A slain elf, an abused deer, a long-dead saint, an obese Dutchman with a history of breaking and entering into chimneys around the globe, and an unregistered multibillion-dollar industry that exists somewhere beyond the confines of the Westphalian order.
From what sounds like the premise for a modern Hollywood butchery of a Dickensian holiday classic comes the true story of Christmas that neither the Pope in Rome nor the commercialists on Wall Street want you to read.
A Feathertale investigation has found that the spirit commonly referred to as Santa Claus has, for decades, been enslaving elves, avoiding taxes, genetically altering reindeer, stealing cookies from impoverished families, and promoting with impunity the consumption of teeth-rotting cola beverages to children, thanks to the grace of God and the goodwill of corporate America.
Now, revelations have emerged that, if true, risk further damning Christmas in the eyes of a society growing more ecumenically challenged by the day.
Feathertale has obtained testimony from inside the impenetrable Arctic fortress that is Mr. Claus’s workshop.
A three-foot-four source, who spoke by phone from the North Pole on the condition of anonymity, says the man known as Mr. Claus is preparing once more to break into every house in Christendom shortly after midnight on December 25.
“I has to be quiets,” said our source, whispering into the receiver amid a background cacophony of hammers pounding, whips cracking and a fat man wheezing.
“I tells yous, he’s planning to land on them roofs again and bust down them chimneys, steal them cookies and drop toys, built with the bloods of a thousand elves, under them poor people’s trees.
“There’s no stopping him. He’s working us to the deaths. Every year he says he needs more toys, but he don’t even feed us. We work for days without rice or sleeps. This time of year always is the worst, it is. I’m on the Nintendo line for this Christmas. There used to be twelve of us. But last week, three elves on my line, they just keels over and falls asleep on the job. They was so tired. But Mrs. Claus, she just comes on by and sweeps, sweeps their bodies out the factory and into the colds. We never saws them again.
“The rest of us, we be scared that if we falls over, we too be swepts out into the colds.”
Asked whether there might be orphaned children working among the elves inside the workshop, our source again spoke in a whisper.
“We are alls childrens. He just stretches out our ears to avoid condemnation from human rights advo . . .”
His testimony was cut short by the sound of screaming followed by aclick and then beeping.
Feathertale has not since been able to reconnect with anyone inside Mr. Claus’s workshop.
Leading human rights advocates say they are unaware of reports that children may be among the estimated twelve hundred “elven” labourers said to be working at the North Pole.
“I don’t understand why you’re asking me these questions,” said Dorothy McAndrew, spokeswoman for a leading Geneva-based rights group.
“You do know Santa Claus is just an idea, right? Like, there is no actual shop, no elves and no reindeer. You know that, right?”
IN AN ASSUREDLY CONNECTED turn of events, Feathertale has obtained documents from Canada’s Ministry of Northern Affairs that tell of an alarming increase in the number of raging reindeer roaming the tundra of northern Nunavut.
Officially, the Canadian government won’t comment on the trend. However, email correspondence between the ministry in Ottawa and field operatives stationed on Ellesmere Island show that Ottawa is aware of the situation.
In one email dated October 16, 2009, a northern operative named Jack Dower wrote:
Lanny and I were out on the ice floes documenting gaseous anomalies from the Russian side of the North Pole when, from out of nowhere, we spotted a herd of what we believed to be angry reindeer. It wasn’t long after we spotted them that they caught Lanny’s scent. Nine of them charged at us. The one in the front seemed to have a bloody nose. He was definitely leading the pack. His eyes were bloodshot as well. He screamed a scream I’d never heard from a caribou in my life. I was frozen. Lanny grabbed the shotgun from inside our tent and pointed it at the lead reindeer’s head. He pulled the trigger, but the reindeer . . . it dodged the shot! Leapt into the sky and flew toward Russian territory. The other reindeer scattered as well, but Lanny, he’s a good shot, he cracked one in the side of the head. It fell to the ice with a thump. We approached it with caution on snowshoes. We were horrified to see that its blood . . . its blood was greenish-blue. Like radioactive periwinkle.
Awaiting your reply.
— Jack Dower, Northern Affairs
Feathertale has since confirmed with professional veterinarians in both London, England, and Flin Flon, Manitoba, that reindeer do not normally have greenish-blue blood.
“Someone must be tampering with their genome sequence,” said Dr. Henry Smith, a professor of mammalian biology based in Flin Flon.
“There’s no other plausible explanation.”
PRIESTS AND SCIENTISTS have long struggled to agree on the actual location of Mr. Claus’s workshop.
The Finns are adamant that Mr. Claus is a Finnish resident who lives not at the North Pole but in an amusement park in the north of their country. This assertion has been challenged by unorthodox Christians who, educated by a century’s worth of children’s literature, insist Mr. Claus is a permanent resident of the North Pole.
However, it has never been explicitly explained whether the North Pole being referenced is in fact the magnetic pole or the one that appears at the top of your average map.
If the latter is the case, then Mr. Claus’s base of operations would be located on a shifting ice floe, placing him in international waters.
If, however, Mr. Claus’s operations are located at the magnetic pole, then he should be subject to Canadian laws because, as the Geological Survey of Canada determined in 2001, the magnetic pole is located somewhere in the vicinity of Ellesmere Island.
Although it cannot be confirmed at this time, Mr. Claus’s presence in the area may explain the existence of the seemingly genetically altered reindeer reported in the correspondence from Mr. Dower, himself one of only two humans temporarily stationed on Ellesmere Island.
The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has informed Feathertale that it has not received any income-tax declarations from anyone on Ellesmere Island. Ever.
