Alex, Anna and the elf try to find way to North Pole

Editor’s note: This is the fifth chapter of the 12-part holiday tale “The Snow Elf,” running daily through Christmas morning. Parents are encouraged to read aloud to their children.

Georgie the Elf sat on Anna’s polka-dotted bedspread, a worried frown on his face. He tapped his feet nervously against the bed, making the tiny bell on the tip of his striped shoes jingle.

“I really have to get back to the North Pole as quickly as possible,” he said, wringing his hands together.

“So how do you get there?” Alex shook his head as he took in the absurdity of their situation. Before today, if someone had offered him a million dollars to believe he’d meet one of Santa’s elves, he’d have laughed in their face.

“Can’t you just use your magic to get there?” Anna asked.

Georgie shook his head. “I wish it were that simple. It’s not easy to get into the North Pole — its location is top secret. We can’t risk just anyone showing up. Think of what a disaster that could be.”

Anna nodded. “So what do we do?”

Georgie tapped his chin in thought. “Well, there are a few options. How close are we to a Gumdrop River?”

Alex and Anna looked at each other, then at Georgie, both shrugging.

“What in the world is a gumdrop river?” Alex asked.

“It carries the gumdrop syrup.” Georgie gestured with his arms, mimicking the flow of water. “To the North Pole? To make the gumdrop candies? You know, those chewy, sugary little–“

“Yes, we know what gumdrops are,” Alex interrupted. “But a gumdrop river is … well, it’s not real. I’ve never heard of it.”

Georgie looked at Anna, who shook her head sadly. “I’m sorry, Georgie. I don’t know what it is, either.”

The elf’s shoulders slumped. “That’s too bad. We could have followed it right into the North Pole. OK, then … how about a Red Wing Sleigh 2000? Do you have access to one?”

Anna and Alex looked at him blankly and shook their heads.

“That’s also too bad.” Georgie tapped his finger against his chin, and his eyes lit up. “I know! Reindeer! Surely there are reindeer close by?”

Anna glanced at Alex, and he shrugged. “Sorry, but not anywhere even remotely close.”

“There are a lot of regular deer in the woods behind our house,” Anna offered. “Would they work?”

“Hmm.” Georgie hopped off the bed and went to the window again, peering outside at the woods beyond the edge of the Berrys’ backyard. “I don’t see why not. It’s worth a try, at least. Can you take me to them?”

“Of course we can.” Anna ran to the door, eager to get on her boots, coat, and hat and get outside, but Alex wasn’t quite so excited.

“We can try,” he said, “but I don’t think any deer are going to let you get close to them. They’re scared of people.”

Georgie smiled confidently. “I’m sure that won’t be a problem. Animals love elves — they naturally gravitate toward us. As long as you’re with me, they shouldn’t fear you.”

They headed downstairs to bundle up for their trek through the woods. Alex scrawled a quick note for their mom even though she was working late and probably wouldn’t even know they were gone.

“So what, exactly, do you need the deer for?” Alex asked, sticking the note on the fridge.

The elf waved his arm in a big arc. “Why, to convince them to fly, of course.”

“The Snow Elf” continues tomorrow with Chapter 6.