Jimmy and Jenny were very excited. It was Christmas Eve and they were busy hanging their stockings at the end of their beds.
“You must go to sleep quickly,” said mother, “because Santa Claus won’t come until you are fast asleep.”
So Jenny and Jimmy jumped into bed and shut their eyes. It wasn’t before long that they were both fast asleep and dreaming. Then even the grown-ups went to sleep. The lights were turned out and the house was dark. Everything was quiet.
Towards midnight Jenny woke up suddenly. She sat up in bed, wondering what had awakened her. Jimmy was fast asleep. She listened. Had she been dreaming? She got up and switched on the light. She looked at the end of the bed where she and Jimmy had hung their stockings. To her great disappointment they were quite empty. “Oh! I do hope we don’t find them empty in the morning too.”
Just as she was turning out the light, she heard a noise. She strained her ears. She heard it again. It was a funny noise, a sort of scraping and kicking noise and then she heard a deep groan.
She quickly went over to Jimmy and woke him up. By now the noise had grown. Jimmy sat up and asked her what the noise was all about.
“Jimmy,” said Jenny, “I can’t help thinking the noise is coming from downstairs. Why don’t we go and check? Come on.”
So the two of them quietly slipped down the stairs. They went into the dining room. The noise was coming from the fireplace where a small fire was still burning.
“Look!” said Jenny, pointing to the fireplace. “There’s a boot hanging down the chimney!”
Sure enough there was a big black boot there and it was on a leg and the leg was kicking about. As they watched another boot came down the chimney.
“It is Santa Claus!” cried Jimmy. “He always wears big black boots in his pictures. O God! He is coming down the wrong chimney. He will burn himself on the fire!”
Jenny ran to the kitchen and came back with a jug full of water that she poured on the fire. The fire sizzled out and rose up in a cloud of thick black smoke.
“Is anybody there?” screamed a voice from the chimney.
" It’s only Jenny and Jimmy,” said Jimmy. “We know it’s you Santa but you have come down the wrong chimney. We have just put out the fire so that you don’t get burnt that is why there is so much of smoke.”
“Oh dear!” said Santa. “You see I have a map showing the chimneys of every house and the ones leading to the children’s bedrooms are marked with little red stars. Tonight the wind blew my map away so I had to guess. And I have guessed wrong! Now I am stuck here.”
“We could give you a pull,” said Jimmy. Then they each took hold of a black-booted leg and pulled hard. Santa Claus came crashing down, a big burly man in red with snow-white beard and a twinkling smile.
“It’s very kind of you children to help me,” said Santa with a smile. “Do you mind if I stay here for a little while till the reindeer I sent to look for the map comes back? I don’t want to make any more mistakes and land on hot coals tonight.”
“Oh, Santa Claus, you are most welcome,” chorused Jenny and Jimmy.
Jenny then went to the kitchen and got some cookies and a hot chocolate shake for Santa.
Jenny and Jimmy were so happy. It was the greatest adventure in the whole world to be sitting and chatting with Santa, hearing him talk and laugh and seeing him sip the delicious hot chocolate shake.
Suddenly there was a soft knocking at the window. Santa went to the window and opened it softly. A big furry head came in. It was the reindeer with the map held in its mouth.
“Thanks, reindeer,” said Santa and he rubbed its velvety nose. “Have you got a bit of sugar for the dear fellow, children?”
Jenny and Jimmy quickly got a handful of sugar and then together they fed the reindeer. When they had finished feeding it, Santa closed the window.
“Well, my dears,” he said, “I must be off now I am already quite late because of loosing this map. I have enjoyed so much with you and thank you so much for the cookies and the shake and the sugar. Now do you mind letting me out of the front door? I wouldn’t like to try that chimney again, you know.”
The children led him to the front door. He gave them each a hug and disappeared into the night. They could only hear the tinkling of the bells of his sledge in the darkness. Jenny and Jimmy shut the door and went up to their room.
“I don’t think we will have any presents Jenny. Santa won’t come here a second time now,” said Jimmy. “Well, I don’t mind at all,” said Jenny. “We’ve seen him, spoken to him, fed his reindeer and he even gave us a hug! I don’t care if he never fills my stockings again!” “You are right,” said Jimmy.
They were so excited that they continued talking and it was a long time before they finally fell asleep. But a big surprise awaited them in the morning!
When they sat up in bed they couldn’t believe their eyes. “Oh he did come back again!” squealed Jenny in delight.
Their stockings were fuller than ever before and there were gifts on the bed and on the floor too!
Daddy and Mummy were really surprised when they came into the room. “It was a good thing that you were fast asleep when Santa Claus came,” said Mummy. “He doesn’t like children to see him, you know.”
She couldn’t think why Jenny and Jimmy winked at each other and smiled. But we know why, don’t we?
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Excerpts from 'Everything has a History'