And Gutenberg Lived Here: Where Elves Fast And Reindeer Dance.

This is the time of year

when the carnival season-

the “fifth season” over here-

starting on the eleventh of November-

elf stands for egalite, liberte, and fraternite,



By church decree.

It’s the time when the nation mourns its war dead-

and then begins fasting.

The forty  days before Christmas.

A time of dark days,

and introspection,



too much American tv over here.

All Gutenberger kids under the age of fifteen

know Santa Claus-

here the Christ Child delivers the presents,

but they want some of that ho ho ho-

like last Sunday, when my husband and I,

out for a quick cup of coffee before going to work on a project,

ended up as the unofficial grand marshalls,

along with two other cars,

of the Coke truck Santa and his team of cheerleaders’ parade-

Hey, the police were in front of us-

a VERY large truck with Santa reading a newspaper next to a blazing fire was behind us-

what can you do-

No, no ghostbusters here-

we drove slowly and waved to everyone-

i swear this is true-

and wondered if we would get big headlines-

mysterious  lady in white car new spirit of Christmas?

we didn’t get  nary a mention.

Or a coke either, for that matter.

Good thing the reindeer were plastic-

Which brings me to one of the nicer things about this season-

except for Christmas carols in church, of course,

and the fact that the trees here are always decked with real beeswax candles,

that smell wonderful,

and small stars, made of super-thin long wood shavings.

And in a traditional church,

which doesn’t heat,

and the people have to wear coats,

and sit close for warmth…

No, what I truly love about this season,

are the legends.

Like why the elves fast every year at this time,

and the reindeer dance.

It goes like this.

Reindeer are vegetarians.

They eat wonderful things like lichen,

and berries,

and carrots,

and cookies,


in this area,

their all-time favorite food,

only for the day they make the big sleigh ride

and package drop-


a kind of fermented bakers’ cheese-

ie that stuff you normally use to make cheese cake.

And when you ferment it,

and serve it marinated in oil,

and vinegar,

and strong raw onions,

you get a reindeer team with enough backwind

to fly three times around the pole.

Before flying all over the world to deliver the packages

to all the good little boys and girls.

And the elves,

who have to stay in the workshop,

in case Santa forgot anything,

and work side by side,

in close quarters,

make sure they don’t go near the rocket fuel-



And since the only other food is cookies,

and Mrs Claus has packed most of them,

and is far too busy to make more,

on this very special night,

the elves simply fast.

And then go off the next morning to the Lodge Hall

Of the mystic Order of Santas Elves-

Lodge nr 1244,


where they drown all their woes,

and spend their Christmas bonuses,

on elvetritschewasser-

a particular hard schnaps with small gold flecks,

that can only be gotten from a small fountain,

the elvetritschebrunnen,

where the elvetritsche,

a mythical creature that only comes out on Christmas eve

and leaves his well just long enough for the Elvish lodge bartenders

to gather a small amount.

Just enough to make the elves cheerful enough to dance.

And then they dance home,

and wish Merry Christmas to Santa,

and Mrs Claus,

and all of the stinking reindeer,

and since they are so happy they don’t even notice

that Rudolf has a red nose,

everyone gets along for once,

and exchanges packages,

and is happy and joyful,

and then Santa tells the Christmas story.

And the elves give him a small cup from the elvetritsche fountain,

so he will give them a couple of days off.

And it is this wonderful,


happy event,

of everyone telling the story of the birth of the Christ Child,

and singing,

and dancing,

and getting along,

that is the basis for the fact that the school children here in Gutenberg land,,

when they can’t remember their complicated lines

in the Christmas pageant,

simply throw their hands in the air,

and make the sign of the reindeer antlers,

and then they bring their arm up to their mouths,

and blow against it,

to make the sound of the reindeer,

and everyone laughs,

and then they have cookies,

and chldren’s punch,

with high-octane for the parents,

in honor of the elves,

and thinks that it is truly a good thing,

that once a year,

everyone can finally manage to get along.

The End


Ps This blog was fueled by lactose free chocolate cappuccino.

Copyright 2016


3 thoughts on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: Where Elves Fast And Reindeer Dance.

  1. Lactose free chocolate cappuccino sounds like it works well as creative fuel. (Funnily enough, in my case, cheese and schnaps would probably work pretty well as creative fuel too.) By the way, I’m not sure what I’ve had done if I’d been stuck in the situation you mentioned at the beginning of your post, but I think waving and making the best of it was a good option.

    Liked by 1 person

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