When Pippa woke, the fields of Magpie Field were full of Christmas trees! She giggled profusely. She ate, took care of her horses, and then spent a good amount of time harvesting the trees. She planted the seeds that the Christmas trees dropped immediately. The trees were bundled together and ready for delivery to the villages. At the sight of the white air feather fir, Pippa gasped. The tree was literally white, like one of those white Christmas trees from the store, the ‘needles’ like big feathers. It glowed with little blue lights and actually floated above the ground. It pained her to harvest them, they were so pretty. She was very careful with the third one to dig it up without hurting it.
She did sniffle when she turned the other two into boards. They were so pretty. It just wasn’t fair. She wiped her eyes as she saddled Marquees. “It had to be done, but I feel awful,” she said.
Marquees whuffled and blew into Pippa’s hair.
Pippa smiled at her and hugged her. “Thanks. I knew you’d understand.”
On the way to the Mirror World, Pippa stopped in the villages along the way to set up some of the Christmas trees. The children giggled and squealed as they danced around them as she used magic to put on the lights and set up the ornaments. They were so excited.
Pippa stopped by the blacksmith and picked up the runner polish. The blacksmith and her exchanged salutes.
Pippa tied off Marquees outside of the Mirror World entrance. “I won’t be long,” she promised the big draft horse.
Holda waved at her where the reindeer and horse were pastured.
Pippa smiled at her, her hands too full to wave back.
Holda saw all her packages and laughed. “You’ve been busy.”
“You have no idea!” Pippa wiped her brow. “I’ve got everything for Santa’s outfit, except, well, the things he said that were for magic.”
“Well, you’re going to have to collect them all,” Holda said.
“But where am I to get freshly fallen snow?” Pippa wailed. “It might not snow again before Christmas!”
Holda just raised an eyebrow at her.
“Oh, do you have any ideas where I could plant a white air feather fir tree?” Pippa asked.
“Where did you get one of those?” Holda sounded astonished.
“I grew it!” Pippa beamed at her. “Santa’s sleigh is a wreck.”
“Oh, he must have,” Holda’s lips twitched and she stomped her foot. “Joy riding. AGAIN.”
Pippa’s eyes widened and she burst into laughter. “That’s a horrible pun!”
“It’s his own fault. And I know he won’t admit it.” Holda glowered.
“Well, I had to grow some white air feather firs to get boards to fix it.” Pippa held them up. “And I had an extra.”
“All right, well, to get fresh fallen snow, you’re going to have to use music magic.”
“Yes, you’re going to have to do a snow dance,” Holda said. “In the normal world. Go to a clearing in the forest, I’ll mark a good one on your map, and dance and sing.”
Pippa laughed. “That doesn’t sound too hard.”
“I’ll teach you the words and the steps,” Holda said. “Now listen carefully and watch.” Holda danced and sang “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.”
Pippa watched and then did a practice song. Nothing happened, but it was summer!
Holda clapped her hands. “You’re a natural!” she said.
“I also need to get unpopped popcorn, chestnuts, and mint leaves,” Pippa said, checking her list.
Holda nodded. “Well, it is the season for those things. I’m sure there are people who will have each item.” Holda continued, “Now, a white air feather fir tree should be planted here in the Mirror World.”
“It won’t hurt it that it’s summer, will it?”
“Not a bit!” Holda grinned. “You take it here and well, there is a very small grove of them there. Their caretaker will be happy to see another one. You might even get a reward.”
“All right. Then, I’ll get started on that,” Pippa said. She waved at Holda. She went over to the horse. “I told the children about you,” she said as she started to take care of him.
He perked up. “Will there be carrots?”
“I did mention you liked carrots and something about the naughty and nice list.”
The horse’s ears tilted forward and he pranced in place. “Oh, I hope there will be carrots.”
Pippa pursed her lips together. “But, now, why can’t you try to be friendlier with the reindeer.”
The horse’s demeanor changed instantly. “Because they aren’t needed.”
“That’s not the point. They think you’re rude and arrogant. It wouldn’t hurt you to be nice to them,” Pippa said. “Maybe you could be friends. Things would go much easier, if you could be friends.”
“We both do the same things,” the horse said. “One of us is redundant and it won’t be me.”
“So, you can’t pull the sleigh together?”
“No,” the horse huffed.
Pippa sighed. “It could much easier if you worked together.” She tilted her head. “Maybe Santa could ride you and there would be more room in the sleigh for presents.”
“Have you seen Santa’s sack? It doesn’t matter how big it is, all the presents fit. It’s magic.”
“I’m just,” Pippa scowled. “Fine. Just. Be that way. So much for compromise and peace on Earth and good will towards reindeer and horses.” She stuck her nose up in the air. “Completely forget the spirit of the season. I wouldn’t want to offend the Christmas spirits. But you do you!” She flounced away.
The horse looked after her vaguely alarmed. “I don’t want to offend the Christmas spirits either!” he called out. “Pippa!”
Pippa ignored him and spread out the food for the reindeer.
The reindeer who seemed to be the spokeswoman spoke up, “Miss Pippa, we’ve been thinking about what you said.”
“And we don’t want to be replaced with goats, yaks, or…” She paused. “Rabbits.” The last word was grated out as if it offended her.
Pippa raised her eyebrows.
“We didn’t think about how the horse must have felt about us. But it doesn’t change the fact that he was arrogant.”
“So, would you be able to apologize?” Pippa asked.
“If he apologizes to us,” the reindeer said. “We can apologize to him. He wasn’t the least bit friendly.”
“Well, I was thinking about a compromise. Maybe if Santa rode the horse, there would be more room in the sleigh for presents. The world is getting bigger. He might need more bags.”
The reindeer waved her head back and forth. “You are ridiculous.”
“I know, I know, magic bag.” Pippa waved a hand. “It was a thought! It is good you thought of his feelings. I’ll tell him.”
The reindeer muttered but didn’t tell her not to.
Pippa returned to the horse. “The reindeer didn’t understand how upset you might have been at the thought you might be replaced.”
“Well, isn’t that dandy?” the horse muttered.
“Hey now!” Pippa put her hands on her hips. “It’s a start. They feel bad about it.”
“They do.” Pippa nodded.
The horse grumbled. But he didn’t do anything else.
Pippa sighed. “Okay, go on all of you being stubborn and not talking to each other. I’ve got things to do.” She stalked over to the sleigh and pounded the boards in place. She polished the runners and then triumphantly got out the paint and freshened the whole thing up. Almost against their will, the reindeer and horse were interested. They came over and watched. Pippa finished and wiped off her hands. There. Tomorrow she could decorate it once the paint dried. She nodded to herself.
“See you tomorrow!” she shouted at the horses and waved at them, headed back to Marquees.