Bruzilla's Dreadful Creature

Arielle Maidon

Image of Arielle Maidon

Arielle Maidon

Translated by Kate Deimling

While it's true that most witches don't like children, the witch Bruzilla absolutely hated them.  All children! Babies, kids, teenagers, little boys, little girls, twins, youngest siblings, child geniuses — never had she met a young 'un that didn't make her blood boil. 
She was so desperate to avoid children, Bruzilla built a cabin in a deep, dark corner of the forest no child would be able to find. Even hidden away in her little home in the middle of the forest, Bruzilla was plagued with horrible nightmares of children's chubby, innocent faces peeking through her windows. She would awaken covered in sweat, terrified and outraged. 

One day she woke up and decided this must end. Her evil mother Rogomma's words rang in her ears: "The best defense is a good offense." Yes! Bruzilla thought. I must create a beast that will scare away any children that might find their way to my cabin! 
Bruzilla took out her sketchpad and pen and began frantically drawing a monster. The more her pen flew, the more fearsome her creature became. She laughed hysterically. Every child in a 20 mile radius would be running for the hills! 
Bruzilla decided to dress her hideous creation in a blood-red suit — oversized coat and baggy pants. He would wear a hat that would cover his entire face with the exception of his wiry, bushy beard.
Children hate beards — they're scratchy and scary, Bruzilla thought, feeling quite pleased with herself. He'd also wear black leather gloves so his large meaty hands would leave no fingerprints. She added a large black sack for the creature to throw children who ventured too close to her home.
Bruzilla drew his legs thick and long. "He must tower over children of all sizes — even the most gangly teenager!" She shrieked.
Rubbing her dry, wrinkled hands together, she proudly stared down at her terrifying creation. She was finally finished. It was now time to collect the ingredients to turn her evil sketch into a living, breathing monster.

She scoured the forests for several days on end, desperately searching for the materials needed for her evil brew. One particularly successful day, Bruzilla scrapped together a toad's leg, a spider's eye, a wart from a poisonous river toad, and bark from a dogwood tree. The next day, she found a fairy's fingernail laying on the forest floor. After a week of gathering, Bruzilla had collected everything she needed.
The next night, she was in luck! A full moon appeared in the sky. Bruzilla gathered together all her ingredients and poured them into her best cauldron. The goo began to boil, each bubble a different color and size.
Bruzilla waited a moment, letting the smell of the goullish brew fill the room. She then held the notepad up above the sizzling pot and softly whispered her mother's favorite spell.
"Now come to life, my marvelous horror!"
A towering silhouette emerged from the cloud of acidic steam. The monster then stepped out of the pot and unfolded before her, his arms long enough to wrap themselves around her twice. He opened his large, toothy mouth and shouted: "Hooo ho ho!"
Bruzilla was jubilant. He was even better than in her sketches. That dense beard! The heavy black boots that matched the big belt — she really had outdone herself!
The giant creature began stepping slowing towards her. Bruzilla backed away from the beast, afraid. He opened his large mouth again, but this time, to Bruzilla's dismay, he was smiling! He grabbed her in his arms before she could say a word.
"Have you been a good little witch?" he asked, still grinning from ear to ear. Bruzilla almost fainted from indignation.
See, even though Bruzilla was evil through and through, her knowledge of black magic was not as developed as her mother's.
"Listen closely," she told the friendly beast. "Repeat after me: children are terrible, you have to scare them off!"
"Children are terrific, I have to scoop them up!" the bearded creature repeated, nodding his head to show that he had understood.
"Nooooo!" Bruzilla shouted. "To start, you'll give each brat a big bop in the head."
"I'll give each one a big present," the red giant obediently replied.
Bruzilla shrieked with anger. She tore her hair. Refusing to give up, she shrieked: "Don't be stupid! Children are a waste, they must be destroyed!"
"Yes, children are wonderful, they must be enjoyed," he agreed, with a look of great concentration.
Bruzilla banged her head against the wall.
"Your passion is to scare rude little tots," she insisted.
"My mission is to scale the rooftops?" the creature exclaimed. "I'll have to get back in shape!"
Bruzilla turned bright red. She almost had smoke coming out of her nostrils. She was not a very patient witch. Yet she tried one more time:
"I want you to eliminate every last child!" she sputtered. 
"Yes, I can disseminate gifts to every last child!" the monster exclaimed, hugging her once more. "Oh, thank you! I love this job! When do I start?"

Bruzilla was out of patience. She opened the door of her cottage and pushed the giant out. The snow outside was falling quickly and heavily, but Bruzilla didn't care. She stared at the large beast sitting helplessly in the snow, and began to shout insults at him. He replied pleasantly, thanking her for her kindness and hospitality for inviting him inside her home in the first place. Then he went on his way, without a clue as to where he was headed.
The monster's path took him straight to the North Pole. Stumbling around and becoming more and more cold, the monster sat down under a tree. Right before he started to cry, he saw a man with a beard just as bushy as his own walking towards him. It was Santa Claus, of course! After seeing that the beast was almost frozen, Santa invited him to have some hot chocolate in his cabin. Santa was beside himself with joy. He was starting to feel old and tired, and this beast reminded him so much of himself when he was younger.
The beast, who had never felt so at home, began to ask Santa about his profession. As Santa spoke, the beast's eyes became larger and larger. This was his dream! Without hesitating, the beast offered to help Santa as much as possible. An enormous smile spread across Santa's face. 
"You'll have to meet lots of children, scoop them up to sit on your lap, and even pat their cute little heads if they're sweet," Santa explained.
"I'm well aware," smiled the bearded creature.
"You know, children are nice," Santa Claus insisted. "You must enjoy them!"
"I know," the young candidate answered, overjoyed.
"You only work one month a year, but it's hard!" the old man sighed. "The easiest part is meeting the children and asking them if they've been good. But on the big day, you have to climb up the rooftops, go down the chimneys, and leave presents without making any noise, so the surprise will be perfect the next morning."
"When can I start?" the monster asked excitedly. 
They shook hands and came to an agreement: Santa Claus would go along with the bearded creature for upcoming deliveries so he could show him the ropes.

The monster was a very gifted student — patient, smiling, and careful not to scare the children (sometimes very young children can be afraid of Santa Claus). He also had lots of imaginative ideas for hiding presents.
He became the nicest, the most considerate, and the gentlest Santa Claus there ever was. All throughout the world, children sang his praises!
When, deep in her forest, Bruzilla heard of her creature's fame and success, she became so angry that she fell into her pot and turned into a... Well, that's a different tale entirely!
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