There are all sorts of elves in the world. There are toy-maker elves, there are shoe-maker elves, there are cookie maker elves, and there are even mean, trouble-maker elves. Impellakrykustenapo was a snow elf, with a typical snow elf name, but his friends called him Stan.
Deep underground, where it stays cold all year, Stan woke from his summer hibernation. He stretched. And he yawned. And he scratched his belly. Sniffing the air, he could tell that the weather outside was nice and frosty. He hopped out of bed with thoughts of all the frozen fun that awaited him.
Stan went to his closet and picked out a green pair of pants, a green shirt with white trim, and a sparkling white cap. He dressed as quickly as he could and dashed out of his home to look for his friends.
First he went to the meadow next to farmer Frank’s barn. – No one was there.
Then he ran over the mountain to where the stream trickled through the hidden dale. No one was there – except for a pair of squirrels sitting in their tree.
And finally, he traveled along the river, past the old mill, and next to the waterfall where his friend Cecil lived. He called for Cecil to come out and play, but Cecil didn’t answer.
Leaves still gathered at the entrance of Cecil’s home. When he peeked inside everything looked neatly put away, just like Stan’s home in the spring, before he hibernated. Stan heard the whistling sounds of Cecil snoring.
Stan didn’t want to wake up his friend. Especially if winter hadn’t arrived yet. Maybe he had woken up early, which he sometimes did. So, he skipped through the hills, and the forest, and farms until he reached the nearest town.
On tippy-toes he sneaked into the candy shop. Then he waited for the candy-maker to walk into the back of his shop. When the man left, Stan hopped up on the counter and looked at the calendar that hung on the wall.
It was December 23rd.
How could that be? It was almost Christmas and none of the other snow elves were awake. If the snow elves didn’t get together and dance and sing, there would be no snow. Who ever heard of Christmas without snow?
This was serious. Snow elves had the most important job of all the elves – making snow for Christmas and they were almost too late.
Stan ran all the way back to Cecil’s and didn’t even bother asking to come in. He went right up to Cecil, sleeping in his bed, and shook him.
Cecil didn’t budge.
Stan pulled the covers off Cecil and shouted out his full snow elf name: Beguscelidosilatu.
Cecil snorted once and turned over.
Something was horribly wrong. It was plenty cold enough that the rest of the elves should be awake by now. They should have been awake for Thanksgiving.
In Cecil’s closet, Stan found a storm horn. He grabbed it, took a big breath, and blew it at Cecil. Then he blew it again. Louder.
Cecil’s eyes opened just a tiny bit and he said, “Go away Stan. I don’t want to wake up.”
Then Cecil closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
Stan tooted the horn, shook the bed, and shouted at Cecil, but he couldn’t wake him up again.
Maybe he didn’t need the other elves to make it snow. After all, he was in charge of the entire area between the Wilson’s pond and the line of oak trees that bordered the Desmond Dairy, and from Mary Mosswood’s picket fence to Mockingbird road.
He dashed home to get everything ready for a grand winter party. Stan took his finest string of jingly bells from under his bed. He mixed a big batch of Ice Punch and put it in a jug to keep it chilled. Then he visited his cousins, the cookie-making elves, and got a whole bag of snow-flake shaped cookies.
Stan went to the clearing where all the snow elves gathered. He ate some cookies. He drank some punch. He took out the string of bells and jingled them as he danced around an old evergreen tree.
He continued until all the cookies were eaten, all the was gone, and his feet hurt from all the dancing. No snow fell.
It sounded like Christmas. It smelled like Christmas. It even tasted like Christmas. But it didn’t feel like Christmas. And if it didn’t snow it wouldn’t look like Christmas.
Something was preventing the rest of the elves from waking up and it was preventing Stan from making snow. He decided to go into town and see if he could find what that something was.
From the church bell tower, Stan watched the people below. He watched until it was dark. He watched all night. And he watched in the morning. Finally, it came to him.
There was no Christmas spirit. It wasn’t anywhere to be found. People passed each other in the street without saying hello. They didn’t even smile. With packages clutched tightly in their arms, they bustled from place to place without any of the warmth that made Christmas special.
While it was true that heat made snow elves sleepy, the Christmas spirit was a different kind of warmth. It made the elves want to dance and sing with one another. When they did that, it snowed. The merrier the gathering the more it snowed. However, unless something changed the cold hearts of the townspeople, there would be no snow this year.
Stan knew just what to do.
He climbed down the bell tower, into the church, where he borrowed some children’s clothing that he found in the donation box. He dressed so that nobody would recognize him as an elf and then walked outside.
An old woman shuffled slowly on the icy side walk. She carried many packages and looked as if she might fall.
Stan skipped over to her and said, “Please may I help with your packages? I can carry them and you can take my hand so that you don’t slip on the ice.”
The woman scowled at Stan.
But Stan didn’t care. He smiled back at her. He smiled until her frown went away and she handed the packages to him. They walked across the street and down the block until they reached a small green house. Stan waited for her to open the door and then took the packages inside and laid them on the kitchen table.
“Merry Christmas,” he shouted as passed the woman on his way out.
She waved good-bye. “Merry Christmas to you,” she said with a smile.
That made Stan feel good inside. It felt like Christmas.
Walking down the street, Stan came across a hospital. If any place needed a little cheer, it certainly had to be here.
In one of the rooms a little boy sat in a bed. He was all alone in the room and looked very sad.
Stan walked in and said, “Would you like to hear a story.”
The boy sat up straighter and nodded his head.
“Once upon a time,” Stan began the story. Then he told the little boy about a shoe-maker elf who liked children and made them magical shoes. He happened to know that particular elf pretty well, but told the story as if it were make believe.
When he had finished the story he told the boy good-bye.
“Thank you, friend,” the boy said. “I’m so glad that you came to visit me.”
So was Stan. He didn’t know the boy. Still, he was glad he had come and visited him, all the same.
As he walked out of the hospital and along the sidewalk, Stan whistled. At the end of the block, a man worked in his yard, raking up leaves. It was a big yard. There were a lot of leaves.
“If you have another rake,” said Stan. “I can help you and we’ll get these leaves raked up twice as fast.”
The man’s face brightened at the suggestion. He went into his tool shed and came back with another rake.
Because the rake was so big and Stan was so elf-sized, it took him a little while to get used to raking the leaves. The man introduced himself as Mr. Henke and the two of them sang Christmas songs while they worked. Before he realized it, they had finished raking the entire yard. It had hardly seemed like work at all.
“Now I have time to help Mrs. Sutters,” said Mr. Henke. “I can fix her door and then she won’t have any more trouble getting in and out of her house.”
Mr. Henke shook Stan’s hand and then put the rakes away and walked over to the house next door.
Now it really felt like Christmas.
Stan returned to the gathering place. He picked up his jingly bells and started to dance and sing. This time it was different. He thought of all the giving he had done today and it brightened his heart. As he danced, a snow flake drifted down from the sky and landed on his nose. Then a few more came down and rested on his shoulder.
He started to dance again. Only this time, Cecil was there to join him. They took either end of the string of bells and danced around the old evergreen tree.
One by one, the rest of the snow elves joined Stan and Cecil. Some brought bells. Some brought flutes. And Lora brought a huge pot of Ice Punch.
They danced and they sang until morning. And when they returned to their homes, the town and all its surroundings was covered with a blanket of pure, white snow.