Disclaimer: I do not own anything that is from Psych
Beta: Yes, I would like to say thank you to my Beta jerseybelle
Author's Notes: Ok, first up, this story was requested by EvE79. Secondly, this is a Dutch Christmas story.
Story Notes: We all know that Shawn travelled and we all knew he had many jobs. So what job did he have when he visited Holland at Christmas time?
Sinterklaas, Shawn Spencer's Dutch Holiday: By islashlove
Shawn rushed around his apartment as Gus stood in the doorway watching. Clothing was flying this way and a bag of stuff went flying the other way.
"Shawn, what are you looking for?"
"I'm looking for my Sinterklaas figurine."
"My Sinterklaas figurine, it's the little statue of a…" Shawn paused for a second thinking of how to describe it. Once he had worked it out Shawn continued. "It's of Santa Clause standing next to a young man with a star above them."
"Yes, Gus, my Sinterklaas figurine."
"Yes, Shawn. I've seen it. You took it took the office yesterday."
"Yes, Shawn, you did. Now can we go and get something to eat?"
"Sure, buddy, I just wanted to make sure that Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet was safe."
"Shawn, you really need to tell me the story behind that figurine, one day."
"Well, how about this? We grab our food, head back to the Psych office and I'll tell you how I became Sinterklaas one year."
And hour later, the two friends were sitting themselves down at their own desks. They were leaning back in their chairs with their feet on the desk, their food sitting on their chests.
"Ok, Shawn, enough delaying. You told me you would tell me the story behind that figurine of yours."
"Ok," Shawn said as he leant his head back, images of that Christmas flashing inside his mind. "I had been backpacking across Holland at the time."
"You were doing what?"
"Gus, either you listen, or I won't tell you, your choice."
"Ok, I'll shut up." Gus replied bowing his head slightly and taking a mouthful of his food.
"Now, as I was saying. I was backpacking across Holland. It was about the middle of November and I had been working different jobs for food and accommodation. But, as the days past, I was finding it harder to find a job."
"I had travelled for about three days without coming across any sign of a town and I was sure that I would be sleeping under the stars again, when I reached the top of a hill. Oh God, Gus, if only you could have seen it. The sight was so amazing."
"Explain it to me, Shawn, please."
"Ok. The sun was just getting ready to set and when I reached the top of that hill, Gus, I was looking down at the North Sea. It looked like the sky was on fire, burning in a deep amber colour that was reflecting onto a small village, which gave it a lovely glow. I just stood there watching as the sun set and the sky changed from that amber to a dark blue and then to black."
"That sounds so amazing; I wish I was there with you."
"So do I, Gus, so do I. Anyway, I was still standing there when someone tapped me on the shoulder. When I turned around, there was an elderly man. He was holding up one of those old lanterns and he looked a little eerie in the light it gave off. He asked me if I was lost and I explained to him what I was doing. I then asked if he knew somewhere cheap, where I could stay for the night, since I didn't have much money."
"Sem, which I found out later was his name, offered that I could stay with him and his wife. And…before you ask, Gus, you know I asked him if he was sure and he said yes. So I followed him to a small farmhouse where I got to meet his wonderful wife, Evelien."
"They sound like nice people."
"They were. After Sem had introduced me and explained what I was doing and where he had found me, he said something in their native language and then they burst into laughter."
"Did you find out what they had said?"
"Yes I did, but not until later in the night. Firstly, Evelien sent me off to have a bath and when I had come back, they had done a lovely dinner. After we had eaten and washed up, we went into their lounge and sat down and talked."
"Where I was from and where I had travelled. Then they explained to me why they had laughed earlier. You see, I was wearing a red cape some other people had given me and Sem, when he had seen me on the hill top, had thought I was Sinterklaas." Shawn said holding up the little figurine.
"So who is Sinterklaas?"
"Well, you see…here in America we have Thanksgiving and Christmas, over in Holland they have Sinterklaas on the fifth of December as well as Christmas. Sinterklaas, when translated, means Saint Nicholas and it is said that he had travel across the sea from Spain, bearing gifts."
