Another Christmas Tale© 2017 Sam Lelliott
This story is copyrighted by Sam Lelliott, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.
Like much of Syria the devastation was easy to see, Bombed out buildings all over the place.
No one faction could be totally blamed for this state of affairs. SIS, Rebels and the Government troops, all carried out their own raids at different times. Many, many people suffered and hundreds of thousands had left the country to refugee camps in neighbouring countries in the hope of getting new lives in the west. Despite that, many were still in Syria unable to escape. Many of them youngsters without family that had either been killed in the bombing or in terrible reprisals against minorities.
One such person was a thirteen year old teenager named Samir. His parents and older siblings had been murdered by SIS, simply for being Christians. Samir had escaped their murderous onslaught because he had been wounded in the leg and fallen under his father. Covered in blood he was left for dead and the SIS left. Later Red Crescent found him and patched him up and when his wound had healed he was on the street.
Samir had done many things to survive and his outlook on life had hardened. Being fron a Christian family he wanted to go to church but there were none to go to, all destroyed beyond recognition. So it was one early November morning he was sitting in the street begging for a few coppers to be able to eat when he fell asleep. He dreamed a long dream of a far away place full of strange little people with pointed ears all working for a man in a red coat. Suddenly, one of the little people approached Samir and asked him in his own tongue if he would like to meet his master. Samir was intrigued and said yes. The little one took his hand and introduced himself as an elf. They walked a short way and the old man stopped what he was doing and said. "Hello Samir, you seem to have troubles in your life. That is not good for one so young. Come, we shall have some tea and cake."
They sat at a table laden with goodies that made Samir's mouth water.
"Help yourself Samir, fill your belly and drink your fill, you are safe here with us."
Being a polite boy and as hungry and thirsty as he was he asked two questions first.
"Who are you sir and how do you know my name."
The old man gave a chortle with a deep voice and answered. I Know all the children in the world Samir, every single one. I know who is good and who is not. I know who is sad and who is happy. I saw you begging and decided to give you a treat. As to who I am. Many know me as Kris Kringle, to others I am Santa Claus. Others know me as
Dun Che Lao Ren
So I have lots of names. Now eat Samir you will have to go soon back to Syria.
With that, a sadness came over Samir, something about this old man made him feel safe and he started to cry.
The old man put an arm around Samir and said. "Don't be sad Samir your life will not be all bad."
Samir felt a strange warmth surround him and he suddenly woke up. He thought to himself,'what a dream.' Then he tasted the sweetness in his mouth and looked at his hand and saw the piece of cake in it. He shook his head thinking he was still dreaming until he heard the nearby explosion. He came back to reality quick enough and ran for shelter.
November passed into December. Samir had been lucky with his begging but was not looking forward to Christmas this year. No family celebrations as in previous years, Just the same routine of begging and hopefully being able to eat. The days went by day by day until it reached the 20th of December. It was three o'clock in the afternoon that the man stopped and dropped a two pound coin into his hat on the ground. Samir looked up and saw a greying old man who looked western with his paler skin. He spoke in bad Arabic.
"Hello young man, are you Samir?"
"Yes sir." Samir replied.
"Good, it has taken me a while to find you. I am the reverend John Childs and I come from England. I have been hunting for you for over a month now."
"If you are a reverend, where is your collar?"
"Ah, good for you Samir, I haven't got a collar on because it could be extremely dangerous for me to wear one in Syria. Let me show you something."
The reverend opened a book and handed Samir a piece of paper. On it were written some Arabic words.
Samir read. 'Dear Samir,
I am your uncle, also called Samir. I heard from some friends of your families deaths and have been searching a long time through refugee agencies to find you. If you are reading this, Then you are safe and will come to England with the reverends who gave you the paper. My wife and my two sons are waiting to meet you and give you a home. Please go with the reverend and I will see you soon. Love Uncle Samir.'
Tears rolled down Samir's cheeks making the note wet. He sobbed for over ten minutes until the reverend took his hand and they headed away to a new life.
Samir on Christmas Eve was taken by his uncle to the local department store along with his cousins to see Father Christmas.
Samirs turn came and as he reached near to the bearded man in the chair a small little pointy eared person stopped him and said "Hello Samir, remember me?" Samir was so shocked as he recognised the elf.
"Hhhello," he replied. "I remember you from my dream in Syria. How did you get here, am I asleep still?"
"No Samir, you are awake. We get everywhere. Come and meet Santa."
Samir approached the old man in the chair and soon saw who it was. He ran the last yard or two and hugged the old man.
"Thank you Santa, or whatever name you want to be."
"You are most welcome Samir. When you go to church tomorrow, say a prayer for all the others around the world who need help. I have a gift for you. You must not open it until Christmas morning after church, promise."
"I promise Santa, and thank you. I will never forget you."
With that, he kissed Santa's cheek and ran back to his new father and family.
The cousins all sang together, "Away in a manger." as a special treat for the congregation. Samir was so proud to be chosen to sing with the others. After the service the family returned home to prepare for Christmas dinner.
Samir took the little package from Father Christmas to his room to open it. He slowly unwrapped it and with a sharp intake of breath he saw what it was. A colour photograph of his dead family in a nice silver frame with a religious cross on the facia.
He cried for some while as memories flooded back. Slowly he quieted and went down stairs to his new family. He showed them the present from Father Christmas,
"How did Father Christmas know what I longed for Uncle?"
"The world is full of wonders Samir." He said as he winked to his wife. "Father Christmas knows all."