Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Building The Christian Life: Faith

Do you know how to build a Christian life? II Peter 1:5-7 tells us how. Peter is not trying to be overwhelming, but pictures our growth in a series of qualities added one at a time, as pearls on a string, rather than growing them all at once. There is a reason behind the sequence and we would like to briefly look at each of these.

Today we’re going to start with FAITH. It is dependence. It is total. It is a belief in God, not just in what God said or did, but in God Himself. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6) You can have the same relationship that Abraham had and have it on the same basis.

There are two kinds of faith, both of which are mentioned in Romans 1:17. From Faith is objective faith, the body of faith in which we believe. To Faith is the subjective status of living out the faith in our own lives and not just looking at it in a book.

The Christian life is really simple: believe in Jesus Christ and live what you believe.

Make sure you do believe in Him. Then you’re ready to move on. That’s why it says that we supply ourselves from this starting point.

Some scriptures to look at: Jude 3 and Habakkuk 2:4

Saturday, December 26, 2009


In Case anyone is interested, the story you've read over the last 25 days has been adapted into a musical play by the author. If you are interested in possibly doing this at your church or group next year please correspond with me and I'll give you more particulars.

Friday, December 25, 2009


PART 25 , December 25

"Merry Christmas," said Hickory Hog to all his friends. They were all seated around his table. Spread before them were hot cups of cocoa, platters piled high with popcorn, pancakes made from potato batter, corn syrup for the top of them, turnip sauce, hash browned potatoes and fried Brussels sprouts. There was Whizzer Worm on one side of the table. Next to him was the frightened little bird. Then there was the little old man. Next to him was the Christmas Rascal.

"Well, we got a white Christmas after all, thanks to you. Hickory Hog,” began Whizzer Worm.

“Oh, no, it wasn't all me. It was partly the Christmas Rascal, too."

"But how could it be him," asked the bird, "when he was the one who was the cause of the whole trouble.”

"Well, he was a cause of trouble until I talked to him and straightened him. After I talked to him, everything was different."

"What did you tell him?" asked the little old man.

"I told him that he didn't understand the whole reason for Christmas in the first place. He thought it just had to do with things, but that's all wrong. Christmas is the birthday of baby Jesus. He was no ordinary baby. He was God's baby, the Son of God. What the Christmas Rascal never realized was that he came just for the Christmas Rascal, He didn't come for good people, but for rascals, so that they could be saved.

"Not only that, but he came so that the rest of the world could be right again. All of creation was looking and waiting for him. Nothing has ever been right since a certain, definitely evil and wicked, rascal messed things up in a garden long ago. Since that time all animals, trees, plants and creatures have looked forward to his coming."

"You mean his coming even affects a worm such as I?" asked Whizzer.

"That's right. The coming of Jesus and his later dying on the cross completed God's plan for man. Now the Christmas rascal doesn't have to be a rascal anymore.”

"That's right," confessed the Former Christmas Rascal. "From now on I'm going to be a changed rascal, I mean man."

"But what about the snow?" asked Whizzer Worm. "Why was that so important?"

"Oh, it wasn't so important, at least not as important as we thought," answered Hickory. "I saw that as soon as I talked with the Christmas Rascal and told him the reason for the coming of Jesus. It still would have been Christmas without the snow, but not without everyone knowing about Jesus, even the Christmas Rascal.”

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

I hope this has been a blessing to you and your family. Have a great day, and keep on serving Jesus every day!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


PART 24, December 24

It was Christmas eve. Not a speck of snow was anywhere to be seen. The friends waited outside the lair while the Christmas Rascal was being reasoned with by Hickory Hog.

Finally the door opened and out came the Christmas Rascal, unshackled, followed by Hickory. The rascal was saying, "It's really quite simple. All you have to do is take out the body of the rocket and fire it backwards up there. That should reverse the process."

"Are you sure?" asked Hickory.

"Well, I think so. I hope so."

All the friends followed this unlikely pair back out to the rocket launching site. There everything was as they had left it a short time before. No one hindered the Christmas Rascal and he went right to work. He looked up at the sky and the moon. He saw the clouds. It was getting close to midnight. Soon it would not be Christmas eve any more. It would be Christmas day. Still the snow had not come. At last everything was done.

I sent up four rockets," explained the Christmas Rascal, "There are six left. The first four should be able to counteract the four already up there. The two left over should start the snow."

"But it's only ten minutes to midnight," said the little old man consulting his watch.

"They're all ready to go," said the rascal. "Stand back, now."

He fired off the first four rockets. WHOOOSH! WHOOOSH! WHOOOSH! WHOOOSH! Then he paused a few moments. Nothing seemed to change. There was no snow yet, but somehow you could feel that it might be in the air.

Then he sent up the next one WHOOOSH! Nothing happened. Then same the final WHOOOSH! There were five minutes left. The minutes began to come along. Four, three, two, one. There was fifteen seconds left to go when the first snowflake came down out of the sky. Then came another and then a whole horde of them.

In town the church bells began to ring. Christmas had come. The five friends walked back to Hickory Hog's shack in a curtain of snow.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


PART 23, December 23

"You Did What?!" every voice in the lair exclaimed.

"I unseeded the clouds. Now it won't snow at all."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you know how sometimes when it doesn't rain people will go up in the air and seed the clouds to get them to release the water in them. I put exactly the opposite in the air to unseed them. I only got to send. up four of my ten rockets, but that should be enough. There will be no snow in Potatotown this Christmas."

That statement left everyone in a quandary. What could they do? They had the Christmas Rascal at last, but what could they do to him. Anything mean would just make them mean and thus take away more of their joy.

"You mean there's no way it will snow at all?"

"That's right. I fixed that but good. Once the clouds are unseeded that's that."

"Well, there's got to be something we can do."

"Oh, I expect there is, but you couldn't do it in time."

"What's that?"

"You could reseed the clouds."

"But how?"

"Wouldn't you like to know. Ha, ha, ha!"

Hickory Hog called his friends aside. "This calls for action," he said. "I want you all to go outside and wait for me, I'm going to persuade the Christmas Rascal to fix things."

