Tuesday, December 29, 2015

THE CHRISTMAS POINSETTIA synopsis

LOGLINE A very special Christmas gift of love can turn weeds into wonder.
PITCH Twelve-year old Maria is inspired by her abuelita’s Christmas story about a poor girl’s heartfelt gift of weeds to the baby Jesus and how they turned into beautiful red flowers. Maria experiments with her own prayers and weeds . . . but nothing happens and her humble gift is tossed away in disgust. Still hopeful, Maria’s bedtime prayer is for baby Jesus to please turn her weeds into flowers—and it works so well her entire room is filled with beautiful red poinsettias, inspiring the entire village.
SYNOPSIS Young Maria likes her abuelita’s stories, especially about los Cuentos de Navidad with los pastores, los ángeles, and los Reyes Magos. Maria, 12, lives en un pequeño pueblo in México and one particular afternoon, she runs to her grandmother’s house where she has a piñata full of candy. She looks at the weeds growing along the sidewalk in the dirt and thinks that much of her life feels like them. Then she runs up the wooden steps of her grandmother’s brightly painted casa and burst through la puerta. Her grandmother’s soft, black cat named Bonita, who loves to tickle Maria with her tail, greets her. She asks her grandmother to tell her a story, curls up in her grandma’s wooden chair and rests her head on a rainbow-colored blanket, eating candy and listening to the story, which goes like this:
“There once was a poor Mexican girl named Pepita, who had no money to buy a gift to give the baby Jesus. Her cousin Pedro told her that even the smallest gifts of love make Jesus happy. Noticing the weeds on the side of the road, Pepita picked a small handful of weeds and made them into a bouquet. When she walked into the church, she felt ashamed that she only had this small gift to give the baby Jesus. While placing the weeds at the Nativity scene in the church, she said a quiet prayer with tearful eyes. Then she blinked, not believing her eyes: the weeds changed into a bouquet of bright red flowers. It was a miracle. Since that night, everyone knows the Legend of the ‘Flowers of the Holy Night.’ Most people call the flowers ‘Christmas Poinsettias’ and see the plant as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem.”
Maria decides to try an experiment on Christmas Eve. She collects every weed she can find—big, small, and dirty—then hurries to el belén at the church’s altar. She gives Jesus her weeds. She takes off her red sweater and wraps the baby in it. Then Maria gently arranges all the members del belén, making sure they are standing in their proper places. The next morning, Maria runs again a la Iglesia del Pueblo to see if the weeds have become las flores. When she peers through the window, she still only sees weeds at el belén and feels a bit worried. Later that night, Maria and her familia enter la Iglesia del Pueblo with burning candles. There is a crowd gathered around the Nativity scene, staring at the weeds in disgust. The priest unwraps el niño Jesús from Maria’s red sweater and throws it in the trash behind the pulpit. Tears stream down Maria’s mejillas color rojo brillante. She runs out of la Iglesia as fast as she can
Despite the taunting from the congregation, Maria picks more weeds and fills sus bolsillos as full as possible. She crawls into su cama, pulling up the covers, praying: “Por favor niño Jesús, change my weeds into flowers.” Early on Christmas morning, Maria feels something tickle her nose, thinking it might be la gata de su abuela. As she slowly opens her ojos, she realizes she is lying in una cama of bright red Christmas Poinsettias. She is excited to see that Christmas Poinsettias grow across the floor, ceiling, and every wall. Soon enough, the entire village believes the Legend of the Christmas Poinsettia and builds jardines de las flores rojas.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Christmas Rose," A MERRY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A lyric from an upcoming Christmas standard. 
https://soundcloud.com/jen-waters/christmas-rose

VERSE:             
On a cold December night
A baby was born and brought a great light
Myrrh, frankincense, and gold
Gifts to a king, and a story to unfold
And I had nothing to give but my tears
All of my hopes, and all of my fears
I felt so empty handed
                                   
CHORUS:          
But then came an angel
Who touched all my sorrows
That had fallen in the snow
There in their place in the humble manger
Grew a white and pink lovely
Christmas Rose

VERSE:             
It smelled like fragrant spring
It was the gift that I had to bring
A flower of warmth and love
Things that could only come from above
'Cause I had nothing to give but my tears
All of my hopes, and all of my fears
And I wasn’t empty handed

