Snow Elf produces magic in mall

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

Chapter 8

The Riverton Valley Mall bustled with activity. Cheery holiday music blasted from the speakers, and hundreds of large, shiny snowflakes and ornaments dangled from the ceiling. Lights twinkled from the tall Christmas tree centered in the food court, and all around them, shoppers crowded the walkways, weighed down with bags and packages.

“This is marvelous!” Georgie proclaimed, grinning merrily at the holiday commotion.

“You’ve never been in a mall before?” Anna asked. Georgie shook his head.

“No, never. This is the only time I’ve ever been away from the North Pole,” he replied.

“The North Pole?” a little voice exclaimed, and they all turned to see a small boy bundled in a puffy winter coat. He stared at Georgie with awe, his eyes lighting up as he took in Georgie’s pointed hat and bright tights. “Are you an elf?”

A tired-looking woman pulled at his hand. “Come on Jake, we don’t talk to strangers, remember?”

“But he’s not a stranger, Mommy,” Jake cried. “He’s an elf. He knows Santa! Right?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Jake’s mom sighed. “He probably just works here.”

Georgie smiled kindly at the little boy and knelt down to his level. “It doesn’t matter if I’m a real elf or not, Jake.”

With a wink, he turned over his hand with a flourish, revealing a miniature snow globe. He shook it, and Jake smiled as he watched the tiny flakes of snow settle. Georgie handed it to him.

“If you accept my gift, you must promise to always be kind to others and a good boy for your mommy. And as long as you keep believing in Santa and spreading Christmas cheer, the magic of Christmas will be kept alive.”

Jake nodded. “I will. I promise!”

His mother gave Georgie a smile, lighting up her tired eyes. “Thank you. You didn’t have to do that.”

Georgie simply grinned back at her. “Have a very Merry Christmas.”

“You, too,” she said, gently tugging Jake’s hand and pulling him after her. Jake looked over his shoulder and waved, the tiny snow globe clasped in his hand. With a mischievous gleam in his eyes, Georgie waved back, and a small flurry of snow glittered to the ground. Jake laughed, then he and his mother disappeared into the crowd.

“Can we get something to eat?” Anna was looking longingly around the food court and Alex had to admit everything smelled delicious. His stomach growled, and he looked at Georgie.

“We have time for a quick bite to eat, right?” he asked, and Georgie shrugged.

“I suppose so. I must say, this place smells delightful,” he replied, and Alex laughed as he led them all to a burger and fry stand. Anna and Georgie secured a table while Alex stood in line to get their dinner.

“I sure am glad to have you and your brother along with me,” Georgie said. “This would be an awfully lonely trip to make all by myself.”

“I’m glad, too,” Anna replied, then frowned. “But how are we going to get you home? Those silly deer didn’t take us where they were supposed to.”

“Well,” Georgie said slowly. “I suppose we could always find more deer.”

Anna grimaced, recalling the horrible somersaults her stomach had done as her doe had descended. “I’m not too sure about that.”

Just as Alex arrived at their table carrying a tray heaped with food, a petite blond woman ran up to them, dressed in an outfit almost identical to Georgie’s.

“Georgie?” she asked, her big blue eyes opening wide. “Is that really you?”

“The Snow Elf” continues tomorrow with Chapter 9.