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" There is no Santa Clause" yelled Carol to her little sister Valerie.
" "Your mean and a liar" sobbed Valerie as she ran from the room crying.
"You see that Izzy" Carol said as she rubbed Izzy's tummy. " Little kids are ignorant believeing all that stuff. Wait till she gets my age,we nine year olds know better.
She'll find out when she gets older, boy will she Carol thought as she remembered the day before. She remembered how it felt when the other kids laugh at her and called her a baby for believing in Santa.
Well, you have to go back to your cage,Carol said as she picked up Izzy and walked over to his cage.
"I have to go to bed. School you know.
No!, I guess you don't know," she frowned. "ferrets don't have to go to school. Wish I were a ferret so I didn't have to go either." Carol sighed as she put Izzy in the cage.
" Good night babies she said as she turned out the lights in the ferret room.

Hmmmm, thought Izzy. going to school doesn't sound to bad, matter in fact it sounded pretty good. I wish there were schools for ferrets. Then we could learn all kinds of things. It would be nice to be able to read.
Izzy looked at his paws and thought" I don't think I would be able to write, but I could try.
He curled up into a little ball and as he did so, he thought about what Carol said to her little sister Valerie.
About there not being a Santa Clause. "I wonder, could she be right or is Valerie right?
I'm going to find out if there is. Yep! I might end up knowing more than Carol." With that thought, Izzy went to sleep. Little did he know that he was about to have the adventure of his life.

Early the next morning, Izzy was awakened by a loud slamming of the front door and Valerie squealing in delight and jumping around the room like a jack rabbit.
" Look Mommy, it snowed. We don't have to go to school today.YEEEPEEE!! Isn't that wonderful?
Then she became very serious and said," Now Santa can come tomorrow." "He would have come anyways dear." said the Mother who was busy making cookies for Christmas.
" I know Mommy, but the snow makes it easier for him. Can I go out and play now? Can I huh?"
"OH, all right" said her Mother "but you make sure you wear your snowsuit, and don't forget your mittens and hat. I don't want you sick for the holidays. And Valerie, only come in the back door, I don't want the house tracked up. I have way to much work to do before Christmas."
"OK Mommy" Valerie said as she grabed a cookie and raced out of the room.

Izzy cracked one eye open and quickly shut it again. He tried the other eye and saw the same thing. " oh why does he do this to me every morning" thought Izzy. Opening both eyes, Izzy looked directly into Bears shinny black eyes. "Good morning Uncle Izzy" said Bear. " Are you awake now?"
Izzy just looked at him. "Well, are you?" said Bear. "No Bear, I'm still asleep and your part of my nightmare."
Bear started laughing, " Your so funny Uncle Izzy." "Yah Bear, I'm a laugh a minute, now what do you want?"
"Lets go play hide and seek, you can be it, ok?" said Bear quivering with anticipation."
Tell you what Bear, you hide and I'll find you, ok?"
" oh! goody, I like that. Now close your eyes and count to 20 and I'll hide" said Bear.
"Go for it kid" Izzy said as Bear went running away.
Izzys mind wasn't on the hide and seek game, it was on how he could find out about Santa Clause. Who could he ask that might know?
None of the other ferrets were old enough, the cat Perry was only 4, so he wouldn't know.
How about Dawg? He was 14 and very wise about things.
Yes, he would go and ask Dawg.

Izzy wasn't really hungry so he washed his face and paws and left the cage. Over by the kitchen door he saw a pair of boots and a tail sticking out.
" That boy is none to bright" Izzy thought. "Where is Bear, I can't find him any where." Izzy yelled. The boot with Bear in it started to move and Izzy could hear Bear giggling inside.
"Yep, he is definitly none to bright" chuckled Izzy.
"That should make him stay put for a while."

As he headed dowh the hall, Izzy ran into a few of the kids playing in the closet.
"Good morning Uncle Izzy" said Bobo, Bandit,Cloie, and Buddy. "Would you like to play with us" They asked?"
Not this morning kids, I have something to do, maybe later.OK?"

