The Little Reindeer

Getting to pull Santa’s sleigh is a great honor for a reindeer. Every year, the Holhooja elves hold a series of events to choose the lucky reindeer who will be part of Santa’s team. The animals have to be fast and they must not be afraid of hard work. Some are so talented that they end up being selected many years in a row.

This was the case of Laust, a young reindeer who had been selected for the third time to be part of Santa’s Christmas Eve crew. Even though Laust was smaller than many other reindeer, he had a special talent: his sensitive nose was able to perceive weather changes and predict storms. This skill allowed Santa to adjust the course of his flight around the world without ever falling behind on his gift delivery. Laust was proud of his original talent and he took his responsibilities very seriously!

On the morning of December 24th, Laust had a bad surprise: he woke up with a nasty cold. Achoo! Achoo! He could not stop sneezing and his eyes kept watering. Poor little Laust was in great distress. How could he possibly predict the weather with such a stuffy nose?

Since he didn’t want to lose his spot on Santa’s sleigh team, Laust went to see Malta, a reindeer who lived in his barn, and asked her advice. Malta was nicknamed “the ballerina” because her shoes were so delicate that it always looked as if she was doing pointes. She may have looked fragile, but she was strong and healthy.

“Poor Laust,” she told the little reindeer with a cold. “I’m never sick, so I don’t really know how to advise you. Maybe you could find a way to sweat as much as possible in order to flush the virus out of your body?”

Laust decided to try Malta’s suggestion. He covered his back with three thick blankets and got as close as he could to the fireplace where an intense fire was burning. Soon the little reindeer began to get very hot and big drops of sweat got his fur wet. Achoo! Achoo! Laust was not feeling any better and he began to sneeze again. Malta’s suggestion didn’t work.

Worried, Laust decided to talk to his friend Kaino, a young reindeer who had also been selected to pull Santa’s sleigh.

“I’m so disappointed that you have a cold,” Kaino said. “I was really looking forward to flying around the world with you.”

“You have to help me find a solution,” said Laust. “I really want to help Santa deliver the gifts tonight.”

“What if you tried rinsing your snout with salt water?” suggested Kaino. “Maybe that would unclog your nasal passages.”

Laust tried what his friend had suggested. He heated water and salt in a teapot with a long spout. He inserted the spout in one nostril, poured in some water then inserted it into the other nostril and poured in more. Achoo! Achoo! The poor little Laust started to sneeze even louder. Kaino’s suggestion didn’t work.

Desperate, Laust went to meet the famous Poro. He was a very wise old elf of the Holhooja clan, the elves in charge of the reindeer’s well-being. Poro had been retired for many years and he spent his days sitting in his hammock, thinking.

“Dear master Poro, I am really sorry to bother you, but I have a serious problem.”

“What problem could you have that would worry you so much, young reindeer?” asked Poro.

“I have been selected on the sleigh team for three years in a row because my sensitive nose allows me to predict temperature changes. But I caught a nasty cold and now I can’t smell anything!”

“But the gift delivery is taking place tonight,” said Poro the elf.

“I know,” replied Laust. “That’s why I need to get better right away.”

“Some things cannot be hurried”, said Poro. “Rest and time are the appropriate cure for a cold.”

“Isn’t there some kind of miracle cure?” Laust asked with tears in his eyes.

His desperation touched the heart of the old elf. Poro stepped out of his hammock and put his hand on the animal’s head.

“You don’t have a fever. That’s already something! I think I may have a solution for you … Ask a Holhooja elf to prepare a triple ration of magic lichen for you. If you manage to eat everything and drink lots of water, you may feel better faster.”

With his heart full of hope, Laust went to see one of the Holhooja elves who was preparing the reindeer’s meals. He managed to convince the elf to give him a triple ration of magic lichen, the special potion that allows reindeer to fly. He then drank the contents of four buckets of water. At first Laust felt a little dizzy, but the magic quickly began to take effect. Laust was finally able to breathe through his nose! He was thrilled!

The little reindeer arrived just in time in the barn where Santa was getting his sleigh ready for the night.

“You’re finally here!” said Santa. “I was getting worried.”

“Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!”

Oh no! Laust may have been feeling full of energy, but the large amount of magic lichen he had eaten had a side effect: he could not stop sneezing!

“Is everything okay, Laust?” Santa asked anxiously.

Achoo! I’m fine, Santa. I’m just sneezing a little. Achoo!

“Are you in good enough shape to come with me tonight?” asked Santa.

“Absolutely!” Laust replied with enthusiasm. “I may be sneezing but my nose still works. Achoo!

“Come join us then,” said Santa. “It’s time to leave for the great gift delivery!”

Despite his sneezing, Laust managed to predict weather changes and Santa was able to deliver the gifts on time to all the children who were on his good list. To this day, the little reindeer with the sensitive nose continues to be part of Santa’s annual crew. Some people who like to observe the sky on Christmas Eve say that if you really pay attention, you can sometimes hear distant sneezing coming from the great starry sky.