It’s Christmas Eve, and Peter the Penguin needs to get back to his family in time for Christmas. Will Joey the Kangaroo be able to help Peter find his way back home? Let’s find out!

Maybe…just maybe…The Mysterious Ant might make a special appearance…(no promises).

Story by George Young © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

Read Along! Click for Full Story Text

 

The Lost Penguin

By George Young

 

It was Christmas Eve, and Peter the Penguin woke to find that he hadn’t the faintest idea where he was.

 

“Where am I?” said Peter, to no one in particular but himself.

 

Fortunately for Peter, Joey just so happened to be walking by.

 

“Hello there,” said Joey, “I couldn’t help but overhear that you didn’t know where you were. Can I help?”

“Oh yes,” said Peter, happy to see anyone, even if it was a human, “that would be very helpful indeed.”

 

This pleased Joey immensely, as she was always eager to offer advice or help in any way she could, especially when it came to penguins.

 

“All I remember is that I was coming from somewhere very cold,” said Peter, as he removed his gloves. “The next thing I knew, I’m here…in what I must say is an unusually warm place for this time of year.”

 

Peter’s smile began to curl ever so slightly upside down. “What time of year is it, exactly?”

 

“It’s the night before Christmas!” exclaimed Joey, excitedly. It was obvious to anyone that Joey very much liked everything to do with Christmas. “And I must say that-”

 

“It’s Christmas Eve?!” Peter interrupted, his face showing ever more worry, “Oh dear…oh dear oh dear oh dear…I’m supposed to be meeting my family for Christmas.”

 

“Of course you are!” cried Joey, who didn’t mind the interruption at all, and was in fact getting more excited by the second, “It’s the season to be jolly! To eat lots and lots, and most importantly of all – to be with friends and family! But didn’t you just say that it was warm here-”

 

“Where on Earth am I?” Said Peter, interrupting again, which is a habit that is unfortunately very typical of penguins.

 

“Well,” said Joey, again not minding the interruption at all, “I was about to say that I don’t think it’s very warm here at all.”

 

“In fact,” added Joey, “I think it’s rather cold. It was snowing this morning!”

 

“Snowing?” Said Peter, looking around with a puzzled look on his face, “but there’s no snow on the ground?

 

“Where I come from,” Peter explained, “there’s snow and ice everywhere,” a frown appeared on Peter’s face, “and certainly more penguins.”

 

“Polar bears.” came a voice from a nearby tree trunk.

 

“Who’s that?” asked Joey.

 

A Mysterious Ant crawled down from the tree trunk, and settled its hind legs on a comfortable looking mound of dirt near Peter and Joey.

 

“You’re talking about the North Pole, aren’t you?” said the Mysterious Ant.

 

“Oh that’s right!” said Joey, “there’s lots of snow and ice there, not to mention polar bears and…penguins!”

 

“No penguins,” said the Mysterious Ant.

 

“Oh. Right,” Joey murmured, blushing slightly. She never liked it much when she was corrected.

 

“Common mistake,” added Mysterious Ant.

 

“I think even Mr and Mrs Christmas live up there,” Joey added.

 

Peter the Penguin looked a little past the tree trunk from where Mysterious Ant emerged, and then at Joey. “Mr and Mrs Christmas?” said Peter, “do you mean Mr Santa Claus and Mrs…you know what? I only know her as Mrs Claus. How strange.”

 

“Martha.” said the Mysterious Ant.

 

“Pardon?” said Peter.

 

“It’s Martha Claus.” said Mysterious Ant.

 

“Oh. Thank you.” replied Peter.

 

Peter the Penguin started to pace slowly between the Mysterious Ant and Joey. “But no…no, no – that doesn’t sound right…I’m quite quite sure I’ve never seen one of those polar bears before, let alone heard of one, and I think I would remember a place called the North Pole.”

 

“Arctic.” muttered the Mysterious Ant.

 

“I’m sorry?” said Peter.

 

“The North Pole. It’s in the Arctic.” replied the Mysterious Ant.

 

“Oh – does that ring any bells?” asked Joey, always trying to help.

 

Peter the Penguin stopped his slow pacing. “Hm,” he said, “Arctic…Arctic, Arctic, Arctic…”

 

Peter moved towards the mound of dirt where Mysterious Ant was sitting. He then, rather clumsily, plopped his bottom near Mysterious Ant, causing Mysterious Ant to lift his left antenna in shock.

 

“Arctic sounds familiar, Ant…but it still doesn’t quite sound like home…”

 

“So,” chirped Joey, who was determined to get to the bottom of this, “Ant said Arctic, and you say there’s plenty of snow and ice and penguins where you’re from-”

 

“Ant said Arctic…” interrupted Peter the Penguin.

 

Ant. Arctic…ahhh…” Peter scratched his light brown beak with his ungloved flipper.

 

“…ah HA!”

 

Peter rocked back slightly, and then ever so quickly launched himself upwards off from where he was sitting, leaving Mysterious Ant almost upside down from all the sudden movement.

 

“I remember!” Peter exclaimed,

 

“Antarctica! I live in Antarctica!”

 

“Why, that’s not the North Pole at all,” said Joey. “It’s quite the opposite in fact – it’s near the South Pole.”

 

“And definitely no polar bears there.” Joey glanced at Mysterious Ant. “Lots of penguins, but no polar bears.”

 

“Yes! I remember everything now!” said Peter, as he hurriedly picked up his gloves and again started to pace – much quicker this time. Mysterious Ant looked on cautiously.

 

“I need to get back to Antarctica! Thanks to both of you for all your help!”

 

Joey was positively glowing from being able to help out a penguin in need. “You’re most welcome!”

 

“No probs.” said Mysterious Ant.

 

“I’ll tell you what,” shouted Joey to Peter, who was at this point already past the tree trunk and on his way to the ocean, “just send us both Christmas cards from you and your family.”

 

“I will!” Promised Peter.

 

Thanks to the help of Joey and the Mysterious Ant, Peter the Penguin made it home to his family, just in time for Christmas Dinner. He even managed to pick up some brussel sprouts along the way.

 

Joey and Mysterious Ant waited quite some time for their Christmas cards to arrive. Not through the fault of Peter, but simply because it’s actually quite hard to mail anything to and from Antarctica…which is precisely why Mr Santa and Mrs Martha Clause set up their Christmas Present Delivery Business in the North Pole, and not the South Pole…but – I’ve been known to go on a bit – and that’s perhaps a story for another day.