December 13th

The mayor and Ludwig were sitting at his kitchen table, clutching mugs of steaming coffee.

“So now not only do we not have presents for the kids in the village who didn’t get any, we have no presents at all,” the mayor summed up, sadly.

“I made a list of the children whose parents haven’t put a present in the barn yet, in case some could be late, but there are only two families left.”
“Really?” the mayor looked over and furrowed his brow, pointing at the first of the three names in Ludwig’s list that were marked. ”Well, I know that his father is a single dad and the shop he worked at closed only a few months ago. As for those two boys,” he pointed at Manfred’s and Michael’s names, “their father probably drank all the money away. Poor lads…”

Gary nudged closer; he knew the kids they were talking about. Especially the two boys who were always nice to him and often gave him some bread or their leftovers from school when they walked past his pen towards the forest. He remembered they didn’t live in the forest, but went there often. Now he understood why. Not that he understood what alcohol really meant, he just knew it could make people do stupid things, especially those who were dependant on it. When the mayor had left, Ludwig looked down at his goat and patted his head.

“I don’t know what to do Gary.”
“Can we get more presents?” the goat asked.
“You know I don’t have the money.”
“Can we help look for it then?”
“Well I am going door to door with the pastor later, but I can’t take you with me. Not everyone would allow a goat into their home.”
Gary looked sad.
“But I want to help,” he said, “maybe I’ll just go out on my own and have a look.”

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