"Gingivere, Gingivere! Come in, the storm is getting to strong!" A tall, sleek, scarlet coated wildcat yelled from the porch steps.
"I'm comeing Sandingomm, I had to lock up the shed!" a sturdy male wildcat called, trundling up in the snow. The two ran into the log and stone house. Gingivere imedatly plopped himself in a old rocking chair by the roaring fire, completely excausted.
"Oh my dear, you are covered in snow! Here is a blanket, I'll go make you some coco," Sandingomm exclaimed, placeing a handnet quelt over her husband and running to the kitchen. "Kids! Your fathers back!"
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" two wildcat kitten yelled from the bedroom. The bedroom door flew open and two little dibbuns came running to their father.
"I was only outside for a few hours, why did you miss me so?" their kindly father asked, scooping them both up into his lap.
"Me and Mort were scareded! We saw yous outside in the snow, and we werf fraid you weren't comin back!" his daughter Belle explained.
"Ah, well i'm here and safe. Now, are you ready for christmas?" Gingivere asked.
"Yeah! When's Christmas supper gonna be's?" Mort asked, bounceing up and down on his dads lap.
"It could be alwhile," Sandigomm called from the kitchen. " maybe your father could get you an apple to tide you over till supper."
The whole house shook as someone pounded on the sturdy oak door.
"Kid, with me!" Sandingomm whispered errgently, bounding in from the kitchen and sweeping then both into the bedroom.
"Who goes th-" but before Gingivere could finsh....
"Miz Bell, you broke the door!" Goody Stickle voice could be heard scolding on the opposite side of the door .
"Sorry, Gingivere. May we come in?" Bella of Brockhall called through the door to the stunned wildcat.
"Of course. Honey it's alright. Its the redwallers!" Gingivere called to his wife, opening the door for the group of freezing, snowcovered, creatures, lead by Bella and Goody.
"Welcome all, it's wonderfull to see you, is everything alright?" Sandingomm asked , making her way back to the kitchen.
"Oh yes, we won't be long. We were out letting those working in the quarry know that is was time to go back to the camp. The dibbuns wanted to play, so they stayed awhile. It then got far to cold and stormy to travel back to the camp without at rest, so we stopped here," Bella explained, removing her scarf and seating herself by the fire.
"Well you are certainly welcome here anytime, we do love company. Will you be staying for Dinner?" Sandingomm asked politly.
"No, No, No. We will be leaving in just a few minuets. We only needed to warm up," Goody answered, joining Sandingomm in the kitchen.
All the redwallers shifted about nervously, knowing not to get to confortable for they would be leaving soon. They slowly sat down on the hardwood floor by the fire. They looked upon the stone fireplace. It was finley decorated with tinsel, stockings, wreaths, garland and more. Over in the corner of the den sat a quite large christmas tree docrated with popcorn garland and homemade ornaments, and ontop sat a star made of perfectly forged gold.
"Your houf is quite pertty," young Posy Stikle complimented, as she went over to join her sibblings and the wildcat babes in corner by the tree.
"Yes. I suppose it is. Sandingomm and the kids did most of it. My family never decorated for Christmas, and only my mum and I celebrated it. My wife has taught me so much, I am glad that the kids were born after the reign of Kotir, we were worried for a while," Gingivere commented.
"Do you mean Sandingomm was pregant before Kotir fell?" Bella asked, looking straight at Gingivere, her voice was hard, yet not jugemently. All faces turned to him.
"Yes, Yes she was. But we were married, t'was right after I left Kotir," he clearified.
"Yes, the abbess wedded us the day Gingivere headed away from Brockhall to find a new life. That night is when we believe I became pregnant," Sandigomm added, as she joined the rest in the den.
"But how? Did you know each other before Gingivere escapes his imprisonment?" Bella asked confused.
"Yes, Gingivere would sneek out of Kotir and visit me while his father lived, we fell in love, and then he was imprisoned by Tsarmina. The day he got out, he found me and asked me to marry him, i'm sorry we hid it from you. We just didn't know you to well at the time," Sandingomm explained, joining the kids by the tree.
