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 Post subject: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Austria
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 21:11 
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Welcome, boys and girls, to Joey's Advent Drabble. As you all know, this is a busy time of year for my elves and myself but, with the help of the Chalet School, I hope to take you around the world and show you some of the Christmas traditions from many different countries. Being a very busy man, I am very grateful for the help which I have received from this list, as well as from all of the girls from the Chalet School. I do hope that you enjoy their offerings, and we wish you all a magical journey! :santa:

As the girls waited in the tiny room off of the stage for the show to begin, a hum and buzz of chatter flew among them. Madge was there, rushing to make sure that Evadne's dress was pinned into place properly and Joey's hair would stay in the fashion which it had taken them all afternoon to get right. Girls fell over each other as they tried to perfect make-up or find another hair pin, one headdress lay abandoned at the side in imminent danger of being crumpled when Margia nearly sat on it and from a cloud of rouge at the other end of the room Ilonka emerged spluttering.

Aware that, just outside in the hallway, Miss Maynard would be greeting parents and visitors and directing them to Mademoiselle, who acted as usher at the double doors to the hall, Madge tried to make them keep the noise down, but this was a sadly futile gesture. The towers of Babel couldn't have boasted a more impressive range or level of accents, languages and exclamations, and it was only after she overheard Cornelia describe her stockings as 'nobby duds', to which she delivered a scorching lecture and the threat of a slang fine even then, that Madge managed to achieve a modicum of calm.

Shortly after this, Mademoiselle appeared to say that all of the seats were filled and it was time for the play to start. Mr Denny was at his place in front of the piano, the audience were seated and talking eagerly amongst themselves and Marie and Eigen had come up from the kitchen to join in with all of the fun. It had been an eagerly anticipated event among the local community for some weeks, as well as with those girls whose parents had been able to come and pick them up from school at the end of term, and who were in the audience as a consequence.

After one last look around the assembled girls, Madge wished them all to break a leg and, leaving Joey to explain to a puzzled Robin why they should be in such danger, walked out through the doors, into the aisle of the hall and thus to the raised dais which they used as a stage. As she passed the chatter fell to a low hum and then silence descended as she stood, alone in the middle of the stage, a beautiful, willowy young woman. For just a moment she sought out Jem, sat in the very front row with an empty seat next to him for her to join him, then she turned and addressed them all in the clear voice which was such a joy to listen to.

“Ladies and gentleman, please allow me to thank you all for coming to our humble play. As you know, all donations tonight will go towards maintaining our free bed at the Sanatorium and so we ask you to give generously. This year we have decided to take you on a trip around the world, to show you the ways in which Christmas is celebrated in different countries. We do hope that you all enjoy the experience.”

She stood down and went to take her seat while, from the back of the hall, the first girl appeared and started to walk up the aisle.

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Last edited by Secret Santa on 24 Dec 2011, 11:55, edited 23 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Madge's Introduc
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 21:54 
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Ooooh! The first Santa drabble of the year! How exciting :D

Thanks Joey's Santa :santa:

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Madge's Introduc
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 22:18 
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It made me realise it is December tomorrow, and that I can finally stop chuntering about the Christmas lights in town and Tesco etc. Lucky Joey!


Oh! And NORAD will be tracking Santa too :)

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Madge's Introduc
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 22:19 
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This looks fun, lucky Joey! Thank you Santa.


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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Madge's Introduc
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 22:48 
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Thank you Santa!

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Madge's Introduc
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2011, 23:53 
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Thank you Santa :D

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Madge's Introduc
PostPosted: 01 Dec 2011, 00:05 
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Thank you, Santa :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Madge's Introduc
PostPosted: 01 Dec 2011, 20:57 
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Gertrud Steinbecke was one of the first prefects which the Chalet School had boasted, and usually could hold her own in any situation but, as the first person to perform, she was more than a little nervous and there was a falter in her step as she passed the rows of people. All eyes seemed to turn and follow her, but she kept focussed on the stage in front, and reaching it without tripping over her robes, until she found herself with the reassuringly solid wooden boards beneath her.

As there were so many traditions and scenes to try and depict, the stage had been left bare, and it was for each student to mime where appropriate; it had taken many hours of sometimes deeply frustrating lessons for Madge and Miss Maynard between them to teach the girls how to mime convincingly, and some of the girls had made wildly hilarious mistakes when trying to present even the most basic of imagined scenarios.

