Santa's Secret War
by Eric J. Krause
"Gather round, gather round. Yes, Billy, Gramma is bringing out cocoa and cookies. But while we wait, I have a story for you kids. I've always loved stories on Christmas Eve. No, Mandy, it's not going to take any time away from presents. You know as well as I that those don't start until your mommy and Auntie Peg finish cleaning the kitchen.
"What story, you ask? This is the story of how Santa became the undisputed King of Christmas. I don't know, David. You'll have to tell me if it's true or not when I finish the tale. It might mean an extra gift for each of you.
"Do I have your attention now? Good.
"This didn't happen too long ago. Santa Claus had been around for many a year at this point, but something happened which made him have to fight to keep his place as the jolly guy who ruled Christmas. A surly little goblin named Gilly Weedwacker started a war to take over Christmas.
"It happened one Christmas Eve-eve night as Santa was just about to jump into bed to rest up for his gigantic tomorrow. The clatter outside his window didn't faze him at first--the elves often liked to blow off steam with rousing rounds of snowball fights. It only took a minute, however, for Santa to realize he wasn't hearing raucous shouts of mirth and joy, but instead yells of pain, surprise, and hate.
"The King of Elves threw open his curtains and saw strange green creatures overtaking his elite Elven guard. The monsters were vicious, but pride poured through Santa when, after the initial shock wore off, his elves fought back hard. There were far too many goblins (that's what those creatures were) for the Elven guards to handle. Many surged through the ranks as his elves handled the first wave. Santa could only hope the rest of his army could repel these evil invaders.
"Mrs. Claus urged Santa to stay hidden; he was too important to the world to go down in battle. He shook his head. No, if these goblins succeeded in overthrowing the North Pole, it wouldn't matter if he were alive or dead. And his elves would fight all the harder if they knew their beloved leader was standing tall alongside them on the front.
"Santa's elves, even though they weren't an elite force like his advanced guards, still outclassed the goblins one-on-one. Too bad the goblins outnumbered them three or four to one. How had such a large force advanced up the world without anyone noticing? The North Pole had surveillance equipment to prepare for situations such as this. How had they missed this assault?
"And then he knew. The smell hit him first. Gilly Weedwacker. King of the Goblins. While his subjects were lower than low-tech, Gilly possessed magic that could get this job done.
"Santa stepped up to face the challenge. Sweat dripped down his rosy cheeks. Though he knew his powers were more than a match for the Goblin King's, any careless maneuver would give the upper hand to Gilly Weedwacker. That would mean the goblins would control Christmas, and no one wanted that.
"The goblin grunts and Elven warriors all stopped and turned to watch their leaders clash. None of them mattered, and they knew it. This war would be won and lost by the two big-wigs. If they could have, both sides would have pulled up comfy couches and munched on popcorn while they watched.
"Gilly Weedwacker struck first. Goblin magic is deadly, but a master of Elven magic can turn even the most devastating spell aside. And, boys and girls, Santa was--and is--a master of Elven magic. He's never had an equal. And on that night, with his entire workshop--nay, his whole holiday--in jeopardy, the Goblin King stood less of a chance than the proverbial snowball in Hades.
"With a mere flick of his wrist, Santa knocked the torturous spell aside. A quick snap of his fingers brought Gilly Weedwacker, who'd been planning this assault on Christmas for over a century, to his knees. Mop up wasn't even necessary. Victory belonged to Santa and his elves. The goblin soldiers couldn't scatter out of there fast enough.
"With Gilly Weedwacker utterly and easily defeated, there was no one to challenge Santa. And that, children, is the story of why Santa is the current, and forever, King of Christmas.
"So, as David asked earlier, is this a true tale? Before you answer, I want each of you to go look into your stockings. Yes, Mandy, I realize you never open them until morning. And I also know each of you snooped in them before dinner. You better believe I was watching. Was there anything in them then? No? I didn't think so.
"Yeah, those are each for you. Only kids who know about Santa's Secret War can get those presents. Those are there for you to promise to tell your grandchildren when they're old enough. Yes, it's a long time away, but those will help you remember. I promise.
"How? Easy. I got the same gift when I was your age. Now don't hold yourselves in suspense any longer. Open them up."