"No I am sorry friends, I was to hard on you. I just frown upon having children before marriage, and I couldn't believe you to would, I truly am sorry," Bella apolagized, imbracing the two in a hug.
"Now we really have over stayed our welcome, we really must go," Goody stated, heading for the door.
"Oh no, please stay!" Sandingomm begged, racing after Goody.
"No, we will be leaving now," Goody replyed as she unlatched door, and began to open it, a huge gust of wind blew in swing the door wide open , knoking both Sandingomm and Goody flat. Snow flew into the house and onto the floor, the fire went out and all was cold and dark. Bella ran over and gave one mighty push and the door shut hard.
"Is everyone alright?" Gingivere asked, helping both Goody and his wife up.
"Yes, yes. Were fine. Seems we'll be spending christmas with you," Goody commented cheerfully. "Now, lets get a fire go'in and supper cook'in!"
"Yeah, your spending christmas with us!" Belle exclaimed, the seven littles one scurried off to go play more imaginary games.
Soon a roaring fire was lit and all those present were helping in someway. Some sat tables, wile other made food, and drinks. The small cottage smelt so wonderfull of juicey roast pigion, freshly baked apple pies, perfectly seasoned vegtable stew, and so much more. Goody, Columbine, and Sandingomm were heading the cooking, wile Gingivere, Ben, and Gonff were in charge of the eatting arragements. Shout, orders, compliments, and laughter filled the air.
"Gonff, bring that table here,"
"That stew needs more hot root Beech,"
"Sandy, hurry get the bread out before it burns,"
"Set dat terble right ther' marm,"
"Are we out of cordial, get some more from the cellar,"
"How many more chairs do we need, oh here comes Bella with an old stump,"
All was happy and well in that small little cottage, though outside the storm continued to rage.
Soon all the cooking was done and the tables were sat. The house was cozy, yet not calm. Dibbuns ran amuck, weaving and dashing through their parents legs, as they tried to set the tables.

Dishes shattered and chair fell over in the fuss. The house was so crowded that there was but only a mere inch between each creature if that. Chaos reined, but Bella was determined to change that.

"SILENCE! Look at you all, pushing and shoveing to get past each other. That is not in the spirt of christmas. Now, all those who helped set up the tables and chairs, please clean this place up. And those who were working in the kitchen, please make a line from the kitchen to tables," Bella ordered, "and as for you young'uns," she said, turning to the dibbuns. "I'm incharge of you now." Bella scooped all six of them up in one mighty stroke. Wide eyed with fear, the dibbuns were carried away to the bed room, for , what they beleivede was going to be a good ole scoldin'.
Things had become much more organized in the kitchen and den. Before long the tables were sat, and all were ready to eat.
"Supper's ready!" Sandingomm called to Bella and the dibbuns.
"Now, act like I gave you a proper punsihment, ok, If'n you tell them all we did was play, your parents will be the one really wopp'un you," Bella wishpered, as the dibbuns slid of her back.
They each dabbed their eyes with some water from a basin beside the bed. This was so it appeared that they had been crying. They shuffled noisleyly across the hardwood floor, stifullying misceveious giggles. The door swung open, they solumly drooped their heads, and sniffled every once and awhile. All eyes were on them as the slowly walked over to their table and sat down. All was quiet.
"Well, they got what they disevered, and I sure they won't do it-oh, hahaha, i'm sorry, I mean they won't do- hahaha," Bella giggled out, proceeding to her seat at the front of the main table.
"What's so funny Bella, it crule to laugh over their suffering," Sandingomm, said sternly to Bella, as she began dishing out food.

"Oh! Hahahahaha! Oh me, what is funny is I didn't punish them a'tall, all we did was play. I just went to the bedroom to pretend to scold them, so that I would be out of everyone's way," Bella giggled out, she to began to dish out food onto her plate.

