NATHAN AND THE CHRISTMAS FROG
Nathan looked around but he couldn't see any one. He looked
behind him. He looked in front of him. He looked on either side.
He even looked up in the tree but he didn't see anyone.
He decided that he had been hearing things and decided to
forget about it, but there it was again, "Hello, Nathan." But who
was talking to him?
"Nathan, look down here in the bush," said the voice. "I'm
There, on the lowest branch of the bush, was one of the
prettiest frogs Nathan had ever seen! It reminded Nathan of the
poison arrow frogs he had seen at the Wild Animal Park, except they
were not this beautiful. The frog's body at first seemed to be
pure white but then he noticed that there were red and green
stripes, just like a Christmas candy cane.
Nathan said, "Hello Mr. Frog. Have you been calling to me?"
"Yes I have." answered the frog. "Actually, my name is Mr.
Green. I have a bit of a problem and I hope that you can help me."
"I'd like to, if I can." Nathan thought that Green was a
strange name for a mostly white frog, but didn't think that it was
polite to ask about it. He wondered what the frog's problem was.
Perhaps since the frog was so brightly colored it couldn't catch
any bugs and was hungry. It would be fun to feed such a spectac-
ular frog. Maybe he could catch it and take it inside. "Are you
hungry?" asked Nathan.
"No, I brought all that I need from the North Pole. My
problem is that I can't get back. You see, I am one of Santa's
scouts. With so many children in the World now, he doesn't have
time to just before Christmas to see if they all have been good.
He must stay at the toy factory to get all the toys made.
"I am one of his special helpers who check up on the children.
I've been checking on the children in Southern California. By the
way, you and your sister, Natalie, are high on the list of good
children. My work here is done and I need to return but I have a
"How does a small frog like you get back? It is a very long
way and you are so small. And how did you get here in the first
place?" Nathan asked, all in a rush.
"You must remember that Santa has a lot of magic to help him.
Rudolph dropped all of the scouts at their stations a month ago but
he is too busy getting ready to come pick all of us up. We knew
that when we left the North Pole so we all bought magic shoes.
These shoes allow the wearer to cover 700 miles with each step. He
"I didn't check mine before I left. One of the elves packed
mine for me and he made a terrible mistake. My shoes are much too
big. I could sit inside one and still have room for my whole
family. If I can't put them on my feet, how can I get back to the
North Pole? Will you help me get back?"
"I'd like to," answered Nathan. "How can I help?"
"I'm sure that the shoes would fit you. You could put them on
and I would ride on your shoulder to the North Pole. I'll guide
you so you don't get lost. Will you help?"
Nathan thought for a moment. What would his parents say when
they found he wasn't the back yard? He could leave them a note but
what could he say? "Bye Mom and Dad. I've gone to the North
Pole." They wouldn't believe that. He could go ask them but they
were both taking a nap. He really wanted to help the frog,
especially since his and Natalie's names were on the good list.
"I'd like to take you to the North Pole. I'd love to see
Santa and Mrs. Claus and the elves and reindeers and the toy
factory. But my parents wouldn't know where I've gone and they
would get worried."
"Don't worry," laughed the frog. "I told you Santa has magic.
He'll get you back here before they wake up from their naps."
"OK, I'll do it! Where are the magic shoes?"
The frog opened a small package that seemed to be made of
spider webs. Nathan couldn't imagine how such a tiny package could
hold shoes that would be too big for the frog. But as the frog
pulled the shoes out of the package they seemed to grow before his
very eyes! They were the lightest things he had ever seen, almost
transparent. At first they also seemed to be made of spider webs
but maybe covered with dew, no, covered with diamonds, no, stars!
Then they seemed to be made of spun gold, as fine as his little
He took them into his hands. They seemed alive! They shim-
mered and glowed and seemed to move all by them selves. They spoke
to Nathan, "Put us on. We want to run across the world!"
Nathan did just that and a tingle passed through his whole
body. The frog jumped from his branch and landed on Nathan's
shoulder. "Let's go," he said. "Santa's waiting. Just head North
and don't worry about cars or trains or busses or airplanes. Don't
worry about anything. These magic shoes will protect us."
At the frog's urging, Nathan strode off toward Grandmother's
house, since it was North of his house. But where was it? With
that one step he was passing San Francisco, then Seattle. Suddenly
there was snow all around. The wind was blowing and he couldn't
see anything. But he wasn't cold or worried. The frog told him
the shoes were magic and they were!
The frog said little on the short, giant journey. Now he
spoke, "You had better turn a bit to the right. If you don't,
we'll wind up in Russia."
Nathan did as he was told and soon could see a bright light
through the snow. "That is the entrance to Santa's Workshop. We
are at the North Pole. I thought I would never see it again," said
the grateful frog. "Slow down and move very carefully. There, sit
down on that rock by the entrance and take off the shoes. If you
aren't careful, you could walk right through and out the other
He did as he was told and handed the shoes to the frog who
returned them to their tiny pouch. "Now, let's go find Santa."
They walked into the busy workshop. It was the largest room
Nathan had ever seen. There were elves everywhere working at every
conceivable kind of machine. These gigantic machines were spitting
out toys as fast they could. Some elves were painting, some were
sewing. Some were seated at computer terminals testing computer
games. In a far corner, Nathan saw elves riding bicycles,
tricycles, skateboards, any kind of wheeled toy. At the far, far
end of the room, almost at the limit of vision, was THE SLEIGH.
