DeFlip Side #29: The Last Little Elf


The Last Little Elf
Christopher DeFilippis

Listen to this story you might not believe,
but it all took place one odd Christmas Eve.

It’s the tale of Loki, the last little elf,
and how he saved Christmas all by himself.

The stars shone brightly on the crisp and clear night;
Santa’s workshop was bathed in the bright northern lights.

His sleigh was well loaded and ready to go,
and the elves were all celebrating with a romp in the snow.

They had worked hard all year, but now they were done,
so they were running around and having some fun.

All but small Loki, the youngest of elves,
who had to clean the workshop all by himself.

He stared out the window and heaved a great sigh
as he watched all his friends capering by.

But it was no use sulking – he was getting off light;
they had toiled for months, him only this night.

Toymaking was hard and through the year he had learned;
he had watched while they worked – now it was his turn.

So he went to the closet and took out his broom
and shuffled his way into the large empty room.

The place was deserted, the fire burned low,
the workshop awash in the embers’ pale glow.

Bits of debris lay scattered about,
but in the weak light he could still make them out.

Here an old doll, there a toy bed,
a discarded old globe, a length of loose thread.

Loki lowered his broom and pushed it with care,
not wanting to raise too much dust in the air.

As he scooped up the rubbish and filled up the bin,
he heard a great laugh and Santa walked in.

“Why Loki,” said Santa, “What are you doing here?
I thought all the elves were done for the year.”

“The rest of them are,” Loki replied with a laugh,
“but as you can see, I’m not finished by half.”

Santa heaved his great belly with a jolly “Ho-Ho!”
and looked out the window at the glistening snow.

“Then we have something in common, I do believe;
we both have to work on this Christmas Eve!”

Santa found a hidden pocket in his cherry-red clothes
and pulled out a present wrapped with tinsel and bows.

“This is for you, Loki,” Santa gleefully said.
“You’re a very hard worker and a good little lad.”

Loki gasped with a smile and felt great joy shoot
from his floppy green hat to his curly tipped boots.

“Thank you, Santa,” he said with a bow.
“Should I wait ’til tomorrow or can I open it now?”

“Now,” said Santa. “Take a break from your work.”
Loki laughed with delight and gave the paper a jerk.

It was a red and white candy cane, as long as his arm,
but his feelings of joy soon turned to alarm.

“I’ve nothing for you, Santa,” Loki said with a pout.
“Don’t worry,” said Santa, “that’s not what Christmas is about!

It’s a time for giving and filling others with joy,
not waiting and hoping for a shiny new toy.”

Santa let out a yawn and scratched his white hair
as he plopped himself down in an overstuffed chair.

“I’ve been busy all day, getting ready for tonight.
There’s a lot to do before I start my long flight.

It’s made me quite sleepy, so I’ll have a short nap,
when you’re done with your work, give me a tap.”

Soon Santa’s head nodded and he let out a snore;
so Loki worked quietly as he finished his chore.

He was done in a blink and stored his broom well away
then went to wake Santa so he could be on his way.

Loki gently tapped Santa on the hand and the knee
but Santa slept on, as peaceful as can be.

Worried now, Loki tried to push, pull and shake,
but nothing he did made Santa awake.

“What will I do?” Loki said with a yelp,
then he rushed outside to get the bigger elves’ help.

But no one was there, they had all gone to bed.
Loki ran back inside, filling with dread.

“This is no time to panic,” he said to himself.
“You must find a solution like a smart little elf.”

So scratching his chin he thought for a while
and worked out an answer that caused him to smile.

“Santa said Christmas was about giving to others,
about spreading great joy to our friends and our brothers.

And each year he does that with his present-filled sack.
I think it’s high time he received a gift back.

Santa deserves a Christmas all to himself,
so I’ll do his job for him, all by myself.

But I can’t just run off, I must think this through,
I have to plan out the things I must do.

The sleigh is all loaded, that job is done,
the other elves made sure before all their fun.

Flying and steering should be a cinch too,
because I’m sure the reindeer know just what to do.

There’s only one problem, just one thing amiss,
but it’s a tough one to beat, and that problem is this:

Once I set out into the winter night’s sky
how will I know which direction to fly?

There are so many children I’ve presents to give,
but how will I know in which houses they live?

There are millions of rooftops all covered with snow,
but on which ones to land only Santa can know!”

Loki bowed his small head, feeling defeat
but he vowed to himself that he wouldn’t be beat.

He thought for a second and it came in a flash,
the answer to his problem lay in the trash!

He rushed through the workshop and when he came to the bin
he sorted through the things he had recently put in.

