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Grandpa and the Krampus

by belka37 

Posted: 13 December 2009
Word Count: 1549
Summary: A remake of Albert and the Krampus (hopefully, embracing the helpful advice of Issy, Freebird and Ben) I need something Christmassy to read on radio this Thursday. Will this do?)

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“Grampa! Do you know it’s only twenty days to Christmas?”

Grandpa looked up from tying his bootlaces. “Really,” he said. His eyes twinkled. “And what’s so special about Christmas, Alex?”

Alex opened his mouth in surprise. “You don’t know? Oh Grampa, you’re tricking me. Santa comes and brings presents.”

“Ah, yes. I remember. Santa, eh? Bet you don’t know his real name.”

“I do, too.” Alex grinned. It’s Santa’s Claws.’

Grandpa laughed. “Santa Claus,” he corrected. “But that’s not all of his name either. It is a short way of saying, Saint Nicholas.” He pronounced the name to rhyme with Claus.

“Well anyway,” said Alex, “ Santa’s going to bring me a tip-truck that really tips.”

“In twenty days, you say.” Grandpa pushed out his bottom lip the way he always did when he was thinking.

Alex looked at him. “Don’t you know anything? Didn’t you have Christmas when you were a little boy?”

“It’s so long ago, I don’t think I can remember.”

“Well try. Mum says you can remember anything if you try hard.”

“Mm! Let me see.” He tapped his fingers on the arm of the chair. “Twenty days, you said?”

Alex nodded.

“Well young man, I didn’t have to wait that long.” He pointed to the calendar with Christmas Day marked in red over the numbers 2 and 5. Come sit on my knee and let me tell you."

When Alex was comfortably nestled on Grandpa’s knee, Grandpa began counting backwards, “Twenty-four, twenty- three, twenty-two … nine, eight, seven, six, five.” He stopped. “That’s it. Five.”

“I’m five, Grampa.”

Grandpa nodded and continued. “When I was a boy, the most exciting day was this one.” He used his walking stick to touch number 5 on the calendar hanging near his chair. “The five or the fifth of December was Saint Nicholas Eve and just after the sun went down Saint Nicholas went from house to house visiting the children and bringing special gifts.”

“What did he bring you?”

Grandpa chewed on his lip. “One year when I was five I nearly got nothing at all.”

“What happened?”

“I forgot about the rule of being good …

”All the family - my four sisters, my father and mother, old Auntie Betty and I - we were in the living-room. The first Advent Candle had been lit and we waited at the window to watch for Saint Nicholas.

"I was so excited. I crawled between Papa’s legs and pushed my sisters away so I could stand close to the window. I wanted be the first to see Saint Nicholas coming down our street.

"When I saw him, I cried out, 'He's coming! He's coming! He's here! Quickly! Open the door!'

"Mama opened the door to welcome the guest. But it was not just one guest - there were two!

"Following behind Saint Nicholas was the Krampus. I’d forgotten what Auntie Betty had told me about him.”

“Who was he?” asked Alex.

“He was an ugly little man dressed in a rough brown fur coat. He had a enormous tail, a long red tongue and was carrying a rattling chain, and on his back was a big black coal bucket. He was supposed to be Saint Nicholas’s helper but he had decided what he wanted to do was put naughty children in his bucket and carry them off down the street and make them run home in the snow.”

Grandpa hugged Alex close to him and whispered, ”Thank goodness he’s not around anymore.”

“Where did he go?”

“He just disappeared. I think Saint Nicholas must have growled at him and told him to leave children alone.”

“As soon as I saw him that Saint Nicholas Eve I knew there was only one thing to do. HIDE!

“I scrambled to my favourite hiding place behind the big old padded chair my papa sat in to read the paper when he came home from work. From here I could see everything that was going on but hoped that no-one could see me.

“Saint Nicholas opened his large book. In it was a list of all the good and bad things done by children all around Austria. As Saint Nicholas read from the book, the Krampus looked about and licked his lips and practised hitting-strokes with his birch. Every now and then he rattled his chains and grinned as he twisted his head to peer into the large bucket he carried on his back.

“Saint Nicholas looked up from the book and saw Annie, my oldest sister. ’Aha! Hello Annie. Come to me.’

”Saint Nicholas pointed to a line on the page. ’I see here you have helped your mama look after the younger children all year and that you speak very nicely. Can you say a poem for me?’

“Annie’s eyes fixed on Saint Nicholas as she recited a poem, remembering every word just as it was meant to be. Saint Nicholas nodded and smiled. He reached into his large sack and handed Annie her Saint Nicholas' bag. In it was an apple; some peanuts and walnuts; dried figs, plums and apricots.

“The sight of it made me feel so hungry, I was ready to creep from my hiding place until I heard the jangle of the Krampus's chain. I could even hear the Krampus rubbing his hands together and muttering to himself, ‘The next one will be mine! The next one will be mine!’

“I stayed where I was - and tried not to breathe - in case the Krampus heard me..

"It was Hana's turn next. She too, had done good things. So had Emilie and Maria.

“The Krampus kept jaggling his chains and his mutterings seemed to get louder.

