
in saying he deserves our friendship ? " 

The Prince, crooked and sour of visage as all 
Knooks are, looked only upon the dead leaves 
at his feet and muttered : " You are the Master 
Woodsman of the World ! " 

Ak smiled, but continued, in soft tones: "It 

141 




Cl)e Life ant) atfocnturcg of ^>anta Claus 

seems that the deer which are guarded by your 
people can be of great assistance to Claus, and 
as they seem willing to draw his sledge I beg 
that you will permit him to use their services 
whenever he pleases." 

The Prince did not reply, but tapped the 
curled point of his sandal with the tip of his 
spear, as if in thought. 

Then the Fairy Queen spoke to him in this 
way: "If you consent to Ak's request I will 
see that no harm comes to your deer while they 
are away from the Forest." 

And the Prince of the Ryls added: "For my 
part I will allow to every deer that assists Claus 
the privilege of eating my casa plants, which 
give strength, and my grawle plants, which give 
fleetness of foot, and my marbon plants, which 
give long life." 

And the Queen of the Nymphs said : " The 
deer which draw the sledge of Claus will be 
permitted to bathe in the Forest pool of Nares, 

142 



C^e life and atfoentirceg of ^>attta Claug 

which will give them sleek coats and wonderful 
beauty." 

The Prince of the Knooks, hearing these 
promises, shifted uneasily on his seat, for in his 
heart he hated to refuse a request of his fellow 
immortals, although they were asking an unusual 
favor at his hands, and the Knooks are unaccus- 
tomed to granting favors of any kind. Finally 
he turned to his servants and said: 

« Call Will Knook." 

When surly Will came and heard the demands 
of the immortals he protested loudly against 
granting them. 

" Deer are deer," said he, " and nothing but 
deer. Were they horses it would be right to 
harness them like horses. But no one harnesses 
deer because they are free, wild creatures, owing 
no service of any sort to mankind. It would 
degrade my deer to labor for Claus, who is only 
a man in spite of the friendship lavished on 
him by the immortals." 

i43 



C^e life and aDfoetttureg of ^>attta Clauds 

" You have heard," said the Prince to Ak. 
" There is truth in what Will says." 

"Call Glossie and Flossie," returned the 
Master. 

The deer were brought to the conference and 
Ak asked them if they objected to drawing the 
sledge for Claus. 

"No, indeed! " replied Glossie; "we enjoyed 
the trip very much." 

"And we tried hard to get home by day- 
break," added Flossie, " but were unfortunately 
a minute too late." 

"A minute lost at daybreak doesn't matter," 
said Ak. " You are forgiven for that delay." 

" Provided it does not happen again," said 
the Prince of the Knooks, sternly. 

" And will you permit them to make another 
journey with me ? " asked Claus, eagerly. 

The Prince reflected while he gazed at Will, 
who was scowling, and at the Master Woods- 
man, who was smiling. 

144 



C^e Life ana aobentttteg of ^anta Claujs 

Then he stood up and addressed the com- 
pany as follows : 

" Since you all urge me to grant the favor I 
will permit the deer to go with Claus once every 
year, on Christmas Eve, provided they always 
return to the Forest by daybreak. He may select 
any number he pleases, up to ten, to draw his 
sledge, and those shall be known among us as 
Reindeer, to distinguish them from the others. 
And they shall bathe in the Pool of Nares, and 
eat the casa and grawle and marbon plants and 
shall be under the especial protection of the 
Fairy Queen. And now cease scowling, Will 
Knook, for my words shall be obeyed ! " 

He hobbled quickly away through the trees, *tf' 
to avoid the thanks of Claus and the approval 
of the other immortals, and Will, looking as 
cross as ever, followed him. 

But Ak was satisfied, knowing that he could 
rely on the promise of the Prince, however 
grudgingly given ; and Glossie and Flossie ran 

H5 




Ci)c Life ana SHfocntureg of ^>auta Clang 

home, kicking up their heels delightedly at every 
step. 

" When is Christmas Eve ? " Claus asked the 
Master. 

" In about ten days," he replied. 

" Then I can not use the deer this year," said 
Claus, thoughtfully, " for I shall not have time 
enough to make my sackful of toys." 

" The shrewd Prince foresaw that," responded 
Ak, " and therefore named Christmas Eve as 
the day you might use the deer, knowing it 
would cause you to lose an entire year." 

" If I only had the toys the Awgwas stole 
from me," said Claus, sadly, " I could easily fill 
my sack for the children." 

" Where are they ? " asked the Master. 

" I do not know," replied Claus, " but the 
wicked Awgwas probably hid them in the 
mountains." 

Ak turned to the Fairy Queen. 

" Can you find them ? " he asked. 

146 



C^e life anD atfoentmress of ^attta Clauss 

" I will try," she replied, brightly. 

Then Glaus went back to the Laughing Val- 
ley, to work as hard as he could, and a band of 
Fairies immediately flew to the mountain that 
had been haunted by the Awgwas and began a 
search for the stolen toys. 

The Fairies, as we well know, possess won- 
derful powers; but the cunning Awgwas had 
hidden the toys in a deep cave and covered the 
opening with rocks, so no one could look in. 
Therefore all search for the missing playthings 
proved in vain for several days, and Claus, who 
sat at home waiting for news from the Fairies, 
almost despaired of getting the toys before 
Christmas Eve. 

He worked hard every moment, but it took 
considerable time to carve out and to shape 
each toy and to paint it properly, so that on 
the morning before Christmas Eve only half of 
one small shelf above the window was filled 
with playthings ready for the children. 

H7 



C^c Life ano atfoentureg of ^>anta Claug 

But on this morning the Fairies who were 
searching in the mountains had a new thought. 
They joined hands and moved in a straight line 
through the rocks that formed the mountain, 
beginning at the topmost peak and working 
downward, so that no spot could be missed by 
their bright eyes. And at last they discovered 
the cave where the toys had been heaped up by 
the wicked Awgwas. 

It did not take them long to burst open the 
mouth of the cave, and then each one seized as 
many toys as he could carry and they all flew 
to Claus and laid the treasure before him. 

The good man was rejoiced to receive, just 
in the nick of time, such a store of playthings 
with which to load his sledge, and he sent 
word to Glossie and Flossie to be ready for the 
journey at nightfall. 

With all his other labors he had managed to 
find time, since the last trip, to repair the har- 
ness and to strengthen his sledge, so that when 



C^e Life auo atfoentutcg of ^>attta Claug 

the deer came to him at twilight he had no diffi- 
culty in harnessing them. 

