Long ago the only chickens in the world lived with Santa at the North Pole. He was a nice old guy and the chickens felt safe with him. Plus, the baby chicks got the first pick of Santa’s presents.
One Christmas Eve, Santa trudged through the deep snow, past his bright, red sled, over-flowing with presents, toward the barn. It was time to harness his reindeer for the long night of leaving presents for all those good little boys and girls (and the naughty ones, too. If it must be known, to Santa all little boys and girls are good.).
When he opened the barn door, he saw the most shocking sight of his life. Dancer wasn’t dancing; he was lying on the floor, licking ice-cream off of his nose! Prancer wasn’t prancing; he was on the floor next to Dancer, crunching on Christmas cookies! Blitzen’s head was inside the freezer and Santa could heard loud slurping!
Rudolf’s bright red nose was no longer bright or red because it was covered with chocolate icing. When he saw Santa, he opened his mouth as if to say “Merry Christmas!”, but what came out was a loud “B-u-u-ur-r-p-p-p-p!”, followed by a moan.
“What happened here?!!” yelled Santa. The reindeer froze.
“What happened here?!!” Blitzen yelled at Dancer. Dancer froze.
“What happened here?!!” Dancer yelled at Donner. Donner froze.
“What happened here”!!” Donner said to Rudolf. Rudolf burped again.
That’s when Santa noticed that the plates and bowls, the ones his elves had filled with Christmas cookies and cake, were strewn all around the barn – empty!!!
And, and at the feet of every reindeer was at least one empty ice cream carton!
The reindeer moaned and rubbed their tummies.
There was no way they could possibly pull his sleigh tonight. How would all those children get their Christmas presents?! Oh No!!! He rushed out of the barn.
And immediately tripped over Charlie Chicken.
Now, chickens in those days had no red topknots and no red beards. In fact, they were just chubby birds covered with white feathers, so white, they looked like the snow.
Which explains why Santa didn’t see Charlie Chicken.
And instead of three toes, chickens only had one, which was flat and slipped in snow.
Which is what happened when Charlie tried to get out of Santa’s way.
“O-o-o-o-f-f-f” went Santa. “O-o-o-o-f-f-f!” went Charlie Chicken.
’What’s wrong?” Charlie said as they got up.
“Oh my!” said Santa as they got up. “The reindeer ate all the ice cream and cookies and cake. Now they’re too sick to pull my sleigh!”
Well, Charlie Chicken didn’t hesitate. He put one of his stubby little wings on Santa’s shoulder and asked just one question: “How do reindeer fly?”
“Oh no, that’s a secret, Charlie, a very secret secret. I couldn’t reveal that. Goodness…that’s part of the magic of Christmas for all those little boys and girls.”
Charlie pointed at the other chickens, “Chickens like the magic of Christmas too, Santa.”
Santa looked around to make sure no one was watching. He told all the chickens to close their eyes. Then he sprinkled snow on Charlie and twelve of the biggest chickens in the flock, shouted “Merry Christmas!” three times, and told them to flap their wings. Hard.
They suddenly left the ground in all directions.
“Yippee!” “Look out! here I come!” “Oops, sorry Santa”.
Once they had “found their wings”. Santa harnessed them to his sled, with Charlie in Rudolf’s spot, and told them to get a running start.
They ran as hard as they could, and… and went… nowhere.
“We have no traction!” said Charlie Chicken.
“You have no traction! “ said Santa. And then, “Oh! I can fix that!”
Santa took his whip and, ever so lightly, flicked it at the feet of each of the twelve chickens. There was a slight puff of snow and suddenly each foot had, not one toe, but three – three very sharp toes, perfect for gripping snow and ice.
“On Charlie Chicken! On… uh… the rest of you guys!”, yelled Santa, and off they went, up into the sky, as fast and straight as the reindeer ever went.
The presents, every one, were delivered to children all around the world, just as they had been with reindeer. And not a single child saw Charlie or any other chicken, which made the reindeer happy.
Charlie and the chickens, too.
To thank Charlie and the other chickens, Santa gave them souvenirs of the trip: spiky red hats, and floppy little red scarves, which, along with the three toes, have been part of chickenhood ever since.
And that’s how Charlie Chicken saved Christmas and why no-one – EVER – eats chicken on Christmas.