A Christmas Tale For Emily
By Al Coon
Written December, 2015
Emily opened her eyes. It was dark outside, because it was nearly Christmas, and days were very short. She had taken a nap in her bed, and as she was rubbing the sleep from her lovely brown eyes, she saw something move quickly off her pillow and slid down to hide. What was it?
She shook her head and looked again, but it was gone. It couldn’t have been there, because it almost looked like a tiny man, no taller than a blade of grass.
Her neck felt like it had been in the wrong place for awhile and she was going to sit up and stretch when she heard a voice.
Now she was awake, this wasn’t a dream, Emily was sure. And yet that little tiny voice had spoken to her.
“Who said that?” she asked.
“Hiabt,” came the reply. “That is my name Hiabt. And I need your help, very badly!”
“Okay, Hiabt,” said Emily as she continued to look down at the pillow, where her head had rested as she had been sleeping so soundly, only minutes before. “Where are you? And how can I help you?”
Emily had fallen asleep in her Princess Aurora dress, it was blue and white, and she loved the long beautiful way it hung down, and it made her feel like a real princess, when she had it on. She always wanted to be a princess, and though she didn’t know it, she really was!
“Alas, I am small, and I am hiding from you. I am a Weakie, a people who have magic, much like the wood elves and fairies, but we have known very few people. However, child, your great Grandpa, the one your Daddy is named for, he knew us, and he helped to bring us from New York when he moved to California.”
“My Great Grandpa Coon knew you?” Emily nearly squealed with delight. This was amazing!
“Yes, he knew us well. And he told stories to his brothers and sisters about us, and he even shared them with your Grandpa Coon,” the little voice came from behind her pillow, but still Emily could not see the one who spoke.
“We do not deal with the big people,” Hiabt said. “We instead hide in the forests and even the bushes and grass when we must. But I have entered your home Emily my child, because we need you right now, today!”
“But why?” she asked. “And I want to see who I am talking to!”
Emily was filled with spirit and she had a mind of her own and Hiabt decided he would have to show himself to her, even though it went against all the Weakie rules. He stepped out and Emily gasp!
Hiabt was like a small man, with a beard and red hair. If she could have seen them better, she would have been struck with his eyes which were very bright green, and he wore a kilt and Scottish hat. He was clearly in awe of this bonnie lass who was so big compared with his tiny body.
“Well, here I am,” said Hiabt. He stood tall, stretching to his entire 2 inches of height. “What do you think?”
Emily squealed with joy. “You are wonderful! Can I show you to Daddy and Mommy?”
“No!” he said absolutely. “First off, I have broken the rules enough letting you see me, but even more importantly we have a disaster that we must face right now, and I need your help. Will you help me dear lass?”
“I will help you if I can,” she replied. Emily’s heart was as big as a mountain, and she so wanted to help this little man, no matter what his problem.
“Our problem is that we have lost our princess, a girl much like you, only smaller,” he said.
“I am no princess,” laughed Emily. “I like to dress up like princesses but that is just pretend.”
“No Miss Emily, you are wrong, if you will pardon my being so bold,” said Hiabt. “You come from a line that stretches back to the days of Arthur and Guinevere. You are of royal blood and one day you will reclaim your throne, but that will be many years hence.”
Emily laughed, because she could play “let’s pretend” as well as anyone could.
“How do we find the lost princess?”
“Are you sure? For once you start this quest, there will be no turning back” said Hiabt.
Emily stood up to her full height, just a young girl of four, and her dress crinkled as she smoothed it out, and she looked around at her room. The light was out but the winter sun lit up her toys and the closed door behind which her parents were sitting in the living room. Her brothers and sister were in the house as well and yet it felt as though they were in another world. Something magical was about to happen and she could feel it as it swirled around her.
“I am sure!” Emily said.
The Village Mevic
The Weakie did something that Emily didn’t understand. Maybe he had something in his pocket or maybe he just waved his hand and she heard him say something strange, but all at once she was standing in a large cave, but it wasn’t dark. The walls glowed with a bluish wondrous light, and before her was a tiny village, very like the one that her Grandmother Coon had placed on a shelf in the living room. So small, but this village had people moving around inside of it. Oh my!
Emily put her hand over her mouth to keep from scaring all the little ones below her with a shriek of surprise. However, Hiabt said, “You need not worry, there is a dome of magic over Mevic that would block any sounds you might make.”
