Kuniklö, the Determined Little Snowshoe Hare (Part 2 of 2)

Gordot realised how much he had startled Kuniklö, the Snowshoe Hare. “Oh, I’m sorry to frighten you, little hare. Please don’t be afraid! I should be thanking you for all these ingredients you’ve brought me. I’m so happy we have finally met.”

The Head Chef of Santa’s Village gave a friendly smile, and Kuniklö relaxed a bit. “Of course,” explained Gordot, “I’m not a Holhooja, so I can’t understand you, but maybe I can guess. It looks like you might be a bit shy?”

Kuniklö nodded. ‘Wow, I can’t believe it,’ he thought to himself, ‘he’s not upset that I’m here!’

Gordot grinned, “You must really like the kitchen, you seem to know your ingredients well.”

Kuniklö proudly nodded his head again.

Since it was YOU who found the Glowing Spring Sprouts, the Candy Floss Root and the Gumdrop Berries, and other ingredients, and have helped make my latest dishes so delicious for all the elves in Santa’s Village, I have a very special mission that I would love your help with,” Gordot said. “Would you like to work with me on this project?”

‘Gordot wants me to help him!’. And with a wiggle of his fluffy tail and a twiggle of his twitching nose, Kuniklö leapt for joy…and almost fell off the counter! Oops!

Gordot laughed, “I’ll take that as a yes! But first I need a good night’s sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow!”

The Head Chef headed off to his bed, exhausted by his late night! Kuniklö headed home, too, to his cozy nest in the forest. But he was so excited, he could hardly sleep!

The next day Kuniklö sat at usual spot to watch, wondering what it was that Gordot needed his help with. The day passed normally, with the Kapunki cooks busy preparing for the Spring Feast the next day. It was hard to keep still, waiting until the end of the day when the other elves finally headed home.

Once they were gone, Gordot headed to the door to look around, wondering if Kuniklö was ever going to show up. He was most surprised when he saw the hare squeezing in through the window. “So that’s how you’ve been getting in!”

Kuniklö twitched his ears, eager to learn about how he would help his hero.

The elf crouched down to share his plan, “Tomorrow is the Spring Feast, but I’m making an extra surprise for everyone. A special chocolate egg recipe I’ve been working on. But I don’t know if I can make enough by myself. Can you help me?”

Kuniklö leapt into the air and did a flip. ‘Of course!’ he thought excitedly. Gordot nodded, taking the happy hare’s response as a ‘Yes!”

Gordot measured out the ingredients while Kuniklö rushed back and forth from the pantry, bringing everything the chef needed. It was hard work, but the little hare was quick to find just what was needed.

Load after load of chocolate eggs headed in and out of the many ovens, as the two worked together into the night. They managed to get everything cooked and cooling, with just a few hours left before the sun comes up.

After hours of making the surprise eggs, all they had to do was pack them up and deliver the treats. Kuniklö let out a big toothy yawn and looked around. ‘Oh no!’ he realized, ‘Gordot has fallen asleep!’

The little hare hopped over and gently headbutted the elf a few times… nothing. He tap-tap-tapped his back paw on the floor loudly… nothing! ‘Oh dear, what if I can’t wake him up? Maybe he just needs a quick rest, I’ll pack up the eggs in the meantime!’

Kuniklö did just that, hopping around the counter with the brightly painted bags that Gordot had laid out, dropping a yummy egg into each one. He tried to pack them up as noisily as possible, hoping that might wake the sleeping elf. But try as he might, the little hare couldn’t get Gordot to wake up, he was just too tired!

‘What will I do? If the eggs aren’t delivered then all this work will have been for nothing. I can’t let Gordot down.’ Kuniklö thought as hard as he could while hopping back and forth in the room when he suddenly had an idea!

Earlier that day, he had seen a Craftician elf walking past the kitchen window wheeling a child’s miniature sleigh behind him. If he could find it, thought Kuniklö, then he could carry all of the eggs around the village to deliver them!

Kuniklö headed out toward the Toy Workshop, determined to find a way inside. When he got there, he was thrilled to find the door slightly ajar. One of the Crafticians must have been working quite late and had forgotten to shut it on the way out!

He crept inside, alert in case there was anyone around, and made his way past the work tables and stacks of toys in-the-making. ‘What luck!’ he thought to himself as he spied the sleigh he was looking for sitting beside one of the back workstations. It seemed to be just about the right size for him, and it even had straps on the front!

Kuniklö froze suddenly as he heard someone moving on the other side of the room, and darted behind the sleigh, huddling and hiding.

‘Don’t come over here, don’t come over here,’ he was hoping to himself. After a few tense moments, the Craftician left, closing the door behind them. ‘Oh no! How will I ever get out of here now!’

Kuniklö hopped over and pushed against the door. No luck, it was too heavy for him to budge. His ears drooped down with disappointment. He perked up when he saw a few boxes stacked near the door, ‘I’m not going to give up! Maybe I can push one of those boxes over to the door and use them to reach the handle.’

He hopped across to the boxes and shoved as hard as he can, straining against the boxes. Very slowly one came loose and started to slide, inch by inch. Kuniklö needed to take a few breaks before he finally slid them in front of the door handle.

Panting from this effort, he jumped up onto the boxes, reaching for the handle. He just made it and clings on long enough to pull the handle down. With relief, the door swings open.

Kuniklö tumbled down and rushed back in to pull the sleigh out and back to the kitchens.

Brimming with determination, Kuniklö loaded up all of the chocolate eggs into the sleigh and stepped into the straps. It was a little clumsy at first since the toy sleigh was not really designed for a snowshoe hare, but he finally got the hang of it. He held his back paws just right he could slide around as if he were skiing, and soon he got up some speed.

Whooosh! The little hare skied around Santa’s Village with the miniature sleigh in tow, dropping off eggs at each of the elf houses. It’s hard work, and Kuniklö needed to make many trips back and forth from the kitchen to reload. Just before the sun comes up he delivered the last eggs and rushed the sleigh back to the Toy Workshop. He was exhausted!.

As the sun woke up the Village, cries of excitement rang out as the waking elves found their early Spring Feast treats. “YUMMY!” They exclaimed and shouted with joy. These chocolate eggs are the best!’ they exclaimed. ‘They could have only been made by Gordot!’

The grateful elves all made their way to the kitchen to thank the Head Chef, although, to their surprise, they discovered that he was snoring in a chair by his bench!

But then the elves saw that he wasn’t alone.

…There was a little snowshoe hare fast asleep on his lap.

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