Now, Gertrude started to move across the stage, bending over and seemingly tucking something away occasionally, or murmuring in a low voice to someone. It was the first time that many of the audience had seen her costume, and they gasped as they were presented with a large pair of eyes staring unblinkingly back at them. Each girl had been responsible for her own costume, and it had taken many hours to ensure that the papier mache structures were large enough to be seen properly while still sitting comfortably on the back of her head.

Finally, after she had spent nearly a minute walking fully across the stage, brown robes caught up in folds around her waist and long brown hair twisted into a knot below her second eyes, she turned to them. In a clear, calm voice which betrayed no hint of her nerves, she explained,

“I am Hotei-osho, a Japanese deity who visits each house over the Christmas period and leaves the children there a present, as long as they have been good. I have two sets of eyes so that I may see all that goes on and make sure only those children who deserve it get gifts from me. Each year, people, instead of celebrating family at Christmas, choose instead to do good deeds and to spread their love through the community, and as they work I join them and watch. As you can see, I follow them as they go into hospitals and help them to comfort the sick and the dying; I am with the poor and the needy as they receive the free food they can beg which will be all that they eat this Christmas day; but I am also with those families who celebrate the joy of having each other.”

After this Gertrud turned and went back to her work, soothing the imaginary sick before her, giving them water or saying a murmured prayer over them. Slowly she worked her way back across the stage again, her false eyes watching all of the audience in what was an unintentionally quite unnerving manner, until she reached the stairs and was able to leave the stage and walk down the aisle again.

As she reached the doors she paused, turned back, and said quietly,

“Be careful how you behave in the year to come; you never know when I may be watching.”

Then she was gone.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Japan
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2011, 12:05 
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Next out was an almost spectral figure, a girl in a long white dress who seemed to glide through the crowds and towards the stage. She carried in one hand a long stick with which she made whipping motions from side to side occasionally, until she gained the stage and could walk carefully around it three full times, before she turned to face the audience. This was Paula von Rothefels, a shining light of the school who had never lacked courage in a prank and who now faced the audience without a hint of nerves.

“Welcome to Ethiopia,” she intoned carefully, still swinging her stick idly from side to side. “Soon we shall have food and make merry, but first we must attend church where we shall have mass, light candles and sing. As you can see,” with a broad sweep of her hand around the stage, “men and women sit apart from both each other and the choir as we celebrate.”

Here she turned her back, moved slightly, and when she was facing the audience again showed that her stick had become a candle. Part of her role had been to be moved by the grave spirituality which was so much a part of the celebrations, however Paula was never destined to be a great actress and, in her eagerness, she had rather overdone the role. Thus she stood, deadly straight, amrs outstretched just a little with her candle held forwards with a concentration so great that it visibly quivered, her head thrown back and her body swaying woodenly from side to side.

For what felt, to her at least, like a very long time indeed, she swayed slowly from side to side, voice growing into a chant as Mr Denny played a soulful piano tune which spread hauntingly around the audience. When the requiem finished, Paula – with a theatricality that made more than one person in the audience smother their laughter into a handkerchief – slowly lowered her head until she was looking at the audience again.

“After our night outdoors, to pray and prepare ourselves, you must be ready for the merry celebrations. Let us therefore rejoice together, brothers and sisters, in Christmas day!”

With this she moved back to the edge of the stage, walked carefully down in such a matter-of-fact way as to put the finishing touches to her previous spirituality, and made her way to the double doors at the end of the hall, her candle stick having miraculously become a whip again as she proceeded. While the intention behind the act was clearly one of drama and soul, there was more than one suspiciously high cough as Paula, wiggling her head a little as if back in her trance, walked out, her role in the play performed much to her own satisfaction.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Ethiopia
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2011, 12:11 
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Thank you, Santa. I love hearing about different Christmas traditions in different countries.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Ethiopia
PostPosted: 02 Dec 2011, 12:24 
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What a lovely idea Santa. Thank you :)

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Ethiopia
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2011, 14:56 
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As Paula receeded into the darkness behind, the audience turned around eagerly, wondering who would appear next to grace them with a story and a tradition. They were not to be disappointed. Into their midst came Marie von Eschenau, one of the most beautiful girls that any school could have possessed. With some astonishment the audience watched as she capered up to the stage, prancing around, twirling, occasionally running back on herself, and all the while with an impish grin on her face! Only Madame and Mademoiselle could know of the long hours which had gone into perfecting that particular dance, but the broad smiles as the audience watched made it somehow seem worth it.

