Murdoch the Blue-haired ex-Elf:

Books by their covers

"Hi, kids, adults, whoever might be reading this. My name's Murdoch. I'm on the outside looking in. On the outside of this," he said, standing up, reaching into the pack he wore on his back, pulling out a broom. He dusted off the snow on the side of the building, revealing the words: SANTA'S WORKSHOP.

Murdoch the Blue-haired ex-Elf image

"I was fired from my job as one of Santa's elves. Oh, you want to know why I was fired? It's because of this," he said, pulling out of his pack a little blue wagon, the kind that are always painted red and called little red wagons.

Murdoch the Blue-haired ex-Elf image

"I'm afraid Santa doesn't much like little blue wagons. He thinks they all have to be red. I just had to paint one blue. Here's why," he said. He removed his green elf cap and revealed his head of amazing blue hair. All the birds in the trees--and there were many of them--stopped their bird-doings long enough to whistle at the boy with the head of amazing blue hair, for it was very beautiful and unusual.

"I just thought kids would like blue as much as birds do. You see, every time I take off my elf's cap, those birds whistle. Anyway, that's why I got fired--for trying to be different. Now, here it is, November 24, exactly a month before the big night, and here I sit, on the outside looking in.

"My big mistake was thinking that Santa and all the elves couldn't get all the work done without me. Boy, was I wrong. They're right on schedule.

"So now I'm working on two plans. The first one is--see that forest over there?" he said, pointing to a great, green forest of Christmas trees.

Murdoch the Blue-haired ex-Elf image

"I'm going to cut down ten of those trees and use them to make toys for children, all kinds of toys; and when Santa sees those toys, I hope he finds it in his heart to hire me back on. Anyway, if you will excuse me now, I have to get to work."

He took from the pack on his back an ax, and he marched toward the woods.

Later that day Santa came out of his workshop. He was tired and needed a rest. He went over to the woods and found Murdoch working there.

Murdoch the Blue-haired ex-Elf image

"What have you done to my trees!" cried Santa, when he saw that Murdoch had cut down ten of them. Santa was so angry, he wouldn't even listen to Murdoch when Murdoch tried to explain that he was planting two new saplings for each of the ten trees he cut down, the twenty saplings he had inside the pack on his back.

Santa stormed away in a huff. Murdoch sat down where he was, right in the middle of the forest. He said, "Anyway, like I told you, I had two plans. Here's the second one."

He took an umbrella out of the pack on his back. "Watch this," he said.

He marched over to Santa's workshop, scrambled up onto the icy, slippery roof, and put the umbrella over the chimney. He then climbed back down and went back into the woods, where he continued to carve his wooden toys.

Before long, Santa and all of his elves came running out of the workshop. They were coughing and wheezing because the smoke could no longer go out the chimney, and it filled the workshop, making it impossible for them to get any work done.

Finally one of the elves saw the trouble and went up onto the roof and removed the umbrella from the chimney. But since Murdoch had a seemingly endless supply of umbrellas inside the pack on his back, this went on for days, weeks, until finally Christmas Eve morning rolled around, and Santa didn't have nearly all the toys he needed for all the good children in the world.

Santa was sad and went for a walk in his woods. He found twenty saplings in place of the ten trees Murdoch had cut down, and they had grown tall in that month's time. Then he found Murdoch asleep, leaning against a mountain of wooden toys.

Murdoch the Blue-haired ex-Elf image

"Christmas is saved!" cried Santa, waking Murdoch from his slumber. Santa begged and pleaded with Murdoch for him to let him have the toys and come back to work for him. He told Murdoch he simply must do it for all the good children in the world.

Murdoch said he would do that under one condition.

"Anything," said Santa.

Murdoch pulled from the pack on his back the little blue wagon that matched his hair. Every bird in that forest whistled. Murdoch told Santa he could have the toys as long as he agreed to take along the little blue wagon and give it to some child who had been especially good that year.

"Of course, my boy!" said Santa. "I know just the child!"

Murdoch was once again made one of Santa's helpers, and that little blue wagon went to a very deserving child indeed. Because Murdoch could only make a few of them each year, his little blue wagons became one of the most popular gifts for a deserving child to receive on Christmas morning. Now any child who gets one of Murdoch's little blue wagons may rest assured he has been especially good that year.
"The Son of Santa Claus"
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