"Miz Belle, you told us'ns not to tell nobody. Now we are go'in to get a real woppin from our parents like'in you said," Gonflet screamed in terror.
"Oh young'uns, I only said that so you wouldn't tell your parents how much fun we were hav'in, I knew they would all be jealous," Bella replyed to the terrified group of dibbuns.
The whole table burst out laughing, "Bella, I was worried you were being to hard on them, hohohoh! I almost went in and was making sure all was alright! I almost spoiled your fun! Hohohoho!"Goody excalimed.
"We had a joly well time. It t'was much fun!" Bella happly replyed.
The sounds of cleafull luaghter, friendly chatting, and the ocation burp filled the cabin. Food was passed all around. Mushroom pasteys, oatmael scones drizzeled with honey, leek stew and much more were piled thick on each creature plate. Everyone loved Sandingomm and Goody Stikles stuffed tomatoes, and Bella's candied chesnuts. They all sat around eatting and talking, to distracted to see Gingivere sneek out into the cold.
After they were all done eatting their magnificently prepared christmas eve dinner, they all slid away to a seat to rest. Groans, moans, aswell as the occationall burp or fart could be heard all around the cabin.
"Now, now, don't sit around complaining how full ye are, ye didn't have to go eatting as much as you did!" Goody scolded. "You are all laying round, here I will go gather some herbs to help ye all feel better, but I most certainly shouldn't," Goddy added, heading back into the kitchen.
"Here Goody, give them each alittle of this. Gingivere takes it to help his indigestion problems," Sandigomm said, handing Goody a bowl of finely crushed herbs. "Only a table spoon each," she added as the plump, short, little hedgehog waddled out of the kitchen.
She addmenistered the herbs to all those in the small little cottage. When she came back to the kitchen a look of much concern was striken on her face.
"Gingivere has gone missing," she stated firmly, trying to not show her worry.
"What, not my Gingivere? He must just be in the cellars or bedroom," Sandinomm replied noncilauntly, continueing to clean around the stove.
"No Sandingomm, you don't understand, he is no where to be found. I have checked the cellar and the bedroom, and he isn't in either one. Ben even checked the out-house, we cannot find him anywhere!" Goody answered, becomeing more and more worried.
"Now Goody, don't go getting to upset now, if he isn't back by the dibbuns bed time, we will do something," Saningomm answered, busying herself by washing her finely handcarved, wooden plates. "Don't go tell'in the others just yet, we don't want to get them all upset too," she added.
Both the ladies proceeded back into the den. "Well, I was thinking that we could all do some singing and then we could maybe do a group christmas prayer then off to bed," Sandingomm stated, as she seated herself at Bella's feet.
"Great idea Sandy, but what shall we sing?" Columbie asked, as she to joined Sandingomm at Bella's feet.
"The tweleve days!" Gonff pipped up. "Ready, and go!"
On the first day of christmas my true love gave to me, a very hyper hare,
On the secound day of Christmas my true love gave to me two mischeveous mice and a hyper hare
On the thrid day of Christmas my true love gave to me three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the fith day of Christmas my true love gave to me five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six outstanding otters, five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven swinging squirrels, six outstanding otters, five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight mining moles,seven swinging squirrels, six outstanding otters, five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine vactioning voles, eight mining moles,seven swinging squirrels, six outstanding otters, five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten ravinous rabbits, nine vactioning voles, eight mining moles,seven swinging squirrels, six outstanding otters, five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven fighting fish, ten ravinous rabbits, nine vactioning voles, eight mining moles,seven swinging squirrels, six outstanding otters, five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare!
On the twelth day of Christmas my true love gave to me tweleve baking bats, eleven fighting fish, ten ravinous rabbits, nine vactioning voles, eight mining moles,seven swinging squirrels, six outstanding otters, five battling Badgers, four shouting shrews,three happy hegdehogs, two misceveous mice, and a hyper hare!
