The Girl Who Saved the World and Christmas
By: Kate MacDonald-Dunbar

One afternoon in December, Sam, which is short for Samantha, was walking through Bluebell Wood. This was a shortcut she took every day after school. The wood looked lovely, almost as if someone had decorated it for Christmas. Each tree had a layer of snow, and the winter sun made everything sparkle.

Sam was feeling excited because it was only ten more sleeps until Christmas day. Although Sam, who was nine, felt very grown-up, she still thought Christmas was the best day ever.

Today, she was almost home, when out of the corner of her eye, Sam heard a rustling sound.

"Who's there? There's no need to hide; I won't harm you."

From behind a bush, a small, skinny creature appeared, wearing a grey doublet, trousers, and boots. He had large dark eyes, long fingers with sharp pointy nails, wispy grey hair, and grey dusty-looking wings.

"Hello little girl, what's your name?"

"I'm Sam. And you are?"

"I am Crockeldite the sprite."

"I haven't noticed you here before, Crockeldite. Where are you from?"

"I come from a place very close to your world. I am looking for a new home for sprites to live in."

"Why do you need to find a new home?"

"We no longer have enough food to eat."

"Seriously? What do you eat?"

"You ask a lot of questions, little girl."

"Sorry Crockeldite, it's because I haven't met anyone as unusual as you before."

The sprite looked pleased, hearing what he thought must be a compliment.

"We forage for our food. Whatever the woods can supply will do for us."

Sam was starting to feel a little worried. This creature was saying that the sprites had emptied their world of all the things that they could eat! That did not sound good.

"How interesting. Is it easy to get from your world to here then?"

"Oh yes, I simply imagine a…"

He hesitated, suddenly realizing he had probably said too much.

"Well, never mind that; it's probably too complicated for a little girl to understand. I have to go now. Lots to do before Christmas day and the big move. Toodle-oo."

"Bye-bye Crockeldite, for now. I'm sure we'll meet each other again."

Crockeldite scurried off, with no idea that Sam had decided she would have to stop the sprites from moving into the wood and her world.

As Sam hurried home, she was going over in her mind what had just happened. It would be great if she could get some help with this problem of course. She tried to imagine telling the tale to anyone else. Sam could hear the disbelieving laughter ringing in her ears. No, this was something she had to do on her own.

Later, sitting at the dining room table with her father and mother, she said,

"Mum, would you drop me off at the library after school tomorrow please?"

"Do you have a project, dear?"

"Yes, it's all about local flora and fauna and how lots of it is disappearing."

Sam felt terrible not telling her parents what she was doing. This was the first time she had ever lied to them, and it was awful. Much as she wanted to tell them what was happening, she knew it would be too hard for them to believe her if she did.

The next day at school, Sam found it very hard to concentrate on things like math’s and English when the fate of the planet depended on how she could stop a sneaky sprite.

After her mum dropped her off at the library, Sam approached a stern-looking librarian, who was actually a very nice lady.

"Hi Mrs. Goodman, can I ask you a question please?"

"I think you mean MAY I ask a question, Sam, but go ahead."

"Yes, sorry, can you tell me where I can get some information on sprites please?"

"That will be Myth and Mythology, section six."

"Thank you, Mrs. Goodman."

After a quick look, she made a note of what she'd found. It amounted to "Sprites travel in swarms and can bite if provoked. They are playful, and at times obnoxious." It looked as if she hadn't found anything she didn't already know.

She wasted no more time and got back to the wood as quickly as she could. She crept very quietly, trying to step on the tufts of grass and not the snow, to avoid the sound of crunched snow.

Sam crept up to where Crockeldite was reading from a little book and muttering. She got as close as she could and heard what sounded like a rhyme. That was good news and fitted in with the plan she'd thought of last night. She moved away, then started to crash around. When Crockeldite found her, she was waving her arms about and muttering.

"You do realize how silly you look, don't you? What are you doing?"

"I've figured it out, Crockeldite. If you had finished your sentence the other day, it would have been "imagine a door." I'm right, aren't I?"

"You are clever. I can't deny that. I can conjure a door, but what did you think you were doing with all that arm waving?"

"I thought I'd see if I could produce a door too. I bet it's not that hard. My grandma was a gypsy, so it's in the blood. Can I do it anywhere? It would be cool to have one in my garden."

"Well, I've heard it all now. What would make you think you could produce a door? It takes years of practice, you know. Also, you can't just go around opening doors everywhere. There is only one door that opens from here into my world, and that is where we're standing, in Bluebell Wood."

That was what Sam wanted to hear. Now to the next part of her plan.

"Why would I believe you about opening magical doors? It's easy to say you can, I just don't think it's possible."

"You think I am a liar, do you?" Now his voice was getting louder. "I have never been so insulted."

"You can shout all you like, but I still don't see a door, little man."

"Little man? Do you dare to call me a "little man"? Just watch this and tremble at my might."

He walked towards a small clearing, and Sam followed. He lifted his arms high and started to wave them around in large circles. Sam could hear him chanting: "Open this door wide for me, let my fellow sprites run free."

A door appeared right in front of Crockeldite. Sam ran forward and pushed him through to the other side.

Sam then waved her arms and shouted, "Shut this door and lock it tight, don't open again for any sprite."

The door closed with a bang, then vanished. Shaking, Sam sat on the ground, not even noticing the cold snow. Sam could now look forward to Christmas day knowing the world was safe from hungry sprites.


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