Rodd and Todd. So were named the two lucky children chosen to go and see Santa Claus himself up at the North Pole. A magic sleigh was sent to their homes to collect them, and they flew north, pirouetting through the clouds, as Christmas music played. Everything they came across was marvellous, never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined it all, and they excitedly waited to see that loveable red figure who had spent so many years bringing them gifts every Christmas.
When the moment finally arrived, they entered a great hall and were left alone. The hall was dark and empty: all there was was a large desk right at the back, and a big chair behind it. Some elves came in and said:
"Santa Claus is very busy. You'll only be able to see him for a short while, so make the most of it."
Rodd and Todd waited a long time, in silence, thinking of what to say. But they forgot everything when the hall began filling with lights and colours. Santa Claus appeared on the big chair, and as soon as he did so, the large desk became covered with all the toys the two boys had ever wanted. How exciting! While Todd ran to hug Santa Claus, Rodd went over to the bicycle he had always dreamed of having. Santa was only there for a few seconds, just enough for Todd to say "thank you", and for him to feel like the happiest boy in the World, and Santa disappeared before Rodd had even looked at him. Rodd felt like he'd wasted his great good fortune, and he had done so by first looking at the toys. He cried and complained, demanding that Santa come back, but within a few hours the two boys had been returned to their homes.
From that day on, every time Rodd saw a toy he felt the excitement of receiving a present, but he would instantly look around to see what else of importance he was missing. And in this way he came to see the sad eyes of the lonely, the poverty of children whose greatest gift would be a piece of bread, or the suffering of others who had gone for years without a hug or hearing "I love you". And, unlike that night at the North Pole, when he hadn't known how to choose, Rodd learned to go in the right direction, helping those who had nothing, giving love to those who almost never received it, and putting smiles on the faces of the unhappy.
All by himself, he managed to change the atmosphere of his town, and no one could know him without being grateful to him. And, one Christmas, while he was sleeping, he felt someone tugging his leg. Rodd opened his eyes and saw the long white beard and the soft red suit, and he sank into the big, warm embrace. And so they were, together for a while, until Rodd spoke, in a quiet voice, accompanied by tears.
"Forgive me. I didn't know how to choose what was most important."
But Santa Claus answered with a smile:
"Forget that. Tonight it was me who had to choose, and I chose to spend some time with the best boy in the World, just before I leave you the great gift you've earned for yourself. Thank you!”
And the next morning, there were no presents under the Christmas tree. That Christmas, the gift had been so big that it couldn't fit down the chimney; the only place it could fit was in Rodd's heart.