‘Phew! That’s a relief’ sighed Bruce, as teetering on top of a pile of logs; he attached the star to the top of the lodge’s Christmas tree. ‘Don’t forget you’re taking the kits to the Stramash do in Oban this afternoon Bruce’ shouted Sheila from the kitchen. ‘How could I?’ said Bruce, ‘they’ve talked of nothing else all week!’
So, sporting a rather natty tinsel scarf and with the three kits in tow Bruce hopped on the Citylynx bus to Oban. The bus was packed, Harry Otter, Balfour Badger, Sandra Stoat, Wilma Wildcat, Ronald Roe Deer and many others were on board along with a bundle of kittens, pups, fawns, whelps, kits and even a sea eagle eaglet. ‘I can see little Samuel but where’s his mum?’ ‘Oh she’s on the roof Bruce’ said Harry, ‘there’s a two metre wingspan limit on this bus’. ‘I’m sure she’d have stayed furled if the bus driver had asked nicely’ thought Bruce.
Arriving just outside Oban, Bruce and his friends narrowly avoided being flattened as the herd of youngsters stampeded off the bus and up to the outdoor nursery.
Within minutes it seemed they were all making wooden snowmen, toasting marshmallows, weaving Christmas garlands or eating too many cupcakes whilst others climbed trees, dug holes or flew off for a bit of fishing. ‘Good turnout’ thought Bruce, ‘and lots of human kits as well’.
Whilst surreptitiously trying out the tyre walk (and wondering whether he might look silly if he got stuck in it) Bruce became aware of a commotion up at the yurt. The highlight of the event was to be the arrival of Father Christmas and he was late. Looking at a sea of expectant small faces Bruce was aware that tears would not be far behind this news. He quickly found Stella the sea eagle; ‘can you take a look and see if you can see him Stella?’ he asked. Stella was soon a speck in the distance as she headed north. In the meantime Harry hurried down to the seashore to see if any of the local seals or porpoises had heard of any unexpected landings on water.
Within minutes both were back. ‘He’s on the beach just north of here’ said Stella. ‘Hare-Seal rescue’s in attendance’ said Harry ‘but there’s been a catastrophic magic leak from the onside sledge runner’. As we all know Father Christmas’s sleigh is very, very heavy and the reindeer need a bit of magical help to keep it in the air. The sleigh’s runners were made of aspen, common in Lapland and famed for its magical flying properties.
Bruce had an idea. Beavers are very fond of aspen, but it is very rare in Argyll. However Bruce knew there was one close by. Hoping that the owner wouldn’t be too angry (the aspen was in a nearby garden), it was the work of a moment to gnaw through a length of the tree. Stella quickly delivered it to Father Christmas before returning with a bunch of woodworking elves from a nearby elf-storage centre.
The busy little elves soon had the new runner fitted and as the sleigh raced away from the beach Bruce and Harry could hear the cheers of the children as it swept around the hillside to a chorus of Ho! Ho! Hos.
On the bus back home whilst the kits, pups, kittens, whelps, fawns and Samuel the eaglet slept soundly clutching their presents all the grown-ups joined in singing their favourite carols that included: The first vole, Do you hare what I hare, Away with a ranger, See amid the winter’s crow and many more.
Bruce, Harry and Stella (the others wouldn’t hear of her being left outside) took a well-earned rest and looked forward to opening the extra special looking presents from a grateful Father Christmas (Bruce could smell the aspen, the others were rather fish-shaped). ‘That was nice of him’ said Bruce. ‘Just goes to show’ said Harry and as we say ’Do unto otters…