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December 2009

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The Story of Phroomf
by Rosina Diva

"Where did you come from? Is it far?"
"I'm from Fifinfafal, way up on a star."
"Phroomf from Fifinfafal? Oh me, oh my! Fell from a star up in the sky."

Phroomf is a story that my family has brought out regularly every Christmastime. It has been my favorite Christmas story (besides The Christmas Story) for as long as I can remember. This probably has something to do with the fact that it has a narration and a song at the end of the book. I know that I have written about books about belonging and accepting who you are before. However, Phroomf is near and dear to me, so I had to write about it. It also doesn't have your typical acceptance story.

The story begins with Santa talking to his dwarfs, getting ready to tell them a story. All of a sudden, they hear lightning crash and thunder boom! A small pixie flies through the sky, past the stars, moon, and sun. He is terrified as he falls to earth. Santa rushes out to find him, tearing his pants in the process. They rescue the pixie, who says his name is Phroomf and that he is from Fifinfafal. He is very small, only 8 inches high. Santa and the dwarfs are afraid he might be stepped on. Finally one of them (the author) finds a solution. He sews a patch onto Santa's torn pants and puts a small pocket there. Phroomf can sit in the pocket, and doesn't have to worry about getting stepped on or hurt. Santa gives him the list of names and a whistle, and Phroomf is able to go with him when he travels.

The book then ends with a song.

My name is Phroomf, I live with Santa Claus
You've never heard about me and the reason is because
No one can spell my name but I like it just the same
I cannot tell a lie - I'm eight inches high.
The other dwarfs all have pretty names
They won't ever let me play in their games.
Golly gee and woe is me and Phroomf is my name.
If I could have a wish come true I wish that I could be
Half as big as you and you or twice as big as me.
My name is Phroomf! Oh gosh oh golly gee
The next time you see Santa Claus, look for me.
I'm the little bump upon his knee and
Phroomf is my name.

I'm not sure the story of Phroomf ever gets completely resolved. They save him from being stepped on, this is true. Phroomf says, "I wish I could grow." Is this only a response to not wanting to be hurt, or did he feel out of place even with the dwarfs? We never really find out. He is happy to get to stay with Santa, but then, honestly, who wouldn't be happy to go ride with him on Christmas? The song also talks about him wanting to grow. We don't know if there is any closure with this. It is mentioned that no one could spell his name. An odd statement, to say the least, but not unbelievable. Phroomf is an odd name. Does this make him feel bad? We don't know. It's never mentioned.

Phroomf finds a place at the North Pole, but his story is left unfinished. As a child, I never thought about it. I had more fun trying to say Phroomf from Fifinfafal (to this day, NPR reporter David Folkenflik reminds me of Phroomf) and singing the song than thinking about the story. Now though, I do wonder. What caused his star to explode? Why did he end up on earth in the first place? Does he miss his planet, or is he enjoying himself at the North Pole? They may seem to be silly questions, but (if you recall from The Little Prince) no less silly than asking if a sheep has eaten a flower.

Yes, I realize I said "dwarfs." I prefer dwarves, but that's how the story writes it.