Rudy by Laurie Anthony
One blustery winter night, Mama slept in front of the fireplace, her book open on her lap. She awakened to a quick and hurried knock on the door.
She peeked through the door hole and muttered to herself. "There's a tall, green, pointed hat on my doorstep." Her eyes fell downward and landed on a pair of black, shiny boots. "Oh, my gosh! It's a funny little man," she said aloud, opening the door slight. He spoke in a tiny voice.
I know it's late,
And the wind brings a chill,
But my dear friend, Rudy
Is ever so ill.
The light from your window
seemed so near,
And the smoke from your chimney
Guided us here.
Can you take him in?
And keep him warm?
While we deliver these gifts
To the children in town?
Mama opened the door and gasped! A brownish-gray reindeer lay still in the deep snow. His ice-covered eyes were closed, and his whiskers were like icicles. Mama pulled him up to his feet, leading him through the door. “We have room in the basement next to the warm clothes dryer,” she whispered.
Rudy clunked downstairs, his head bumping the wall, and his antlers catching on the railing. He soon fell asleep on an old faded rug, and Mama covered him with a woolen blanket to warm his shivering bones.
When Mama tiptoed upstairs, she heard a sleepy voice.
“Is Santa outside?” Jimmy rubbed his eyes, clutching his blanket tightly to his cheek. Mama scooped him up in her arms.
“It’s not Santa, but one of his reindeer is sick. Santa really needs our help.”
Tears fell from Jimmy's eyes when he saw Rudy shivering on he floor, his nose frozen cold. “He’s hardly breathing, Mama, and his nose is blue.”
Mama gathered more blankets and fixed warm milk. Jimmy placed his blanket on Rudy's head, ever so carefully between his antlers. "Good night, Rudy," Jimmy muttered and began singing quietly to Rudy. "Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer . . .." He held Rudy tightly as he fell asleep.
But no matter how many blankets, how many songs, or how much warm milk served, Rudy didn’t move.
A knock on the door startled Mama at dawn. The little man was back. Mama spoke softly, and her voice quivered.
“We’re so sorry, sir,
but we tried our best.
But I think poor Rudy here,
has gone to his rest.”
Mama wiped a tear from her eye, and she held out her hand to the little man. But she jumped back when she heard a loud clunking sound. She saw Jimmy leading Rudy to the door.
"He's better, Mama! Look at his nose."
And sure enough, Rudy's nose was bright red. His eyes glistened, and his antlers seemed to wave goodbye as Jimmy led him to the sleigh parked on the road.
Santa hugged Rudy, and his eyes met Jimmy's. "He's feeling much better now because of you, Jimmy."
Jimmy's smile lit up his face. “I just sang to him, Santa. And gave him lots of hugs!”
Santa squeezed Jimmy’s hand. "Music brings joy to our hearts, Jimmy. Rudy felt your love in every note you sang to him."
Trees swayed and snowflakes swirled as the sleigh rose in the moonlit sky, Jimmy heard voices singing, “Oh, how the reindeer loved him.”
On this special Christmas morning, Jimmy had never felt so much glee!