Blogger’s Note: Over Christmas 2003, we became annual pen-pals with an elf named Siberius Quill, and he has again delivered this year! Transcriptions of the 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 letters from Quill can be seen here.
My dearest Children!
I must say, it has been a Most Eventful Year, both in your home and in ours! Such bustle down below (in Minnesota!), what with the Four of you now all school-age and active, and your parents rushing hither and yon to this and that engagement. Concerts, practices, games, retreats! It’s no wonder the Old Year slipped past so quickly! Does it feel that way even to Young Ones like yourselves? After centuries here in the White North, it all seems but a blink to my eye…
And my! but we have been busy here—about the same time you were enjoying Thanksgiving at the Venjohns, all our best Reindeer came down with Caribou Flu, which is not unlike your swine flu: dreadful wheezing coughs and high fevers and constant fatigue. It passed through the herd quickly, like a rumor of an Early Spring, and we wondered how we would haul the sleigh. Our elfin veterinarian, Dr. Vendy Deervermer, and the rest of the Stable Corps worked double-time to nurse them back to health (and drinking extra cocoa to ward off the flu themselves!), even as our Aeroanimage, Buoyancy Castor, struggled to find a suitable substitute, just in case. Aeroanimagery, you may know or might guess, is the magical art by which Terrestrial (that is, Earthbound) Creatures are made to fly, and old Yancy is the Best in the Business—but with the nearby caribou herds also sick, his Viable Options were limited indeed!
Only two creatures were deemed large and strong enough; the Walruses proved quite “broncy,” as your father’s friend Jinglebob might say, when airborne, and the Polar Bears—suffice it to say that it takes more than Pixie Dust to keep Ursus maritimus aloft. Plus, they eat a Great Deal and won’t touch vegetables—and very Few Homes indeed leave cold cuts or hard sausage, much less raw red meat, for Old Santa’s draft stock!
It was Touch-and-Go to the last! Fortunately, Dr. Vendy concocted a home remedy made from homemade udder balm from a moose dairy in Siberia, cooling Peppermint Paste from our own Candy Kitchens, and traditional Inuit and Eskimo medicines, then boiled in a Tea. The resulting drink, along with the prayers of the Devout Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Winter, seemed to move them to recovery. (That, and the Magnificent Storm predicted by old Flurious and even now snowing over you as sleep and wake—the Reindeer love nothing more that a long pull through snowy skies!)
But enough of Our Problems! You have been Good Children, one and all, again this year—and so what’s a Watcher to do but spy over your shoulder to see what Questions you might have for the Jolly Old Elf, himself, this year? We’ve done just that, so even as Father Christmas munches his cookies and smiles at Your Note, he is able to leave this letter in Timely Reply!
Miss Emma, you’ve asked about Numbers of Toys and the Time It Takes—and I trust Masters Gabriel and Trevor have similar concerns in their own Heads and Hearts. I would urge you to ask Master Brendan to share my Past Letters with you again, in which I explain more about Which Toys are Made and Which Toys are Gathered. But in truth, we still make Many Hundreds of Thousands of toys and order Countless more. We make toys year-round, and indeed deliver them secretly Whenever and Wherever they are needed—much as St. Nicholas of Myra took care of those in need centuries ago.
How long does it take? Why, it takes All the Time We Have, which is No Time at All, when you think about it. What we do isn’t Possible in any amount of time, and yet each year we get Faster! Our official Time-Keeper, Pendulus “Tick” Chronin may actually be the slowest Elf at the Pole— except for his keen eye and quick thumb, which starts and stops the Great Chronometer at the start of each Shift, and each Christmas Eve. The G.C. measures time to the Nanosecond, and we have gotten so Lively and Quick at what we do that Tick may have to be quicker still. Picoseconds! Can you imagine?
And now I read back over What I Have Written, and see that perhaps it will make Little Sense to you. Facts are more Fluid than you might think, Children, and Faith, more Solid that Stone. Believe, and Wonderous Things are Yours to behold!
Travel safe, my young Friends, and a Very Happy Christmas to you all!