"How are you going to do that?" asked Whizzer Worm. "Sit on him?"

"No, I'm going to tell him something that will make him fix everything up. Now go on outside. I'll call you when I'm ready."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


PART 22, December 22

Everyone ran outside as fast as they could. There they saw going up into the sky a rocket. There was another explosion and then another rocket soared aloft. They were like fourth of July fireworks rockets, only no fireworks came out of them once they were up. They just disappeared into the clouds.

"Over there," shouted Hickory Hog, pointing off in the woods. At that moment another rocket fired up into the atmosphere. "We've got to stop him!"

All the friends went as fast as they could. They were just in time to see the Christmas Rascal fire up another rocket. There on the ground beside him were six more ready to go.

Faster and faster they ran, jumped and flew. Then they were on top of him. He fought long and hard until Hickory sat on him and then that was the end of the matter. The Christmas Rascal was caught.

"Tie him up," directed Hickory at last. The little old man reached into his pocket and pulled out some cord he had there. Ever since they'd heard about the Christmas Rascal he'd taken to carrying something on him to tie him up should such an opportunity arise. The little old man had been in the navy, and so he knew all sorts of knots that could not be untied except by an expert hand. Soon they had the Christmas Rascal all trussed up and packaged to go.

"Now, let's take him to the lair," said Hickory. "We'll come back for these other things later."

It took a while to drag the rascal back to his lair, but at last they had him there. Then the interrogation began.

"Just where did you put all the other things you stole?"

"Oh, that's easy. I was getting ready to make a map to mail to you of my other lair, I thought it would give you something to do on Christmas day when there was no snow to make snowballs or snowmen with. After all, you're not going to be able to go sledding or skiing."

"And how do you know that?"

"Because I unseeded the clouds."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Monday, December 21, 2009


PART 21, December 21

"Now, here's my plan," began Hickory Hog. "I'm going to come at the lair from the front. I want you to fly around back to make sure he doesn't get out that way, little bird. Little old man, you take one side and Whizzer you take the other. We should be able to surprise him and get him that way. If you see him, shout out and we'll all converge on him. That way we should be able to capture him. I just hope we won't be too late to stop him from doing whatever it is he's going to do to keep it from snowing."

Hickory had kept the map that the rascal had supplied for him, so he had excellent directions to the lair. When they got close they separated and went off in different directions! so they would be ready to surprise him. They were all to wait for a prearranged signal and then attack the lair all at once.

Hickory figured that the Christmas Rascal always went out to do his rascal business in the evening. So, if they went in just before dark they should be able to capture him. No one had ever seen him in the day, so it would probably be safe to get him then.

Everyone was in place when he gave the signal. They all rushed at the lair as fast as they could. Hickory grabbed the door and flung it open. The lair was empty.

There were no more things in it. It was almost as if the rascal had stopped collecting things after Hickory had returned them. Of course the newspaper said that wasn't true. Things had still gone on, even while Hickory had been returning the first batch. They must be somewhere else.

There were a few boxes in a corner, and some plans of some sort lay on a table. There were a lot of mathematical equations all over the papers which nobody could figure out. Also there were some abbreviations like ft, alt, along with strings of numbers. Back in another corner Whizzer Worm found a book on meteorology.

"What's that?" asked the little old man.

"Meteorology is not the study of meteors, as you might think. On the contrary, it is the study of weather," answered Whizzer.

"You mean like rain and snow?" asked the bird.


At that moment they heard an explosion outside and then a loud WHOOSH!

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Sunday, December 20, 2009



The Rest
Has come
Upon the
And after
The globe
Will start
To the south
And though
We must wait
For the sun
To work
The fields again
His absence
Lets us
Draw near
To things
We might
In His Light
For no time
In the year
Does home light
Shine as bright

- 20 December 2000


PART 20, December 20

Without even pausing to pack up a tooth brush Hickory Hog went into action.
He put on a coat, for he knew it would get cold, and then dashed off in the direction of the woods.

Immediately his friends went into action, also. Knowing Hickory to be a rather indolent hog they knew something was up and then wanted to get in on it. The long days of enforced inactivity had made even the frightened little bird eager to face whatever was ahead. So, they ran, slithered and flew on after Hickory Hog.

It didn't take them long to catch up with him. He spun around as they accosted him. "What are you doing?" he snorted.

"We were going to ask you that," panted the little old man.

"I'm off to catch the Christmas Rascal."

"We want to come," chirped the little bird.

"Well... I don't know."

"You might need us," added Whizzer Worm.

"Yes, Yes!" all the rest agreed.

"Well, I don't know," said Hickory again. "This is awfully important. We can't just barge in. It all has to be done the right way. But you know, with the four of us we just might be able to do it. Will you follow my plan?"

They all said they would.

"All right. Here it is. The Christmas Rascal has decided to keep it from snowing. That's obviously a bigger project than just stealing potatoes or chrome. It's going to take him some time and some quiet. He's gotten the quiet in the past few days by not bothering anybody. The question is, where did he get it?

"That had me puzzled for a long time. Then it dawned on me. What's the only place we wouldn't look for him anymore?"

"Where?" they all asked.

"Where he's already been. His lair."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Saturday, December 19, 2009


PART 19, December 19

That night they had a huge dinner in honor of Hickory Hog's at least partial success. Somehow the whole thing fell flat. It was a hollow victory, almost more in the nature of a defeat. Hadn't the Christmas Rascal really guided him to his lair after all? What could he do about him on his own? Absolutely nothing.

The friends sat around and discussed the matter some more. They looked at the latest edition of the Potatotown Press, but there were no clued in there as to the wherabouts of the Christmas Rascal. All they knew was that he was up to his usual activities. Two more days passed, drawing ever closer to Christmas. It was on the third day that something unusual happened, or maybe we should say it DIDN'T happen.

