was Christmas Eve, and Chester was kneeling on a cloud. He
searched the Earth below looking for a child who was unhappy.
Chester tried to be a good angel, but sometimes he was naughty.
Once he was so naughty that he lost his wings. He would never
be able to wear them again until he proved that he deserved
them. He had to help ten different children who were unhappy.
And for proof, he had to bring back a tear and a laugh from
each of them.
But how was he to find an unhappy child on Christmas Eve?
He peered into one house after another. Children were giggling
as they hung up their stockings. Others were already asleep,
smiling as they dreamed of the presents they would find the
Then, in one home, Chester saw a child crying. A little girl
was lying on her bed sobbing. But while Chester was swooping
down toward her, the bedroom door opened. The girl's mother
was standing there. "You were a little naughty," she said,
"but this is Christmas Eve, and I forgive you. Come down and
we'll trim the tree together." The girl bounded out of bed
and ran to her mother.
Disappointed, Chester returned to the clouds. He continued
to search. And in another home, he saw a boy crying. In a
flash he was beside the boy. Quickly he captured a tear in
a tiny crystal bottle. The boy stared at him.
are you?" the boy asked.
here to help you," Chester said. "Why are you so unhappy?"
my friends are getting toys tomorrow. But I'm not."
Chester looked around. "Why not? You're not poor."
parents don't believe in Christmas. They think Santa Claus
is a silly fairy tale. And I guess maybe they're right. He
never brought me anything."
I'll fix that," said Chester. And he disappeared.
In an instant Chester was back in the clouds. He knew that
Santa Claus was out there, somewhere, delivering toys. It
was a clear night, and he was able to see for miles and miles.
Far off in the distance, he saw a team of reindeer pulling
he is!" Chester shouted. And he zoomed down to join Santa.
Chester began, "there's a boy you've never visited. You can
make him really happy if you bring him some toys tonight."
But when he told Santa the boy's address, the kindly old man
shook his head sadly.
can't go there," he said. "He doesn't believe in me. And when
a person doesn't believe in Santa Claus, an invisible wall
forms around his house. And my reindeer can't get through."
that's no problem, Santa," Chester beamed. "I'm allowed to
work one miracle for each unhappy child." And sure enough,
when they came to the invisible wall, it crumbled at a clap
of Chester's hands.
Claus bounded through the boy's window with a sack of toys
over his back. Chester followed right behind him. He wanted
to be ready to catch the very first laugh.
But when the boy saw Santa, he said, "You're not Santa Claus.
You're just a man dressed up in a Santa Claus costume. I've
seen dozens of you in department stores."
man, I am Santa Claus!" Santa protested.
bet there's a pillow in there," said the boy, poking Santa's
stomach. "Well, you must have a false beard," he said, giving
Santa's white whiskers a tug. "Well, Santa Claus doesn't come
through windows. If you're really Santa Claus, why didn't
you come through the chimney?"
days most homes don't have a chimney I could fit through,"
Santa explained patiently.
where are your reindeer?" challenged the boy. Santa pulled
up the window shade. There, suspended in midair, next to the
window, the sleigh with its reindeer was waiting.
The boy gasped. "I still don't believe you! It's some kind
you like a ride?" Santa invited. He helped the boy into the
sleigh, called to his reindeer, and they were off.
really are Santa Claus!" the boy beamed. And the peals of
his laughter mingled with the jingling of the sleigh bells.
Chester quickly caught one of the laughs in his little bag.
And with a laugh of his own, he returned to heaven.
2013 The Silversteins