don't see why I have to give him some dumb old present,"
nine-year-old Gandrin grumbled, closing his bedroom door.Scowling, he watched snow fall over houses
out his second-story window and wished it would stick.
pocket, he pulled a small crystal toy horse with a silver ring on its tail,
glittering from the ceiling light.
mine," he whispered, grasping the crystal horse."You'll always be mine."
spark flashed across his window.
was that?"Gandrin asked, feeling
his muscles tighten from fright.
"Help!"a shrill voice echoed through the walls."You must help me!"
Gandrin glanced around his bedroom."Where are you?"
slowly leaned his head toward the window and spotted a small, white, pointy
creature floating in the air."Who
from the North," the creature said. "I am Icelis."
stared at the frosty crystal."But
what are you?"
snow!"Icelis said, peevishly."There is no time!Come, be quick, be quick!"The snowflake drifted away.
that the creature didn’t mean him any harm, Gandrin pushed his window
open.Then he looked down."Hey!I can't fly!"
"Oh!Yes, yes!I had forgotten,"cried
watched Icelis lower himself to the ground.He shut the window and snatched his coat from the bedpost and slipped
into his boots.Burying the crystal toy
horse inside his pocket, Gandrin tiptoed down the hall.
his parents' bedroom he peeked inside.His mother's frown as she lay in bed proved that she was still cross
from their talk earlier.
crept downstairs and opened the front door, allowing crisp winter evening air
to burst in."Where are we
save Mr. Claus,"Icelis said."He is in great trouble at ChristmasVillage."
Claus?"Gandrin remarked, hurrying
into his coat."There's no such
thing as Santa Claus."
is no time to argue!"Icelis
proclaimed."You have been
followed, doubtfully studying the three-inch snowflake.His feathery crystals and sharp needles
appeared as if they could break by just one touch."So where is this Mr. Claus?"he asked.
being held captive in ChristmasVillage,"Icelis explained."The Christmas star will not release him
until he has been granted his gift of freedom."
of freedom?"Gandrin asked,
tromping through feet of snow."What do you mean by that?"
Christmas star can only exist on top of ChristmasVillage,"Icelis continued."This makes him very unhappy, and to see
all the children of the village delight in this tradition of giving has
increased his sadness even more so."
walked a great distance before Gandrin had realized that his neighborhood had
vanished, for snow-covered trees were everywhere.He asked,"Why would he want to leave?"
free like the stars in the sky,"Icelis explained, raising his arm."Everywhere, they roam."
watched the clouds as they suddenly rolled away, uncovering the twinkling stars
scattered above.He stepped back,
bracing himself against a large branch to regain his balance, amazed at what he
saw."You're making this
up,"he said hesitantly."Aren't you?"
scowled at Gandrin."Come!Be quick, be quick!"
can't, it's too deep."He tried
lifting one foot higher only to have the other descend even more.
me your hand."Icelis pricked one
finger, sending an icy chill through Gandrin's arm.
"Ouch!"Gandrin shouted, rubbing his finger.Suddenly his boots were lifting him high
above the snowy treetops and the wind sped him on his way.He felt a strong cushion of air support him
from below, as swirls of clouds flew past his face, and imagined that this was
how all the snowflakes and stars felt cushioned by the night sky.
soared beside him."We are
"Where?"Gandrin asked, bubbling with curiosity."I don't see it."
"There."Icelis raised his pointy arm causing a gust
of wind to blow a mountain of snow from what appeared to be a small Christmas
tree lavishly decorated, almost close enough to touch.
Gandrin that the tree seemed no taller than his waist."If I try to climb that, I might damage
the whole village,"he argued.
his head."There is no other
carefully grasped Icelis's pointy hand as they landed.While they walked, Gandrin noticed that
instead of getting closer to the village, the village itself appeared to grow
larger.Colorful blown-glass bulbs,
brilliant tinsel ornaments, and other baubles seemed to expand along with the
branches.Gandrin watched the top push
its way through the sky.
"Stop!"Icelis shrieked at Gandrin."You must watch your step!"He pointed at a frozen stream circling the
bottom of the village.