Shawn continued talking as he stared at the figurine.
"Sinterklaas is said to be an elderly, stately and very serious man, who has white hair and a long, full beard. He wears a long red cape over a traditional white bishop's alb and he also carries a red mitre, a gold-coloured crosier and a long ceremonial shepherd's staff with a fancy curled top. He also wears a ruby ring and carries the big book of Saint Nicolas that tells whether each individual child has been good or naughty in the past year. Sinterklaas had a friend that travelled with him called Zwarte Piet, who is a black teenager with black curly hair. He is dressed like a 17-th century page in a colourful dress with a lace collar and a feathered cap."
"And this Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet visits Holland on the fifth of December every year?"
"The fifth of December is the last day of Sinterklaas, it actually starts mid-November when Sinterklaas arrives by steamboat. The day they arrive, the Dutch children put out a shoe each night and then in the morning they find a gift, either a lolly or small toy, in it. Than on the fifth the kids get the main gift."
"Wow, I didn't realise you actually learned anything in your travels, Shawn."
"What?" Shawn said sitting up, then he saw Gus' smile. "Oh, Gus. Anyway, the next day I found out the reason Sem thought I was Sinterklaas was that the man who usually plays him had been hurt and he thought I was the person to replace him. While I was doing some work to repay them for their kindness, they got word that the replacement wasn't coming and I felt bad about all those disappointed children, so I offered to help."
"Wait! You became Sinterklaas for them."
"Yes, I spent two weeks with the man playing Zwarte Piet, putting small treats into children's shoes and a smile on their face and joy in their hearts. Then, on Sinterklaas day, the parents put the main gifts into a bag and the children had to find them. But I got the job of dropping off the bag of gifts for the less fortunate."
"So, let me get this straight. You were backpacking through Holland and somehow ended up playing their version of Santa Claus. So how did that figurine come into it?"
Shawn looked at the figurine."
"Even though Sinterklaas is for the children, every so often the adults give each other gifts, too. Ironically, they call these gifts 'surprises' and because I saved the village's Sinterklaas, they gave me a 'surprise'. It's a gift hidden inside a box decorated like a steamboat or big book or shoe, stuffed with hay, flour or whatever, mixed with honey or any other sticky stuff they can find. Attached to the 'surprise' was a poem that hinted towards what the 'surprise' is. This was my poem."
Shawn pulled two rolled up pieces of paper from the figurine and handed one to Gus. Gus unrolled it and read what it said.
'With-in this surprise,
A memory will rise.
You come across the sea
To save me.'
"It's short and sweet."
"Yes, it is, Gus. But it was the truth."
"So what's the other piece of paper?"
"It's the poem they read each night before bed during the fortnight of Sinterklaas."
Again, Shawn carefully passed Gus the piece of paper and Gus passed the other one back. After Gus unrolled and looked at it, he scrunched up his face in confusion. This is what Gus saw.
Trek uwe beste tabberd an,
Reis daar mee naar Amsterdam,
Van Amsterdam naar Spanje,
Daar Appelen van Oranje,
Daar Appelen van granaten,
Die rollen door de straten.'
"Shawn, I can't read this."
"Oh, sorry, Gus, here is the translation." Shawn passed him another piece of paper. Gus read this one with relative ease
'Saint Nicholas, good holy man!
Put on the Tabard, best you can,
Go, therewith, to Amsterdam,
From Amsterdam to Spain,
Where apples bright of Orange,
And likewise those granate surnam'd,
Roll through the streets, all free unclaim'd.'
"Wow, Shawn, that was lovely." Gus lowered his head down and with a bit of sadness in his voice continued. "I wish I had been there with you."
"So do I, Gus. How about this, we make a pact that one year we will go to Holland for Christmas and visit Sem and Evelien. Well, pal?"
"You've got it, Shawn," and with that, they spent the rest of the night decorating the Psych office for Christmas. Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet stood centrepiece on Shawn's desk.
Thank you for reading and for reviewing my story.
Sequel is up, Shawn and Gus' Dutch Holiday