Violet Greenpea Maydreams was the first to see the shadow of the reindeer on the back fence by the vegetable garden.
Quivering with excitement, she rubbed her eyes and blinked a few times to make sure she was really seeing what she was seeing. It stayed on the fence. She really was seeing the shadow of a reindeer.
Quickly she turned and ran to wake up Granny Gus McGarden to tell her the good news.
In her haste to get to Granny, who ruled over the vegetable garden, she knocked over a whole bunch of tomato stakes Carol had left leaning on the gate to the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.
The clatter of all those stakes hitting the ground woke up garden fairies in every corner and under every shrub in the garden.
Seedy and Soddy, Ol’ Rainbow Tanglefly, Sweet Pea Morning Glory and all the other garden fairies gathered around as Violet pointed dramatically toward the back fence.
They all saw it.
The shadow of a reindeer.
This could only mean one thing.
It could only mean that no other than the Christmas Cottontail, riding on Santa’s sleigh, had stopped by Carol’s garden and had stayed so long that one of the reindeer had left his shadow on the fence.
The garden fairies talked excitedly over one another as they pointed at the shadow and checked it out from every angle.
Finally, Granny Gus McGarden got everyone to simmer down and listen up.
“Yes, in all likelihood, the Christmas Cottontail visited Carol’s garden on Christmas Eve, but we won’t know until spring if he decided Carol had been good enough to sow seeds and plant bulbs for spring flowers. Now, we all need to calm down and go back to sleep. It’s going to be a long winter and we won’t make spring come any faster by speculating about what the shadow of the reindeer means.”
Everyone needed in agreement, as they generally did when Granny spoke.
Then Tiny Deema Mae Flowerweb pointed to a flower bulb lying on the ground in Ploppers’ Field.
“Look!” she exclaimed. “It’s a bulb!”
And so it was. A tiny bulb lying on the ground in Ploppers’ Field. Had it been left by the Christmas Cottontail? Or left by Carol?
The garden fairies speculated for a while as Ol’ Rainbow Tanglefly, always a practical garden fairy, took the bulb and shoved it into the ground. Then they all drifted back to their winter hiding places and settled in for a long winter nap.
And as the day wore on, the shadow of the reindeer faded but the dreams of the garden fairies did not. They just knew the shadow was a good sign. It was going to be a marvelous spring in Carol’s garden.