Flash Fiction: Zwarte Piet Turns Red

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PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergastfor Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers. Other stories featuring the prompt can be found here.

Tanya waited for Zwarte Piet to come down the chimney. Colouring in her book killed time. Why didn’t he just tap on her window to be let in like Odin’s ravens? All her life Zwarte Piet insisted on the black tunnel, a portal from the Christmas world. Every year, he stained her carpet with sooty footprints and ash. Tanya’s eyes closed. She awoke to smoke and Zwarte Piet screaming. Embers flickered in the fireplace.

“Oops, I guess this means I’m on the naughty list again?”

She opened the door. Piet rolled in the snow. From Black Pete to Red Pete… or Rood Piet.

He stuck his finger up at her.

“Rude Piet it is.”


Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) is a European folklore figure. He is one of Santa’s helpers and is played by actors at Christmas time much like Santa. Some researchers claim origins can be traced back to mythological stories. In modern times there is a culture clash; he has become a controversial figure given some depictions and sensitivities towards blackface as the world becomes global. The history is fascinating, more can be read here.


  1. Good stuff! I find the story of this character really intriguing as I’ve learned about it over the years. Culture clash is quite the mild way of putting it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. My belief is looking at people’s intent. Mockery is different to tributing A lot of people seem not to bother making distinction. Instant offend or instant defend.

      Thanks, R.


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