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J.A. Aarntzen

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A Lucky Fox
By J.A. Aarntzen
Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by J.A. Aarntzen
· The Redeemer Part 33
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           >> View all 143


A fox steals upon the endless night of the North Pole and snatches an unsuspecting elf from his bed. As the fox scrambles away with his prize, the elf's three brothers awaken and make pursuit.

"A Lucky Fox" is a children story and is a part of the "Elves of Woodhaven" series of short stories that can also be found at NiceStories.Com

 

A Lucky Fox
 
 
 
Up to this point, the night was very quiet.
 
The fox snuck under the fence. His red coat glistened in the soft moonlight that fell upon the little backyard. He could see the outline of an old thatched cottage before him. The wet, black nose at the end of his long, pointed snout rose up and down, as he smelled the sweet odour of the four wee elves that lived inside. His ears perked and were able to pick out the distinctive sound of elf snoring.
 
A wicked sneer draped onto the fox’s lips as he thought, ‘Good! I have nothing to worry about now!’
 
He made his way to the slivery oaken door, cocky in knowing that it would not be locked. It hadn’t been for the last five nights which he had spent watching the four elves go through their bedtime routine. He watched as the little people took turns washing themselves. One would always throw out some bread chunks for the small birds that nested in the nearby trees. That elf would never look the door behind him. Shortly thereafter four squeaky voices would be breaking the night’s silence with a round of “Good night and sweet dreams to every one”. The kerosene lamps would flicker out and soon would come the nasal throbbing of snoring elves.
 
It was that wrenching that the fox heard now. He pushed his shoulder against the door. It gave with a creak.
 
The fox froze. He was sure that the elves might have heard that squeak. He held still for a moment, his black ears standing at alert. Elves were notorious for being light sleepers. Many of them were known to never to sleep at night at all. But up here in the far north the nights were far too long to stay awake until morning.
 
The steady rhythms of inhalations and exhalations coming from the two bedrooms satisfied the fox that the elves were still asleep.
 
He knew he was lucky. But then again most of the time he was lucky. It was his name, Lucky the Fox.
 
His fox eyes were able to see things in the dark that other eyes might not be able to see. He was in the main room of the cottage. In the center was an oval, white pine table. It was not as tall as other tables that he had seen but then again this table did not need to be tall for the people that used it were short. The four chairs that sat around the table all had short, sturdy legs that could hold up the portly weight of the elves. On the back of each chair was carved a name for that chair’s owner.
 
Lucky read the carved names. Kiddo, Diddo, Hum and Ho.
 
The last chair, Ho’s, was ever so slightly larger than the others. Lucky the Fox was surprised by this for he had often heard the four elves squabble over which one got to sit where. It seemed that Kiddo, Diddo and Hum all wanted to sit in Ho’s chair. This made Ho grouchy towards them. He would let no one sit in his chair other than himself. As Lucky looked at the seat he wondered what the commotion was all about. The little bit of difference in size was not worth the trouble. With elves, however, you never know what will get their gruff.
 
The fox’s sniping eyes drifted across the rest of the quaint living quarters. One wall was dominated by a big potbelly stove that even now was giving off a steady supply of radiant heat.   It could get very, very cold up here so close to the North Pole. So Lucky was not surprised to see that another wall was all taken up by the woodpile that kept the fire going. A third wall bore paintings and a window. Most of these pictures showed snowy landscapes but one was of a chubby, little boy with white hair and crimson features. The child was wearing the alpine garb of a Bavarian. Lucky wondered who this child could be and why the elves would want his picture hanging in their home. The child was clearly not an elf.
 
The fourth and final wall held the frames of two doorways. The fox knew that these led to the bedrooms where the elves were sleeping.
 
That was where he had to go. It was what he came for.
 
It really didn’t matter which room he chose even though he did not want to select the one that held Ho. Ho was too bossy. But that didn’t worry the fox too much. He knew that he was lucky and that luck would not let him select the room with the bigger elf. After all, Lucky was his name.
 
