older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.
The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in
their own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not
actually working in the factories.
Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the
journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible
gifts by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.
He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.
Ho. Ho. Ho.
by Neil Gaiman
from Smoke & Mirrors
In 1989, Neil Gaiman and Sandman artist David McKean collaborated on a hundred word Christmas card story titled “Nicholas Was.” Below is a short animated version created by 39 Degrees North Studio.