Read Stanley's Christmas Adventure Online

Authors: Jeff Brown

Tags: #Age 7 and Up

Stanley's Christmas Adventure (4 page)

Mrs. Lambchop gave Arthur a little hug.

“All right,
letters,” said Sarah’s father. “But from brothers. Count as one, really.”

He took a last letter from the folder. “Nice penmanship, this one … Mr. and Mrs. George Lambchop! Now there’s a surprise!”

“Well, why
?” said Mrs. Lambchop.

Mr. Lambchop said, “No harm, eh, just dropping a line?”

Their letter was read.

“ ‘Dear Sir: Perhaps you expect letters from children only, since as people grow older they often begin to doubt that you truly exist. But when our two sons were very small, and asked if you were real, we said “yes.” And if they were to ask again now, we would not say “no.” We would say that you are not real, of course, for those who do not believe in you, but very real indeed for those who
. Our Christmas wish is that you will never have cause to doubt that Stanley and Arthur Lambchop, and their parents, take the latter position. Sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. George Lambchop, U.S.A.’ ”

Sarah’s father thought for a moment. “Hmmm …
position? Ah!
believe. I see.”

“See, Poppa?” said Sarah. “No greediness! Not one—”

“Fine letters, Sarah. I agree.” There was sadness in the deep voice now. “But all, Sarah, from the same family that thought to deceive me with that ‘flatness’ story. Flat indeed!”

Mrs. Lambchop gasped. “Deceive? Oh, no!”

“Round is round, madam.” Sarah’s father shook his head. “The lad’s shape speaks for itself.”

The hearts of all the Lambchops sank within them. Their mission had failed, they thought. For millions and millions of children all over the world, a joyful holiday was lost, perhaps never to come again.

Arthur felt especially bad. It was his fault, he told himself, for thinking of that bicycle pump.

Stanley felt worst of all. If only he hadn’t grown tired of being flat, hadn’t let Arthur blow him round again! If only there were proof—

And then he remembered something.

“Wait!” he shouted, and stood on tiptoe to whisper in Mrs. Lambchop’s ear.

“What … ?” she said. “I can’t—the
? Oh! Yes! I had forgotten! Good for you, Stanley!”

Rummaging in her bag, she found her wallet, from which she drew a photograph. She gave it to Sarah’s father.

“Do keep that,” she said. “We have more at home.”

The snapshot had been taken by Mr. Lambchop the day after the big bulletin board fell on Stanley. It showed him, quite flat, sliding under a closed door. Only his top half was visible, smiling up at the camera. The bottom half was still behind the door.

For a long moment, as Sarah’s father studied the picture, no one spoke.

“My apologies, Lambchops,” he said at last. “Flat he is.
, anyhow. I’ve half a mind to—” He sighed. “But those red cars, asking for
, that—”

“That was Lam
!” cried Arthur. “Not—”

“Just teasing, lad!”

Sarah’s father had jumped up, a great smile on his face.

“Yo, elves!” he shouted into his speaker phone. “Prepare to load gifts! Look lively! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, you know!”

The next moments were joyful indeed.

“Thank you, thank you! … Hooray! … Hooray! … Hooray!” shouted Mr. and Mrs. Lambchop, and Stanley and Arthur and Sarah.

Sarah’s mother kissed everyone. Mrs. Lambchop kissed Sarah’s father, and almost fainted when she realized what she had done.

Then Sarah’s father asked Stanley to autograph the sliding-under-the-door picture, and when Stanley had written “All best wishes, S. Lambchop” across the picture, he pinned it to the wall.

“Blew him round, eh?” he said to Arthur. “Like to have seen that!”

He turned to Sarah. “Come, my dear! While I freshen up, teach me those reindeer names. Then I will see our visitors safely home!”


Going Home

A crowd of elves had gathered with Mrs. Christmas and Sarah to say good-bye. “Bless you, Lambchops!” they called. “Thank goodness you came! … Think if you hadn’t! … Whew! … Farewell, farewell!”