“Oh, is that the name of this town, Mevic?” asked Emily. Her eyes were squinting to see more of the little town in front of her. Could it be real?
“Yes, and we build Mevic almost exactly as the town we left in New York that your Great Grandfather knew. That town was called Licenod, and I think your Great Grandpa would have recognized this town if he had seen it, for it is so like Licenod, and he loved visiting that town.”
“I can make you small enough to visit our village, just as we did with your Great Grandpa many years ago. Would you like to visit Mevic?”
Emily’s eyes fairly flashed their delight, as she said, “Oh yes, please!”
Once again Hiabt did something funny with his hands, and said something Emily could not understand. And suddenly, without any feeling of motion or change, Emily was standing on the corner of a street, with buildings around her and she was surrounded by the most marvelous creatures she had ever seen. The one beside her must be Hiabt, but she had to ask.
“Yes, it is I, Hiabt, your humble servant,” and he doffed his cap as he bent in a formal bow.
Emily giggled at that, but Hiabt was very serious when he stood up.
“Time is critical to our mission Miss Emily. But I feel you must at least get to know the people you are going to fight for, and see how we live,” he said.
Emily looked around at the strange buildings and these people who were almost like humans, but not quite. She had some things to learn about Weakies, oh yes, she had a lot to learn!
Unless you have visited a Weakie village yourself you would be shocked at how much Mevic smelled like a forest. If you have had a real Christmas tree, you know how it makes your entire living room smell like a pine tree, and you have seen the pine needles fall from the tree as time passes. Mevic smelled just like that!
Emily looked up at the little house across the path—the dirt road was hardly wide enough, or busy with traffic enough to be called a street, in Emily’s mind. The roof of the house was made up of neatly laid rows of pine needles, but they were bent and shaped just like a hat on top of the house. They were bright green as though they were still growing on a tree.
“It’s an acorn!” Emily said as she pointed at the house.
“Yes it is,” Hiabt said with a smile. “We use things from the forest for all our town, for we are a people of the forest.”
“But acorns have brown hats not green pine needles,” she said. “I have picked them up beside the road when I walk with my daddy.”
“Those acorns are meant to grow into tall trees,” said Hiabt. “Our acorns are our houses. And you can see that acorn is very much larger than your acorns were.”
Emily turned to look at Hiabt, and was only a little taller than he was. She saw the top of his red and green cap, his red hair, and then she finally looked into his eyes.
“I have never seen eyes so very green before,” said Emily. “They look like a green stone I once saw in a store, where a ring was sitting under a very bright light and the stone sparkled, just like your eyes.”
“We have special eyes, Emily,” he said. “We must see in the dark forest, sometimes in a moonless night. Our eyes have a power to do that, no matter how very dark it may be.”
Emily had noticed the path was dirt where it ran between the buildings, but she suddenly noticed that her feet felt too comfortable to be standing on a hard dirt path. Instead it felt more like she was walking on the thick carpet in her living room when she was wearing her favorite soft slippers. Looking down she saw the “sidewalk” was like the roof of the house, green needles from a pine tree. And her nose caught the smell of something else, that fresh smell of rain in the forest, or on Daddy’s garden, when he had just planted some flowers for Mommy.
A mother Weakie came around the corner just then with two very small Weakie children. Mother wore a very long dress, which looked like it was woven from the tuffs of a dandelion puff ball, soft white and dainty as a cloud. The son was in a kilt, much like the one Hiabt wore, and Emily looked closely at it. She was amazed to see that it was made from many pine needles, both green, and somehow, red. She had never seen red pine needles before. The little girl was in a dress very much like her mother’s, and her shoes looked like they were tiny acorn hats, the brown ones, like Emily was used to.
“Mommy!” cried the little boy Weakie. “Look! What a beautiful girl! Look at those eyes, they are like the dark tree of mystery in Jounsef Forest, but they sparkle like the moon across the great pond!”
And before the mother Weakie could hush the children the little girl Weakie said, “And look at her beautiful hair; I have never seen such lovely curls before!”
“Please forgive our children,” said Hiabt. “They have never seen a big person up close before. This is my wife, Synthril, my son Plenxit, and my daughter Hithcos.”
Emily smiled and said, “I am pleased to meet you all! And I think your children are so very nice to say such kind things about me.”
“Thank you,” said Syntril. “Thank you so much for coming to help us!”
Suddenly both of the children had their magical eyes grow round with amazement. Almost in chorus they said together, “Oh, Mommy! This, this is the princess!”
