Now you have all heard the story about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the biggest misfit in all the North Pole, who managed to find his place when he saved Christmas by leading Santa’s sleigh through a terrible blizzard. There is a lesser known story however, about Rudolph’s granddoe, Dauphine, a misfit just like him.
You may not have noticed it, but Santa’s sleigh is traditionally pulled by all male deer, or bucks. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and of course the most recent addition, Rudolph. Does weren’t considered strong enough to pull Santa’s sleigh with all the children of the world’s toys. Instead, they were expected to stay home and raise the fawns. For the most part, the does were all very satisfied with their lot in life, tending their young and making Christmas fun for all of the North Pole.
But Dauphine was different; she always knew she wanted something else for herself. The bucks just always seemed to be having so much more fun! They had all these special reindeer games to help them learn to fly Santa’s sleigh, and she so wanted to join in! The other does were always playing house and dress up, things she had very little interest in; she wanted to fly, to run, and someday to travel the world. The bucks would never let her join in though! They all laughed at her, saying she was too weak, she could never join in any of their reindeer games. The other does picked on her too, saying that she was a misfit, who would never fit in with either group.
Dauphine was very unhappy, she felt like she didn’t fit in anywhere, and she didn’t see anything changing, this was the way things had always been. One day, she went to her Grandbuck Rudolph for advice, for who else could truly understand what she wanted to do and the reactions of the other deer? Rudolph told his granddoe that she must keep working towards her goal, building up her skills so that she could match any of the bucks. Rudolph told her that as long as she worked hard, and kept an eye out for any chance to prove she could equal any other reindeer, things should work out. She could only do her best; there was no way to force the other deer to accept her.
So Dauphine did what her Grandbuck Rudolph had told her, every chance she got she would go off alone and practice her flying, even carrying increasingly heavy objects with her and upping the distance she flew, to improve her endurance. Her confidence was growing, she knew she was now as good as the members of Santa’s team, and she hoped that the opportunity Grandbuck Rudolph had told her to wait for would come soon.
The day of the tryouts for Santa’s sleigh team had arrived, and nothing had changed for Dauphine. She was sorely disappointed; she had so hoped something would have cone up by now! She couldn’t stand to sit with the other does and watch the backs showing off for Santa, and getting the one thing she had always dreamed of. So Dauphine decided to go to one of her favorite practice spots, Santa’s Icy Trail, a frozen river near a few of the dens further out of town. There had been a surprisingly warm spell in the North Pole that year and the river was now more of Santa’s Slushy Trail, because of which the fawns had been ordered to stay away from it. This order allowed her the needed privacy to practice without ridicule.
Dauphine had gotten so used to the river being isolated, that she didn’t even pay attention to her surroundings as she approached. Suddenly, she heard terrified screams and a cracking noise. She looked around for the rope she had used to practice carrying things with, then dashed towards it. Running along the bank to catch up with the fawns, she took off and landed neatly on the moving ice chunk. Dauphine instructed the fawns to try to tie the rope to a chunk of ice sticking up from the piece they stood upon, using their teeth to maneuver it, a method she had practiced to perfection. With her guidance the fawns succeeded, and then tied the other end around Dauphine, their hopes rising after witnessing her skillful flying.
Dauphine did a stationary take off, no easy feat, just as Jingle Falls came into sight. She flew with all her might, upstream and towards the river bank. It took every last bit of strength she possessed, the fawns and ice had been much heavier than anything she had practiced lifting, especially against the current of the river. She managed to pull the ice close enough to the bank for the fawns to hop off. With a sigh of relief, Dauphine landed, and all her energy spent, collapsed to the ground. The eldest fawn, Flash, whose father just happened to be Comet, dashed for help, quickly returning with some panicked mothers, and a large gathering of other bucks and does. They gathered up Dauphine and the younger fawn, and took them to be checked out by Santa!
While Santa checked the younger fawns out and Dauphine slept, the eldest fawn told the group the whole story of Dauphine’s daring rescue. The does and bucks were astounded and ashamed of the way they had treated Dauphine, just because she had different dreams than the other does. Santa was extremely impressed, she had shown the qualities he valued most on his reindeer team; innovation, determination, strength, and concern for others. As the auditions for his team had been disrupted by the emergency, Santa came up with an idea, which he ran by the gathering of reindeer. He felt the best reward for Dauphine’s heroism was to award her a spot on his team, and the reindeer agreed unanimously!
The first thing Dauphine saw upon awakening was her Grandbuck Rudolph, who happily informed her of the new developments while she had been sleeping. She couldn’t believe it, her dream had come true! She was a member of Santa’s team of reindeer, and she had won her place among their other herd members. Dauphine the doe had followed her Grandbuck Rudolph’s footsteps as a former misfit, who now felt like the happiest doe that ever lived.