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This is the story of how an orphan called Nikolas became Santa Claus. Many years ago, in Lapland, a boy named Nikolas is orphaned when his family are killed in an accident. The heads of the families in the village meet to decide his future and, as life in the arctic is difficult, it is decided that as no one family could care for him permanently, they would raise him communally, with each family taking him for one year and then moving him on to the next. Grateful, Nikolas begins whittling toys out of wood as a gift which, each Christmas, he leaves for the family that cared for him. It becomes a tradition from then on, with Nikolas never forgetting the children of those families that received him each year. When a blight hits the village, and none of the families can afford to take him in for the next year, he is taken in by grumpy hermit Iisakki as his carpenter's apprentice. Iisakki works him hard but Nikolas is clever and quick to learn, and Iisakki gradually grows to love Nikolas as his own son. Nikolas begins to live more and more for the spirit of Christmas with each passing year and it becomes his life and as he grows old he becomes the figure known as Santa Claus.
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Author: Julie Lane