" We must go in another direction to-night," 
he told them, "where we shall find children I 
have never yet visited. And we must travel fast 
and work quickly, for my sack is full of toys 
and running over the brim ! " 

So, just as the moon arose, they dashed out 
of the Laughing Valley and across the plain and 
over the hills to the south. The air was sharp 
and frosty and the starlight touched the snow- 
flakes and made them glitter like countless 
diamonds. The reindeer leaped onward with 
strong, steady bounds, and Claus' heart was so 
light and merry that he laughed and sang while 
the wind whistled past his ears : 

"With a ho, ho, ho! 
And a ha, ha, ha ! 
And a ho, ho ! ha, ha, hee ! 



149 



C^e Life and attoentureg of ^>attta Claug 





Now away we go 
O'er the frozen snow, 
As merry as we can be ! " 



Jack Frost heard him and came racing up 
with his nippers, but when he saw it was Claus 
he laughed and turned away again. 

The mother owls heard him as he passed near 
a wood and stuck their heads out of the hollow 
places in the tree-trunks; but when they saw 
who it was they whispered to the owlets nestling 
near them that it was only Santa Claus carrying 
toys to the children. It is strange how much 
those mother owls know. 

Claus stopped at some of the scattered farm- 
houses and climbed down the chimneys to leave 
presents for the babies. Soon after he reached 
a village and worked merrily for an hour distrib- 
uting playthings among the sleeping little ones. 
Then away again he went, singing his joyous 
? carol : 

*5° 



Clje Life anti atfoentureg of ^anta Claug 

" Now away we go 

O'er the gleaming snow, 
While the deer run swift and free ! 

For to girls and boys 

We carry the toys 
That will fill their hearts with glee ! " 

The deer liked the sound of his deep bass 
voice and kept time to the song with their hoof- 
beats on the hard snow; but soon they stopped 
at another chimney and Santa Claus, with spark- 
ling eyes and face brushed red by the wind, 
climbed down its smoky sides and left a present 
for every child the house contained. 

It was a merry, happy night. Swiftly the deer 
ran, and busily their driver worked to scatter his 
gifts among the sleeping children. 

But the sack was empty at last, and the sledge 
headed homeward ; and now again the race with 
daybreak began. Glossie and Flossie had no 
mind to be rebuked a second time for tardiness, 

I 5 I 



Clje Life ana attoentureg of ^>auta Claujs 

so they fled with a swiftness that enabled them 
to pass the gale on which the Frost King rode, 
and soon brought them to the Laughing Valley. 

It is true that when Claus released his steeds 
from their harness the eastern sky was streaked 
with gray, but Glossie and Flossie were deep in 
the Forest before day fairly broke. 

Claus was so wearied with his night's work 
that he threw himself upon his bed and fell into 
a deep slumber, and while he slept the Christ- 
mas sun appeared in the sky and shone upon 
hundreds of happy homes where the sound of 
childish laughter proclaimed that Santa Claus 
had made them a visit. 

God bless him ! It was his first Christmas 
Eve, and for hundreds of years since then he 
has nobly fulfilled his mission to bring happi- 
ness to the hearts of little children. 





CHAPTER ELEVENTH 



t^otu ti)t fftgt ^tocfctngg mere ^img by t^e Canute? 



WHEN you remember that no child, un- 
til Santa Claus began his travels, had 
ever known the pleasure of possessing 
a toy, you will understand how joy crept into 
the homes of those who had been favored with 
a visit from the good man, and how they talked 
of him day by day in loving tones and were 
honestly grateful for his kindly deeds. It is true 
that great warriors and mighty kings and clever 
scholars of that day were often spoken of by 
the people ; but no one of them was so greatly 
beloved as Santa Claus, because none other was 
so unselfish as to devote himself to making 
others happy. For a generous deed lives longer 

*53 



Clje Life anD atfoentuteg of ^>anta Clans 

than a great battle or a king's decree or a 
scholar's essay, because it spreads and leaves its 
mark on all nature and endures through many 
generations. 

The bargain made with the Knook Prince 
changed the plans of Claus for all future time ; 
for, being able to use the reindeer on but one 
night of each year, he decided to devote all the 
other days to the manufacture of playthings, 
and on Christmas Eve to carry them to the 
children of the world. 

But a year's work would, he knew, result in 
a vast accumulation of toys, so he resolved to 
build a new sledge that would be larger and 
stronger and better-fitted for swift travel than 
the old and clumsy one. 

His first act was to visit the Gnome King, 
with whom he made a bargain to exchange 
three drums, a trumpet and two dolls for a pair 
of fine steel runners, curled beautifully at the 
ends. For the Gnome King had children of his 

*54 



€^e Life attD atfoentureg of ^>anta Claug 

own, who, living in the hollows under the earth, 
in mines and caverns, needed something to 
amuse them. 

In three days the steel runners were ready, 
and when Claus brought the playthings to the 
Gnome King, his Majesty was so greatly pleased 
with them that he presented Claus with a string 
of sweet-toned sleigh-bells, in addition to the 
runners. 

" These will please Glossie and Flossie," said 
Claus, as he jingled the bells and listened to 
their merry sound. " But I should have two 
strings of bells, one for each deer." 

" Bring me another trumpet and a toy cat," 
replied the King, " and you shall have a second 
string of bells like the first." 

" It is a bargain ! " cried Claus, and he went 
home again for the toys. 

The new sledge was carefully built, the 
Knooks bringing plenty of strong but thin 
boards to use in its construction. Claus made 



i55 



Cl)c life anD atfocntureg of ^anta Clang 

a high, rounding dash-board to keep off the 
snow cast behind by the fleet hoofs of the deer; 
and he made high sides to the platform so that 
many toys could be carried, and finally he 
mounted the sledge upon the slender steel run- 
ners made by the Gnome King. 

It was certainly a handsome sledge, and big 
and roomy. Claus painted it in bright colors, 
although no one was likely to see it during his 
midnight journeys, and when all was finished he 
sent for Glossie and Flossie to come and look 
at it. 

The deer admired the sledge, but gravely de- 
clared it was too big and heavy for them to 
draw. 

"We might pull it over the snow, to be sure," 
said Glossie ; " but we could not pull it fast 
enough to enable us to visit the far-away cities 
and villages and return to the Forest by day- 
break." 

" Then I must add two more deer to my 
156 



C^e JLffe and aDfoentutejs of ^anta Claus 

team," declared Claus, after a moment's 
thought. 

