Hey everyone Merry Christmas. I wanted to give each and every one of my readers a free story for Christmas and as I sat working on Christmas Preparations tonight this story came to me. So Merry Christmas and enjoy.
It was Christmas Eve and Nugget Nate was carefully wrapping the gifts he had made for Penny and Young David. This would be the first Christmas that David would be able to enjoy, and Nate had spent all year on creating the boy the perfect Christmas toy. He had built a large model of Noah’s Ark and carefully over the last eleven months carved two of every animal. He polished the last one and put them in the burlap sack and tied it with a wayward string from his own buckskin leggings.
Almost the same care and attention had gone into Penny’s gift, and he was positive she would know that she had the best Nativity Scene anyone had ever owned. He already knew what she had gotten him and had helped David picked up for him too. He loved that his upper-crust society wife understood that all a mountain man needs is simple, practical gifts. And the new buckskins she had made for him and the beaver skin gloves that she had helped David tan were perfect. Tomorrow would be just perfect for him and his family. They were in Kentucky visiting his mama and would be staying until after his baby sisters hitchin on the first. Then they would go back to New York for David to continue to get the doctors treatments that he needed to grow stronger.
Just like every night Nate walked over to where his sickly son lay sleeping beside his mama and layed his hands on him again. He began to press in asking the Good Lord to strengthen and heal his son. As he pounded on heaven’s door, a single tear slipped past his lid and ran down into his beard where it disappeared into the wealth of sandy blonde facial hair that adorned the Legends face. He moved his hand to his wife’s cheek and once more thanked God for the cherished gift of his most precious Penny. Then Nate quickly shucked out of his skins and climbed into the feather bed beside the two most precious people in his life. Just as he was starting to slip into slumber that all too familiar feeling came on him, pulling him back to full wakefulness. He was getting a callin’. Someone needed his help.
The person he felt needed him didn’t make much sense. He knew that those feelings were never wrong and that God sent him what he needed to know but how in the world could he believe what he was being shown? It couldn’t be. Nate loved Christmas as much as the next storyteller. He told Saint Nick stories to the kiddies every pig picken, just like the mountaineer had heard his Daddy tell them, but they all knew they were just that, stories. So why was the picture in his head of Jolly Ole Saint Nick and that pull to get a move on so strong? Only one way to find out Nate had learned long ago. So he got up, slipped on his clothes and gear grabbed his bear skin coat and headed out the door. As he passed the workshop, he swung in and grabbed a hand drill. No idea why but he knew he’d need it fer this adventure was done.
The snow was just beginning to fall again and by the height of the moon, Nate knew it was Christmas Morn. “Well Happy Birthday Jesus. I hope yer getting’ a good laugh got me up here looking fer wonderlights and Christmas Spirits.” The only response he got was a slight change in direction and up the mountain he went. About an hour later, Nate heard the sound of Sleigh Bells, and as he rounded a bend in the trail came to a complete stop. His mouth dropped open at what he saw. A very loaded sleigh with eight reindeer hitched to it and Santa Clause himself on his knees at the head of the team beltin’ out a prayer of his own. “I know that you have a plan Lord. Please send me the help I need to keep my vow to you again this year. Otherwise, I don’t see how I’m gonna get these presents delivered in Your name this year.”
Nate shuffled a few steps closer and saw the Jolly ole Toymaker look up at him. There was no denying who this was even if he wanted to because when the Legend saw him; he burst forth in the most famous laugh known round the world. “HO! HO HO! Thank ya Jesus.”
Nate continued to stand staring at the big man as he rose from the ground. “Well Nugget Nate as I live and breath. Don’t just stand there man get over here and help me fix this here sleigh. I’m running out of Christmas Magic and got a lot of stops yet to make.”
Nate just shook off his shock and walked over to where Santa stood. “Well Nick, y’all don’t mind iffen I call ya Nick do ya?”
Santa chuckled again “Of course not Nate. I’m bout to be reciving some of yer special callin type help so it’s the least I can do.”