CHORUS:          
‘Cause then came an angel
Who touched all my sorrows
That had fallen in the snow
There in their place in the humble manger
Grew a white and pink lovely
Christmas Rose
                 
BRIDGE:           
Almost like a shepherd in the fields
What I gave was priceless and yet so simple
It came in the misty chill of winter
As clear as the voice of heaven's timbre

VERSE:             
If you have nothing to give but your tears
All of your hopes, and all of your fears
Just come empty handed

CHORUS:          
‘Cause then came an angel
Who touched all my sorrows
That had fallen in the snow
There in their place in the humble manger
Grew a white and pink lovely
Christmas Rose

TAG:                 
Such a lovely Christmas Rose
What a lovely Christmas Rose

Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Frederick the Seahorse: The Story of A Quest for a Hidden Sea Chest

“Where do you think the Titanic’s lost sea chest of treasure is hiding?” Frederick said, swimming along the ocean floor.
The blue-green seahorse had scoured the ocean for years, wondering who had acquired the chest, and if he could find it.
“I’m not sure, Son, but if it’s around here anywhere, I’m sure you’d know,” King Maris said, sitting on his throne.
“I just don’t want to be like Uncle Makai who lost his kingdom because he ran out of treasure,” Frederick said.
“Son, he lost his soul before he ever lost his treasure,” King Maris said, reminding his only child that character mattered.
King Maris had ruled the Kingdom of Kaimana, his father, King Llyr, ruled before him, and next in line was Frederick.
According to oceanic legend, a sea chest with millions of dollars of treasure from the Titanic was still missing.
For at least a decade, pearls, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gold and silver coins from the British ocean liner have tossed in the ocean waves. However, no one had been able to find the fortune to make it their own.
“I can’t imagine running the kingdom without having more treasure than our neighboring kingdoms,” Frederick said.
“You’re a greater king than the rich King Saewine of the Kingdom of Nokauakau, and I will not be overshadowed by him or his sons. How could you let me be prey to thieves and enemies? I’ll outdo you, Dad, and stock up on wealth.”
“Frederick, we have so much wealth! Instead of looking for more treasure, don’t squander what we have,” the King said.
“I know you think we have enough gold and silver, but what if we run out and need more?” Frederick said.
“If I’m the next king, then we will need more wealth than what we have now, so I can build my own kingdom,” he added.
“It will be a bigger kingdom than yours, or King Saewine, and it will last forever. I hope one day a statue is made of me.”
He rubbed up against the large monuments of his father with Poseidon, “God of the Sea,” also known as Earth-Shaker.
The gold and silver monuments erected by his father stood tall on the ocean basin and towered over the average seahorse.
“Find a bride as your princess and start a family. Forget about trying to amass more riches that will rust,” the King said.
“Then, your mother and I would be prouder of you than if you found any hidden sea chest. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. What good is it for you to gain the whole ocean and lose your soul?”
“Yeah, Dad, but you’ll see that I was right when I make you richer than any king in the ocean,” Frederick said.
Later that night, when the ocean had grown dark, Frederick set out on an expedition without his father’s consent.
“Dear Father, I’m going to find the hidden sea chest. Be back soon. Yours truly, Your Son,” he wrote on a seashell.
When King Maris found the note in the ocean sunlight, he wept tears of remorse, believing his son was lost.
“If we ever see our son again, it will be a miracle,” King Maris said to his wife, Queen Maris. “I hope he returns . . .”
After weeks of swimming past sharks in the fierce ocean waves, Frederick washed ashore on an unknown island.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself laying next to a sea chest of treasure, guarded by pirates with sharp swords.
“Is this the treasure that you’ve been looking for?” the pirate with an eye patch said. “We should put a bounty on you!”
“I told my father that I would recover the sea chest for Kaimana,” Frederick said, breathing heavily on the sand.
“Why did you think it would be so easy to find the treasure?” the pirate said, now placing a knife at Frederick’s throat.
“Please let me go. Just let me back in the ocean. I want to go home to my father. He will be worried,” Frederick said.
“Oh, now you want to go back to Daddy, do you?” the pirate said. “Fine, take him out on the ship and walk the plank.”
“If he survives after walking the plank, then he can find his way home to his father and their little kingdom.”
The band of pirates wrapped Frederick up in ropes attached to a lead weight, took him out on their ship, and bounced him off the plank. Frederick sank to the bottom of the ocean, faster than any sea chest would have sunk.
“Take that with you!” the pirate yelled at Frederick, tossing a large, shiny diamond to the ocean floor with the seahorse.
“How am I going to get out of these ropes?” Frederick said, burping one bubble after another.
