The Christmas Hater

“Grandpa! Are you ready?” his grandson who everyone else except his mother called Little John, so as not to confuse him with his grandfather called John, was tagging at his sleeve.

“In a minute, little John, give me a second” John combed into place a couple of stray hairs into place. He had been maintaining an impeccable beard since he had turned twenty eight. Women swooned over his beard and men envied him. Once he overheard his neighbour saying “It’ll get thin and patchy when he is old. Wait for it”.

Now he was sixty nine years old and his beard looked as perfect as always. Even white had not altered its style to the worse; it had just transformed it a pure and wise beard. 

In short, John was very proud of his beard.

“We will be late for the Christmas market!” little John was losing  all patience. As all kids of his age, loved the colours, the music of the toys, the hot chocolate and the candy flavours so rich one could taste them in the air. The city was in the Christmas festive mood and all loved it.

All except John. He hated Christmas.

He must have been the only place on Earth that hated Christmas. But he loved his grandson so he was out of the comfort of his Christmas free living room and into the Christmas infested streets. He had hoped that his wife would join them, he depended on her the last fifty years to calm him down when he got angry. However, that day she made them dress in their matching red pullovers and ushered them out the door. “I have to finish baking the Christmas cookies!” was her excuse.

He had just bought caramelised almonds for little John and a hot wine for him, when John stroke his beard and thought “Well, I might survive this after all”. Not so many annoyingly happy people were around, the wine was good and the kid didn’t run away. If he knew how wrong his assessment was, John wouldn’t go out till May.

A tug on his sleeve. Confused he looked in front of him; little John was still where he had left him. The tug on his sleeve repeated and this time he tried to locate its source to his left and behind. A little girl wearing a strawberry hat looked at him expectedly. 

“Can I tell you now what present I want?”

John was confused. “Tell your parents, little girl”.

“But we are supposed to tell Santa. They are not Santa”.

“So go tell Santa. Where are your parents?” John concerned looked around for the little girl in the strawberry hat parents. No adult in the vicinity seemed eager to collect the little girl. 

“Aren’t you Santa?” she seemed confused and John speechless. Him Santa? But why?

“My grandpa is Santa!” exclaimed little John enthusiastically and with a content for being right the little girl with the strawberry hat started listing the gifts she wanted. She kept track of their number by counting with her chumby fingers. Before he had time to clarify the mistake or locate her parents, more kids surrounded them, as if they had appeared out of nowhere. They were drown to him like moths to the flame. 

He put the blame on little John who took a lot of his persuasion among kids’ cheers to convince him to stop shouting ”My grandpa is Santa!” on top of his lungs. He had hoped for parents support, for parents to keep their children under controlled, but today’s parents let them roam like little beasts.

Nightmare was the only word in his vocabulary that could satisfactorily explain what was happening to him. Hungry for gifts kids tried to catch his attention and tell him all the toys they longed for and his parents refused to buy them. He was drown in an ocean of happy Christmas spirit embodied by bewitched little devils, ready to devour him in exchange for a toy.

Panic, anger, confusion. Why him? Why did God hate him so much?

With a mind buzzing with little people’s voices, filled of too many Christmas words, John shouted angrily above them all “Santa is not real!”

Silence followed his words. A swarm of doe-eyed faces stared him on the verge of confused tears. Too many upper lips trembled with suppressed cries and a cynic pair of eyes stared at him satisfied that his suspicions were correct all along.

And by his side the confused and heart broken little John. The blood of his blood looked as devastated as any five year old would have been in his place. John cursed himself and Christmas and capitalism and parents who couldn’t keep an eye on their offspring. 

“Santa is not really me!” he tried to convince the mob in front of him. ”He left for another Christmas Market to visit other kids… But he knows what you want, so don’t worry”.

“You aren’t Santa?” again the little girl in the strawberry hat. She finally got the point.

“No. But he exists” John reassured her quickly.

“But you have Santa’s beard!”

“And his sweater!”

“He exists, are you certain, sir?” asked the boy with the cynic eyes.

“I am certain. Now off you go to your parents!”

