Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Invisible Gifts

Time to sign off for Christmas. Back to posting on Boxing Day or so.

My friend Ed let me know the other day that next year he will be visiting the UK and maybe Italy and the Baltics; Mali, Ghana, Namibia and maybe Zambia; possibly Tunisia; Mongolia and maybe South Korea. That's just what he knows about at this point. Other places will likely be squeezed in.

That's what I call an itinerary. I'm expecting postcards. Some years ago, in a letter of his, Ed included a short short story by Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman and many other things I haven't read. I never forgot the story, though it was some time later that I learned that Gaiman had written it. Maybe I should read more by him. So without further ado, as a sign off for Christmas in this year of our Lord 2007, "Nicholas Was."

Nicholas Was…

Older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter.

He wanted to die.

The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their own, twittering tongue; conducted incomprehensible rituals when they were not actually working in the factories.

Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen in time.

He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.

Ho. Ho. Ho.


At 1:01 PM, Anonymous e said...

Gaiman is utterly brilliant, a mythologizer who really can't be matched. His novels go a little wobbly, but his short stories are astounding, and I'd say his "Murder Mystery" is the best story I've ever read, period.

You're probably breaking about a dozen copyright rules with this, though.

I am, by the way, thinking about skipping the Baltics. Surely enough is enough for the first quarter of the year.


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