Hickory had just about made up his mind to forget the whole business and do the best that he could to make a nice Christmas for himself and his friends and go on from there. Morning brought the Potatotown Press to his doorstep. There on the front page was the headline: "JOY RETURNS?" Below was the article:

"Watchers of the infamous Christmas Rascal
have noted a pattern of inactivity in the past
48 hours. Absolutely nothing has been stolen
or disturbed? in the entire metropolitan area
of Potatotown, None of the other surrounding
burgs have reported any activity either.

"All of this leads this reporter to wonder
if it could not be that the Christmas Rascal
has left the area. Since he began his reign
of joy thievery not a day has gone by without
at least five people's joy being taken away.
Now in the last forty-eight hours there has
been absolutely no activity from him at all,

"Plans for special Christmas activities
are again under way. It seems that nothing
will hold the people back. The only
question lingering in the air is this:
Will it snow by Christmas eve?"

Immediately Hickory was galvanized into action. This was what he had been waiting for. The Christmas Rascal was retreating to his final stand. He was going to keep his word and stop it from snowing, and Hickory knew that he would have to catch him then. He had to start out right away to capture him, for he knew where he would be.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Friday, December 18, 2009


PART 18, December 18

It took several days to deliver all the stolen things to their rightful owners. All the time Christmas was drawing closer on. All the time there was no snow in the air or on the' ground. Could it be that the Christmas Rascal would really prevent it from snowing? Would the children be deprived of a white Christmas?

It was with a great sense of defeat that Hickory Hog finally drug himself through the door of his shack. He was carrying the Baby Jesus for the manger scene and Whizzer Worm's potatoes. He couldn't bring back his own corn, for that had already been eaten, and he couldn't do much for the frightened little bird or the little old man, for the things that had been taken from them had not been physical anyway.

All his friends were glad to see him. Somehow, though, just bringing back all the things gave no one any more joy than any other people had had :at receiving back their possessions.

Hickory was so tired that he crept over to his bed and went to sleep. He slept for two whole days and nights he was so exhausted. While he slept his friends took his manger scene and set it up in the yard. Nothing was disturbed from its place. This, at least, brought some measure of joy back into their lives, but it could never be complete as long as there was the threat of the Christmas Rascal coming in and spoiling everything. Maybe now that threat alone was enough to spoil their joy so that no further thefts were necessary.

After the second night the friends began to worry about Hickory, so they sent Whizzer Worm in to wake him up, Whizzer at first tried yelling at him, but having just a small wormly voice he didn't get very far that way. He tried to tickle him, but almost got smashed by one of Hickory's hooves, so he stopped that. Finally, he whispered in Hickory's ear, "Your corn is all gone."

Like a flash of lightening in reverse Hickory came up off his bed and shouted, "Where! Where?"

"Nowhere at all. I just said that to get you up. We were worried about you."

"Oh, I was just tired, but I feel a lot better now."

"Well, what are you going to do about the Christmas Rascal now?"

"That's a good question, I wish I knew.”

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Thursday, December 17, 2009


PART 17, December 17

Hickory Hog could hardly believe it. He was there in the Christmas Rascal’s lair. Here were all the things he had stolen over the last few weeks. It was then that he noticed the little cassette player. It was lying on the floor right next to the figure of the baby. Nobody had reported a missing cassette player, at least not to his knowledge. It must have been left there on purpose. He reached over and turned it on.

"Well, well," came a voice from the machine, "So you found all these things. But you haven’t found me, and you won't, either. You wouldn't have found these things if I hadn't led you to them. If you look under the cassette player you’ll find a map leading back to your shack. It also shows where you can return all these things. By the time you get done with that you won't have time to look for me. Besides, you'll find it doesn't make any difference anyway."

That was all. He listened for a few more moments, but there was nothing there. So, he looked for the map. There it was. He could get home now, but first he had to deliver all these things. It looked like it would take him up until New Year's just to do that. Then what would happen to his Christmas?

The closest delivery was to Stevie Thinklebine's with the chrome. Hickory loaded it on a wagon belonging to the little girl next door to Stevie and set off with it. He knocked on Stevie's door. Stevie opened the door and stared in amazement, "Hey, man," he said, "what's all this, anyway? Are you that Christmas Rascal?”

"No," Hickory Hog replied humbly. " I just happened to stumble onto his hoard and have apparently been appointed to return all these things."

"Oh, well, that doesn't matter. I don't need that old chrome anymore, anyway. I traded that old junk heap in on a new car."

"But what am I supposed to do with the chrome?"

"Do what you want, man, I don't need it.”

"I'll have to ask you to quit calling me man. You can clearly see I'm a hog."

"Oh," said Stevie, as he slammed the door shut in Hickory's face.

The story was the same wherever he went. Instead of being greeted with joy at returning people's possessions he was met with indifference or outright hatred. Now he understood why it made no difference to the Christmas Rascal. He had already stolen people's joy, and you couldn't give it back with things. There's no joy in things, for after all, they're still just things.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


PART 16, December 16

The sun started to go down. The wind whipped up and began to blow through the trees. The temperature dropped down to an alarmingly cold level. Hickory Hog was lost.

He had come out on the trail of the Christmas Rascal, but hadn't been able to catch him. He thought he'd been on to him, but as the trail led further and further into the woods a conviction began to grow in him that he was deliberately being led on a wild goose chase. It all seemed perfectly hopeless.

The wind really was getting colder. He'd have to find some shelter pretty soon. It was just too cold to spend the whole night out of doors. What if it began to snow, or would it?

There was nothing to do but to keep on following the track he was on. Since the Christmas Rascal had laid it out for him, he was bound to be at the end of it somehow. He couldn't just disappear. That, though, is what he seemed to have done. The track just disappeared. Beaten or unbeaten, there was absolutely no more track to follow. Now what?

It was then that off in the distance off to his right he saw a light burning. He decided he'd better make for that. Wherever there was a light there would be someone. They could, help him out with a place to stay for the night or else some directions to safety.

Closer and closer he came. It was a porch light that he saw. He came up to it and saw a note attached to the door of the small cottage. It said, "Come in. You'll find everything you want."

