The next morning, Christmas day, Marc and Joel bid fairwell to Mukwok, Eshkebug, and Mukwok. Joel still wore the leather clothing that Mukwok had given him, his sword strapped to his side, and his fishing spear strapped to his back that rose four feet above his head. As he waddled forward wearing his snowshoes the spear point danced above his head.
Marc was given a pair of leather boots that went well passed his knees, but kindly refused any other clothing. He also wore snowshoes, but because he was no stranger to the shoes he walked more gracefully than Joel.
As they walked forward, Marc’s thoughts kept wandering back to what Mukwok had said when they left.
“You will always have friends and a place to stay here. Although your are Waemitigozhhi, you will always be Munusino at heart.” Mukwok had said holding Marc with an arm around his waist.
Marc had hugged him in return and said, “Aehn Mukwok. Thank you, we will always be brothers.”
The two boys entered the village feeling a little closer to their family, but a little further from home. They soon cheered up as they saw the sights that only Christmas day could bring about. Children happily trying out their new sleds, neighbours helping each other shovel their walks. Warm glows coming from parlour rooms, where families reunited for the holidays sang, ate, and told stories of younger days and days on earth.
From down the street where the church stood, a Christmas choir sang powerful songs of Jesus Christ and his reign. People greeted everyone they met. The houses were decorated and each one seemed to challenge its neighbour with its decor.
With all this happiness, Joel found it upsetting to see a small boy sitting alone on a step. At first he looked lonely, but closer inspection showed that he had a large smile and a very noticeable glimmer in his eyes. He looked toward a small wooden crate, and from within a brown head popped out bringing with it a sound which could not be mistaken. The puppy, his Christmas gift, barked again, and the boy bent over and picked him up.
Outside the Myeengun, Meribah, Lily, and Nathanial waited for the two boys to return. They were so busy making a snowangel, that they did not see the two boys until they were a few feet away. Meribah ran toward Joel, while Lily did the same to Marc.
Nathanial obviously felt out of place and continued to work on the snowangel. Marc walked over and hugged him, “Merry Christmas. Have you been watching our women for us?”
Nathanial smiled and returned Marc’s hug, “Your women are quite independent, and don’t need any looking after.”
Marc laughed, “That’s what I was afraid of.” Looking over to Joel he said, “We’ll probably have to break them in again.”
Joel agreed and began to laugh, but his laughter was interrupted by a snowball which hit him in the face. After throwing the snowball, Meribah stalked into the inn. Lily gave Marc a look and a thought, then she too left the three boys standing outside.
Marc through his arms up in exasperation, “See what I mean!”
Inside, all previous arguments were forgotten, and any earlier offences were forgiven. Everywhere Marc looked he saw the signs of Christmas spirit.
Robert had his cooks prepare a large Christmas buffet, but like every other Christmas he too worked in the kitchen. In the dinning room, tables were rearranged and a tree sat in its centre, the whole room, despite its size, took on a cosy atmosphere.
Chestnuts were being roasted in the fireplace and they filled the room with their scent. From the kitchen came other warm scents from the foods that were being prepared.
Looking around the room, Joel was amazed that all these travellers from different backgrounds had come together like a family. There were fifty people, with nothing in common save being on the road during Christmas. All had stopped here, and now sung and ate and celebrated together. This, he surmised, was the best of human nature showing.
Somewhere deep in heaven, God looked about his kingdom and his eyes would stop and rest here and there, and when they rested upon a small inn named Myeengun, The Wolf, he let his eyes rest a moment or two. And he saw that this was good.