Suit Delivereth From War" - By Matthew Campbell (Exclusive
You would never believe
my story, as rich in detail as it is in the fantastical, even
if you lived it yourself. No one believes what happened to me,
despite my persistence of its truth, my rage that people have
suggested I am a liar, and my countless retellings of this story
in the same and original detail as it happened to me. I tell
you that you will never believe my story, yet I tell it to you
in hopes you might be the one person I have searched for, to spread
this truth, this truth of Christmas. I tell you the story of the
Santa suit that I stumbled upon, forever changing my life.
was the near the end of the second Great War. Our company, the
99th Airborne, was in a celebratory mood marching through
a thicket of dense woods in a German forest. It was Christmas
Eve and we had made another bold advance on the German enemy and
another great victory to the winds of our final push toward the
coming months of the end of this horrible event. It was snowing
and our spirits were high. I remember turning my head and smiling
in conversation when the explosion sent a wave through my body,
throwing me a good distance through the air and further into the
When I woke in shock,
probably many hours later or even the next day, it's all kind
of a haze, I walked toward the mess of my fellow troops to see
not one survivor among them. Trucks destroyed and my company laid
to waste on this German trail, I could do nothing but start walking
through the woods keeping as low a profile as possible.
I was hungry, and the
thought of it being Christmas kept entering my head. I was scared
because I didn't want to die now as the tide of the war had turned
in our favor. I knocked on doors asking for food, more often than
not getting slammed out in the cold. I sang Christmas tunes quietly
to myself as a form of sanity, and I always took the long way
through the woods to avoid open roads and the chance of being
seen by the German army.
I was on one of these
little side excursions through the woods that I discovered the
Santa suit that would change the course of my life. It was in
box I came upon in a snowy grove, just set there beside a tree,
as if it had fallen from the sky. I opened the box and inside
was a neatly folded, soft fur, green and red suit. There was a
metal clip attached to the suit with a pin. Engraved on the clip
the words said "Property of Santa Claus and The North Pole
Toy Company: if found please return promptly."
What was I to think?
My whole world had been shattered in one sort or another by this
unholy war. I lost my father in the first Great War, and two brothers
in this war. My fiancé left me when I enlisted, calling me a fool.
My mother was committed to a home; not well from the nightmare
that had overtaken our country from two wars.
The way I saw it I
could keep walking and try to find another company to fight alongside
with, or I could make my way north, out of Germany and north still:
as north as north would take me in hopes that there really was
a North Pole, and that Santa was really there ready to accept
his suit. This is the journey I chose, leaving the despair of
I stopped at an old
cottage tended by an old couple. I asked to borrow some clothes,
as to not be recognized as a soldier. I explained to the old couple
that I had found a Santa suit, and I wanted to return it to where
it came from. They seemed not sure as to whether they should take
me serious or not, but they provided all the hospitality I could
have asked for: a full meal, hot cocoa, a bed to rest for the
night, full breakfast and coffee, and the nicest German outfit
made for a distinguished old man. I set on foot and made my way
out of Germany in a couple of days, heading straight for Denmark.
In Copenhagen I searched
out a tavern or two before finding a fisherman willing to give
me a boat ride to Norway in exchange for a day's work on his boat.
He asked me where I was headed. I just told him north on an important
mission. He replied "running from the war I see." I worried of
his comment before he said "Can't say I blame you." Then he looked
at me and said "You keep headed north on your mission and return
what you found in the woods. It seems a mission has been bestowed
upon you, so you better take it serious. He's watching how you
handle this one. He's always watching, and he knows."
It came to me after
the fisherman dropped me ashore in Norway that I never told that
fisherman where I was headed or why, but yet he knew. Was there
truly a mission in this unreal adventure I took just to avoid
death at the hands of war? Did this Santa suit have a real owner
I knew to be a childhood myth? How far was I really willing to
take this journey?
I hiked for days through
the mountains and coastline of Norway, often finding villagers
willing to offer a bite to eat, or a bath and bed. They could
see I was weary yet determined. I explained to anyone that helped
my mission, just what I was up too. No one seemed to disbelieve
the possibility of it all. It's as if the world as I was seeing
it now was open and full of love, lending a complete hand in getting
this mission of the Santa suite to its only conclusion.
From Trondhiem, Norway I caught a boat to the Faroe Islands and
then another to Iceland and another to Greenland. My beard was
growing long, as was this journey. I was determined to imagine
this destination to be real and yet every bit as fantastical in
its reality as I could conjure it in my head. I envisioned a great
city far north and the Santa I dreamed of as a Child.
I hiked through the
coldest winds and harshest snow storms. I walked in a whiteout
sky even when I couldn't see which way I was walking. I just knew
my feet would take me the way north. I knew the Santa suit in
my pack would find its way home, with me as its carrier.
At the end of the Island
of Greenland I came upon an outpost on the shore. I passed out
from exhaustion as I knocked on the door.
When I woke I was being
transported by stretcher. Short people I believed to be elves
were carrying me and talking. I heard them say, "He has the Santa
suit. He traveled far with I can tell. I told Santa his suit has
returned. He told us to build the man a castle here. Do you think
he's going to stay?" And I dozed back off and awaited my new Heaven.
Previous Santa Suit Story
| Back To Santa Suit Story Index