The bit of loose thread was curled in some fuzz,
and how ’bout that globe? Ah, there it was!

He dashed to a table and laid out his tools,
then propped up his candy cane on one of the stools.

He attached the old globe to an end of the thread
and tied the other around the cane’s curving head.

He felt all his doubt beginning to fade
as he carefully lifted the thing he had made.

The globe hung freely from its candy cane perch,
giving Loki a model of the world he must search.

“Eureka!” he cried as he jumped to his feet.
“Now my invention is almost complete.

I’ve done what I can with my hands and my head;
to finish the job I’ll need magic instead.”

But no ordinary conjuring would finish the trick;
he needed the magic within old St. Nick.

But it wasn’t a magic made of words or great spells,
nor was it woven with chanting and bells.

It was a magic far simpler, Santa’s mystical art:
the great love for children he held in his heart.

That’s how he knew where to land his big sleigh,
he could feel the love pulling from miles away.

“It’s this special wisdom I need to get now.
All I must do is figure out how.”

Loki dashed to the chair where Santa still slept,
and looked for the place the magic was kept.

Santa’s pockets were empty, as Loki knew they would be;
how could they store something no one could see?

Loki tried rubbing the magic out of Santa’s red suit,
first the arm, then the leg – even a boot!

But Loki quit scrubbing when he got to the foot;
it just wasn’t working; the magic stayed put!

He heaved a great sigh and felt some despair,
until he saw what was laying on the arm of the chair.

“Santa’s big hat,” he said with a shout.
“That’s what I’ll use to make the magic come out!”

Loki lifted the hat by its puffy white ball,
and held it over his invention – cane, globe and all.

“It must work,” said Loki, “for all the kids’ sake!”
Then he shut his eyes tight and gave the hat a good shake.

It came out lightly at first, floating down slow;
the faintest mist caught in the fire’s warm glow.

Loki was heartened when he decided to look;
the more that he saw, the harder he shook!

Loki now knew that all wasn’t lost;
the magic rained down, all crystal and frost!

When it covered the globe in a twinkling sheet,
Loki put the hat down and jumped to his feet.

“My invention is finished!” he said with a shout.
“All that’s left now is to test the thing out!”

Loki lifted the globe, its magic aswirl;
holding his breath, he gave it a whirl.

It started to spin with a sparkling thrust,
throwing off bits of its magical dust.

It came to rest slowly, growing less bright
except for a pin-prick of dazzling light.

“It works,” laughed Loki, “I now have a way
to find all the houses where I must land my sleigh.

Each point on my globe that shines clear and bright
shows a place I must leave some presents tonight.

“Yippie!” yelled the elf as he ran out the door;
Santa mumbled slightly and continued to snore.

Loki bounded into the sleigh with a hop
and let himself down on the seat with a plop.

He picked up the reigns and shouted, “Let’s fly!”
The reindeer leapt up into the starry black sky.

He flew through the night in Santa’s great sleigh,
and his globe never failed to show him the way.

Its magical power found every rooftop,
and each new spin showed his next stop.

Before Loki knew it, he had emptied the sack.
His night’s work was finished; it was time to go back.

He arrived at the workshop with the first hint of dawn
and Santa appeared looking worried and drawn.

“Loki,” he cried, “Where have you been with my sleigh?
And why did you let me sleep the whole night away?

It’s too late now to deliver my toys!
I fear Christmas is ruined for all the good girls and boys!”

“Cheer up,” said Loki. “It’s worked out all right,”
and he told Santa the tale of his long and strange night.

When Loki had finished, Santa laughed with relief
and looked at the elf with some disbelief.

“I’m proud of you Loki. You’re a smart little elf.
I couldn’t have done it better myself.

And this invention you built, how handy it will be
as you spend every Christmas riding with me.

“That’s right,” said Santa as the elf’s eyes went wide,
“You will now spend Christmas Eve at my side.

You have shown yourself trusty and quick with a thought;
that much is plain in what you have wrought.

I can use a good helper on my wintry route,
someone who knows what giving’s about.

Well, little Loki, that someone is you;
you’ve shown a big heart, selfless and true.”

Loki jumped from the sleigh with a spring
and began to laugh and dance and caper and sing.

“I get to spread cheer and laughter and joy,
and bring good tidings for all to enjoy!

Thank you, Santa, I’ll be happy forever.
That’s the greatest Christmas gift ever!”

So next Christmas Eve, if you hear a small noise,
and try to spy Santa, leaving you toys,

don’t be surprised if it’s not old Claus himself;
it just may be Loki, the last little elf.