Claws was a big, ugly monster,
covered with shaggy, light brown fur. He had long, sharp teeth. He loved
Christmastime more than any other time of the year. When he tromped
through the evergreen forest where he lived, he could see the colored
lights on the peopleís houses. One night he looked down into the glen and
saw a house flashing red, blue, green, yellow, and orange lights. He
wanted to have a closer look, so he headed down to the neighborhood with
all the houses in it. He arrived at the house and couldnít believe how
beautiful it was. He loved all the colors, especially the red. He saw
lights strung around the windows, on the trees, and on the porch railing.
While he was standing at the white
picket fence that went all the way around the house, it began to snow very
hard. Huge, fluffy, white snowflakes tumbled from the sky, landing on his
fur, on his nose, on the grass, and on some of the glowing lights. Claws
began to shiver. He felt a little bit cold. Heíd walked down the street
through icy slush and his paws were wet. He stepped over the fence and
walked up to the house. He peeked in a window and saw that nobody was
home, so he pulled the window up and went inside. He had just gone into
the living room when he saw a car pull up in the driveway. The family that
lived in the house came pouring out of the car. They headed towards the
Claws didnít know what to do. He was
stuck inside the house. Hide! He had to hide somewhere quickly. He ran
into a room and saw a bed with a cowboy blanket on it. He squeezed under
the bed. He could barely fit. He lay very still. The family came into the
house and hung up their coats. He could hear the mum tell her little boy,
Graham, that it was time for bed. Claws lay very still as the lad changed
into his pajamas. He picked up his books and threw them against the wall,
scaring Claws. Graham went into the bathroom to brush his teeth and then
climbed into bed. His mum came to kiss him goodnight and then turned off
the lights and shut the door on her way out.
Claws lay there, wondering how he
was going to be able to sneak out of Grahamís room. Was he asleep? Claws
tried to slide out from under the bed, but his fur got caught on one of
the bedís wheels. He yanked and tugged, but accidentally made some
grunting noises. Graham sat up in his bed and shouted, "Mum! Come here,
Claws quickly slid back under the
bed again. Grahamís mum came running into the room. "Whatís the matter?"
she asked her frightened son.
"Mum, thereís a monster under my
bed. Itís making grunting noises and Iím scared," he told her.
"Come on now, Graham. Thereís no
monster under your bed. You just had a bad dream, thatís all," she said,
Claws lay silently. How did the wee
lad know that he was under his bed? "But Mum, there is a monster. I heard
it. Please can I sleep with you and dad tonight?" Graham pleaded.
"Och, all right, but just for
tonight. Tomorrow morning Iíll show you thereís nothing under the bed,"
she said, picking Graham up and carrying him out of the room.
Claws breathed a sigh of relief when
the two of them left. He was glad they were gone. He slid out from under
the bed and stood up, walked towards the door, opened it slowly and peeked
around the corner. He didnít see anyone, so he made his way down the
hallway. It was dark and Claws almost didnít see the toy fire engine lying
on the floor near the kitchen. He almost tripped on it. Whew!
Claws slowly and carefully made his
way into the family room. In the middle of the room stood a splendid
Christmas tree. It was covered with colorful balls and twinkling lights.
Claws couldnít resist. The lights were so pretty. He went up to the tree
and touched the lights gently. They felt warm. He liked the red ones the
best. He stood there watching them go on and off, on and off. A big smile
lit his face. He looked at the tree. He noticed the colored balls and how
shiny they were. Some were silver and some were gold. He put his face
right up to one for a closer look and caught his reflection in the ball.
He gasped and then let out a snort and then a grunt. His face was all
distorted, looking huge and very odd. When he realized it was his face and
not someone elseís, he smiled. His sharp teeth looked very curved and his
lips looked huge and bulbous. Claws laughed.
He noticed, out of the corner of his
eye, something red and white. He turned and looked. It was a long, skinny,
hooked thing. He picked it off the tree and sniffed it. It smelled like
peppermint. He licked it with his long, slimy tongue. Mmmmm. It was
peppermint. He loved peppermint. He licked it and licked it and soon had a
sticky mess all over his furry paws. Claws shoved the entire candy cane
into his mouth and tried to wipe the sticky stuff off his paws, but he
couldnít get it off. After he chomped the candy cane, he licked his paws
He started to sniff some other
things. He found a string of puffy popcorn and cranberries. He picked up
the string and bit off a piece of popcorn. Mmmm. He liked it! It was nice
and salty. He then bit into a cranberry. It was sour. He made a funny face
and spit it out. Yuck! Claws ate all the popcorn off the string and left
all the cranberries.
