Once there was a small hobbit family, only consisting of a father and his small son. Sadly, the mother had passed away when the boy had been just a baby, so the father cared for the boy all by himself. The boy meant all the world to him. The father did his best so that his son would live a happy life, even without a mother. But like most small hobbit lads, the boy was sometimes a bit unruly. The father did his best to keep the boy in control, but many times, he noticed that he didn't have the courage to scold him and be too strict as a parent. That's why the father invented "the Yule Man". Every time the son did something he wasn't supposed to do, his father said: "If you don't behave, the Yule Man won't bring you any presents on Yule." That seemed to work too. To make the Yule Man seem more real, the father and his son wrote a wish list for him before every Yule. And every Yule, there was a pile of presents beneath the Yule tree, left there by the Yule Man. Hence the boy believed in the Yule Man with all his heart. It was clearly a situation in which both parties were happy – so the father kept it that way. "It is only an innocent lie, it does no harm," the father thought. But as boys get older, they tend to do more thinking and even get suspicious. One Yule, the boy asked his father: "Why doesn't the Yule Man bring you anything, pa?" he asked. The father looked a bit baffled, but then replied: "Oh, it must be that I have never wished for anything, dear son." That seemed to settle the matter then, but it didn't end there. One autumn before Yule, the boy had been playing with his friend. When the boy came back home, he looked very upset. "Pa, my friend says that... the Yule Man is not real, that he is only a fairy tale." The father shook his head and comforted his son. "That's nonsense, we both know he is real. He brings presents every year." "Yes, but couldn't that be anyone? We never see him in person, just the presents!" the boy said and continued: "This year, I want to see him myself! And I won't make a wish list that could fall into the hands of fake Yule Men." "I will wish for something inside my mind. If the Yule Man is real, he can read my mind and see what I wish for." "Well, this made things a lot more complicated," the father thought. He started to work on a Yule Man outfit: a pointy hat, a thick coat and a fake beard made of tangled wool thread. The outfit was the easiest part though; he also had to figure out what the boy was wishing for Yule. The father kept a close eye on the boy, but he didn't reveal any clues about his wish. Time passed, and suddenly, it was the evening before Yule day. As the boy had fallen asleep in his bed, the father crept outside. He sneaked into a cottage near the Brandywine and changed into the Yule Man clothing. Looking like a meagre dwarf, he came out and sat on a pile of snow in the winter night. "What should I do?" he thought. "I still don't know what my boy wants!" "He will never love me again!" Suddenly, his mourning was interrupted by a crashing noise and loud screaming – it was coming from the icy Brandywine! The father ran down the bank and saw that someone had crashed though the thin ice that covered the edges of the river. Quickly, he removed the messy wool thread beard from his face and rolled it into a rope. "Take this, and I will pull you up!" he shouted and threw the other end of the rope to the person in the icy water. The father was able to pull the person out of the water into safety. He had to hold his breath, because it was the most beautiful hobbit lady he had seen in ages. He gave his thick Yule Man outfit to the lass and changed back into his own clothing. "You better come to my burrow and warm up. What did you do on the ice, dear lady?" The lass blushed. "I wanted to skate in the wintery moonlight, silly me... I'm so happy you saved me!" Back at the burrow, the father led the lady to the fireplace and brought her some tea. Together they sat on the rug and stared silently into the fire. Then the father heard a noise: his son had woken up and stood behind them. The father sighed: "I am sorry, son, I think the Yule Man..." But the son beamed. "The Yule Man is real! He was here just now!" "What?" the father gasped. "He came to my bed and apologised that he never came to see me before. And he told that I would find my present here, next to the fireplace..." The father looked around, but didn't see any presents. "What do you mean by that?" "I wished something for you! You never remember to wish anything yourself, silly pa." The father gulped. "What did you wish for, son?" The boy pointed at the drenched hobbit lady. "A wife!" "You should have waited for me before you unwrap her!" the boy added sternly. The father blushed crimson, and the lady even more. And crimson red were the roses in her hair when the two married during the next summer. So, be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. And above all, remember this: Don't skate on thin ice, and be nice. The End.