That fact can mean one of only three things: 1) Mr. Claus’s operations are not based on Ellesmere Island; 2) Mr. Claus’s operations do not make any money; 3) Mr. Claus is operating a multibillion-dollar operation from which he makes zero contribution to society at large.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police would not confirm whether they are investigating any allegations of income-tax evasion in relation to Mr. Claus’s possible operations in the Canadian Arctic.
However, an RCMP officer who picked up the phone at the Mounties’ headquarters — who refused to give his name — indicated the police don’t seem to care whether Mr. Claus’s operations are in violation of Canadian tax law, saying simply, “Do you have any idea how cold it is up there? There’s no way we’re going to police that region.”
REPEATED ATTEMPTS by Feathertale to reach Mr. Claus for an interview were not successful.
Willem van Hinkelfruzen, professor of Christian history at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, says Mr. Claus is able to elude the press, the public and the law by operating under numerous aliases and rumoured addresses.
“In ze Nezerlands, we call hem Sinterklaas, ja?” explained van Hinkelfruzen.
“He come down ze chimney on December ze five, to give out cho-co-late letters to our jongens and ouders. Ja? Das goood. So goood. Cho-co-late. Yum, yum. Ja?
“But you know, eet is not really heem who come down ze chimney. He died seven hundred jaars ago. Ja? Ja?”
According to van Hinkelfruzen, Dutch tradition records that the obese and bearded Mr. Claus is either the spirit, embodiment or even reincarnation of Saint Nicholas of Myra, an early Catholic bishop who died some seventeen hundred years ago in what is now part of Turkey.
According to relics recently unearthed by a team of untrained Feathertale archeologists, Saint Nicholas had a reputation for putting coins made out of small rocks in poor people’s shoes.
Those same relics also indicate that Saint Nicholas used to put purses of money in the stockings of young virgins when they became of age for sexual intercourse.
“That sort of thing could really get you into trouble these days,” said Sergeant Luke Simon, head of Interpol’s sexual crimes division.
But Father John Parley of the Archdiocese of Iqaluit disagrees.
“Please, you mustn’t look at this with modern eyes,” he said. “There was nothing immoral or sinful about Saint Nicholas’s reported penchant for paying virgins for charity.”
Whatever Saint Nicholas’s motives, the connection between the modern-day Mr. Claus and the deceased saint remain unclear.
According to official records housed inside Saint Peter’s Basilica, Saint Nicholas has been dead since December 6, AD 347.
Feathertale recently visited and measured Saint Nicholas’s tomb in Bari, Italy, and found the saint was no more than five feet tall, a revelation that adds further credence to long-disregarded allegations that he may have been some sort of elf or dwarf.
“There are two things you have to remember before you start hinting that Saint Nicholas may be some sort of elven king,” warned Antonio Bascarsija, a Bosnian theologian and author of Nicholas’s Stockings.
“First, people used to be smaller in years past. People whom today might be considered dwarves or something else would have been considered humans in the past. Also, this notion that Nicholas died is based on information recorded by the Eastern Empire at a time when people used to spread the blood of squids on scrolls and call it an official document.
“Don’t forget, many biblical characters lived for thousands of years. It’s silly to just assume that Saint Nicholas couldn’t still be alive and well at eighteen hundred years of age.”
VATICAN OFFICIALS refused repeated requests for a face-to-face interview with the Pope to explain the alleged reincarnation or immortality of Saint Nicholas.
Instead, the Vatican released this statement: “The Catholic Church remains committed to the idea of Christmas as the birth date of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church is not responsible for actions of any of its member saints, dead or alive. Rome would also like to point out that recent accusations of inappropriate behaviour by a Catholic bishop during what has been recorded in history as the ‘pickling tub incident’ are little more than false and salacious rumours that should be crushed like the heathens and heretics who opposed the Church’s doctrines of yesteryear.”
According to documents obtained by Feathertale from the Turkish museum of antiquity in Istanbul, Saint Nicholas was once credited with resuscitating — through prayers — three young boys who had been lured to a local butcher shop in the Turkish town of Myra by a known pedophiliac butcher of Greek descent. Slaughtered, baked into meat pies and left to cool in a pickling tub, the three boys were already dead when Saint Nicholas went to the butcher shop, confronted their murderer, closed his eyes and began to pray until, in what the Catholic Church called “divine intervention,” the three boys were brought back to life.
The incident was recorded twelve hundred years later by a Dutch woodcarver who etched in oak an image of Saint Nicholas, seated with eyes closed and staff in hand, as three extremely naked children climb out of a pickling tub and reach for his staff.
Asked about the obvious sexual connotations evoked by the carving, the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (where the carving now sits on display) said only: “You guys are fucking sick, and I don’t want anything to do with your story. Now please put your pants on and get out of my office.”
WHATEVER HIS IDENTITY, Mr. Claus’s history of mass invasions of sovereign airspace have resulted in the issuing of arrest warrants from New York to Baghdad, Kolkata to Johannesburg.
“We have long requested that Mr. Claus appear before a committee at the United Nations to face accusations that he has broken into nearly 7.8 billion households over the course of human history,” said Maggie Jones, secretary to the secretary general of the United Nations.
Military officials with the Colorado-based North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) say they plan to bring Mr. Claus to justice this Christmas, whether he likes it or not.
“We’ve got forty-eight hundred birds ready to take to the sky,” said NORAD Sub-Commander Terrence Pol.
“That fat bastard is living on borrowed time. If he so much as blips onto our radar screens, we’ll shoot his ass and his sleigh out of the sky.”