"Hello, Nathan."


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

very small."


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

big problem."


"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

literally flies!


"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

sister's hair.


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

the frog.


"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

a human."


"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

your stocking.


"Mr. Green, get Nathan his snack and we will see about getting

him home."


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.