As we apporach the holiday season, so do the Redwallers. But, what sort of holiday do they celebrate anyway? Intrigued by this question, I made up a grand holiday celebration by conbining all sorts of different holidays celebrated by different religions. See if you can find all of the holiday traditions! Happy holidays everyone!
The wind whistled wistfully as it wound its fingers through Nells’ sable brown fur. He bundled his worn blankey closer to his body, for he was dreadfully cold in the winter storm. The Dibbun otter’s’ big green eyes were searching the woodlands, but it was very hard to do, on account of the falling snow. Little Nells, like any otter, loved the snow, and he wanted to catch every single snowflake on his tiny pink tongue. He stared, fascinated, as the falling flakes, so wound up in his awe that he didn’t hear someone coming up behind him.
“Arg, matey!” Nells squealed with delight and laughter as the giant Skipper of Otters grabbed him from behind and swung him wildly in the air. Skipper picked up the wee otter and held him right over the ramparts. Nells shrieked with terror as he looked at the white ground below. “Careful matey or I’ll drop you over the walls!”
Nells screamed. “No Skippa! Noo! Don’t dwrop me!” He grabbed at Skipper’s huge, strong paw that was suspending him in the air.
Grinning a smile that revealed his pearly white teeth, which deeply contrasted his almost-black fur, Skipper laughed and set Nells down on the snow-covered parapet. “Haar, I wouldn’t never drop you, matey. I was just fooling. Why are you out here in the cold, anyway? You could be inside with the others, nice and warm by the fire.”
Nells looked at Skipper with big green eyes that made Skipper’s heart melt. “I’m lookin’ for da Goozim shrooz!”
Skipper roared with laughter. “Don’t worry, little buddy. The Guosim will be here soon!”
“But I can’t wait no longer! Dey’re bringin da tree!”
“Aye,” sighed Skipper. “I remember when I was a wee one, like yourself. I couldn’t wait for those shrews to bring that tree.” Skipper picked up Nells and placed him on his brawny shoulder. “Let’s wait for the shrews together, matey.”
With hopeful and apprehensive green eyes, Nells searched through the falling snowflakes for the Guosim shrews. Suddenly, his eyes caught sight of something moving. “Skippa! Da shrooz!”
Trudging through the cold and snow, the Guosim shrews could be seen. They were dressed in warm woolen tunics and coats, with warm woolen mittens to dress their paws. Over the whistling wind, the shrews’ bass voices could be heard singing a cheery song.
Hearing the shrews’ holiday song, Nells jumped down from Skipper’s shoulder. “Dere dey are! Dere here! Da tree!” The wee otter ran down the wall tops, down the stairs, across the courtyard, and right up to the grand Abbey gate. Nells ran so fast that Skipper could hardly catch up with him. “Slow down, matey!” He slowed his gate to a jog. Shaking his head wistfully, Skipper sighed. “Ah, youth. I can’t blame Nells for being excited, though. After all, this is the best time of the year!”
Nells was jumping up and down, trying to undo the gate’s latch. “Hurry Skippa! Let dem in!”
Skipper undid the latch and swung open the gates, and was immediately greeted by a score of shrews. “Well, Skipper, are you going to let us in, or should we head back home?”
Skipper laughed yet again. “Why, Log-a-Log Sorex! My matey here has been waitin’ for you!” He gestured to Nells, who was now quivering with excitement.
Nells could no longer contain himself. “Did ya bring da tree?”
Log-a-Log Sorex looked at Nells with a picture of mock confusion. “Tree? What tree? Nobeast said anything about a tree.”
Nells’ face fell. His eyes glistened with tears. “Ya mean… dere’s no tree?”
Log-a-Log Sorex laughed. “Ha ha! Don’t worry, young ‘un! We got the tree!” He stepped aside, revealing two shrews holding up a grand spruce tree.
Nells stared at the tree, his eyes filled with awe and wonder. “It’s da bestest tree dere eva was!”
A shrew named Anton smiled. “Only the best for you!”
The group brought the tree in, laughing and joking, their boots leaving fresh footprints in the crisp snow. As they entered Cavern Hole, all of them were immediately greeted by all of the Redwallers. Everyone was excited and merry. Over the noise of the excited voices, Abbot Foirek spoke in a happy voice. “Everyone, settle down! It’s time to trim the tree!”
And so the tree was trimmed. Elders strung popcorn on strings, and the strings of popcorn were strung on the tree by the Dibbuns. The squirrels hung nuts and acorns, while the moles hung homemade wooden ornaments on the tree. Everybody was happy. Soon they were finished, and all stepped back to look at the fruits of their labors. It was perfect, except---
“Ya fergot da star!” Nells came running towards the tree, carrying a big wooden star that was painted a bright gold. Skipper picked Nells up, and Nells placed the star at the very top of the tree. “Now it’s done!” Nells proclaimed.
All admired the tree, and everyone agreed it was the most beautiful tree that they had ever done. Friar Bogdon came into Cavern Hole. “Everyone, please!” he announced. “It’s time for the feast!”
With a great hustle and bustle, everyone swarmed into the Great Hall. When everyone was seated, servers came out and began to serve the food. And what wonderful food it was! There were flans, pasties and tarts, soups, stews, and curries and desserts! Oh, the desserts! Blueberry pies, chocolate cakes, potato latkes, and wheat challah! Main courses and desserts were eaten together, and everything was delicious. Friar Bogdon spoke in a loud voice, “Eat up everyone! We’ve been fasting for a whole month now, so eat ‘till you’re full!
Anton looked at Skipper in astonishment. “Is this true? Did all of you fast for a whole month?"
Skipper nodded. “Aye. No food from sunrise to sunset.”
Anton was aghast. “No food? How did you do it?”
“Well, I admit it was hard, but it’s all for a good cause. All of us learn obedience from fasting. Plus, all of the food that we didn’t eat we can now eat and enjoy together at the feast!”
Soon, all that was left of the delicious feast were some crumbs. Abbot Foirek then said, “Everyone back into Cavern Hole! It’s time for the candle lighting ceremony!”
Eight large candles were set up in the center of Cavern Hole ona large table. Everyone gathered around the table. As the Abbot began to light them, one at a time, all were silent. Everyone bowed their head in prayer and in thanks of the wonderful year and the wonderful harvest. Abbot Foirek motioned for the Dibbuns to come forward. Each one was carrying a large fruit of vegetable. The Dibbuns placed the food on the table in front of the candles. With a hearty “Amen” the ceremony was over. Skipper shouted, “Awright yew Dibbuns! It’s time for bed!”
All of the Dibbuns groaned. Shouts of “I don’t wanna go ta bed,” “It’s too fun!” and “Nooo!” could be heard. Skipper gave a huge wink to all of the elders. “I think we should let them stay up. After all, they don’t care if Saint Badger comes to them anyway…”
The Dibbuns had totally forgotten about Saint Badger. Quickly, they all ran to the Dormitories, and hastily lined up their boots in the outside hallway, all in hope that Saint Badger would come along and drop candied chestnuts in the boots of the Dibbuns who had been good. Of course, every Dibbun would receive candied chestnuts from the Saint. Safe and snug in their beds, the Dibbuns slept on, dreaming of trees, food, candles, and candied chestnuts.