Hickory opened the door. There before him was a whole array of different objects. In one corner there was a heap of old raggedy clothes. There was a pile of chrome off an old car. There was a silver setting all neatly wrapped up in a cloth so as not to scratch it. There was a pile of potatoes. In the center of the room was an object covered over with a burlap bag. He removed the bag. There before him was his missing baby Jesus from the manger scene.

He had found the Christmas Rascal's lair.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


PART 15, December 15

The days were drawing close to Christmas. Hickory Hog had to act fast, and for a hog of his size that was going to be a little difficult. He asked all his friends to kindly stay in his shack while he was gone and keep an eye on it. There was plenty of food for them. They could eat their fill every day for a month and not begin to consume what he did in one day. If he had had to pay for his food (he didn't as he grew everything himself), the amount would have kept at least three banana republics solvent for a year, just on a week's grocery budget.

Before leaving the area he stopped off at the office of the Potatotown Press and interviewed David Potter on the likely wherabouts of the Christmas Rascal.

"Oh, he's still in the area," said the reporter, "We just got a report last night that he had taken the clothes off old widow Fillburry's scarecrow. Why, it was a scandal to the whole neighborhood to wake up and find a naked scarecrow in their midst."

"Well, then, where's that?"

"It's out east of town, actually almost to Redserville, You might go investigate and see if he left any tracks. In fact, we may be able to sort of deputize you or something and make you an assistant reporter if you come up with any valuable leads in the story."

"That doesn't matter. I just want to find him."

It took most of the day for Hickory Hog to get out to Widow Fillburry's cornpatch. And a fine cornpatch it was, all except for the scarecrow. Somebody had thrown an old blanket over it to cover its nakedness, and now it looked more like a Halloween ghost than a scarecrow. Hickory didn't want to bother the widow, so he just looked around for more tracks.

Sure enough there were some, but they were just a little confusing. They seemed to wander around here and there as though the person who had made them was deliberately trying to put a possible pursuer off the scent. That, of course, had been the Christmas Rascal's intention, but it didn't work out. Hickory had a keen eye, if he had nothing else, and he finally untangled the trail of the tracks and set off west back in the direction of Potatotown.

Once he got away from the cornpatch it was easy to follow the prints. They led into the forest, far away from any beaten track. Pretty soon it became apparent that Hickory Hog was lost.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Monday, December 14, 2009


PART 14, December 14

Where, indeed, was the baby Jesus?

"Why, I put him right there in the manger," said Hickory Hog, "and he's gone now. But how could it have happened? My trap was foolproof."

"That's right," agreed the little old man, "Only a fool would have been caught in it."

"What do you mean?" spluttered Hickory.

"Now, now," said Whizzer Worm, entering in to part the fray. "This won't solve anything. Somehow he got in and stole the baby Jesus.”

"But how can you have Christmas without the Baby Jesus?" asked the frightened little bird.

"You can't," said Hickory sadly. "You can't have Christmas at all. Oh, I know a lot of people are only concerned about Santa Claus or snowmen or reindeer, but if you don't have the baby Jesus, you don't have Christmas at all."

"Can I quote you on that!" asked the reporter.

"You certainly can,” answered Hickory. "You see, that's what people like the Christmas Rascal do the most damage on. They get our eyes off the one whose birthday it is, and then we become really confused. It's no wonder it's so easy for us to have our joy stolen if it's only in things, I know I’m no better than anybody else, but after all I'm only a hog."

"But even a hog can change," said Whizzer Worm.

"That's right," said Hickory. I CAN change myself, but I also need to do something about that Christmas Rascal. I guess I need to do more than catch him. I need to change him. After all, a Christmas Rascal, no matter how bad he is, can change, too. We just have to get a hold of him and persuade him."

"And how are yow going to do that?" questioned the reporter.

"I'm going to have to find him and talk to him."

"And if that doesn't work?"

"I may just have to sit on him."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Sunday, December 13, 2009



Several times
It has
To bring the Winter
Into the Fall
But up to
This day
More snow
Has lived
In the sky
Than on the earth
One day
It filled
The window's view
But on the
It simply
Watered the grass
Then icy crystals
More than once
But they simply
With the wind
Today it
Has Dusted the
Walk and lawn
But if it remains
Is Yet
To be known

- 13 December 2000


PART 13, December 13

That night not a soul in the shack slept soundly. Every ear was turned to the barn, just hoping to catch some sound of the trap being tripped. No such sound ever came. All they heard was the December wind whistling up under the eaves. It was a long night.

The next morning Hickory Hog went out to the barn. The locks on the doors were still in place. Everything seemed as it ought to be. The trap was still concealed and in place. There was nothing to do but wait for the next night to see if this would smoke out that old Christmas Rascal.

It was getting closer to Christmas now. There was still no snow on the ground and no sign in the sky of it to come yet. They may not get their snow very early, but some always fell no later than Christmas eve. Of course, no snow yet had nothing to do with the Christmas Rascal at all, or did it?

A knock came on the door. Hickory Hog went to open it. There before him stood an earnest young man with a camera in his hand. "David Potter," he said, introducing himself. "Potatotown Press! I understand you folks have been having a little bit of trouble with the infamous Christmas Rascal."

"You said it!" agreed Whizzer Worm. "We've been having a simply terrible time of it. He frightened the little bird over there, stole Hickory Hog's corn, stole my potatoes and caused us to jump all over that man there."

"Oh, is that all?" replied Mr. Potter.

"Well, all up to now," said Hickory Hog, "We have set a trap for him, but..."

“A trap?"

Yes, but it didn't do any good. He didn't fall for it."

"What was it?"

"I put together a manger scene out in the barn, I knew he couldn't resist it. Then I put wires all around so that the minute he tried to do anything at all he'd be snared and thrown up in a sack in the hayloft. But, like I said, it didn't do any good.”

"Could we see this?"

"I guess so."

"Good! I'd like to take a picture of it, for when you do capture him, that is."

Hickory led the way to the barn. He opened the door. Everything was as it had been before. All of a sudden the little bird (they had all come along to see) piped up, "Where's the baby Jesus?"

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Saturday, December 12, 2009


PART 12, December 12

"How are you going to do that!" everyone cried.