" The Knook Prince allowed you as many as 
ten. Why not use them all?" asked Flossie. 
" Then we could speed like the lightning and 
leap to the highest roofs with ease." 

"A team of ten reindeer!" cried Claus, de- 
lightedly. " That will be splendid. Please return 
to the Forest at once and select eight other deer 
as like yourselves as possible. And you must all 
eat of the casa plant, to become strong, and of 
the grawle plant, to become fleet of foot, and of 
the marbon plant, that you may live long to ac- 
company me on my journeys. Likewise it will 
be well for you to bathe in the Pool of Nares, 
which the lovely Queen Zurline declares will 
render you rarely beautiful. Should you per- 
form these duties faithfully there is no doubt 
that on next Christmas Eve my ten reindeer 
will be the most powerful and beautiful steeds 
the world has ever seen ! " 

i57 



€i)e Life and ^Dtocnturcg of ^auta Claug 

So Glossie and Flossie went to the Forest to 
choose their mates, and Claus began to consider 
the question of a harness for them all. 

In the end he called upon Peter Knook for 
assistance, for Peter's heart is as kind as his body 
is crooked, and he is remarkably shrewd, as well. 
And Peter agreed to furnish strips of tough 
leather for the harness. 

This leather was cut from the skins of lions 
that had reached such an advanced age that they 
died naturally, and on one side was tawny hair 
while the other side was cured to the softness of 
velvet by the deft Knooks. When Claus received 
these strips of leather he sewed them neatly into 
a harness for the ten reindeer, and it proved 
strong and serviceable and lasted him for many 
years. 

The harness and sledge were prepared at odd 
times, for Claus devoted most of his days to the 
making of toys. These were now much better 
than his first ones had been, for the immortals 

158 



Ctye Life ano aatientirceg of ^>anta Claug 

often came to his house to watch him work and 
to offer suggestions. It was Necile's idea to 
make some of the dolls say "papa" and "mama." 
It was a thought of the Knooks to put a squeak 
inside the lambs, so that when a child squeezed 
them they would say " baa-a-a-a ! " And the 
Fairy Queen advised Claus to put whistles in 
the birds, so they could be made to sing, and 
wheels on the horses, so children could draw 
them around. Many animals perished in the 
Forest, from one cause or another, and their fur 
was brought to Claus that he might cover with 
it the small images of beasts he made for play- 
things. A merry Ryl suggested that Claus make 
a donkey with a nodding head, which he did, 
and afterward found that it amused the little 
ones immensely. And so the toys grew in 
beauty and attractiveness every day, until they 
were the wonder of even the immortals. 

When another Christmas Eve drew near there 
was a monster load of beautiful gifts for the 

*S9 





C^e life ant) atfoetttureg of ^attta Claug 

children ready to be loaded upon the big sledge. 
Claus filled three sacks to the brim, and tucked 
every corner of the sledge-box full of toys be- 
sides. 

Then, at twilight, the ten reindeer appeared 
and Flossie introduced them all to Claus. They 
were Racer and Pacer, Reckless and Speckless, 
Fearless and Peerless, and Ready and Steady, 
who, with Glossie and Flossie, made up the ten 
who have traversed the world these hundreds of 
years with their generous master. They were all 
exceedingly beautiful, with slender limbs, spread- 
ing antlers, velvety dark eyes and smooth coats 
of fawn color spotted with white. 

Claus loved them at once, and has loved them 
ever since, for they are loyal friends and have 
rendered him priceless service. 

The new harness fitted them nicely and soon 
they were all fastened to the sledge by twos, 
with Glossie and Flossie in the lead. These 
wore the strings of sleigh-bells, and were so de- 

160 



C^e life anD atfoentuteg of ^anta Claitf 

lighted with the music they made that they kept 
prancing up and down to make the bells ring. 

Claus now seated himself in the sledge, drew 
a warm robe over his knees and his fur cap over 
his ears, and cracked his long whip as a signal 
to start. 

Instantly the ten leaped forward and were 
away like the wind, while jolly Claus laughed 
gleefully to see them run and shouted a song in 
his big, hearty voice : 

"With a ho, ho, ho! 

And a ha, ha, ha ! 
And a ho, ho, ha, ha, hee ! 

Now away we go 

O'er the frozen snow, 
As merry as we can be ! 



There are many joys 
In our load of toys, 
As many a child will know; 
161 




€^e JLife ana atfoentutreg of ^>attta Claug 

We'll scatter them wide 
On our wild night ride 
O'er the crisp and sparkling snow ! " 



Now it was on this same Christmas Eve that 
little Margot and her brother Dick and her 
cousins Ned and Sara, who were visiting at 
Margot's house, came in from making a snow 
man, with their clothes damp, their mittens drip- 
ping and their shoes and stockings wet through 
and through. They were not scolded, for Mar- 
got's mother knew the snow was melting, but 
they were sent early to bed that their clothes 
might be hung over chairs to dry. The shoes 
were placed on the red tiles of the hearth, 
where the heat from the hot embers would 
strike them, and the stockings were carefully 
hung in a row by the chimney, directly over the 
fireplace. 

That was the reason Santa Claus noticed 
them when he came down the chimney that 

162 



C^e Htfe an& aDfoentureg of ^anta Claug 

night and all the household were fast asleep. 
He was in a tremendous hurry, and seeing the 
stockings all belonged to children he quickly 
stuffed his toys into them and dashed up the 
chimney again, appearing on the roof so sud- 
denly that the reindeer were astonished at his 
agility. 

" I wish they would all hang up their stock- 
ings," he thought, as he drove to the next 
chimney. " It would save me a lot of time and 
I could then visit more children before day- 
break." 

When Margot and Dick and Ned and Sara 
jumped out of bed next morning and ran down- 
stairs to get their stockings from the fireplace 
they were filled with delight to find the toys 
from Santa Claus inside them. In fact, I think 
they found more presents in their stockings than 
any other children of that city had received, 
for Santa Claus was in a hurry and did not 
PTftstop to count the toys. 





Clje life and atfoentureg of ^>anta Claug 

Of course they told all their little friends 
about it, and of course every one of them de- 
cided to hang his own stockings by the fire- 
place the next Christmas Eve. Even Bessie 
Blithesome, who made a visit to that city with 
her father, the great Lord of Lerd, heard the 
story from the children and hung her own pretty 
stockings by the chimney when she returned 
home at Christmas time. 

On his next trip Santa Claus found so many 
stockings hung up in anticipation of his visit 
that he could fill them in a jiffy and be away 
again in half the time required to hunt the 
children up and place the toys by their bed- 
sides. 

