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Monday December 25, 2006 Edition
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A True Reindeer Story

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Monday December 25, 2006

By Sas Carey

   I am a reindeer. When I am born, it is summer time but I live so high up in the mountains of the north and it is so cold here, I can see snow. The ground is wet and cold. My mother licks me off as I try to stand. I feel wobbly and my legs give out. I lie on the ground and look around. This is what I see: tipis where ones on two feet live. Some are big and some are small. A little one comes to me and puts his hand out. I lick it and it tastes delicious, salty. My mother walks to the boy. She seems happy as she licks his hand. Soon a big one comes with a scarf on her head and a pail in her hands. She squats beside my mother and milks her. I learn that we live with humans. I get the idea of nursing and wobble back to get my own milk. The people leave and I am happy to be alone with my mother.

    It rains and rains. The wind blows. Then it snows! It is still summer, but we are happy. The snow feels crispy on my hooves and coat. I love to lie in it.

    Our life is peaceful, except for the wolves. We hear them howl at night. One of those humans sleeps near us to make sure the wolves can't come to us. When he is here, I can sleep better. During the day we reindeer go to pasture.

    I discover that we are the best way for people to travel from one place to another in our land. They pack their tipis and all their things on big father reindeer. They ride on our kind, too. I see three kids, the name for those little ones on two feet, riding together. We reindeer are light, not heavy like horses, so we travel fast. Every time we move to find new lichen (that's what we eat when we get older), I hear funny, clicking sounds-the older reindeer's joints click when they walk. We walk far, far away. Then suddenly I see poles standing that are covered by canvas with smoke coming out of the top. The tipis are here and the humans, too. It doesn't matter where I am, I am always with my mother, the other reindeer, and the humans. We are a family.

    I heard that reindeer fly on Christmas Eve. I am waiting to see that. If you hear some clicking, though, you can be sure we are nearby.

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