“When, Auntie Betty looked around and asked, ‘Where's Albert?’ my hands went all sweaty.

“Mama spotted me behind the chair. ‘Come on, Albert. It's your turn, now.’

“Saint Nicholas turned toward the chair that I was hiding behind. ’Come on, Albert. Don't be shy. Now let me look in my book for your name.’

“I struggled to my feet and shuffled out in front of everyone. The Krampus grinned and rubbed his hands together. Then he started to jump up and down the way I always did when I was excited.

“Saint Nicholas looked in his book. He frowned a little and had another look. He turned to me. ‘What's this? You ... scribbled in your schoolbook ... didn’t come for a bath when you were called.’

“The Krampus smirked and began to jump even higher than before. I covered my ears with my hands to block out the sound of the little man’s rattling chain.

‘This one's mine! This one's mine,’ the Krampus cried - and he chased me around and around the room - until he caught me. I struggled and kicked but the Krampus was too strong for me. He scooped me up - and into his large coal bucket I went.

“I pulled myself up as high as I could and peered over the edge of the bucket at Saint Nicholas. 'Oh, please Saint Nicholas, help me.'

“Saint Nicholas turned to the Krampus and said in a gruff voice, ’Let the boy free. Leave him alone. He's mine.’

"Auntie Betty helped me from the coal bucket and stood me on my feet. ’Now go to Saint Nicholas and say 'thankyou' for saving you from the Krampus,’ she said.

"I looked down at my shoes as I walked very slowly toward Saint Nicholas. What would happen now, I wondered. I slowly raised my eyes.

“Saint Nicholas was looking back in his book. He turned the page. ‘Aha!’ he said. ‘I knew there had to be more. Yes. Here we are: Papa is proud of how you helped him clean the basement; Mrs Wendt from the little corner shop says you’re the best little messenger boy she’s ever had; and, old Mr Hack is so happy that you take his dog for a walk every day.’

“Saint Nicholas stepped forward and held my hand in his. ‘Come, Albert,’ he said. ‘I am very pleased to see the kind of boy you really are. Well done! I am sure you will be more careful with your school books and learn to come for your bath when you’re called ... I look forward to seeing you again next year.’"

“Alex!" said Grandpa, turning to his grandson, "I can tell you now, I couldn’t believe it when Saint Nicholas gave me my special bag of goodies. I have never tasted fruit and nuts so sweet. But sweetest of all was the sight of that old Krampus skulking out of the house and away into the night.”

“And the Krampus never came back?”

“He never came back.”

Grandpa lifted Alex down from his knee and stood up. “And if I don’t go and help your Dad, I’ll be in trouble with him, not the Krampus.”

“Where are you going, Grampa? Can I come?”

Grandpa tapped his nose. “How many days to Christmas did you say?”


“Uhu! That’s twenty days of secrets. No more questions.”

Grandpa ran his finger through Alex’s hair. “Just one little clue. There’s a tree that needs decorating before a certain gentleman dressed in red, you call Santa, comes visiting. So off you go and play.”

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Comments by other Members

The Bar Stward at 09:51 on 14 December 2009  Report this post
How is scary is the Krampus? This would frighten my little'un to death, lol. I saw a program about the different verisons of Santa around the world and I saw this mentioned, and another helper called Black Peter. I liked the tone of this, very olde sounding, better than the toy making machine that works for toy companies now

Pat M at 16:53 on 14 December 2009  Report this post
Hi Mabel, I do like this story, so different from the usual sort of thing. And 'good' winning in the end of course!
I just wonder whether the Claws /Clause will work on the radio, won't it sound the same? Also would it be a good idea to mention Austria earlier, maybe when Grandfather says it was so long ago, he could add, something about it being 'far away' or 'in another country' as well?? That would avoid any kidies worrying about the horrid little man being behind Santa here!!

My kids were actually frightened about Santa when they were little (a long time ago!) I remember David saying "I don't want some old man with a beard coming into my bedroom when I'm asleep." Thereafter we had all presents downstairs in our house!

Good luck with your reading and Happy Christmas!


belka37 at 05:46 on 18 December 2009  Report this post
Thank you, Bar Steward and Pat for your comments.
I followed your suggestion Pat and included having Grandpa say in a country far away called Austria. I managed to pronounce claws (as in oars) and Claus (as in boughs) and the radio reading worked a treat. I've been invited back to do some more readings.
I also tested the story "live" on some seven year old boys to see if it was too scary - but that seems about the right age. They really got into the "this one's mine" bit.

So again, thank you - and to those who commented on the original version. I'm grateful that you pushed me into the rewrite.

TO ALL: HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS SEASON whether it be to celeberate Christmas, Hannukah or any other festival. May 2010 bring you enough excitement to keep you young

ShellyH at 11:42 on 18 December 2009  Report this post
Hi Mabel,

Just got round to reading this and thought it was charming. I agree about mentioning Austria earlier, which you say you've already done. Congratulations about the radio work, you must be so pleased.
Have a great Christmas Mabel and thanks for all your help.


belka37 at 03:03 on 19 December 2009  Report this post
Thank you Shelly,
And a Merry Christmas to you!
I'll catch up with you and everyone in the New Year.
Bye for now

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