Very quietly, he opened the right bedroom door. Before him came into view two tiny cots sitting next to each other. The moonlight that shone through the window behind the beds showed Lucky the rumpled, blanket-covered sleeping figures of two elves. Both of them were snoring steadily while the fox gathered a bundle of elfin clothing, which he slung over his back. Quickly, he dashed out of the bedroom and out to the backyard where he left the clothes lying on the tundra grass.
 
However, it was not for elfin clothes that he had come here for. With all the speed that his kind is known for, he was back inside and in the bedroom again. He had chosen the bedroom on the right, so he decided to choose the bed that was on the right and that way he knew that he would get the right elf.
 
He lifted his black paws up onto the bed. His nose could smell the sweet odour of elfin sweat on the pillow.   He opened his mouth just slightly, exposing his razor sharp teeth that shone like wet diamonds in the moonlight. He brought this gaping maw which could have struck abject terror in a rodent’s heart close to the elf’s neck.
 
Lucky sensed the life pulsing within the little being. His mouth closed around the elf’s nightshirt.
 
Slowly and carefully, he hauled the elf out from the blankets and off of the bed. Lucky did not want to wake his catch up for if the elf woke up he would make so much noise that all the elves, including Ho, would have woken up. Lucky knew that he could handle himself with one elf and maybe even two. But with four he would not have any chance at all.
 
It took all the strength in his jaws to keep the elf from falling against the wooden floor. Elves were incredibly heavy for their minute size.
 
Even if he was lucky, which he was, he was not lucky enough to prevent the elf’s stockinged foot from lighting upon the hardwood floor with a gentle thud.
 
Very alertly and astutely, Lucky covered the elf’s mouth with his paw. He could feel that his captured elf was still sound asleep. 
 
He had been lucky enough to grab the elf that likes to slumber the most, Diddo.
 
Diddo was always the first to bed and the last to rise. But Lucky was also aware that Diddo shared his room with the elf that was always the last to bed and the first to rise, Kiddo.
 
As soon as the gentle thud sounded Lucky saw the slightly pointed ears of the other slumbering elf twitch.
 
Luckily enough for Lucky, Kiddo’s long slanted eyes did not open or else he would have seen his roommate in the gaping jaws of a fox.
 
But Kiddo was awake enough to talk in his sleep. He grumbled, “What are you doing Diddo?”
 
Lucky was luckily a master of impersonations. He had to be to be a fox. Very slyly, he answered in a voice that sounded exactly like Diddo’s. “I have to go to the washroom.”
 
Kiddo has very good ears and not much could fool them. He could tell the difference between the sounds of a male mouse walking on a thick rug from a female mouse doing the same. Even from one hundred feet away Kiddo could make the distinction. So Lucky’s impersonation had to be very, very good to fool Kiddo.
 
Luckily enough for Lucky, it was.
 
“I told you that you should not have had that second cup of beer, didn’t I?” Kiddo said through his sleep.
 
“Yes, you did. You are always right Kiddo. But do you want to know something? I don’t care! I liked having that second cup and I think that I will have a second cup tomorrow night as well!” Lucky knew that that would have been Diddo’s reply. If he didn’t say it, he would have made Kiddo suspicious.
 
“Will you two be quiet in there! Don’t you know that some of us want to sleep!” Ho’s voice boomed from the other room.
 
Lucky heard Hum mumbling something but was not able to make it out.
 
“Shut up Hum!” Ho hollered.
 
The fox felt some twitching. Diddo was waking up.
 
“Ho, you got no right to pick on Hum all of the time!” Kiddo complained. 
 
Lucky was so close to the elf that he was sure that Kiddo could hear him breathe, let alone smell the vulpine odour emanate from him. Everything was falling apart for the fox. Within a minute all of the elves would be awake and yelling at each other in the living quarters. He could not stay here any longer.
 
Just as he started to run out of Kiddo and Diddo’s bedroom, he saw Kiddo’s eyes open. Right away the elf’s catlike pupils focused on him.
 
“Hey!” Kiddo screamed. “There’s a fox in here and he has Diddo!”
 
By the time Ho and Hum simultaneously cried “What!” Lucky was already bolting through the door and into the backyard. He snatched up the bundle of elfin clothing that he had taken out earlier. In his mouth he felt the struggling form of a very frightened elf.
 