Emily blushed now. She knew she wasn’t really a princess, but she did have her princess dress on.
“Please take the children to safety Syntril,” said Hiabt. “We have a great deal to do before Miss Emily can get started.”
“Goodbye Princess Emily,” said Syntril as she pulled the children along by their hands. Both of them were turning their heads to look at her the entire time, as they walked away with their mother.
“It is time,” said Hiabt. “We must go to the elders and explain our need to you, and what we are asking you to do for us.”
Hiabt quickly turned around and started walking, looking back over his shoulder and waving to Emily to follow. “Hurry, lass, time grows short.”
They walked down another dirt path, lined with pine needle sidewalks, and there were many acorn houses, and finally, one giant pinecone structure loomed ahead. Hiabt seemed to be walking towards it, and Emily tried to keep up with him.
All around the huge pinecone, there was an open space, lined with tiny pebbles, as though there had been a stream flowing across this ground and left behind its well rounded bed of stone.
“Was this a stream long ago?” asked Emily.
“You are a very bright child, Miss Emily!” said Hiabt. “This was once a stream that flowed down from the glaciers that covered the hills around us. But when the glaciers left, so did the water. It left behind its bed which we have used for our town square, and here is our meeting hall.”
Emily was surprised to see a door in the side of the pinecone, and they entered, and she was amazed to see a huge room inside filled with Weakies, and raucous voices were raised.
However, a hush fell over the crowd of tiny men, as they saw Emily enter. Emily heard whispers, “She’s here!” “She really came!” She could see in their eyes they could hardly believe that she was standing there. Of course, she was even more amazed that she was standing there than they were!
Hiabt turned to Emily and said, “I know you will find this hard to believe, but we need you to help us bring Santa Claus here, because only he can save our Princess Athanse, but Santa will not listen to us without you, because you are a little girl. Santa will listen to you, because he loves children.”
Emily was dumbfounded. What on earth was he talking about? This made no sense. As crazy as everything was that she had already seen this was far beyond that. She pinched her arm to make sure she wasn’t dreaming all of this. Surely she was still asleep on her bed at home.
Hiabt saw what she did, and he smiled, “No child, you are not dreaming all of this. I know it seems that way, but all of this is real and we are desperate for your help!”
“How can I find Santa Claus?” asked Emily. She had sat on Santa’s lap at the mall and had her picture taken, but that was just a man pretending to be Santa. The real Santa was up at the North Pole, a very long, long distance away.
“We can send you to his workshop, using magic,” said Hiabt. “But only you can bring him back.”
“Do you know what day this is?” asked Emily. “Christmas is only two days away and he must be very busy right now!”
“You are right, and you will have to work a miracle to pry him away from his shop at this time,” said Hiabt.
“Princess Emily,” said an old Weakie, his chair was living, but Emily could not recognize the plant. “Let me explain.” The elder stood slowly up, and he used a cane to help him walk over to where she stood, and each step seemed to be a very great trouble for him to take.
“It is time for the Royal wedding,” said the older Weakie. “I am King Pieph, and it is time for me to take the great journey to the hall of my ancestors. My Queen has gone these 3 summers, and she waits for me to join her. But I can’t leave until a new king and queen have been crowned. Princess Athanse is to be the new queen, when she marries my son Prince Avgon. But our law demands that they be married on Christmas Day, and it is almost here. I cannot survive another year and if I perish before the new king is crowned it will be a disaster to our people.”
“Where is Prince Avgon, and why does he not save the princess?” asked Emily.
“Prince Avgon lives,” replied King Pieph. “However, he was wounded nearly to death in his fight to try and prevent the abduction of the lovely Princess Athanse. It was a bitter fight and sadly many died in the battle. But the band of villains, criminals, and evil Weakies, whom we had banished many years ago, have taken her, hoping to ruin our people. These rogues want to put their prince on the throne, and they stole our princess away to that end.”
This was very confusing to Emily, but she saw the anguish in the faces of each of the Weakies before her. This old king’s face was twisted in pain. Her big heart suddenly demanded that she help these people if she could. She was just a little girl, and she didn’t know how she could do it, but she would do her very best.
“Tell me what to do,” she said, with the look of a true princess on her face. She was not planning to fail.
“I am sure!” Emily said.
This time Emily saw what Hiabt did with his hands, when he reached into a small pouch hanging beside his kilt. He pulled out some dust, it sparkled like it was made of little stars, and he tossed it on her head. However, she still didn’t understand the words he said, but once again she found she had changed location instantly, and all the Weakies were gone.