"I don't know yet, but I'll think of a way to unrascal that Rascal," replied Hickory Hog. With that he roared off into his barn and set to work.

All day long strange sounds came from the barn, but there was such a frenzy and singlemindedness about them that no one dared to look in and see what was going on. It just didn't seem like the thing to do.

Finally evening began to come on and the light went out in the barn and the door was locked. Hickory Hog came back to his friends for the evening.

"What did you do out there?" asked Whizzer Worm. "We sat here all day wondering about it."

Very quietly Hickory looked all over the room. He looked out the window. Nothing was there. He stoked up the fire in the fireplace. Nothing could possibly be there. He checked the walls and the floors and the ceiling. Nothing seemed to be there. You never could tell, though. The Christmas Rascal had been known to plant rascalbugs in people's homes just to hear their plots against him. He proudly boasted that nothing could be done about him. He claimed that whatever people were thinking he knew before they even thought of it. However, being only a rascal he couldn't be everywhere or know everything at any one time, but he liked people to think that he could. In that respect he was like certain other rascals of a definitely more malignant nature.

This time there were no listening devices, but still Hickory spoke in a very quiet voice. It actually seemed strange to hear such a small sound coming out of such a large Hog, "I have done something to catch that rascal," he said in a whisper.

"What?" whispered back the little old man.

"There's nothing the Christmas Rascal finds more irresistible than destroying people's Christmas joy, so I built something in the barn that he'll be bound to want to destroy."

There was a pause as Hickory checked windows again. "I built a manger scene for my front yard. I»m going to set it out tomorrow night, but some of the paint and glue has to dry, so I've left it in the barn overnight."

Hickory Hog was strangely quiet after that. "But what good will that do?" asked the little bird.

"I also left a trap to catch him when he comes to try and destroy my beautiful work."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Friday, December 11, 2009


PART 11, December 11

Hickory Hog was so startled that he hardly knew what to do. He sat up in his bed and gasped. All the walls of the shack shuddered with his gasp.

As he peered through the darkness the shadow began to take form. He still couldn't really see the expression of the face, but he could definitely tell that it was a face. Something about the way it was cocked to one side let him know that the owner of it was none too pleased with him. Then a voice came through the glass.

It was not loud or strident. It fact it almost had a hint of laughter in it. Some might even call it mischievous, "Hickory Hog, I've been watching you and your friends. If I'm not mistaken you're going to have the worst Christmas ever and there's nothing you can do about it."

That was all there was. With that the voice ceased. Hickory was paralyzed for just a moment, then he was galvanized into action. He didn't even stop to put on a coat or open the door. He was outside of that shack before you could say, "Hickory Hog Is The Biggest Hog There Is.” Well, almost that fast.

In his wake he left a whirlwind behind him. The little bird tumbled out of his teacup. He then fell into the little old man's coat pocket. Whizzer Worm began whizzing around the room in the middle of the air and ended up wrapped all around the little old man. They were all a mess as they were rudely awakened by the cold to see the door lying some twenty yards away outside the shack.

Hickory, in the meantime, had run his fastest, but it wasn't fast enough. There was no sign of the Christmas Rascal at all.

He returned to his friends. When he saw the damage he had done he picked up the door and angrily wedged it in place, at least good enough to keep out most of the wind until morning when he could fix it.

"What happened?" they all chorused.

"The Christmas Rascal was HERE!"


"That's right. What's more, he told me that would have the worst Christmas ever. But I'm not going to let that stop me."

“What are you going to do?" asked the little bird, crawling out of the man's pocket.

"I'll tell you what I'm going to do! I'm going to catch that Christmas Rascal and unrascal him."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Thursday, December 10, 2009


PART 10, December 10

"Now, how could the Christmas Rascal keep it from snowing?" The question was on everybody's lips.

"Does it say?" asked the little bird.

"Apparently he hasn't disclosed his plan," said Hickory Hog. "I can't seem to find any more information about it in here."

"That would be just terrible," said the little old man, "Just think of all the little children wanting a white Christmas. We've never been known to be without one here in Potatotown. Why, I think even the potatoes look forward to it."

"Oh, I don't know that it's such a great loss," interjected Whizzer Worm. "Lots of people have never had a white Christmas, In fact, a lot of worms I know would actually prefer it if there wasn't one. You think it's bad being cooped up in the house in a blizzard. Well, imagine what it's like for all us worms. Once that blanket of snow sets in most of us are trapped for the duration."

"Well," intoned the little old man, "I still wonder how he thinks he can get away with no snow"

"I don't know," added Hickory. "Maybe we should all go back to my shack and plan our strategy as to what to do next."

Everyone thought that was a good idea, Whizzer Worm already had a berth picked out from the night before, and it wouldn't bee too hard to find a place for the little bird. Hickory Hog would just take some straw and line one of his Hog-sized teacups for the bird to sleep in, and that would be all right. The little old man took some more planning. Finally they thought to get out a sleeping bag and just let him sleep on the hearthrug before the fire.

It was another cold night outside. They popped some popcorn which Hickory had fetched in from the barn and had some cocoa to go with it. Despite the problem which had brought them together they all seemed to have a pretty good time.

The fire slowly died down, as no one added any more logs to it. Eventually sleep overtook everyone except Hickory Hog. He was just about to drowse off when he looked out the window. The stars shone brightly in the crisp December sky. Then, all of a sudden, there was a shadow across the face of the window.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


PART 9, December 9

"THE WHO?" exclaimed the hog, worm and bird.

"You know," said the-little old man. "The Christmas Rascal, See it says all about him in the paper here."

He held up a copy of the POTATOTOWN PRESS which he had just pulled out of his inside coat pocket, There in the headlines were these words: CHRISTMAS RASCAL LOOSE IN THE AREA. There was a blank area under the headline filled up by a big question mark. Apparently nobody knew what he looked like, even though it was plainly evident that he had been around.

Hickory Hog took the paper in his hooves and began to read, "It says here, 'Once again the Christmas Rascal has been heard from. Residents all over the area have been sending in complaints of the things he has done. It is a common mode of operation of his to take things which people prize and thus rob them of their Christmas joy» He feels that since people are so attached to their things and since he wants to upset them, the perfect way to do it is through their possessions.