Her long, fair hair was caught up into two plaits, held out at a variety of intriguing angles from her head by the careful insertion of a little wire, and her cheeks had been painted a bright red, her eyes shaded blue and her lips tainted a deeper red – much to her disgust, for make-up was not in her line, and when she had first tried to apply the cosmetics she had declared the taste unbearably disgusting. Her costume was a grey woollen suit caught loosely in folds around her body, stopping at her knees to meet the red socks which covered her legs; a red bonnet perched on her head, and as she moved the white clogs she was wearing “positively clunked”, as she had so eloquently described it the first time she wore them.

Bounding across the stage, she stopped suddenly, listened keenly for a moment, then slowly opened an imaginary door and peered around it. With a terrifyingly evil cackle, she withdrew and turned to look at her audience, mischief puckering up her face.

“I, Nisse the elf, welcome you to Denmark,” she began, her voice a little higher than usual. True fun gleamed in her eyes, for she could be impudent when she chose, and the character she had created for herself suited her perfectly. “We cannot go in yet, for the parents are still decorating the tree, and the children are not allowed to see it until it is finished. I have come down from my farmhouse to play jokes and caper and make mischief on this, my night, but I shall only play pranks on those who fail to leave me a bowl of rice pudding this night.”

In great delight, Nisse pranced back across the stage and peered through the door again, then threw it wide and ushered in the children she imagined gathered around her with a sweeping gesture which nearly knocked her bonnet from her head, and lent one if her plaits a very off kilter look indeed. She bounded in behind them and proceeded to examine the tree from all angles, pulling such a variety of her faces that her father was heard to remark that he wasn't aware his daughter was such a brilliant contortionist, a remark which made many chortle and Madge bury her head in Jem's shoulder in deep embarrassment.

Luckily, Marie herself was too far away to hear this description of herself, and she carried on her role with gusto.

“Soon we will have dinner, and then share our rice pudding to see who will find the lucky almond and receive a present,” she explained, once she was satisfied with the tree, “but first we gather to sing many songs and hymns.”

This was her cue, and as Mr Denny played a lively air on the piano she broke into a traditional German carol, which many of the audience hummed along with. Her voice was strong, and she enthused enough emotion in it to carry her listeners away with her, so that all were disappointed when it ended. Marie, however, maintained her beaming countenance as she prepared to finish her piece, aware of the next act waiting just behind the doors for her turn.

“I wish you all a happy Juleaften,” she announced, breathless after her energetic singing, “and hope that you enjoy the mischief I will wish on you tonight!”

With this she began to prance back up the aisle, twisting and jigging in such a way that a few older ladies were moved to mutter among themselves about just how anyone found the agility for such a thing. At the doors she turned, cackled once more, and then whisked away to be greeted by her delighted compeers.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Denmark
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2011, 17:18 
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Oh Santa, I've only just found this! You must have thought I was very ungrateful. I must admit, I was wondering why I hadn't heard from you, and now I feel really guilty!

Thank you so much. I'm going to read it again now, slowly...

ETA: I love hearing about Christmas traditions from around the world, and I've always loved EBD's ntivity plays - especially the Tirol ones. I don't think you could have thought of a better drabble for me! Thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Denmark
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2011, 21:07 
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Welcome to your journey, Joey! I am sorry that you managed to miss us before, but hop on the sleigh now and let me whisk you away to our next destination...

Next to grace the stage was Renee Lecoutier, very much excited at being the first junior to perform. As the girls had been allowed some choice in the country which they might act, she plumped for the most exciting sounding country which she could find – as had most of the juniors, regardless of how interesting the customs might be or the audience might find them. Gently guided by Mademoiselle, she had finally decided for Yugoslavia.

She entered in a gay dress, covered in many colours, which contrasted greatly with her sombre expression and stiff countenance. Now that the moment was upon her, Renee was taking her responsibility very seriously indeed, and as she walked she concentrated so hard that a fierce scowl was presented to the audience. Her equally brightly coloured hat was attached quite firmly to her hair, but she felt as if one movement of her head should cast it to the ground in seconds, and so she stared gravely ahead, intent upon the stage.

When she reached it, she climbed up, stood for a second, and looked completely flummoxed as she tried desperately to remember what acting she was supposed to do. Then her eyes lit up, for she could picture the log in the middle of the stage which she was supposed to be tending to, and she moved forwards, squatting down beside it and hitching her robes around her. It was only once she had duly prodded it, blown on it slightly and then shifted it a little that she started to talk.

