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The Mystery of the Christmas Thief
By MIKALA PETERS, Susan Shorter
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Mikala Peters
All rights reserved.
One dark and quiet Christmas Eve long ago, Santa Claus visited We Town. Under the light of a big, bright full moon, Santa landed his sleigh and reindeer on the snow-covered street. He started his long night of deliveries to good little boys and girls. While the children slept behind closed doors, he laid the gifts on the front stoops of houses without fireplaces. He tiptoed up and down the stairs and hallways of the apartment buildings, carefully placing the children's wishes by each of their doors. Whenever he saw a wreath or stocking hanging on a door, Santa hummed a little bit of "Jingle Bells." Recalling from memory what each child wanted, Santa left the hallways and stoops full of dolls, bikes, games, skates, toy cars, and trucks and presents wrapped in red, white, and green paper.
While on the third floor of one apartment building, Santa suddenly stopped in his tracks. His belly felt uneasy. Santa looked over the railing and thought he saw a shadow move in the stairwell. He called out, "Rudolph, is that you?" No one answered. When Santa looked for the shadow again, he saw nothing, so he got back to work. Santa had many more towns to visit. He had to work fast.
A little later, outside one house, Santa felt uneasy again. A cold breeze passed across the back of his neck. He thought he heard the crunch of snow behind him. He quickly turned his head, hoping to see what he heard and felt. But like before, there was nothing. Santa felt much colder. He shivered as the coldness seeped through his red suit and his thick, white long johns. Santa thought out loud, "My imagination must be working overtime." Then he smiled, climbed in his sleigh, and went on with his deliveries.
On that same Christmas Eve, Santa and his reindeer landed on the roofs of houses that had fireplaces. Santa grabbed his overflowing red bag. He scurried down the fireplace chimneys and landed in the homes of snoozing children. Happy to see the Christmas lights and decorations in the houses, Santa hummed as he left the toys and presents for the boys and girls.
Finally, Christmas morning came. Santa had come and gone. In every household in We Town, little boys and girls woke up squealing with excitement. The boys and girls with fireplaces gathered their presents and toys from under their Christmas trees and gleefully opened their gifts. The children that lived in apartments and houses without fireplaces raced to their doors that opened to hallways and front stoops. The children were happy and laughing when they pushed open their doors. Suddenly, the laughing stopped. Their wide eyes searched and searched. The children looked left, and they looked right. The children looked up, and they looked down. Tears filled their eyes and fell down their cheeks because they saw no toys or presents. The gifts had disappeared. Instead, there were puddles of water on the floor and icicles on the doorknobs.
Aloud howl vibrated through We Town. It sounded like lots of dogs howling at the moon. The people of We Town rushed to their televisions, radios, and computers to look at the news. Everyone wanted to know what was going on. They learned that the loud howl was the crying and sobbing of the children whose toys and presents had disappeared. Soon after, all parents and children put on their coats, hats, and boots to march down to We Town City Hall. Their steps were so many, so loud, and so hard that the whole town shook. We Town's mayor was waiting outside city hall.
Far away at the North Pole, Santa also heard the crying and sobbing of the children. He saw the news about the disappearance in We Town. He immediately ordered his helpers to We Town to search for the missing toys and presents. Santa told his helpers to find a way to make the crying and sobbing children feel better now on Christmas Day. Santa did not want the children to feel sad.
At Christmas time, Santa's helpers were always a part of We Town. They looked somewhat like Santa Claus because they wore red suits, had white beards, and wore red hats. They came in all shapes and sizes: tall and short, thin and wide, light and dark. While Santa was busy making toys and checking to see who was naughty or nice, Santa's helpers walked in We Town Christmas parades, listened to the children's Christmas wishes in the stores and malls, and rang the bells outdoors. As the crowd of parents and children gathered in front of City Hall waiting for the mayor to speak, the helpers walked through the crowd, whispering in the children's ears. They whispered one word: "Share." Before the mayor could say anything, the crowd began to sing, "Share, share because we care for boys and girls everywhere."
The mayor was delighted, and she shouted, "What a great idea!" She proclaimed, "This Christmas Day is also Sharing Day." She asked the parents and children who lived in houses with fireplaces to share their toys and presents. She asked them to share by taking a gift to the school's assembly hall by noon. She then told the parents and children without Christmas toys and presents to go to the school in the afternoon and pick out gifts to take home. The crying and sobbing stopped. Everybody in We Town began to feel better. Both the children that were giving and receiving gifts felt good. All the way home to the houses and apartment buildings, the crowd sang, "Share, share because we care for boys and girls everywhere." Then Santa's helpers got busy looking for the missing toys and presents.
Excerpted from The Mystery of the Christmas Thief by MIKALA PETERS, Susan Shorter. Copyright © 2013 Mikala Peters. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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