Santas Little Visitors
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It was dark and quiet, except for the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree.
Next to the tree was a little table with a mince pie and a glass of sherry on it.
Over the mantelpiece hung two stockings, one was Molly's, the other was Peter's.
The two children were asleep in their room upstairs.
Also asleep, in a large basket in the same room, were seven little puppies.
One of them stirred, then opened his eyes.
He sat up straight, cocked his wee head and listened, he was sure he had heard something.
Six more pairs of eyes opened and another six pairs of ears pricked up.
Sure enough, there seemed to be some sound coming from the roof, like the jingling of bells.
Now a thud, and then some muttering, which seemed to be coming from the living room.
The puppies looked at each other then decided to investigate.
They padded halfway down the stairs, and then looked down from the railings.
The hall was in complete darkness, but something fishy seemed to be going on in the living room.
The puppies scurried across the hall and peeped in through the open living room door.
There, seated on the armchair, was a podgy man in a red suit.
He had a long white beard; he was drinking the sherry and eating the mince pie that the children had left for... why, he must be the Santa Claus the children had been talking about all day.
They noticed an almost empty sack on the floor and wondered what was in it.
They sniffed at it suspiciously.
One of them, the bravest of the lot, went right in.
When he did not come out of the sack for a while, another one went in, then another, and another; until all seven of them were in the sack.
In the meantime, Santa had finished his sherry and pie.
He took off his hat, patted his head, and then put it back on again.
He bent down and picked up the sack, "Why, sure does feel heavier than when I put it down."
He shook his head. "I must be tired; it's been a long night; thank goodness this is the last home on the list."
He went up the chimney.
"This one sure is narrow," he muttered as he finally managed to get out of it and onto the roof.
His sleigh and reindeer were patiently waiting for him.
He put the sack on the sleigh, sat down and said, "Let's go home."
The puppies sat absolutely still in the sack, they were scared.
They huddled close together and whimpered, "Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. What was happening?"
They seemed to be flying through space, would they ever be able to get back home again?
It was cold, dark and stuffy in the sack; they felt miserable and missed their cosy warm basket.
Santa yawned happily as the sleigh stopped in front of his house at the North Pole.
He patted all his reindeer. "Well done, all of you."
Once inside the house he put the sack down on the bedroom floor, then sat down on the edge of the bed to take off his boots.
"So how did it go?" Mrs. Claus asked.
"Perfect; every single toy has been delivered, there are going to be a lot of happy faces tomorrow morning."
"But why does the sack still seem to have some toys in it?"
Santa looked at the sack thoughtfully. "Hmm."
"And it's wriggling," said Mrs. Claus in surprise.
As soon as Santa opened the neck of the sack, out tumbled one little puppy.
Santa's eyes grew big as he stared at the puppy.
The puppy shook himself and looked around with curiosity.
Santa's eyes grew bigger and bigger as another puppy tumbled out of the sack, then another, until all seven of them were out.
They yawned and stretched and shook their tiny stiff bodies, then looked around with great interest, wondering where they were.
"Well, I never...," said Santa in amazement, as he stared at the puppies.
"Aren't they adorable." said Mrs. Claus as she bent down to stroke them.
She fetched some warm milk, they lapped it all up and wagged for more.
"They must have crawled into the sack while I was drinking the sherry at Peter and Molly's."
The elf who helped around the house came in.
"The reindeer have been fed and are preparing for bed."
"I'm afraid, they have to make one more trip." said Santa.
"Why? Who? Whoa..." said the elf as he almost stepped on a puppy who had come up behind him and was sniffing him curiously.
"Yes, these darlings need to be back home before their owners find them missing." said Mrs. Claus.
Soon each puppy was wearing a tiny red Santa hat with a little silver bell on the end.
They were bundled into the sleigh and covered with a soft warm blanket.
This time they were not afraid but looked around in fascination.
They whizzed past the stars and the moon.
They surprised a sleeping mamma bird as they flew past her nest.
Soon they were flying over a maze of roofs and chimneys.
As soon as they reached home they scampered down the chimney, bolted up the stairs and tumbled into their basket.
They were so tired from their adventure that they fell asleep right away.
Next morning the children came to wake them up, buzzing with excitement.
"Puppies, wake up," said Molly. "You'll never guess who was here last night."
"Where did they get these hats from?" said Peter, a little puzzled, as he looked at the puppies. They were fast asleep, one on top of the other, and each of them was wearing a tiny Santa hat. The puppies opened their eyes once the children had left.
The oldest one winked at the rest, then snuggled back to sleep.
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