He slowly watched the shiny diamond as it dropped next to his nose on the bottom of the ocean.
“So close, but so far away,” Frederick said, considering his fate. “I guess a diamond can’t really help me now.”
Wrestling in the ropes attached to the lead weight only made Frederick more tired and certain of his demise.
“If I die here, Father and Mother will never forgive me. I told them that I was going to bring back a treasure,” he said.
Days went by, and Frederick still struggled to break free of the ropes. He despaired until the point of death.
As he was just about to give up hope, he thought he was having a vision, but then again maybe not.
“My name is Naia,” a gorgeous red-orange seahorse said, swimming in Frederick’s direction. “Let me save you . . .”
“Oh, well, I don’t need your help. I’m fine,” Frederick said, uncurling his tail and kicking it against the ocean’s sand.
“You don’t look fine to me,” Naia said, ignoring his protest and unraveling the ropes secured by the pirates.
“Thank you. I really do appreciate your help,” Frederick said in a soft voice. “I was searching for a sea chest.”
“A sea chest?” Naia said. “That old chest that sunk off the Titanic? It was just a drop in the ocean. Look at all the ocean’s beauty. It’s so colorful and brilliant. I can hardly believe how fortunate I am to swim in the ocean.”
“Yep, I know what you mean,” Frederick said, realizing just how beautiful Naia’s blue eyes were in the sunlight.
He glanced at the shiny diamond, realizing how little it now meant to him, especially compared to Naia’s eyes.
“Would you like to meet my mother and father?” Frederick said. “I haven’t been home for a while . . .”
“Of course, I would,” Naia said. “First, let me send word to my father that I will be gone for a few days.”
“Now run along and tell Father that I went on a trip with a friend,” Naia said to her friend Guppy. “I think this is true love. Tell him that I will send word if there is going to be a wedding. He would need to give me away . . .”
“I got a little lost, Naia,” Frederick said. “Thank you for helping me find my way home. My family misses me.”
Not giving the diamond another thought, Frederick swam off with Naia, grateful for someone who cared about his freedom.
After days of swimming in the ocean, Frederick and Naia had danced in the waves to more than one melody.
“Do you have a seahorse in mind to be your wife?” Naia said, trying to nudge Frederick into admitting he admired her.
“Oh, no, not really,” Frederick said, looking in the other direction. “I was trying to gather wealth first . . .”
“Well, then, maybe I should just swim back to my father and let you go on your way to your parents,” Naia said.
“No, don’t do that,” Frederick said. “I would miss you terribly, and I’d probably be lost again in no time.”
Despite Frederick’s protest, Naia swam off in the other direction, leaving Frederick at a complete loss.
He swam in circles, crying and looking for his lost love that he might never ever be able to replace.
When he finally found her in an ocean cavern with her friend Guppy, he was afraid she would not even speak to him.
“Please, I’m sorry,” Frederick said. “I didn’t mean to offend you. Now I know that love is more important than any lost treasure. I almost lost you, and you’re a greater treasure than silver or gold. Come meet my parents. They’ll love you.”
“I forgive you,” Naia said, wondering what it would take to help Frederick realize that she was in love with him.
By the time Frederick and Naia reached his father, he knew he would have to ask Naia to be his bride and princess.
There was no way that he could risk losing the most valuable person that he had ever met on land or sea.
Otherwise, she would surely swim home, and he would never see her again, even though she had saved his life.
When the two seahorses swam to King Maris’ throne, the King and Queen were as speechless as could be at their arrival.
“Son, I thought we would never see you again,” the King said, after many moments of silence. “You’ve returned!”
“Yes, Father, I’ve returned with the greatest treasure of all, a love named Naia,” he said, brushing against her side.
“Naia, will you marry me and help me rule my father’s kingdom?” Frederick said, bowing before the seahorse.
A tear filled Naia’s eye as she kissed him in front of his parents, knowing that she loved him more than anyone.
“It would make me happier than anything to be your wife,” Naia said. “In fact, my father, King Saewine, is the richest king in the ocean, and he would gladly give his treasure as my dowry. I knew when I saw you that it was true love.”
“Your father is King Saewine?” Frederick said, feeling foolish that he had tried to build a kingdom bigger than his.
“Why, yes? Have you heard of him?” Naia said, smiling with pride at her father’s good name in the ocean.
“Yes, we’ve heard of him,” King Maris said, looking at Frederick. “We will hold the wedding here!”
“I’m the richest seahorse in all the ocean!” Frederick said. “And it has nothing to do with that silly old sea chest!”
Ever since that day, Frederick and Naia were richer than any fish in the sea, bird in the sky, and living creature on the ground. Love had given them everything they needed, even if they never owned the treasure from the Titanic’s sunken chest.

