The elf recruits deer for flight to find North Pole

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

When they’d set off for the woods, Anna had walked with a bounce in her step. Even though she was worried about the North Pole, she couldn’t help feeling incredibly lucky. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined she’d meet one of Santa’s elves, let alone help him on the most important quest of his life!

But now, hours later with not a single deer in sight, the bounce had left her step and her excitement was replaced by worry.

Plus, it was cold. Despite her coat and mittens, the cold had seeped into her bones and she was shivering. Although he tried to be tough and hide it, Alex was shivering too. Only Georgie the Elf was unaffected by the frigid air. In fact, he seemed more energized the longer they were out.

“Guys, I think we might need to come up with another plan,” Alex said. He waved his arms at the quiet woods. “Who knows if we’ll find any deer? It’s too cold to stay out much longer.”

“I’m sor-sorry, Geor-Georgie,” Anna said through chattering teeth. “It really is cold.”

Georgie let out a frustrated sigh. “Oh, this is terrible. I’d really hoped this would work.”

Just then, Anna saw a flash of brown out of the corner of her eye. She gasped as three deer emerged from the trees just a few feet away.

“No way,” Alex said quietly, hardly able to believe what he was seeing.

“Marvelous,” Georgie said, rubbing his hands together in glee. The deer caught sight of him approaching and Anna was sure they’d run. But they let Georgie approach.

He spoke to them quietly and though Anna couldn’t hear what he was saying, she could swear she saw the deer nodding. Georgie rubbed his hand over them from head to tail, and flecks of glitter left a sparkling trail over their fur.

“Come on,” Georgie called, waving them over. “They’ve agreed to help us.”

Anna and Alex looked at each other.

“We don’t have to go, you know,” he told his sister. “I’m sure Georgie can get home on his own.”

Anna shook her head. “And miss the chance to see the North Pole? No way.”

They cautiously approached the deer, which stood calmly watching them. Anna stared at the creatures in awe; she’d never been this close to a deer, and probably never would be again.

“They’ve agreed to take us as far as they can,” Georgie said. “We’ll be heading north, toward one of the Top Secret Access Portals.”

“Top secret?” Anna repeated. “Will Santa be mad that we’re going to see it?”

Georgie shook his head. “Of course not — I’ve no doubt you can be trusted with the secret.”

Anna nodded solemnly, holding a hand over her heart. “I swear.”

“Scout’s honor,” Alex added, holding up three fingers.

Georgie nodded in satisfaction. “OK, then. Let’s not waste another second.”

The doe in front of him knelt down, allowing Georgie to climb on her back. He leaned forward, wrapping his arms around her neck.

The two deer in front of Anna and Alex knelt as well. Anna climbed right on but Alex bit his lip as he looked at the big buck. “Are you sure this is safe?”

Georgie nodded. “Of course. Just hold on tight.”

Alex let out a breath and climbed onto the muscular back of the deer before he could change his mind. As soon as they were all in place, Georgie snapped his fingers and the deer took off running.

Anna and Alex held on tight as the wind whistled past their ears, and a moment later, the deer all leapt into the air, taking flight.

“The Snow Elf” continues tomorrow with Chapter 7.