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While the North Pole Villagers slept soundly in their cozy little cottages, the helpers and Kris and Nicholas Kringle soared high over head going from village to village and distributing gifts to the children. In Thistle Castle a new threat to their serenity worked hard against them.

In the inner ward of Thistle Castle, the cruel coven of witches, the wicked wizards committee, and the dread delegation warlocks met at midnight.

Witch Hazel petted her pet raven and said, "Sleep well, my love bird. You have served me well."

Basil and the greatest of the warlocks addressed the assembly. "For many years, we have lived happily far from foolish humans, kindly elves, and goody goody fairies who do not like our ways, in this our beloved bleak and foreboding land. Those North Pole intruders threaten to infect our homeland with the goodness and light nonsense of Christmas. The idea of feeding the greed of children is sickening. Where will it all end?"

"In a cauldron, I hope!" screeched one witch.

"Hot boiling drat for every little brat!" cursed another.

Witches, warlocks, and wizards alike hated the idea of Christmas and the cheerful North Pole Village.

"Then let us to our tasks!" Warlock Basil commanded. Around a green bonfire danced thirteen malevolent magicians who chanted the incantation.

"Down the chimney on a broom, Trim the tree with bits of gloom. Coal and sticks to fill a stocking. Christmas morning will be shocking."

Then they did it backwards.

"Broom a on chimney the down. Gloom of bits with tree the trim. Stocking a fill to sticks and coal. Shocking be will morning Christmas."

The evil witches, warlocks, and wizards chortled with laughter.

The broomsticks flew as fast as reindeer. Within minutes the witches were miles away beginning their evil deeds just minutes behind Kris Kringle and the helpers.

Down the chimneys they flew, filling as many stockings with coal and sticks as possible to make it look like the North Poles did it. Many witches snatched small gifts meant for others into their pockets just to be mean. They gobbled up cookies meant for Kris Kringle and his helpers. Some smashed ornaments for fun so the famiy pets would be blamed, but compared to Kris and the helpers, they visited few children because they had no plan. Witches do not know how to cooperate and often quarrel among themselves.

In the morning, children were wide eyed with amazement at their surprise gifts, but the children who were given sticks and coal in their stockings and their parents were puzzled.

When the ravens brought this news back to Thistle Castle, the witches chortled again thinking how they had spoiled Christmas.

"Badnight, sister Hazel, " said the Warlock.

"Sour nightmares, brother Basil," said the witch.

"Fooey, I'm tired," thought their raven, who knew better than to say anything.

To Chapter Fifteen - Thistle Castle