Copyright 2017 Jennifer Waters

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Nativity Spider: The Story of Tinsel and Christmas Spider Webs

“Betsy, did you kill the spiders yet?” Mrs. Lobb called from the kitchen of their three-floor New York mansion.
“Mother, please let them live! It’s Christmas, and they’re my friends. I can’t kill them,” 11-year-old Betsy said.
Betsy loved to play in the fields, and in the springtime, she had met an adorable family of spiders.
“I love your dainty webs!” Betsy said, admiring the handiwork of the spiders in the trees. “Please, come and live with me!”
Although the spiders were shy at first, they warmed up to Betsy’s charm and crawled into her pockets, never to return to the fields.
For her birthday, the spiders spun her an elegant lace dress, complete with a matching belt and quilted purse.
“I cannot have Christmas Eve guests in this house covered in spider webs!” Betsy’s mother said in a stern voice.
“If you don’t kill the spiders, Father will kill them, and it will not be pretty at all. Get the broom, and do as I say.”
“Yes, of course,” Betsy said, gathering her spider family in the pockets of her red Christmas dress and running up two flights of winding stairs. Instead, Betsy ushered the spiders into the corner of the third floor attic of her home.
“Go up to the rafters until my mother’s Christmas party is over,” she said, tripping over the golden hem in her dress.
“My family and I must trim your Christmas tree with webs before midnight,” said Tarantola, the youngest spider. “Each year the Christ Child comes at midnight and touches spider webs on Christmas trees and turns them into silver tinsel. This has been happening since the first Christmas. When he turns a spider’s web into tinsel, he promises the spider will live another year. If I don’t give my gift to the Christ Child, I’ll die in the winter’s frost, so will my family.”
“Oh, we must sneak to the tree,” Betsy said. “Wait for me. I don’t want anything to happen to you or your family.”
As the evening went on, Tarantola spun delicate webs in the corners of the attic with his parents, brothers, and sisters.
In the rest of the house, guests danced to Christmas carols as holly, ivy, and garland decorated every window and door.
The Christmas tree towered at twelve feet tall with limbs that balanced crystal ornaments and glistening balls.
Servants mingled among the guests with trays full of Christmas pies and three-layered chocolate cakes.
Betsy ate crab dip with sourdough bread, making her way to the punch bowl a time or two.
“Aren’t you having fun, darling?” Mrs. Lobb said. “See why you had to get rid of those horrid spiders?”
“Spiders? Does she still play with those ugly creatures?” Mr. Lobb said. “If I see a spider, I’m stepping on it!”
“Father, don’t be so nasty! The spiders are lovely. They only want to decorate the house with their webs,” Betsy said.
“Don’t let anyone hear you say that, Betsy,” Mrs. Lobb said. “The guests will think I raised a filthy child.”
“Honestly, I know you mean well, but people might think you’re not in your right mind,” Mr. Lobb said.
Mr. and Mrs. Lobb turned to entertain their uppity guests, shushing Betsy before she could say another word.
“Why do I feel like the spiders are my only real friends?” Betsy whispered to herself, looking at the grandfather clock.
The hands on the clock said it was already half-past eleven, and in less than half-an-hour, the Christ Child would come.
“Tarantola must spin his webs for the Christ Child before midnight,” Betsy said to herself, counting the minutes.
“The Christ Child does come at midnight, doesn’t he?” the Widow Vaduva whispered in Betsy’s ear.
“It’s time for me to hurry home,” the widow said grabbing her mink jacket. “He’s been to visit my home almost every year to bless the spider webs on my Christmas tree. Your mother must have never known this! Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas!” Betsy said, hugging the widow. “You are nicer than most of my parents’ friends.”
Betsy ran up two flights of stairs to the attic, swinging open the door, only to find the attic in beautiful, artistic webs.
“Oh, I can’t see a thing! Tarantola, you’ve spun so many webs that I can’t even find you! Where are you?” she said.
“I’m right here, Betsy. Isn’t it midnight by now?” Tarantola said, sliding down his web into the palm of her hand.
“It’s five minutes until midnight, but my mother’s party is still going on,” Betsy said. “My parents and their guests will kill you, if they see your webs on the tree. My best idea is to wait until they leave and decorate the tree after midnight.”
“I’ll surely die, and so will my family,” Tarantola said. “I can’t wait! Carry us down to the Christmas tree!”
“If you insist, but Father might step on you,” Betsy mumbled, trying to remember where she had last seen the broom.
She gathered Tarantola and his family into her dress pockets, ran down the stairs, and hurried past guests to the tree.
“Here you go! You have about two minutes before the clock strikes midnight,” Betsy said to Tarantola and his relatives.
As Betsy ran to the corner of the room, the spiders scurried up and down the Christmas tree spinning webs.
“Is that a spider?” one of the guests said, noticing a growing web on the tree. “Oh, it can’t be a spider . . .”
“Maybe it is a spider,” the other guest said. “It seems like there’s a growing spider web on the Christmas tree!”
“Aaaah!” one of the older women yelled. “It’s a spider! Kill it! All spiders are evil and dirty little creatures!”
As she began to scream, the grandfather clock struck midnight and bright starlight shone through the dark window.
The entire room gasped, and a small child appeared next to the tree, admiring the artfully cast webs on the evergreen.
“Please bless our Christmas tree,” Betsy said, walking next to the Christ Child, who smiled at her with peace.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it,” he said, touching the webs on the tree.
As he touched the webs, they transformed into shining silver tinsel from every branch of the Christmas tree.
Then the Child disappeared in the starlight, as if he was only Betsy’s Christmas wish.
“Oh, you left before I really got to say much to you,” Betsy whispered, hoping the Christ Child could hear her.
Before anyone found Tarantola, she shuffled him and his spider family back into her dress pockets again.
Although Betsy’s parents and their guests were never quite sure what had happened, silver tinsel shone on the evergreen.
Betsy felt more than merry in her heart, knowing that the Christ Child had taken every tangled spider web and made it brilliant. Now if he could only do that for each person on the Earth this Christmas.