With a tremendous leap, Lucky sprang over the picket fence that separated the elves’ backyard from the great open expanse beyond. On the other side of this moonlit tundra, miles from where he was now sat his home. He had to get there as fast as he could because he knew that he was going to be followed.
 
He ran with reckless abandon. He took great bounds with his fleeting black legs. He ran past shrubs, bushes, ditches, creeks and gullies. He was like a red shooting star under the Northern Lights.
 
He knew that it was a bumpy ride for Diddo. He felt the elf’s body bounce up and down against the permafrost ground with each of his strides. There was nothing that he could do about it though; hopefully the elf doesn’t get too damaged en route.
 
They ran past two Inuit tents. It was too warm for igloos although that time for ice huts would be coming up soon enough. Out of one tent came an Inuit man carrying two bundles in his arms.
 
“Honey,” the Inuit said to his wife inside, “I am going to name the twins now, okay?”
 
From inside of the tent a woman’s voice replied, “Don’t name them anything stupid. I’m still ashamed of the name of our first daughter. With a name like Caribou Droppings, she will have a hard time finding a husband.”
 
“We can’t go against tradition, honey. I am supposed to name our children after the first thing that I see outside after they are born,” the Inuit man snapped disgustedly.
 
“Make sure that they have dignified names. After all, you r father did not give you a fool’s name, Squished Hornet!” the wife shot back.
 
A moment later Squished Hornet announced to his wife, “Honey, one of the twins shall be called Running Fox and the other one shall be called Bouncing Elf!”
 
“Those are silly names Squished Hornet!” the wife snarled.
 
Several minutes after Squished Hornet returned to his tent, his neighbor, Stagnant Cesspool announced to his wife, “Honey, I am going to name our son now, okay?”
 
He retuned a little later and said to her, “Our son shall be called Three Elves Running In Their Pajamas.”
 
“That’s a lovely name, dear!” his wife chortled.
 
Three Elves Running In Their Pajamas’ names-sake were racing across the tundra trying to save their little brother from the fox. Their superior eyes were able to detect Diddo and the fox about a mile ahead of them.
 
“If we’d have taken the time to put on our magic boots, we’d have caught up to them by now!” gasped Hum.
 
“We don’t have magic boots Hum! Where did you ever get that idea?” Kiddo wheezed.
 
This running was taking its toll on the chubby elves.
 
“Why, I was just polishing them not more than half an hour ago!” Hum exclaimed.
 
“You dummy! You were dreaming half an hour ago!” Ho complained.
 
“Ah, so I was!” Hum laughed and then said thoughtfully, “I guess I dreamt that we had magic boots. They were good magic boots, you know. We could run to the moon and back with them on and not even get tired!” A tear glistened in Hum’s eye. “I am sure tired now.”
 
“We’ve got no time to be tired Hum! We’ve got to save Diddo from that evil fox!” Ho cried bravely.
 
“Ho?”
 
“Yes, Hum?”
 
“You know how you just said that I was dreaming about the magic boots?”
 
“Uh-huh?”
 
“Well, I was just wondering, how do I know that this is not a dream? How do I know that I’m not sleeping in my bed right now and just dreaming all of this?”
 
A queer expression tumbled over Ho’s face. Finally, he said to Hum, “What do you do when you are asleep?”
 
“Dream, I guess. I don’t underst…”
 
“What else do you do?” Ho asked emphatically. But emphatically was not there, so he posed the question instead to Hum.
 
“I can answer that!” Kiddo sang. “When you are asleep Hum, you snore!”
 
“I snore?”
 
“Right!” Ho cried. “And when you snore, I hear you. Oh boy, do I hear you!”
 
“I can hear you from my room Hum! You snore loudly!” Kiddo grimaced.
 
“I do?”
 
“Yes! But right now I do not hear you!” Ho said.
 
“You don’t?”
 
“You know why I don’t hear you? It’s because you are not snoring! You are awake!” Kiddo exclaimed with pride for he knew that he had said what Ho wanted to say.
 
“And when I am awake, I don’t dream!” Hum was following the logic, nodding his head with understanding.
 