Santa pointed to the hitching bar on the right side of the sleigh. Dasher there slipped a step and we hit that there cedar and snapped the hitching bar. Now I can’t steer the sleigh.”
“That’s simple enough I’ll just cut one of these saplings and fashion ya ‘nother one in about ten shakes.”
Kris Kringle shook his head. Can’t do that Nate. I would have been able to do that myself. I do have a bit of experience with making things ya know.” His eye’s twinkled.
“See my sleigh only flies because the Good Lord sends the angels that sang to the shepherds to sing over the sled and empower it with the blessing of that special night. If we replace that bar with one that hasn’t been blessed I still won’t be able to complete my task.”
Nate stroked his beard and looked around at where they were. They were just a stones throw from his favorite fishin’ hole and he remembered an old water hardened log precisely a bit rounder than Santa’s broken bar. “Alright then how about a splint? Will that damage the power of the Blessing?”
Santa gave it a though for a minute. “Well the whole stave would still be in place, so I don’t think it would. Anyway, I would say if God sent you and this is the answer you came up with it’s probably what he has in mind.”
Nate nodded. “Allright well gives me a hand and we’ll gets you back up and running in two shakes of a coon’s tail.”
Nate and Santa went down to the creek and sure enough there was the log, and Nate pulled out Davey’s hatchet and after a few minutes of chopping had a section about two inches longer than the break on each side. Then he took the Hatchet and split the log in two sections, and he took half and Santa took half the went and placed them over the split after putting the broken pieces together again. Nate took the drill and drilled two holes through the whole thing on each end and then quickly fashioned four Ceder pegs and using the flat side of Davey’s hatchet, he pounded them in and then pour some water from the creek over them to swell them and hold the patch snug.
As Santa ran his hand over Nate’s work, there was a faint Gold and Silver glow that passed from his hand to the patch. The sleigh lifted a few inches off the ground, and the team began to grow restless. “Yes Dasher I see it. We’ll be back to it in a moment.”
The Legendary Toymaker turned to the Legendary Mountaineer and held out his hand. “ Thank you Nugget Nate. I am much obliged to you. Now help me into this contraption, so I can get back to my mission seeing as how yours is done and mine is only just begun.”
Nate helped the man up into the sleigh and shook his head. “Won’t know one believe me even if I told them this tale. What’s worse is every word would be true.”
Santa threw back his head and roared out his trademark chuckle. “Same will be true for me too Nate. When I tell the Missus and my workers that I met ya they won’t believe me either.”
Nate reached into his belt and pulled out his Arkansas Tooth Pick. “Well this here is the very Knife Jim Bowie gave me when I beat him in that knife throwin’ demonstration. You jes show them that, and they’ll have to believe ya.”
Santa laughed again “We both know this is not the very knife, but I’ll take it anyway. In return let me give you a Christmas gift. “ He reached under his sleigh and pulled out a small wooden chest with the Letters SC carved into the lid. “You take these and use them to keep making people happy with your handiwork Nate.”
Nate opened the chest to see a set of wood carving tools finer than anything he’d ever seen in his life. “Won’t you be needed these to make them toys ya deliver?”
“I happen to know that the Missus just got me a new set made. I didn’t know why I felt the need to bring these with me but reckon they were meant for you. Now enough jawin. You done finished yer callin’ I need to complete mine. Time to remind the kids of HIS love for them.”
Then with a snap of the reigns and a whistle Santa exclaimed. “On Dasher, On Dancer. On Prancer and Vixen. Up Comet and Cupid and Donder and Blitzen.” The Team strained at the hitching rails and up the sleigh went. When it had reached the top of the trees, Nugget Nate heard Saint Nick Say: “Merry Christmas Nugget Nate you saved Christmas tonight!”
Nate watched until he couldn’t see the sleigh or its little ole driver anymore and started back to his bed. He knew that God was in control, and if he had wonders like Nick out there working for HIM, then he had Nate’s little family in the palm of His Mighty Hand. “Merry Christmas Nick, God bless your trip.”
The walk home seemed like that glowing gold and silver light shined off of everything along the way and Nate’s feet fairly touched the ground themselves.