“Here in Yugoslavia one of us sits up at night and tends to the Christmas log,” she explained, her voice faltering a little and not quite loud enough to truly reach the back of the room. “It is very bad luck if it should go out before morning. As part of the Christmas celebrations we have Mother's Day and Father's Day, one week apart, in which we tie their feet to a chair and receive presents to set them free. We have prepared our Christmas crib with moss from the forest and we have made our chestnitsa, a Christmas cake with a lucky coin for whoever gets it. Now we take it in turns to sit up until morning, and if we get bored we may play carols on the Christmas box.”

This was the cue for Mr Denny to break into the next carol to be played, a simple ditty which only lasted a couple of minutes and which Renee sang with an unconsciously simple air that gave it its delight. Once it had finished she returned to tending her log, made sure it was carefully lit and burning in order to bring good luck, and then stood up and slipped back off the stage, melting into the audience and trotting her way to the double doors and the freedom of backstage.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Yugoslavia
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2011, 11:48 
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Thank you, Santa! I woke up this morning wondering what country you'd take me to next :lol:

I'm feeling very Christmassy today as we've had the first snowfall of the season.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Yugoslavia
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2011, 14:30 
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Love reading about the different Christmas traditions. Thanks Santa :D

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Yugoslavia
PostPosted: 05 Dec 2011, 19:18 
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I am glad that you are feeling Christmassy, Joey! Especially because I know of a certain young girl who possibly isn't... I hope that you enjoy the next part of your journey :santa:

As the audience prepared themselves for their next treat, there was a bang backstage, followed by a distinctly American voice indulging in some slang which could only have come from Cornelia, and which made Madge wince and turn on Jem a highly embarrassed countenance. Whatever had gone wrong, however, was clearly under the control of the prefects, and after an almost unnoticeable delay, the next girl appeared.

Ilonka had, after much argument with Cyrilla, elected to represent her national country in the play, and so she danced out in a black costume, hair tucked under a black hat, black bracelets jangling around her wrists and a decidedly black scowl. She carried in one hand the stick easily recognised from earlier, which had clearly become a whip again, and as well as a set of red horns on her head her crowning glory was a long tail, curled over the other arm and held artfully in place. As she strode purposefully through the aisle, she let out a series of noises to those on either side of her which could only be described as growling.

Leaping onto the stage, she instantly set about at a crowd around her, growling and yelping in an overdramatic manner decidedly not present at rehearsals which made Mademoiselle clutch a hand to her bosom in horror. Whatever contortions the crowd she was imagining were making, it must have been fairly impressive, and those in the audience not wholly puzzled by the affair rocked in their chairs with laughter.

“I am the assistant of Mikulas, bringer of gifts,” announced Ilonka in a rolling, deep tone most unlike her usual accent, so possessed of fervent drama that it caused Miss Maynard to announce to Mademoiselle that she would see Ilonka had elocution lessons next term. “While he distributes gifts among the children I whip those who have been naughty and hold them to account for their sins.”

“And evilly you do it, too,” muttered Jem, which had the somewhat desired effect of making Madge relax into a chortle.

“We will pay you a visit two weeks before Christmas, on the 6th December, so that Christmas celebrations may be focussed on the presenting of nativity plays and especially on Szent-este, the Holy Evening of Christmas Eve. Here we have midnight mass, but before this we gather to sing carols and open any presents which Jesus and the angels have left.

“Be wary, though, for it may be me visiting you instead!”

With a few more strokes of her switch, Ilonka jumped off of the stage and strode back through the audience again, only remembering halfway back that she had meant to growl dramatically as she went, an effect which finished off completely those who hadn't already given way to laughter.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Hungary
PostPosted: 06 Dec 2011, 11:02 
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It was perhaps as well for all concerned that at this juncture Bernhilda was to act her scene, for many were struggling to control themselves and the play threatened to lose its intended air and simply become a farce. Gentle as she was fair, Bernhilda always managed to radiate around her a calmness which proved infectious, and as she set herself to glide down the aisle she bestowed on all around her the beaming countenance of a motherly angel.

Her own costume had been sacrificed for the sake of helping the Junior girls with theirs, and she had chosen a country noted for its simplicity of celebrations, so that she would have few lines to learn and could help all of the younger girls prepare for their time on stage.

Once she had gained the stage she took a position in the centre of it, arms spread open just a little as she talked to help include her audience. Although the staff had all agreed that it would be impossible to find a mime for every country, they had tried to spread out those where there could be only a speech, lest the audience become bored of being lectured to.