“That’s right!” Kiddo laughed.
 
“No, it isn’t!” Ho retorted.
 
“It isn’t?” Hum said with confusion. His newly won logic was escaping him.
 
“You can daydream when you are awake,” Ho explained.
 
“But if it is dark outside and you are awake, how can you daydream?” Kiddo challenged Ho.
 
It took Ho a moment to come up with an answer. “You can daydream at any time. It has nothing to do with the time of day.”
 
“If that is so,” Hum pondered out loud. “Then how do I know that I’m not daydreaming all of this?”
 
“You don’t know,” Ho replied.
 
“Then Diddo might be safe in bed right now?” Hum queried.
 
“He might be,” Ho answered.
 
“Then what are we chasing the fox for?” Kiddo asked.
 
Before Ho could answer Kiddo’s question a big, white polar bear sprang out from seemingly nowhere and blocked the elves’ path. It reared up onto its hind haunches and towered like an avalanching mountain over Ho, Hum and Kiddo. It growled ferociously and bared teeth as big as elfin hands.
 
“Run for your lives!” Ho gasped.
 
He and Kiddo darted away as fast as they could before the white bear knocked them over with its huge paws.
 
“Where’s Hum?” Kiddo coughed. “He isn’t here with us!”
 
Almost afraid to turn around, the two elves forced themselves to look back at where they had come from.
 
There they saw wee, tiny Hum standing bravely before the polar bear.
 
Something did not look right about what Ho and Kiddo saw. The bear should have been mauling Hum and the elf should have been running as fast as his little legs could carry him to get away from the hefty ursine. Instead Hum and the polar bear just sat together as if they were attending a piano recital together. Neither Ho nor Kiddo could make sense of what they were witnessing.
 
Hum turned around and saw Ho and Kiddo in the distance. There was an expression of confusion on Hum’s face. The little elf shrugged his shoulders and started to trot towards his brothers. Behind him, the polar bear simply vanished into the thin air.
 
This startled Ho and Kiddo. How could the bear do what it just did? How could it just simply vanish? It just disappeared as if it was enchanted or something.
 
When Hum caught up to them, they demanded an explanation for the bizarre event.
 
Little Hum giggled, “I was just daydreaming about what it would be like to have a polar bear attack us!”
 
“Do you mean that I was frightened half to death just to satisfy your idle curiosity?” Kiddo exploded with a rant.
 
“No, it is much worse than just your stupid nerves that our little friend has been toying with,” Ho said menacingly.
 
Pointing an accusing finger into Hum’s apple-like nose, the bossy elf continued, “Because Hum likes to daydream so much we have just lost sight as to where that wicked fox has taken our poor Diddo!”
 
Kiddo looked all around. He could not see any sign of the fox or the elf. “Ho’s right! I can’t see them. You have really done it this time Hum!”
 
Hum started to cry. Big tears rolled down his face making it redder than it already was. “I didn’t mean it!” he sobbed. “I didn’t mean it!”
 
Ho patted his tearful brother on the back. “It’s not your fault Hum. We should have locked our door. That way the sneaky fox would never have gotten inside and stole our baby brother.” Ho, too, started to weep softly.
 
“What’s going to happened to Diddo?” Kiddo asked to the big, big dark sky that loomed over the three elves as if it was intending to crush them.
 
It was the darkest moment in their lives.
 
Or so it seemed.
 
For from the dark light can only grow. Only sometimes it is too dark to see the light. Sometimes you have to bump into it to see it.
 
And the three elves bumped into it.
 
“Hey! Watch where you are going buddy!” A strange voice made the elves jump.
 
“Who said that?” Kiddo asked Ho.
 
“Was that you Hum? Are you daydreaming in the dark again?” Ho’s usually strong voice sounded shaky. It betrayed that he was hoping that it was indeed Hum who was responsible for the voice.
 
“No, I didn’t say any thing. I don’t know if I was daydreaming because you never know when you’re daydreaming until after it is over.”
 
“Hey!” the strange voice sounded again. “Are you a philosopher or something?”
 
“A philosopher? What is that?” Hum mused.
 
“Never mind that!” Ho cut in. “Who are you? And where are you?”
 
