Merry Axemas, Larry
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Every year, on December 25th, the people of Larry's town celebrate Axemas Day. It is a holiday of celebration, gifts, and battling for your life.
As the story goes, nearly a century back, the town had suffered a terrible snow storm. The freezing blizzard was so powerful, the town had quickly consumed all the wood they'd gathered for the Winter in order to keep from freezing. But as the townsfolk began to fear a frigid doom, an old lumberjack named Nicholautz took up his axe and ventured out into the forest. The trees were so encased in ice, that Nicholautz had to work ten times harder to cut through them. His hands bloody, his body aching, and his skin black with frostbite, Nicholautz brought sleighfuls of wood back to the town. That Winter, the townsfolk all but barely survived.
Old Nicholautz had also survived... though, he had lost his legs and arms to the frost bite. To celebrate the heroism of the amputated lumberjack, the town would celebrate December 25th as Axemas day: the day when Old Nick's axe saved an entire town. It quickly became tradition to offer axes as gifts (in case another terrible Winter were to befall the town, and some other brave soul would have to aid in providing wood). Buuuuutttt..... it didn't take long before everyone in town had half a dozen axes just lying around. So the townsfolk decided to offer up other gifts on Axemas day.
As the decades passed, Axemas day became more and more about receiving gifts, than commemorating the ideal of bravery in the face of dire straits or recalling the importance of spending ones resources wisely. And the young children began to grow self-righteous in their want of presents... so much so, that the entire essence of Axemas day was consumed by greed and desire.
One cold night, before the eve of Axemas day, the town marketplace was buzzing with spirited and festive folk, vendors boasting of their goods, parents drunk on hot cider, and children ... whining about what toys they wanted that holiday. And from the crowd, a fury-filled rage erupted! "Shut your stupid yapping little brats UP!"
The crowd cleared a circle with Old Nicholautz at it's center. There he "stood" on his amputated leg stumps, his eyes red with tears. "Have you all forgotten? Not 40 years ago this entire town was nearly destroyed by frivolous consumption. Has that dark day not instilled in us the need to be thrifty, to SAVE our resources in case such another disaster befall us?!" And with that ironic statement, he "fell". On his bearded face.
Children don't know better ... they couldn't help it. The sight of the old man with no arms or legs, falling face first into the snow, wriggling around in an attempt to get back up ... well, it made them all laugh.
"Look! The very man who used to chop down trees, just fell himself!" shouted a young man.
"Timmberrr!" roared a small group of young girls.
"Maybe this be the revenge of the trees, for you cuttin' off THEIR limbs!"
Even those who felt terrible to see such a sad sight couldn't help but let out some kind of sound.
In that moment of pure hatred, fueled by the laughter of the very people he saved, he spoke a dark prayer, forfeiting his soul to the darkest demons if only he could teach these townsfolk the true meaning of Axemas. His wish did not go unanswered, and in a burst of blinding light, Nicholautz was gone.
The very next day, on Axemas Day ... the townsfolk awoke to a shocking discovery: all the gifts ... were gone. The whole day was spent pondering and prodding for answers.
That night, as the people of town sat huddled in their homes, saddened by the disappearance of their gifts, a cavernous voice echoed out into the night. "Children! It is I, Old Nicholautz! And I have brought you your presents! But IF you greedy little cretins want them so, so badly ... you'll have to come and get them!"
And so it is, that every Axemas day, if the children desire to receive their gifts, they must battle the undead demonized soul of Old Nicholautz.
This Axemas, Larry wants his presents. Like, bad.