"Where are the reindeer?" asked Nathan.
"They have their own separate room in back of the sleigh.
Since it is so close to Christmas they are resting and feeding and
studying the World maps. They help Santa find his way around,"
replied the frog.
Just then they saw a giraffe straightening up after having
left a room off to the side of the main workshop. A sign above the
door said, "SANTA'S OFFICE." A much, much larger sign above
that said, "3 DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS." The number 3 was hung
on a peg so that it could be changed.
"Lofty, good to see you. How was your trip this year?" cried
"Fine as always. I've just turned my report in to the boss."
replied the giraffe. He lowered his head all the way down to
Nathan's face and looked at the frog, who was still parked on
Nathan's shoulder. "Why Mr. Green, you seem to have found yourself
"Its a long story, Lofty, I'll tell you all about it later.
Right now I have to turn in my report and see about getting my good
friend, Nathan, back to his home before his parents miss him."
As the giraffe ambled off, Mr. Green told Nathan, "Lofty has
just returned from Africa. He has quite a time, covering that
place. We had better get on into the office." And with that, he
hopped off of Nathan's shoulder and led the way through the door.
They found Santa busily at work in his cluttered office.
There were toys everywhere! There seemed to be one of every toy
Nathan had ever seen and many more that he had never seen, some
that appeared to be quite old. Mr. Green explained in a low voice,
"He keeps one of every kind of toy we have ever made. Someone may
want one again and we need to have a sample."
Santa was scowling at a computer screen. "These darn
computers. I know I didn't order 10,000 Barbie Dolls for Boys'
Town. Oh well, I can always use them in West Hollywood." When he
realized he had company he turned from the screen. "Mr. Green,
welcome back!" Then he saw Nathan and the slightest suggestion of
a frown crossed his normally smiling face. "Most irregular, most
irregular, Mr. Green. You've brought a boy with you. What is the
Mr. Green hopped up onto Santa's desk and perched on top of a
toy truck parked there. "Santa, the elves packed the wrong size
magic shoes for me. They were so large that I couldn't use them.
I'd like you to meet my good friend Nathan Wendel who was able to
wear the shoes and carry me back."
Santa stood and came around the desk. He reached out and
shook Nathan's hand. His warm and cheery face made Nathan feel
welcome as he took Santa's hand. "Welcome, Master Nathan, and
thank you for helping out my aid, Mr Green. I would have been lost
without his report. I know that you and your little sister,
Natalie, and all the other good children in Southern California
could have been disappointed."
Nathan's jaw dropped in surprise. "How did you know that I
have a little sister?" he asked.
Both Santa and Mr. Green chuckled. "Nathan," the frog
explained "I told you Santa was magic. You would be surprised at
what he knows." Then he turned to Santa. "Speaking of magic,
Santa, we need a bit of that to get Nathan home. Can you help?"
"Of course I can. But first give me your report and then you
can take Nathan to the elves' dining room and get him a snack
before he leaves. I know that he must be hungry after that long
The frog removed some papers from the same pouch that held the
magic shoes. As the tiny papers came out they seemed to grow, and
by the time they were in Santa's hand, they were normal sized! The
pages were covered with tiny writing. Santa quickly fed them into
a machine next to the computer.
"What is that?" asked Nathan.
"That is a scanner. All of our information on good children
is in our computer. It would take a long, long time to type it all
in but scanner just reads the reports for me. See, all of Mr.
Green's report is in the computer now.
"Now, I have many things to do since Christmas is only 3 days
away. Thank you Nathan for your help. I know you have been good
so I'll pick out some good things to put under your tree and in
"Mr. Green, get Nathan his snack and we will see about getting
The frog jumped from his perch on the desk to Nathan's
shoulder. "Thank you, Santa," Nathan said as he turned to go.
Santa was already back at his computer screen.
The two traveling companions left the office just as a large
polar bear was strolling down the aisle from the entrance. He and
the frog exchanged greetings as Nathan entered the elves dining
room. Just a few tables were occupied, since it wasn't meal time.
Nathan was pleased to find that the tables were just the right size
for him, since he wasn't much taller than the elves.
Mr. Green directed him to a table near the wall and as Nathan
sat he jumped from his shoulder to the table. Nathan could not see
any kitchen or source for the food. "Just close your eyes," the
frog said, "and think of what you would like. It will appear on
the table. More of Santa's Magic," he confided.
Nathan thought of a big chocolate muffin and a glass of cold
milk and then opened his eyes. There they were, sitting right in
front of him! Mr. Green was already biting the head off of a
rather large fly. As Nathan ate his muffin and drank his milk he
became drowsy. So drowsy, in fact, that he decided to rest his
head against the wall and fell completely asleep!
"Nathan, Nathan. Wake up sweetie. You fell asleep and it
time to go eat. Come on in and get ready."
Nathan rubbed his eyes. He was back in his yard in Redondo
Beach. His mother was calling to him. His trip to the North Pole
must have been just a dream. But it seemed so real. As he stood
up he felt something in his pocket. It was a little white, plastic
frog with red and green stripes! As Nathan looked at it in
amazement it seemed to wink at him.