“I’m right here by your feet,” the voice replied.
 
The three elves watched as what they had thought to be a large boulder take the shape of a deer, a reindeer.
 
“Hello,” the reindeer said. “My name is Donner.”
 
“Reindeer don’t talk!” Kiddo charged.
 
“There are no such things as elves!” Donner countered.
 
“Yes there are! I am an elf!” Hum asserted.
 
The reindeer looked at the little elf. He noted the slanting eyes, the pointed ears, the knobby nose, the stout little body robed in a leaf-green tunic, the brightly striped stockings and the ridiculous shoes with the curlicue toes.
 
“Yes indeed!” Donner laughed. “You are an elf!”
 
“I am Hum also!” Hum said gleefully.
 
“Can you hum Hum?” the reindeer asked.
 
“Not very well but I can whistle! Do you want to hear me whistle?”
 
Before Donner the Reindeer could answer Ho interrupted. “You are going to have to excuse us Mr. Reindeer but we have to go. Our little brother is missing and we have to find him before it is too late. You see a fox has kidnapped him.”
 
“Dearness,” Donner sighed. “A fox can be a very dangerous adversary.
 
“You can say that again!” Kiddo said. “But I don’t know what adversary means.”
 
“It means enemy.”
 
“The fox is a mean enemy but what does adversary mean?”
 
“Never mind,” Donner said regretfully.
 
“A fox can be a very dangerous never mind? Hey, Ho, I don’t think that this reindeer can talk after all. He makes no sense to me whatsoever.”
 
“I’m sorry Mr. Reindeer but we have to get going,” Ho apologized as he grabbed Kiddo by the ear and started to drag him away.
 
Hum followed in behind. His mouth was puckered in an “O” shape. He was whistling, Adeste Fidelis, O Come All Ye Faithful.
 
“I like Christmas music too!” the reindeer commented. He watched the elves disappear into the darkness.
 
Then without any indication that he was going to move, Donner sprang into the air.
 
And he stayed up there in the air. He was flying!
 
In just one second he covered the distance between himself and the elves. He landed like a feather onto a pillow beside Ho.
 
“Where did the pillow come from?” Ho asked Donner. Then the elf’s eyes grew wide. “Huh? How did you get over here so fast? I thought that you were still back there!” Ho was dismayed.
 
“Would you three like to have some help?”
 
“Sure!” Kiddo sang. “But how can a reindeer help us?”
 
“You can get on my back and we can fly!” Donner said proudly.
 
“Fly?” Kiddo scoffed. “A deerfly can fly but a reindeer can only rain.”
 
“Where does rain fall from?” Donner asked.
 
“Why, rain falls from the sky! Everybody knows that!” Kiddo snarled.
 
“How do you suppose the rain got into the sky in the first place?”
 
“It flew?” Hum was not too sure about his answer.
 
“That’s right Hum! The rain flew.”
 
Kiddo brought his hand up to his chin and said thoughtfully, “Then, if a deerfly can fly so can a reindeer because rain flies?”
 
“You are clever Kiddo!” Donner laughed. “Come on, hop onto my back and you elves will fly too!”
 
Ho, Kiddo and Hum climbed upon the soft, tufty back of Donner the Reindeer.
 
“Hold on tight!” the reindeer warned.
 
Then like a magical wind, he leapt into the air and rose to a great height. Needless to say, the three elves did hold on tight as they saw the Arctic tundra fall away from them.
 
Ho turned as green as his tunic. He didn’t care for flying at all.
 
“Now, the three of you keep a lookout along the ground for your little brother. I have a suspicion as to where he may be. There is a warren of foxholes about five miles east of here.” Donner talked continuously as they skirted over the barren terrain that made up most of the country here north of the tree line.
 
The elves learned from Donner that there was not many talking reindeer and even fewer that could talk and fly. Donner did not say anything about reindeer that could fly but could not talk. These, the elves figured, were not allowed to play in any reindeer games.
 
Every year the talking, flying reindeer would get together around Christmastime. They would talk and laugh and drink. Donner said that it was a lot of fun but all the reindeer wished that they could do something more. They wanted to do good deeds but they were not boy scouts and thus were not permitted to do any.
 
