Three Legs and a Big Heart

January 20, 2009
By Sally Marske, Cameron, WI

Three Legs and a Big Heart

Once upon a time in a far away land known as the North Pole, there was a herd of reindeer that were getting ready to pull Santa’s sleigh. All of the reindeer were beautiful, strong, full of holiday cheer, and magical, but sadly there was one, lonely reindeer that was different.
Tri-pod was the runt of the bunch. He was a little smaller than his herd mates and only had three legs, so he was always given the pointless jobs like sweeping or going through every toy making sure they work and throwing away the broken ones. He was continually picked on and bullied. Everyone failed to see his inner beauty. He was actually the most courageous and kindest reindeer of all; the others just didn’t see it yet.
“Tri-pod, Tri-pod, what kinda deer is he? Real deer stand on four legs; you’ve got only three!” teased Billy, the bully reindeer.

The taunts echoed throughout the cave, which was where the young reindeer’s straw beds laid, and the little three-legged deer cowered further into its shadowed depths, trying to hide from the cruel remarks of the other young deer that would someday pull Santa’s sleigh on that most blessed and magical night of the year.

“Billy, be quiet! Why do you have to pick on Tri-pod? He can’t help that he only has three legs; he was born like that. You could never be as sweet and full of spirit as Tri-pod. Some day, I believe he will be the leader of Santa’s sleigh!” hollered Monica, the most beautiful reindeer.

Tri-Pod couldn’t help but stare at her beauty. She had the thickest, most beautiful, toffee-colored fur that shone in the light, and she always had this sweet look in her gigantic, innocent eyes that made his three knees weak. He loved her. She was the only one who understood him; she believed in him.

“Ha, Tri-pod ain’t a reindeer. He’s an ugly freak!” snickered Billy. “Look at him, no antlers, uneven, patchy-colored fur, and three legs! He will never be better than me. He is just the misfit reindeer that is useless around here!”

At this, Tri-pod broke into tears, and he took off out of the icy, dark cave, running with his distinctive limp as he heard the other reindeer’s laughter fade away in the distance.

As Tri-pod fled to escape his torture, he did not look back. He wanted to find someplace where he fit in, someplace where he could call “home”…

Before he knew it, he had set foot through the golden arched gates of the famous, magical, Candy Cane Mountain. Candy Cane Mountain was like no other mountain. The mountain was overflowing with melodic music that harmonized throughout the bluffs of the snow-covered mass. Its flawless sound was like graceful dancing snowflakes swaying through the air. The only existences here were dazzling, shiny candy canes. Of course, this was because they grew here, right out of the ground, like a fiddlehead fern with a perfect, smooth curl. Each cane was streaked with rich, red, voluptuous stripes that looked as if they were painted on by God himself.

“What do you think you are doing in our land? You’re not one of us with beautiful, red bands,” chanted the Candy Canes.

“I’m not trying to intrude. I’m just passing through, trying to find where I belong. I will be gone in not too long,” cried Tri-Pod, not wanting to cause any harm.

“You best be on your way. You are not welcome here. You look funny; only three legs, this is how you appear,” insulted the rods.

With a slumped head from all of the unfriendly comments, Tri-pod backed away faintheartedly and forced out a “Merry Christmas” to the canes through his sniffles.

As he was gimping his way out, he heard a little, delicate, sweet voice quietly say, “Merry Christmas, Mr. Reindeer.”

Tri-Pod cast his gaze down to see a gigantic smile and over-sized eyes staring back at him.

“My name is Carley. I think you’re very brave. Don’t listen to what those other canes say!” said the tiny, chubby girl cane with braces. “They are a bunch of nimrods!” she giggled.

This cheered Tri-pod up! He smiled and said, “Thank you.”

“Where are you going?” asked Carley. “Do you think I could come? If you haven’t noticed, I’m like you. I’m not a perfect Candy Cane like the rest. I promise you I won’t be a pest!”

“That would be great!” exclaimed Tri-Pod.

“Yippee!” cried Carley. “Now you just need to help me get out of this ground.”

Tri-pod wrapped a rope around her curl and pulled. She didn’t budge.

“Okay, on the count of three, let’s try again. One, two, three, PULL!”

Tri-pod pulled with all of his might, but Carley still didn’t move an inch.

“I’ll never be able to get out of here. This is my greatest fear,” sobbed Carley.

“Don’t worry, new friend. Everything will work out in the end,” Tri-pod assured her.”

One last time, Tri-pod pulled, and magically it worked! Carley slid right out of the ground!

“Yay!” Carley cheered as she twirled around happily. “Let’s get out of this sugar-filled, snobbish heap!”

The two new misfit pals bounced joyfully out of the gold, arched gates to fulfill their quest to find their homes. They sang angelic Christmas carols while they frolicked through the snow, trying to catch the fluffy snowflakes that gracefully fell to the ground.

