The Toy Home
The Miracle Fountain
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Legend of Rudolf. Page 10 of 22|
Rudolf. He liked his new name. But Santa had given it another meaning,
too. Santa had seen something that had
caused him to believe both in Rudolf’s strength and in the necessity of its
use. Why was that? What struggles would he face? Certainly Santa’s own reindeer team didn’t
seem too friendly. Why had they stared
at him so? What had he done to any of
them other than to stand before Santa in silent assertion of his right to
exist? He guessed he would need to earn
their acceptance and trust, that he would have to struggle yet again to find
he was already tired. He had fought so
many things these several days: snow,
terror, crying voices, tired limbs – and a long unyielding sense of what it
meant to be alone, to be without his mother, to be set apart, even now, even
among creatures as great as these. The
light that seemed to beckon to him at the edge of his sight was very dim. It flitted like a moth’s wing, dancing and
disappearing if he tried to bring it into focus. It was there even now. He
stared intently straight ahead, refusing to be tricked into looking for
it. And it was still there. But – was it possible? Had the light grown brighter by just the
gazed thoughtfully at the small, determined back. Why had this little one come to them? Santa could sense the raw purpose that swirled around and through
Rudolf the way firesmoke swirls around and through breathing things. But the purpose had as yet no shape. Santa pondered this, sensing that, whatever
form it took, this raw purpose was bound to and blended with Santa and his team
as they met and used the approaching magic of this Christmas.
he called softly, and the great reindeer lifted her head. "You must see to it that Rudolf
receives proper care." The
reindeer nodded. "And," Santa
continued, "for a reason we may discover much later – he is to be
instructed in our ways."
all ways?" Courage asked.
felt the chief elf's eyes hard on him.
"In all ways."
He watched Courage closely. The
great reindeer appeared to stumble, and the snort she released might well have
been caused by the surprise of a tree root, though there were no trees
about. Santa started to say something,
then fell silent, brooding.
silence, the team plodded across the darkened land.
Rudolf first saw the tiny traces of chimneysmoke, he wasn't sure if this was
Santa's compound. Certainly the team
seemed to be making right for it. Then
he saw a tiny dot of light, and the tiny outlines of buildings nestled in a
small valley. It must be the
compound! They could surely see it
now! He raised his head and gave a soft
bleat of recognition.
small sound lifted Santa out of his reverie.
He looked at Rudolf. The little
reindeer's head was up, his dark gaze fastened on a point far ahead in the
darkness. Santa knew his compound lay
straight ahead in the darkness, knew too that very soon first he and then the
reindeer would see the tiny points of light that would draw them home. But Rudolf had never been there before. How could he be anticipating the journey's
end, unless – unless he was really seeing it? How could that be?
shook his head, wondering. Had he seen
something else, as well: the barest
glimmer of light surrounding the little reindeer's head and dancing on the
half-grown antlers? He blinked and
rubbed his eyes. There it was again! or
seemed to be; but no: it was a trick of
reflection. Tiny lights had indeed
appeared in the distance. That was what
he'd seen, perhaps! They were close to
home. "Onward, team!" he shouted
through his wonder. "Hot mash and
warm stalls await you!"