When he arrived, covered in twinkling red dust, Nadie appeared to be an elfling.  Boog and Holly were thrilled with their new little charge.  For awhile, they carried him around in his basket.  He would peek out and wave to the other helpers, who had stopped to admire him.

            As Nadie became a little older, he grew a little bigger and a lot more independent.    Nadie could walk, but he was easily distracted by all the things in his new world, and was eager to indulge in them.  So, his parents stuffed him into the basket when they were in a hurry to go someplace.

            One day, while Holly was doing her route in the snow mobile, Boog took Nadie to Polar Park to teach him to ice skate on the Slippery Slope Pond.

            “C’mon, Nadie, get in the basket.”

               “No!” Nadie squealed with delight as he ran in the opposite direction.

               “C’mere, Bubby.” Boog chased after him.  “Do you want to go to the park?”

               “Yesss!”

               “Well, c’mon then.”

               Nadie cackled and ran away.

              Finally Boog snagged him about the waist, and stuck him in the basket.

              “No, No, Noooh!” Nadie yelled, kicking his feet.

               Boog grabbed the basket.  “Now, settle down.”

               Nadie stopped flailing, for they were going on an outing.  He loved going places because he always learned many new things. On their way to Polar Park, Donovan caught up with them.  He scratched at Nadie’s hat, then said, “So where are you off to?"

            “Taking Nadie to Polar Park.  I’m gonna teach him to ice skate.  Wanna come?”

            “Sure, for a little while.  You goin’ to work this afternoon?”

            “Yeah.  When Holly finishes, she’s gonna meet us at the park and get Nadie.    Then I’ll go to the Fix It shop for awhile.”

            “I can prolly hang out until Holly comes, but I gotta go back to work, too,” Donovan said.

             Boog turned his attention to the skating pond. “Wow.  It looks busy today.”

             Nadie began to squirm his way out of the basket.  

           “Okay, okay.  You can get out now.” Boog placed the basket in the snow just as Nadie exited it.

           “You’re a fast little monkey,” Donovan said laughing.

            Nadie was already running toward the frozen pond.

            Boog and Donovan ran after him.  Nadie had already fallen on the ice by the time they caught up with him.  He was brushing his knees.

            “Look, Bubby, you have to wear these.”  Boog dangled a pair of ice skates in front of Nadie.

            Nadie grabbed at them, but Boog held them high.  “Wait for your instructions.”

           “Way.”  Nadie repeated, and sat in the snowbank. 

            Boog helped him with the skates, explaining that the ice was very slippery.  “Okay, now take my hand.”

            Nadie grabbed Boog’s hand, and Donovan’s hand, too.  They began to glide around Slippery Slope. After awhile, Nadie was able to balance on his own.

            "I go now, Boppi?"

            Boog eyed Nadie.  "Skate over there and let me see how you do."

            Nadie skated across the pond, and back again.

            "He looks good to go," Donovan said.  "He only fell on his bottom once.  That's as good as most of us."

            "Pweas, Boppi."

            Boog nodded.  "Okay, Nadie.  I'll be on the bench."

            Donovan and Boog watched as Nadie taught himself to skate backwards.      "He's not bad," Donovan said.

            Boog laughed.  "He's better than you are!  Hey, do you see him?"

            “He was just there.” Donovan looked around.

            “Nade,” Boog called.  “Naaaadie.”

            “Let’s split up,” Donovan said.  “You look by the skating pond, and I’ll check around the ice sculptures.”

            “That’s a great idea.”  Boog was running toward the pond.  “Naaadie!”

            Dononvan dashed toward the ice sculptures, calling for Nadie over and over.  Other helpers joined in the search.

            When Holly arrived, Nadie was still missing, and  Boog was frantic. 

            “You can go to work now, dear.  Where’s Nadie?”

            Boog frowned. “He’s missing, He was right here, and then he was gone.”

            Holly was annoyed.  “Fooey, Boog!”  She looked around.  “Nadie!.”  She started walking toward the skating pond.  “Nadie, you come here at once.”

            Boog was stunned.  Nadie was nowhere, but Holly was talking to him as if she could see him.  Then, there he was, sitting on the frozen pond, giggling.

            Boog was so relieved to see him, he forgot to be angry.  He embraced Nadie and then stepped back.  “Hey, where were you?”

            Holly shook her head.  “I saw him right away.  He was a penguin!”

            “A penguin!” Donovan and Boog chorused.

            “Didn’t you notice three penguins on the ice?  Bee-eff and Dee-ell were skating, and the other penguin was sliding on his backside.”  Holly was brushing Nadie’s britches.  “I recognized him immediately.”

            “How was he a penguin?” Boog asked.

            “I have no idea, but apparently it has something to do with the six pointed star,” Holly said.  “Mrs. Claus said it was unique.”

            “Wow!  He can change how he looks!” Donovan exclaimed.

            “I guess so.”  Boog dropped to one knee and grabbed Nadie’s shoulders.  “Look, Nadie, when I call you, you come.  I was frightened.”

            Nadie giggled.

            “Seriously, Bubby.  It’s not funny.  Promise me you will come if I call.”

            Nadie hugged Boog. "I pwomise."

            Holly looked at Boog. "This is a twist we will need to talk about when you get home, but for now, you better get to work.” 

 

 

           

 

 


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