Silver Bells by Sadie Hart
Every year, the Christmas Carousel in South Howle takes a beating, and every year, Dash Bartholomew tenderly brings it back to life. It’s a job he started fifteen years ago, when Dash became Dasher, one of Santa’s reindeer, and accepted the worn leather harness now hanging on the hooks at the back of the carousel barn. The one with its beautiful, silver bells that once made the most wondrous sound in the world, and now lay quiet.
That is, until Merry, a young, homeless woman wanders in looking for a place out of the cold. Unlike Dash, she can hear the sweet chimes of the bells, proving to him that it’s not the harness that’s broken. As Christmas draws near, Dash finds himself drawn to Merry and her quiet, stubborn pride. However, unable to hear the sleigh bells Dash isn’t sure what Christmas this year will bring, only that the magic in that harness is far less important than the woman he’s come to love.
Silver Bells is a really short story, but even so I almost didn't finish it. It was way too blah for me and not really compelling. I didn't really see Dash and Merry falling in love and the whole ending....is just strange to me (note I will discuss the ending later so spoilers ahead). Dash keeps the carousel in working order, getting it ready every year. Merry stumbles in one day and the two work on fixing up everything together. Dash tries to help her with food and such, but Merry is very proud and doesn't want to take any help.
Eventually Dash gets Merry to stay with him over night since she has a bad cough and is quite sick and needs to be out of the cold. She stays with him, and then it is Christmas Eve so he goes out to the shed and puts on the harness with the silver bells (which he cannot hear ring anymore, but Merry can!) and turns into Dasher, Santa's reindeer. Okay. Odd. Since he doesn't need the magic of the reindeer anymore Santa gives him one wish and he wishes to make Merry better. Then Merry gets a wish also since her dad had been a reindeer, but he died before getting his wish. She then asks to stay with Dash forever! Love! Just not good. It was so strange and I didn't see the connection at all and it was just not good. Really it is only 24 pages, but that was too long for me.