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Santa Claus is an iconic immortal Hero of the Holiday season. He is the most magical, mighty and loyal friend of all the children of the World. L. Frank Baum uses the iconic character of Santa in his own book version titled The Life & Times of Santa Claus, published in 1902. Baum also uses the character of Santa to make cameo appearances in his Oz books, specifically in The Road to Oz, published in 1909.
As an infant, he was abandoned at the edge of the Forest of Burzee where he nearly became a meal for the lioness Shiegra. The Great Ak found him there, and commanded Shiegra to feed him instead of eating him. Ak mentioned his encounter to the Wood Nymphs and one of them, named Necile, went to the infant and brought him to her bower, breaking the Law of the Forest. Ak pardoned her and made a one-time-only exeption to the Law, allowing the human infant to be raised by immortals.
Necile named the child Claus, which means "a little one," but Queen Zurline dubbed him Neclaus, meaning "Necile's little one." Other variations of the name include Nicklaus and Nicolas.
Being raised among immortals, Claus made friends of the Ryls, Knooks, and Fairies. He learned the language of the beasts and the mysteries of the woods. He grew to be brave and innocent, with no knowledge of deceit or guile.
When Claus was a young man, the Great Ak took him on a journey during which he encountered other humans for the first time, and was especially intrigued by the children. His discussions with the wise Ak gave him a desire to help his fellow men. He left Burzee and settled in the nearby Laughing Valley of Hohaho to devote his life to the care of children.
During his first night in the Valley, the Knooks built a house from logs he had cut from dead trees. It had two rooms, the first containing a fireplace, a table and bench, and a cupboard. The second is a bedroom, containing a bed made with layers of dried moss. His firewood supply is maintained by the Knooks, while the Fairies provide him with all the tools, utensils, and clothing he needs. The Ryls keep his cupboard filled with food so that he doesn't have to plow up the wildflowers to grow his own. Claus lives and works alone, except for his cat, Blinkie.
One winter, while he was snowbound in the Laughing Valley, he idly took a piece of wood and carved it into the shape of a cat, using Blinkie as a model. This first toy was given to a little boy named Weekum, who came upon Claus's house while lost in a snowstorm. After scaring little Mayrie with a toy modeled after Shiegra the lioness, Claus decided that toys based on the likenesses of squirrels, rabbits, deer, and lambs would be less terrifying for youngsters.
Until this time, Claus had focused on the happiness of poorer children. But one day Bessie Blithesome, the daughter of the Lord of Lerd, came to ask him for a toy. At the advice of Necile and the Queen of the Fairies, he broadened his efforts to include all children, whether rich or poor. He made a model of Necile from clay and dried, painted, and dressed it. Then he gave it to Bessie who called it her baby. His next doll was a baby, modeled after Bessie, and was given to Mayrie.
As he distributed his toys, his fame and popularity grew, as did his own sense of happiness and fulfillment. But in so doing he incurred the wrath of the Awgwas who plotted his destruction. After two failed attempts at kidnapping him, the Awgwas began to steal the toys he made. The Great Ak confronted the Awgwas, and his army of immortals ultimately destroyed them and their evil allies. Claus was unaware of this epic battle since it occurred among invisible creatures and took place at night while he slept.
Unimpeded, Claus began to travel farther and farther from home. One winter, unable to travel due to the deep snow, he met with Flossie and Glossie, two deer he knew from Burzee, and the suggestion was made that he could travel farther and faster if they would pull him and his toys in a sledge. Claus built the sled, and Will Knook gave his permission only if the creatures returned to Burzee by dawn. Since he was traveling at night and the houses were locked, Claus could only access the children by climbing down their chimneys.
The Prince of the Knooks, against the objection of Will Knook, decreed that certain deer (up to ten, including Flossie and Glossie) should be set aside as reindeer and would be allowed to pull Santa's sleigh once a year, on Christmas Eve, provided they always return to the forest by daybreak. Since then, Claus has always made his journeys on that night. He built a very large sled with steel runners purchased from the Gnome King with toys.
Since he was only allowed to use the reindeer one night a year, Claus devoted all the other days to making toys. He accepted suggestions from his immortal friends on ways to improve his toys, making them squeak, talk, whistle, and nod their heads. The Fairies provide him with fruits from the tropics, and candy from the Land of Mo.
Claus learned to save time by stuffing toys into mittens and stockings that were hung by the fireplace to dry. Since he was more generous with those children, word spread and the tradition of hanging stockings by the firplace grew year by year.
Eventually, Claus grew old. One night, when the Spirit of Death was hovering over him, the Great Ak called a Council of Immortals, which voted unanimously to bestow upon Claus the Mantle of Immortality. Now, though his beard is white and his wrinkles remain, he will never be parted from the children he loves.
As the population of mankind in the world grew, Santa was assigned helpers by his fellow immortals. He was joined by Ak's man Kilter, Peter the Knook, a Ryl named Nuter, and a fairy named Wisk. Eventually he enlisted the help of parents by establishing shops where toys could purchased by parents to aid him in distributing them. (The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus)
Santa Claus is the modern day representation of the gift-giver from Church history and folklore Saint Nicholas, together with the English character Father Christmas.
Santa In Oz
Santa Claus visited the Emerald City of the Land of Oz where he was an honored guest at Princess Ozma's birthday party. He was accompanied by a band of Ryls and a dozen Knooks, and during his stay Ozma loaned him the Sawhorse so he could travel around the city and see the sights. (The Road to Oz)