I’d like to share with you a Christmas story. I hope you enjoy it. Please share if you wish just make sure to credit me!
The Christmas Elf
By Marie Staight
Lady Delphine Adelle Huffington struggled to wrap the Christmas wrapping paper around the wind-up toy. The cute little ducky wind-up toy looked adorable with its yellow rain cap, green galoshes, and red raincoat. When one wound up its key, its stubby whitetail would swish back and forth, and it would waddle forward along the floor. It was the perfect gift for her favorite nephew Rupert Huffington the third. Rupert was two and a half years old, and his favorite activity was to trundle his way down to the nearest pond with his nanny and watch the ducks. Of late he had been mesmerized by a mother duck and her six ducklings, who swam about the pond and then would march out onto the land and back to her nest deep in the hedges on the South side of the pond.
“Oh!” Puffed Lady Delphine, “I broke my nail!” What a disaster, she thought. She was no good at this. How would she get the presents wrapped at this rate? She rang the bell sitting next to her on the desk. With the speed of lightning, her maid-in-waiting, Priscilla, appeared at her side.
“Yes, My Lady. May I help you?” a whispery voice said next to her elbow.
Lady Delphine jumped, not that she should have been surprised, because Pricilla was always appearing as if out of the woodwork; it just never failed to startle her. “Yes, Pricilla, can you help me wrap these presents?” She indicated the duck and the large toy in a box.
A shadow of a smile crossed Pricilla’s face. She seemed to be struggling not to burst into laughter. “Yes, My Lady.” She said as she turned her head to the side to hide her amusement of the sight of proper Lady Delphine, her fingers stuck to the paper with sticky tape and a string of hair straying from her perfect hairstyle down onto her forehead. Pricilla deftly unwrapped the tape from Lady Delphine’s long fingers and spread out the wrapping paper again. “Ah,” she said, “this seems to be the problem. We need a bigger piece of paper to cover this toy properly.”
Pricilla proceeded to cut a bigger piece and expertly wrap the toy like a bundle. She then tied a jolly red ribbon around the top to hold the paper together. Seeing that Lady Delphine was disappointed she had not helped, Pricilla asked, “What do you think Lady Delphine? Does it need some tape right here? And here?” Pricilla asked, pointing to where the ribbon choked the top of the paper. Lady Delphine managed to stick on a couple of pieces of tape to hold the ribbon in place. Then Pricilla fluffed out the top, so it looked quite lovely.
“Oh, excellent! We did a great job of wrapping. I do hope Rupert will be happy with this gift.”
“My Lady, if you will allow me to say, the way that boy fancies you, I think he would love anything you gave him. But this …” Pricilla floated her hand above the present as if showing off an expensive item in a game show showcase. “Why, he will be jumping up and down to open this!”
Lady Delphine had to smile at Pricilla’s dramatic presentation, but she did have to agree that little Rupert would be very pleased with this Christmas gift, perhaps even more so than the toy that was in the big box.
Ding, Ding, Dong, rang the front doorbell. “I’ll answer that My Lady,” Pricilla said, and silently strode out of the room. Lady Delphine, not for the first time, wondered how the little maid did that – being so light on her feet.
Lady Delphine heard some loud voices and wondered who could be at the door. Just then a little person burst into the drawing room with Pricilla bustling behind him. “I’m sorry My Lady; he pushed by me. He wants to speak to you.”
Lady Delphine was intrigued by the mysterious dwarf’s small stature, pointed long white beard and amazing deep brown eyes that seem to twinkle at her. “That’s alright, Pricilla,” she said. “I’m sure this young man and I can talk for a few minutes.” She looked into those gorgeous brown eyes and stammered. “P … Please sit down, sir.”
The dwarf hopped up onto the nearest chair and sat with his legs out straight on the cushion because he was too short to have his feet on the floor. He took off his red hat and said, “I’m sorry to bother you today My Lady, but it has come to my attention that there is a problem in the village that only you can solve.”
“Yes, My Lady. You see, there dwells within the village a little boy named Davey Marks. He is the son of the late baker, Steven Marks. Did you know him?”
