I've been really good this year. All I want for Christmas is a puppy.
Your friend, Bragi
He let the pencil fall to rest on the piece of paper. There were no erasermarks - afterall, he knew what he wanted from the beginning. What would be better than a hound at his side to explore the forest with and swim in the lake with and sit by the fire with? What could be better than curling up in bed with a puppy sleeping at your feet?
Bragi didn't think anything could be better.
"Are you finished with your letter?" Mum peeked around the earthen wall, her red hair falling around her face in a frizzy mane. Bragi grinned at her and folded his letter into thirds. Only Santa could read it. With a sheepish grin, he held it out for her. She took it and slipped it into the pocket of her apron. "Now you know the rules. Santa doesn't come unless all the little trolls are sleeping," she tittered, giving him a hug.
"Okay, Mum," Bragi said. His stomach flipped in excitement as he hugged her back. He pulled his covers down and slipped into bed, stretching out and resting his head on the pillow with a flop. His tail twitched.
"G'night, darling," she murmured, shutting his door behind her and leaving him all alone in his room.
Bragi lay in bed silently. He heard no frogs from the pond making their night sounds; they had all disappeared for the winter. He wondered briefly if Santa really had reindeer dressed in leather and bells. Would he hear them coming? Would his puppy be safely tucked away in St. Nick's big red bag? Would his puppy have a big red bow around his neck? Bragi smiled.
All the things he could do with a puppy... They could go sledding. They could go hunting for rabbits. They could play fetch with an old branch. They could go searching for faeries. Once the weather warmed up, they could romp in the mud. They could come home looking like pigs and both need baths before Mum let them in the house. They could go mushroom picking.
He took a deep breath and let it out and before he knew it, he was fast asleep, dreaming of the little puppy Santa Claus was bringing him.
Creak. Creak. Creak. Bragi slowly opened his eyes, sitting up in bed as he listened. What was that sound? Slipping out from under the warmth of his covers, he pulled the drapes back to peer outside. Snow was falling, the ground coated in a thick layer of white. His eyes scanned the ground, resting on something...unusual. Was that a sled? His heart leapt into his throat. Santa's sled? He pushed open the windows, leaning halfway out and straining his eyes, but he couldn't see any reindeer... Or hoofprints, for that matter. The sun was just rising.
Bragi snuck out of his room, peeking into his parents' room. Soft snores could be heard as the door swung inwards and Bragi decided they were sleeping. Careful to avoid the third and seventh stair, both of which creaked louder than Grandma's old back, he scrambled down the stairs and into the living room. There, he froze, listening.
The sounds had stopped. It was silent. His long, furred ears twitched. Santa wasn't here... He took a deep breath and slowly made his way to the tree. It was a hulking fir, its top touching the ceiling, and it was strung up with silver tinsel and round bulbs. All around the trunk were presents! Big ones, small ones, all tied up in bows. Bragi let out a soft whistle.
Something underneath the tree moved.
He took a step back, eyes wide. Presents rattled. The branches wiggled. And a little black nose poked out, golden eyes staring out at him. Bragi knelt down and reached out. A soft pink tongue lapped at his hand.
"Puppy?" His voice was tight as the grey-colored wolf pup bounded towards him, showering him in puppy kisses, her tail wagging back and forth wildly. Around her small neck was a red ribbon tied in a bow. She wiggled as his hands stroked down her sides. "My puppy!" Bragi squeaked happily, hauling her up in a hug. "I will call you Valdyr!"
The pup pulled away. Her eyes glittered with uncertainty and she flicked her large ears back, staring at him. Then she started to morph.
Her body lengthened and her paws became hands and feet, her claws changing into fingernails. Her tail zipped into her spine like a retractable cord and her gray fur fell out in clumps, littering the carpet around her until a young girl knelt in her place.
Bragi blinked, his heart sinking. He'd asked for a puppy...not a girl! "Valdyr?"
The girl shook her head, a smile lighting her lips. "No, silly. My name is Freyja."
"What did you do with my dog?"
"I am your dog!" Freyja gave a little laugh. "But I'm a girl too!" Her brows furrowed and she stared at him. "Is it gonna be a problem?"
Bragi shrugged. A werewolf? Santa gave him a werewolf? "I guess not."
She gave a squeal, jumping forwards to wrap her arms around him in a hug. "Oh, good! I've never had a troll before! We'll be able to do so many things! We can go sledding! We can build a snowman! We can hunt for rabbits! Santa gave me everything I wished for!" And just as quick as she'd changed into a girl, she was a puppy once more, prancing around his legs.
Bragi smiled. Maybe Santa gave them both what they wished for. "C'mon, Freyja! Let's go outside!"