The next place they reached was the Forbidden Forest. This forest was forbidden because it was filled with gargantuan, bad-tempered pine trees. They were always crabby and had frowns on their faces. Their beady, little, black eyes cut like glass when they stared, almost evil-like. All were aligned perfectly in every row, dark green, and full of pine needles that were as sharp as razor blades. They stood proudly as if they thought they were better than each other.

“WE . . . DON’T . . . WANT . . . YOU . . . HERE!” boomed a hollow voice from high above. Snow filtered from the highest boughs of the pines, drifting down in cold whispers on the back of the tiny, three-legged deer’s behind. “LEAVE NOW!”

Again, Tri-pod stated with his soft voice, “I’m not trying to intrude. I’m just passing through, trying to find where I belong. I will be gone in not too long.”

“What an odd couple you two are. Where do you even come from? You look so bizarre,” mocked the Forest Timbers.

“I come from the North Pole,” answered Tri-pod.

“And I come from Candy Cane mountain,” added Carley.

“GO . . . BACK . . . WHERE . . . YOU . . . BELONG!” thundered the trees.

The pair backed away quietly and tiptoed cautiously toward the entrance. Both were shaking from the frightful experience.

“I wish I could be brave like you, for I am too little, but I try to make due. You two look imperfect, like me. Do you think that I could join the flee?” cried the sharp, high-pitched voice coming from the tiny, pee-wee sized tree in the corner.

“Where is that coming from?” said Tri-pod as he skimmed the forest.

“Over here! Over here!” cried the piercing voice until their eyes met. As they walked over to the petite looking pine with discolored needles, he called out, “The others call me Small Pine because of my size, but my real name is Sid.”

Sid explained how he was also a misfit. A mere twelve feet tall, he was unlike the other trees and was made fun of all the time for his appearance. The other trees pointed out things like his small size, his uneven, patchy, discolored needles, and his crooked figure. Sid couldn’t help it. He couldn’t do anything about it. He just took it all in, but today was his lucky day because Tri-pod and Carley understood all of this.

“We would love for you to join, but the weather is getting cold, and the snow is beginning to fall. A blizzard is coming, and we need somewhere to crawl,” said Carley.

“Oh, I know . . . You can crawl right in my branches. There is enough room. I promise. They will keep you warm, all through the night and all through the storm,” piped in Sid. They huddled into Sid’s branches and slept for the night.

“Good morning, pals!” chimed Small Pine as he wiggled his branches to wake them up.
Wiggling out of the tree, Tri-pod grabbed the rope he had previously used for Carley and tied it around Sid’s trunk. “One. . . two. . . three. . . PULL!” yelled Tri-pod, as he and Carley tugged violently on the rope. Sid slid right out of the ground.

“I’m free; I’m free!” yelled the tiny tree.

Now, the trio was off to another start, marching out of the forest, with no intentions of returning. They were off to find their homes. . .

The three went on walking until all of a sudden . . . whoosh! A snowball came whizzing right out of nowhere and splat! It hit Small Pine right in the trunk.

“Ha ha, what have we got here, boys? Let’s take away their Christmas joys!” taunted the chubby, green, evil elf. “Let’s get ‘em!”
Snowballs began flying in on the three, little misfits from every direction. They huddled together to try to protect themselves. The trio hadn’t realized that they had stepped foot into the Valley of Greed.
The Valley of Greed was run by the Grinch and filled with evil elves who had been kicked out of the North Pole for stealing presents. These elves did not look like the little, innocent elves with jingling hats and green suits from the North Pole. They looked like monsters, almost as if they were a whole different species! Every elf was heavily overweight, Grinch-color green, and sported long, pointy noises, long pointy ears, and black, spiky shoes.
Through their evil laughs, they hooted and hollered rude comments and continued throwing snowballs.
“Stop! We give up,” shrieked Carley, but the elf-creatures did not stop. Therefore, the trio darted back in their tracks, trying to escape the horror of the no-good, vicious elves. They continued running until they could no longer hear their wicked shouts.
“Do you hear that?” asked Sid.
“Yeah . . . it sounds like angels.”
As they came closer, they could make out the words, “Truly he taught us to love one another. His law is love, and his gospel is peace.”
Someone or something was singing. The sound was light and heavenly. The angelic tune was getting louder and louder. Finally, they made their way around the corner, only to see the most beautiful, heaven-sent angel.
Her shape was surrounded by a mesmerizing, glowing illumination. Her beauty was captivating; all eyes were glued to her beauty. Her fair skin looked soft and delicate against her lightly-pinked cheeks, and her long, blonde curls swayed in the wind. She wore a white, flawless gown that flowed over her body perfectly. Her wings looked like giant, feather-covered snowflakes that shimmered with every movement. She was standing there, singing and feeding the white doves with that melodic holy tune. “His power and glory ever more proclaim!”
She turned towards the trio and smiled, “Hello Tri-pod.”
His eyes grew as big as the star on the top of the Christmas tree, “Hh . . . hh . . . How do you know my name?” stuttered Tri-pod in disbelief.
“Tri-pod, I have been here for you your entire life. I’m your guardian angel. I’ve been watching over you throughout your entire journey, all the way over Candy Cane Mountain, through the Forbidden Forest, and into the Valley of Greed. I have come to tell you that it is time to go home. Santa misses you, and he needs you to pull his sleigh on Christmas Eve. Santa fired Billy when he found out that his cruel remarks were the reason that you left.”
“I’m not good enough to pull Santa’s sleigh,” Tri-pod replied. “I’m not nearly as strong as some of the other reindeer.”
“Tri-pod, Santa wants you to pull his sleigh. He needs you!” said the angel, trying to persuade him. “You have the chance to save Christmas!”

