Season's Readings

      "Gig's up, Claus," said the tall, bony figure as he strode into the lavish office. "Read this."

     The immense man picked the newspaper up where it had been tossed on his ice-block desk, adjusted his tiny glasses, and swore mildly when he noted the headline: OLD SAINT NICKED; HOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE! His chubby cheeks reddened slowly to the colour of his hat as he read the article.

(Eindhoven, Netherlands, December 15) - Eleven countries have petitioned the World Court to arrest and arraign Santa Claus in the wake of shocking discoveries by international scientists and archaeologists working in the sloping hills of south-east Holland. Professor Jay le de Nonce of the University of Paris announced late yesterday that his team had uncovered "irrefutable evidence of a thriving community of small humanoids", who lived peacefully for centuries in tiny villages close to present-day Germany.

"We have found elfin bones that date back hundreds of years, and well-preserved footprints from very tiny, pointed, tasseled shoes," says the professor. "But all signs of this tribe suddenly disappear in the middle of the eighteenth century."

Danish archeologist Hanvar Skurk, meanwhile, believes he has found evidence that the elves' sudden disappearance is linked to the mysterious Flemish scientist Sint Klaas.

"He was an aristocrat, remember, and a ship's captain as well," explains Skurk. "Local legend tells us he spent countless years working on a youth serum, and in the ruins of his castle we uncovered the remains of thousands of reindeer - and dozens and dozens of tiny people - in underground cells. It was really quite horrific."

Russian historian Ivana Geddim points out that naval documents indicate that Sint Klaas commissioned a large ship to be built in 1777, which was christened The Flying Dutchman and launched in April of the following year.

More evidence of elfocide and mass enslavement comes from forensic wordsmith Olius Brightwell, who notes that Santa Claus' traditional "Ho, Ho, Ho" means "Work, Work, Work" in a long-dead Bavarian language.

World reaction to the growing scandal has been swift.

"I've had my doubts about him since I was sixteen or seventeen years old," announced American president Bush.

The G8 leaders, meanwhile, have called an emergency summit for tomorrow.    

 

    "What now, Sandy?" he said, sounding all of his three hundred years. "Do we flee?"

     "And where exactly can you and a flying sleigh pass unnoticed?" sneered the thin man.

     "Maybe it'll pass," mewed Claus.

     "No, Sint; this is much, much bigger than that mommy kissing you," snapped Sandy.

The End

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