By B.H. Bates
San Nan Ta Claws, the brave, from the great north country, was once again preparing for his annual mid-winter trip. As he packed his sack with goodies, for all of the good little boys and girls, he thought to himself how lonely he was. His best friend, Ears Like Fawn (ELF), had moved far, far away and San Nan Ta missed how much fun they used to have at this time of the year.
ELF, used to help him pack his sack with sweet berries and little toys for the children. And they would laugh as they read all of the letters that the boys and girls would write to, San Nan Ta Claws. He remembered one letter that really made them laugh, it was from a little seven year old girl, named Autumn.
She wrote: I’ve been really, really, really, extra good this year and all I want this year is big husband and make him tall enough to reach the cookies at the top of the refrigerator, and good looking like the men on TV and make him rich too – that way he could buy me presents and you would never have to give me any more gifts, ever again. Thank you San Nan Ta Claws, from Autumn, the little native girl, with the gray cat, in the blue house at the end of the Westbank Reservation.
P. S. – I don’t want the husband man for me. I want to give him to mommy, because she has been so sad since daddy went to live with the Great Spirit.
The happy memories of his friend ELF, only made San Nan Ta feel even more alone than ever. He decided that he would go and visit ELF, before he left on his annual mid-winter journey. San Nan Ta was in such a hurry to see his friend ELF, that he forgot his sack of sweet treats and toys at home.
On the way to ELF’s house, a big snow storm blew in and San Nan Ta had to quickly find shelter or he would be frozen in the snow. It was getting darker and darker, when he seen a porch light shining like a star in the distance. He knocked on the door and little girls voice asked: “Who is it?”
“My name is San Nan Ta Claws,” he said, shivering. The little girl quickly replied, “Do you think I’m stupid! There’s no such thing as San Nan Ta Claws, ’cause I wrote to him last year and he didn’t give me what I asked for! So go away.” Just then the door opened and a lady with a big smile said, “I’m so sorry, please come inside, you must be freezing. Hello, I’m Janet, her mother, and I’m sorry for her bad behavior, but she no longer believes in San Nan Ta Claws. But, I must say, you do look a lot like him; with your red coat and long white whiskers.”
San Nan Ta and Janet stayed up most of the night, talking, laughing and drinking hot chocolate. The next day the storm was even worse and it didn’t stop for twenty-three more days. San Nan Ta, became very worried, because tomorrow was the twenty-fifth of December, the Native’s mid-winter celebrations (better know today as Christmas). San Nan Ta finally had to tell Janet: that he really was San Nan Ta Claws and that there was no time left to go and get ELF, so he could help him deliver all the gifts to all of the good little boys and girls. This would be the first year San Nan Ta Claws would miss Christmas, and he was very sad!
Janet, began to smile. “San Nan Ta,” she said, “I too have a secret! We own some very special reindeer.” They all went out to the barn in the back yard, and as they opened the door – San Nan Ta, couldn’t believe what he was seeing! There where reindeer flying around, up near the ceiling, and one of them even had a very shiny nose, it almost seemed to glow!
Janet put her arm around San Nan Ta, and said, “We’ll tie the reindeer up to our old red sleigh, then you can fly over to ELF’s house and he can help you deliver all the toys, before Christmas morning!” But, San Nan Ta, shook his head and sadly said, “No! There’s not enough time left, by the time I picked up ELF, there wouldn’t enough time to deliver all the toys by morning … it’s too late to save Christmas!”
Autumn, was so sad – then she had an idea. “We could help you San Nan Ta!” So they quickly hooked up the reindeer to the red sleigh and flew off to get the toys for all the good little boys and girls.
The next morning, just as the sun was coming up, they delivered the very last toy on San Nan Ta’s wish list … all except for one little girl’s wish. Autumn’s wish for a new daddy! She began to cry … then she looked up and seen her Mom kissing San Nan Ta! They had fallen in love, and San Nan Ta asked her Mom if she would like to marry him and become, Mrs. San Nan Ta Claws? And She said “Yes!” So they all flew up to the North Totem Pole and lived happily ever after!