It was the night before Christmas and the village of Goodcheer was bustling with familiar faces, all finishing their tasks before the real festivities began. Miss Jacqueline Russell was sniffing around for the Earl of Barking, the dog of her dreams; she hadn’t seen him in a week and she was desperate to show off her new pink bow. Jacqueline barked a greeting at Chester Nutbush as she passed him, but he was too busy squirreling around with his mousey friend, Roger Doormat, to notice. The duo were delivering the last of their Christmas cards and dear old Chester was really losing his patience, as Roger was wandering around like one of the three blind mice and kept posting the wrong card through the wrong letterbox. Chester was just about to give Roger a piece of his mind when disaster struck.
Dame Mia Mousetake and The Honourable Marigold Slidebottom were in the middle of their usual game, whereby Marigold would ski down the pathway and Mia would attempt to throw snowballs at her. Mia (known for her good aim) was just about to throw the snowball when Holly Prickleton tumbled out of her cottage, tangled in Christmas lights. She rolled straight into Mia and in the process the snowball was released and hit Chester Nutbush directly on the forehead. Chester was furious and dropped his satchel full of Christmas cards, rolled up a ball of snow and launched it straight at Mia. Mia quickly ducked and the snowball burst on Hans Sumfox’s new jumper.
Now our friend Hans Sumfox was notoriously vain and he started spluttering, “How am I ever going to meet my vixen now? Everything is ruined.” Count Noel Salamis, who had witnessed the scene, leapt to Hans’ aid, saying, “Now look here, chap - if you stop making such a scene, I’ll let you have a ride on my back and you’ll soon dry out.” Hans leapt at the opportunity and soon he was howling carols at the top of his lungs, whilst sitting on the Count’s back.
Attracted by the loud sound of Hans Sumfox’s voice, Professor Hickory, the local caroller, came and joined in, followed by the Earl of Barking, (who had always thought himself a rather good singer). Miss Jacqueline Russell bounded across the village at the sound of his voice and began barking in unison. The Earl looked up at her, blinked, and gave her his puppy dog eyes. “Who is this beauty before me?” He gave her a sniff and realised she was the one but he wasn’t smelling so good to her today - his new doggyshave was rather pungent and much to her own surprise, she recoiled from his advances. “Maybe next Christmas,” she told him.
When the snowballs had been thrown, the carols had been sung and Count Noel Salamis had got bored of carting Hans Sumfox around on his back, Mrs Patless arrived with a tray of warm buns. “Midnight snack anyone?” The villagers dashed towards her and as the clock struck twelve, the whole crowd cried out, “Merry Christmas to one and all!”
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