“Why of course I did!” Lady Delphine sighed, “I loved his sourdough bread. I haven’t had a good piece of sourdough toast since he died.”
“Ah,” said the little man. “Yes, well, to get to the point. For weeks Little Davey has been visiting the toy shop and expressed to the toymaker that he wanted a certain toy for Christmas. His Mother had been saving for it, but …”
“She doesn’t have enough money for it?” Lady Delphine interrupted. “I’ll be happy to contribute the money to make the little tyke happy.” She reached for her purse.
The dwarf stopped her and said, “No My lady, that is not the problem.” He cleared his throat, and his little face grew red. “It’s just that… well …” He hesitated, his lips twisting as if trying to form a word but they wouldn’t cooperate.
Lady Delphine asked, “The problem is …?” She waited, looking expectantly at the embarrassed little man. “Please, you can speak candidly with me.”
Then it burst from his mouth like water from a hole in a dam. “My lady, the toymaker tells us that you have purchased the very toy that little Davey has longed for, and his mother has so diligently saved for.” The dwarf’s face twisted up as if waiting for blows upon his little bald head. He wrung his hat as he waited.
Lady Delphine sat back in her chair and looked at the dwarf. She started to say something, then stopped and bit her lip – a bad habit she had since she was a child. The dwarf waited, his face relaxing a bit as he was aware she was thinking.
Finally, she said, “I assume you are speaking of the wind-up toy duck, sir?”
The dwarf furled his brows and said, “No, My Lady. I am speaking of the little red bicycle. It was purchased a few days ago by you along with the wind-up duck.”
Lady Delphine took a big breath and expelled it out in a huff. She smiled. “Mister …?”
“They call me Clarence, My Lady.”
“Well Clarence, I bought two presents for my favorite nephew.” She said with a big smile crossing her face as she sat up straight again. “One was very expensive, and the other was not. I bought the expensive one – not because I thought little Rupert would like it, but because I wanted to impress on his parents at how generous I am.” She hesitated, then continued, “But today I realized the less expensive present would be the one little Rupert would cherish much more than the expensive one, therefore if you would be so kind to return that present to the toymaker …”
The dwarf looked at her quizzically, “Yes, and … which toy would that be My Lady?”
“Why of course the red bicycle, Clarence.” She waved her hand indicating the big box by the table. “I do think Rupert is too young to enjoy that bicycle yet and so I will only give him the ducky toy.”
“Why thank you My Lady!” cried Clarence.
“And Clarence, see to it that the bicycle stays on my account. It will be my gift to the child of the baker who made the bread I enjoyed all those years.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
As the dwarf turned to leave, Lady Delphine stopped him by asking, “Clarence, I don’t believe I have seen you around the village before.”
“No My Lady, I am new here.” He turned and then said to her with his eyes twinkling brightly, “I was sent here from the head office to see that the children of this village had their wishes come true because they have been such good children all year.”
Now it was Lady Delphine’s turn to look quizzically. “The head office? Of what?’
“Why the North Pole, My Lady.” He said. “I’m sure you know my boss, Santa Claus?
Lady Delphine’s eyes fluttered, and she fell back against the chair in which she sat. Her eyes closed and when she opened them again Clarence was gone and so was the big box with the red bicycle in it.
Pricilla appeared at the door. “My Lady, Dinner is ready.
“Thank you, Pricilla.” Lady Delphine said. “Um, Pricilla, I take it that Clarence left with the bicycle?”
Pricilla wrung her hands, “My Lady? Clarence? A bicycle?” Pricilla’s face was blank as if she didn’t know about whom Lady Delphine was speaking.
Lady Delphine closed her eyes, opened them again, and looked to make sure the big box with the bicycle was not there. Then she smiled at Pricilla and said, “Never mind, I must have been dreaming…”
On Christmas Day, Rupert opened the festive package wrapped gaily with a red ribbon from his favorite Auntie. He was thrilled and played with the wind-up toy all day.
His mother reported to the Lady Delphine weeks later that this modest toy was little Rupert’s favorite of all the expensive toys he had received that day.
On that very same day she had spoken to Rupert’s mother, Lady Delphine received the bill from the Toy Shop. She was not surprised to see the bill included the price of a red bicycle.