North Pole: The Tale of Buddy and Moots

Little William and Alexander Harrison were brothers who lived in London. They possessed very little, as their father was a struggling cobbler and their mother tended to their home. They were very poor and lived in a small house in the city; a single floor that bore a staircase to a small loft up above that looked down to the open living room below. This is where the boys slept, and their parents slept on a bed in the living room below, which attached to it was a small kitchen and a loo. Pots and pans hung from the walls in the kitchen, and in the corner of the living room stood a sewing machine that their mother often used in her free time, making clothes for her boys. The children were going to ask for some new toys this year for Christmas, not only for their own entertainment, but so that they’d have something to show off to their classmates at school. The Harrisons couldn’t afford to use much of their hot water to bathe often, and Will hated to wash his face with cold water in the mornings before school in fear of acquiring frostbite along the way, so he often looked rather dirty. “Muddy” the kids at school would call him. Alex too had a nickname he didn’t care for. “Boots” they called him, for despite their father’s being a cobbler, Alex chose to always wear boots, no matter the weather.
“Hey look, there goes Muddy and Boots,” the children would taunt, “probably about to go play in a mud puddle!” They hoped Santa could bring them a nice toy that none of the other children would receive so they could show off to them for once. Ever had they dreamed of that.
“Oh Mr. Santa, will you not come down our chimney, dirty as it is?” Will would say.
“Santa won’t come to us, Will, he hasn’t in ages. Our chimney is too dirty, and mother and father can’t afford to hire a chimney sweep,” Alex said to his older brother. This was true, but it was not the reason that “Santa” wouldn’t come, he wouldn’t come because Mr. and Mrs. Harrison simply couldn’t afford to buy their children gifts and were too ashamed to tell them that.
“You’re wrong, Alex, he’s coming this year. He won’t let us get picked on anymore. Santa will bring us brilliant new toys little brother, you’ll see,” Will said, determined.
“What are you on about? How in the world do you suppose that’ll come about?” said Alex.
“Our chimney isn’t all that dirty, I mean look at this bit here!” Exclaimed Will, pointing to an edge of the fireplace in the main room of the house. “Mother may think it is impossible to clean, but let’s prove her wrong Alex, before she gets home from the market.”
“Are you mad, Will? It’ll take ages to clean the rubbish off of our chimney!” Nonetheless, the boys tried to clean the chimney the best they could. But ever were their efforts in vain, as it didn’t seem to be getting any cleaner. Just as they were about to give up, clunk! Suddenly a small buckskin pouch the size of a mallet’s head landed on the ground of the fireplace. Filled with coins, it was, coins they could use to hire a chimney sweep, and so they did. The next day after school when mother was out at the market they hired the nearest chimney sweep they could find. He had just finished and tipped his hat to them and said “Farewell” as mother appeared down the road. That night as mother went to light the fire she gasped, “Oh my! However is this possible? It’s clean as a castle!” Father, who had just gotten home from his shop, murmured in his normal mumbled voice, “Hm, what now? What’s the commotion here?” The boys explained to their parents what had happened over their supper of soup and bread and explained how they anticipated Santa’s arrival this year now. But their mother, with tears forming in her eyes, thanked the boys for what they did, but revealed to them that Santa isn’t actually real.
Later that evening the boys climbed out of the small window of their loft and onto the roof, sitting upon it for a minute to look down at the busy London road that lay below. Carriages raced by trailing the pitter-patter of hooves, busy folk brushed by one another in hurries, and a boy pulling a small wagon was selling freshly picked apples. After consuming the sights, the boys ventured to their freshly swept chimney. As they gazed in, suddenly they both felt a gentle but effective shove on the backs of their legs, first Will and then Alex, causing them to tumble headfirst down the chimney. The boys feared they were moments from breaking their necks and becoming roasted on the fireplace below, keeping their fearful eyes shut as they fell. To their great surprise, they landed in what felt like cotton chilled by the touch of the breeze. Alas, it was snow! Great white snow of the fluffiest texture. When they opened their eyes they could see the most beautiful things they’d ever seen. Huge rolling hills covered in tall green trees glazed in snow, large open fields that too wore coats of gentle white. Animals were all around, critters of the woodlands, not afraid of them at all. Rather friendly seeming, in fact. People raced by in every which direction on dogsleds, on skis, and on horse-drawn carriages pulled by the most majestic white stallions wearing beautifully woven coats. People were skating on ice, taking toboggans down paths between the trees, and the birds sang their songs in harmony. Most of the trees were embellished by beautiful bows, terrific tinsel, outstanding ornaments, and stars on top.