The custom grew year after year, and has 
always been a great help to Santa Claus. And, 
with so many children to visit, he surely needs 
all the help we are able to give him. 





C^e tfitsst C&rtetmag %m 



CLAUS has always kept his promise to the 
Knooks by returning to the Laughing 
Valley by daybreak, but only the swift- 
ness of his reindeer has enabled him to do this, 
for he travels over all the world. 

He loved his work and he loved the brisk 
night ride on his sledge and the gay tinkle of 
the sleigh-bells. On that first trip with the ten 
reindeer only Glossie and Flossie wore bells ; 
but each year thereafter for eight years Claus 
carried presents to the children of the Gnome 
King, and that good-natured monarch gave him 
in return a string of bells at each visit, so that 
finally every one of the ten deer was supplied, 

165 



C^e life anD SUfocnturcg of fbanta Clatig 

and you may imagine what a merry tune the 
bells played as the sledge sped over the snow. 

The children's stockings were so long that it 
required a great many toys to fill them, and 
soon Claus found there were other things be- 
sides toys that children love. So he sent some 
of the Fairies, who were always his good friends, 
into the Tropics, from whence they returned with 
great bags full of oranges and bananas which 
they had plucked from the trees. And other 
Fairies flew to the wonderful Valley of Phunny- 
land, where delicious candies and bonbons grow 
thickly on the bushes, and returned laden with 
many boxes of sweetmeats for the little ones. 
These things Santa Claus, on each Christmas 
Eve, placed in the long stockings, together with 
his toys, and the children were glad to get them, 
you may be sure. 

There are also warm countries where there 
is no snow in winter, but Claus and his reindeer 
visited them as well as the colder climes, for 

166 



C^e life anD aDbcntutxg of ^anta Claug 

there were little wheels inside the runners of his 
sledge which permitted it to run as smoothly 
over bare ground as on the snow. And the chil- 
dren who lived in the warm countries learned 
to know the name of Santa Claus as well as 
those who lived nearer to the Laughing Valley. 

Once, just as the reindeer were ready to start 
on their yearly trip, a Fairy came to Claus and 
told him of three little children who lived be- 
neath a rude tent of skins on a broad plain 
where there were no trees whatever. These poor 
babies were miserable and unhappy, for their 
parents were ignorant people who neglected 
them sadly. Claus resolved to visit these children 
before he returned home, and during his ride he 
picked up the bushy top of a pine tree which 
the wind had broken off and placed it in his 
sledge. 

It was nearly morning when the deer stopped 
before the lonely tent of skins where the poor 
children lay asleep. Claus at once planted the 

167 





C^e Life and atibentutcg of ^aitta Claug 

bit of pine tree in the sand and stuck many 
candles on the branches. Then he hung some 
of his prettiest toys on the tree, as well as sev- 
eral bags of candies. It did not take long to do 
all this, for Santa Claus works quickly, and when 
all was ready he lighted the candles and, thrust- 
ing his head in at the opening of the tent, he 
shouted : 

"Merry Christmas, little ones!" 

With that he leaped into his sledge and was 
out of sight before the children, rubbing the 
sleep from their eyes, could come out to see 
who had called them. 

You can imagine the wonder and joy of those 
little ones, who had never in their lives known 
a real pleasure before, when they saw the tree, 
sparkling with lights that shone brilliant in the 
gray dawn and hung with toys enough to make 
them happy for years to come! They joined 
hands and danced around the tree, shouting and 
laughing, until they were obliged to pause for 

1 68 



C^e life ana atfoetttirceg of ^>anta €lam 



breath. And their parents, also, came out to 
look and wonder, and thereafter had more re- 
spect and consideration for their children, since 
Santa Claus had honored them with such beau- 
tiful gifts. 

The idea of the Christmas tree pleased Claus, 
and so the following year he carried many of 
them in his sledge and set them up in the homes 
of poor people who seldom saw trees, and placed 
candles and toys on the branches. Of course he 
could not carry enough trees in one load for all 
who wanted them, but in some homes the fathers 
were able to get trees and have them all ready 
for Santa Claus when he arrived; and these the 
good Claus always decorated as prettily as pos- 
sible and hung with toys enough for all the 
children who came to see the tree lighted. 

These novel ideas and the generous manner 
in which they were carried out made the chil- 
dren long for that one night in the year when 
their friend Santa Claus should visit them, and 

169 







C^e Life ana atfoentureg of ^>anta Claug 

as such anticipation is very pleasant and com- 
forting the little ones gleaned much happiness 
by wondering what would happen when Santa 
Claus next arrived. 

Perhaps you remember that stern Baron 
Braun who once drove Claus from his castle and 
forbade him to visit his children ? Well, many 
years afterward, when the old Baron was dead 
and his son ruled in his place, the new Baron 
Braun came to the house of Claus with his train 
of knights and pages and henchmen and, dis- 
mounting from his charger, bared his head 
humbly before the friend of children. 

" My father did not know your goodness and 
worth," he said, " and therefore threatened to 
hang you from the castle walls. But I have 
children of my own, who long for a visit from 
Santa Claus, and I have come to beg that you 
will favor them hereafter as you do other 
children." 

Claus was pleased with this speech, for Castle 

170 



C^e JLtfe ana atfocntutxg of ^>anta Claujs 

Braun was the only place he had never visited, 
and he gladly promised to bring presents to the 
Baron's children the next Christmas Eve. 

The Baron went away contented, and Claus 
kept his promise faithfully. 

Thus did this man, through very goodness, 
conquer the hearts of all ; and it is no wonder 
he was ever merry and gay, for there was no 
home in the wide world where he was not wel- 
comed more royally than any king. 




171 




C^e jftatttle of gjmmottaliti? 



AND now we come to a turning-point in 
the career of Santa Claus, and it is my 
duty to relate the most remarkable cir- 
cumstance that has happened since the world 
began or mankind was created. 

We have followed the life of Claus from the 
time he was found a helpless infant by the 
Wood-Nymph Necile and reared to manhood 
in the great Forest of Burzee. And we know 
how he began to make toys for children and 
how, with the assistance and good-will of the 
immortals, he was able to distribute them to the 
little ones throughout the world. 

For many years he carried on this noble 

i75 



Clje Life anti atfoeuturcg of ^attta Clang 

work; for the simple, hard-working life he led 
gave him perfect health and strength. And 
doubtless a man can live longer in the beautiful 
Laughing Valley, where there are no cares and 
everything is peaceful and merry, than in any 
other part of the world. 

