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The Polaris Star

There is an untold adage to an old days' tale. An account that doesn’t necessarily conflict or contradict with popular beliefs but meshes on its own between the lines of the stories we know. Overlapping as colours make red and green.

We tell children what we’ve learned ourselves; of a merry old man that lives in the north with elves, but remain aware #Porcupine as this version unfolds the origin of werewolves and exposes a different side of the jolly man during a difficult part of his life, yet starts not long before evergreen trees were brought inside with toys waiting for the children on Christmas morning.

~~~twit twit twit~~~

During winter, nights are longer up North and times were harder back then. Communities relied on each other greatly but during the long cold months, families rationed and looked forward to warmer seasons. Soils always are fertile but spring meant seeds would grow and men had an obligation towards one another.

Gangs, robberies and murders were just as common in old times, and not just in the North. Letters of events describing horrific events have been recorded from every corner of the world but the disappearance of children was and always will remain the most devastating.

A group of rebels haunted the nights and abducted children in their sleep. They were ruthless and passed through locked doors and windows. Kidnappers ensured less men came home every time they retaliated as the men who stayed back placed wages between each other on who would surely not return, make jokes about each other to level their ego and harassed the wives of their neighbours who might not make it back.

Rumours that they came in through the chimney might have been true but while communities gathered and fended how they could, there were no consolations or patterns to the assaults. When mothers become widows and grieve the loss of their children, times are harsh and until the days got longer and temperatures became warmer, when the kidnapping ceased, households kept their fire burning until well past the morning sun. All did their part to dissuade the attackers and ensured the neighbour did theirs.

Kids however, they managed to escape on their own, but the few that did got lost in the forest and froze to their death. Faith is an uncanny adversaire and Santa, who feared the season passing where trees burgeons and atrocious smells lead to unforgettable scenes, wondered what he could do to help and spoke with the people in town, but the imagination is inventive and all folktales started with whispers.

Santa lived well past the town’s borders and deep into the woods. He kept to himself mostly but told stories when he passed through town about animals and the fantastic that filled the kids’ imagination which was the opposite of the other grown ups who seemed to find fault in everything. He laughed at their misfortunes every single time and thought their anecdotes were endearing, asked questions and wondered what to do.

“Ho ho ho,” and he said so cheerfully.

Ho ho ho and he said so cheerfully.  His first, by chance, a seed pleading to grow. His second, an affirmation, none behind or below. His last, an understanding, a reciprocal bow.

His first, by chance

A seed pleading to grow.

His second, an affirmation

None behind or below.

His last, an understanding

A reciprocal bow.

Adults couldn’t see a purpose in his stories. Each had a trade and an integral part to play, and pursuing interests were limited to the young, elderly and the wealthy, and Santa was neither of those things. A man that travels and tells stories, lives alone without a wife or kids to speak of, that finds refuge in the north during the coldest months yet migrates when time comes to cultivate the soil wasn’t well seen by the community.

Someone that behaves differently then the majority raises concern and the attacks coincided with his time in the north. People looked and their tongue waggled but their fingers pointed in every direction and towards each other. When the usually joyful man spoke to the people in town, his canvassing wasn’t well regarded. His recommendations were inconclusive and based on situational outcomes, but Santa wasn’t suggesting but implicating his time spent and how he could colate.

The understanding man pondered. How could he be at the right place and at the right time? He couldn’t be everywhere but those that escape could see the stars and he could position himself. Santa collected the fallen branches of fir trees and spruce trees to build shelters, as many and as far as he could travel to, and told children in the town a story he crafted about the white bear Polaris and the birds he kept as friends. He told them about the red ribbons, described the huts and most importantly, he gave them hope.

Little bear,

A picture of young Sonar Silverstud dressed up as Santa Claus

If you ever get lost somewhere,

Here is what to do so you don’t despair.

Follow the northern star,

No matter where you are.

Listen to the birds’ calling,

There is a reason why they sing.

Cardinals, finches and chickadees,

Love nuts, roasted corn and cranberries.

Find the shelters I’ve built and weaven,

Made of fir branches, spruce and a red ribbon.

Take shelter inside and wait for me there,

Dear Polaris, my growing bear.

There is a pretence that parents enjoy to employ. Do as we do, and they’d tell their neighbours if they could, but that’s not how the proverb goes. Say as we say, but then again, those are for the harsh lessons learned.

