Smitty, the blacksmith, and Elmer frequently collaborated on projects, and, as it turned out, Smitty was searching throughout the village for Elmer. He hurried toward the Weather Station. Perhaps they knew where Elmer was. It was worth a try.

            Orin and Yort spent most of their time observing, tracking, and predicting the atmospheric conditions at the North Pole. One thing was certain; it was freezing cold, no matter the season. Because the sun shone brightly in the summer, the temperature rose to a degree or two above zero; but in the long night of winter, it dropped way below.

            In addition to reporting the weather, they monitored the positive ion count. These particles were critical to the existence of the North Pole. The PIN, or Positive Ion iNdex, indicated the amount of positive ions present in the atmosphere.  The PIN was almost always close to the top of the scale, but occasionally it would fall a bit. No one wanted the PIN to drop, because that meant the North Pole would be in grave danger. In fact, once when the PIN dropped, the Candle Shop completely disappeared; but that was before the Trouble Scale (TS) was invented.

            Yort was in charge of the first floor, where the properties of wuffle dust were studied. In the lab, he routinely experimented with the mystical powder, and documented the results of its effects. Then he repeated the experiments and analyzed the data in hopes of learning more about the North Pole’s primary resource. He was thus engaged when he heard a rap on the door.

            “I’ll get it,” he yelled to Orin, who was busily tracking the weather. Yort threw open the door and found Smitty, ready to knock again. “Smitty! Come in. What brings you out here?”

            “I’m looking for Elmer mer,” Smitty said, shivering. He had an annoying habit of repeating the last word (or syllable) of his sentences -- not every sentence, but most of them and it was annoying annoying.  He was so cold his teeth were even chattering.  “Have you seen him ‘im?”

            “Nope, I haven’t,” Yort replied.

            “I’ve been all over town town,” Smitty groaned.

            “Maybe he’s not in town,” said Orin, who had also come to the door.

            “Maybe not not,” Smitty shook his head.

            “Have some cider with us,” Yort offered.

             Smitty was grateful. He sipped the beverage slowly, savoring its warmth. “If he’s not in town, where can he be be?”

            “I dunno,” Orin shrugged. “Maybe he’s out at Glacier Lake.”

            “Nope, I’ve been there there. If you see him, please tell him I’m looking for him ‘im.”

            “Sure thing.” Yort nodded. “Are you sure you want to go back out in that mess?”

            “I gotta. Thanks for the cider er,” Smitty opened the door. He pulled his overcoat tightly around him and leaned into Boreas, the North wind. 

With the snow whipping around him, he struggled to get back to the Smithy. “Looks like a blizzard ard,” he moaned out loud.

            “Hallo, who’s there?” the voice was almost lost in the wind.

            “It’s me me,” Smitty yelled.

            “Smitty?” The voice was closer.

            “Yep, yep. How’d ya know know?” Smitty hollered back.

            “Geez, I’m right here,” the voice said.

            Smitty peered carefully into the swirling snow. “Phred, Phred?”

            “The one and only. What are you doing out in this mess?”

            “Looking for Elmer mer,”

            “Elmer? Well, he’s out at the Cabin,”

            “The Cabin, bin? What’s he doing out there, there?”  Smitty was relieved to learn of Elmer’s whereabouts.

            “Been hanging out with Clancy,” Phred yelled above the storm. “They’re working on motorizing a sled. In fact, I’ve been looking for you because they need you to help with the job. Clancy wants it for trips into town.”

            “What about the train, train?” Smitty asked loudly, swaying back and forth trying to keep warm.

            “Yeah, but the train only comes out our way once a day, so we can’t get back until the next day – or walk, and we can’t always do that. Train’s great for transporting stuff, though."

            "Ya could use some dust dust."

            "Clancy won't authorize it 'less it's an emergency. C’mon, let’s get moving,” Phred said. “Boreas is brutal today.”

            “Where ya headed, ed?” Smitty hopped in the cart with Phred.

            “Since I found you, we can head back to the Cabin.”

            “The Smithy’s closer, er.”

            “Fine with me,” Phred said.

            The Village Smithy was usually visible from a long way away because the flames caused the area to glow a bright orange.  The snow was so heavy, though, that they were in the yard before they realized they had arrived.

            “Here we are, are,” Smitty hollered. He opened the door and they entered the warm room.  They removed their scarfs and mittens and woollies, and hung them by the fire so that they would dry quickly.

            “I’m not going back out there today,” Phred said emphatically.

            “Nor am I, I,” Smitty agreed. “I’ll get some cocoa, coa,” he offered. Smitty warmed the cocoa on the stove. “Do you want something dry to put on, on?”

            Phred picked up his sweater. It was damp, so he put it back near the fire. “I could use a sweater, if you have a spare,” he said.

            “Pour the cocoa, and I’ll get one for you, you,” Smitty said. He disappeared and Phred served the steaming chocolate. In a flash, Smitty returned with a sweater and some snow pants. “Here, put these on on,” he gave the clothing to Phred. 

            The wind howled outside, but Smitty and Phred were cozy.  The two shared cocoa and cookies, and an evening of fellowship by the fire.

 “Do you know what happened to the Candle Shop?” Phred asked. “I’ve only heard that it disappeared, but it was before my time.”

            “Well, it’s a long story ree,” Smitty settled back in his chair. “Let’s see how much I can remember er,” and he told the following story (the repeated syllables have been omitted for sanity’s sake).      


Untold Stories Archive