Monday, December 26

A Reindeer Story

Welcome back from the holidays !!!

This is your good pal Cool Elf and I’m back with an after-Christmas story just for you.

Did you all get your Christmas presents this year?

Well, whether you wanna thank Santa or complain to him, there’s only one group you should find: Santa’s team of nine magical reindeer. These flying reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh across the night sky on Christmas Eve. They help deliver the presents all over the world.

Talk about express delivery !!

Santa has 9 trusty reindeer in all. And did you know? Each of them has a name.

According to an 1823 poem by Clement Moore, the names of Santa’s reindeer are:

  1. Dasher
  2. Dancer
  3. Prancer
  4. Vixen
  5. Comet
  6. Cupid
  7. Donner (= this originally means "thunder")
  8. Blitzen (= this originally means "lightning")

Cool names, huh? Perhaps cool enough to use for our pet puppies?

But wait! We said only 8 names! How about the 9th reindeer?

Well, the 9th reindeer is Rudoph. And he joined the group a bit late.

(Actually, he was introduced more than 100 years late through a children’s book by Robert May, and then through the popular Christmas song that's familiar to most of us.)

Interestingly, even in the lyrics of the popular Christmas song, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,  Rudolph wasn’t easily allowed to join the group.

In fact, he was bullied by the rest of the reindeer. (Very much like the “Mean Girls.”)

This happened because of one physical deformity that Rudolph had: His nose that’s as shiny as a light bulb.

You can read the whole story in a part of the song:

All of the other reindeer 

used to laugh and call him names. 

They never let poor Rudolph 

join in any reindeer games. 

But because of an emergency, Rudolph was able to prove that his unique characteristic was useful:

Then one foggy Christmas Eve 

Santa came to say: 

"Rudolph with your nose so bright, 

won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" 

In fact, after this, Rudolph became the natural leader of all the reindeer !

Then all the reindeer loved him 

as they shouted out with glee*,

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer,

you'll go down in history**!

*glee = happiness

** go down in history = be famous 

Now, the moral lesson of our story can be either:

  •   Uniqueness and originality is a gift and not a curse. You should be proud of your individuality because it makes you special (not weird).  Most of the great people in the history of the world, the born leaders, were also different from the crowd.

(Of course also including some bad apples)


  •    Unkindness can be naturally expected. It can come in many forms and all places – even among Santa’s elite team of reindeer. (Actually even among the angels of God.)

But I’d like to prove neither the first nor the second point. What I wanna say here is that there’s a lot of story behind every book, a lot of story behind every scene or movie.

For each main story, there are a hundred side stories, so to speak.  

Man’s knowledge/ consciousness is like an old tree with so many roots and so many branches – sometimes it’s just impossible to trace.

And especially in the field of history, it gets pretty hard when you wanna tell which one is factual and which one is just a myth.

In the field of fairytales and entertainment, everybody knows it’s all just imagination. But still man’s boundless creativity doesn’t stop creating: the stories of man are like one endless river - story after story after story. 

He passes them on by mouth, in books, in poems, in movies, on the Net… then other people add their own ideas, and still other people add more and more till, finally, it flows into the ocean of humanity’s wealth of ideas.

Your final goal as a non-native speaker of English is to dip into this river of stories, and perhaps add your own original thoughts. Someday.

I look forward to hearing your own voices and ideas in the future.


P.S. I’ve realized the value of our Christmas song series. So, very soon I’m planning to start a new part of this Blog: “SING AND LEARN.”

In this part, I’ll try to explain the meaning of the lyrics of popular and recent songs. 

And you can make your own special request to the lyrics dee-jay Cool Elf ANYTIME!

I’ll probably start it this week. So stay tuned!!

Keep on learning !


  1. Another nice entry. You should include "like" in the "What do you think?" checkbox choices. :D

    I think your idea about creating a "Sing and Learn" part of your blog is original and interesting.

    THANK YOU and I hope you have a great New Year!

  2. Thanks, Markin!You too. Happy New Year to you and your family! ;-)

    I'm glad I thought of SING AND LEARN too. The thing with Blogging is, you arrive serendipitously at topics to write about.

    And then you just have to let your ideas hang out there to test whether they're good for the palate!

    Some ideas last, some old ideas die - or, have to be cut.

    Next year, I might be starting another section about Film English, or English in Movies.

    I hope you contribute in any way if you have ideas. And, like I said, a whole essay post like "I Saw Mommy" or "A Reindeer Story" from you is also welcome!

    (Maybe I'll just add a brief intro about you first)

    See ya!


  3. I'd love to contribute but right now, i am still struggling to be fluent in English. I don't know how to write an essay. I get confused. :( I wish im as good as you. If i'd become one though, i want to teach those who are living in the province, and are less fortunate to learn more about the language.

    By the way Mon, i have a question. I don't know if you already covered this but, what's the difference between "that" and "it". To be more specific: "I like that" and "I like it". It sounds right but sure have different meaning.

    note: u got an email address?

  4. Hi Markin,

    It's good that improving your communication skills is one of your priorities in life. I probably don't need to tell you that English proficiency is a necessity in today's world - and it's becoming more so each passing day.

    And don't worry. I also have that vision of helping our less fortunate countrymen by providing more access to affordable, practical and quality education. It's on my to-do list, so to speak. ;-)

    Well, it's understandable that you're still in the process/ stage of perfecting your English. But you have to draw the line between theory and practice eventually. Knowledge of a language is nothing without its application. Also, another element of the language is spontaneity and confidence.

    Think about it, if I had been worried about what other people might say(the native speakers themselves probably), do you think there'll be any COOL ELF? ;-)

    Just something for you to think about.

    To answer your question, basically, "THAT" is used to denote an object or maybe a place that's relatively distant from the speaker. In addition, it's used to refer to ideas that have previously been mentioned.

    Ex. What's THAT you're carrying?

    Is THAT what I think it is?

    What's THAT on the table?

    I also believe THAT. (or SO)

    He already said THAT.


    "IT," on the other hand, is often used as a Pronoun. This means it should substitute for a Noun, which is sometimes still unknown.

    Ex. A: I have to tell you something.

    B: Ok. What is IT?

    That looks weird. What is IT?

    My last apartment was really small. But IT was right in the middle of downtown.

    The tiger that escaped the zoo was finally captured. IT terrorized a lot of people in the neighboring area.


    I know that these two are very similar and they sometimes overlap. At the end of the day, the actual practice of them in simulated or actual situations will teach you the skill to use them. Even the best grammar explanation can only take you so far.



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