Further down the hallway to the right were the steps to the up stairs and across on the left was the dinning room.
As he went by the dinning room door he looked in and stopped.
" Hey you two, you better get out of there and fast."
In the center of the dinning room table was a gorgeous crystal bowl filled with beautifully arranged fruit, or I should say once beautifully arranged fruit. Some how Genie and Rampage had gotten up there and were having a ball. Half the fruit was either on the table or on the floor.
As he watched, Genie was dragging a bunch of grapes to the edge of the table.
"Don't do it Genie" yelled Izzy, but it was to late.
SPLAT! right on Izzy's head.
" Genie looked over the edge to see where the grapes had landed, and that is when she saw him.
Oh, hi Uncle Izzy, want some lunch, "Sorry about that, I didn't know you were there."
"Genie, Izzy said," you get your brother and get back to the cage this minute. The big Momma is going to lock you up for months if she finds you up there. NOW MOVE IT!"
Genie's little mouth quivered and she started to cry. "
Don't cry Genie, just get off of there and go back to the cage and stay there until I get back to talk to you, do you understand me?"
"Yes Uncle Izzy cried Genie. She looked back and yelled to Rampage, "Come on Rampage, Uncle Izzy is mad at us and we have to go back to the cage, now."
Izzy turned to go when a little voice said, "Uncle Izzy?" He turned and looked up and saw little Rampage was looking down at him.
"What is it Rampage" Izzy asked.
"Uncle Izzy, Can I still have the grapes?"

The living room was a large room with a stone fire place. This time of year there was generally a fire going, which warmed the room and gave it a cozy atmosphere.
There lying in front of the fire was Dawg. Izzy liked Dawg, even if he was a hugh old Irish Wolf Hound. Most people and animals gave him a wide berth,
but in that big old body beat a heart of gold that loved everyone, be it man or animal.
But time was taking it's toll and Dowg was sleeping more and more.
The one thing that still worked well was his nose. As soon as Izzy entered the room, Dawg could smell him.
He raised his head and said " Hello Izzy, what brings you in here?"

" Hi Dawg, I have a really important question to ask you and I hope you can help me."
"Sure Izzy, I will if I can, what is it?" said Dawg.
Izzy sat down in front of Dawg and started to tell him about what he over heard between Carol and Valerie and how he wanted to find out whether or not there really was a Santa Clause.
Dawg sat there very quiet for a time and then he said, "Izzy, If I tell you something, you have to promise never to tell another living soul, Do you promise?"
Izzy shook his head up and down and said " yes, yes, I promise never to tell"

Dawg looked at Izzy for a moment then said "OK", and this is his story.
Fourteen years ago I was born in the country of Ireland. I have 5 brothers 2 sisters and what a happy lot we were.
All day long we would have the run of the farm and could play all we wanted.
Then one day our Master started to train my brothers and I on how to pull heavy loads and to defend the grounds. At first it was fun, but then it got boring, so I would sneak off so they couldn't find me.
He stopped for a moment and got a far away look in his eyes.
Izzy sat there looking at him growing impatient. "well! go on" said Izzy "What?,
oh yah" Dawg said I think it was in mid June, or there abouts, when one night I was awaken by the sound of bells tinkling.
I couldn't figure out what it was, so I rolled over to ask my brothers and they were gone, and so were Mom and Dad. Only my two sisters were there sleeping.
I got up and went to the door to look out. There was a full moon that night and the yard was aglow with a beautiful silvery light.
Then I saw him. Dawg stopped again with that far away look.
"Saw who?" Izzy said.
Dawgs thoughts came back to the present and said, " I saw Santa Clause."
"SANTA CLAUSE? yelled IZZY He was there? Why, why was he there? Tell me, tell me." Izzy said all excited.

