Written by Johannie Dufour and Sarah Beauregard
Translated by Cyan Caruso-Comas
The children at the North Pole Animal Daycare are just finishing their lunches when Nougat, the elf chef enters the room.
“Rudolpha, we have a surprise for you!” he announces to the teacher.
Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Jack the elf-of-all-trades come in carrying a huge carrot cake.
they all say.
“Wow!” Rudolpha the reindeer says. “You remembered my birthday.”
“Of course we did,” says Nougat.
They set the cake in front of Rudolpha who blows out the candles and starts to serve everyone.
Jack takes one bite and spits it out, “Nougat! What did you put in the cake?”
“The usual ingredients,” answers Nougat defensively.
“My dear, it’s, um, not good,” says Mrs. Claus gently, “it’s much too salty and sort of tastes like…”
“Soy sauce,” Santa finishes for her.
“What? That’s impossible!” says Nougat.
Jack puts a consoling hand on Nougat’s shoulder. “There must be an explanation.”
The elf couple goes to the kitchen to investigate. Nougat starts to open the cupboards. “You see,” he says, handing the vanilla extract to Jack, “everything’s in the same place as usual. I couldn’t have made a mistake.”
“Nougat, didn’t you smell this? It’s soy sauce!” exclaims Jack.
“Actually, I can’t really smell anything,” admits Nougat, “I have a cold. In any case, that’s where the vanilla goes. And this? Is this sugar?”
Jack tastes it. “No, this is salt.”
“What? I just don’t understand how this could have happened!”
Suddenly, Tricksy the elf pops up from behind the counter. “Um, Nougat?” she says, “I moved your ingredients to play a trick on you. I was sure you’d realize as soon as you opened the jars. I didn’t know you have a cold.”
“Great joke, Tricksy. You ruined my surprise for Rudolpha and made me look like a fool.”
“I’m really sorry, Nougat. I’ll help you put everything back and make a new cake, I promise.”
Nougat never stays angry for very long. “Thank you Tricksy, that’s a good idea,” he says.
Nougat and Tricksy get to work. After the children’s nap, everyone gathers in the daycare once again. They laugh, talking about the terrible salt and soy sauce cake from this morning.
“All’s well that ends well,” says Rudolpha, “I’ll have a funny story to tell my grandchildren one day. This carrot cake is delicious, Nougat and Tricksy. Thank you for making this an unforgettable birthday.”