But when many years had rolled away Santa 
Claus grew old. The long beard of golden 
brown that once covered his cheeks and chin 
gradually became gray, and finally turned to 
pure white. His hair was white, too, and there 
were wrinkles at the corners of his eyes, which 
showed plainly when he laughed. He had never 
been a very tall man, and now he became fat, 
and waddled very much like a duck when he 
walked. But in spite of these things he re- 
mained as lively as ever, and was just as jolly 
and gay, and his kind eyes sparkled as brightly 
as they did that first day when he came to the 
Laughing Valley. 

Yet a time is sure to come when every mortal 

176 



€^e life and atfoetttureg of ^>anta Claug 

who has grown old and lived his life is required 
to leave this world for another; so it is no 
wonder that, after Santa Claus had driven his 
reindeer on many and many a Christmas Eve, 
those stanch friends finally whispered among 
themselves that they had probably drawn his 
sledge for the last time. 

Then all the Forest of Burzee became sad 
and all the Laughing Valley was hushed; for 
every living thing that had known Claus had 
used to love him and to brighten at the sound 
of his footsteps or the notes of his merry whistle. 

No doubt the old man's strength was at last 
exhausted, for he made no more toys, but lay 
on his bed as in a dream. 

The Nymph Necile, she who had reared him 
and been his foster-mother, was still youthful 
and strong and beautiful, and it seemed to her 
but a short time since this aged, gray-bearded 
man had lain in her arms and smiled on her 
with his innocent, baby lips. 

177 



C^e Life ana £Dfoetttute0 of ^auta Claxijs 

In this is shown the difference between mor- 
tals and immortals. 

It was fortunate that the great Ak came to 
the Forest at that time. Necile sought him with 
troubled eyes and told him of the fate that 
threatened their friend Claus. 

At once the Master became grave, and he 
leaned upon his ax and stroked his grizzled 
beard thoughtfully for many minutes. Then 
suddenly he stood up straight, and poised his 
powerful head with firm resolve, and stretched 
out his great right arm as if determined on 
doing some mighty deed. For a thought had 
come to him so grand in its conception that all 
the world might well bow before the Master 
Woodsman and honor his name forever ! 

It is well known that when the great Ak once 
undertakes to do a thing he never hesitates an 
instant. Now he summoned his fleetest mes- 
sengers, and sent them in a flash to many parts 
of the earth. And when they were gone he 

178 



Stye Life attD atfoetttirceg of ffeattta Claug 

turned to the anxious Necile and comforted 
her, saying: 

"Be of good heart, my child; our friend still 
lives. And now run to your Queen and tell 
her that I have summoned a council of all the 
immortals of the world to meet with me here in 
Burzee this night. If they obey, and harken 
unto my words, Claus will drive his reindeer 
for countless ages yet to come." 

At midnight there was a wondrous scene in 
the ancient Forest of Burzee, where for the first 
time in many centuries the rulers of the im- 
mortals who inhabit the earth were gathered 
together. 

There was the Queen of the Water Sprites, 
whose beautiful form was as clear as crystal but 
continually dripped water on the bank of moss 
where she sat. And beside her was the King of 
the Sleep Fays, who carried a wand from the 
end of which a fine dust fell all around, so that 
no mortal could keep awake long enough to 

179 



C^e life and &Dfccuture0 of ^attta Claujs 

see him, as mortal eyes were sure to close in 
sleep as soon as the dust filled them. And next 
to him sat the Gnome King, whose people in- 
habit all that region under the earth's surface, 
where they guard the precious metals and the 
jewel stones that lie buried in rock and ore. 
At his right hand stood the King of the Sound 
Imps, who had wings on his feet, for his people 
are swift to carry all sounds that are made. 
When they are busy they carry the sounds but 
short distances, for there are many of them; but 
sometimes they speed with the sounds to places 
miles and miles away from where they are made. 
The King of the Sound Imps had an anxious 
and careworn face, for most people have no 
consideration for his Imps and, especially the 
boys and girls, make a great many unnecessary 
sounds which the Imps are obliged to carry 
when they might be better employed. 

The next in the circle of immortals was the 
King of the Wind Demons, slender of frame, 



C^e Life and aDfoentiireg of ^>anta Clang 

restless and uneasy at being confined to one 
place for even an hour. Once in a while he 
would leave his place and circle around the 
glade, and each time he did this the Fairy 
Queen was obliged to untangle the flowing 
locks of her golden hair and tuck them back of 
her pink ears. But she did not complain, for it 
was not often that the King of the Wind Demons 
came into the heart of the Forest. After the 
Fairy Queen, whose home you know was in old 
Burzee, came the King of the Light Elves, with 
his two Princes, Flash and Twilight, at his back. 
He never went anywhere without his Princes, 
for they were so mischievous that he dared not 
let them wander alone. 

Prince Flash bore a lightning-bolt in his right 
hand and a horn of gunpowder in his left, and 
his bright eyes roved constantly around, as if he 
longed to use his blinding flashes. Prince Twi- 
light held a great snuffer in one hand and a big 
black cloak in the other, and it is well known 



Clje life and aafccnturcg of ^anta Clang 

that unless Twilight is carefully watched the 
snuffers or the cloak will throw everything into 
darkness, and Darkness is the greatest enemy 
the King of the Light Elves has. 

In addition to the immortals I have named 
were the King of the Knooks, who had come 
from his home in the jungles of India; and the 
King of the Ryls, who lived among the gay 
flowers and luscious fruits of Valencia. Sweet 
Queen Zurline of the Wood-Nymphs completed 
the circle of immortals. 

But in the center of the circle sat three others 
who possessed powers so great that all the Kings 
and Queens showed them reverence. 

These were Ak, the Master Woodsman of the 
World, who rules the forests and the orchards 
and the groves ; and Kern, the Master Hus- 
bandman of the World, who rules the grain 
fields and the meadows and the gardens ; and 
Bo, the Master Mariner of the World, who 
rules the seas and all the craft that float thereon. 



C^e Life ana atfocnturcg of ^>anta Clang 

And all other immortals are more or less subject 
to these three. 

When all had assembled the Master Woods- 
man of the World stood up to address them, 
since he himself had summoned them to the 
council. 

Very clearly he told them the story of Claus, 
beginning at the time when as a babe he had 
been adopted a child of the Forest, and telling 
of his noble and generous nature and his life- 
long labors to make children happy. 

