Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Homeward
not a creature was stirring, not even a Hitmouse.
Or so Uncle thought ..
One of the tallest towers in Homeward is Clock Tower. On every side of it there is a different clock face. The one facing Uncle's bedroom has an image of the great benefactor gilded with gold. Its trunk measures the minutes and an upraised arm measures the hours. A team of dwarves keep the clock in working order - but tonight they have all been out celebrating and are fast asleep amidst a warm glow of light. For tonight is Christmas Eve, and the clock has been garlanded with electric lights in red, pink, yellow and orange.
always at this time of year at Homeward the weather is fierce. A blizzard whips
around the Clock Tower and the snow is deep.
Apart from the whistling wind, all seems quiet and peaceful ..
had been another spectacular Christmas Eve at Uncle's. Sometimes Uncle gets
Cowgill, his chief engineer, to erect a big tree by the edge of the moat outside
Homeward. But this year, with the weather so bad, Uncle had decided to host
his traditional Christmas Eve party at his baths.
guests had cried out in awe at the sight of the transformation that Cowgill
had carried out for the party. The baths are quite spectacular - the building
that contains them is so colossal that the end is only a dim shadow. But they
looked even more remarkable that evening. The pink water had all been frozen
creating a sparkling ice rink. Beneath the surface were many coloured lights
creating an ethereal glow. In the small island at the centre stood the traditional
giant Christmas tree - the lights on it making a great pyramid of colour.
the tree were the presents that Uncle and his followers would exchange the following
day. Pride of place amongst these was a magnificent gold medallion bearing the
visage of Uncle. This was a gift from the King of the Badgers to commemorate
all of the good deeds carried out by Uncle during the year.
ceiling of the baths had been lit to create an effect much like that of the
Northern Lights. Cowgill had employed an army of glow-worms to produce this
effect - they switched themselves on and off in rapid succession to achieve
the illusion of moving light.
usual on Christmas Eve a truce had been declared with The Badfort Crowd and
even they were dumbstruck by the beauty of the sight before them. Finally Hateman
admitted, The old gaffer has pulled the stops out this year!
the crowd's excitement died down Uncle made a short speech. Friends,
he said, I welcome you all to my baths and wish you all a very happy
Christmas. You will see frozen in the lake is my dining raft filled with a mighty
feast. For those of you who do not have them there are skis and ice skate's
in many sizes. Once you have enjoyed your repast there will be songs and games
by the Big Tree where you will each find a gift.
cheers were almost deafening. The scene that followed was delightful. Many of
the guests were carrying lanterns, which made moving points of light on the
ice as they made their way to the dining raft.
conjuring displays and snowballing, followed the feasting. The Badfort crowd
seemed to be on their best behaviour, failing to interrupt the songs with their
own pithy comments, and even for once failing to make use of the snowballing
to wreak revenge on Uncle and his followers.
be honest Uncle was a little disappointed with them. Perhaps they are
trying a last ditch attempt to be good this year for Santa? opined the
Old Monkey. I doubt that very much grumbled Uncle I don't
like it one bit
I fear they may have some devious intent
that moment though three cheers were called for Uncle and so he stood before
the crowd to take a bow.
and his friends said goodbye to the last of the revellers and locked up the
Baths. They sat around the Great Hall fire with a mug of Hot Joey congratulating
themselves on how well the evening had gone. As the time approached midnight
they all went off to bed. Before he made his way up the stairs the Old Monkey
noticed Uncle having a quiet word with his detective A.B.Fox
approached, on Clock Tower the Big Trunk hand and the little upraised arm hand
both pointed upwards. Uncle was fast asleep dreaming of the evening's entertainments
when suddenly he found his trunk being shaken. Awake sir! I am afraid
you must awake - your fears have been proven true! Uncle opened his eyes
and beheld his detective A.B.Fox with a stern look upon his face. Quick
Sir, I have aroused your followers cried the Fox But we must hurry
- even now we may be to late - there is no time to lose!. Uncle jumped
to his feet grabbing his trusty club and rushing after his Detective. He found
his followers gathered in the Great Hall similarly armed. What's this
all about A.B.Fox? asked Uncle I hope you have good reason to drag
us from out beds on Christmas morning?
A B Fox recounted the tale of his evening. You were rightly suspicious of the good behaviour of the Badfort Crowd sir, as you requested I returned to the Baths to check that all was well. I hid in the Big Tree and waited. As Midnight approached I heard noises coming from the presents that had been placed beneath the tree. Suddenly one of the packages burst open and Beaver's head appeared from inside. Good hiding place lads he cried Nearly midnight and then the truce is over, time to strike a blow for the revolution!. A B Fox continued I sneaked back here as fast as I could, Sir, for reinforcements. Well done AB - a good night's work. cried Uncle. He rallied his forces and they all followed A B Fox to the scene of the previous night's festivities - Uncle's Baths.
sad sight met their eyes as the skated across the ice covered water. Strewn
around the big tree were the remains of the wrappings from the presents that
they had bought each other and placed there to exchange on Christmas Day morning.