As the boys turned around, they both jumped, for waiting behind them was a large group of little people with ears as sharp as jagged stone, who bore grins so large that the pendulum of Big Ben could navigate its way on them, swinging from side to side. They stood there patiently, all forming a teepee with their hands held up to their chins, many of which were covered in small white hairs.
“H h hello, my name is William.” The elves, as they were, began to all whisper amongst themselves repeating the name, “William. Oh, it’s William. He is William. His name is William. William, yes William, William!” They had particularly funny voices, very high pitched and excitable.
“And I’m Alexander, Alexander Harrison, but you can call me Alex. Some people call us Muddy and Boots, see, but we don’t fancy it,” said Alex, who spoke with more confidence than his brother after having heard the funny little elves speak before he did.
“Oooooooo?!” Said one of the elves. “Not Muddy and Boots? Very well, we shall call you Buddy and Moots!” He spoke with such surety and the other elves all muttered little whispers of agreement.
“Whatever for? Oh bother, it’s no use is it, I’m starting to fancy Boots now over Moots!”
“Hush up, Alex!” Said Will, “You can call me Will or Buddy or whatever you please. But where are we? And, and how did we get here might I add?”
“And what are you funny little creatures?” Asked Alex, before they could answer Will.
“Welcome Buddy and Moots, to the North Pole. We are Santa Claus’ elves and we brought you here upon his request. We used our elven magic to get you here, we did.”
“And what’s your name then, little elf?” Barked Alex.
“I am Alex, Moots. It is nice to meet me!” Said the little elf.
“You’re having a giraffe if you think you’re off with my name!” Said Alex, who already was quite flustered and annoyed by the little elves. But Will on the other hand thought them to be wonderful, “I don’t suppose you could enlighten us as to why we’re here?” Asked Will, politely. So “Alex the Elf,” whose real name we will learn soon, replied,
“Santa needs of you this year, to show for him you have no fear. If you help him and do succeed, a grand gift you will get indeed!” With that the elves motioned for the boys to follow them, and they led the boys towards Santa’s workshop, the gates of which could be seen towering over some trees on top of a hill in the distance. The elves walked with little limps, swaying side to side as they waddled along on their stumpy little legs. There was about 20 of them to begin with, and more and more kept appearing as they went. Yet many normal sized people moved all around them still, in the same haste as back home, but with much less stress, as the people here were travelling about for pleasure. The people would smile and nod, or tip their hats as they passed by, but none spoke to the boys. Not yet, anyways.
“Those are dreadful boots, Moots,” declared the little elf. Alex paused a moment, his mouth left wide open at the audacity of the comment.
“That’s just rude! Stupid little elf, at least I don’t teeter as I walk,” murmured Alex under his breath.
“Alex! Behave yourself, we’re guests here,” reminded his older brother Will.
“You’re bonkers! ‘Alex’ Started it,”said the real Alex, pointing to the little elf.
“Yes Alex, you did start it,” chirped the high pitch voice of the elf.
“Oh come on! I thought you said you were Alex? Gracious me, this little elf is driving me absolutely mental!” Alex shouted at the end of his very wit. The little elf winked at Will, who was laughing as he looked back at the scene.
“Oh it’s funny, is it? Well next time a pointy-eared midget is tearing the mick out of you I’ll be sure to have a laugh then,” uttered Alex in response to his brother’s laughter.
“In the event of that happening you bloody well should laugh at me, but I doubt that will happen anytime…” Will stopped mid-sentence. Alex looked ahead, withdrawing his steady stare at the ice skaters below, who were surrounded by singing birds and prancing critters. They had reached the gate at last. The Workshop was enormous, set atop the highest hill of all. A red and green tiled path, untouched by the snow in the courtyard all around it, stretched from the golden gate of the property to the golden door of the workshop.