The noise was incredible. She had never thought about what Santa’s workshop would sound like but it was very loud. The smell of cut wood was everywhere, and the roaring fireplace made its own smell and sound as well.
But if the noise was surprising, what about all that color! Red, green, white, blue, every color Emily could think of and even a number of colors she never saw before, she was sure!
And the elves were everywhere. They clearly had been hard at work, but all of them had stopped to look at this little girl who had magically appeared in their midst.
An elf high overhead, dressed in a green coat and, green hat and read shoes with curly toes, just like Emily would have expected him to look, spoke. He didn’t seem to yell, but his voice carried like it was traveling through a huge amplifier, before the word, “Santa!” blasted through all the other noises like they were not even there.
Around the corner, past a table stacked high with toys, came a well rounded man, with a very long white beard. He had eyes that were as magical as Hiabt’s had been, only these eyes were bright shiny blue. He wore red pants, held up by suspenders, and his feet were in black boots. His shirt was red but it looked like it was flannel, like a lumberjack might wear. And then Santa said something that completely surprised the little girl.
“Emily, my little darling princess, what on earth are you doing here in my workshop? You have been very good this year and I had a special treat picked out for your stocking, but how did you get here?”
Emily’s mouth opened and closed several times, but no words would come out. She was so shocked to be looking at Santa Claus, the real Santa Claus, she didn’t know what to say. He was so much better than she had ever thought possible. He was surrounded with love, she could feel it. His rosy cheeks were made to smile and his eyes only held kindness and sympathy, though they were touched with worry, for he didn’t know what brought Emily to his workshop.
Despite the fact that this was the very busiest time of year for him, his kind heart helped him wait patiently while Emily found her tongue, and stammered out, “Mr. Santa Claus, I came here because I need your help. Well, actually my friends need your help and they sent me here. They are not children, in fact they are not really humans at all, they are Weakies. They sent me here to beg you to help save them from disaster. I don’t know how to tell you in a way that will help you understand so you can come and help make things right.”
Santas eyebrows had moved downward more and more as Emily spoke as he was trying to take in what she was saying and make sense of it all. He of course knew about the Weakies, and he knew they were a fine magical people of the forrest, much like the fairies and wood elves. But it had been many, many years since he had seen one or even heard mention of one.
In fact it suddenly hit him, “Emily, my dear, your Great Grandpa used to be friends with the Weakies who lived in New York. I liked your Great Grandpa, he was a fun lad, but he was mischievous too, and I had to give him coal in his stocking a couple of years.
“But it is impossible, you must know this,” he said, as he raised his hands in a gesture of helplessness. At this time of year, I have no free time for anything but getting the toys ready for delivery. Perhaps after Christmas I can give them help.”
Emily had been thinking about this, and she decided that there was only one hope for changing Santa’s mind.
“Mr. Santa Claus,” she began. “You are right, this is a terrible time for me to bother you. I am asking of you a huge thing, probably bigger than any Christmas gift that any child has ever asked of you. There is no way you can do this thing for me. I knew that before I came here. But I have to beg you, to think of this. The Village Mevic may be destroyed forever. My friends, the Weakies may never survive this disaster. Only you can prevent this from happening. I ask this impossible thing from my heart, not because I hope you will say yes, for I know you will say no, but if I did not ask you, I would never be able to live with myself again, if I lived to be a thousand years old. I will never, ever ask any gift of you, other than this one for the rest of my life. Please, I beg of you come save the Weakies in Mevic. Please!”
If there is one weakness that Santa Claus has, it is the plea from a loving heart of a child, not begging for gifts for himself, but when he begs for something special for someone else. Something touched Santa’s heart in what Emily said. Christmas was not about toys, boxes under a tree, it was about love and sacrifice and Peace on Earth and goodwill towards man. And Emily had hit that soft spot in Santa’s heart with an arrow of love.
“Hans!” called out Santa, and the elf in the rafters, magically appeared beside him. Santa waved his hand and suddenly it held a long piece of paper with a very long list of items on it. “Hans, I need you to take this list, and work with all the elves in the workshop, to get as many of these things done as you can before I come back. I must go and help Princess Emily do a good deed.”
“But sir, you can’t leave now!” cried Hans.
“I know. I know, but I am going to anyway. I will return as absolutely quickly as I possibly can. I am sorry Hans to put this on you. Do your best, and I know that will be something marvelous indeed!”
