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It was the day before Christmas Eve.
Throughout the past year, Santa Claus had been preparing for December 24th. The sleigh was nearly ready, the reindeers were nearly ready, and all the presents were nearly ready.
Santa Claus kept an eye on the weather forecast. He had to make sure that nasty Jack Frost was not up to any mischief to stop him from delivering the presents.
There was a knock on the door.
"Who can that be?" wondered Santa. He opened the big wooden door, and to his surprise there stood Jack Frost, with a parcel in his hand.
"Jack! What brings you here?" asked Santa.
"This year I want to be friends," answered the spindly little creature, "so I've brought you a present."
Santa was surprised and suspicious. Jack Frost never brought presents.
"Well, thank you," said Santa, and he chortled to himself for being silly at his doubts about Jack Frost.
"Ho, Ho, Ho."
"You won't be doing that soon," mumbled Jack Frost.
"I beg your pardon?" asked Santa.
"Nothing," quickly replied Jack.
Santa unwrapped the parcel to reveal a small box.
"Go on, open it," prompted Jack.
Santa did as he was told. The box was empty.
"Ho, Ho, Hoooooo," Santa Claus started to chuckle to himself at the sight of the empty box, and as he did his very laugh was sucked out of his mouth and into the box.
Jack Frost grabbed the little box and raced through the door and into the night.
"That was strange," said Santa, but he thought nothing else about it as he had to get ready for his big day.
The next day was Christmas Eve. Santa Claus started his final checks. The sleigh was spick and span, the reindeers were fit and ready for flight, and the presents were wrapped and ready. Santa laughed to himself,
"Tee, Hee, Hee."
He stopped in his tracks. What was that!? Again he tried to laugh, "Ha, Ha, Ha, He, He, He." No matter what Santa Claus tried to do, he couldn't say, "Ho, Ho, Ho."
Christmas would not be Christmas if Santa Claus could not produce a proper laugh, a deep and hearty Ho, Ho, Ho.
He knew exactly who had done this to him, Jack Frost. Santa marched up to Jack's house and banged upon the door. The little spiky creature opened the crooked wooden door and smiled an evil smile as he faced Santa Claus.
"All right Jack, I don't want any trouble, but can I have my laugh back?" said Santa.
Jack Frost stretched out a clenched fist and slowly opened up his hand and produced the box that Santa recognised from the day before. But now it was encased in a block of ice.
"Your laugh is in the box, and the box is in this ice. But this is no ordinary ice. This is darkest ice, a magic ice that neither fire nor axe can break. Without your laugh, you can't go out delivering your horrid gifts.
I know this and you know this.
If you don't go out on Christmas Day then Christmas will be finished.
I know this and you know this.
Without Christmas, winter will go on without anybody thinking that it's a special time, people will learn to fear the season, my season.
I know this and you know this."
Santa Claus took the lump of ice containing the box off the horrible little creature and returned home, leaving Jack Frost dancing a merry jig on his own doorstep.
When Santa was back home he threw the block of ice into the roaring fire.
He hit the block of ice with his biggest pickaxe.
Santa Claus sat and stared at the ice.
"How am I going to get through this? What's stronger than fire or axe?"
He thought and he thought.
Nothing came to mind, nothing at all.
It looked like Jack Frost had won.
A cold wind whipped in through an open window.
Just at that moment a robin red breast settled upon the windowsill.
The little bird wiggled its body, fluffing its feathers, and looked at the sad figure of Santa Claus, hunched in his chair staring at a block of ice.
The robin didn't like to see Father Christmas this way, and he wanted to do something to cheer him up, so the little bird started to sing.
The noise distracted Santa, and he turned to look at the small creature, he smiled.
He then looked back at the block of ice.
A solitary trickle of water traced down the side of the ice, just like a single tear. Santa had an idea.
If one small song from one small singer could do that to the ice, what would be the power of a special song, one sang by everybody who believed in Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas?
Santa called all his elves together, "I know you've done all your work for this year, but I need you to do one more thing for me."
He explained his plan to them.
Every elf contacted every fairy, and every fairy and elf contacted every child, and at a given time everyone, elf, fairy and child began to sing. They sang with all their hearts a special song about Christmas, about happiness, about love.
The song rose up throughout the land; it was so beautiful that it would have melted the coldest heart, and indeed it melted the ice around the box that held Santa's laugh.
The box sprang open. Santa could feel his laugh tickle as it trickled down his throat, and he started to laugh,
"HO, HO, HO, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY, HO, HO, HO!"
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