“Santa Claus upon his sleigh, nine reindeer there to lead the way!” Said the elf, and the gates then opened outwards. To the door they walked, staying on the colored pathway. “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen!” And with that, the golden door opened.
“No offense, but don’t you suppose that one there is a bit too easy?” Conferred Will.
“You’d be surprised, Master Buddy, at how few truly know the reindeer.” These funny little creatures were about half the height of a person, wore little green pointed shoes, red stockings, green suits, and little pointy red hats. The workshop was crawling with them scurrying all about doing all sorts of things. They soon reached a large wooden door with “S. Claus” plated right on the middle of it. They gave the door a knock with the metal door knocker that stood no more than three feet high upon this large, ten foot tall door. Soon it opened, and another elf was on the other side holding the large, brown door open for them. It was an office, with books and files and papers cluttered all about, and in the far corner was even a little stove, upon which a tea kettle was whistling. A second little elf already in the room brought over a cup of tea, handing it to a hefty man with a red suit and long, white beard behind a desk. “Mr. Claus did ask for tea, and tea I have prepared for the,” said the little elf.
“How come you little buggers only talk in riddles and rhymes sometimes?” Asked Alex to the elf of which he had become accustomed.
“Your question is a silly one and of an answer I have none,” said the elf.
“Oh you’re hopeless! Absolutely hopeless,” whispered Alex, frustratedly.
“This, Mr. Claus, is Buddy and Moots, the boys you had us seek in London.”
“Ah yes, so it is! Thanks you Buckle, you are most reliable indeed.”
“Buckle?” Burst out Alex, “Your name is Buckle? No wonder you kept it from us!”
“Please be polite to our elf friends, Master Moots,” said Santa, “they brought you here for an important reason you know.” He stood up from his desk and took a gulp of his tea.”Thank you, Stamp, a delight it is to taste your tea on these chilliest of days. And thank you Lamp, for keeping those pointy ears up for knocks on my tremendous door.”
“Mr. Claus sir, my name is Will, or Buddy rather. Whatever you please, sir. I knew you were real. Our mother just today told us you were not, but I knew that couldn’t be so. But what is it you need of us, Alex and Me? We can’t be of any use to you surely, we are just London boys.”
“Ah but you can be, Buddy. Even poor Moots has a purpose in this,” as Santa said this Alex’s face became red. “You boys need to help me this year. My reindeer have all come down with the Hufflebuffles, Rudolph included. They need to rest. I am much too busy this late in the year to find replacements, but I trust you both saw how many animals we have around here. I need you to find me the best animals in North Poleville, bigger animals like deer, who can help me fly my sleigh. Please only use one of each kind of animal, as all the animal communities are just as busy as we are this time of year and I don’t mean to take away valuable helpers from them. Buckle and a few of his associates will help you along the way, I trust ten will be more than enough of my elves to help you, but you boys are wise, and it is your wisdom I need in deciding who will guide my sleigh. It is decided, now off you go!”
Without time for any questions or further explanation, Buckle immediately marched out the door with the boys. He was followed by Chuckle, his right-hand elf, and eight others: Wink, Link, Gate, Mate, Bump, Lump, Map, and Slap. Silly names, yes, but these eight are of little significance to our story as their presence is all we ask of them. They are named two at a time, and the one’s whose names rhyme always stick together. Chuckle, much like Buckle, has quite the wit as we will see. Out the door these ten little elves went, along with their two new friends. They marched their merry way right on out the golden door and golden gate. From atop this hill, much of North Poleville could be seen; wonderful little homes with pointed roofs poked up from amongst the trees and little clumps of shops and taverns and post offices, with roads of solid snow. Animals too had wonderful dens and natural homes all about, and the nests of the birds perched in the tall green pine and evergreen trees above were woven so wonderfully that they looked like the products of wickerwork. Up here, where all things lived together in peace, and where everyone lived free or stress or worries, life was a lullaby. The boys took it in with awe.
“The birds, ever graceful, will be of no use to us on this quest. Nor the rodents, ever stealthy, nor the insects, ever disguised, nor the fish, ever speedy,” riddled Buckle as they went.
