Editors: Sirpa Kivilaakso, Riitta Kiiveri and Anna-Reetta Sipilä.
Illustration: Karoliina Pertamo
Publisher: Lasten Keskus and Kirjapaja Oy, Helsinki 2015
Airy Tales is a collection of stories written by Finnair personnel and passengers for children and their families. The stories take you on great adventures to exciting, faraway places, where you can make new friends and learn the value of difference. The child traveller´s voice can be heard throughout the book in humorous observations and comments like:
"A little girl saw his father wearing his pilot´s uniform for the first time.
- I´m going to work, said the father.
- I´m an airline pilot.
The little girl burst into tears and ran to her mother.
- Mummy, mummy! Daddy is lying, he´s saying he´s an airline pilot!"
Roni Reindeer´s Delivery Trip
Far in the north in winter the ground was frozen and white. Darkness enveloped the hills and mountains, and a glow of light in the horizon indicated the break of dawn.
A lost, tired young reindeer was wandering in deep snow in the thick forest. It had snowed the whole night; even the smell of Roni´s familiar path was covered by snow. The reindeer was exhausted and hungry. He was one of Santa´s sleigh reindeer, and was due to depart on a long journey to deliver Christmas presents only a few days later. Roni had already learned how to wear the harness and pull Santa´s sleigh. He was eagerly waiting for Christmas Eve and his great adventure with the elves.
The exhausted reindeer felt distressed that he couldn´t see any other reindeer or elves. He was far from home, and it was impossible to find the way back to Santa´s workshop in a blizzard. All he could do was to keep on trudging toward the sunrise. The brave youngling carried on, pulling the sleigh, toward the first rays of light. He came to a clearing where the snow fell so heavily that it was very hard to see. He managed to make out a white form that looked like a large swan. Roni had never seen a swan up close, and curious as he was, he approached it cautiously.
People were going inside the large, white aircraft, and loaders were loading boxes into its cargo hold. Roni stood further away and watched. The men shouted something to each other, and then disappeared into a nearby building. They didn´t notice Roni had sneaked behind some large boxes.
Cautiously, Roni walked toward the big, black hole into which the boxes had been loaded. He was very curious and sniffed the boxes, hoping to find something to eat.
Roni was frightened as the men´s voices got louder and closer. He stumbled up the aircraft steps and fell into a seat. He heard the sleigh tumbling down the stairs, and then the men lifting it into the cargo hold. There was a squeak and a clunk, then a growling sound, followed by a jerk into motion. Roni froze with fear. He sunk into his seat and closed his eyes.
A friendly woman in blue approached Roni. She sat next to him and asked, ”Are you on the way to a costume party? You sure have a lot of hand luggage…” She picked up the packages that had fallen out of the sleigh and stowed them away. Everything was so bewildering that Roni felt too stunned to speak. Bemused, he closed his velvet eyes. He could feel the large, white aircraft taxiing on the snow-covered runway. The loud noise of the engines scared him even more. He sank deeper into his seat, panted and kept his eyes shut tight – he was so tired and frightened.
The plane took off, and climbed higher and higher, shaking less as it reached its cruising altitude. The steady hum of the engines lulled Roni to sleep. Unaware, he travelled across Siberia to a faraway country he had never heard of. Roni woke up as the aircraft touched down at Mumbai Airport.
Roni was met by a warm breeze as he stepped outside. He sniffed the air, which smelled damp and unfamiliar. He felt disoriented, but happy that his sleigh and the Christmas presents were still with him. He saw a shanty town in the distance, and hopped toward the shacks with roofs made of tarp and corrugated iron. The sleigh rattled behind him. Roni was nearly blinded by the bright sunlight. ”Where should I take the presents? Where are the children that these packages are meant for?” Roni wondered. ”What have I gotten myself into?”
After a short while, Roni reached the slum village of Dharavi. Children ran about on barefoot, their clothes dirty and tattered. They squealed as they played hide-and-seek behind waste bins. Roni hung back a bit, but then pulled up the courage to approach the children. They surrounded him, stroked his back and touched his horns cautiously. They had never seen anything like Roni, who felt embarrassed.
Suddendy Roni remembered his duty. He turned around, pulled the sleigh closer, and began butting the presents at the children´s feet. First the children were frightened, thinking that Roni was attacking them. Then they noticed his kind eyes that seemed to say, ”Go on, take a present, and leave the rest to the others.”
The chidren were excited, jumping about and hugging their presents. They had never expected anything like this to happen. Roni looked on happily as the children danced in the scorching sun. And so ended the delivery trip of the young reindeer – with children´s dark eyes lit with joy in a land where Christmas, snow and ice were unheard of.