Quickie the Elf
By Rob Queen
Did you know that children were not the only people to mail letters to Santa Claus? Sometimes, adults – like an aunt who is busy riding the rapids of the Colorado River, or an uncle who is exploring caverns deep under Lake Michigan – also write to the jolly old man in the red suit. In their letters, they say,
I am sorry to say that I will be unable to see my nieces and nephews this Christmas. Would you be so kind as to deliver some presents to them for me?
When Santa Claus gets a letter like this, he gives it to a young, impetuous Elf named Quickie, and tells him, "Quickie, go and collect these presents, so I can put them in my sleigh on Christmas."
Quickie twitches his nose at Santa and hops into a small, green sleigh of his own. It looks exactly like Santa's sleigh but it is much smaller because Elves are less than half the size of the jolly old man. Quickie then calls out to the little gray reindeer that pulls his sleigh, "Onward Ophelia! The presents need collecting!" And with that, Ophelia snorts once and they zoom off, faster than a speeding bullet, to get these lost presents.
One year, though, the jolly old man in his red suit called Quickie over to him and said, "Quickie, I have a tough one for you, do you think you can handle it?"
"Of course I can, Santa!" Quickie responded, his nose twitching in excitement.
"I need you to go to a faraway land called China to collect some presents that a young uncle has for his nephews. Have you ever heard of this place?"
"Of course I have, Santa!" Quickie responded, taking the letter from his boss.
"Quickie!" Santa called out, peering over his small round eye-glasses. "Since this address in a different language, please let me give you some instructions on how to get there."
"Don't worry, Santa! I know where China is!" Quickie then sped off to find his little grey reindeer, who was busy getting her afternoon grooming from another Elf. "Hey, Ophelia! We have to go a-collecting! Are you ready to fly?"
Ophelia shook her large antlers and toed the ground to show how eager she was. With the Elf's help, Quickie hooked up the sleigh and with a jubilant cry of "Onward Ophelia!" the pair zoomed off to the south.
Soon Quickie and Ophelia soared above a gigantic city, and down they shot, like a grey blur in the nighttime. Quickie double-checked the address, and since it really was written in a strange language, he stopped on a nearby rooftop to ask for directions. Although there were no people nearby, there was a small little shed. Inside the shed, some incense sticks sent out a wonderful smell, but their smoke made Ophelia sneeze, so Quickie left her outside the little shrine, while he entered to talk to its only occupant. Sitting with his stony legs crossed, was a round-bellied jade Buddha.
"Excuse me, friend Buddha," Quickie said, bowing low to the holy character. "I am looking for a young man who has some presents that need delivering to his nephews. Could you tell me where I might find his place?"
The smiling Buddha opened his eyes and took the paper.