Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is to use these words in a story or poem: star, pine bough, glass bulb, mistletoe. This week’s tale comes from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers kidlit mystery series and the YA reboot The Scarred Letter.
The Elf Who Taught Kindergarten
By Val Muller
We’ve all heard the story of the elf who wants to be a dentist, and surely there’s nothing worse than being stuck in the wrong profession. But have you heard the tale of the elf who was stuck teaching kindergarten? You haven’t? Well then pull up a mug of hot chocolate—extra marshmallows and candy cane stirrer—and get ready!
Graduating from North Pole School,
Alice the Elf was sure no fool.
She sought her counsellor’s sage advice
For what career might just suffice.
“You’re born to teach,” the counsellor said.
Alice frowned and scratched her head.
“Not sew or build some children’s toys,
For all the good little girls and boys?
“Isn’t that what we were trained for?”
But the counsellor simply showed her the door:
“Go teach the young ones, Alice Elf,
And see how rewarding it can be for yourself.”
So Alice applied to Public School
And passed her Praxis and learned the rules.
She was hired in no time at all
To a Kindergarten classroom, starting that fall.
She did okay the first two months,
But her tired eyes gave her a hunch
Of just how tough the year would be.
She missed the snow, the toys, the trees…
So she decked her class in mistletoe,
Electric lights, and fresh pine boughs.
She hung glass bulbs, a glowing star—
The brightest room in the school, by far.
The kids all swooned in such delight
To see Alice Elf’s magic lights.
They learned their lessons with captive glee
Under the twinkling lights of the tree.
But then the principal came for a check.
She hemmed and hawed and clawed her neck.
Her eyes flashed hard at Alice’s blunder.
“You can’t have holiday décor in October!”
Poor Alice’s lips trembled as eyes teared.
The children cried in saddened fear.
They liked their Christmas kingdom bright
Like guiding star in dark of night.
The principal an exception made
But to young Alice the advice she gave:
“Take down the décor in January, stat!”
Alice nodded, and that was that.
January came, the décor stayed lit.
The principal had another fit.
“Take it down, or I’ll do it myself—
What do you think: you’re Santa’s elf?”
Alice nodded, and the principal left,
Leaving Alice sadly bereft.
But she remembered snow and Northern pole
And she left the lights up for another go.
In February, the school was decked
In red, pink hearts and all the rest.
In March the clovers and pots of gold
Captivated children’s souls.
But not so in young Alice’s room.
Her Christmas décor seemed a bit like gloom.
“How come the decorations never change?”
Asked her students (the room did look deranged
To display stars and snow and lights
When other rooms wore flowers springy and bright).
Alice shrugged: “Christmas is best.
With decorations all year, we’ve all been blessed—
“At least, that’s how it is at the North Pole,
With 24/7 spent under feet of snow.”
At the school year’s end, each class was shaded
In suns and sand, dreams of vacation…
Except for Alice’s room down the hall,
Which still showed angels, shiny glass balls.
And the principal arrived with a bright pink slip
And a box for Alice—to take a trip
To the North Pole or the next public school.
“Christmas all year simply breaks the rule.
You’re no longer welcome here,
Alice the teacher, my misguided dear.”
A call to the counsellor gave Alice bad news:
The North Pole didn’t have openings at any schools.
So she applied to the district right down the street,
And they were eager for teachers to meet and to greet,
And they hired young Alice right on the spot
And smiled when they saw the decorations in her box.
“Christmas already, and only in June?”
She smiled at them and said, “It’s never too soon!”
And so they showed her the classroom she’d take in the fall,
And she set it all up with lights and glass balls,
And it twinkled in June’s bright, hot sun.
And she smiled to think of next year’s Christmas fun.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
RC Bonitz: http://www.rcbonitz.com
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Tom Robson: website in progress