I had some medical issues to deal with during the past holiday season, so did not let you know about my latest trip to the North Pole. So, even though it's springtime now, I thought you might still like a report.
Once again, I learned something I hadn't been aware of before. Like most people, I didn't realize that besides reindeer, there are other deer who live on Santa's compound at the North Pole. Basically they mind their own business and are left to their own devices, since they don't have the kind of important duties for which the reindeer feel such pride. However, during the frigid winter months they do have contact with the humans who reside there, as well.
They forage quite well, generally, but occasionally receive some of the excellent hay which the stable elves stockpile for the reindeer during the short growing season. And, at least once or twice a week they get extra treats, delivered by one of Santa's elves, Edsel, who is getting up in years and is close to retirement. Mrs. Santa sometimes has to remind him that he needs to fill his bucket and go find the little deer families that are scattered in the forest.
Just recently she was overheard reminding Santa that perhaps it was time for Edsel's son Elvin to take over. "Well," Santa responded, "Let's don't rush Edsel into anything. I don't need another crabby retired elf telling me how to manage my affairs. As long as he is willing to carry that bucket, let him, I say."
So, at least for now Edsel continues with his duties, although he grumbles, "I could be in there by the warm fire, drinking me cocoa."
But secretly he likes the attention he gets from the deer when he appears over the hill toting his heavy bucket of carrots and apples.
"I think he's coming, Mama," one of the young ones cries.
"Yes, I see him coming over the hill," calls another.
"Patience, boys and girls, your old pal is coming as fast as his old legs will carry him. I just had to stop a minute and give an apple and a carrot to my friend Nimble Fingers, the raccoon."
"Thanks again, Edsel. You're a credit to your raising, as my mother used to say."
"Now mind your manners, and don't forget to say the magic words," Mama deer reminds her youngsters.
"Please, Edsel, don't forget me down here under the tree."
And as Edsel heads back for the warmth of his fire and his cup of cocoa, they call out after him, "Thank you, Edself!"
"My pleasure, boys and girls. See you next time!"
NOTE: You can read about the making of this setting here.