“In Venezuela the Christmas period is long and joyful, with many traditions,” began Bernhilda, her golden voice stretching to the edges of the room and drawing respect and attention from her listeners. “It starts on December 16th, when families finish and display their pesebres, or their depiction of the nativity scene. These remain on show all the way through.

“Throughout there are carol services, of which one must attend at least one of the nine, and often bells and firecrackers will call people in the pre-dawn hours to join in. The next big celebration comes on Nochebuena de Navidad, or Christmas eve, with a large meal to share with your family after the mass which always takes place on this night, at the end of the carol services.”

As part of the play, Bernhilda had elected to sing a simple carol with which she had grown up, and the audience were enraptured by the golden strains from the piano complimented by Bernhilda's well-trained voice. Not naturally gifted to sing, she had been taught well, and there were many approving nods as she finished. Only once the last notes had shimmered away through the hall did she speak again.

“Finally, on January 6th, celebrations come to an end. The night before children leave out straw, and in the morning they find when they awaken that this has been changed into a pile of magnificent presents by the Magi, who travel on their camels every year to find the Christ child. Children must also see if they have a black smudge on their cheek, a small kiss from the king of the Ethiopians, Balthazar.”

To the same, slightly ethereal notes as before, Bernhilda made her way back along the stage and down into the audience, leaving behind her an enchanting air of mystery which had considerably sobered the audience, blending back into the darkness as Mr Denny's music crept over them all.

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Venezuela
PostPosted: 06 Dec 2011, 12:22 
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Thank you so much, Santa! I've just seen yesterday and today's updates at the same time.

I love the fact that we are getting to see the character sof the girls, as well as finidng out about Christmas in Many Lands. The snippets from the grown-ups are great, too.

You seem to be putting a lot of work into this, Santa - many thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Around the World - A Drabble for Joey - Venezuela
PostPosted: 07 Dec 2011, 14:53 
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Standing in the doorway waiting to be allowed out, Suzanne Mercier glanced around at the hall through wide eyes. Normally she was a retiring girl who did her best not to be noticed, and doing any part in a school play was daunting for her; to be doing a large part entirely on her own, therefore, was decidedly nerve-wracking, and it was all that she could do to grasp at her failing courage and remember her lines.

She was dressed in a black costume, with a wide red stripe down the front and tiny red shoulder pads. Her black hair was caught up and her skin had been lightly blacked. Her black silk trousers hung baggily down, so that she had to be careful as she walked not to trip over. She had also gained custody of the now infamous stick.

Once the last strains of Bernhilda's music had died away she walked out, trying not to grimace at the uncomfortable feeling of trousers, stick swinging loosely in one hand. In the early rehearsals the staff had thought of her doing something as she walked up the aisle, but poor Suzanne had been so nervous anyway that in the end they decided it would be safest to stick with a small stage performance.

She had a small mime to perform before her speech, which she threw herself into with relief. The only way that Suzanne had ever found to cope with acting was to lose herself in the part so completely that she forgot about the audience, and now she let her naturally mischievous side appear to play. Peering into corners and glancing now and then at some large companion beside her. Feeling in a pocket she drew out a list which she consulted between glancing at her imagined friend and into various rooms.

Eventually, she folded up the list and put it away, then sprinkled a few sticks from her other pocket across the stage, before she turned and launched into her speech.

“In Belgium Christmas is celebrated purely as the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ,” she explained, fixating her eyes at some point above the heads of the audience as she had been told to do, mainly so that she could pretend nobody was watching her. “Children do receive presents, but this happens in the early part of December, for the feast of St Nicholas.

“I am Pere Fouettard, the companion of Pere Noel, and we visit all Walloon speaking children on the night of 4th December to see those who have been good and those who have been bad. We then return on December 6th to leave suitable gifts – toys and chocolates, for those who have been good, but only a handful of twigs for those who have been bad. Similarly, we will visit French speaking children and leave for them their just desserts also. For those who are Dutch, St Niklaas will pay a visit.

“During the day of the feast of St Nicholas families are quiet together, as well as going to special services. It is, however, my job to see that good children are allowed a gift as part of the celebrations – but be wary! I may find that I have to leave you nothing more than some twigs.”

Incredibly glad at having got through without any mistakes, Suzanne exited the stage and walked with a little more haste than was strictly necessary, still walking a little strangely because of her trousers.

_________________
Happy Christmas Image


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