"'Mrs. Prister Pontsworthy places a great deal of pride in her silver service for 73. Every year she entertains her friends of the Potatotown Potato Peelers Club for a special Christmas Party, There are only always 73 members in the club, no more, no less. Last night the Christmas Rascal came in and took away service for one. There is not enough time to get another setting of silver for tomorrow night’s gala affair and Mrs. Pontsworthy is seriously considering, for the first time, canceling her Christmas party. She told this reporter, "I just don't know what to do, I can't take anyone off the list, because every one of our members always comes to all our meetings, and I can’t serve with anything else, and I can't give someone a set that doesn't match, I guess I'll just have to close down for the first time in the 54 years we've been meeting at our house."'"

"That's terrible," said Whizzer Worm.

"But there's more here," said Hickory. "'He took all the chrome off 17 year old Stevie Thinklebine's 1957 Chevie. It took his preacher a long time to persuade him that life was still worth living. He took a baby's pacifier right in the middle of a department store, and there was nothing the parents could do to quiet it down. Everything he does seems devoted to destroying people's joy.”

"That's still not all. It says here that he sent a note to the paper saying that he was going to do everything that he could to keep it from snowing at Christmas, so that nobody would have fun!"

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


PART 8, December 8

"MMph, MMph, MMph," came a noise from under the pile.

"It's Him! It's Him!" cried the frightened little bird from a perch high up in a tree, "Tie him up. Hold on to him, Just don't let him get away."

There was more grunting and groaning and wriggling around in the pile beneath the little bird. Finally a panting voice wheezed out, "How can I get away with you big pile of galoots on top of me?"

"It's the little old man," exclaimed Hickory Hog.

"You mean the mean little man?" questioned the bird.

"Positively not. That was a long time ago when both the man and myself were much too selfish for our own good," assured Hickory, "He's certainly not mean anymore. Though, what he's doing here in the path of our track I don't know."

"I'll tell you," gasped the little old man, "if only you'll get up off me, especially that snake!"

"HUMPH!! Snake, indeed," muttered Whizzer Worm indignantly, "I'll have you know that I am no such thing as a snake. They are disgusting creatures, chasing after rats and mice and arrogantly sunning themselves on warm rocks, while I am on of nature's nobles, an earthworm. Do you know that if it wasn't for me and my kind the plants would not be able to breath and they would all die, I aereate the soil and keep it healthy. That's a lot more than any SNAKE ever did, I can tell you that."

Listening to this speech from his friend sent Hickory into a gale of laughter. Somehow the spectacle of a worm, even one as mighty as Whizzer, sternly lecturing an old man was too much to take. If you don't think so, just imagine the scene for yourself. Remember that a worm has absolutely no bones in his body at all. Then picture his delivering a harsh speech. Somehow his presence just doesn't give a big wallop.

"I don't know what you're laughing at. Hickory Hog," sputtered the irate worm. "Doubtless you've thought the same in your lifetime, but take it from me, we worms have absolutely nothing in common with snakes."

"All right, all right," laughed the hog, "Now what are we going to do? We've lost his trail for sure, whoever he was."

"Who are you talking about?" asked the man.

"Someone who took up residence in my barn and stole some of my corn," said Hickory.

"Someone who stole my potatoes," said the worm.

"Someone who frightened me," said the bird.

"Oh," said the man, "You must be talking about the Christmas Rascal."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Monday, December 7, 2009


PART 7, December 7

The tracks headed off towards town. The problem was, they weren't very deep and they petered out real soon in the grass off the side of the field. If only they had had a snow they could have seen very clearly where the quarry had gotten to. Finally they decided to go back to get the little bird to help them out. It took them a little while to find him and get him out of the shack.

"Let's just go into town and see if maybe we can find out something about this," said Hickory Hog.

"I don't know," said the frightened little bird, "What if we meet with whatever it is... I mean, he was big, huge, giant..."

"We know, we know," said Whizzer Worm hastily, "That, however, is exactly what we want to do, meet up with him. And, then we want to take care of him."

"What's that?" asked Hickory. "I heard a rustling over there."

"Maybe we'd better go over there and find out," said the worm, as he wormed his way over for a better look at the whole situation.

There were some trees off beyond the grass at the edge of the field. They screened off Potatotown from Hickory Hog's shack. Hickory took off at a trot. He directed Whizzer Worm to one side. He went to the other while the frightened bird flew up high over the trees. For once, the higher he flew, the better he liked it. Maybe the person or thing was big enough to reach out from the trees and grab him, so he wanted to make sure he was far away from any of that.

They heard a scruffling again. This time both the hog and worm heard it.

"That way," they shouted as they set off in hot pursuit. Whatever was there heard them coming and started off at a brisk pace. It had been coming towards them, but then turned to run away from whatever it was that was coming at him. Whizzer Worm was a little closer at first, but he couldn't worm as fast as Hickory ran. For once the hog really trotted his quickest. The little bird peered down through the stratosphere, spying their prey, but quickly flew back the other way. Faster and faster the two earthbound partners sped on. Then they could see him before them in the woods. He appeared a shabbily dressed little man from the back, not at all the giant monster of little bird's acquaintance, but then you never could tell. They'd better nab him first to find out what was really up.

Hickory Hog was now close enough that he could almost reach out and touch him. With a spurt of energy he hurled himself on top of him and Whizzer Worm piled on top. They had him at last.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Sunday, December 6, 2009


PART 6, December 6

"Wake up! Wake up! Wake up, Little Bird," cried Hickory Hog. "Please wake up.”

Nothing happened. Finally Hickory Hog picked up the faint little frightened bird and began to shake him, "You'd better watch out," warned Whizzer Worm. "You're beginning to shake off all his feathers."

"Oh, so I am," Hickory gently set the bird down on his bed. He was immediately lost among the covers. "Where did he go, now," asked the distraught hog.