“Nor the Mootses, ever whiny,” chimed in Chuckle, chuckling.
“Oh not you too! Is every elf rude and pesky?” As Alex asked this, all ten elves began to chuckle and sing to the poor boy, “Silly Moots why do you fret? Our journey isn’t over yet! Until it is we ever shall, stick by the side of our new pal!” They all had a good laugh, Will included, while Alex marched on ahead of them, grumpier now more than ever.
“So what kinds of animals should we look for, then? Moose, deer, bears…dare I say wolves? What else is large enough to pull the sleigh?” Asked Will, focusing on the task at hand.
“Ah, but the decision is yours to make, and make it you must. We are simply your guides and some company. Tell us whom you seek to find, we’ll bring you to them in no time,” said Buckle. And so Will pondered for a moment. Then he made up his mind, thinking he was being perfectly logical. He first asked to be brought to the deer, thinking they would be the best replacement for the reindeer. So down Deep Path they went, one of the many streets of North Poleville and perhaps the loveliest the Britons had ever seen. At the end of the buildings the road continued, lined with the tall green trees on either side. Up ahead was a clearing in the trees upon which dozens of deer nests laid, forming a small deer community. “How lovely” thought the boys, who had never seen anything of the sort. They’ve hardly had the means to ever leave the city before in fact, and had seldom seen any animals. Ever did they dread the city and dream of places like this. As they approached they told the deer of their quest, and without further ado a noble deer volunteered to join in. “Well that was easy” thought the boys, and indeed that was easy.
“Alright then Alex, it’s your turn. Who do go find next?” Said Will, gleefully.
“What about a moose? I think that’d be brilliant,” replied Alex, suddenly much happier. And so the elves led them to a ridge upon which the moose often grazed, set back and slightly above the patch of trees that the deer lived in the midst of. As they climbed a steep path to the ridge, they began to hear a noise. The elves knew the sound, and Chuckle whispered into Will’s ear, “Quickly now, put your back to the snowbank behind us.” It was a narrow path that winded through a snowy valley and onto the ridge. Suddenly Will, the deer, and the elves flattened themselves on the snowy wall behind them as a speeding elf on skis came roaring down the path. “Woo hoo hoo hoo hooooo,” shouted the elf as he flew down the hill like rushing water in a fall. Alex, who was all alone looked up at the elf racing down at him, and with no other ideas in the split second he had, he leapt up to jump over the little guy. A tragic mistake it was, as he jumped but two inches too short. The elf nailed him in a most unpleasant place, but miraculously managed to bounce back up and keep skiing. “And a happy new year,” he shouted to Alex as he skied down the rest of the path. Alex lay there, holding himself in pain, moaning, “I hate elves. I bloody hate elves. Little devils, such nasty little creatures.”
“Having a ball are we, Moots?” Shouted Chuckle, who at that moment Alex could have clean consciously thrown off the ledge. After he recovered from his pain and the others from their laughter, the “Guild for Christmas Goodness” as they would ever on be referred to by Santa himself, managed to climb to the top of the ridge. They met with Master Moose, and he informed them that his best moose too came down with the Hufflebuffles (as by now you must have guessed is a common illness for creates of the North, but is far from fatal) and in his stead Master Moose sent his second best comrade for the task. Two animals down, and six to go! As beneficial as Rudolph is, this year was to be a clear Christmas, and thus he would need not a replacement. The Harrison boys agreed to find a wolf next, for the elves told them that wolves and in fact no animals in North Poleville were a threat. Suddenly the boys turned around to, “Come now Buddy and Moots, hop in,” from their beloved elven allies. There they sat in a very long toboggan, long enough to seat ten elves and both boys. “Wherever did this come from?” Thought Alex, who decided not to bother anymore, keeping his question to himself. Off they went, followed by the animals on foot, sliding down at what felt like the speed of light. They went all the way, weaving and winding along the path above the valley below, and approaching the residence of the deer, took a sharp turn to the left, into a deeper and darker valley. As they proceeded they came across a group of coyotes. They scurried out of the way the best they could, their paws stirring up flaky snow as they trotted. But one poor coyote slipped in the snow, and managed to leap half-heartedly at the last moment, landing in the lap of Alex near the back of the toboggan, face up like a baby in his arms.