Worse than this, though, was the sight of Father Christmas dishevelled and tied
to the base of the tree. Around his neck was a crudely written sign Capitalist
Uncle's followers rushed to the tree and quickly released Santa from his bonds. Give him a tot of Hot Joey and see if you can revive him' said Uncle. Santa soon had some colour back in his cheeks and Uncle began to question him Who carried out this infamous atrocity on you my dear man?'. I have not met them before but they were dressed in sackcloth and one of them kept sticking skewers in me. sobbed Santa. Uncle's followers exchanged knowing glances. They said that I was in cahoots with capitalist toy companies - who exploit children by making them watch commercials and brainwashing them so they demand them from their parents - and then they said I make their parents pay hugely inflated prices. I tried to remonstrate with them - I said that my presents are all made by dwarves in the North Pole and are given free to the children .but they asked me If I paid the dwarves a minimum wage and excused me of exploiting them. They said that they were requisitioning all my presents for equable distribution amongst the poor and needy.
I told them that I was sure that the poor and needy would be on my list if they
had been nice and not naughty. Then they asked me if Badfort was on my list
of places to visit and got really angry when I could not find it. They said
I was a humbug and had no right to sit in judgement on the proletariat and that
they were forming their own revolutionary committee to award the presents to
those who were most committed to overthrowing the shackles of tyranny!
At this point Santa was overcome with emotion They have taken my sleigh
am I to do ? - there will be so many disappointed children in the morning
will be the first time I have failed in my mission
. he sobbed.
Fox could not contain himself Sir, Sir we must be quick, there is still
time to thwart this dastardly act - the reindeer will be unco-operative once
they realise they have been hijacked
may I suggest that we use Cowgill's
new helicopter to give chase?
Excellent Idea! Mr Fox shouted Uncle. Luckily Cowgill's new improved helicopter was close to hand as he had been making use of it to transport the glow worms to the ceiling of the baths, and to train them for the previous evening's light show. He had enlarged it's carrying capacity in order to transport the large number of glow worms employed in the show and Santa, Uncle and all his followers were soon aboard with room to spare.
cried out the Old Monkey from the prow of the copter the glow worms have
formed themselves into a giant arrow. The followers all peered into the
gloom of the enormous vaulted ceiling. How clever sir remarked AB
Fox to his patron they are showing us the route the Badfort Crowd used
for their hasty departure. At the tip of the glow worms arrow could be
seen a large gaping hole through which snow was falling and twinkling stars
could be glimpsed.
expertly manoeuvred the copter through the gaping hole and before long A.B.
Fox's prediction as to the behaviour of the reindeer was shown to be true. Sir,
Sir I can see Santa's sledge up ahead cried the Old Monkey from the prow
it's just swooping round and round in circles! Through the snow
flurries the followers peered below and could see a strangely comic sight. Beaver
held the reigns of the sleigh and was exhorting the reindeer in the direction
of Badfort. Hootman flew around them screaming orders. But all too no avail
- the reindeer were determined to bring the sleigh to ground and it turned in
ever decreasing circles spiralling downwards.
for a boarding party I think Sir shouted A.B.Fox over the whistling blizzard
and cries of the Badfort crowd. Cowgill skilfully matched the speed of the copter
to that of the sleigh and brought it alongside. Uncle cried up and at
'em men and with this exultation they all jumped into the sleigh. Cloutman
singled out individuals and stunned them with one blow of his fists, A.B.Fox
laid many low with his expert use of the old martial art of ping-pong, and Captain
Walrus made use of the belaying-pin in true sea dog fashion. The Badfort Crowd
put up little resistance, though. Already much the worse for wear after celebrating
the hijacking with copious amounts of Black Tom, the constant circling of the
sledge had left them completely disorientated. At last Uncle came face to face
with Beaver Hateman. There was a quick rush, and a sharp thud, a loud cry, and
then Beaver soared majestically into the night sky - finally coming to land
in a large snowdrift at the entrance to Badfort. Unfortunately, the shifting
of Uncle's weight caused by this massive kicking up sent the sledge into a nosedive
from which the reindeer were unable to recover it. Luckily, all it's passengers
were able to jump to safety just before it smashed into an ice covered Gaby's
entire Badfort crowd faded away, leaving Uncle and his followers to survey the
remains of the once beautiful sleigh. The presents all seem to be fine,
Sir - landed in that snowdrift remarked A.B. Fox to Uncle. But without
my sleigh that's where they will stay sobbed Santa. With tears in his
eyes he patted his reindeer You did your best boys but I'm afraid the
games up. We'll never be able to deliver all the presents now. Hold
fast said Uncle 'the evenings not over yet - I'm sure something can be
done. May I suggest sir said the Old Monkey tentatively the
helicopter? Of course! said Uncle with Cowgill's cargo
modifications it should have no problem taking the load. No problem
at all, chipped in Cowgill and I would be happy to pilot Santa for
the night, Sir - always fancied a trip round the world.
