Happy is Missing

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Elle, a junior elf at Christmas Toyland in the Arctic, was tired of feeling grouchy, angry and discontent.  She wanted to feel happy, joyful and full of hope like she did before Christmas.   She tried to change her mood by thinking happy thoughts, but every time she thought of hot dogs with ketchup and mustard she couldn’t find the ketchup.  Every time she thought of chocolate chip cookies, there were no chocolate chips to be found in any cookies anywhere.  Every time she thought of playing outside with her friends, Joy and Merry, the snow was piled too high, the sidewalks were covered with slippery ice or no one was home.

Elle knew it was time to find Happy.  Happy was the silliest, happiest senior elf in all of Christmas Toyland.  Happy would know what to do to bring a smile to Elle’s face.  He always knew what to say that would make her laugh out loud until her stomach ached. The problem was, Elle didn’t know where to find Happy.  He wasn’t in his usual place.  The Toyland workshop was empty.  Every one of the elves had worked so hard getting all the toys ready for Christmas.  They were taking a well-deserved rest that usually lasted several months.

Elle knew Happy liked playing better than resting.  She decided to go to the park to find him but the park was quiet and lonely.  The swings and the slides were covered with snow.  Icicles hung from the trampoline, which was Happy’s favourite place to play.

She walked past the ice-skating rink and the Gingerbread House downtown but again, she didn’t see anyone.

It was getting late.  Sadly, she walked back to her room in Elf Village.  Because Christmas was over, the streets looked dark and scary.  The sparkling, colourful, flashing lights had all been taken down from every house in town.   The only lights came from inside the homes where families were preparing to eat dinner and spend their evening together.  Outside, alone in the dark, the only sound Elle heard was the sound of an owl hooting in the distance.

It frightened her so she ran as fast as she could back to her warm bed.  She tried to get comfortable as she tossed and turned but she realized the bright moon was shining in her face, keeping her awake. She lay still looking at the moon through her window.  “I think the moon is lonely too and wants me to stay awake and be its friend,” she whispered into the stillness

She got out of her warm bed to sit on the soft red chair beside the window.  She stared at the moon wondering why the sky looked so black tonight.  She looked for the North Star but couldn’t find it.  Then she knew it was the clouds that were hiding the stars.  They were there.  She just couldn’t see them.  She tried to find just one bright star to be with the moon.

“Oh, Moon,” she said. “You are lonely because your friends, the stars, have not come out to be with you.”  Elle got up from the soft, red chair and went to lay her head on the cool window sill.  Staring at the lonely moon, she felt even sadder than she did before.

After some time, Elle screamed, “The stars.  The stars are there, Moon.  They are hiding behind the clouds.”  Moon paid no attention.  Again, she screamed, “The stars are there, Moon.  You just can’t see them tonight because of the clouds.”

She wished she could move the clouds so that Moon could see them but she knew that was an impossible job for her.  She walked back to the soft, red chair and curled up until she felt cosy and sleepy.

When Elle awoke in the morning, the sun was shining on her face.  She opened her eyes with a smile.  She felt much better.  She would try again to find Happy. Quickly, she got up from the chair.  When she opened the door, her friends Merry and Joy were standing there with their ice skates.  She was delighted when she saw them.   She grabbed her ice skates, put on her red scarf and hat and her new blue coat and the three of them skated down the icy street and around the corner to the large ice-skating rink in the centre of town.

They skated all morning before going home and sitting by the fire eating leftover Christmas cookies and drinking hot chocolate.  When it was time for Merry and Joy to go home, they hugged each other and decided they would go skating again tomorrow.

That night, as Elle lay in her bed looking out at the moon, she believed the moon felt happier too because the sky was full of sparkling stars.  “See,” she said.  “The stars were there all the time waiting for the clouds to go away so you could see them just like Merry and Joy were waiting for the snow to stop falling so they could be with me.

Then, she thought about Happy again.  She still wanted to find him. There was only one place she hadn’t carefully looked. She dressed in her warmest clothes and pulled on her wool gloves and snow boots.  Once, she found her sled, she closed the door behind her.  She then walked down the slippery, dark, icy sidewalk pulling her sled as carefully as she could before turning at the corner on her way to the Gingerbread House.

The lights inside the Gingerbread House were on but the door was locked. She knocked hard and shouted, “Happy, let me in. It’s Elle.  I know you are in there eating all the gumdrops and gingerbread men.”

The door opened a crack just big enough for Elle to see Happy’s big, fat red nose and his green elf shoes sprinkled with red glitter.  She laughed.

“Hello, Elle,” Happy said, as he opened the door wider.  “Come in and have some hot chocolate with me.  He brushed the gingerbread crumbs from his face as he said, laughing “You’re right.  The gingerbread men have all been eaten but there are still a ton of gumdrops left.”

Elle said, “I knew you were here all this time.  I just didn’t look hard enough. You always come here to eat all the gingerbread man cookies.” They both laughed.

Elle went inside and together they sat on her sled in the warm, cosy Gingerbread House telling Christmas stories and laughing until their stomachs ached and the morning sun shone warm on the outdoor ice-skating rink.

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- Total nr. of readings: 392 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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