Brojo returned to his job at the train station and his time in Switchland evaporated like a dream. He was happy to be home, and went right back to work like he had never been gone.

        After a bit, no one thought much about Brojo's time at the Coal Mine. That's because the helpers focused on happy things, and so the happy times were the ones that they remember. In fact, only the present had any real significance.

        The helpers believed that the clock at the Reindeer Traffic Control Tower was a reminder of the time of Santa's return from the Christmas Eve Run, and it was; but the real reason the Tower's clock perpetually reads 5:25 is that it is the exact day and the exact time that the shared memory begins -- and ends.

        Once a year, for 12 hours, the helpers recalled everything. On May 25th, the Day of Remembering, at precisely 5:25, all of the helpers hurried to the Circle of Forevergreens.

       Nadie was participating for the first time. He knew exactly where he was going, and why.

       When the community had assembled, Zann, as the North Pole Nurturer, began to speak. "We are gathered today for our Day of Remembering. It is a time for rejoicing, because all of our transitions, difficult and easy, have made us what we are today. And so, together, let us recall our mission."

            In unison, the helpers said, "Our purpose is to make the world a happier place for children everywhere."

            The Roll Call of Helpers followed the mission statement, beginning with those who had faded, followed by elves, from elders to elfants. Then all of the animals, beginning with the reindeer and ending with the bears. Mrs. Claus and Santa completed the list.

         Strubby stepped forward and handed Santa the parchment scroll that was the Polestory (pronounced Polstry).

         Santa began to read aloud, "Before it started, there was nothing.  Then, shrouded in mystery, came the Big Bang . . ."  He passed the scroll to the next helper, who read the next portion.  The reading of the Polestory continued in this fashion until it had been read in its entirety.

        ". . .so, for as long as it twinkles, the North Pole will always be." Strubby gently rolled the parchment.   Then he led the parade of villagers to the Christmas Archives, where he secured the document.  He carefully locked the building -- this is the real reason that he locked his establishment, day after day, although he didn't know it -- and joined the community. 

        Mrs. Claus clapped her hands to get everyone's attention. "Let us celebrate by sharing memories and making merry." She took Santa's hand, and they started dancing down the Lane.

        Some folks gathered in small groups, telling the forgotten stories, while others moved around, listening and sharing here and there.

        Nadie was one of the movers. First he eavesdropped on a group that was sharing the story of the big bell in the Circle of Forevergreens.

       "It came from the Starlight Forest," Phred said. "And it was made by the snow dragon."

        Nadie didn't say anything, but he wore a look of amazement.

        "It can sound like almost any bell."

        "Must be due to the wuffle dust," Nobby said.

        Phred shook his head. "No one ever dusts it. It just has the ring of truth. And, if someone fibs, it jingles."

       "It bongs when Santa leaves and returns from the Christmas Eve Run. And it has mellow tones, too."

        Nadie knew about the bell's different sounds, so he moved to the group surrounding the weather guessers.

        "It was inevitable," Yort said.

        "And essential," Orin added. "The scalometer has made life easier. Things operate more smoothly these days."

        "Tell us about the mythosphere," Rissy shouted.

        Orin nodded. "The mythosphere is where we exist. We live within the realm of mythology, which simply means that we have our own culture and history, and that not everyone believes in us."

        "Why not?" Elmer asked.

        "Because no one sees us, and folks find it hard to believe in something they cannot see." Yort demonstrated his expertise.

        "Why can't we be seen?" Ria asked

        Orin inhaled deeply. "Well, no one ventures this far north, especially in the winter, when the Pole is visible. But just in case they do, the mythosphere's uppermost layer is the ignorasphere."

        "That means we will be ignored, if anyone comes around, right?" Ria clapped her hands.

        "Right," Yort and Orin said together.

        "And some animals can't talk because they came from outside the mythosphere," Yort said. "They can talk if they're dusted, though."

        "Like the reindeer, and penguins," North Pole Phil said.            

        "And fwamingos," Nadie chimed in.

***

        Smitty was sharing the story about the loss of the Candle Shop, and how it was replaced by the Peppermint Twist. "And that's why we don't have a First Street street."

        "Why?" Nadie asked.

        "Because when Candy Man made the street lights, Santa renamed it Candy Cane Lane lane."

        "Oh, de Wain."

        "No, THE Lane is Santa Claus Lane," Jimbo said. "Candy Cane Lane is, well, Candy Cane Lane."

        Santa was telling a story, so Nadie wandered in that direction.

        "Some folks are curious about technology, and wonder why we don't use it much here at the North Pole. We have a computer or a camera scattered here and there, but there's no need for such stuff. We prefer to do difficult things the old fashioned way -- with wuffle dust.

        "There's also the very real issue of ions. Most of the Earth's atmosphere is charged by positive and negative ions, and humans function quite well in that environment. Here, though, negative ions are minimal. In fact, too many of them cause problems. Positive ions are so critical to the existence of the North Pole, that the scalometer was developed, just to keep tabs on them.

        "Telephones, computers, televisions, radios -- they all interfere with the positive ion balance. That's why gadgets are few and far between."

         Nadie drifted toward another group, that was sharing stories about Zeldritch and the Coal Mine. Then he listened to a tall tale about the Swiss Chocolate Alps.

        Finally he heard some interesting stories about a Snow Fairy Cavern. He didn't know anything about the cave.

        "I remember it's full of sparkling crystals of ice," Violet said.

        "Oh, the diamond dust," Bluebell said.

        Holly shivered. "And an ice cold wind, that whistles and makes it hard to get out."

        "That's the north wind, Boreas. He lives there, and only leaves if he has work outside of the cave." Dandy Lion's wings hummed. "Even then, he leaves a little of himself behind. No one leaves unless he lets them."

         Nadie grew tired of listening to memories, so he joined the jubilees in the street.  Their tales were real and  tall; many were centuries old. They sang the songs which preserved their history, and they feasted.  Barrels of goodies lined the streets and the townfolk took from them freely.  They celebrated until precisely 5:25 in the evening, when they magically resumed their routine activities.  No one  questioned why they were together, delighting in each other's company.  They just stopped what they were doing, and returned to their establishments.

        For Nadie, and the other helpers, things were just like always, and the Day of Remembering was forgotten.

***

        Strubby slowly walked back to the Christmas Archive.  He didn't know what he had been doing, nor was he concerned about it.  He just unlocked the door and returned to work.  The other helpers returned to their shops and resumed their jobs too.

        Sheeny and Covski walked to the Proper together.  "We will need more chocolate soon," Sheeny stated.

        "Tomorrow is supposed to be nice.  I think I'll gather ingredients," Covski said. 

         "We are out of a lot of things," Sheeny said.  She gathered her belongings and started toward the Gingerbread House.  "I'll see you early tomorrow," she called.

           Covski waved, "Good night, Sheeny."  Covski turned her attention to her inventory.


Untold Stories Archive