Copyright 2016 Jennifer Waters

https://soundcloud.com/jen-waters/the-nativity-spider-spoken-word-narrated-by-jen-waters

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Mistletoes: The Story of the Christmas Dutch Girl and Seven Musical Elves

Once there was a Dutch girl named Daniëlle Kappel who lived in a castle on the Holland coast with the windmills.
“I’ve placed my wooden shoes next to the fireplace for Sinterklaas,” she said to her father, kissing him on the cheek.
She also sat her large Christmas bouquet of mistletoe from her friend Niels on the fireplace mantle.
Flipping open her father’s pocket watch and looking at the late hour, she hoped to receive many gifts for Christmas. 
After all, her father was a very rich merchant who sent ships all over the world and traded rare goods in foreign lands. 
When she was young, she and her mother would spend hours in the fields by the ocean, frolicking by the windmills.
Her mother’s sister lived in a cottage on the coast with seven musical elves from the blistering cold North Pole. 
Very few people knew that the elves, also called the Mistletoes, lived with her aunt, who hid them in her attic.
Sinterklaas asked them to live in Holland instead of the North Pole, so they could deliver gifts for him at Christmas.
Of course, the Mistletoes pretended to be humans, but they had magical powers in song that they used for good deeds.
Their names were Joyful, Cheerful, Merry, Peaceful, Carol, Nightfall, and Claus. 
Since Daniëlle’s mother had passed away, her stepmother mostly ignored her and sometimes forgot Christmas. 
“Now run to bed, Daniëlle,” her stepmother said to her, shooing her away on Christmas Eve without a second thought.
Her stepmother claimed that a wicked witch distracted her each year at Christmas, so she could never bake a ham. 
“I hope the wicked witch doesn’t bother you this year,” Daniëlle said, quickly hugging her stepmother’s side. 
“We shall see. The wicked woman always shows up at the worst times,” her stepmother said, rolling her eyes.
“Just don’t dream of Niels,” the stepmother said. “I forbid you to see him. He only gets you into trouble.”
"He's my best friend," the 12-year-old girl said. "Besides, Mother always liked him and wanted me to marry him."
Pretending not to hear Daniëlle, her stepmother kissed her husband and handed him a helping of blackberry pie. 
Then she grabbed Niels' mistletoe bouquet from the mantle and threw it into the fireplace and watched it burn.
When Daniëlle woke in the morning, she found her shoes filled with candies and golden coins, noticing the mistletoe ashes.
“Oh, Father, is this for me?” Daniëlle said, as she dug beneath the candies to find her father’s pocket watch. 
“Your mother would want you to have it,” her father said, as he looked at her black and white photo on the mantle.
Daniëlle put the pocket watch in her dress pocket and felt like a princess with the special power to tell the time.
“Before the day gets away from us, would you run an errand for me, Daniëlle?” her stepmother said with a grimace.
The dark woman moved Daniëlle’s mother’s photo to the back of the shelf and placed hers in front of it.  
“Could you take this to your mother’s sister in her cottage by the windmills?” the stepmother said, slyly.
She handed Daniëlle a basket of baked goods and fruit, saying, “We want to wish her a Merry Christmas!”
“Surely, I would love to visit her on this special day!” Daniëlle said, as her rosy cheeks rounded her face.
Her blond braided hair lay gently across her shoulders, looking like a gift itself, as it was tied with red ribbons. 
“Now I also have an errand to run,” her stepmother continued. “I am taking a pie to an elderly woman on the coast.
We will both surely be back before nightfall, and then we can enjoy a Christmas feast with ham and apples.”
“I love you more than anyone!” Daniëlle’s father said, hugging Daniëlle and wrapping her in a wool jacket.
