Following her afternoon off, Rissy returned to the stables. She was surprised to find Comet wandering behind the stables, his leads dragging behind him in the snow.

            "Where's Ria?"

            Comet pawed at the snow.

            Rissy approached Comet and extended her hand. "What's the matter, Comet? You seem sad." Rissy took his reins and led him into the stables. She brushed him and gave him fresh water. Then she put him in his stall and turned off the Christmas lights.

***

            By the time Mrs. Claus arrived at the Forest Cabin, the bears had already been dispatched. Mrs. Claus sat on a nearby wooden bench and held the urn tightly. Santa sat beside her and put his arm around her.

            "Do we know who it is yet?"

            Santa sighed. "Not yet, but the bears should be back soon." And so they waited.

***

            Meanwhile, the bears galloped through the Christmas Tree Forest and into a sparsely wooded area beyond.

            "I think I see something," North Pole Phil said, pointing at the shimmering snow.

            Ted looked at Phil. "Yes, I see it too." He and Phil approached  the little pile of snow which was twinkling brightly. "I believe we've found it."

            "Go get Mrs. Claus. I'll wait here, with the remains.." Phil removed his hat and wiped his brow.

            "She will want to know who it is," Ted said.

            "I can't tell right now. We found the dust, but someone else will have to figure out who it is. There's no evidence here." Phil stuffed his hat in his vest pocket. "Hurry!"

***

            Ted E. Bear raced back to the Forest Cabin, where everyone was waiting.

            Santa stepped forward. "You found the accident?"

            "Yes Sir, but we don't know who it is." Ted stretched his front paws before the bonfire. "Phil is waiting for Mrs. Claus." Then, turning to Mrs. Claus, he said, "If you're ready, I will take you now."

            Mrs. Claus stood. "I believe I am."

            Santa helped Mrs. Claus onto Ted's back and handed her the urn. "Hang on tight, Mama." and he blew her a kiss.

***

            Rissy's night was restless. She couldn't sleep at all. After tossing and turning for a long time, she gave up. Rissy got out of bed, and dressed in her woollies. Something's wrong and I have to tell Santa.

            The north wind, Boreas, stung her cheeks as Rissy plodded through the snow. The Workshop wasn't far and before she realized it she was banging on the door.

            Bernard opened the door."Rissy!" He invited Rissy inside. "What are you doing here?"

            "I need to talk to Santa."

            "He's not here. Is something wrong?"

            Rissy exhaled. "Maybe."

            "He and Mrs. Claus are out at the Forest Cabin. There's been some sort of accident."

            "Oh no! I need to talk to Santa! How do I get there?"

            Bernard reached for a jar of wuffle dust. "I'll dust you there. You won't miss it; in fact you probably will end up inside."

            "No! Put me outside, and I'll knock."

            Bernard nodded. “Forest Cabin, front porch.” He doused Rissy with dust.

***

            North Pole Phil took the urn, and helped Mrs. Claus to the ground.  Then he led her to the  twinkling dust. Phil held onto urn and watched Mrs. Claus kneel in the snow. He knelt beside her and placed the urn beside her.

            Mrs. Claus removed her gloves and ran her hands over the little pile of sparkling dust and whispered, "Tell me who you are." Mrs. Claus was still for several minutes. Finally, she said, "Ok,Ted, steady the urn."

            "Yes, Ma'am." Ted grasped the handles of the urn. "Do you know who it is, Ma'am?"

            Mrs. Claus trapped the glimmering dust in her fingers. "No, I'm afraid not." She allowed the dust to flow through her fingers into the urn. She repeated, until every piece of sparkling dust was safely deposite. Then she turned to Phil. "Can you help me."

            Of course, Ma'am." North Pole Phil swept Mrs. Claus up, and onto Ted's back. Then he handed her the urn.

            She held it tightly with one arm, and grasped Ted's fur with the other hand. "Let's go."

            Ted and Phil began the return trip to the Forest Cabin, although not as quickly now, because they were bearing precious cargo.

***

            "I need to see Santa." Rissy looked past Farley, into the cabin's main room.

            Farley swung the door wide so that Rissy could enter.

            Santa turned to greet her.. "Rissy, come in. What brings you out here?"

            "Well, sir, wuffle dust."

            Santa chuckled. "Yes, alright. Why are you here?"

            "Bernard told me there was an accident. I think it might be Ria." Rissy quickly explained the latest events. "And Comet was in the yard, and there was no sign of Ria."

            Santa inhaled deeply. "That certainly explains why the accident happened beyond the Christmas Tree Forest." He pulled his fingers though his beard. "I'm positive. Yes, it's Ria."

            Rissy stood up. "I promise to do my best, Santa. I mean, it's Christmas. Tomorrow is the 23rd."

            "I know, Rissy. I appreciate your dedication." Santa scratched his brow. "After Christmas, you may take some Fallow time, whenever you choose. I need you right now, though."

            "I will work hard, Santa."

            "Thank you." Santa turned to Farley. "Dust Rissy home, please."

***

            Santa threw the cabin door open, and greeted his wife. He offered his arm and helped her down from Ted's back.  "Everyone come inside," he said quietly.

            "Who is it?" Mrs. Claus asked.

            "Ria."

            "Ria!" The bears chorused.

            "Yes," Santa said. "I'm afraid so."

            Mrs. Claus nodded. "I will return her to the forest now." She went to the cart, where Verde and Rojo were waiting patiently.

            "Starlight Forest."


Untold Stories Archive