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The Legend Of Rudolph

A true tale about how Rudolph, the reindeer came into origin have been narrated here. Robert May was a poor copywriter in Chicago, living in a shabby two-room apartment. His wife Evelyn was suffering from cancer and was bedridden for two years and all his earnings and savings went into her treatment. It was then, when on a December night, his four year old daughter Barbara asked him, "Why isn't my mommy just like everybody else's mommy?" The heart touched Bob's heart like a glass splinter. All his life, he had been 'different', weak and delicate as a child and just a lowly copywriter for Montgomery Ward, the big Chicago mail order house, as an adult. He was thirty-three years old at the time and was already deep in debt, depressed and sad. However, he made up a story for her to placate the child and inspire her to be optimistic.

The story was that of Rudolph, the only reindeer in the world with a big shiny red nose. Everybody used to tease and make fun of this poor creature and call him 'Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer', which embarrassed him greatly. Even his mother, father and sister were mortified by his presence near them, which deepened Rudolph's embarrassment and depression. He immersed himself in self-pity and felt quite lonely. However, on one Christmas eve, when Santa got his sleigh ready for his annual trip around the world with his team of eight handsomest and huskiest reindeers including Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen and the entire reindeer community assembled there to cheer them, thick mist and fog engulfed the earth.

Santa was wondering how could he distribute his toys now and how to find chimneys. Suddenly, his eyes fell on the glowing bright red nose of Rudolph and found a solution for his problem. He requested Rudolph to lead his sleigh, which he gladly did and was harnessed instantly. Rudolph guided Santa safely to every chimney that night despite all the rain, fog, snow and sleet. This brave act made Rudolph the most famous and beloved of all the reindeers and a great hero too. The very red nose, which was a shame to him, became his most prized possession and every buck and doe in the reindeer world.

The story so pleased Barbara that Bob decided to draft it into a poem as a Christmas gift to her. The poem was called 'Night Before Christmas'. When he was still working on the verses, Evelyn died. Yet, Bob kept his courage up for the sake of his daughter. He recited it in one of his office holiday parties in 1938 and won spontaneous applause. The booklet with crude illustrations that he had prepared for his daughter became so popular that by 1947, 6 million copies had already been circulating around and Rudolph was in great demand for sponsoring products. Bob May naturally became a very rich man. Since then, Rudolph has occupied a permanent niche in the Christmas legend.