Collectively the little people in front of him thought over it and reached a decision at the same time. Much to John’s relief, they decided to trust his word and live him in peace.

On their way home, John promised himself to not go out till May.


The dog

“Poor dog” was all that Noora could think while staring at the famous painting.*  It was a painting of bleak dark brown colors and harsh nothingness. The dark sky was occupying most of the canvas and at the bottom a sand hill was prominent. The darkest part of the scene was the dog’s head. The dog was drowning in the sand and was almost completely lost to its depths.

Most likely her boyfriend would have said that the sand hill is the emotions that trapped your soul and the dog is the man who is crushed under the weight of dreams, hopes and passions tat will never be fulfilled. Noora’s major in studies was magical creatures and the only thought that occupied her mind while staring at the painting was poor dog.

Her musings were interrupted by the arrival of one classmate that unfortunately had travelled together to Madrid. Veera was a very mean person but exceptionally good at spells, something that generally made her character even more insufferable. “What are you thinking?” she asked her in a voice of concern and interest in her feelings.

The fact that Veera showed compassion to her should have raised an alarm inside her head. But she was still captivated by the suffering of the illustrated dog to think of anything else. “Poor dog” she whispered sadly”.

“You can help him!” cried with excitement Veera and clapped her hands. Before the other girl had any chance of even thinking to ask her for clarifications, she whispered under her breath “Kotilla on perjantain!”**.

Noora’s vision changed. Or to be more precise her surroundings changed. All the colors melted out of the Museum’s objects and paintings and become a whirl of vividly colored waters. Then they were replaced by darker shades, of brown and black and they started forming objects around her.

And as suddenly as all had started, it ended. She was dizzy and when she opened her eyes, she needed a couple of minutes to adjust to the new surroundings. The sky was brown with clear markings of a painting brush crossing through it and the hill sand was a nice mixture of grains and dried paint. Even her body looked like a coal sketch.

Suddenly she heard a dog whimper in the distance. Noora started her difficult walk towards the source of the sound and after a period of time that felt like eternity, she reached the dog. It was trapped till its neck, struggling to not be devoured by the sand.

Without thinking of her own weird situation or the implications of her actions, the young girl grabbed the dog by its jaw and pulled with all her strength. It was not an easy task, she almost submerged herself in the sand three times. But after a long struggle she freed the poor dog.

The dog was a bit older that a puppy, not fully grown yet. It jumped up and down, waving its long black tail with happiness. As it tried to lick her face and hug her in its doggy fashion by putting its paws on her shoulders, it almost caused them to get trapped in the moving sand once again.

“Stay still! Sit!” Noora commanded and let some of her magic power fill her voice, something that was enough to successfully calm the dog. “What are we going to do?” she thought out loud while scratching the dog behind the ears.

Noora was good in handling magical and not creatures but she was hopeless in spells. She tried to think of her courses at the Academy and a way to reverse Veera’s magic, but her mind was a blank canvas.

They sat next to each other, dog and girl, gazing into the unchanging horizon. They were trapped in the painting forever, there was no way to alter its reality from within the story it told. They were destined to sit there and stare at Goya’s brown sky till the end of the days.

The pulling out of the painting was as unexpected as the trapping in it. The feelings and the changes in the surroundings were the same as before, something that meant that Veera decided to free her from the trap. The canvas’s colors washed away and its reality was replaced by Museo del Prado.

Noora was standing in between her angry boyfriend and amused Veera. The little bitch was so content with herself, she was exuberant with happiness. “Oh, my dear Noora! You are in so much trouble…”

“Me?” cried Noora so loud and angrily that a lot of tourists turned their heads to spot the imminent fight. “I was not the one who trapped my classmates into a painting!”

“No!”, replied with infuriating calm Veera “but it was you who destroyed a masterpiece”. With that she pointed behind Noora’s back to Goya’s painting. Noora turned around and horrified she noticed that the dog’s head was not in the painting anymore.

For the first time since her return to the museum Noora noticed the black dog wiggling its tail next to her and barking happily.


