Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jane Austen's Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a most unusual reindeer may, in fact, come in useful, from time to time. And so it came to pass, a long time ago on a quiet Yuletide eve, in the county of Northlandia, a fledgling reindeer had the great misfortune to be born with a highly unusual nose. This nose, to the great shock of his mother, and the even greater shock of his father—who was often said to be proud nearly to the point of arrogance—was quite, quite red. In addition, the aforementioned facial feature actually glowed. Indeed, no one in the neighborhood could account for such a deformity, and young Rudolph, as he was named, felt himself from the first in great danger of losing the comfort and consequence which would otherwise have been due to him as the sole heir to Mr. Dasher, who had himself for many years enjoyed a high position in the favor of Mr. Santa Claus.

An unfortunate and ill-advised attempt to hide the glowing proboscis served only to highlight how unsuitable poor Rudolph seemed to be to inherit his father’s position. The young deer suffered a not inconsiderable amount of teasing, and was sometimes rudely and with impolitic cruelty excluded from various reindeer games, a loss which Rudolph felt quite keenly, for he was an animal of fine feelings.

It was not until some years had passed that another Yuletide evening dawned, not clear and bright like the night of young Rudoph’s birth, but dark and tempest-tossed. Santa Claus found the prospect of proceeding into the darkness unaided by any light source to be a daunting one. But one felicitous glance at Rudolph convinced him that the instrument of his salvation was very close at hand! Young Rudolph would guide his sleigh that night! And guide he did, his gleaming red olfactory organ yielding sufficient illumination to carry the day. Then, how the other reindeers loved and praised him! They even shouted out with jubilation—and glee.
And so, Rudolph, once a dispirited wretch, found a new purpose in life. Let other pens dwell on misery: Rudloph, with so much true merit and true love, and no want of fortune and friends, and possessed of a skill no other reindeer could boast, passed many a happy year with his furry friends.


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