Crushed snow globe sets Christmas elf free

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

Anna stared into the snow globe, her mouth open wide in amazement.

“Are you real?” she whispered, leaning in close. The elf jumped up and down again and nodded.

“Anna, are you almost done?” Alex sat by the front window playing on his phone, and he sounded bored.

She grinned and clutched the snow globe tightly against her chest. “Yes, I’m done! I just need to pay for everything.”

The cashier hardly glanced at the snow globe as she wrapped it in tissue paper. Anna was glad; she didn’t want anything to stop her from taking the little elf home.

“So, did you find any good presents?” Alex asked as he started the car.

“Oh, yes!” Anna wiggled in her seat, hardly able to contain her excitement. The short drive home felt like it took years, but finally they pulled into the driveway and she bolted from the car.

She started for the house, but stopped and ran back to Alex. She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed him in a tight hug.

“Thank you for taking me,” she said, and he ruffled her hair.

“No problem, Banana.”

Anna dashed up into her room and carefully unwrapped the snow globe. She set it on her desk and sat in front of it, staring at the tiny little elf. He stared back, unmoving, and she frowned.

Had she just imagined it?

Frowning thoughtfully, she picked it up and shook it. The glitter fell around the village, and this time when she looked at the elf, he waved at her.

“Hi there!” she said, waving back. She leaned in close, studying the elf. He was talking, but she couldn’t hear him.

“I don’t understand you,” she said, holding her hands up and shrugging. “I’m sorry. Can you hear me?”

The little elf nodded vigorously and Anna smiled.

“OK then, I’ll ask you questions, and you can nod for yes and shake your head for no.”

The elf nodded his agreement, and Anna scrunched up her face as she thought of what to ask him.

“Are you a real elf?”

He nodded.

“So you’re alive?”

He nodded.

“Are you one of Santa’s elves?”

He nodded, harder this time.

“But how did you get inside the snow globe?”

He started talking, gesturing wildly, and she giggled.

“Oops. Can’t hear you. Let’s see… Are you trapped in there?”

His eyes opened wide as he nodded so hard his elf cap flew off.

Anna’s eyes opened wide, too. “Oh, no. You’re trapped? How horrible.”

The elf nodded sadly.

Anna scrunched up her face. “Did Santa put you in there?”

He shook his head, then pointed to himself.

“You put yourself in there? How silly!”

He said something, shaking his head and making more wild hand gestures.

“I’m sorry, elf, I don’t understand,” Anna said.

He stopped, his shoulders drooping.

“Can I help you get out of there?” she asked, and the elf nodded with a huge smile on his face.

“Anna, who are you talking to?” Alex asked, and Anna yelped and jumped. She hadn’t realized Alex was right outside her door.

“Well, I’m talking to the elf,” she said, pointing to the figure in the globe. Alex came closer, peering into the snow globe.

“Oh, really?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. He decided to humor her. “What’s his name?”

Anna frowned. “I don’t know. I can’t hear him. He can only hear me.”

“I see.” Alex picked up the snow globe and shook it hard. A little too hard — it slipped out of his hands and fell onto the hardwood floor, shattering when it landed. “Uh-oh, I’m sorry. I’ll buy you another one, I promise.”

“Oh, no!” Anna cried, rushing to find the elf in the mess. Alex held her back.

“Wait a second, don’t touch the broken glass.”

“No, please don’t, I’d hate to see you get a cut.”

Anna and Alex both jumped and spun around at the unexpected voice, and their jaws dropped at the same time as they took in the sight of an elf standing in front of them.

“The Snow Elf” continues tomorrow with Chapter 3.