“Ahhhhh,” shrieked Alex, in a fairly high pitched tone. The coyote, looking right back at him echoed the sound, “Ahhhhh” in an identical scream. Scared and humored by this Alex knew not what to do, so they two just went on screaming as the toboggan plummeted down the slippery slope. At the bottom of the valley they hit some shrubbery, and all were tossed from the toboggan. Surrounding them was a pack of white coated wolves, who even the gray coyote looked wimpy compared to. Buckle hopped on the back of one suddenly, but he was not fond of this. The wolf, like a bucking bronco, was resisting this little creature riding on his back. Chuckle did the same to another wolf, and each of the other eight elves did the same. One by one they were being flung off of the wolves, landing firmly in prickers, shrubbery, and mounds of snow. Chuckle lasted the longest, and as soon as he was flung from his wolf he landed face first on some icy snow. He paused a few moments, then lifted up a finger in the air and said with a mouthful of snow, “May I suggest this wolf to you boys.” Taking his suggestion, the wolf was chosen to join the group. Then Will decided upon which animal to seek out next.
“What of a pony?” Asked Will, “Could we find one anywhere around, do you suppose?”
“Come now to Equestrian Lane, for horses with the bestest manes! The ponies at the stables there, and in the fields are ever fair!” Sang, in unison, Buckle and Chuckle. So they took a path lined with shorter, well decorated evergreens over to Equestrian Lane, a road in one of the many divided up sections of the peoples of North Poleville. Was a lovely little lane it was, with stables to keep the horses warm, and snowy fields for them to freely frolic in during the light of day. Mostly houses were on this lane, along with a blacksmith, a small tavern, and a woman who made lovely things with fabrics. Despite the cold of the town, beautiful gardens sprang to life throughout the village, particularly on this road. All of the horses were off in the fields when they guild gathered around the stables. To their dismay, none remained in the stables, except for an off looking little horse. He wheezed a ghastly sounds, startling his visitors.
“You aren’t a horse at all are you,” said Will to the lonely creature, “you are a donkey! Oh how splendid that is, will you not join us in a quest to help Santa Claus?” Will asked of the donkey. The donkey obliged, blissfully bombarding the silent breeze with the echos of his “hee-haws!” All of these animals understood English perfectly well, and many spoke it, they just chose to seldom speak it, preferring their various woodland tongues. Alex, who had grown weary from their journey, was permitted to ride on top of donkey as they marched towards the fields of the horses.
“Ah what a site, oh yes,” said Buckle, “Indeed, friend, it is an ass on an ass!” Declared Chuckle, finishing Buckle’s thought.
“Says the lump on a lump,” replied Alex, referring to the mount of snow upon which Chuckle stood. He looked so similar to Buckle, all of the elves looked similar in fact, but they bore their names stitched onto their jackets, making them easier to tell apart. Anyhoo, the troupe of silly elves, boys, and critters walked to the end of the road and to the fields, finding one of the loveliest white horses, much like the ones that were pulling carriages when they first arrived in North Poleville. Only this one was still just a pony, and much smaller than those ones. Still this soon-to-be stallion was truly exquisite, and immediately agreed it a just cause to help out dear Mr. Claus, and so that is just what he did. Only two more creatures were left now.
“Let us go find a musk ox, there are plenty of oxen around,” decided Alex.
“Oh yes, a lovely idea, Alex! They may be big, but they’ll do just fine,” agreed Will. So off they went, to a different part of the village. To get to the frozen plains upon which the oxen dwelled they had to cross through the center and busiest section of North Poleville that lay under the hill of the workshop. Behind Santa’s Workshop lay a large lake, below the steep slopes upon which the workshop stood. In front of the workshop was the enormous hill and the majority of the town, spanning far left, right, and straight out, split up into little sections, little clusters of buildings and streets. Eventually in every direction was more frozen lakes, but the village was vastly spread out and incorporated many valleys, hills, woodlands, fields, frozen ponds, and of course town clusters. But the particular part of town they marched through now contained several post offices, though 99% of the mail at these went to Santa Claus. Also were several large taverns, inns, shops, and houses. Again horsedrawn carriages and dogsleds would pass by, only this time, knowing the task these boys were trusted with, the people would greet them warmly. This made Will and Alex feel very important indeed, and they fell even more in love with the place. Just outside of this busy part of town dwelled the musk oxen, who were gathered together in a field, having a lie down. None were too fond of the idea of getting up Will boldly walked up to one, a shyer oxen who buried his head into the snow. Will had an urge to choose this oxen for whatever reason, so he sat right down on it and demanded it get up. He clearly had grown quite comfortable with the animals by now. The oxen finally sighed, rather lazily, and stood up with a groan. Only one animal left to find, oh how pleased Santa would be!