In the Great Sleigh, Sarah’s father took up the reins. “Ready, Lambchops?”

He made a fine appearance now, his hair and beard combed, and wearing a smart green cloak and cap. The famous red suit, he had explained, was reserved for delivering gifts.

“Good-bye, everyone!” called Mrs. Lambchop. “We will remember you always!”

“You bet!” cried Stanley. “I’ll

“But you will, dear,” said Mrs. Christmas. “You will

“Hardly.” Mr. Lambchop smiled. “An evening like this does not slip one’s mind.”

“Poppa will see to it, actually,” said Sarah. “Snow City, all of us here … We’re supposed to be, you know, sort of a mystery. Isn’t that
? I mean, if—”

“Sarah!” her father said. “We must go.”

The Lambchops looked up at the night sky, still bright with stars, then turned for a last sight of the little red-roofed house behind them, and of the elves’ cottages about the snowy square.

“We are ready,” said Mr. Lambchop.

“Good-bye, good-bye!” called Mrs. Lambchop and Stanley and Arthur.

“Good-bye, good-bye!” called the elves, waving.

The eight reindeer tossed their heads, jingling their harness bells. One bell flew off, and Stanley caught the little silver cup in his hand. Suddenly, as before, the jingling stopped, all was silence, and the pale mist rose again about the sleigh.

Sarah’s father’s voice rang clear. “Come, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen! Come, Comet, Cupid, Donder and … oh, whatsisname?”

“Blitzen!” Stanley called.

“Thank you. Come, Blitzen! ”

The mist swirled, closing upon the sleigh.


The Lambchops all remarked the next morning on how soundly they had slept, and how late. Mr. Lambchop ate breakfast in a rush.

“Will you be all day at the office, George?” Mrs. Lambchop asked. “It
Christmas Eve, you know.”

“There is much to do,” said Mr. Lambchop. “I will be kept late, I’m afraid.”

But there was little to occupy him at his office, since a practical joker had left word he would not be in. He was home by noon to join friends and family for carol singing about the neighborhood.

Mrs. Lambchop had the carolers in for hot chocolate, which was greatly admired. She had added cinnamon, she explained; the idea had just popped into her head. The carolers were all very jolly, and Frank Smith, who lived next door, made everyone laugh, the Lambchops hardest of all, by claiming he had seen reindeer on their lawn the night before.

On Christmas morning, they opened their gifts to each other, and gifts from relatives and friends. Then came a surprise for Stanley and Arthur. Mr. Lambchop had just turned on the TV news.

“… and now a flash from South America, from where the earthquake was,” the announcer was saying. “Homeless villagers here are giving thanks this morning for a tremendous supply of socks, shirts, underwear, and food. They have also received a
tents, and a
little stoves to cook on!” The screen showed a homeless villager, looking grateful.

“The tents, and the little stoves,” the villager said. “Just what we need! Bless whoever sends these tents and stoves! Also the many tasty chocolate bars with nuts!”

“He’s blessing
!” cried Stanley. “I asked for tents in my letter. But I wasn’t sure it would work.”

wrote about stoves.” Arthur said. “
chocolate bars. But they didn’t have to have nuts.”

Happy coincidences! thought Mr. and Mrs. Lambchop, smiling at each other.

Christmas dinner, shared with various aunts, uncles, and cousins, was an enormous meal of turkey, yams, and three kinds of pie. Then everyone went ice-skating in the park. By bedtime, Stanley and Arthur were more than ready for sleep.

“A fine holiday,” said Mr. Lambchop, tucking Arthur in.

“Yes indeed.” Mrs. Lambchop tucked in Stanley. “Pleasant dreams, boys, and—What’s this?” She had found something on the table by his bed. “Why, it’s a little bell! A silver bell!”

“It was in my pocket,” Stanley said. “I don’t know what it’s from.”

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