Do you like candy canes? So did Minty the Christmas elf. He ate candy canes on his break every day. The sparkly white candy canes tasted like powdered sugar. Candy canes at that time didn't have stripes yet. They also didn't taste like peppermint, either.
Minty was a young elf, being only five hundred years old. His hair was only just starting to turn white. His eyes looked like black jellybeans. They had little crinkly laugh lines at the edges. His ears had perky, pointy tips. He always smiled. Minty got his name because he loved peppermint tea.
Minty painted toys in Santa's shop. The shop had long wooden tables with benches on each side. It had a Christmas tree in the corner. Gingerbread men hung on every branch. The whole room smelled like spices and pine.
Merry Christmas carols were heard in the workshop. All the elves had chipped in last year to get Santa a new CD player. Now carols played everywhere at the North Pole. Music even played in the reindeer barn! Santa liked his hi-tech present. The rest of the North Pole was a bit old fashioned.
"Hi, Buckle," said Minty as he went into the shop.
"Hi, Minty! Which color do you want to paint with today?" asked Buckle, the elf who was in charge. He was called Buckle because his stomach hung over his belt buckle like a roll of squishy Play-Doh.
Minty was excited. He loved picking out his paint pot first! Every day each elf used just one color. Santa had so many bright colors for his toys. It was so hard to pick! Cherry red, sunshine yellow, berry blue, and mint green...which color should Minty pick?
"I'll take red today!" said Minty.
"Okay, here you go," said Buckle.
Buckle gently pushed the pot of shiny red paint towards Minty. Minty fastened his apron around his waist and twirled his brush into a sharp point. It was easier to paint with a pointy brush tip. Santa's toys must be perfect! All the children were counting on them.
"Minty, what is your favorite toy to paint?" asked Jiffy, Minty's best friend.
"I like fire trucks best," said Minty as he dipped his brush into the bright red paint.
Minty and Jiffy painted until break time. Then, a bell rang. The elves stretched. They ate their candy canes. Jiffy held his candy cane with two hands. He never wanted to drop his snack on the floor because he didn't like dirt.Paragraphs 14 to 27:
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