“Clueless Lukas”

In Nordic lands, the name Lukas has a special meaning. It means: “Bring Light”.

When Elsa the reindeer gave birth to her first baby, she named him Lukas. She had looked deep into his eyes and seen a special light sparkling there. “Lukas,” she whispered. “Your name shall be Lukas.”

Santa Claus watched over the naming ceremony as Lukas was welcomed into the North Pole family. Elsa looked on adoringly believing her son would bring light into the lives of all who lived there.

The lights on the trees twinkled and shone. The fire in the hearth burned fierce and bright. The snow all around glistened dazzling white.

Other reindeer gathered round to see the new arrival. “How precious,” said one. “Most precious indeed,” said another. “Precious Lukas,” said a third. ‘My precious Lukas,’ thought Elsa, as proud as could be.

But how soon the tone changed. Once Lukas started toddling around his new home, he found the twinkling lights, the fierce fire and glistening snow a little too bright for his liking. He teetered this way and that, saying: “I feel dizzy Mama.”

Lukas stumbled into a tree and knocked snow off the branches on to elves walking below. Just their hats were left poking out of the mound. It took many hands and hooves to dig them out.

Erik Elf scolded Lukas. “Watch where you are going in future my boy!”

“The brightness of the snow bothers him,” explained Elsa. “The twinkling tree lights, too. He’s what you might call easily dazzled.”

Erik laughed. “You might consider another naming ceremony in that case, Miss Elsa. Lukas – a bringer of light who doesn’t like it bright. You couldn’t make it up.”

The gathered elves and reindeer helping with the rescue joined in the laughter.

Elsa frowned. She brought Lukas close to her, making herself a shield to the laughs. “He will remain my precious Lukas, thank you very much!” she exclaimed.

“More like Clueless Lukas,” said one of the elves emerging from the mound of snow.

In time, Lukas would become steadier on his feet. He even got used to the white, bright snow. But it still only took one flash of dazzling light to throw him off his stride.

One cold but sunny day, Barnaby the baker was carrying a shiny silver tray of freshly baked buns to Santa’s workshop and lodge. Lukas was walking the opposite way. Sunlight glanced off the tray and beamed straight at Lukas’s face.

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The tiny reindeer was startled into a wicked spin, followed by a slithering, snaking slide. “Whoaaaaa!,” shouted Lukas as he slid towards the baker. “Noooooo!” cried Barnaby as he saw Lukas speeding his way.

Then ‘Whack!’ – Lukas hit the baker hard. Up went the tray. Up went the buns. Down went Barnaby. Down went Lukas. The tray landed on Barnaby’s head. The buns fell all around them – apart from two that were skewered by Lukas’s mini antlers.

“Can’t you watch where you are going?” exclaimed Barnaby.

“Sorry, Mr. Barnaby…it was the sun and the tray and…”

“Poor excuse if you ask me,” said Barnaby. “You are so clueless Lukas.”

It wasn’t long before Lukas was in more bother. His mother Elsa was helping with washday at Santa’s lodge. She used her ample antlers to dip and swirl the clothes in the tub.

The laundry was then carried into the drying room, where a line of clapping seals would waft air from their flapping flippers to dry out the clean clothes as they hung from a washing line. Elves turned a wheel to send the clothes on the line to a central collection point in the village, where much folding took place.

Lukas was looking for his mother – only to be distracted by the line of clothes moving above his head. He turned towards the washroom just as a sunbeam danced off the metal cogs and wheel and shone straight at Lukas’s face. He was dazzled into a dizzy twirl. Old Ned the reindeer was crossing his path.

“Whoaaaa!” shouted Lukas, hoping to warn Ned of his coming. But Ned’s hearing was not what it used to be and in a soon-to-follow instant the young reindeer crashed into him. ‘Thwack!’ Lukas hit Ned hard.

Up went Ned. Up went Lukas. Ned’s antlers caught in the washing line. Down came the line. Down came the clothes. Ned stood angry and bewildered.

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“Just look what you’ve done,” said scrawny Ned with a scowl.

“Sorry, Mr. Ned…it was the sun and the cogs and the wheel and…”

“Likely story youngster,” muttered old Ned. “You really are so clueless Lukas.”

Elsa saw what had happened and felt her son’s anguish. She wanted to hug him and console him. But Lukas sped off away from the washroom, tears filling his eyes. He chose not to hear his mother shouting his name.

Lukas thought it best he escape the village for a while. He wandered  beyond the striped North Pole to the hills where he had often seen elves sledding down the slopes. It looked such fun. This would cheer him up.

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Lukas dashed on to the slope, building up a head of steam so that he might make it to the top and have the joy of happily sliding down.

When he was half way up, Anya Elf was flying down on her shiny new sledge. “Watch out below!” she cried.

Lukas looked up from his headlong dash just as the sun shone on Anya’s sledge. It sent a dazzling beam straight at Lukas’s face. As we now know, it only took one flash of light to throw him off his stride.

Lukas teetered this way and that, his back legs barely keeping in time with his front legs. Only when he had his bearings did he see what was coming.

“O-oh,” said Lukas, knowing he was on collision course again. “Noooooo!” shouted Anya, also realising their fate.