* The painting is Goya’s dogs or in spanish El Perro. It can be found in Museo del Prado in Madrid.

**Sorry if you are Finnish speaking, I know that the sentence does not make any sense. 😀


Wanted Robbers


Robber’s Ltd. is seeking to recruit motivated, competent, enthusiastic candidates for the following positions.


1) Goods acquisition manager.

-5 years of experience in the field is required with preference in illegal acquisition of goods from unsuspected travelers in the woods.

-willingness to argue with not so well mannered individuals in the field.

-knowledge of law is required.


2) Executive manager of  goods redistribution

-5 years in the field is required.

-character references from 2 former employers and mortal enemies are expected.

-Good knowledge of maths is required.

3) Internship position

-no previous experience is required.

-loose ethical views are advised.

-candidates under the age of 16 years old will not be considered.


Interested applicants of any gender and ethnicity may apply with a recent photo, criminal record and CV clearly stating the position they apply for. Positions will remain available till the right bastard shows up.

Give the appropriate documents to our representative at “Pirate’s Liar” going by with the name One Eyed Joe.


Human Resources Division

Robber’s Ltd.


The silence was deafening. On the top of the hill, you could hear nothing. You could only see. The white horizon expanding for kilometers away till it blended into nothing. The snow was so deep that in many places only the top of the birches were visible. It was a cold but majestic place. Shivers could run down your spine, you waited for something to happen, but what would happen at the farthest corner of the earth?

Then the silence was broken. Branches creaked and the snow moved as deafening as an avalanche. What was going on you could not understand, till you saw it. The trees came out of the snow, unburring them from the deep snow. Slowly but steadily, like a rising army of dead, the trees rose tall and strong, ready to follow you till the end of the world.

The time has come.

The light

A light turned on, in the middle of the night. The night was cold and humid, the rain had not stopped purring the last three days. The coffee shops tables were wet and empty, and the cobble stone pavement slippery. The main street was empty, almost all were sleeping in their cozy beds except for Bob.

Bob had no house to stay dry or a bed to sleep in warmth. He lived under on the street, slept on the pavement. He was alone in the middle of this terrible night. You would think that Bob was unhappy, lonely and miserable. It might be true, but now he was happy. A smile was on his face. It appeared there when he saw the light, the small yellow light that turned on for twenty seconds over the flag pole.

Bob was always happy because he knew why it turned on, why it was important. It meant that six and half kilometers away, in the hospital of this cold city, a baby was born. And that made Bob happy.


AN: In Ghent I was told a story about some lights that they are connected with the hospital and that they turn them on when a baby is born. 😀

Kiss me

It was night. The young man was walking in the cold street as fast he could. The stone road was slippery and the dead leaves made the place look depressing.

He thought he could find her, but he was not sure. He tried to look for her in the small benches by the sea and on the sticky mud of the river bed. But she was not there. The young man continued his way.

He reached the bridge. The force of the wind was multiplied somehow, making it difficult to stand there. Its cold fingers reached deep into his bones, pinching them as hard as needles.

But was it really the wind? Or were her cold and dump hands? The young man opened his eyes wider and he saw her. She was standing there cold and distand and powerful. She had sea snails as decoration on her green hair and water plants were the material of her dress. Her eyes had the darkest color he had ever seen, how was it so possible to have dark pupils?

“Are you Minne?” He asked her in a low voice.
“Yes, the spirit of the bridge.” Her voice was equally cold to her skin. “Why are you here?”
“You know why I am here. I had to see the evil spirit myself.”
“And try to make it a love story”
“you will not manage to do it.” She said in a low and threatening voice.
“Can I kiss you?”
“Thousands follish men kissed me. What makes you so special?”
“If I kiss you will fall in love, Minne, and you will want my kisses all the time.”
She laughed a long and cold laugh. “You can try and then all the world will know you failed as the place will remain dump and cold and windy and filled with mud.”
And theb he kissed her.

The following day the kids were surprised to see that the river was shining and the Stones were not wet and that the wind was warm and pleasant.

AN: I am travelling to Belgium this week and this story it was inspired by a legend in Brugge.