"And now," said Ak, "when he has won the 
love of all the world, the Spirit of Death is hov- 
ering over him. Of all men who have inhabited 
the earth none other so well deserves immor- 
tality, for such a life can not be spared so long 
as there are children of mankind to miss him 
and to grieve over his loss. We immortals are 
the servants of the world, and to serve the world 
we were permitted in the Beginning to exist. 
But what one of us is more worthy of immor- 

183 




C^e Mft ana atfonttuteg of ^>anta Claus 

tality than this man Claus, who so sweetly min- 
isters to the little children ? " 

He paused and glanced around the circle, to 
find every immortal listening to him eagerly and 
nodding approval. Finally the King of the Wind 
Demons, who had been whistling softly to him- 
self, cried out : 

" What is your desire, O Ak ? " 

" To bestow upon Claus the Mantle of Im- 
mortality ! " said Ak, boldly. 

That this demand was wholly unexpected was 
proved by the immortals springing to their feet 
and looking into each other's face with dismay 
and then upon Ak with wonder. For it was a 
grave matter, this parting with the Mantle of 
Immortality. 

The Queen of the Water Sprites spoke in 
her low, clear voice, and the words sounded like 
raindrops splashing upon a window-pane. 

" In all the world there is but one Mantle of 
Immortality," she said. 

184 



C^e life anD atfoentureg of ^>anta Claujs 

The King of the Sound Fays added: 

" It has existed since the Beginning, and no 
mortal has ever dared to claim it." 

And the Master Mariner of the World arose 
and stretched his limbs, saying: 

" Only by the vote of every immortal can it 
be bestowed upon a mortal." 

"I know all this," answered Ak, quietly. 
" But the Mantle exists, and if it was created, 
as you say, in the Beginning, it was because the 
Supreme Master knew that some day it would 
be required. Until now no mortal has deserved 
it, but who among you dares deny that the good 
Claus deserves it ? Will you not all vote to be- 
stow it upon him ? " 

They were silent, still looking upon one an- 
other questioningly. 

" Of what use is the Mantle of Immortality 
unless it is worn?" demanded Ak. "What will 
it profit any one of us to allow it to remain in 
its lonely shrine for all time to come ? " 

,85 




C^c Life anD &tifomtun$ of Ibanta Clang 

" Enough ! " cried the Gnome King, abruptly. 
"We will vote on the matter, yes or no. For 
my part, I say yes ! " 

"And I!" said the Fairy Queen, promptly, 
and Ak rewarded her with a smile. 

" My people in Burzee tell me they have 
learned to love him ; therefore I vote to give 
Claus the Mantle," said the King of the Ryls. 

" He is already a comrade of the Knooks," 
announced the ancient King of that band. "Let 
him have immortality! " 

"Let him have it — let him have it! " sighed 
the King of the Wind Demons. 

"Why not?" asked the King of the Sleep 
Fays. "He never disturbs the slumbers my 
people allow humanity. Let the good Claus be 
immortal ! " 

"I do not object," said the King of the 
Sound Imps. 

"Nor I," murmured the Queen of the Water 
Sprites. 

186 



C^c Life ant) #ot)cnture0 of ^>attta Claug 

" If Claus does not receive the Mantle it is 
clear none other can ever claim it," remarked 
the King of the Light Elves, " so let us have 
done with the thing for all time." 

"The Wood-Nymphs were first to adopt 
him," said Queen Zurline. " Of course I shall 
vote to make him immortal." 

Ak now turned to the Master Husbandman 
of the World, who held up his right arm and 
said " Yes ! " 

And the Master Mariner of the World did 
likewise, after which Ak, with sparkling eyes 
and smiling face, cried out : 

"I thank you, fellow immortals! For all 
have voted < yes,' and so to our dear Claus shall 
fall the one Mantle of Immortality that it is in 
our power to bestow ! " 

" Let us fetch it at once," said the Fay King; 
" I'm in a hurry." 

They bowed assent, and instantly the Forest 
glade was deserted. But in a place midway be- 

187 



C^c life and atfocnturcg of ^anta Claug 

tween the earth and the sky was suspended a 
gleaming crypt of gold and platinum, aglow 
with soft lights shed from the facets of countless 
gems. Within a high dome hung the precious 
Mantle of Immortality, and each immortal 
placed a hand on the hem of the splendid Robe 
and said, as with one voice : 

" We bestow this Mantle upon Claus, who is 
called the Patron Saint of Children ! " 

At this the Mantle came away from its lofty 
crypt, and they carried it to the house in the 
Laughing Valley. 

The Spirit of Death was crouching very near 
to the bedside of Claus, and as the immortals 
approached she sprang up and motioned them 
back with an angry gesture. But when her eyes 
fell upon the Mantle they bore she shrank away 
with a low moan of disappointment and quitted 
that house forever. 

Softly and silently the immortal Band dropped 
upon Claus the precious Mantle, and it closed 



C^e itfe and a&betttirceis of ^anta Claug 

about him and sank into the outlines of his 
body and disappeared from view. It became a 
part of his being, and neither mortal nor im- 
mortal might ever take it from him. 

Then the Kings and Queens who had wrought 
this great deed dispersed to their various homes, 
and all were well contented that they had added 
another immortal to their Band. 

And Claus slept on, the red blood of ever- 
lasting life coursing swiftly through his veins; 
and on his brow was a tiny drop of water that 
had fallen from the ever-melting gown of the 
Queen of the Water Sprites, and over his lips 
hovered a tender kiss that had been left by the 
sweet Nymph Necile. For she had stolen in 
when the others were gone to gaze with rapture 
upon the immortal form of her foster son. 






CHAPTER SECOND 

Wtym t^e ^orltJ $rctu 3DID 



T~ ~"^HE next morning, when Santa Claus 
opened his eyes and gazed around the 
familiar room, which he had feared he 
might never see again, he was astonished to find 
his old strength renewed and to feel the red 
blood of perfect health coursing through his 
veins. He sprang from his bed and stood where 
the bright sunshine came in through his window 
and flooded him with its merry, dancing rays. 
He did not then understand what had hap- 
pened to restore to him the vigor of youth, but 
in spite of the fact that his beard remained the 
color of snow and that wrinkles still lingered in 
the corners of his bright eyes, old Santa Claus 



IQO 



C^e life ant) aMjenturcjs of ^anta Claug 



felt as brisk and merry as a boy of sixteen, and 
was soon whistling contentedly as he busied him- 
self fashioning new toys. J, 

Then Ak came to him and told of the Man- W 
tie of Immortality and how Claus had won it 
through his love for little children. 