Then ‘Crash!’ – the sledge hit Lukas hard. Up went the tiny reindeer. Up went Anya and her sledge. Down came Lukas. Down came Anya. The sledge landed on them both and they continued their slide down the slope on their bottoms, the sledge still resting on their heads and blocking their sight.

As they sped along out of control, they knocked other sledges off course. ‘Biff…bang…bosh!’ Elf hats went flying off in all directions. Some blew into the faces of other sledding elves who could no longer see where they were going. ‘Biff…bang…bosh!” It was mayhem.

Once Lukas and Anya had skidded to a halt, she scolded the young reindeer. “Can’t you watch where you are going?” she exclaimed.

“Sorry, Miss Anya…it was the sun and the sledge and…”

“Enough with the excuses. You are so clueless Lukas.”

Lukas saw the scene of chaos before him. The fallen folk climbed from the pile of bodies and sledges and shouted: “You are so clueless Lukas!”

Snowy Hare saw the commotion and heard the insult. He knew what it was like to be a newcomer to the North Pole, when he had been parted from his mother not so many years ago. He could imagine how unhappy he would have been had he been shouted at all the time on his first days in Santa’s village.

Thankfully, Snowy Hare was a kind, clever and helpful creature. He saw Lukas was a reindeer destined to be forever in trouble unless he was given some urgent help.

“I know you don’t like bright light Lukas,” said Snowy Hare as he approached the tearful reindeer. “But you might like bright ideas.”

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Snowy Hare took him to Santa’s cabin and whispered in Santa’s ear. Santa opened an old wooden chest and dug deep, pulling out a pair of red-rimmed sunglasses.

“Here, “ said Santa, “put these on.” Lukas obliged. It was a perfect fit. “Now you won’t be dazzled by anything any more – not even Rudolph’s nose.”

“Thank you Santa, thank you so much,” said a gleeful Lukas.

Santa replied: “Don’t thank me – thank Snowy Hare. He’s the one with the bright idea.”

If Lukas thanked Snowy Hare once, he thanked him a thousand times in the coming days. Snowy Hare explained that when he arrived at the North Pole he had blurry vision and had been given glasses by Ed Elf to allow him to see things clearly. He showed Lukas a picture saying: “Look, this is me with no glasses – can you see how puzzled I look without ’em? I was the clueless one.”

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Lukas said thank you a few more times until Snowy Hare pointed out: “I’m just taking a leaf out of Ed’s book. Now maybe you can pass on the kindness.”

Lukas galloped over to the bakery. Barnaby was walking through the front door, carrying his shiny silver tray of freshly baked buns. Barnaby stopped when he saw Lukas, fearing another fall and another lost batch of buns.

“Don’t worry Mr. Barnaby,” said Lukas, “I can’t be dazzled anymore. I’ve got shades. Please rest your tray on my back. I’ll carry it to the lodge. I’ll do that every day for a week – it’s my small way of saying sorry.”

Lukas was steady of hoof and true of word. Not a single bun fell from the tray.

“Not bad for Clueless Lukas,” joked the young reindeer.

Barnaby the baker replied: “I think I’ll name you Useful Lukas from now on.”

Lukas galloped to the washroom to show his mother his sunglasses. He stared at the cogs and wheel attached to the washing line as the sun bounced off the metal. Lukas was not dazzled as he had been before. His mother’s delight was clear for all to see.

Old Ned was again strolling around in the snow outside. Lukas said: “Bye Mama – I have work to do,” then dashed out to greet Ned.

“Mr. Ned, it’s me – Lukas.”

“Who? What? Who?” said old Ned, whose hearing – you may recall – was not what it used to be. He turned to see Lukas standing before him, wearing his new sunglasses.

“No more dazzling for me,” said an excited Lukas. “Now I can help you. Come with me please. I have an idea. It’s my way of saying sorry.”

ED-ELF

Lukas asked Ed Elf for permission to take one of the toy trumpets from the factory line. Lukas explained why he needed it and promised to repay Ed by doing his chores for a week.

Ed happily agreed and told him he could make the gift even better with the addition of what he called an ‘antler clasp’.

Lukas and Ed were soon able to help old Ned attach the clasp to his antler. It held the trumpet in place near his left ear. Lukas talked into the large end of the trumpet. Old Ned’s eyes opened wide with surprise.

“My own hearing trumpet. Why lad, I can hear you loud and clear,” said old Ned. “It’s what you might call crystal clear.”

Lukas and Ed looked on with smiles of pride.

“With bright ideas like this,” added old Ned, “you’re not so much Clueless Lukas as Clever Lukas.”

Lukas then set to work on saying sorry to Anya by making her a new sledge – helped again by his new friends Ed Elf and Snowy Hare. Lukas painted it the brightest, shiniest red he could find. After all, he could not be dazzled when wearing his sunglasses.

Anya was thrilled with her gift, saying: “You did this for me? How could I ever have called you Clueless Lukas? You are quite clearly Brilliant Lukas.”

They celebrated by heading to the slopes to try out the new sledge together and were cheered all the way down. Santa, Elsa, Snowy Hare and Ed Elf watched on with particular pride.

Never again would Lukas be considered clueless. Instead, the little reindeer in sunglasses would become famous for living up to his name and bringing light to all who knew him.

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Copyright Philip Jones 2016