When heíd finished eating, he
noticed some brightly wrapped gifts under the tree. He had no idea what
they were, but start to play with the ribbon. It was soft and curly. He
took a bow off a package and undid it. He sniffed it, but couldnít smell
anything. He licked it but it didnít have a taste, so he threw it down on
the ground and picked up the box. He pulled the paper off and tore it
open. Inside was a tie. He put it around his neck and tied it into a bow.
He went over to a silver ball, looked at himself, and grinned.
He spent the rest of the night
opening the boxes to see what was inside them all. After he was fed up
doing that, he climbed underneath the tree. He saw some water in a bowl.
He slurped it up and began to feel rather tired. He wrapped his body
around the tree and fell asleep. He woke up a few hours later. It was
still dark outside. He stood up, stretched and yawned and then went into
the kitchen to see what was there. There were a couple of mugs on the
counter with some brown stuff inside them. He picked one up and sniffed
it. It smelled like chocolate, so he poured some into his mouth. It tasted
watery.. He drank all of it and what was left in the other mug too. There
was a plate with plastic wrap and a red bow on top. Claws loved red. He
pulled the bow off and then ripped the plastic off too. There were chunks
of creamy chocolate and nuts, and some biscuits and popcorn balls. He
didnít want the popcorn because heíd already eaten some off the tree
already, but he ate the biscuits and the fudge. He loved fudge.
The sun began to rise. Claws heard
movements in the other room. He knew he had to hide quickly. He stomped
over to the closet and hid inside behind some coats. He listened as Graham
and his mum and dad came into the kitchen. "Dear, did you come down in the
middle of the night and have a snack?" Mum asked, seeing the empty plate
of sweets and the plastic and red bow on the floor.
"Why no, dear. It wasnít me. I fell
asleep and didnít move. Was it you, Graham?" Dad asked.
"No, Dad. It wasnít me. I slept in
the bed with you and Mum, remember? There was a monster under my bed
though. It grunted and snorted and I was scared. Maybe it was the monster
that ate the fudge and biscuits."
Claws, hiding in the closet,
wondered how the wee lad had known heíd eaten the sweets.
"Well, dear, I have to get to work,"
said Dad, opening the closet door. Claws didnít move at all. He stood
stiff. The dad stuck his hand in and pulled his coat off the hanger.
Luckily for Claws he didnít look inside or he would have seen him hiding
After heíd shut the door, Dad left
for work. Graham and his mum left right after that to go shopping. Claws
waited until he was sure theyíd all left, opened the door of the closet
and came out. He ran out the back door. Heíd had enough of that. He
started walking down the street, back towards the forest. Off in the
distance he saw a few deer running through the bushes. He looked up into a
tree that was bare of leaves and spotted a red cardinal. He thought it was
such a beautiful shade of red. He then walked past a shop window and saw
many toys. There were wooden soldiers, trains, dolls, and roller blades.
The sun was rising quickly. Claws
knew he had to hurry back before all the people came out of their houses
and saw him. He spent the day in the forest, looking down at the town. He
watched the people carrying Christmas trees, packages, and plates full of
sweets. He wondered if anyone had any of that delicious, creamy fudge. He
sat there all day long until he was so tired that he couldnít keep his
eyes open. He went to his cave and lay down. Soon he was sound asleep.
Some bells jingling awakened him in
the middle of the night. He opened his eyes. There stood a man with a red
and white suit on. He had a white beard and black boots. Claws stood up.
The man smiled at him and then went outside. Claws followed him and
watched as he climbed into a sleigh that was being pulled by a few deer.
The man turned to Claws and said, "Merry Christmas, Claws." He then flew
into the sky and disappeared.
Claws went back into his cave. He
was delighted to find a small Christmas tree covered with red balls and
red twinkling lights. On top of the tree was a yellow star, shining,
lighting up the cave. Claws touched the tree. He noticed there was a plate
sitting under it, so he picked it up. It was piled high with pieces of
creamy, chocolate fudge. He sat down on the ground and ate some. It was
delicious. He saw his reflection in one of the red balls. He grinned.
"Merry Christmas," Claws mumbled in monster talk. "Merry Christmas."