Bill the Yule Sprite
This is Bill the Christmas elf, although 'elf' is not entirely accurate, as 'Christmas elves' are more closely related to the tiny 'sprites'. Christmas sprites belong to a branch of sprites that have no visible wings, although they still seem to be able to travel by means of flight. Christmas elves are usually very small, frequently no taller than half a foot, although they can alter their size, typically choosing to become smaller, or they can become invisible altogether. They favor the colors of the holly for their clothes; red and green, which is one of the reasons why these colors are often associated with Christmas. Christmas sprites are also known as Yule-sprites, this being their original name. Yule-sprites are among the many supernatural or magical spirits connected with and responsible for seeing that the Yule is being kept and properly observed. Typically, that time during the winter when Christmas is observed is referred to as the Yuletide, or the time of the Yule. This was a time when food could become scarce and the weather harsh and those who had nothing, or at the best very little, suffered most. It was a time for drawing close together, physically and spiritually. The Yule-sprites sought to encourage and inspire acts of generosity from those who had plenty towards those in need. Unfortunately, the hearts of many humans remained hard and their ears were deaf to the cries of the needy or the call of the Yule-sprites to share whatever surplus a person might have with others who had nothing. Such selfishness and greediness on the part of those humans who had caught the attention of the Yule-sprites was usually punished, for example, by souring the milk, or infesting the grain with beetles and mice, or causing even the most carefully preserved meats, fruits, etc. to spoil and rot. Or, they would cause the next year's harvest to be poor or bad health would befall those people whose own spirits were so lacking generosity. However, those that were able to be generous and allowed others to draw close to the warmth of their own hearths, became the favorites of the Yule-sprites and were rewarded in as many ways as the wicked were punished. Many Yule-sprites later began to assist the most famous of all the Yuletide spirits, Father Christmas, after he earned the friendship of the king of the Yule-sprites, King Rollo, whom Father Christmas had saved from band of goblins. In fact, the Yule-sprites' practice of rewarding the generous and punishing the greedy led to the legendary 'naughty/nice list' of Father Christmas. To this day King Rollo and all the Yule-sprites continue to work with Father Christmas, though fewer people are aware of them these days and their presence seems to have lost a great deal of its power.
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