Daniëlle’s stepmother grinded her teeth and bit her lip at the thought of her husband’s devotion to her stepdaughter.
“Now run along, and be a good girl,” Daniëlle’s stepmother said. “It’s Christmas Day! Don’t be late for dinner.”
As Daniëlle ran along the coast, it started to snow with a brisk wind, growing dark earlier than she expected.
“How grand! You remind me of mother,” she said, admiring a lovely windmill, stopping for a little break. 
Although her stepmother expected her back for dinner, Daniëlle opened the door to the windmill, deciding to rest. 
“I knew I would finally get rid of you!” a gruesome voice rang throughout the windmill as the door slammed shut.
“Wait! Who would do such a thing on Christmas?” Daniëlle said, crying, as she peered through a crack in the door. 
To her surprise, her stepmother—dressed like an evil witch in a black gown—pranced outside the windmill. 
“I knew you were never good for Father!” Daniëlle yelled through the door at the top of her lungs.
“Well, he will never see you again, or your do-gooder aunt! My blackberry pie just killed her,” the witch said.
“I beat you to her house. By morning, you will freeze to death in this windmill, and I will have all your father’s money.
I will kill him, just like the two of you, and I will be the richest woman in Holland!” the stepmother said.
Daniëlle collapsed in tears, falling asleep only to dream of her mother dancing on a spring day in the Holland tulip fields.
“You have the power to tell time,” her mother said. “Use your power to save your father before it’s too late.”
When Daniëlle woke in the morning, her father’s pocket watch lay on her chest, tick-tocking away. 
The Mistletoes stood surrounding her on every side, holding warm cups of apple cider and singing Christmas hymns.
“Oh my! My lovely elves! How did you find me? I love every single one of you!” Daniëlle said, hugging them. 
“Your song must have brought me back to life,” she said, feeling her body. “I’m sure I must have died last night.”
“We found your aunt last night. She died in the foyer of her cottage,” Nightfall said, rubbing his eyes with tiredness.
“We took her to the closest cathedral and asked for peace,” Peaceful said, sighing to himself and holding back a tear.
“I sang a song until she flew to the angels,” Carol said, humming as though no one could hear him.
“We tried to sing her back to life when we found her, but she was already dead too long,” Carol continued. 
“Then we came looking for you, knowing that the witchy evil stepmother of yours would come after you,” Claus said.
“Your aunt could never find the words to tell you, but the witch killed your mother,” Merry said, patting his tummy.
“We are so glad we found you before you froze in this windmill that brings so much happiness,” Cheerful said. 
“Now we must try to save your father and believe that the spirit of Christmas will prevail,” Joyful said with delight. 
“The hands on my father’s pocket watch seem to be slowing,” Daniëlle said, looking at her watch. 
“We must get to Father before the hands on the pocket watch stop, or the witch will have killed him,” she said. 
At once, the Christmas Dutch Girl and the seven musical elves set out to save Daniëlle’s father. 
“What will we do once we find my evil stepmother?” Daniëlle said, asking the Mistletoes for suggestions. 
“I say we wrap her up and ship her off to the North Pole for Sinterklaas to deal with,” Claus said to Nightfall.
“That seems like an excellent solution to me,” Nightfall said, pulling up his sleeves in the cold morning air. 
“Do you think that’s too mean?” Cheerful said to Merry, rubbing his nose and thinking of a fit punishment.
“It might be too mean, but this seems to be an exception,” Merry said, who always chuckled at the worst situations. 