"Let's see," said Whizzer, He began to worm his way around the covers. All of a sudden a little head popped up and a quavering little voice came out, "When did the earthquake finally get over?" Whizzer hopped over to pull the covers away from where the bird was. Immediately the little bird fell over on his side.

"It's all right now," said Hickory Hog. "You're here with us. We'll make sure you're safe, Let me get you some turnip seeds. Those will perk you up in no time."

So saying, he went off to the cupboard to find the seeds. He brought them back with a little bowl of water to wash them down. Everyone waited while the little bird gained back his strength and self-confidence.

"Now, what exactly was it that you saw?" began Hickory, "There have been some awfully strange things going on around here lately."

"He was huge, I mean gigantic, I mean colossal, "sputtered the bird, "He was big," The bird paused for a second and then went on. "Well, I don't mean as big as you. Hickory, a…a…, well, I mean, He, a..., He was bigger than me," he finished.

"Who was?" questioned Whizzer Worm.

"I don't know. But, there he was where all the potatoes had been, sort of just checking around to see if there might be any more. He saw me and started over toward me. He looked at me with the awfullest face you ever saw. He just stared at me, and he frightened me so much that I flew right to your door."

"I wonder if that isn't the same one who was in my corn crib," said Hickory Hog.

"And he stole my potatoes," added Whizzer Worm.

"I say we ought to go out right now and see if we can nab him," roared the hog. "What do you think, little bird?"

"Oh, I don't think we should be doing anything like that, I don't think, I'd be too scared."

"Well, I'm not," said Hickory Hog. "Come along with me, Whizzer.”

With that Hickory Hog grabbed his huge hog jacket and put it on. He flung open the door and marched out into the early morning. Whizzer Worm went along behind. The frightened bird flew with all his weight against the opened door to shut it, and then he triple locked it. After that he burrowed down in some of the covers on Hickory Hog's bed, hoping not to be heard from for some time.

The two friends were outside in the cold morning. The sun was rising in a distant hazy sort of way. Right away they could see that the potatoes were gone. This time, though, there were some definite tracks to follow. Determining to catch whoever had made them, they set off.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Saturday, December 5, 2009


PART 5, December 5

"Who's there!" called out Hickory Hog and Whizzer Worn in rather frightened voices.

Tap, Tap, Tap… It came again.

This time Hickory Hog started to get a little angry. It was much too early for hogs to be up and about, especially with harvesting all over for the winter and planting and cultivating months away. "WHO IS THERE!" he bellowed.

"Let me in. Please let me in," came a small voice from outside. It was a high reedy sort of voice, almost inaudible. Then there was a little sob. It wasn't a frightening sound at all, but rather a frightened one, as if whoever was outside the door almost didn't want anyone to really answer his call.


"It's me," came the little reply, "You know…."

"I certainly do not," said the hog, getting up out of bed, "And when I do finally get ahold of you you'll certainly wish I didn't know you."

After having flung off the covers he spent rather a lengthy time trying to find his hoghoof slippers before he crossed the cold floor and flung open the door. There before him in the pale dawn stood the most pitiful, sorrowful little creature there ever was. It was the frightened little bird. Everything he knew of frightened him. Hickory had once helped him to stop being afraid to fly, but there were still many other things that made him afraid.

"Why, it's the frightened little bird," said Hickory Hog, "Come in, come in." He held the door open so that the bird could come in and then quickly shut it to keep out the cold. The little bird came into the house and just stood on the rug in front of the fireplace shivering and shivering.

"What brings you here so early in the morning?" asked Whizzer Worm, who was still arousing himself from his wormy sleep.

"Wwwwwelllll," shivered the little bird. "It's a long story. It began last night, I decided to stay in Potatotown this winter, you see, instead of migrating South with all the other birds. Up until now it had been all right to stay outdoors, but it was beginning to get too cold, I thought I might come over and stay in your barn, Hickory, but when I got here late last night it was all locked up for a change.

"I knew I needed somewhere to get out of the wind. Then I remembered Whizzer Worm's private little potato patch, I knew some of those made little mounds that would protect me from the winds, so I decided to spend the night between two of them. The only thing was, when I got there they were all gone,"

"GONE!" shouted Whizzer Worn. "GONE!"

"And that's not all. Right after I got there I got the worst scare of my life. There was somebody there….and…."

That was all the frightened bird had to say. He had gotten so frightened retelling what had happened that he had fainted dead away.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Friday, December 4, 2009


PART 4, December 4

"Someone has been living under there?" cried Hickory Hog. "What do you mean?"

"I mean just what I said,” Whizzer Worm replied. "Someone has been living under here. They've left behind them a tidy pile of corn cobs."

"Corn cobs? Oh, No! How many did they leave? If they ate too much of my corn I won't have any more. What will I do?"

"Oh, they only had about a dozen or two ears," answered the worm. "I don't imagine whoever it was had more than one or two at a sitting, that is one or two SINGLE ears," he went on, rather pointedly. "You won't be out much."

"That's good. At least I'll have enough for my Christmas dinner, I'd hate
not to have enough for that, I'm planning on having you over along with the little old man and the frightened little bird," (Notice how Hickory Hog called everyone he knew "little". Next to him even some elephants might seem "little".)

"Oh, you'll have plenty. Don’t worry about that. I just wonder where he’s
gone to?"

"That is a good question," said Hickory, "Maybe we ought to clean up those cobs and get back into the house where it's nice and warm. You could spend the night if you want to."

"Well, normally I like my nice snug burrow in the earth, but maybe tonight
it would be better to stay indoors. You never know. Someone who eats corn like that could have a use for worms, too,"

So saying, the friends locked up the barn. That was the first time Hickory Hog had ever locked up his barn. Never before had there been any need, so the doors were always left open or shut, depending totally on whether they happened to get closed or not. This time they were closed for sure. The windows were barred, too. There was no way to get back into the barn unless someone burrowed in from the earth below, and Whizzer Worm said that the evidence didn't seem to indicate such an entry on the prior occasion of occupancy.