“I want to find a polar bear. I cannot think of any other animals fit for the task,” said Will. Alex agreed that a polar bear would indeed be the best. Buckle then spoke,
“Polar bears are hard to find, dear lads. They blend in and are often out far on the lake.”
“I’ve jogged my mind and can’t think of any other animals around here that are up for the challenge and that are large enough to pull the sleigh,” said Will. So they searched for hours and found no polar bear. They went out far onto the lake, disappearing to the oxen like bird that flies too high. They returned to the oxen with no polar bears and no ideas of other creatures in mind. They had gathered all of the largest animals in the area, most of the others were all too small, and the evasive polar bears were their last hope. All seemed lost and the boy’s hearts sank,
“I guess we have failed Santa Claus. Perhaps he won’t be able to go out at all this year.”
“No Will, he won’t,” said Alex, who had just climbed onto a pile of snow and sat down, “Looks like all the polar bears are too far off, or hiding or something.” Alex began to pout as he sat there on the pile of snow, and Will began to think of what he was going to say to Santa. Poor boys, to have worked so hard and to have come so far to face sheer disappointment. Just then Chuckle began to giggle. All of the elves did, as did the animals.
“What’s so funny?” Wailed Alex, who had been shedding tears that melted the snow by his feet in drips and drops.
“The ass on an ass is a thing of the past, but the ass on a bear is now sitting right there!” Cried Buckle and Chuckle, and as they said thus from beneath the fluffy surface of the snowpile Alex sat upon emerged a wonderfully white and well hidden polar bear, who had been sleeping there for some time. They had done it, oh what a relief, just when all was thought to be lost. The eighteen creatures in the wake of this winter wonderland waddled their merry way up to Santa’s Workshop, and ever was he delighted! Santa assembled the crew at his sleigh; on the left the bear in back, then the donkey, then the deer, and then the wolf, and on the right the musk ox in back, then the pony, then the moose, then the coyote. Upon each rode one of the eight elves that were not Buckle or Chuckle, and those two stayed behind with the Harrison boys, who stayed in special quarters at the workshop until their return.
The next day on the night of Christmas, Santa’s sleigh arrived. He told them how wonderful the woodland creatures did, and how much of a pleasure it was to ride with them.
“And as I promised boys, for you did succeed, a grand gift you will get indeed!” Just then, into the room walked Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, dressed in fine clothing. “It seemed as though London was a poor place for your father’s business, and as it turns out, North Poleville could use a cobbler. How would you boys like to live here, in one of the houses in the village? I reserve this place for only the most deserving of people, which is why all live in harmony here. Will you boys miss home too much?” Asked Santa, grinning.
“Of course not! We love it here! I told you Santa wouldn’t let us get picked on anymore Alex!” Exclaimed Will, excitedly.
“Oh no more bullies, this’ll be brilliant! I suppose I can fancy Moots over Boots,” said Alex, “So long as I don’t have to see the elves every day. But what of our few things from home?” Santa had already picked out a lovely home for the family, and had carried their few possessions in his magical sack and placed them inside of the home. He also gave Mr. Harrison the most wonderful shop to run, and gave Mrs. Harrison a shop of her own to do her sewing. Ever was the family happy, and ever after did they live this way.
“Hurray! Moots is here to stay to stay, so we may see him every day!” Said Buckle.
“He will be our bestest friend, our friendship will not have an end!” Harmonized Chuckle.
“Oh bother!” Shouted Alex, who was too filled with glee to actually be mad.
All smiled as Will said, “Well Mum, I guess Santa is real, isn’t he?”

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