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Is it Donner or Donder?
Report to Moderator Old 06-11-2002 04:53 PM
MMC Editor
Category: Ask Elf Ernest
Views: 48,644
Replies: 0
Dear Ernest,

I notice you use Donner as one of the main reindeer in Santa's group but isn't it Donder who was one of the original reindeer who pulled Santa's sleigh?


Hi Rhona,

Good catch.

But Donner and Donder are actually one-and-the-same. While "Donder" is his proper name, 'Donner" is his nickname.

There's an interesting little story as to how he got this nickname. As a young buck, Donder was known as "Don-Don", mostly because that was what his little sister called him. When he first took the reindeer games by storm many years ago, young Don-Don was a fierce and powerful competitor. Being so big, the other reindeer didn't want to cross him. But, being the jealous type by nature, they began to call him a lot of names behind his back. (Rudolf wasn't the only reindeer who suffered this fate, you know).

Elf Victor, who even back then was in charge of Santa's stables, saw Don-Don as a once-in-a-lifetime reindeer. He saw that not only did Donder possess the physical skills to be one of Santa's very best, but also moved with such majesty and grace. He was incredibly polite and sensitive to his surroundings. Elf Victor, to this day, calls him the King of the Reindeer. And indeed, Donner is respected like no other reindeer at the North Pole.

So Elf Victor advised Donder to change his name to something a little more princely than Don-Don. The proper name of Donder is a family name that evidently goes back generations. The family reveres the name and doesn't wish it to be used disrespectfully. So Santa is the only one who ever calls him Donder and he usually only calls him that when he is hitched to the sleigh.

Elf Victor -- and Donner's mother -- settled on Donner as a nickname. Literally translated from an ancient arctic tongue, it means "Majestic Wind". And that's why we call him Donner.

Oh, by the way, his little sister still calls him Don-Don. None of the rest of us would ever dare.
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