Truth About Rudolph
Maggie Van Ostrand
texasescapes.com assigned this interview, it could not have known
how difficult it would be to get to the bottom of the Rudolph myth.
Neither could it have known how complicated would be the logistics
involved in getting reindeer witnesses together to talk to us. Luckily,
our quest for success resulted in new and sometimes shocking information.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, both male and
female reindeer grow antlers every summer. Reindeer are the only members
of the deer family (Cervidae) in which this phenomenon occurs. "What,
you think horny females are limited to humans?" sneered Vixen. She
was a bit edgy, having recently given up smoking.
"You must tell your readers that male reindeer drop their antlers
at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December
and we retain our antlers till after we give birth in the spring,"
added Prancer. Therefore, according to every historical depiction
of Santa's reindeer, all of them are female. "Humans should have guessed
as much," she grinned, "since we're able to find our way to your house
Reindeer are from the Arctic region, and the largest ones are up to
four feet high at the shoulders and weigh up to 250 pounds. "That's
our ideal weight, you know," whispers a rather shy Cupid, "so please
don't write that we're fat. It's tough enough to get a date, even
It is believed that there are no longer any wild reindeer; the entire
species seems to have been domesticated. "Like human females, it's
our duty to domesticate males," notes a feisty Blitzen, "so be sure
to put that in your column."
Each reindeer can pull up to twice its own weight, making it an ideal
animal for pulling a sleigh loaded down with Christmas gifts. "Yes,"
Dasher adds with no small amount of pride, "we can pull a sleigh carrying
up to 13,500 pounds of toys for an unlimited amount of time. It's
sort of like being a thousand times pregnant every Christmas, don't
you agree?" she asks Donner.
"The only other creature able to match this weight load of presents
would be a wife outside of Wal-Mart in a Hummer," sniffs Donner.
Speaking of Donner, she's also quick to correct that her name was
originally spelled Dunder, defined as Thunder in the original Dutch,
while her best friend Blitzen's name was originally spelled Blixem
and meant Lightning.
All eight members of Santa's original reindeer team, Donner, Blitzen,
Cupid, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Comet, and Vixen, were, until Rudolph,
the only known flying reindeer in existence.
Reports Dasher, team historian, so named because she takes notes so
fast, "We were given the power of flight by eating magic corn, a gift
to Kris Kringle from the Wizard of Oz, just prior to the arrival of
"Through this magic corn," interjects Vixen proudly, "our strength
is increased to three times normal, our stamina increased to infinity,
and our hooves can run on air as if it were solid ground."
While it is true that, like all females, Santa's reindeer are even-tempered,
patient, and kind, it is also true that they admit to having felt
a twinge of jealousy when Santa discovered Rudolph shopping in Mongtomery
Ward department store back in 1949. Shopping is proof that Rudolph
is female. That, and the fact she admits to being only 40.
During a shopoholic spree on the Day-After-Thanksgiving sale, a zealous
buffalo beat Rudolph to the sweater table and elbowed the hapless
reindeer in the mouth, resulting in a permanent speech impediment.
"All eight of us had gotten along very well since we were created
in 1823 when 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' came out," interrupted
Prancer, "and we did not take kindly to a newcomer, particularly one
who got so upset at no longer being able to pronounce the letter 'R'
that she imbibed too many hot toddies at a Christmas party in Lapland,
and had to be driven home by a designated deer."
"That's true," confirmed Comet, "and no amount of Maybelline face
powder could hide the telltale redness of Rudolph's nose." "Yes,"
recalled Cupid, giggling behind her hoof, "and that's when it became
apparent she would bear the mark of an alcoholic reindeer all her
When Santa got wind of this scandal from Elvis the Elf, he decided
to give Rudolph a second chance in life by utilizing her bright red
nose to compensate for the flickering headlights on his sleigh.
Santa nodded toward his vehicle and proclaimed, "Rudolph with your
nose so bright, will you be able to light my sleigh Christmas night?
You Rudolph, are going on the wagon."
And so it was that Rudolph entered rehab and came out a better, more
virtuous reindeer. "I twy and twy to help wittle childwen at Chwistmastime
and am gwateful to Santa for a chance at wivving a better wife," exclaims
All the other reindeer came to love Rudolph, who is now invited to
join in any reindeer games and, to this day, remains Santa's favorite.
At the end of this interview, Rudolph, with the other reindeer singing
back-up, shouted out with glee: "Mewwy Chwistmas to all, and to all
a dood night."
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
December 8, 2004 column