Dawg cleared his throat and continued. " There sat the most beautiful sleigh I had ever seen and in front of it were raindeer with shinny silver bells around their necks. It was something to see.
My parents and brothers were talking to a little old man with a snowy white beard and a red suit on. I went running out and as I drew near, the little old man said "Ho, ho, ho And who is this young fellow?"
"he is our other son, but he wouldn't behave and learn what he was suppose to, so he can't go with you sir." my Father said."
"What a shame, the elves could have used another helper" stated Santa. I felt so ashamed I hung my head, I didn't want them to see the tears in my eyes.
Mom came over and nuzzled me and whispered she was glad that she could keep me a little while longer.
When I looked up, I saw my brothers climbing into the sleigh behind Santa. I suddenly got such an empty feeling in my stomach, because I knew I would never see them again. I couldn't stand it,
I went running over to Santa " Please Sir, will I ever see my brothers again?"

Santa gave me a look that said he knew what I was feeling
"Would you like to see them once a year? I can make that possible if you want, but that is all I can afford to have them away for and then for only for a few hours. Is that all right with you?" Santa asked.
" Yes Sir, that would be great, as long as I can see them, I'll be happy.
Santa patted me on the head and said he would send them to where ever I was one day before Christmas. " So Izzy, that is what he has been doing every year for the last thirteen years.
Now you know Santa does exist Izzy, you have my word on it."

Izzy sat there with all kinds of thoughts swirling through his head, not knowing what to say. Then a thought hit him, " Dawg?
If he comes every year, how come I've never seen him or your brothers? I've been here six years and I should have noticed all those big dogs in here."
Dawg laugh and said " They don't come with Santa nor do they come in the house, big Momma would have a fit, so we meet in the big field out behind the house in the middle of the night.
They come in a sleigh very much like Santa's.
See this round medallion on my collar? Santa gave me that so I would know when they were here. It gives off a warm glow to tell me when to go out to the field. and it should be tonight."

Izzy just sat there, his mind going over all he had heard.
" Tonight, if I can make it to that sleigh and hide in it, I can go see Santa, yes! that is what I'm going to do."
"Izzy, Izzyyy" said Dawg, "are you alright?"
"What?, oh yah, I'm fine, I was just thinking about all you told me. I want to thank you for telling me Dawg, and I promise I won't tell a soul, ever."
As Izzy backed out of the room, he yelled his thanks again and ran down the hall as fast as he could.

Izzy made it to the ferret room in record time.
He ran up the ramp and flopped into his hammock then closed his eyes.
He was exhausted and excited all at the same time. He decided to take a nap for it was going to be a long night. One like he never had before.
Just as sleep was about to claim him, he had the feeling he wasn't alone.
Cracking one eye open, he groaned" Oh no!"
There was Bear with his nose almost touching his again. "Hello Bear, what can I do for you now." said Izzy
"You didn't find me, why didn't you find me? I waited for hours and hours and finally gave up. I looked for you and could't find you. Were you hiding from me Uncle Izzy?" Izzy listened to him going on and on until he couldn't take it any more. "BEAR! will you be quiet for one second so I can speak, please!" Bear stopped and looked at Izzy. "OK Uncle Izzy" said Bear with a sheepish grin. NOW! said Izzy giving Bear a stern look, " I'm going to need your help tonight, I have to go out side and I need you to cover for me so they won't see I'm gone, can you do that for me?" Bear opened his mouth to say he could when Izzy put his paw over his mouth to shush him. " Just shake your head yes or no please." Izzy said. Bears little head went up and down as fast as it could go. " Alright, I have to get ready to go. I'm leaving everything in your paws while I'm gone.You keep your eyes on the young ones and please make sure Genie and Rampage stay out of the dinning room. If you do a good job, when I get back we will play hide and seek all day, ok?"

Izzy made his way out through the cat door, across the porch and down the steps. that was the easy part because the snow had been swept away. Going across the yard to the trees was a bit more difficult. The snow was up to his chin so he had to hop like a rabbit to get through. Once he made it to the trees it wasn't that deep, so he could walk. He wasn't sure exactually where to go so he started to walk straight ahead. Izzy realized he was getting very cold, but he had to keep going, he had to find the clearing. Finally off in the distance Izzy could see moonlight comming through the trees. "Finally" Izzy said. He quickened his pace and reached the end of the trees. His mouth dropped open and all he could say was, "Wooooow!" There before him was a hugh meadow bathed in moon light covered with a blanket of glittering white snow and when the wind blew, the snow rose off the ground like a million dancing stars trying to reach their way back to heaven.

