One day, or so the story goes, Bushido Santa meets the God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King on the bridge up from Hell.
“Out of my way, kiddo,” says the Defier.
He’s kind of jovial, but his smile’s got teeth.
“Excuse me,” says Bushido Santa. “But I cannot allow you to pass. If you travel this route you will trouble the Earth and bring all measure of sorrows.”
“That’s true,” says the Yama King. “It’s my nature.”
“Please, sir,” says Bushido Santa. “You must stay below for now.”
The bridge is golden and there is a surf like white flowers. There are shining fish in the water and there are cherry blossom trees.
And Bushido Santa meets the Defier’s eyes and each of them, very slowly, puts his hand down to his sword.
(Except, of course, that Bushido Santa does not have a sword. He has a candy cane. But it is very large and, for a candy cane, surprisingly sharp.)
The Defier licks his lips.
Something passes between them, in their eyes.
“If you do this,” says the Defier, “you will die, and then the children of the world won’t have any Christmas presents.”
“That is as it must be,” says Bushido Santa.
So they move. They rush past one another, the sword and the candy cane moving too fast for the eye to see. Each of them stops at the end of their motion. Each of them waits, in stance.
Slowly, Bushido Santa falls.
“Heh,” snorts the God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King.
Bushido Santa hits the bridge with a thump. His mouth is slack, and from it trickles blood.
The God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King salutes.
Then he pauses.
He rubs at his chest, where his kimono is marked by a smear of candy-cane sugar. He sniffs at his fingers.
“I’m full of Christmas spirit,” says the Defier, in a tone of sick horror.
So that’s why, every year, presents still find their way to the children of the world, even though Bushido Santa is dead.
At least, that’s what most people say.
Some say it wasn’t the God-Defying Yama King on that bridge at all, but God.
Some say it was the monster.
And some say that that isn’t what really happened at all; but rather something far more strange and wonderful.