Gandrin followed him across a branch layered with pine needles, bridging the
stream, and up a path of silver tinsel.They passed gold and silver bulbs dressed as houses with doors, windows,
and chimneys trimmed with cottony snow.Colorful lights blinked from pine needles and sparkled the tinsel along
didn’t see who lived in these houses.Curtains in windows seemed to waver from small breezes but when Gandrin
looked close enough he saw the windows were closed.The hair on the back of his neck began to
rise as he felt eyes staring from all around and he wondered to whom did those
eyes belong.Then he noticed an old man
working on a broken light hanging from a branch, and dressed in clothes similar
to a German boy he had seen in a book.
stepped timidly and tried not to trip over pine needles. The enormous size of
the fragile decorations didn't comfort his thoughts for they appeared so
reached the top, Gandrin peered through the needles at a dim glow above."Where is Mr. Claus?"he whispered to Icelis.
trapped inside of Starlite,"Icelis
watched the giant ball of light glow like a bubbling gray cloud of smoke and
felt his own stomach begin to quiver.
"Halt!"a voice thundered, causing Gandrin to back
away."Come no closer!"
approached the ball of smoke."Starlite, you must release Mr. Claus."
will not be freed,"Starlite
said."Your venture has been
worthless.You must leave at once."
Claus cannot help you,”Icelis
is no other way,"Starlite said,
his glow darkening."He is the one
who must bestow my gift of freedom."
listened and wondered of the stars he had watched many nights and how brightly
they had shined.
stepped closer to Starlite."How do
you think the stars in the sky are free?"he asked him."They don't
keep the light trapped inside themselves, they set it free to shine so
everybody in the world can see them.”His eyes cast down to the crystal toy horse he had trapped inside his
see them from millions of miles away.They've earned their freedom
right there."Gandrin waited,
watching the gray cloud brighten and begin to spin faster and faster.
streaks of light shot out from Starlite, his radiance blazing so that it almost
blinded everyone and sent Gandrin and Icelis dodging for shade.
buried his face inside his winter coat and huddled beside the tip of the stem,
shaking with such fear.He opened one
eye and saw bright thin streaks of light pouring down through layers of
branches to the village far below.Peeking through pine needles, Gandrin watched Mr. Claus soar out the tip
of Starlite and circle the sky.
HO, HOOO!"Mr. Claus cheered as he
drove his reindeer, lowering the sleigh for Gandrin and Icelis to jump
aboard."Hold on!"he said and coasted the sleigh down around
waved to all the villagers as they stepped out of their homes to enjoy the
radiant new Christmas and greet their new friend.
"Gandrin,"Mr. Claus called, in his bright red
suit."Do you know why I sent
Icelis to you?"
shook his head, staring at the man he thought did not exist.
eye,"It was the same reason your
mother sent you to your room,"he
said, holding out his palm.
Gandrin reached into his pocket and laid the crystal toy horse upon it.
"Hmmm,"Mr. Claus remarked."You let this toy come between you and
your best friend Christopher."
shivered."H-h-how did you know
chuckled."The same way I knew this
was the last crystal toy horse in town and you couldn't buy another.So you decided to keep this for yourself
instead of giving it to Christopher as you had promised."He handed it back.
mother was very disappointed and sent you to your room, not knowing what I had
lowered his eyes, ashamed of having his selfishness revealed so openly.It was almost the same as Starlite revealing
his selfishness by denying his greatest gift of light.
smiled."Gandrin, you encouraged
Starlite to make the right decision, I am sure you will do the same."
turned to the snowflake."Icelis,
would you see to it that Gandrin is safely on his way home, for I must begin my
Icelis bowed obediently and they
hopped down onto the blanket of snow.Gandrin watched the train of reindeer pull the sleigh away.He held up the crystal horse, Starlite's
sparkle clashing against the silver ring, and knew exactly what he had to do.
the village, Gandrin watched Starlite glitter so brilliantly, freely giving
itself to the world.
Icelis, blissfully laughing, soared into the nocturnal sky to join his winter
smile proved that Christmas could get no better than that moment.He waved at Icelis and gazed at the village
once more."Merry Christmas,
Starlite!"he whispered and turned
to let Starlite's glow lead him home.
Christmas Morning, to Gandrin's surprise, he found in his present from
Christopher a beautiful crystal toy horse with a silver ring on its
tail--exactly like the one he had given to Christopher.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Elizabeth Young. Published on e-Stories.org on 12/09/2009.