Kids mature during the winter months, and that is only half the truth. Judge not to feel judged. Out of the house during the summer, and quiet during the winter. If you can remember being young, it’s tough making mistakes and in confinement, without responsibilities or obligations, adults govern each other and kids are never right even as the world is being shaped before them. The reality is that children talk and see the ways in adults, and what will become of them.

Christmas always was festive in town and customary traditions allowed the children of the village to assemble and convene while the adults prepared for the new calendar year. The wisests and the most dedicated and reputable of the generation, who were not necessarily the eldests or better fortunate, concocted an elaborate and sinuous plan.

Another word for rebels is traitors. People that change camp, go through locked doors, windows and allegedly chimneys. One by one, they fended for the wild. Some of the bravest, also the troublemakers, poured water on the fire to allow their parents the glory of the town and the apprehensive visit of the neighbour first thing in the morning. No matter the wood they burned, when smoke was out, children had gone missing. The adults retaliated and seeked vengeance often but gathered and attacked their children to save them from who had, story be told, passed through their chimneys. As it is said, malveillance surfs the silver lining.

Out in the wild, they adapted and grew into their instincts. Kids learned each other’s capacities and communicated with sounds resembling the ones of animals to hide their maturing voices when needed, but have you heard about werewolves? Have you ever seen one? The villagers did, or so the story goes.

On a night when the moon was full and eyes could see through the night, folks walked the woods and shot one of the rebellers, scaring off the rest. Right in the heart but found the lifeless body of a child instead, his own who had been missing for months, and led the others to believe that their bread were being changed into half-beasts. Vengeance can be inventive and legends are made of facts that are questionable.

‘Old Man Christmas

Santa believed that when we are feeling sad, to make a wish that makes us feel better.

Every day, he strengthened the bows of the shelters he built and replaced the garlands of roasted corn and cranberries he prepared to attract the birds. It’s unclear when he learned the truth, or if he ever did, but Santa walked the woods with a blanket tucked in his coat hoping to find the lost children. They were the gifts he looked for in the morning.

In the stories we tell, the wise man knows whether we are naughty or nice but do you know how he achieved that skill? The first time he found a child inside one of his shelters, in complete bewilderment, Santa gave the boy a cookie, wrapped him tightly with the blanket he carried and brought him back home where he came from. Naturally, noble and grand, the father of the boy was generous and insisted that every household bring evergreens trees inside and decorate them with ribbons of all colours to symbolize their support and gesture of appreciation, but Santa knew they expected their missing child under their tree the next morning in exchange for their gratitude.

The truth was that the boy, and every other child found thereafter, hadn’t seen or found the others and all used the same charade the first one had conceived. “I woke up with a burlap sack on my head but I managed to escape,” they said even as they stayed and walked with Santa all day in silence, eating his cookies and hoping the man would show them the way.

Santa became a symbol of hope for many. As much for parents that wished for their children back, as for the kids planning their escape who took refuge in the shelters and waited for the others there. There often were tiny footprints in the snow leading in and out of his shelters the day after an event but he never followed them for long and nothing ever came of it. As time passed and the abductions became tales of the past, families continued to bring fir trees inside every year to decorate its branches with ribbons and garlands of roasted corn and cranberries as a sign of superstition and luck.

Tradition became to tell stories of Santa that brings gifts to the deserving children that browses through colourful pictures of toys and essentials and creates a wish list of items that stirs their minds months in advance, hoping that they’ll stay. Until the end of December, kids should behave or an old man bearing presents might not remember to come, that’s what we say for the Christmas gifts we hide under the tree, expecting that kids are grateful for their submission and remain entertained and well behaved until spring.

Summer to winter, we are stronger together. Let us remember our ancestor and why we come together. Ne nous oublie pas quand tu hausses notre drapeau. Don’t forget us, repentless joyful.

Summer to winter

We are stronger together.

Let us remember

Our ancestor

And why we come together.

“Ne nous oublie pas quand tu hausses notre drapeau.”

“Don’t forget us, repentless joyful.”

~~~ twit twit twit ~~~

What was Santa’s wish as he strengthened the bows and replaced the garlands of treats he prepared to attract the animals?

Sonar Silverstud

8P Agent of Fortune


Little bear, If you ever get lost somewhere,  There is no need to despair.  Follow the northern star,  No matter where you are.  Listen to the birds’ calling,  There is a reason why they sing.  Cardinals, finches and chickadees,  Love nuts, roasted corn and cranberries.  Find the shelters I’ve built and weaven, Made of fir branches, spruce and a red ribbon.  Take shelter inside and wait for me there,  Dear Polaris, my growing bear.

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