It made old Santa look grave for a mo- 
ment to think he had been so favored; but it 
also made him glad to realize that now he need 
never fear being parted from his dear ones. At 
once he began preparations for making a re- 
markable assortment of pretty and amusing play- 
things, and in larger quantities than ever before; 
for now that he might always devote himself to 
this work he decided that no child in the world, 
poor or rich, should hereafter go without a 
Christmas gift if he could manage to supply it. 

The world was new in the days when dear 
old Santa Claus first began toy-making and 
won, by his loving deeds, the Mantle of Im- 
mortality. And the task of supplying cheering 

i 9 i 





C^e Life atto atfocnturos of ^>anta Claujs 

words, sympathy and pretty playthings to all the 
young of his race did not seem a difficult un- 
dertaking at all. But every year more and more 
children were born into the world, and these, 
when they grew up, began spreading slowly over 
all the face of the earth, seeking new homes ; so 
that Santa Claus found each year that his jour- 
neys must extend farther and farther from the 
Laughing Valley, and that the packs of toys 
must be made larger and ever larger. 

So at length he took counsel with his fellow 
immortals how his work might keep pace with 
the increasing number of children that none 
might be neglected. And the immortals were 
so greatly interested in his labors that they gladly 
rendered him their assistance. Ak gave him his 
man Kilter, "the silent and swift." And the 
Knook Prince gave him Peter, who was more 
crooked and less surly than any of his brothers. 
And the Ryl Prince gave him Nuter, the sweet- 
est tempered Ryl ever known. And the Fairy 

192 



Ctye Life and £Dbcntureg of £a>attta Claug 



Queen gave him Wisk, that tiny, mischievous 
but lovable Fairy who knows to-day almost as 
many children as does Santa Claus himself. 

With these people to help make the toys and 
to keep his house in order and to look after the 
sledge and the harness, Santa Claus found it 
much easier to prepare his yearly load of gifts, 
and his days began to follow one another 
smoothly and pleasantly. 

Yet after a few generations his worries were 
renewed, for it was remarkable how the num- 
ber of people continued to grow, and how 
many more children there were every year to 
be served. When the people filled all the cities 
and lands of one country they wandered into 
another part of the world; and the men cut 
down the trees in many of the great forests that 
had been ruled by Ak, and with the wood they 
built new cities, and where the forests had 
been were fields of grain and herds of browsing 
cattle. 





193 



C^e Life anfc atsbenturcg of fbanta Clans 



t 



You might think the Master Woodsman would 
rebel at the loss of his forests; but not so. The 
wisdom of Ak was mighty and far-seeing. 

" The world was made for men," said he to 
Santa Claus, "and I have but guarded the forests 
until men needed them for their use. I am glad 
my strong trees can furnish shelter for men's 
weak bodies, and warm them through the cold 
winters. But I hope they will not cut down all 
the trees, for mankind needs the shelter of the 
woods in summer as much as the warmth of 
blazing logs in winter. And, however crowded 
the world may grow, I do not think men will 
ever come to Burzee, nor to the Great Black 
Forest, nor to the wooded wilderness of Braz ; 
unless they seek their shades for pleasure and 
not to destroy their giant trees*" 

By and by people made ships from the tree- 
trunks and crossed over oceans and built cities 
y£^»in far lands; but the oceans made little differ- 
ence to the journeys of Santa Claus. His rein- 

A »' J 



§~Hr* 



C^e Life and aobcnturcg of ^>anta Clauss 

deer sped over the waters as swiftly as over land, 
and his sledge headed from east to west and 
followed in the wake of the sun. So that as the 
earth rolled slowly over Santa Claus had all of 
twenty-four hours to encircle it each Christmas 
Eve, and the speedy reindeer enjoyed these won- 
derful journeys more and more. 

So year after year, and generation after gen- 
eration, and century after century, the world 
grew older and the people became more nu- 
merous and the labors of Santa Claus steadily 
increased. The fame of his good deeds spread 
to every household where children dwelt. And 
all the little ones loved him dearly; and the 
fathers and mothers honored him for the happi- 
ness he had given them when they too were 
young; and the aged grandsires and grand- 
dames remembered him with tender gratitude 
and blessed his name. 





Cl)e ^cputicss of ^anta Claug 



ITOWEVER, there was one evil following 
I in the path of civilization that caused 
Santa Claus a vast amount of trouble 
before he discovered a way to overcome it. But, 
fortunately, it was the last trial he was forced to 
undergo. 

One Christmas Eve, when his reindeer had 
leaped to the top of a new building, Santa Claus 
was surprised to find that the chimney had been 
built much smaller than usual. But he had no 
time to think about it just then, so he drew in 
his breath and made himself as small as possible 
and slid down the chimney. 

" I ought to be at the bottom by this time," 
196 



C^e life and attoetttutrcg of ^>anta Claujs 

he thought, as he continued to slip downward ; 
but no fireplace of any sort met his view, and 
by and by he reached the very end of the chim- 
ney, which was in the cellar. 

"This is odd!" he reflected, much puzzled 
by this experience. " If there is no fireplace, 
what on earth is the chimney good for ? " 

Then he began to climb out again, and found 
it hard work — the space being so small. And 
on his way up he noticed a thin, round pipe 
sticking through the side of the chimney, but 
could not guess what it was for. 

Finally he reached the roof and said to the 
reindeer : 

" There was no need of my going down that 
chimney, for I could find no fireplace through 
which to enter the house. I fear the children 
who live there must go without playthings this" 
Christmas." 

Then he drove on, but soon came to another 
new house with a small chimney. This caused 

197 




%ty Life ana atfoenturcg of ^anta Claug 

Santa Claus to shake his head doubtfully, but 
he tried the chimney, nevertheless, and found it 
exactly like the other. Moreover, he nearly 
stuck fast in the narrow flue and tore his jacket 
trying to get out again ; so, although he came 
to several such chimneys that night, he did not 
venture to descend any more of them. 

" What in the world are people thinking of, 
to build such useless chimneys ? " he exclaimed. 
" In all the years I have traveled with my rein- 
deer I have never seen the like before." 

True enough; but Santa Claus had not then 
discovered that stoves had been invented and 
were fast coming into use. When he did find it 
out he wondered how the builders of those 
houses could have so little consideration for 
him, when they knew very well it was his cus- 
tom to climb down chimneys and enter houses 
by way of the fireplaces. Perhaps the men who 
built those houses had outgrown their own love 
for toys, and were indifferent whether Santa 



%\)t life attD %Xfomtum$ of ^>anta Clang 

Claus called on their children or not. What- 
ever the explanation might be, the poor children 
were forced to bear the burden of grief and dis- 
appointment. 

