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1969KidnappedSantaClaus

Front cover of a 1969 picture book edition of the story.

"A Kidnapped Santa Claus" is a short fantasy story for children by the American author L. Frank Baum. It was first published in the December 1904 issue of the women's magazine The Delineator. It is a sequel to Baum's 1902 children's novel The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.

The plot of the short story is set in motion when some spirits which represent selfishness, envy, hatred, malice and repentance become angry with Santa Claus. Thanks to the toys that Santa Claus gives them, fewer children are feeling selfish, envious, hateful or malicious. As a consequence, fewer of those children then need to repent. The spirits decide to kidnap Santa Claus when he leaves his home on Christmas Eve in order to stop him from delivering presents to children.

"A Kidnapped Santa Claus" was adapted as a musical play called Santa Claus is Missing!, written by Sylvia Ashby with songs by Scott Taylor, which was first performed in 1989. The story was also adapted as the episode "Who Stole Santa?" from the American animated series Oz Kids. The episode was released direct-to-video on October 1, 1996. The American comic book writer and illustrator Alex Robinson adapted "A Kidnapped Santa Claus" as a graphic novel that was first published in 2009.

Plot

Joyeux Noel

1910 French postcard with an image of a man dressed as Santa Claus.

Santa Claus spends all year making toys to deliver to children on Christmas Eve. He has many assistants who are drawn from the immortal Ryls, Knooks, Fairies and Pixies.[1] They all live in a castle in the Laughing Valley.

On one side of the Laughing Valley is the Forest of Burzee. On the other side are mountains which are the homes of five Daemons,[2] They each dwell in their own caves. The cave of the Daemon of Selfishness leads to the cave of the Daemon of Envy. The cave of the Daemon of Envy leads to the cave of the Daemon of Hatred. The cave of the Daemon of Hatred leads to the cave of the Daemon of Malice. Beyond the cave of the Daemon of Malice there are pitfalls which lead to death and destruction. Each of the Daemons' caves also has a tunnel which leads to the cave of the Daemon of Repentance. A door in the Cave of Repentance leads back out into the fresh air and sunshine.

The Daemons are getting lonely. Santa Claus is making children happy by bringing them toys. Children are also following Santa Claus' example and being generous. As a result, there are fewer selfish and jealous children and therefore fewer visitors to the Daemons of Selfishness and Envy. Since children need to pass through the caves of those two Daemons before entering the Caves of Hatred and Malice, the Daemons of Hatred and Malice are getting lonely too. As it is necessary to pass through the cave of at least one of the other Daemons before entering the Cave of Repentance, the Daemon of Repentance is also getting lonely. The Daemons decide to tempt Santa Claus into their caves so that he can be led to one of the pitfalls that lead to destruction.

The Daemon of Selfishness tells Santa Claus to keep the toys he makes for himself instead of giving them to "noisy boys and fretful girls" who break them. Santa Claus says that his toys make the children less noisy and fretful and that he is content to make children happy once a year. The Daemon realizes that Santa Claus is not at all selfish.

The Daemon of Envy tries to make Santa Claus feel jealous by telling him about toy shops. The Daemon says that toy shops are full of toys that are as good as the ones that Santa Claus makes. The toys in the shops are made by machine and are therefore produced faster than the ones Santa Claus makes by hand. Toy shops also sell toys for money, whereas Santa Claus gives them away for free. Santa Claus says that he can only give away presents on Christmas Eve. Therefore, he is glad that there are toy shops that can bring happiness to children throughout the rest of the year.

The Daemon of Hatred tries to make Santa Claus angry by telling him that there are many people who do not believe in him and others who think he is an old fool for trying to make children happy. Santa Claus says that he feels no anger towards those people who do him no real harm. he adds that he would like to help them if he could.

The Daemons realize that they cannot tempt Santa Claus and that they will have to take him by force. In the Laughing Valley, Santa Claus is under the protection of the Fairies, Ryls, Knooks and Pixies. Therefore, the Daemons will have to wait until Santa Claus goes out into the world on Christmas Eve.