Ho confided to Donner that the elves, too, wished that they could do something special for the Christmas season but they did not know exactly what they wanted to do. It had to be right.
 
“Maybe some day the reindeer and the elves can get together and work out something magical for Christmas,” Donner suggested.
 
“The whole world will thank us!” Ho said with a simple smile.
 
“Look!” Hum cried out. “Isn’t that the fox with Diddo?”
 
“Where?” the others yelped.
 
“I don’t see anything!” Kiddo added.
 
“Of course, you cannot see them now!” Hum said with a gruff. “They just went into that hole down there.”
 
“Keep your eye on that hole, kid. We’re going down,” Donner ordered.
 
“I don’t see the hole! How can I keep my eye on it if I can’t see it?” Kiddo complained.
 
“Donner was talking to me Kiddo,” Hum said.
 
“Donner said Kid! That’s my nickname, not yours!”
 
“If your name is Nick then you have no right to answer to Kid!” Hum snapped.
 
“My name is not Nick!”
 
“You just said that it was! Didn’t he Ho? Donner? Didn’t Kiddo just say that his name is Nick?”
 
“It looks like we have got here in the knick of time,” the reindeer answered, wisely choosing not to get involved in the squabbles between elves. “Look, the fox has not shut his door yet!”
 
“Had we properly shut our door in the first place, we would not have been out here in this freezing weather!” Ho lamented. “We would not have been in this mess.”
 
“Sometimes good things come out of messes,” Donner said mysteriously.
 
“What do you mean?”
 
“Well, if that fox hadn’t kidnapped your brother, we might have never met,” answered Donner.  “Something tells me that the world is going to be awfully grateful to that fox for giving us the occasion to cross paths.”
 
“He might be lucky that way, who knows? But for now we had better concentrate on saving Diddo. How do we get in there?” Ho scratched his head.
 
“What about if we knock at the door?” Hum suggested.
 
“That’s not a bad idea, you know. The fox would not think that it is we. He would think that we could not get here as fast as we did, thanks to you Mr. Reindeer. The fox would have no reason not to answer,” Ho agreed.
 
Kiddo threw his hands into the air. “Do we always have to be so polite!”
 
“Yes! That is our nature. We are elves!” Ho retorted.
 
They landed like a feather upon a pillow next to the foxhole. Ho wondered why the fox kept a pillow outside.
 
Hum ran to the wooden door and started to rap against it. He knocked ten times, waited two seconds, and knocked ten times again.
 
“Who’s there?” a foxy voice came from the other side of the door.
 
Before Hum could answer Ho put a finger to the little elf’s lips. Hum accidentally bit Ho’s finger.
 
“Aa-aa-aa-rgh!” Ho cried out in pain. His finger was throbbing.
 
“Aa-aa-aa-rgh!” the fox laughed. “I haven’t seen you since we used to trot around as kits!”
 
The elves could hear the fox race up the steps to the door.
 
The door came open with a creak.
 
“Aa-aa-aa-rgh! You old fox!” Lucky said with a big grin across his face. That grin fell off when he saw the three elves and the reindeer. “Aa-aa-aa-rgh!” the fox cried in disbelief and shock.
 
“Where’s Diddo!” Kiddo rang. “You haven’t eaten him already, have you!”
 
“Eat him?” the fox groaned. “I would not eat an elf. They give me gas.”
 
“Then where is he? Where’s Diddo?” Ho demanded.
 
“Uh-uh-uh,” the fox stammered trying to think of something to say.
 
“You are not a dog so stop barking!” Kiddo mocked. “Ho, we don’t heave to be polite with this sly fox, do we? Can’t we just walk in and find Diddo ourselves?”
 
Ho gave Lucky the Fox a cool stare. He could see that the fox was afraid of them. He nodded to Kiddo giving him his consent.
 
The three elves at once plowed through the door, knocking the fox out of the way. Hum turned around and saw that Donner wasn’t coming.
 
“I’ll wait outside,” the reindeer said. “I’m too big to fit in a foxhole anyway.”
 
“Don’t fly away!” Hum pleaded.
 
