Disclaimer: The Nutcracker does not belong to me in story form, musical form, play form, or movie form. Nor does this pretend to be actual poetry; it was just me playing with an idea one time.

Christmas Eve, that fateful night, that night I can't forget. On Christmas Eve I brought him there to her. He a king, trapped in a doll, an exile from his land. She a girl, a little one, my goddaughter and a child. I meant no harm; I merely meant to keep him shielded, safe. I could not keep him with me.

I gave him to her as a gift. From the first moment she captivated him; the moment she held him the bonds holding him nearly broke. I saw and my hands faltered a moment; I second guessed myself. But it was one night, only one night; it would do her no harm, and it meant his freedom from the rats who took his home and form.

I should have known when the king's head broke that all would not go well. But I stopped my ears and closed my eyes, and said, "All shall be most well." Her brother left, jeering, laughing, at the thing that he had harmed, but Marie's eyes were full of tears, and it was then the harm was done.

I could not stop what I had wound; the clock of time was set. I should have known, I see; Marie's heart was very soft, and it fell for the wounded king.

I bound him up – what of his hurt? I had already done far worse. I gave him to Marie – what could I do? And I heard their scurrying feet.

As night ticked by I came to watch – to do all that I could. I saw the charge, the loss, the duel – and Marie throwing her shoe. I saw the vict'ry, the death, the joy, and Marie leaving with him.

I gave them all the time I could, from midnight unto dawn. I heard the dances, the music, their laughs, and the flight of magic feet. But dawn came close on midnight's heels as time's dance went on, and Marie, dear one, was drawn back from the fairy tale come true.

She did not stir as I placed her gently at home in her bed. I stood there silent, waiting, asking, what it was I'd done. I got my answer – not this answer! as I vigil kept.

Never since that fateful day, as Marie's life ticked by, was there ever absent from her smile the loss of magic's land. To see, to touch, a magic place, to love and to be loved, but to lose it all at dawn's first light, that was the harm I'd done.

I fled her room, I fled her home, I fled but could not rest. I reached my home, my lonely home, and crumpled in my cape. My nephew's war, my desperate play, all of that was nothing. Marie's loss, his broken heart, weighted down my soul. My strengths unequal to this task; I can not mend two lives.

But while I huddled there, alone, wretched with my tricks, a greater strength than mine brought forth a miracle of joy. Christmas day, that blessed day, the day when gifts are given, gave to a man, alone and lost, forgiveness mixed with grace. My nephew stepped into my house, a nutcracker no more; he took my hand and asked of me the way back to her home.

We waited in my house all day; we spoke of all the past, but as the hours ticked away the future came at last. We dressed ourselves, he and I, and walked through snowy streets until we reached the house where he would his beloved meet. Then I saw the wrongs made right, as Christmas tolled its bells; I smiled and saw God's children dance, and all was then most well.