Excellent Cowgill - and in the meantime perhaps you could get your staff to see what can be done with this sleigh enthused Uncle. Certainly Sir, just needs a bit of craftsmanship to get it all back in order said Cowgill.
Santa was overjoyed This is marvellous! I cannot thank you enough - we shall erect a statue to you at The North Pole in commemoration of your magnificent work tonight. Well if you must, you must - I suppose said Uncle slightly embarrassed but secretly rather pleased to have his name famed in far off lands. You shall spend Christmas Day with us, as my guest, whilst repairs are made to your sleigh. I cannot thank you enough, noble elephant said a rather emotional Santa now I must supervise the loading of the presents, so fare thee well till the morrow.
all the presents were collected and loaded on Uncle's helicopter. Even the presents
the followers had left beneath the tree for each other were found. All accept
the gold medallion from the King of the Badgers to Uncle. Alas I fear
that I saw it upon the neck of Beaver as I kicked him up remarked Uncle.
Oh Sir, your beautiful medallion, to think you have lost such a gift
said the Old Monkey. The happiness of the children is more important than
a trifle in honour of my good works' said Uncle magnanimously, although he had
been rather looking forward to wearing it on Christmas Day and explaining the
good deeds he had carried out that had led to it's presentation.
yawned. Oh well, I'm sure we are all tired, let's get back to our beds
- at least we shall have a peaceful Christmas Day after all of this evenings
Sadly this was not what fate had in store for Uncle and his followers .
Following the events of Christmas Eve, Uncle and his followers had a late sleep on Christmas morning. It was nearly twelve o'clock when they finally made their way down the Great Hall stairs for lunch. Santa and Cowgill had completed all the deliveries of the presents in record time, and despite having had only a few hours sleep were too excited by the journey around the globe to sleep any longer. They regaled their friends with tales of the many sunsets and sunrises they had seen on their circumnavigation.
Uncle's table was so loaded with provisions that it had actually to be supported in places by casks of ham. There was turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, mince pies and lashings of Hot Joey.
the meal they all gathered around the fire, singing and playing games. As it
approached 3'o'clock Uncle took from his pocket a small key and went into a
small room adjoining the hall.
This was Uncle's television studio and it was from here that he would make his annual Christmas Day broadcast.
His follower's switched on the television set in the Great Hall and watched Uncle's face slowly appear as it warmed up. Firstly I would like to wish all of the inhabitants of Homeward A very Merry Christmas, Uncle began As many of you will be aware a dastardly plot to disrupt Father Christmas's delivery of presents around the world, by a set of human skunks otherwise known as the Badfort crowd, was prevented last night by timely action on my part .. The image of Uncle and his voice were suddenly removed from the screen by a burst of static filling the screen. Eventually this subsided to reveal the face of Beaver Hateman!
interrupt this broadcast
crowed Beaver because it is a tissue
of lies from start to finish! As usual the arch boaster is distorting the truth
and fabricating falsehoods in order to cast his evil actions in a good light.
This tyrant has stolen presents from the very hands of the poor orphans of Badfort.
The time has now come for retribution to reign down upon him
this point a whistling sound could be heard coming towards Homeward and getting
louder and louder until with an almighty crash an enormous brown object smashed
through the balcony windows of the Great Hall splattering Uncle's followers
with a sticky brown material.
Uncle stormed out of his television studio demanding What in heavens name is going on!' He looked aghast at the mess covering his followers and the large brown object in the midst of the hall. The Old Monkey licked the brown substance from around his face. Actually, Sir, it's rather tasty he said in a surprised voice. Uncle got out his telescope and looked across at the ramparts of Badfort. Beaver and his cronies were doing a dance of glee around a giant catapult - clearly very pleased with themselves.
at Badfort there was a jubilant mood amongst the inhabitants. That must
have taught the old bully a lesson cackled Beaver what did you load
the catapult with Hitmouse?.
Well I knew it would have to be something really big, and I found a really big gooey brown thing in the kitchen - stroke of genius I think, if I say so myself replied Hitmouse his voice slowly dropping off as he realised that everyone had turned to look at him with faces aghast. You idiot!...that was our Christmas pudding! cried Beaver moving menacingly towards the diminutive Hitmouse. Hitmouse needed no more warning than the expression on Beaver's face. He turned and scarpered with the entire Badfort crowd in pursuit. All accept Hootman who had cooked the said pudding. I think I better disappear for a bit myself he moaned Beaver isn't going to be too happy when he finds out I put the gold medallion in it instead of a coin. With that he vanished.
Back at Homeward Uncle and his followers were very pleased with their gift from Badfort - if a little perplexed. Look Sir! -they have returned your medallion with the pudding. shouted the Old Monkey Perhaps with have done them an injustice, Sir, by always painting them so black. I no it's an odd way to send a gift sir - but they have clearly had a change of heart! hmmm I'm not so sure mused Uncle, as he toyed with the gold medallion around his neck but anyway, it's Christmas - so let's wish the inhabitants of Badfort a very, merry Christmas! Uncle and his followers all raised their glasses in the direction of Badfort before tucking into the unexpected gift from their archenemies.