Santa smiled and Hans frowned for a moment but only for a moment, and then he too smiled and said, “Okay, if Christmas isn’t about giving something extra, what is!”
The Dark Forest
Santa didn’t need any magic dust or words to move from his workshop to the village of Mevic. He just put his arm around Emily and suddenly they were standing in the pinecone meeting hall with all the Weakies that Emily had left only moments before.
Not even the most optimistic of the Weakies had dreamed that Princess Emily would be able to coax the great man from his workshop so quickly.
Santa’s magic was very deep and he drew out the details, all the details of the situation instantly from the minds of the Weakies, and he said, “The Evil Weakies are in The Dark Forest of Ephlule. They must have truly gone bad to dwell in that sink hole of evil, with its dark creatures and despondent spells.
“Princess Emily and I will go there and wrench your Princess Athanse from their land, but you may need to use healing spells upon her to undo the harm that time in that wicked place will have done to her.”
“Thank you Santa! We will heal our princess, you can be sure, if only you will return her to us. And if you do this for us, we will be forever in your debt. You will need only ask and we will do anything in our power to grant your request.”
“Indeed my friends, I will do that very thing upon my return with your princess,” said Santa. “But I think you will find my request to be one to your own liking!”
With no warning at all, suddenly Emily was standing in the darkest place she had ever seen that was not inside a cave. The trees hung thick with black mossy growth, dripping evil and stink all around her. Santa was beside her, or she would have been in depression so dark she might never have recovered.
“What a horrible place this is Santa!” she cried.
“It is indeed,” replied Santa, “And the people who have moved into this land have only evil left in their hearts. I fear for the Princess Athanse’s recovery, should she stay here any longer. Stay you behind me as I face these wicked ones who have done this evil deed.”
The Dark Forest of Ephlule, was a sinkhole that collected the evil of the world, and the goodness of Santa, and that of Emily’s good heart, clashed completely with the evil of the mirky, dank darkness that was everywhere. Even the water was putrid, and the streams flowed black and stinking.
Santa reached out his hand and pulled with all his magical might and the forest fought him with all the magic it controlled, and the struggle was intense, but it was short, for Santa could not be resisted. Suddenly, beside them both there stood a tiny Weakie who wore a dress very like the one Emily had on. It was Princess Athanse.
However, the evil Weakies were magical creatures who would not give up without a fight. They cast their spells and brought forth their weapons, but they ran into a wall that was beyond their power to break, for Santa had surrounded the three of them with a dome of goodness that evil could not penetrate.
The curses and the yelling from without the dome were soon gone, for Santa, waved his hand, and suddenly, standing in the meeting hall of the Village Mevic, were Santa, Princess Athanse, and our little Emily.
The king nearly fell on the floor as his aides assisted him in just the nick of time. Hiabt took the arm of Princess Athanse, and the magical healers surrounded her and carried her to the room of health where she would be made ready for the wedding on Christmas day.
“I have done as you asked, and returned your princess to you. You have promised to me that you will now do as I ask of you, in repayment,” Santa looked around the group of Weakies in the hall, as he spoke. “Here is what I ask of you: keep your watch over Princess Emily, keep her safe, and do all in your power to one day restore her to her rightful place upon her throne, as Queen, with her King by her side, the two of them to rule long and happily upon their land. I place this task upon you. If you follow through with it, we will be even and remain friends forever.”
“We accept your request and take it as our task to fulfill. The master Weakie Hiabt will be in charge of completing this task, and I feel he will not shirk or strain under this obligation,” said Pieph, the king of the Weakies.
“Then our work is done here, and I must return to my workshop. I bid you all a Merry Christmas!” And with that Santa was gone.
The Royal Wedding
Christmas Day had come and the healers had done their work. Prince Avgon was fully recovered from his battle wounds, he had sustained in trying to save his lovely princess, and Princess Athanse had been cleansed of all the evil of the dark forest forever, and she was as cheerful and alive as ever she had been before her abduction.
Of course Emily was there to see the ceremony, for without her there would have been no ceremony at all. She stood beside the new queen as the vows were spoken and the Weakies all cheered the new king and queen, and there was a special cheer for Emily, who though she still didn’t believe it, would one day find that she really was a princess and her royal blood had been what drove her forward to save the little but wondeful Village of Mevic.
It was a glorious Christmas, unlike any Emily had ever seen before, but one day…well that is another story.