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CBeebies Bedtime Story.
Hello. My name is Derek.
Tonight's story is also a much-loved Christmas ballet,
with music by Tchaikovsky, it's called The Nutcracker.
And the story is illustrated by Alison Jay.
Now, if you are sitting comfortably, I'll begin.
It was Christmas Eve
and little Clara, watching the snow fall outside
could hardly wait for Godfather Drosselmeyer
to arrive for the party.
As if on cue, the door burst open, there was Godfather Drosselmeyer,
with his flowing cape and curly moustache.
"Merry Christmas," he bellowed.
Godfather Drosselmeyer was a famous toymaker,
so the children immediately gathered round
as he reached under his cape
and produced one bright package after another.
Carla's younger brother Fritz got a wooden toy sword.
Her cousin Anne got a lovely doll,
with sparkling fairy wings.
And Ben, the youngest cousin, got a wind-up mouse.
It was so fuzzy and grey it looked almost real.
But Clara knew her present was the best of all.
It was a toy soldier.
And if you put a nut between its teeth
and pulled the lever in its back...
it cracked the shell right open.
"Oh, thank you, Godfather," breathed Clara.
Clara passed the nutcracker around for everyone to try.
But Fritz shoved a huge walnut between its teeth.
When he pulled the lever down hard...
The nutcracker's jaw snapped.
"Do not worry, Clara," said Godfather Drosselmeyer",
pulling out a handkerchief
and tying it around the nutcracker's head.
"That should do for now.
"Tomorrow I'll get my tools and fix him properly."
Clara gave the nutcracker a kiss
and placed him gently under the Christmas tree
with all of the other toys.
Then, reluctantly, she went upstairs to bed.
But, try as she might, Clara couldn't sleep.
Late that night, she tiptoed back downstairs
and curled up beneath the tree, with the nutcracker snug in her arms.
Finally, she drifted off.
Clara woke with a start!
As the grandfather clock chimed loudly,
she glanced around and rubbed her eyes.
Something incredible was happening.
The Christmas tree and the toys appeared to be growing!
Soon Clara was standing face to face with the nutcracker.
Suddenly, an army of mice marched towards Clara from behind the sofa
led by a large, very fuzzy grey mouse with a golden crown.
The nutcracker pulled a wooden sword from his side and marched forward,
leading the toys into battle to protect Clara.
But the wooden sword was no match for the Mouse King's shiny metal one.
Clara had to do something.
She tore her slipper from her foot
and threw it at the Mouse King with all her might.
The Mouse King crumpled to the ground.
His crown spinning to rest beside him.
Clara couldn't believe her eyes.
As the Mouse King fell,
the nutcracker magically transformed into a prince.
Sweeping the Mouse King's crown from the floor,
he placed it on Clara's head.
"Thank you," he said.
"I've been trapped in the shape of the nutcracker for many years,
"but your bravery broke the Mouse King's spell.
"Now, I am free!"
Speechless, Clara looked down to see that her nightdress
had turned into a magnificent gown!
The Prince held out his hand.
"Would you come to my kingdom, the kingdom of sweets?"
"Oh, how lovely," said Clara.
And together they sped off in a grand sleigh.
As the sleigh raced across the land of snow
the stars sparkled like diamonds in the sky
and dazzling snowflakes danced all around them.
Before long, the sleigh pulled up to a marvellous castle,
with candyfloss trees and sugarcane gates.
Clara blinked in disbelief.
"This is where I live, the Marzipan Palace,"
said the Prince.
A beautiful girl had appeared beside him.
"And this is the Sugar Plum Fairy.
"Welcome to the Land of Sweets."
The Prince explained how Clara had saved his life
by bravely defeating the Mouse King.
"We must have a great banquet in your honour,"
the Sugar Plum Fairy declared.
As the guests sat down,
waiters wheeled out a giant box of chocolates.
Suddenly, two Spanish dancers leapt out, clicking their castanets.
Then, a giant teapot, cup and saucer were pushed into the room.
Three graceful Chinese acrobats sprang from the teapot
and whirled dramatically across the floor.
Next, four Arabian dancers leapt out of the teacup.
Followed by a troop of Russian performers,
who crossed the floor in a dazzling series of jumps and kicks.
After a short pause, Mother Ginger emerged
wearing an enormous skirt.
Then Carla giggled in surprise
as six French children scampered out from beneath it.
Spinning, like candy-covered tops.
Finally, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince danced a magnificent duet.
Clara was breathless from clapping and cheering.
Each time the Sugar Plum Fairy spun around
her sparkling skirt and wings reflected specs of moonlight.
As the festivities wound down...
..Clara stifled a yawn.
"It is time we took you home," the Prince told her softly.
Placing Clara gently inside the sleigh,
he whispered something in the horse's ear.
In an instant the sleigh was whisking Clara back through the snow.
On Christmas morning, Clara woke in her own cosy bed.
Her beautiful gown had turned back into a nightdress.
And when she reached up for her crown...
..there was nothing there.
Clara noticed a flash of red beside her.
It was her nutcracker,
without the handkerchief bandage, and perfectly whole.
Clara hugged him close.
Though she never told a soul about her adventure,
she hoped in her heart
that every Christmas Eve might be as magical as this one.
I hope you enjoyed that classic story, The Nutcracker.
Weren't the pictures beautiful?
And what a magical Christmas Eve Clara had.
I hope that you will have a very special Christmas too.