Walking hand in hand through the courtyard, I watched as Ms. Claus stopped and shook her head. Looking around she commented, “It is strange not to hear the elves running around and working. This silence is eerie after many of them leave to return to their homeland in January.”
“Doesn’t seem the same, does it?” I asked without expecting an answer. “It will be like this until April, when they return to begin production for next Christmas.”
“It must be a beautiful, peaceful, and fun place,” my wife wondered aloud as we continued our walk.
“You mean Korvatunturi Mountain in Lapland?” As Anya nodded her head, I continued, “You would love it, I’m sure. After all, that’s where I first met the elves and asked for their help.”
Reaching the Administration Building, I let go of her hand to open the door and noticed a sad look on her face. “Would you like to visit with the elves?” I asked.
Almost knocking me over, Anya exclaimed, “Thank you, Santa!” and hugged me. “When can we go?”
Startled, I responded, “Would tomorrow work?”
“PERFECT!” Anya yelled as she clapped her hands.
“First I need to contact Mythanthar to let him know we will be coming. Then I’ll walk over to the barn and inform Highstep about our trip. Meanwhile, let Blanche in the kitchen know about our change of plans. Finally, my dear, I think you should begin packing.”
Throwing her arms around my neck, Anya kissed me on the cheek and smiled. “Adventures with you are always exciting.”
The following day, Highstep guided Ms. Claus’s sleigh, the Dulcet, outside, and Bernard helped us load our luggage. “Enjoy yourselves,” he said, “and don’t stay too long. It’s lonely enough without the elves.”
As the sleigh lifted into the air, I steered Olive and Shadrack in the direction of Korvatunturi Mountain, home to most of my elves. Flying over parts of Lapland in Finland, I settled back and told Anya about this special place. “Ages ago, I visited friends in Pokka, Finland,” I began. “At that time my gifting to those in need was becoming more demanding, so I told them I needed help. They suggested I visit the Tonttu who lived in a village on Korvatunturi Mountain.”
“That’s what the Finns call the elves.”
“So did they take you to the village?”
“The existence of the Tonttu village was a story handed down through the years. They explained that many had set out to find the village, but only a very few ever succeeded.”
“What did you do?” Anya demanded to know.
“My friends gave me the directions to where the Finns thought the village was, but warned me that according to the story, it could only be found if you truly believed it existed.”
“And you believed.”
Snapping the sleigh’s reins, I responded, “I believed in what I was doing to help those in need, and believed there had to be a way to keep it going, so believing in the magical village of Elfkoti was easy.”
“And the rest is history,” Ms. Claus chuckled.
Shifting to look at Anya, I grinned, “Yes, the rest is history.” I then reached across Anya and pointed, “Do you see it?”
Anya leaned over the side of the sleigh and exclaimed, “So beautiful! I love the colorful buildings.” Turning, she grabbed my right arm and laid her head on my shoulder. “This is going to be so much fun!”
When Olive and Shadrack brought the Dulcet down, a large crowd gathered, cheering our arrival. Once the sleigh had stopped, we both stood and waved to the elves.
AS Anya began to exit the Dulcet, Mythanthar walked over and gave her a hand. “Welcome to Elfkoti Ms. Claus. We are pleased that you came to visit. Several things have been planned in your honor.”
“Thank you,” responded Anya. “Since Santa has told me about this place, I can’t wait to share in your festivities.”
Joining Ms. Claus and Mythanthar, I opened my arms to the crowd. “Though we did not expect all this, I can assure you that we will enjoy whatever you have planned.”
As the elves cheered loudly, Mythanthar lifted his arms for silence. While the crowd grew quiet, he announced, “Tonight, we will celebrate the unique visit of both Santa and Ms. Claus and begin with a feast at the Gathering Hall followed by an evening of song and dance. I hear that Ms. Claus is light on her feet and loves to dance.”
Blushing, Anya grabbed my hand while Mythanthar led us down Dreamwic Lane. Waving to the cheering elves standing along the street, I marveled at the village decorations, as if it was Christmas Day.
Arriving at the Gathering Hall, we walked up the four steps and entered the double doors held open by two elves. Stopping, Anya gazed around the room. “It’s so huge and beautiful!!” she exclaimed. “I love all the oversized wooden toys hanging from the ceiling and the twinkling lights peeking out from amid the pine branches circling the wooden posts.”
Once seated, Anya and I were immediately served several Finnish classic dishes: Poronkaristys, sauteed caribou; Leipajuusto, squeaky cheese; Lohikeitto, creamy salmon soup; Karjalanpiirakka, Karelian pasties/pies; and Salmiakki, salty liquorice. “I hope you enjoy this feast. It’s some of the most interesting cuisine I have ever tasted,” I explained, “and you know how I enjoy food.”
As Anya nodded, I noticed the many tables of elves seated before us. Recognizing several of them from the North Pole, Anya and I returned their waves as everyone in the hall enjoyed the feast. Once finished, we followed Mythanthar to a large dance floor where the elves waited for Ms. Claus and me to lead the first dance of the evening: the foxtrot. Ms. Claus turned toward me and asked, “Shall we?”
“Certainly, my dear,” I responded. As the music played, we fell into the slow-slow-quick-quick steps of the dance and enjoyed ourselves. After we returned to our seats, several elves took their places on the floor and performed the Vepsalainen Katrill a traditional Finnish folk dance.
Several hours flew by as we sang and danced. Though I tried to keep up, I knew when to quit. “Go on Anya,” I called out while leaving the dance floor. “You are having too much fun dancing to stop now.”
Later when Anya finally had enough, she joined me. “I haven’t danced like that for years!” she exclaimed. “I can’t imagine what my feet will feel like tomorrow.”
“You’ll survive. I’m sure,” I chuckled. While we walked around the hall, the music and dancing continued as I introduced my lovely wife to all my old friends in Elfkoti.
When the music stopped, all the elves took their places around the dance floor to listen to the story-tellers share tales about reindeer. As Anya and I listened, she whispered, “I never dreamed that I would have such a wonderful time in this special place. I can’t wait till tomorrow when we can explore Elfkoti and do some cross-country skiing.”
Slipping my arm across Anya’s shoulders, I answered quietly, “Since the elves are so much a part of our lives in the North Pole, it’s fun to discover more about them through their songs, food, dance and stories. I think we should visit together more often.”
“I could not agree more, Santa,” Anya responded,
Notes From Santa
I hope you enjoyed today’s story. I will post another one on March 1st. 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 next week . . .
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