Eight days of December have passed. On a snow-swept plain outside of Santa’s gated manse, Claus the Mighty, leather whip in his hand, stares down Rudolf.
‘End this madness, old friend,’ says the Father of all Christmas. ‘Let the strikes cease and let us celebrate Yuletide together. Ho, ho, ho.’
Rudolf is unmoved. The rest of the reindeer nervously shift about on the snow behind him, making an almighty mess in the process.
‘No,’ says Rudolf (because, of course, he can speak). ‘We want rights, Santa, and a proper holiday allowance, and fair pay for a fair Christmas.’
‘So be it,’ says Claus.
The whip cracks. Prancer throws himself in front of Rudolf, shielding the Reindeer leader from the whip. There are gasps, then shouts. Claus retreats with a handful of loyal elves. A single tear rolls down Rudolf’s face.
‘What have you done, Santa…’
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