Izzy was so mesmerized by the beauty around him he didn't even see the sleigh off to his left, or the hugh dogs standing there looking down on him. " Izzy, what are you doing out here?" said Dawg. Poor Izzy was so stratled he jumped straight up in the air and landed on his back in the snow. Wiping the snow from his eyes, Izzy looked up and saw Dawg and his five brothers looking down on him. Izzy gave Dawg his best grin and said, " Oh hi Dawg, I was just out for a walk, that's all." " A walk huh? You just happened to be out walking in the middle of the night and not to mention when it's really cold and snowing and low and behold you end up in the clearing where I happen to be with my brothers? You want to try for story number two Izzy? I sure don't think I can swallow that one." said Dawg who was just a wee bit angry.

"OK, OK, I'll tell you the truth Dawg. I want to go back with your brothers and see Santa. I have to prove to Carol that he really does exist. Oh please take me with you, please?" cried Izzy to Dawgs brothers.
They all stood there looking at Izzy and at each other until Dawg said something and they moved over by the sleigh. Izzy couldn't hear what they were saying, but it looked like a pretty heated argument. Every once in awhile he would hear a resounding no, and his hopes would be dashed, but then they would keep on arguing. This keep going on for quite some time, and then they stopped.
Izzy's heart was in his throat as they approached him. HE looked from face to face for a clue as to what they had decided, but it was hard to read those shaggy faces.
Dawg cleared his throat and began to speak. " Izzy, they have decided to take you with them with one provision and that is you can't tell anyone about it, can you do that?" A feeble little squeak of a yes slipped out of Izzy's mouth as he grinned from ear to ear.

Dawg gently picked up Izzy in his mouth and carried him over to the sleigh and sat him on the back seat between two of his brothers. Dawg said his good byes, wished Izzy good luck, and then they were off.
Up,they went with a speed so fast, that it throw Izzy on to the back of the seat. Once he got his legs back under him, he made his way to the side and looked down. Normally Izzy wasn't afraid of height, but one look over the side at every thing moving by so fast and the ground so far away, turned his pink nose white, crossed his eyes and made his stomach gave a mighty heave. Izzy slowly slid down between the dogs and didn't move again until they landed. Jasper, one of Dawgs brothers gently picked him up and carried him into Santa's house.

" Oh! isn't he the most precious thing you've ever seen? Look at that sweet little face. Oh! I just want to pick him up and hug him so tight. Where did you ever find him Jasper? Wait till Ta sees him, he knows how much I've wanted a pet of my very own." said Mrs Clause beaming with delight. " you watch him while I go and get the Master, and don't let him leave." She yelled as she ran out of the room.
Izzy was still a little foggy headed and was mildly curious as to what she was talking about. He slowly sat up and looked around. The only other one in the room was Jasper so he asked him who she was talking about. " why you, who did you think she was talking about?" grinned Jasper. " You just made her one happy little old lady"
"Oh no, no, no, no, she can't keep me, I have a family. I have to go back home, I just came to see Santa, that's all." squealed Izzy just as Mrs. Clause came bounding into the room with Santa by the sleeve.

" Look at him, have you ever seen anyone so cute? Ta, you just have to let me keep him." she said as she picked up Izzy and started kissing his soft little cheeks and then rocked him like a baby. Santa stood there rubbing his nose thoughtfully and then said, " Clare, my Sugarplum, I think he probably already belongs to someone and we should find that out first, don't you think? Santa looked around the room and said "Now where did those dogs go? I bet they know more than they are telling. While I'm looking for them, you sit here and keep him company."

