The freshly fallen snow looked tempting, so Ms. Claus and I slipped on warm clothes and took a walk. In the distance we saw Polar Pete, one of our North Pole friends. “Hey Pete,” I yelled, as Anya and I waved.
Turning, he stood on his hind legs and called out, “Santa, Ms. Claus, it’s so nice to see you.”
Making our way towards him, we heard him scream, “Isn’t this snow wonderful?”
“It’s dazzling,” my wife panted as she reached the bear. “Care to join us on a walk?”
Polar Pete went first and made a path through the accumulating snow for Anya and me. The large polar bear lumbered along, and we followed. I was always surprised that Pete’s tail was so short, so I thought this was a good time to ask the question. “No disrespect Pete, but why doesn’t a polar bear have a long tail like some of the other animals?”
“Santa!” Anya shouted. “don’t you think that’s kind of personal?”
“It’s okay Ms. Claus,” the bear said as he sat down. “To be honest, polar bears did have long, white, bushy tails that sparkled in the light, but that was ages ago.”
“I never knew that,” Anya replied, surprised at Pete’s answer.
“What happened?” I asked. “Or is this just another one of your tall tales.”
Pete gave me a serious look. “Well, according to the story that has been handed down through the centuries in my family, an Arctic Fox caused the problem.”
“A fox?!” Anya and I exclaimed in unison. The three of us leaned against a snow bank while Pete focused on his story.
* * * * * * *
It was a cold winter and food was scarce. Desperate for something to eat, a polar bear decided to go down to the lake. There he found an Arctic Fox feasting on the fish he had caught in the lake. “How did you catch all those fish?” the hungry bear asked.
The sly fox looked up at the bear and decided to have some fun with him. “Why, I used my tail,” he explained. The fox showed the bear a hole he had clawed in the ice. “All I do is drop my tail into the hole, and when I feel a fish bite, I pull it out quickly and enjoy my meal.”
The bear, anxious to get something to eat, trudged over to the hole and dropped his tail into the ice-cold water. At first, he moved his backside in a circle, making his tail swirl in the water. When that didn’t work, he pulled his tail in and out of the water over and over again, but had no luck.
After a while, the fox noticed the bear’s dark eyes close, pop open, then close again. Finally, the bear’s head dropped, and he dozed off.
Grinning, the fox went back to his meal of fish. When he returned to check on the bear, he found him sound asleep. Looking closer, the fox noticed that the water had frozen solid around the bear’s tail. He shrieked with laughter and danced around the slumbering bear.
“Bear, hey bear,” he finally yelled. “You caught a fish!
The polar bear woke with a snort. There was a loud SNAP as he jumped up quickly with all his strength.
“OW!!” he screamed. He swiveled his head around and stared at his backside. “OH NO!! he wailed. “MY TAIL! MY BEAUTIFUL TAIL!” The bear ran around what had been a fishing hole. Now his frozen tail stuck straight up, pointing to the sky.
“Fox, I’m going to get you for this!”
The Fox, still laughing, was faster than the bear and ran away.
* * * * * * *
“So, to this day, bears no longer have tails, and if you ever hear a bear moaning, it’s probably because he remembers the trick the fox played on the bear long ago.”
“Come on Pete, do you expect Anya and I to believe that?”
“Maybe not,” the bear snickered, “but it does show that playing tricks can have lasting and bad effects.”
“Santa, this may be a fun story to tell the children,” my wife said and put her hand on my shoulder.
“You’re right. ‘A Tale of the Tail’. I like that.”
The three of us howled as we hiked back towards the village.
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. Stories are posted on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, except December. Santa’s next story will be posted on Saturday October 7, 2023. If you have any comments or if there is something you would like me to tell you about, please feel free to leave me a comment. Until the next time . . .
To read more about Santa’s friends please check out
Santa’s Newest Friends – July 8 2019
Wiggle and Waddle Meet Polar Pete – July 15, 2019
A Visit From Jack Frost – January 20, 2020
The Lost Elves – February 3, 2020
Homesick Penguins – June 8, 2020
Nippy Falls Apart – March 8, 2021
Wiggle and Waddle Go Home – May 31, 2021
Missing Friends – July 1, 2022
Polar Pete’s New Friend – April 15, 2023
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