Humans have their legend of Santa Claus, but few know of or even care about the animal legend Santa Paws. For you who want to know, here’s the story of a never seen critter; the phantom of the forests; the ninja of neighborhoods and; the footprints by the food bowl known as Santa Paws.
Raised by Eagles And Wolves
The legend began in a cave far up a snow capped mountain. Found after a stone fell from the sky, raised by eagles and wolves, a beast never before seen in flora or fauna grew in wisdom and strength. It was part bird, part bear, part lion and part fish. And the older it grew, the more it faded from view. As it eventually faded from sight, the eagles found it uncomfortable to fly with because they had no idea where it was. When it ran with the wolves, all that could be seen was flying snow and tracks.
Once it was capable of feeding itself it vanished, leaving behind a brace of rabbits as thanks to those who’d helped raise it. The marvelous creature found a new home in a far distant mountain range and for many years dwelt alone. Its haunting call made other animals cringe as it cried out for something, or someone, in the still of the night. As the years went by the cries happened less and less, until they too faded away and a strange silence fell over the land. Then, on the darkest night of the year, a shadow passed over the moon as it silently flew forth.
The Forest Awoke To Gifts
The next morning the animals of the forest awoke to gifts placed near the dens, nests, thickets and streams. The trout found branches caught on rocks within reach that were crawling with delicious insects. The birds found wriggling worms, the eagles and fox found rabbits, the wolves found a deer and so on. The bewildered animals called a meeting to find out who’d left the gifts, but none knew who or what was responsible. Whatever it was, its tracks led to every surprise and were tracks the like of which none had ever seen. “We know it has paws,” growled a wolf, “but those are not wolf tracks and I’ve never smelled that scent before.” One by one the animals admitted they too were perplexed.
“What should we called it?” chirped a chickadee. “Well,” said the raccoon, “it has paws so why not call it Paws?” “And it has a scent,” growled an aged wolf, “so why not call it ‘Scented Paws’?” A mighty murmur then took place as animals conferred with each other and themselves, until they were all silenced by a mighty whistle from a bull elk. As they fell silent a large horned owl flew to the center of the meadow and said, “It is settled then. The creature shall forthwith be known as Scented Paws” and left fresh droppings before flying away. Then one by one, the other dwellers of the forest came and left their ‘mark’ to signify their agreement.
That Dang Slang
As the years went by wildlife slang slowly changed Scented paws to ‘Santa Paws’, as the animals found it easier to say. And to this very day on a dark December night, Santa Paws invisibly circles the world leaving something special for every critter that there is. However, Santa Paws does not like humans and can be a bit of a trickster, which has gotten more than a few pets in serious trouble with their cohabitants. For instance, it’s not uncommon for people to find gifts of another nature after a visit from Santa Paws. Gifts that humans do not want.
So if you wake to a Christmas tree knocked over, a carefully placed pile of turds, pee on carpet or something chewed right to smithereens, be assured that invisible patron saint of all furred, feathered and finned was there and for whatever reason decided that you were worthy of its ire. Perhaps your cat ratted you out, your dog dropped a dime on you, or your parrot knows way more than it lets on. You’ll never know. So, the next time that you find an unpleasant surprise at home around this time of year, before you yell at your pets for things that they didn’t do, pause and consider that it may be a gift Santa Paws has left for you.