Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Tree Guard's First Christmas: Part Three

THEN CAME THE BAG. The canvas sack was so massive that the man himself could’ve fit inside it, and indeed, I thought he might try when I saw him open its lip and bend over to look inside. I strained to see the man’s face. Finally, he turned. I saw red cherry cheeks and a white beard – the face of my enemy. Without hesitation, I raised the alarm.

Did I mention I can sing? Well, my song is a gift given me by the Creator in order to alert the household of intruders. Thankful for the training that taught me to sing on call, I began.

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly! Fa la la la la, la la la la!” I didn’t know what the words meant, but they served their purpose, if only for a moment. The intruder spun suddenly, bumping his head on the fireplace, then realized that I was only a penguin. He laughed at me, mockingly.

Can I describe how deeply he shamed me, then? My alarm was useless to alert anyone in the household. The corpulent thief crunched on the chicks’ colorful biscuits, drank their white liquid, and rummaged beneath the tree – right beneath my very watch post! Oh, the sacrilege! He mostly likely put some of the packages there into his bag. He tampered with the humans’ footwear that I assumed was hanging over the fireplace to dry, and crept about in a generally menacing way. My song continued all the while.
At the end of the night, though, I failed. The human slipped back through the chimney, the way he had come – what kind of foul creature has the power to ascend through such a portal?

Photo courtesy Angela Wyant/Getty Images
So, that was my first duty as a Tree Guard. I couldn’t do what needed to be done, and it still haunts me. What haunts me more, though, is that the bearded man is still at large. How many other homes will he enter while the Guards stand useless to help? How many more children will cringe and cry at the sight of this human’s picture?

The adult female human is taking down the Tree Guards today – I saw her removing the long, rectangular barracks from storage – so I know my yearlong period of contemplation begins soon. Heed my story, human. Keep the details in mind, for I won’t be around to tell them again for a while. If you have any loyalty to your own species, find the man with the white beard and guard your nest from him. I wish you the best on your hunt, until I return.


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