My mother never liked the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer song.
This is the story as she likes to tell it:
Santa was really angry as he looked out the window of the workshop. His team of reindeer were at it again. “I don’t know how many times I’ve told Dancer and Prancer and the others to lay off! But they don’t pay attention to me. Me! I know when they’re being naughty and nice, but they just act like they can get away with this behind my back. Well, I’ll have to put a stop to this once and for all!”
He goes and consults his weather map. “Hmm, there’s a little fog over Newfoundland. That’s what I need.” He goes outside, finds Rudolph and gives him a few pats on the head. “Rudolph, I need your help. Your nose will really come in handy getting through some of the fog I’m going to encounter. I want you to lead my team tonight.”
The other reindeer were astounded, Dancer and Prancer most of all. “We always lead the team”, they objected. “When have we ever taken a wrong turn?” Santa looked at them sternly. “Not tonight”, he said, “not tonight!”Dancer and Prancer snorted and trotted to the other side of the corral. They felt insulted.
And so it happened, Rudolph led the team that night and every other Christmas Eve since.
Of course, the other reindeer came around.
After all, Rudolph was now famous and everybody sucks up to celebrities. “Oh, Rudolph,” they exclaimed, “you are so wonderful! You are so special! We love you!” Rudolph knew why they had changed. He wanted to flip them the bird, but he was really a nice reindeer at heart and, besides, he was enjoying the celebrity treatment.
But Santa wasn’t finished. Early in the morning, when the team got home, the reindeer ran anxiously to their stockings to see what special presents Santa had given them. One by one, they emptied their stockings, only to find a lump of coal in all the stockings but Rudolph’s, who got a special reindeer yummy treat.
Then Santa spoke. “Remember this night, reindeer, and remember this lesson. I told you to stop being bullies, but you didn’t pay me any attention. Unless you want coal in your stockings every year from now on, you’ll really change your attitude. You don’t bully Rudolph because he’s different, and you don’t suck up to him just because he’s famous! Get over it! He’s your team-mate and you treat him like one of the team. And don’t think I’m not watching!”
With that, Santa joined Mrs. Santa, Rudolph and the elves for a Christmas dinner and the rest of the reindeer walked sadly back to the barn.
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