Below is our second published piece from reader submissions! This week (and only a day late) is Amber’s Pick. It is a fictional children’s short story written by Vanessa Martin.
The reason I picked this piece is ultimately because of the sweet message. Even though it may be hard to get into a Christmas mindset in springtime, once you read the story you’ll be able to feel the chill in the air and the lure of hot chocolate and twinkling lights. I also liked the originality of the two main characters. So here it is. Enjoy!
A CHRISTMAS STAR WISH
By Vanessa Martin
Franklin the Ferret sat all alone in his cage, watching the people walk by. No one ever stopped to hold him or even to talk to him. And if they did look at him, they sometimes would make a weird scrunched nose face. He didn’t understand what was wrong with him. He was friendly, he never bit anyone, and he enjoyed being cuddled. Most ferrets never wanted anything to do with people and some would even nip at their fingers, and those ferrets were always adopted and taken home. But not him!!
Franklin didn’t know why the people were afraid of him. What was so wrong with him that everyone just ignored him?
Well, you see….when Franklin was born, he was born with half a right back leg and he was also blind in his left eye. All the people wanted the animals that were perfect and since he had a handicap, per se, no one wanted him. As the Thanksgiving holiday went by and Christmas grew very near, Franklin would sit all alone looking out the window beside his cage. He started making wishes on the brightest star in the sky, for a family who would love him and want to take him home with them. He wished and wished and wished, and nothing ever happened. No family came and all the people would still walk on by without a glance.
What Franklin didn’t know was that his wishes were heard. They were heard loud and clear at the North Pole by a few of the elves, so they went and told Santa. Santa Claus could see everything happening in the store where Franklin lived and knew that he had to make Franklin’s wish come true. Santa wanted to make sure that Franklin knew and felt the miracle of Christmas. But with Christmas only two days away, he knew he would have to act fast.
On the other side of the city, an eight-year-old little boy named Justin sat watching his brother and parents decorate the tree for Christmas. Justin couldn’t participate or get too close because of his wheelchair.
There were only two days left before Christmas and he just wished it was already over. He didn’t believe in Santa anymore-not that he ever had. Getting tired of watching his family do something he couldn’t do made him more depressed. So he turned his chair around to face the window where he could see the snow falling. Glancing up toward the sky, he noticed that the brightest star in the sky was sparkling very intense that night. He just stared at it, too scared to make a wish. Because all the other wishes he had asked for in the past, had never came true.
He always wished that he could walk and play like all the other children, but those wishes never came true. And since he couldn’t walk or see very well, the other kids just made fun of him.
Justin was still hesitant, but he went ahead and made one last wish. Justin wished that he would find someone who could understand what he was going through. Someone who would be there with him through everything that came his way. After making his wish, he turned around and told his parents he was going to go watch one of the Christmas specials that was playing on the television that evening. As he rolled his chair to the next room, he started feeling mad at himself, but also sad at the same time. He didn’t know why he even made a wish; it wasn’t as if anyone would hear it.
What Justin didn’t know was that his wish had made it all the way to the North Pole where a pair of little ears heard it. The elf knew he had to bring this to Santa’s attention. Because no child should ever feel sad at Christmastime.
The little elf ran all the way to the woodshop, where Santa was doing inventory for his trip the next night.
The elf spoke so fast that Santa had to tell him to slow down. Once Santa heard about the wish, he looked through his magical snow globe into Justin’s house and could see the tiny little boy with real thick glasses and braces on his legs, sitting in his wheelchair. He could hear the sniffling sounds that were coming from the little boy as he sat watching television, trying not to let any tears fall.
Santa knew right then and there exactly what he was going to do. He could make two wishes come true that holiday season, one for a brave little boy and the other for a furry little animal. He was going to bring Franklin and Justin together.
The day before Christmas, Santa walked into the pet shop and went directly to Franklin’s cage, who was watching the people walk by. Santa asked Franklin if he would like to be part of a real family for Christmas. Franklin told Santa that was what he wanted more than anything in the world, and Santa told him that he had heard his wish the night before. Franklin couldn’t believe what was happening. He jumping up and down in his cage with joy. He was finally going to have a family.
Later that evening, Franklin sat beside Santa in his sleigh, all set to meet his new family. He could barely contain his excitement. He watched as Santa made his rounds; all the while Franklin didn’t make a peep. They were almost finished when Santa told him to get prepared.
Santa landed his sleigh on top of a shingled roof and held open his bag. He looked at Franklin and said, “This is your new home. A little boy named Justin lives here. Like you, he has trouble seeing and walking. And I know you will become great pals.” Franklin jumped into Santa’s bag, ready for the trip down the chimney.
Santa filled the stockings with care then ate a few nibbles of cookie and drank a bit of milk, before turning to Franklin and telling him it was time to go under the tree. Franklin jumped out of the bag and into a small cage that had magically appeared when Santa nodded his head. He said good-bye, put his finger to his nose then disappeared back up the chimney.
The next morning, Justin made his way to the family room and saw all the presents under the tree. But the one present that caught his eye was a little cage with a bow on it. He rolled his chair over and looked down into it. Looking back at him was Franklin, with his one good eye and his one blind eye. Justin also noticed that the animal only had half a right back leg. Justin yelled out to his mom and dad to come see what was under the tree. They both stood there, shocked, because they knew that the present had not been there last night when they went to bed. The father plucked a card off the top of the cage, while the mother opened it up and took Franklin out. She gently laid him in Justin’s arms and the little boy sat petting him, listening while his father read aloud.
I wanted to let you know that your wish was heard loud and clear—all the way to the North Pole. I knew that I had to do something to restore your belief in Santa and show you the Miracle of Christmas, and I hope I have. I would like to introduce you to Franklin. He needs a special friend and I thought of you and how good of a friend you would be. I wish you and Franklin a lifetime of fun and love for one another. Oh and by the way, Franklin really likes apples and to snuggle up on your lap while you pet him.
Santa Claus – the big guy in the red suit
His parents couldn’t believe what they were hearing or seeing. They both looked over at Justin petting the ferret lying on his lap. And for the first time, in a long time, he was smiling more than he ever had and when they looked down at Franklin, they didn’t know what to think because it looked like Franklin was smiling, too.
From then on, both Justin and Franklin never stopped believing in Santa or that wishes come true.
So remember, if you ever have a doubt, that Santa Claus is real and the Miracle of Christmas is very powerful. And if you ever make a wish around Christmastime, on the brightest star in the sky, you can believe…it was heard.
This is Vanessa Martin’s first children’s story, but will not be her last. She’s working on her first mystery/suspense novel as you read this. Vanessa Martin is 42 years old and lives in Ohio. She loves to read, cook, and write. This story was written for her seven nieces and nephews.