HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS
rushing all over the house, and the very little ones get scared. Have you put down Musical Chairs? Everyone likes that.
Mary: Yes, put that down, Anne. Now, let's think of some . . .
(As she says this, there comes the sound of a bump, off. Then a yell. " Oh, oh, oh." The children jump in alarm.)
Anne: Whatever's that? It sounded like somebody falling down bump in the garden!
John: And somebody yelling. Hark, there he goes again!
Imp (off-stage): Oh, oh, oh! What a bump! Oh!
Mary: Who is it? What can the matter be?
Anne: We'd better go and find out.
(Before she can go, there comes a knock at the door.)
John: Come in!
(Enter the Imp, his feathered hat on his head. He looks rather woe-begone, and rubs himself behind. He bows to the children, and takes his hat off in a wide sweep.)
Imp: Hallo to you! Sorry to burst in like this—but something awful has happened to me.
Mary (in great surprise): Who are you? You look like an imp, or pixie or something!
Imp (grinning): I'm an imp. I belong to Santa Claus as a matter of fact. And, as I said, something awful has happened.
Children (together): What?
Imp: Well, you see, it was like this. I wanted a ride on a reindeer, so I went to the reindeer stable, and jumped on the back of one—and off we went! And when I wanted him to go faster, he wouldn't. So I whipped him, and he threw me off, bump, right down to the ground! I was riding through the sky, you see.
Anne: Were you really? You must have had a terrible bump, then!
Imp (rubbing himself again): I did. I shall have a great big bruise tonight. The thing is—that tiresome reindeer has galloped off, back to the stables— and here am I, not knowing where I am at all—or how to get back home to Santa Claus's castle. Do you know the way?
John: No, of course we don't. Haven't you got a wishing-ring or anything to take you back in a trice?
Imp: No. (Suddenly looks at his hat.) Wait a minute, though—my hat used to be a wishing hat, because it has a Cockyolly Bird's