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Copyright Š2015 Mike Anderson All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recordings, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. Published by MW Productions. Printed in the United States on acid free paper. Š MW Productions 2015 www.hugokringle.com First Edition All rights reserved


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I remember the day Mom sent Kris and me to the woods to pick up kindling. “Kris! Hugo! You boys go out and pick up some sticks. Wear your coats, gloves, and scarves. A hat is a good idea too.�

Kindling is a collection of dry sticks and other wooden things used to start a fire.

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Kris and I walked and walked and walked. We picked up every stick and twig and pine cone we could find. “Hey, Kris, where did you leave the pulk? My arms are full.” “I didn’t bring it. I thought you brought it.” “I didn’t bring it. So… where are we going to put the sticks? I know Mom wants more than two armfuls.”

A pulk is a sled or toboggan used to haul things over the snow.

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Kris dropped his kindling onto the snow. “I have an idea. Come here, Hugo.� My brother began to shove sticks and twigs and pine cones into my coat! The sticks stuck my chest and were itchy. He buttoned my coat again. He filled my stocking hat with sticks, twigs, and pine cones too. Then he shoved it back onto my head. Ouch! To be fair, my brother did fill his coat too. We both picked up more kindling and started for home.

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When we were about half-way home, a woman with long gray hair stepped out of the woods and onto the path in front of us. She had a long elk-skin coat and leather boots. “Who are you?”she asked. “It’s just us, Ma’am, Hugo and Kris Kringle.” “Ah, the Kringle boys. I thought a couple of tattie bogles had walked out of the garden! What are you doing out here?” “Our mother sent us to pick up kindling for the wood box.” A tattie bogle is what a scarecrow is called in Scotland and Wales. The words mean “man of the crows.”

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“Well, you don’t have much. How many trips are you planning on making?” “Just two, Ma’am. This one and the trip where we bring the pulk so we can carry more.” The lady reached into an inside pocket at the bottom of her elk-skin coat. She pulled out a dark red cloth bag with a golden drawstring. “Here, put your kindling in this bag. It’s a good bag.” “Thank you, Ma’am, but I don’t think this bag will hold any more than our coats.” “Give it a try, Kris Kringle. It’s a good bag. You can keep it. I don’t need it back.”

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As we moved the sticks and twigs and pine cones from our coats and hats into the bag, the lady of the woods stepped back into the trees. We spent the rest of the day picking up kindling. The more we filled the bag, the more that went into it. That red bag never got full and didn’t get heavy. Finally, when the sun touched the tops of the giant spruce trees, we started home.

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Mom met us at the door. “Where have you boys been? I was getting a bit worried.” “We were picking up sticks like you said. We picked up a bunch!” Kris and I pulled sticks and twigs and pine cones out of that bag for at least an hour. We filled up the kindling wood box and the kindling basket that was next to the fireplace. Mom stared and stared.

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“Where did you get that bag?” “The lady that lives in the woods gave it to us. She said we could keep it. It sure did hold a lot of sticks!” “Oh, she’s the Norn! She came to our house when you were born, Kris. She touched your head and said, ‘Here’s a birthday present for you.’ People say Norns can do magic. I bet that bag has got some magic in it!” “Maybe. At least there aren’t anymore sticks in it!” “Norns” were wise women who traveled from house to house, foretelling the future in return for gifts, food, and a place to sleep.

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Kris and I used that bag all the time. When Mom would tell us to clean our room and ‘get everything off the floor!’, we would stuff everything into the bag and toss it into the closet. Presto, instant clean room! That trick worked every time.

Kris and Hugo’s beds sat right on the floor. There wasn’t any space under the bed to push stuff!

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Kris still uses that bag on Christmas Eve. It’s one of the ways he carries all those presents! The bag also keeps the sleigh from getting too heavy to pull.

All of the cookies and milk he eats on Christmas Eve adds a lot of weight to the sleigh!

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Hugo Kringle

Š MW Productions 2015

All Rights Reserved

www.hugokringle.com

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