“Have some mashed potatoes,” Mom told Jacob, pouring a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes onto the corner of his dinner plate.
“Thanks, Mom,” Jacob replied with apathy, looking outside the kitchen window of his quaint two-story home that was decorated with rusty grandfather clocks and oil lamps. He could not wait for Christmas, which was the following day, because his mom had promised to buy him a brand-new wool coat.
“I am going to go shopping to buy some Christmas gifts,” Mom informed Jacob, walking over to the closet to get her jacket. “Please stay home and don’t open the door. Do you understand, Jacob?”
“Yes, Mom,” Jacob answered, walking over to the closet to compare his ...view middle of the document...
“How are you doing, Jacob?” Uncle Saul asked with joy. “Where’s your mom?”
“Uh,” Jacob sighed, unprepared to answer his question. He knew that telling the truth would anger Uncle Saul and eliminate all chances of getting the thirty dollars. “Mom’s at Aunt Eve’s house. I just wanted to ask you for thirty dollars. I want to buy a new wool jacket.”
“Sure, I’ll give you the thirty dollars,” Uncle Saul remarked, his eyebrows raised. His hands clapped softly several times and he snickered a bit. “However, you will have to take care of my reindeer Judas for just a week. Is that okay with you?” He motioned Jacob to enter his heated, cozy mansion.
Jacob followed and immediately agreed to the offer, unaware of the potential trap in his uncle’s unusual cheerfulness. “What must I do for you?” he asked, taking a seat on a leather sofa in the living room.
“Starting tomorrow,” Uncle Saul explained carefully and sternly, “go outside to the front lawn and feed Judas his breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Be sure to give him some water before each meal. Comb him gently with your bare hands. If you don’t obey my instructions carefully, I’ll make you work another week. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand,” Jacob spoke boldly, his eyes wide open and his brain trying to process the instructions for his assignment. “I want to sleep, but I can’t,” he complained, lying down on the sofa and focusing his eyes away from the hundreds of oil lamps that lined the hallways.
Uncle Saul walked over to the kitchen. He filled a mug with a dark-red liquid from a pitcher and walked over to the sofa. “Have some tart cherry juice,” he advised Jacob, “it’ll make you sleepy in no time.”
After consuming the juice, Jacob fell asleep on the sofa. The following day, Jacob woke up at six in the morning. A thin layer of snow covered all of the plants and made the outdoor walkways slippery. The sunrise, with its shades of red, yellow, and orange, made the sky look beautiful. Jacob immediately scurried over to the lawn to find Judas, who was already awake. Finding no water next to the reindeer, Jacob breathed heavily and thought to himself, “Should I go tell Uncle Saul about this? Will he judge me if I ask him?” After looking back and forth between the reindeer and the mansion, Jacob decided not to tell Uncle Saul. Jacob then left Judas behind on the front lawn and trudged along the side of the mansion, hugging himself to keep warm. His hands began to show reddish-brown spots and his face grew pale under the bitterly cold conditions. “Water!” he exclaimed, spotting a hose near the garden full of lichens. Jacob found a pitch-black bucket on the garden pathway and turned on the hose to fill the bucket with water. When the water reached the brim of the bucket, Jacob turned off the hose. Suddenly, he felt weary, yawned several times, and fell sleep while lying down on the pathway.
Meanwhile, Uncle Saul woke up from a deep sleep and stretched by lifting up...