Chrisrmas postcard 1907

Image of Santa Claus and his reindeer-driven sleigh on a 1907 Christmas card.

On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus leaves the Laughing Valley on his reindeer-driven sleigh[3] The large sleigh is full of huge sacks stuffed with toys. Four of Santa Claus' assistants are traveling with him. They are Nuter the Ryl, Peter the Knook, Kilter the Pixie and Wisk the Fairy. The four immortal assistants are sitting under a seat to keep out of the cold wind. Suddenly, a lasso falls over Santa Claus. He is pulled out of the sleigh and into a snowdrift. The reindeer continue pulling the sleigh without Santa Claus in it and soon disappear out of sight. Santa Claus soon realizes what has happened to him. The Daemons take Santa Claus to their mountain home and chain him up in a secret cave.

Since they are under a seat, it is some time before Nuter, Peter, Kilter and Wisk notice that Santa Claus is missing. They realize that he must have been taken by wicked creatures who want to make children unhappy. They agree that the first thing that they have to do is make children happy by bringing them presents. After that, they can rescue Santa Claus. The four immortals do a good job of delivering presents. They only make two mistakes. They give a drum to a girl named Mamie Brown who wanted a doll and they give a sewing kit to a boy named Charlie Smith who wanted some rubber boots. They try to deliver all the presents as quickly as possible. By the time they return home to the Laughing Valley, however, it is broad daylight.

Wisk the Fairy goes to see the Fairy Queen in the Forest of Burzee. She tells him that Santa Claus has been taken by the Daemons. Wisk then tells Nuter, Peter and kilter. The four of them come up with a plan to rescue Santa Claus.

The five Daemons take turns to guard Santa Claus. As Christmas Day dawns, he is being guarded by the Daemon of Malice. The Daemon tries to upset Santa Claus by taunting him. Santa Claus, however, does not respond to the Daemon's taunts. The Daemon of Malice gets fed up with this and gets the Daemon of Repentance to take his place.

The Daemon of Repentance sounds almost sad when he says that children will now be waking up to find that they have no presents. That will make some of them selfish, envious and hateful. Some of them will then repent and visit the Daemon of Repentance's cave. Santa Claus asks the Daemon if he ever repents himself. The Daemon says that he does and that he is now repenting having helped to capture Santa Claus. He cannot do anything about that now, however, because repentance only comes after doing an evil deed. Santa Claus comments that those who never do evil never visit the Cave of Repentance. The Daemon says that is usually true, although Santa Claus is about to visit the Cave of Repentance because the Daemon has decided to set him free. The Daemon releases Santa Claus from his ropes and chains. He leads him through a long tunnel to the Cave of Repentance. The Daemon opens the door that leads Santa Claus back out into the fresh air and sunshine.

As Santa Claus is walking back towards the Laughing Valley, he sees a vast army of Knooks, Ryls, Pixies, Gnomes, Nymphs and Fairies heading towards the mountains to rescue him. The army is led by Wisk, Peter, Nuter and Kilter. Santa Claus is delighted that so many powerful immortals have come to save him. He tells them, however, that it is useless to fight the Daemons because they cannot be destroyed and they have their place in the world.

Wisk flies around the world to see how children are enjoying their Christmas morning. He discovers the two mistakes that he and the other three immortals made. Santa Claus tells him to provide rubber boots for Charlie Smith and a doll for Mamie Brown.

The Daemons' plan has failed because nobody is feeling selfish, envious or hateful on that Christmas Day. The Daemons do not try to capture Santa Claus again because they realize that he has too many powerful friends to protect him.

See also

Footnotes

  1. According to The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, Ryls are immortals who look after flowers and other plants, Knooks are immortals who look after animals and who prevent wild beats from being too savage and Fairies are immortals who look after humans. No further information is given about Pixies in that novel.
  2. The spelling of the word, and the fact that one of the Daemons represents repentance, suggests that they are daemons or spirits such as those from Greek mythology, rather than demons from Hell.
  3. Santa Claus' sleigh and reindeer do not fly in "A Kidnapped Santa Claus". They travel overground instead.

External links

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