After Santa left the room Mrs. Clause sat down in her rocker and snuggled Izzy and talked to him a mile a minute. Izzy finally got up the courage to speak to her. " Excuse me" he mumbled. but she kept on talking. "EXCUSE ME" he said louder, and she stopped. She held him out at arms length and asked him if he had just said something.
Izzy's little nose turned bright pink as he said he did, and asked to be put down. Once he was put down he started to tell her his story and why he wanted to see Santa. When he was finally finished, he gave her the sweetest look he could muster while batting his eyes hoping she would believe him.

He had nothing to worry about, before he knew it, he was swept up into her arms and covered with kisses. " Well, that little girl is going to get a suprise tonight if I have any thing to say about it, and believe me I most certainly do." Huffed Mrs Clause as she marched back and forth across the room. She was still huffing and puffing when Santa came in the room. "Well, Izzy" he started to say when Mrs. Clause started yelling at him what Izzy had told her.
"Clare, I know all about it. The dogs told me the whole story." said Santa trying to quiet her down. "Izzy, that was a brave and caring thing you did. Not many would go to such trouble to help a little girl believe in me, and for that I am making a special trip to your house right now. Are you ready to go?" Santa asked him." Izzy thought for a moment and said " Yes sir, but it's awfully cold and I liked to froze to death comming up here. You wouldn't happen to have something I could put on would you?"

Mrs Clause jumped up from her rocker and hurried across the room to a large chest. She opened it and started looking through it until she found what she was looking for. She came back across the room with a big smile on her face and held up the cutest little red velvet jacket with white fur all around the bottom and up the front and a little red velvet hat with white fur around the rim and on the top. " How would you like to wear this Izzy? It's just like Santa's and it should keep you nice and warm on your long cold trip home?" she said. Izzy was so excited, all he could do was shake his head up and down as she put it on him. When it was on she took him over to a mirror so he could see how he looked.He had to admit he looked absolutely adorable and that really put a big grin on his face. Mrs Clause picked him up to put him on the floor, but before she could do so, Izzy gave her a big kiss and a fuzzy hug then thanked her for all she had done for him. She blushed and giggled like a school girl and said she was very happy to help him.
Now it was time to go. Santa picked him up and kissed Mrs. Clause good bye. As they went out the door Izzy felt a pang of remorse to leave such a wonderfully happy and magical place.

" It's going to be a cold one tonight Izzy, so put this warm blanket over you and hang on." Santa bellowed as they streaked up into the sky. Izzy didn't have to be told twice, he remembered the ride up and hid under the blanket. He snuggled next to Santa and stayed that way all the way home. Not once did he even peek out. All he thought about on the way home was ferrets and flying do not go together. He was staying on the ground from now on.
The ride home didn't seem to take as long, but that might have been due to the fact he wasn't air sick and freezing cold. " HEY Izzy" yelled Santa "we're over your house and there's Dawg sitting on the porch." Izzy jumped out from under the blanket and looked over the edge of the sleigh and sure enough there was Dawg looking up at them wagging his tail like crazy. " Hey Dawg, what you doing down there" Izzy laughed " Waiting for you" yelled Dawg back at him as he ran out into the yard. Santa made a perfect landing on the roof and jumped out of the sleigh. Izzy gave him a funny look and said, " Why are we up here, shouldn't we be down in the yard so we can go in the door?" " Door?" said Santa with a comical look on his face "I don't use the door, I use the chimney." and with that Santa grabbed up Izzy and wooosh! down the chimney they went.

Now if there is one thing ferrets like, it's tunnels and Izzy loved this one, except for the soot. He had it all over his whiskers and toes and up his nose. He sneezed and sneezed until he got it all out of his nose which made Santa laugh and laugh. "Well" Izzy finally said " that sure was fun, can we do it again?" Santa started laughing again and said no, they had more important things to do. "I want you to go up stairs and get Carol and Valerie and bring them down here to me and make sure you don't wake their parents. Can you do that Izzy?"asked Santa smiling. Izzy shook his head yes and ran as fast as he could out of the living room and up the steps.

