Eoin Colfer’s Christmas story starter “The Great Spangle Shortage” is read by Kwaku Fortune
Eoin Colfer is an Irish author of Children’s books, best known for the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl, which was named the public’s favourite Puffin Classic of all time. Selling in excess of 25 million copies, The Artemis Fowl series has been translated into 40 languages so far.
His Christmas story starter is read by actor Kwaku Fortune, who was most recently seen in Normal People and Asking for It
The Great Spangle Shortage
The so-called Miracle of Christmas is not actually a miracle at all but a very precise mathematical equation that will not be understood by most humans for several generations, but which is of course known to elves. This equation involves quantum mathematics, and is so advanced that mortals usually do not recognize one of the elements as a legitimate measurable substance. The equation is as follows:
Distance = Belief x Speed x Time.
The biggest variable in this equation is belief which has its own separate equation that is far too long and complicated to fit into this book.
Simply put: The more people who believe that Father Christmas or Santa Claus will visit them on Christmas Eve, then the more people Father Christmas can visit. Speed is measured in miles, time is measured in minutes and we shall refer to the units for the measurement of belief as spangles after Professor Josephine Spangle (Josie to her friends, JoJo to her parents) of Trinity College Dublin who discovered the unit using a quantum microscope, two elastic bands and a tube of glitter glue. And even though Professor Spangle’s discovery was a significant scientific breakthrough, not a single person believed her and the professor became something of a laughing stock in the scientific community. Josephine was fired from her job and her very name became a cruel jibe. Whenever a scientist made an outlandish claim they were said to have: A bad case of the Spangles.
What Josephine Spangle had correctly calculated was that that in order for Father Christmas to visit all of the world’s pre-teens in a single night it would require at a minimum 2.5 spangles per child to create a time bubble around Santa and his reindeer. However, the biggest single spangle generator is Santa Claus himself who is personally responsible for over thirty per cent of the world’s belief, and without his quota there isn’t enough belief on the planet to get the sleigh off the ice, for Santa Claus is Christmas’s biggest champion, or at least he used to be. Until he lost his spangles.
Three days before Christmas, the reindeer were messing about near the North Pole spangle storage tank and Dancer put a hole in the brass casing with his antlers flooding the ice with pure liquid spangle concentrate. This was wonderful for the fish underneath the ice who found they were suddenly able to fly, but catastrophically bad for Father Christmas and his delivery schedule as most of the year’s supply was lost to the Arctic.
Santa knew there was only one person he could turn to for advice: The disgraced Irish scientist: Professor Josephine Spangles.