“She killed someone, Cheerful!” Nightfall said. “I think we should definitely send her off to Sinterklaas.”
“I can summon Rudolph and his reindeer with a song,” Carol said, starting a round of “Adeste Fideles.”
“Sinterklaas can decide what happens to her,” Peaceful said. “Maybe she can work for him for the rest of her life.”
“What do you think, Joyful? You are the chief elf, and we must obey you,” Claus said in a whisper. 
“Her evil spirit can be changed into the Christmas spirit,” Joyful said, thinking of the highest possible good.
“When we find the witch, we will all sing until she is overcome and collapses,” the chief elf said.
“Then Daniëlle can bind her in ropes, and we will send her off to Sinterklaas once and for all.”
“Agreed,” said Daniëlle. “Father and I will be free of her, and you can come live with us as long as you want!”
“But how do we know that Meneer Kappel is not already dead?” Nightfall said, always thinking the worst. 
Daniëlle looked at the ticking pocket watch and showed it to the elves: “We still have time. He’s not dead yet.”
Through wind and snow, the pocket watch moved slower and slower as Daniëlle hurried to save her father’s life. 
“I’m worried that we will not make it in time,” Danielle said. "Run as fast as you can. We are almost out of time.”
When Daniëlle and the elves reached her father’s home, they peered inside the windows to find her stepmother crying.
Daniëlle’s father held the witch as she cried, saying: “I tried to save Daniëlle and her aunt, but the witch killed them.”
“It’s not your fault, darling,” Daniëlle’s father said. “That horrid witch has been after you for years. 
She killed my first wife. It’s not surprising that she would also kill my daughter and former sister-in-law.”
“No, it isn’t,” the evil witch said, growing as big as the ceiling of the Dutch castle. “Now I will kill you!”
The witch grabbed a knife from the kitchen that doubled in size as soon as she touched its metal handle.  
“You were the evil witch all along! How could I have trusted you? You took my wife and my daughter,” the father said.
“Leave my father alone,” Daniëlle said, bursting through the castle with the Mistletoes who sang in full voice. 
As the witch held the knife at Daniëlle’s father’s throat, “Papa, I knew you were still alive! I have the power to tell time.
We came to save you! Mother would never let you die at the hand of this witch. She is our angel.”
“Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,” the Mistletoes sang in harmony, shrinking the witch back to normal size. 
Before the witch could regain her large stature, Sinterklaas landed in the front yard with Rudolph and his sleigh of reindeer.
Daniëlle wrestled with the witch until she dropped the knife on the kitchen floor. She kicked it to her father. 
“I will not let you harm my daughter,” Daniëlle’s father said, stabbing the witch in the heart until she died. 
“We were going to exile her to the North Pole,” Joyful said to the father, “but maybe this is for the best . . .”
“Yes, I think it is for the best,” Sinterklaas said, walking into the Dutch castle with gifts for everyone. 
“She’s been trying to end Christmas for years. It’s one of the reasons I sent the Mistletoes to Holland in the first place.”
“I promise to restore you and bring you and your daughter true love,” Sinterklaas said to Daniëlle’s father. 
“Until then, please help me celebrate Christmas. I would be so honored if the Mistletoes could live with you.”
As the years went by, Sinterklaas kept his promise and brought Meneer Kappel true love with a Greek princess. 
With the evil stepmother dead, Daniëlle was no longer forbidden to spend time with her prince, Niels.  
The Mistletoes orchestrated a wedding for Meneer Kappeland then for Daniëlle to Niels when they came of age. 
Dead as a doornail, the wicked witch never bothered anyone in Holland again, and Christmas lived on in peace.

Copyright 2015 Jennifer Waters