Once upon a time there was a little raccoon. His name was Racum. Racum was just an ordinary raccoon, who loved to play with his friends and eat good food like chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies. He, like all his other raccoon friends, loved Christmas. He loved to receive presents and he loved to give presents, especially to his Mother and Father.
Racum, however, almost slept through Christmas one year. That was a year that he would never forget. This was how the tale went:
One year, I believe it was the year 1985, it turned very cold, very fast. Racum had been gathering some kindling out in the Big Dark Forest for his Mother. Normally, Racum's Father gathered it but, he was working late at the steel factory in the little village beside the forest.
While out gathering the kindling, Racum had accidentally knocked over a pot of honey that their neighbour, Mrs. Bear, had been preparing for her family. The Bear family had to have a lot of food to eat at this time of the year, because they were getting ready for their long winter sleep.
Racum didn't want to get into any trouble with Mrs. Bear, so he started eating the honey that he had spilled. Well, the honey tasted so good that Racum cleaned up the whole pot.
After eating the honey, Racum became very drowsy. He wanted to go to sleep. He found a little hole in the ground and curled up. Soon, he was fast asleep.
Racum's Mother and Father were very worried when he did not come home that night. They contacted the local police force, immediately.
Mr. Fox, the sly police chief, had stopped by the Raccoon family's house to see if he could find anything out about the missing Racum. After questioning Mrs. Raccoon, Mr. Fox came to the conclusion that Racum had run away, therefore, he would not conduct a search.
"Why dear, I don't believe that old sly fox at all!" cried Mrs. Raccoon.
"Nor do I," commented Mr. Raccoon. "Our son, Racum may do some strange things but, run away! No, I'll never believe that."
The days grew colder and the nights got darker. There was no sign of poor little Racum at all. Both Mr. and Mrs. Raccoon and most of the animals in the Big Dark Forest had searched the forest floor, the caves and the trees. Every stick of the forest had been searched, except of course for the little hole that Racum had crawled into.
It was getting very close to Christmas, (just two days away). Meanwhile, up in the far away North Pole, Santa Claus was checking his list twice to make sure that everything was in order for his big journey.
"Sly Fox," one of Santa's elves had called.
"Check!" said Santa. "All presents for Sly have been accounted for. The detective kit and the sheriff's badge."
"Racum Raccoon," called the elf.
"Check!" murmured Santa. "Oh wait! Isn't Racum the little raccoon that went missing?"
"Oh yes," the elf said. "I seem to recall something about that."
"If nobody else can find him," said Santa. "And if Racum is out there in the Big Dark Forest, then maybe I had better find him."
"How?" asked the elf. "How will you ever find Racum in the Big Dark Forest?"
"Very simple," said Santa. "I will use the big old heavy sleigh bells."
"Oh Santa!" the elf exclaimed, joyfully. "You're marvellous! Those sleigh bells are so loud, they will even wake a bear up in hibernation."
Santa and all his elves got everything ready for their long trip. The elves had to put all the presents on the sleigh and shine up the big old heavy sleigh bells.
It was now Christmas Eve. Racum's Mother and Father were standing by the Christmas tree, both crying for their lost son.
"Oh, I wish somebody would do something to find our little Racum," sobbed Mrs. Raccoon.
"Now, now, dear," comforted Mr. Raccoon.
Just as Mr. and Mrs. Raccoon were putting the angel on their Christmas tree, they heard a very loud noise.
"Jingle, jingle, jingle," rang out Santa's big old heavy sleigh bells.
The Raccoon family were very scared.
"What was that?" asked Mr. Raccoon above the noise. "I'd better go outside and check this out."
Just as Mr. Raccoon was about to leave, the front door opened. In walked little Racum, his arms full of kindling.
"Merry Christmas, Mother and Father," declared Racum. "I'm very sorry that I am so late with the kindling."
"Oh Racum!" Mrs. Raccoon cried. "Oh my poor little Racum. I am so glad that you are alright!"
Racum's Mother and Father hugged him. They all stood by the tree and each one said their own little prayer of thanks to the angel.
"Ho! Ho! Ho!" came the sound of Santa's merry voice. "Merry Christmas."
"Thank you, Santa," shouted the Raccoons. "Merry Christmas to you, too!"
Racum told his Mother and Father all about his adventures with Mrs. Bear's pot of honey and how Santa Claus' big old heavy sleigh bells had woke him up out of the deep sleep that he had been in.
"Well, you'd better go tomorrow and apologize to Mrs. Bear," suggested Racum's Father.
"Won't they still be hibernating?" asked Racum.
"With all the noise of Santa's big old heavy sleigh bells?" laughed his father.
The Raccoon family started to laugh.
"This is the best Christmas ever," said Mrs. Raccoon, happily.
Debbie Williamson is a freelance writer who has written over 450 children stories to date. Some of these stories have appeared in the EMC Record News newspaper from Smiths Falls, Ontario and the Durham Life Magazine, Oshawa, ON.
(published in the EMC Record News, Smith Falls, Ontario - December 13, 1992)
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