Izzy scurried into the girls room and then stopped. He stood there trying to figure out how to wake them up. Should he bite their toes? No! they might scream and wake their parents. Should he pull their hair? No! they might yell and wake their parents. What was he going to do?
He was so deep in thought that he haden't noticed Valerie sitting up in bed and rubbing her eyes. When she saw him she jumped out of bed and ran over to Carol and shook her. " Carol, Carol, look it's Izzy, he's home." she whispered. Carol sat up all sleepy eyed and said "What? Valerie pointed at Izzy and said " It's Izzy" It took Carol a few seconds to realize what Valerie was saying, but once she did, she too jumped out of bed and went to grab Izzy.
Izzy watched the whole thing and realized he had only one thing to do, RUN! He streaked out the door and down the steps as fast as he could go with them right behind him. He ran into the living room and didn't stop until he was right in front of Santa and then he turned around and sat. When the girls came running in they stopped dead in their tracks. Valerie's eyes got as big as saucers. Her mouth was a big circle and then it changed to a hugh grin as she screamed "Santa" With one flying leap she threw her little body into the air and threw her arms around Santa's neck. She gave him the biggest hug she could while he hugged her back and then he put her down. Valerie turned her beaming little face to Carol and said " I told you he was real."
Santa knew by the way Carol looked that she was one sad and confused little girl. He went over to a chair and sat down. Valerie followed after him and hung on the arm of the chair. Santa smiled at her and patted her on the head than asked her if she would mind if he talked to Carol alone for a few minutes. She looked at Carol and saw how sad she was and whispered "Sure Santa, I think she needs some TLC, don't you?" Santa roared with laughter, " I think your right." he whispered back. Valerie gave him a big grin and whispered she would go to the kitchen for some milk and cookies, and left the room.

After Valerie left the room, Santa looked at Carols sad face. "So you stopped believing in me, why? Santa said softly. Carol looked up at him with tears in her eyes and whispered "Because the kids in school said you didn't exist and if I believed in you I was still a baby" Santa held out his arms and said " Come here Carol." She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck and sobbed. He held her tight and told her it was alright that she wasn't the first one to stop believing in him, and she wouldn't be the last. She turned her tear streaked face up to him and said, " You mean your not mad at me and I'll still get something for Christmas?" "Ho, ho, ho" Santa laughed. "Of course you will. You were a good girl all year long and not believing doesn't make you bad." Carol's face lite up like a Christmas tree when she heard that.Then Carol asked "Santa, can I ask you something? "Of course you can, what is it?" replied Santa. Carol got a thoughtful look on her face and said " Why are you here? I know you were suppose to bring our toys tonight, but normally we never get to see you. How come tonight?" Santa looked at her for a minute and with a smile said " You see that little fellow over there by the fireplace sound asleep? He is the reason I'm here for you. He wanted you to know that I did exist and came all the way to the North Pole to get me. He is one brave and loving little guy and you should thank him for being one of the few children to actually see and talk to me.
Carol didn't know what to say. She got down from Santa's lap and walked over to the fireplace where Izzy was. She knelt down and gently picked him up and snuggled him close. As she stroked his soft little cheek she whispered in his ear " Thank you Izzy, thank you for the best Christmas gift I've ever received." When she looked up, Santa was gone and in his place was a room filled with all kinds of presents. As she was carring him to the ferret room she ran into Valerie and told her what Santa had said. Valerie bust out laughing and said "I told you he was real and even Izzy knew that, so that makes him smarter than you." Carol had to admit, Valerie was right.

Izzy woke with a start and bumped noses with Bear. "Your back" said Bear. Izzy looked at that happy little face and smiled. "What gave you a clue" he said. "Wellll, I'm smart and I can see you. If you weren't here I wouldn't see you now would I?" Said Bear smugly. "No,I guess not Bear. You sure are smart, to smart for me." Izzy said with a big grin as he got up and stretched. Bear puffed his little chest out and said "You bet, and by the way where did you get that funny red coat and hat, I've never seen that before."
Izzy looked down at the coat and slowly removed it then reached up and took off the hat. He held them for a minute and smiled, then folded them up and put them in his hammock. He turned to Bear and said " They're from a friend Bear, they're from a friend. Now, let's go play hide and seek."

The End