Nick, the Christmas Coyote

Candy-jo stands patiently in line at the American Legion Hall, waiting for her turn to see Santa Claus. When it is her turn, Santa is surprised that she doesn't have a Christmas list. She explains she doesn't need a list because there is one thing and one thing only that she wants for Christmas—it is a dog of her own. Santa tells her that he usually doesn't give pets for Christmas presents. They are too hard to stuff in his bag and carry down the chimney. Though disappointed, Candy-jo understands.

When she wakes up early Christmas morning, she is surprised she can hear a puppy whimpering. Careful not to wake her sister and brothers who are still sound asleep, she goes in search of the puppy. Outside, sitting in the cold snow just a little ways from their front step, is a little bundle of fur. Excited, she wakes everyone up in the house to tell them Santa Claus came.

Her dad looks the puppy over and tells her that this puppy is not from Santa Claus. In fact, this puppy is not a dog—it is a coyote pup. Later in the morning, Game Warden Jones comes knocking on the door. He offers Candy-jo the job of taking care of Coyote pup she has already named Nick. On one condition though: she must agree to setting Nick free when he is big enough. They shake hands in agreement.

Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. Until one midsummer day, Game Warden Jones comes back; it is time to set Nick the coyote free.

--Tami Johnson

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