My usual practice, at Christmas, is to make a presentation, to the dwarfs and other eager neighbours in the towers of Homeward, a sack of coal and a sack of fine fare - cakes, hams, biscuits, chocolate and so on.
In a departure from this tradition, this year I had decided to present all with a copy of the splendid new edition of my biographies - 'The Complete Uncle'.
The majority of the citizens of Homeward were, of course, more than happy with this bountiful gift.
There were a few carpers - the Badfiort Crowd chief amongst them.
As I announced my intentions, to the gathering around the Great Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve, Beaver Hateman shouted "Who wants to read about the boring old tyrant's exploits?". "Despite it's size it won't burn like a good old sack of coal !" guffawed Hitmouse.
I thought nothing of the remarks - the Badfort Crowd always like to kick up a fuss at Christmas, but usually toe the line. They don't like to risk missing out on the Christmas Feast I always lay on for the festivities.
I should have known better. On Christmas morning I made my way to the specially set up 'Book Bank' where the dwarfs and other inhabitants of my many towers would queue up to receive their special Christmas gift. The Old Monkey came running up to me in with a concerned look on his face.
"Sir, Sir, terrible news, I am afraid" he cried. "the Book Bank has been raided - all the books are gone!"
"Stolen ! what heinous act is this, that will ruin the poor dwarf's Christmas ?" I declared.
At this point A.B.Fox appeared with even worse news.
"Sir, the books have been deployed to commit another terrible act." he informed me. "They have been piled up to form a staircase, enabling unknown miscreants to gain access to Comestibles Tower. Large quantities of miscellaneous Christmas provisions are missing!"
"I don't think I need a detective to work out who the culprits might be." I responded. A stroll across to Badfort soon revealed what had become of the missing victuals.
There in front of Hateman's ramshackle castle stood a hastily erected shed with the legend "Food Bank' scrawled across it. Beaver stood in front of it shouting "Roll up, Roll up, free food courtesy of the Badfort Revolutionary Front - if the old gaffer can't be relied on to give you a proper Christmas do, you know you can rely on me!'
"Oh, Sir," said the Old Monkey "he's giving away all your food, what shall we do?"
I looked at all the happy, smiling dwarfs with their arms full of Christmas cheer.
"Hmm, I hate to admit this, but perhaps Hateman has the right idea for a change. There is no doubt that my biographies are educative tomes, but, perhaps, not as cheering as a full belly, a warm fire, and friends to enjoy Christmas with. Bring my traction engine with a trailer full of coal sacks. Let's enjoy the end of the year the way we have always done!"
"Yes, Sir! we should rejoice in the fact that we don't need real food banks here at Homeward, unlike so many poor countries around the world !" said the Old Monkey reflectively.
For one time only, I ordered that the Great Tree be brought in front of the ramparts of Badfort. An unusual, but pleasant, Christmas Day was spent with the Badfort Crowd as our hosts.
In the evening, I shared a toast with Beaver under the branches of the tree.
"Don't worry, we been giving out youse books too, with the grub," he remarked "and actually, gaffer, them yarns about you ain't bad - especially the bits about all our great schemes to overthrow you, they are brilliant!"
"Well, I suppose they had to go in the books, if only to show how my mental agility always manages to thwart your plans!" I replied.
"Ha! not this time, though, you must admit, Unc!" he laughed.
And, truth be told, I am rather glad that his plan succeeded.