A huge cheer went up after the song was finished, all were in the spirt of Christmas. "Now, i'm sorry to say, but we must say the prayer and the little one will need to go to bed after that. It is way past their bedtime," Sandingomm said, as she stood to say the prayer.
Gingivere crept slowly through the wintery depths of Mossflower, fighting agains the blistering winds. Cold, weak and hungry, he still pushed onward so he could bring the children their presents Christmas morn. He knew he must be close to the redwallers camp, but he just couldn't find a trace of a singal living creature. Frozen to were he could walk no more he calpsed.
"I think he's coming to,"
"Yeah, think he'll be alright?"
"Huhhhnn, where am I? Whats go'in on?" Gingivere asked drozally.
"You are at the redwall camp, you fainted due to being almost frozen to death, good thing skipper found you, and that the abbess had some speacal herbs for that", Lady Amber stated, bathing Gingiveres brow.
"How long was I knocked out?" he inquired.
"For at lest a few hours," a burly otter answered, as he entered the tent.
At this Gingivere sprang from the bed and with one mighty push, skipper sent Gingivere sprawing back down.
"Please let me go, I need the kids presents and I will be on my way! he yelled, jumping up once more.
"You will stay down for now, please, foremole fetch the dibbuns presents, and skipper, I am appauled at you! He is recovering from almost being frozen to to death, and you pushed him so hard! Ridiculous!" the Abbess scolded, as she hobbled into the tent.
"Sorry marm, so Gingivere are you ready to head back to the farm, i'll go get us both a coat," Skipper said as he dived out of the tent and into the snow, slidding away.
"What is skipper doing? I'm doing this alone," Gingivere protested, standing up and taking the presents that foremole had just brought. He picked up the burlap bag and began to head to the tent exit.
"You won't get to the farm in time if you don't ride on Skippers back, the kids would have no presents, but oh well," the sly old abbess stated as Ginivere began to head out. He froze in his tracks. "Tw'ould be a shame if you came all this way for nothing,"
"Very well, Skipper shall come," Gingivere answered, due to his better judgement, as he turned from the tent door. A moment later skipper was back with two big jackets of pure cotton and silk lining on the inside, also a fine cloak for each of them.
"Ready?" Skipper asked, as he thru his jacket on, and handed the other to Gingivere.
Yes, we best hurry," he replied. Without another word the two took a running dive into the snow, Gingivere riding on Skippers back. They disappered into the dark, and bitter cold depths of Mossflower.
"Merci Monsoir, tu est tres gentil et magnific! Merci Martin moi cher" (Translation:Thank you my lord, you are kind and Magnificent! Thank you Martin, my dear) After Sandigom was finished with the prayer of her native tounge to Martin the warrior, all of the dibbuns followed Belle and Mort to their room, were they would sleep. Goody filed in behind them to tuck them in.
After the room was clear Sandigom glided across the room to were Bella sat humming. "I know you are worried Sandigom, I am too, he will be fine" Bella answered her un-asked question as she approached.
"When did you find out?" Sandigom asked, trying to hide the shcok in her voice.
"Only after dinner was done, I could tell that we were one groan to short" the old badger answered, still with her eyes closed.
"I am going looking for him," Sandigom stated flattly, folding her arms crossed her chest. At this statment Bella's eyes burt wide open.
"Sandingomm, you will do no such thing!" Bella proclaimed, as if she was punishing a naughty dibbun.
"Bella, he is my husband, and I must find him, and make sure he is safe," she retorted. "And it would be wrong for yoyu to stop me," and with that Sandingomm walked swiftly to the kitchen closet, pulled out a beautifull green, silk pedicoat and vanished out the door.
Bella sat in her chair stunned, she didn't know wether to go after her or leave her be. All she could do is sit and stare into the fire. Many minunets passed, but soon Goody emerged from the babe's room.
"Bella dear, the dibbuns and oldens are both asleep, I guess it's just you, me, and Sandingom,"
"No Goody, just you and me, we won't be seeing Sandingom for a while," Bella spoke emotionless, still gazing into the fire.
