Rosco the Rascal's December Magic

It was Rosco's first Christmas eve with the McKendrick family. Rosco the German shepherd knew someone would be coming down the chimney late that night. So what was that sound on the rooftop? Mandy had mentioned some reindeer...
A Rosco the Rascal Tale for Christmas.


1. Chapter One

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Copyright Shana Gorian. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

It was Rosco's first Christmas with the McKendrick family. Late in the evening on Christmas Eve, ten-year old James, seven-year-old Mandy, and Mom and Dad McKendrick were all in bed.

Rosco, their large German shepherd, lay near the front door, tossing and turning on his doggy bed. The lights on the Christmas tree had been shut off. The fire in the hearth had burned out. But Rosco was wide awake.

Rosco lay thinking anxiously about what Mandy had told him—that tonight, someone named Santa Claus would be visiting the house while everyone slept. Mandy had instructed her dog not to bark at Santa, because she wouldn't want Rosco to scare Santa away.

She had told him what to expect. So Rosco was prepared for a jolly old man with a white beard and a red suit to come hurling down the chimney sometime after midnight.

What time is it now? Rosco wondered. And when will he get here? Rosco knew only one thing for sure—that he would be tired tomorrow after all the sleep he would miss tonight.

Rosco tried to relax and think about something else. His mind wandered as he remembered the many pleasant things this December had brought—a Christmas parade with floats, marching bands, and holiday carolers; Mandy's school play; James's trip to the ice-skating rink with friends, sugar cookies in the oven; and festive decorations all around the house.

Rosco had even gone on a horse-drawn sleigh ride with the whole family—well, more of a horse-drawn wagon ride really, but Mrs. McKendrick had called it a sleigh-ride. The ride had taken place at a farm in the countryside, on a chilly, dark evening. The family had donned mittens and hats and sipped hot cocoa as the horses whisked them through beautiful fields and woods lit up by rows and rows of colorful Christmas lights. The horses wore jingling bells around their necks that made them sound just like the horse in Mandy's favorite Christmas song. Rosco had loved it!

Yes, December was a magical month in the world of his people. Rosco decided he, too, liked this festive holiday season as much as they did. So he thought maybe he ought to calm down and go to sleep—it was time to stop wondering when Santa would arrive.

He looked out a nearby window. Tonight the air outside was cool and damp, but no snow lay on the ground. Earlier today it had rained, and puddles had collected on the ground. Rosco knew this kind of weather usually brought frost by morning, and often puddles turned into very slippery patches of ice. He'd have to be careful tomorrow morning when they let him outside.

Through the window Rosco could see the red and green crystals of sugar that James and Mandy had left on the driveway before they went to bed. The kids had made an odd mixture of uncooked oatmeal, birdseed, and colored sugar crystals, and then sprinkled the mixture outside the front door. Reindeer food, they called it. It was a snack for Santa's reindeer.

The colorful crystals of sugar outside glittered under the strings of Christmas lights encircling the house. Rosco wasn't sure if reindeer would eat birdseed but he would be happy to lick it up tomorrow if they didn't.

Oh well, nothing else to do now but wait, he thought with a sigh, a wide yawn finally escaping his mouth. The tired dog snuggled into his soft bed and soon drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

Hours later, Rosco awoke with a jolt to the sound of footsteps on the roof. He remembered Mandy's desperate instructions, because she knew he could make mischief sometimes: "Please, please don't bark when you hear him, Rosco! It's really important!" Mandy had said. "Santa doesn't want you to notice him when he's working. You might even want to pretend you're asleep."

So Rosco obediently clamped his mouth shut, holding back the bark that usually came out when he heard a noise. But he just had to find out what was happening up there on the roof. He just had to be sure it was, indeed, Santa Claus. He could not just pretend to be asleep. Sorry Mandy, he thought.

Quietly, he padded over to his doggy door at the back of the house. He passed the Christmas tree, the plate of cookies and carrots, and the glass of milk that the kids had left for Santa in the living room, not daring to touch the food after Mandy's warning.

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