The following year Santa Claus found more 
and more of the new-fashioned chimneys that 
had no fireplaces, and the next year still more. 
The third year, so numerous had the narrow 
chimneys become, he even had a few toys left 
in his sledge that he was unable to give away, 
because he could not get to the children. 

The matter had now become so serious that 
it worried the good man greatly, and he decided 
to talk it over with Kilter and Peter and Nuter 
and Wisk. 

Kilter already knew something about it, for 
it had been his duty to run around to all the 
houses, just before Christmas, and gather up 
the notes and letters to Santa Claus that the 
children had written, telling what they wished 
put in their stockings or hung on their Christ- 

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€^c life ano atfoenturcg of ^>anta Claxtjs 

mas trees. But Kilter was a silent fellow, and 
seldom spoke of what he saw in the cities and 
villages. The others were very indignant. 

" Those people act as if they do not wish 
their children to be made happy! " said sensible 
Peter, in a vexed tone. " The idea of shutting 
out such a generous friend to their little ones!" 

" But it is my intention to make children 
happy whether their parents wish it or not," re- 
turned Santa Claus. " Years ago, when I first 
began making toys, children were even more 
neglected by their parents than they are now; 
so I have learned to pay no attention to thought- 
less or selfish parents, but to consider only the 
longings of childhood." 

" You are right, my master," said Nuter, the 
Ryl ; " many children would lack a friend if 
you did not consider them, and try to make 
them happy." 

"Then," declared the laughing Wisk, "we 
must abandon any thought of using these new- 



C^e Life attD atfoentureg of ^>anta Claug 



fashioned chimneys, but become burglars, and 
break into the houses some other way." 

" What way ? " asked Santa Claus. 

" Why, walls of brick and wood and plaster 
are nothing to Fairies. I can easily pass through 
them whenever I wish, and so can Peter and 
Nuter and Kilter. Is it not so, comrades ? " 

" I often pass through the walls when I gather 
up the letters," said Kilter, and that was a long 
speech for him, and so surprised Peter and Nuter 
that their big round eyes nearly popped out of 
their heads. 

" Therefore," continued the Fairy, " you may 
as well take us with you on your next journey, 
and when we c^me to one of those houses with 
stoves instead of fireplaces we will distribute the 
toys to the children without the need of using 
a chimney." 

" That seems to me a good plan," replied 
Santa Claus, well pleased at having solved the 
problem. "We will try it next year." 



€^e Life aitti asjticutitrc^ of ^attta Claug 




That was how the Fairy, the Pixie, the 
Knook and the Ryl all rode in the sledge with 
their master the following Christmas Eve ; and 
they had no trouble at all in entering the new- 
fashioned houses and leaving toys for the chil- 
dren that lived in them. 

And their deft services not only relieved Santa 
Claus of much labor, but enabled him to com- 
plete his own work more quickly than usual, so 
that the merry party found themselves at home 
with an empty sledge a full hour before daybreak. 

The only drawback to the journey was that 
the mischievous Wisk persisted in tickling the 
reindeer with a long feather, to see them 
jump; and Santa Claus found it necessary to 
watch him every minute and to tweak his long 
ears once or twice to make him behave himself. 

But, taken all together, the trip was a great 
success, and to this day the four little folk al- 
ways accompany Santa Claus on his yearly ride 
and help him in the distribution of his gifts. 



C^e Life and aotocnttircg of ^>anta Claujs 

But the indifference of parents, which had so 
annoyed the good Saint, did not continue very 
long, and Santa Claus soon found they were 
really anxious he should visit their homes on 
Christmas Eve and leave presents for their 
children. 

So, to lighten his task, which was fast be- 
coming very difficult indeed, old Santa decided 
to ask the parents to assist him. 

" Get your Christmas trees all ready for my 
coming," he said to them; "and then I shall 
be able to leave the presents without loss of 
time, and you can put them on the trees when 
I am gone." 

And to others he said : " See that the chil- 
dren's stockings are hung up in readiness for 
my coming, and then I can fill them as quick 
as wink." 

And often, when parents were kind and good- 
natured, Santa Claus would simply fling down 
his package of gifts and leave the fathers and 





C^e Life and 3tftenture0 of ^anta Claug 

mothers to fill the stockings after he had darted 
away in his sledge. 

"I will make all loving parents my deputies! " 
cried the jolly old fellow, "and they shall help 
me do my work. For in this way I shall save 
many precious minutes and few children need 
be neglected for lack of time to visit them." 
il *^> Besides carrying around the big packs in his 
swift-flying sledge old Santa began to send great 
heaps of toys to the toy-shops, so that if parents 
wanted larger supplies for their children they 
could easily get them; and if any children were, 
by chance, missed by Santa Claus on his yearly 
rounds, they could go to the toy-shops and get 
enough to make them happy and contented. 
For the loving friend of the little ones decided 
that no child, if he could help it, should long 
for toys in vain. And the toy-shops also proved 
convenient whenever a child fell ill, and needed 
a new toy to amuse it; and sometimes, on birth- 
days, the fathers and mothers go to the toy-shops 

204 



Ctyc life ana atfoetttutcss of ^anta €lam 

and get pretty gifts for their children in honor 
of the happy event. 

Perhaps you will now understand how, in 
spite of the bigness of the world, Santa Claus is 
able to supply all the children with beautiful 
gifts. To be sure, the old gentleman is rarely 
seen in these days; but it is not because he tries 
to keep out of sight, I assure you. Santa Claus 
is the same loving friend of children that in 
the old days used to play and romp with them 
by the hour; and I know he would love to do 
the same now, if he had the time. But, you 
see, he is so busy all the year making toys, and 
so hurried on that one night when he visits our 
homes with his packs, that he comes and goes 
among us like a flash ; and it is almost impos- 
sible to catch a glimpse of him. 

And, although there are millions and millions 
more of children in the world than there used 
to be, Santa Claus has never been known to 
complain of their increasing numbers. 

205 




C^e Life and atrtjenturejs of ^anta Claujs 

"The more the merrier!" he cries, with his 
jolly laugh; and the only difference to him is 
the fact that his little workmen have to make 
their busy fingers fly faster every year to satisfy 
the demands of so many little ones. 

" In all this world there is nothing so beauti- 
ful as a happy child," says good old Santa Claus; 
and if he had his way the children would all be 
beautiful, for all would be happy. 




200