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I was a bachelor, not by choice.
Who's going to give my gift this year, since I'm too old to do it?"
A flash of light from behind startled the couple, and they heard a voice say, "Perhaps they are one and the same."
Turning his head, holding his cane at the ready to discharge its potent magical powers, Nicholas saw Marta also stood ready with her enchanted cane. Their eyes both fell upon the speaker at the same time. He had long white hair, and a full beard of the same color. The man was rotund, but not grossly fat, dressed in red robes trimmed with white fur, and they could both see the power of the magic within him.
Nicholas asked, "Who are you, and what do you want?"
"Don't you recognize me, Nicholas? I would think that at this time of year, anyone would know me," the wizard replied.
"I know who you're dressed up as. I asked who you were," Nicholas warned.
The newcomer let out a great, booming laugh full of mirth before replying, "I am who I appear to be. I am Grandfather Yule, although my real name is Kristopher. It is I who gives presents to the poor children, and perhaps I can help you give your gift this year as well."
"You're just a myth, a tale parents have told even when we were young," Marta scoffed.
"Is that so, Marta? Did you enjoy your red-haired dolly when you were three? It was what you wanted, wasn't it?"
Nicholas' eyes narrowed. "Reading our minds now?"
Kristopher grinned and countered, "You have more than enough skill in magic to know that I cast no spell. I know that because I was there, and I know you found a sled waiting for you on Yule morning on your seventh birthday, Nicholas, despite overhearing your parents lamenting their inability to give you a proper gift that year."
"I believe you," Nicholas said softly, letting his cane fall to his side. Marta hesitated for a moment before lowering her magical weapon, but she too found that she believed the man. Nicholas' eyes lit up and he said, "You could bring the snow for the children?"
"I could, but I think it would be better if I helped you to give your gift, as you have done every year."
"I don't see how, I can't hold the power any more. Just bring the snow for them," Nicholas pleaded.
"Why don't you come with me, and meet my wife? You might just find out that you have the strength to give your gift, and many others, for years and years to come." Kristopher held out his hand toward the couple.
Marta asked her husband, "What do you think?"
"Let's go with him. I believe him, and I'll do about anything to make sure those children have their snow this year," Nicholas responded.
"Alright then," Marta said, gesturing with her cane to cause the disk Nicholas sat on to drift along beside her.
"Just take my hands, I'm sure you know how the spell works," Kristopher instructed.
They each clasped one of his hands, and the wizard spoke a few words of magic. They appeared in a flash of light next to a cheery little cottage surrounded a perfect landscape of white.
The door of the cottage opened, and Tanta waved to her husband impatiently, "Come along now, get them in from the cold, Kris."
Kristopher chuckled and replied, "Yes, Dear." He then turned to the couple, who were gazing around in wonder, and said, "Please, come in. Tanta has made some tea. Once you've warmed your bones and recovered from your spell casting, I'll explain everything."
"So you've been doing this for two hundred years, then," Marta said.
Kristopher nodded, "We took on the tradition from a man named Erastide and his wife. He came to me just as I've come to you. We know those who have the heart to wear these robes and assume this mantle, it's part of the powers that come from the spirit of Yule."
Nicholas asked, "Why give it up?"
Tanta answered, "The spirit likes to have new people and fresh ideas. Everyone is different, and each new couple brings something special to the season when they take up the tradition. There's also the reward." She glanced at her husband and smiled mischievously when she said the last.
Kristopher laughed - the booming, Ho, Ho, Ho