older than sin, and his beard could grow no whiter. He wanted to die.
The dwarfish natives of the Arctic caverns did not speak his language, but conversed in their
own, twittering tongue, conducted incomprehensible rituals, when they were not actually
working in the factories.
Once every year they forced him, sobbing and protesting, into Endless Night. During the
journey he would stand near every child in the world, leave one of the dwarves’ invisible gifts
by its bedside. The children slept, frozen into time.
He envied Prometheus and Loki, Sisyphus and Judas. His punishment was harsher.
Copyright © 1989 by Neil Gaiman. Reprinted by permission of Writers House LLC acting as agent for the author.
The Moving Pen is thrilled to have Neil’s permission to display his story Nicholas Was in our Christmas 2020 edition. Neil is a very well-known and extremely accomplished author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. We just don’t have enough space here to do him justice. But thanks Neil for letting us use your fantastic little story, and for being such an inspiration.
Huge thanks too, to Neil’s agent, Writers House LLC in New York, for arranging this with Neil (shout out to Rebecca!)