At this, Tripod sank to his three knees, and tears filled his eyes. These were not sad tears, simply tears of joy! No one has ever needed me before. Maybe I do have a purpose after all!

“Okay. I’ll do it!” Tri-pod eagerly said.

“You will never make it back on time, so I will bring you myself,” said the angel.

“Wait, what about us?” whined Sid and Carley.

“Well . . . you guys can come with,” hesitated Tri-Pod.

“Yippee!” cried the two misfits as they danced around with glee.

“Okay,” said the angel, “jump on. We don’t have much time.”

The trio hopped on to her back between her gigantic, white wings.

“Hold on,” she shouted as she took off, her wings starting to flutter. The sight was beautiful, and the ride was graceful. With every flap, they flew higher and higher into the puffy, cotton-like clouds.
“Look at that countryside!” exclaimed Carley as she leaned over to catch a glimpse of what lay below. The others followed and leaned over to see. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The sight was full of continuous, rolling, snow-covered mountains and deep, misty valleys.
When they arrived to the North Pole, they were greeted by all of the impatient elves, and waiting in the middle was jolly ol’ Santa with a “HO, HO, HO” smile.
“Tri-pod, I’ve missed you so much! Don’t ever leave me again!” said a faint voice that was coming closer and closer to him. Monica finally reached the front where Tri-pod stood.
“Monica!” yelled Tri-pod with enjoyment as she jumped on him and squeezed him tight. “I’m so glad to see you!”
“I told you that you would drive Santa’s sleigh someday,” she teased as she gave him a little kiss on the cheek.
“There’s my favorite little reindeer!” interrupted Santa. “There is not much time, but I wanted to say that I’m so happy that you are back. I need you to fly my sleigh tonight.”
“Really ?. . . Really? . . . Why me? . . . I only have three legs. There are plenty of reindeer that are stronger than me,” stammered the little three-legged reindeer. “And, what about my friends? I can’t just leave them!”
“I’m sure they will fit in nicely around here,” chuckled Santa. “Sid would make a beautiful, decorative Christmas tree.” At this, Sid’s eyes lit up in amazement because this was a real honor.
“Carley will make a fantastic dance teacher for the elves because Candy Canes are known for their twirls,” added Santa. Carley twirled with joy when she heard this.
“Tri-Pod, you are the most courageous reindeer of all. You have the most Christmas spirit, and I wouldn’t want anyone but you.”
With this, Tri-pod grinned and wiggled his little tail excitedly.
“Wait!” yelled Monica as she trotted gracefully up to Tri-pod. She planted a big kiss right on the tip of his nose. Tri-pod felt his face blush with embarrassment. Then something magical happened, his small, damp, black nose illuminated to a dazzling, glowing, bright red.
Tri-pod pranced up to the front of the line of reindeer and stepped into the front position. The elves dressed him up with all of the harnesses and bells. Tri-pod felt like a king. Then, Monica walked up to him and put a lovely wreath around his neck. It was a rich, evergreen color with tiny, little red holly berries that stuck out from the contrast of the colors.
“It’s your night to shine, Tri-pod. Good Luck,” she whispered in his ear, making his nose glow even more brightly.
“It’s time!” boomed Santa’s voice.
The busy elves scurried around trying to finish up all the little details. They put the presents in the sleigh, polished the jingling bells, and waxed the skis on the bottom of the sleigh.
“GO . . . Tri-pod . . . GO!” thundered Santa, as they were taking off.
Everyone in the North Pole was cheering gleefully as the sleigh began to slide forward. All of the reindeer dug their hooves into the snow and pulled forward.
“Yeah, Tripod!” yelled Carley and Sid from the front of the crowd. Tri-pod winked at them in a sense of accomplishment.
The sleigh began lifting off the ground, and finally, they were off, flying high into the sky on that magical and blessed night. Tri-pod lead the way, with his three legs, his bright, red nose, and his new sense of confidence!

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