It was a bitterly cold night and the two friends were glad to be in Hickory's
snug warm house. He had added a whole pile of hog logs to his fireplace, and those kept them warm all the night through. In fact, it was so arm that the last little bit of popcorn Hickory Hog had in the house exploded by itself, even though it was two whole rooms away. That did happen to seem a good treat to them so Hickory melted seventeen cubes of butter to go with it, and they had a nice snack. Bedtime came, and everyone drifted off into a warm, cozy wintery sleep.

All around them the night was quiet and still. All of a sudden just before daybreak their sleep was disturbed. There came a loud tapping at the door,

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Thursday, December 3, 2009


PART 3, December 3

Hickory Hog turned his attention to the barn. It was a big barn, the color of a red russet potato, with corn yellow and green doors. In the yard before it was a turnip colored tractor. Nothing seemed to be unusual. Hickory lived some ways out of town, and once the harvest season was over he didn’t get a lot of visitors. In fact, he hadn't had a visitor of any sort in over a week before Whizzer Worm had popped up his wormy head.

"What could be in my barn?" he asked.

"I don’t know," replied Whizzer Worm, "but if I was you I'd check it out to
see what could be the matter."

"I guess you're right, but I was just in there getting out my corn."

"Maybe whoever it was was quiet when you were around," offered Whizzer. "Everybody can hear you coming for at least three miles away, and if I didn't know who you were I’d sure lie low myself."

"Let's go, then," said Hickory.

Whizzer Worm got the rest of himself up out of the ground and wormed his way over to the barn door. Hickory Hog stamped over and flung open the door. Everything was silent and still inside. The December sun slanted in through the open door and you could see all sorts of flecks of dust stirred up in the light by the huge hog's entrance, but that was all. No living thing scurried around inside the barn. Hickory went to the back of the barn, while his friend began to explore the pile of corn. There were somewhere between 40 and 50 thousand ears left. It would make a lot of places for someone to hide under, especially if he piled the corn around himself just right.

While the corn pile was being investigated Hickory turned his attention to all his tools in the back. All the hoes, rakes, shovels and other implements were there where they belonged, undisturbed. Also there were all the catalogues he ordered from. True, he did save seeds from his own produce, but he liked to try out new kinds and varieties, so he needed these. There were 79 catalogues dealing with corn seeds alone, along with for potatoes, 36 for turnips and 13 devoted solely to Brussels sprouts. It was a library unique unto itself. Nothing was amiss there at all. Then he heard a cry from under the corn, "Come here, quick!"

Hickory ran over as fast as his hooves could carry him, Whizzer Worm stuck his head out of the pile of corn. "I've discovered something," he said.


"Someone has been living under here!"

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


PART 2, December 2

There was a rustling and a bustling deep under the pile of corn in Hickory Hog's barn. Something or someone was down there up to mischief, but what it was no one knew. For the time being they kept their work and existence a secret.

A cold north wind began to beat against the little shack. Hickory Hog went outside and got a few more hog logs to go on his fire. He used only hog logs which were big and fat and burned for a long time. As he was outside he happened to see a little movement of earth. It formed a little mound that grew taller and taller, until finally out at the head of it popped the head of Whizzer Worm.

"Well, hi there, Whizzer Worm" came the call from the huge hog, "What are you doing here? I thought you'd be snug and safe down in the earth in your little worm home. What brings you out on a cold day like today?"

"I don’t really know. There's just something happening."

"I know. All the crops are in and there's nothing more for you to eat in the ground. Pretty soon it will be too hard to go through, even for you, and then you'll have to wait until spring."

"No, it’s not that, either. It's just something that's making me uneasy. I keep hearing noises."

"You mean me?"

"No, not you," insisted the worm, "I'd know your heavy tread anywhere. These footsteps or whatever they are are lighter than yours. And I keep hearing them in the same place."

"Oh! Where's that?"

"Over in your barn."

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


PART 1, December 1

Hickory Hog, as everyone knows, lives in a shack by the side of a brook. He has a garden, and in his garden he has corn and turnips and potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Close by is the city known as Potatotown in which reside his many friends and admirers. It is not with them, however, that we are concerned at the moment, but with another party who happened into the area.

It was a cold, nippy sort of morning. Of course all the harvesting was long over. All the people thereabouts had filled their barns and cupboards with all the good things God had given them that year, In fact, there were some squirrels who had made a barn out of one of the potatoes that Hickory Hog had grown, in order to store their nuts. His potatoes were large indeed. One had been made into an apartment building for homeless birds. Another had made a long river journey as a boat. Yet another had become the first airplane (or perhaps we should say potatoplane) to land at the Potatotown airport. One time he had ridden one to victory in a race. Of course the potato hadn't run itself, but had been powered by Hickory Hog's friend, Whizzer Worm, Whenever folks thought of potatoes they thought of Hickory Hog, and vice verse, too,

Anyway, back to the morning. It hadn’t snowed yet, but people were expecting it to do so any day. That was one way that they knew Christmas was just around the comer, Potatotown was one of those places that always had a white Christmas. If it didn't snow they would just open a couple of packages of Hickory Hog's dried potato flakes and create a blizzard of their own. Once the flakes were pressed down they made real nice sledding, and of all the sledders in town none enjoyed it as much as Hickory Hog. This year, though, it seemed pretty certain there'd be no need of that. Any day now the white flakes would come tumbling down and cover the land with a pure white blanket of snow.

Hickory Hog went out to check his barn. He wanted to make sure that his supply of corn was snuggly settled in for the winter ahead. He only ate a hundred ears a day, not to mention a few odd bushels of turnips and Brussels sprouts along with one or two thirty pound potatoes for dessert. His harvest had been plentiful and he had shared with his neighbors, but still he liked to check his stock to make sure that everything was safe. You could never be too careful.

He looked over the pile of corn. There seemed to be still about the same amount as the day before. There'd be enough to last him until the harvest next year, especially if he was careful. There might even be some extra to make corn syrup out of to go with his potato pancakes. So, he went back into the house to bundle up for the cold days ahead. He wasn't there to see something strangely move around deep under the pile of corn.

© 1989 Kevin Don Levellie