Ava Rose Giri Wentges (age 8-16)
A True Story
(it just hasn’t happened yet)
Wakefield, Quebec, Christmas 2020
My name is Fenna, best friend and soul mate of Santa Claus
(You may know me better as Mrs. Claus!)
Many, many years ago Santa and I moved our magic workshop to a secret and frozen world of the North Pole –
Far away from the crowded streets of watery Holland, our ancient land of Christmas.
This is a Christmas tale about a little penguin named Joy, who was born at the other end of the world –
at the very cold and snowy, South Pole.
The happy Penguin was born into a loving family.
As with all penguins, Mom laid the little eggy bundle of joy, and Dad sat on it.
Little Joy had many friends, and there were three things they really, really loved to do.
They loved to eat fish – all kinds of fish.
They love to play games – lots of games, including belly races and hide-and-go-seek.
And even though penguins are birds, they loved to swim.
It is said that some penguins can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes! They can dive so deep that if you put the Toronto CN Tower down there, its tippy-top would stick out of the water.
That is very, very, very deep.
One day, Joy and friends decided to play hide-and-go-seek out on the ice, where the land meets the sea.
Joy was ‘It’ and started to count to 1,000 (penguins like to count high so that the game lasts longer).
With flippers covering the eyes, little Joy started to slowly count:
“One, two, three, four….”
When Joy reached 500, something strange began to happen. The large ice sheet – bigger than a big village – quietly broke off from land and began slowly drifting north – away from Antarctica, away from the South Pole.
“…998, 999, 1,000! COMING!” yelled Joy.
So, when Joy looked around, there was no more land to see, no Antarctica to see, no friends to see.
All around was pale ice, surrounded by dark sea.
Joy was on a big, flat iceberg that drifted north with the current, into the warmer waters of the South Atlantic Ocean.
It drifted and drifted, for many days and nights. The water grew warmer and warmer, and the iceberg grew smaller and smaller until it was only the size of a schoolyard.
Joy was scared. There were no parents! There were no friends!
But – there were large, dark, underwater shadows circling in the distance….
More lonely days passed. Joy’s new home was now the size of a small ice rink. Even worse, those distant shadows surfaced to reveal a group of leopard seals!
More leopard than seal, these animals’ favourite food was penguin.
They had big, sharp teeth and could smell a penguin from far away.
Joy now felt very, very scared and hungry. Soon the iceberg had shrunk to the size of a pillow, and Joy almost had to stand on one foot to balance – like a flamingo!
The leopard seals were now so close that Joy could smell their nasty, fishy breath. “HELP!” cried the little penguin.
Just then, Joy saw a light in the sky. It was getting closer and closer, brighter and brighter.
“HO, HO, HO!” cried a booming voice from above. Why, it was Santa Claus zooming through the air with his sleigh and reindeer!
Joy had forgotten that it was Christmas Eve!
Santa rapidly lowered the sleigh. And just before the iceberg finished melting – somewhere near Brazil –
Joy quickly hopped in.
Phew!!!, thought Joy.
Santa being Santa already knew of the little penguin, and what had happened.
He speaks excellent Penguin, and told Joy that they could not return to the South Pole right away. It was very late and there would not be enough time to finish delivering all the presents.
Also, there was no magic reindeer power between Christmas Eves. Joy would have to wait a whole year to return home.
This made Joy very sad.
But – Santa promised to return Joy to the South Pole the next Christmas Eve, adding that at least the North Pole was similar in temperature.
“And!” said he, “You can help me deliver the rest of the presents!”
This made the little penguin very happy and excited.
“As I like to say,” explained Santa, “We’re all in this Sleigh together”.
As they returned to the sky, Santa gave Joy a Christmas present of a herring fish – Joy’s favourite. Santa also tossed fish to the leopard seals. Seeing Joy’s surprise, Santa explained, “Leopard seals deserve presents too you know.”
And off they flew to deliver the rest of the gifts.
Santa took shortcuts through magic tunnels inside the earth, like a jolly worm through an apple.
Once all the presents were delivered, Santa flew back to the North Pole with Joy. They landed very, very early Christmas morning.
After they had arrived, Santa introduced Joy to all the reindeer, all the elves, and of course, to me, Fenna.
I gave Joy a big squeezy hug, and then began to teach our little Penguin Dutch, official language of the North Pole.
Santa also told Joy that at the North Pole he supervises toy making, sleigh prep and all baking, and leads the Christmas choir.
While I plan the Big Night, handle all repairs and renos, and am something of an expert in the field of North Pole veterinary medicine.
We all liked Joy very much, but the little penguin
felt unhelpful and misfitty.
Joy could not make toys because penguins do not have fingers – only flippers. Flippers are good for swimming and sliding, but not so great for holding a hammer to make toys.
The reindeer preferred to play games such as hide-and-go-seek – But while flying in the air!
You might remember that penguins are birds that cannot fly.
Joy could also not eat candy, the main dish of the North Pole. Everyone thought the ice at the North Pole was too thick to get fish.
The only fish available for Joy were gummie fish, filled with all the vitamins a growing penguin would need. ‘Yuck’, thought Joy.
Joy did not feel needed – and really, really missed family and friends.
The little penguin looked forward to the next Christmas Eve, and a return home to Antarctica with Santa!!
Christmas Eve eventually did come. Joy was bursting with excitement!
It was very dark and windy while we were busy getting ready for the Big Night – planning the trip, wrapping presents, and giving last minute reindeer check-ups.
Joy mainly just tried to stay out of the way.
Then, as Santa’s sleigh was sitting exactly at the North Pole…
and the elves were just beginning to put presents in the magic bag on the sleigh, they heard a loud
Strangely, the sleigh started to sink into very slushy, watery ice!
Luckily, Santa’s helpers managed to save the sleigh!
However, as the elves were doing this, Santa’s magic bag sank slowly to the bottom of the sea! – GLUGG, GLUGG, GLUGG….
This was very bad because only this sack could hold all the presents for the whole world!
All of a sudden, Joy had an idea.
“Santa! Maybe I can dive down to the bottom and get the bag with my beak! Since the bag is almost empty, I think I can do it!” cried the little penguin.
Santa was not sure what to do. It seemed very dangerous, even for a penguin.
What if the water was too deep?
Santa finally said, “Alright Joy, for the sake of Christmas, alright.
But please be careful!”
Little Joy then dove through the hole in the ice – and swam down to the very depths of the sea.
Santa, the elves, the reindeer and I – we all waited very nervously.
Of course we preferred no presents than no Joy!
After 20 minutes we were still waiting! We were very, very, very worried about the little penguin.
“WE SHOULD NEVER HAVE LET JOY DIVE DOWN!” we cried.
Just then, Joy leaped out of the water with a great big splash and slid onto the safe ice!
Joy had the magic bag’s rope in the beak! The little penguin had been under water a very long time and was really, really tired.
But Joy was safe!
The bag was safe!
Christmas was safe!
Santa then exclaimed, “Thank you, Joy! Thank you for this wonderful present you have given all the children and all the creatures of the world.”
The elves continued to fill Santa’s magic bag with presents, and to harness the reindeer to the sleigh.
Then Santa, the reindeer, and of course Joy, took off to deliver all the presents.
Once done, they returned Joy, through the magic tunnels in the Earth, to friends and family at the South Pole.
Before flying away, Santa gave Joy a big jolly hug – then waved goodbye.
As he disappeared into the night, Santa was heard to boom in Penguin,
“HO HO HO!