3 – The Toy Maker

There was a time of year that George always looked forward to during winter. He anticipated the days his family spent the winter together. Father didn’t have to work so much while mother kept busy in the kitchen making pies and other delicious foods. The house was filled with the wonderful aromas that came from the stove. After dinner, the family would settle in front of the fire. Mother would tend to her mending while father smoked his pipe and told wonderful stories. On one of these nights, as the family sat around the fire their father was telling them about the toy maker.

“He goes around bringing toys to children,” said the father. “He puts them in his sack and delivers them one by one.”

“Who is the toy maker, father?” the youngest spoke. “What does he look like.”

“That’s the thing,” the father scratched his chin. “Nobody knows.”

“Wadda ya mean nobody knows?” said George. “Hasn’t anybody seen him?”

“No, not exactly,” said the father. “He comes when everybody is asleep. He doesn’t make a sound and he leaves before anybody gets the chance to see him.”

“Why doesn’t he want us to know who he is?” said the youngest.

“Maybe he’s coy,” said mother.

“That can’t be,” said father.

“But, he always comes, doesn’t he father?”

“Of course,” the father winked.

Just then from the corner of George’s eye, he believed to see a figure at the window. They shouldn’t be expecting anyone, were they, thought George? He turns to look, but the figure is gone. Curious, George walks over, cups his hands to the window and looks out into the cloudburst of snow. He sees a figure walking away from the house, a sack thrown over his shoulder. Could that be the toy maker? George wondered. He wanted to believe he had seen the toy maker.

The next few nights, George anticipated the arrival of the toy maker and the toys he had once left for him and his sisters. It wasn’t much what he got from the toy maker, but it was more than what his parents could spare. His father barely made much money to buy them gifts. Their mother instead would make them little cakes for their birthdays and Christmas.

They always celebrated Christmas with food, stories and laughter. It was a great time, but this Christmas when it came around the toy maker didn’t leave toys for George and his sisters. They hadn’t seen him for many winters.

“Maybe he got behind,” said father. “He’ll come.”

But George and his sisters didn’t believe it. Two more nights came and went and no toys were left on the footsteps of their home. His sisters grew upset and so did George. He wondered if the man he saw a few nights ago was the toy maker. Why had the toy maker stopped coming?

2 – The Toy Maker

Winter had arrived and George sat near his fathers at his feet near the warmth of the fireplace. Like his sisters they sat eagerly listening to his stories. The father told tales about a toy maker that made toys for all the children in the village, and the fairy’s that delivered them. He also told them the tales of the two brothers who were constantly feuding with one another. One brother lived in the west and the other brother in the east causing constant storms that blew across the lands. George enjoyed the stories no matter how many times his father told them, sometimes his father would twist the plot and change the ending, making them better than the last.

“It’s time for bed,” his father would end the night. “It’s getting late and we need to get up early.”

“Father, tell us about the toy maker again?” one of the young sister’s gleefully asked.

“Why did he stop delivering toys?” asked the other sister.

“Well, nobody can say,” father said. “He use to come every day before the day of the new moon. Then suddenly he ceased coming. Nobody can say why.”

“Who was he?” George asked.

“What did he look like?” asked the youngest

“Nobody can say who he was or what he looked like,” said the father. “Some say he came from the mountains. Others believed he was a transient passing through town. Whatever the reason no toys have been delivered for many winters. I was just a boy myself when we last heard of him. He came when the storms arrived and just like that he would disappeared with the storm. There hasn’t been a storm in years. Many think he created the blizzards as a disguise.”

“Do you think he will ever return?”

“He might,” the father winked. “Wouldn’t you like to find out?”

“Yes,” shouted the girls.

“Then off to bed you all go,” said the father.

George didn’t want to go to sleep, but he was too tired to argue. He kissed his mother and father goodnight, climbed up to the poky loft where he slept and hurried under the covers. He didn’t have to share his bed with his sisters. They slept in a separate bed down below. Their home wasn’t as large as the landowners, but it was cozy enough. George could still hear his father rocking on his chair while he talked to the mother.

“I wish you didn’t stir their imaginations like that,” Mother admonished.

“I see no harm in it,” replied father.

“You shouldn’t lead them to believe in something that doesn’t exist. Especially about the toy maker.”

“My stories aren’t entirely untrue,” Father puffed on his pipe. “There was once a toy make that use to leave toys to us poor children.”

“Is that so?”

“He would come around this time. A storm would appear and the toys appeared. The it suddenly stopped as it had begun. I always wondered if I had been a bad boy. If perhaps that was the reason he stopped coming.”

“We never heard of a toy maker,” said the mother. “It was always some monster coming to get us if we weren’t good. Such silly nonsense.”

“If say you so, mother,” the father puffed quietly.