“I won’t, don’t worry. I’ll just hum Christmas carols until you get back. You see I can’t whistle!” Donner smiled. That was hard for him to do because reindeer usually have pretty expressionless faces.
 
“Hey! Wait a minute!” Lucky yapped. “You can’t barge in here as if you own the place!”
 
They were in a dark, long tunnel that led to a dimly lit room below.
 
“Why not?” Ho replied. “You barged into our place uninvited!”
 
“That was different,” Lucky said. “I had a reason.”
 
“Yeah, you had a reason. You wanted to steal Diddo so you could have an elf over a spit. You don’t fool me, Mr. Fox!” Kiddo charged an accusing finger at Lucky.
 
“I would sooner have elf spit on me than have an elf over a spit. You can’t be further from the truth, Kiddo. I admit that I kidnapped little Diddo but I didn’t do it so that I can eat him.”
 
“Then why did you take him?” Ho asked.
 
“Oh, you will see when you get into the room. It’s no use any more, anyway.” Lucky became very sullen. He did not feel lucky any more.
 
“What’s no use? I don’t understand,” Ho said.
 
The fox’s head sunk low. “What do you care? The whole world loves elves. They are sweet and cuddly. But what do they think of a fox? A fox is slightly above a rat in popularity. People see us as sneaky and sly. You can’t trust a fox. What does anybody care if a little fox dies? It’d mean just one less fox to watch out for, that’s all!”
 
“What do you mean, ‘if a little fox dies’?” Ho questioned Lucky.
 
Tears rushed down the fox’s long snout.
 
“My son, Sonny, is on his deathbed. I don’t think that he is going to make it. I am desperate Ho! That is why I took Diddo! I was hoping that he could perform some elfin magic on Sonny so that he may live.”
 
They had reached the bottom of the tunnel. Before them was the dimly lit room.
 
“I don’t want to sound rude Mr. Fox but why did you have to steal Diddo? He would have come if you had asked.”
 
“Sure he would!” Lucky said sarcastically. “Be honest, what would you have done if you saw a fox at your door?”
 
Kiddo lowered his head and mumbled, “Run.”
 
It was Ho that said, “I would have been frightened, there is no doubt. But, I would have stood my ground. I would not give up my home even if a polar bear were standing on the other side of the door. I would have dared to listen to you. Once hearing your sad story, I would have offered to help you before you even asked for help.”
 
Lucky laughed a fox’s laugh. “You can say that now that you know that I won’t be at your door a begging. But you know ….” The smile fell from his face. “I believe that you would stand your own ground and I believe that Kiddo would have run.”
 
“What about me?” Hum piped. “What do you believe that I would have done?”
 
“I think that you would have done the right thing Hum,” Lucky said with all seriousness.
 
“And what is the right thing Hum?” Ho asked his little brother.
 
“The right thing is to help Lucky and his son!”
 
The three elves and the worried fox entered the room. There they saw Diddo standing beside the bed of a very little fox. There was a thermometer sticking out of the little one’s mouth.
 
“Shouldn’t the thermometer be in Sonny’s mouth and not yours Diddo?” Ho pondered.
 
“Hey!” Kiddo bellowed. “You have my clothes on Diddo! What did I tell you about wearing my clothes?”
 
Diddo took the thermometer from his mouth and glared at Kiddo. “You said that you would punch me in the nose!”
 
“That’s right! Come here and take your medicine!” Kiddo’s fists came up.
 
“Now, now!” Lucky cried. “It is my fault that Diddo has the wrong clothes. If anyone is to get a punch in the nose, it has to be me!”
 
Kiddo’s fists came down. “I can’t hit you. You’ve got a sick puppy.”
 
“Kit,” Lucky corrected.
 
“How is the patient Diddo?” Ho asked as he felt for the wetness at the end of Sonny’s nose. The nose was bone dry.
 
“Not very good Ho. He has a very high fever and he is delirious,” Diddo reported sadly.
 
“Is there anything that you can do for him?” Lucky asked worriedly. But worriedly was not there so he asked Ho instead.
 
Ho brought his hand to his chin and hummed.
 
“Yes?” the little elf perked. “What do you want Ho?”
 