"What on earth do you mean?!" Goody questioned.
"Sandingomm has gone looking for Gingivere," Bella stated, before Goody could object she continued. "We can not stop her, it is her choice, but we must go and reason with her, but again, we can not stop her from doing what she wants to do, if that is her choice." And with that Bella rose from her chair and fetched her scarf and shaw from the mantle. "Goody, you may come if you wish, but I think it would be best if you stayed here, to let the other ones know what happened, incase they awake."
"Yes Bella, I shall stay, please be safe,"
"I will," and then Bella was gone, and Goody stood alone in the empty den.
Sandingomm trudged through the snow, fighting againist the wintery winds calling "Gingivere! Gingivere! Darling!" Only a few minunets out, she began feeling queasy and weak, but she ignored it and continued pressing onward. But not five minunets passed when she began retching and heaving. She feel to her knees. She had felt fine when she had left the home. She felt dizzy and weak, and just and her consience began to slip, two big, warm hands scooped her from the snowy ground and then she went limp.
Sandingomm stood in the middle of a fog covered feild, nothing moved, everthing was silent, and then, out of no where Martin appeared infront of her, he spoke in her tounge "Sandingomm, tu est bien, c'est Vous bebe, Esmeralda, vous bebe!" (Tanslation:Sandingomm, you are fine, that was your baby Esmeralda, your baby!) Sandingomm awoke suddenly, springing up into the sitting postion. She was in her bed, in her home, in a clean nightgown. "How did this happen?" she thought. She remembered going after Gingivere, but nothing else. Determined to know what happened, she pulled on a robe and strode from her bedroom into the den. Four bright smilling faces stared up at her as she entered the room.
"Good Morning Sandingomm, how are you feeling?" Bella asked, a look of concern on her face.
"I'm fine, I was wandering what happened, I don't remember a thing?" she asked, still quite confused.
"I was about to ask you the same thing," Bella replied. "As soon as you left, I follow, but I ran into Gingivere and skipper, we trudged on togther, and it wasn't long untill we found you lying face down in the snow,"
"Oh yes, I remember, it was Esmeralda. So, were did you go Gingivere?" Sandingomm asked.
"I went to get the childrens presents, a more important question is who is Esmeralda?" Gingivere repied, quite confused.
"Oh, I forgot you didn't know. I'm pregnant. That is why I colapsed, moring sickness. Martin came to me and told me that I was pregnant and that her name was to be Esmeralda," Sandingomm answered nonchalantly.
Gingivere sprung from his chair and swept his wife off her feet in the name movement. "Your pregnant! This is wonderfull! I can't believe-" before he could finish, a small voice from behind him asked.
"What's wonderfull?"
Everyone turned to see a pack of seven dibbuns standing in the bedroom doorway.
"Oh, we were just sooo excited that it is Christmas morning!" Goody interjected quickly, knowing the couple would rather anounce it more formally.
Gonflet opened his mouth to speak but before he could, Rosy let out a ear peircing scream!
"Presents!" she screamed, having seen the open sack upon the floor. The dibbuns ran full force at the parcels, but before they took but only a few steps Bella had grasped the bag, and yanked it from the dibbuns reach.
"I am appalled at all of you, running and screaming for presents, not carring to ask us if it was alright" the great Badgermum roared. "Now, I do not wish to punish you on this fine morning, but ttake this as a warning, always mind you manners! If you will all please seat yourselves by the fire, we shall bring around your presents, but you must not open them untill everyone has their. Is this understood?"
"Yes mam," the dibbuns echoed, bounceing excitedly on their knee's.
As the presents were passed out, breakfast was made. Mort got a wooden toolbox, Gonfflet a dull wooden knife, ferdy and Coggs recieved toy swords, and the girls each a yarn doll.
After breakfast the sun came out and the Redwalls departed,
Gingivere leaned over to his wife and said "This is a Christmas we will never foreget."

THE END (maybe)

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