“Do you know how you daydreamed about the polar bear back on the tundra?” Ho asked Hum.
 
Hum’s head went low. “Yes,” he mumbled sheepishly. “Diddo could have been killed because of that.”
 
“Well, Diddo didn’t die. You were lucky!” Ho said.
 
“I thought that he was Lucky?” Kiddo said, pointing at the fox.
 
“He won’t be if his puppy dies,” Ho lamented.
 
“Kit,” Lucky corrected.
 
“Hum, what I want to know is,” Ho spoke in a low voice. “ Was that polar bear real or a figment of our imagination?”
 
“It was real!” Hum said proudly. “If it would have swatted you with its paw, you would still be flying though the air!”
 
Ho nodded his head and smiled.
 
“What are you smiling for Ho? As I recall you didn’t particularly care for flying. I haven’t seen a shade of green like that outside of a salad bowl!” Kiddo quipped.
 
Ho shot Kiddo an angry stare.
 
“I don’t understand any of this talk about a polar bear,” Lucky sighed. His eyes were fixed upon his little son who was moaning on his bed.
 
“Nor do I,” agreed Diddo.
 
“Hum?” Ho said. “Do you think that you could daydream right now?”
 
“I don’t know. I never know when I am daydreaming.”
 
“Well try to daydream that the little fox is healthy and that he will stay that way for a long, long time to come,” Ho demanded.
 
“Okay, I will try but I cannot promise you anything.”
 
Hum’s eyes became instantly glossy. Nothing in his little body was moving.
 
“Your puppy is going to be okay,” Diddo said to Lucky. “My brother Hum does good work.”
 
“I hope so!” Lucky prayed. “By the way, a baby fox is called a kit. It is not a puppy.”
 
“But aren’t you foxes cousins to the dogs?” Diddo asked.
 
“Yes, we are of the same family. But I wouldn’t call us kissing cousins. The dogs don’t like us very much.”
 
“Nevertheless,” Diddo began. “Baby dogs are called puppies. So if you belong to the same family as the dogs, why aren’t your babies called puppies?”
 
“Yeah!” Kiddo piped. “Baby cats are called kittens. You are not cousins of the cats, are you? So why would you call your offspring the same thing as a baby cat?”
 
“No, I would never permit to have a cat in the family. They ruin all the furniture with their hair and their scratching. But, you are right; a baby cat is called a kitten. But a baby fox is not called a kitten, it is called a kit.”
 
“Then kits and kittens are not the same thing!” Kiddo seemed like he was grasping the notion.
 
From the doorway they could hear Donner say, “You are clever Diddo!”
 
At that moment something red jumped at Kiddo. It bowled him over. He cried out. A wet tongue was lapping up his face.
 
“Would someone take this puppy, no this kitten, no this kit off of me!” Kiddo screamed.
 
Everyone laughed. Lucky was laughing so hard that tears were coming down his face. It was good to have his son back again.
 
Finally Sonny stopped tormenting Kiddo. He leapt into the arms of the elf that brought him back to health. Hum hugged the kit tenderly.
 
“I’ve never seen him so full of life!” Lucky announced with glee. “How can I ever repay you for what you have done!”
 
“He is indeed full of life!” Ho chortled. “Elfin life!”
 
“There’s no life like it!” Diddo and Kiddo said together.
 
“Sonny was fortunate from the start,” Hum said. “He has Lucky as a father!”
 
Ho said to Lucky, “There is one way that you can repay us, my friend.”
 
“How’s that? I’ll pay anything. You gave my Sonny back to me!”
 
“You and Sonny can join us outside to sing Christmas songs with Donner the Flying Reindeer!” Ho said merrily.
 
“Flying reindeer?” Diddo cried out. “There’s no such thing!”
 
“I will have you know Diddo my brother that Donner says that there are no such things as elves!” Kiddo laughed.
 
“Donner can hum!” Hum piped. “And I can whistle! We’re going to have a grand time!”
 
Everyone left Lucky’s foxhole and went outside where they were greeting by the jaunty humming of a jolly old reindeer. The night was no longer quiet; it was filled with the happy sounds of singing.

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