Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh-Ride By Katharine Lee Bates, Published in 1889 Santa, must I tease in vain, dear? Let me Yet ask young Jack Frost, our neighbor, who go and hold the reindeer, but Goody has the labor, While you clamber down the chimneys. Feeding roots with milk and honey that the Don’t give me that sour smirk! bonbons may be sweet! Why should you have all the glory of the Who but Goody knows the reason why the joyous Christmas story, playthings bloom in season And poor little Goody Santa Claus have And the ripened toys and trinkets rattle nothing but the work? gaily to her feet! It would be so very cozy, you and I, From the time the dollies budded, wiry- all round and rosy, boned and saw-dust blooded, Looking like two loving snowballs in our With their waxen eyelids winking when the fuzzy Artic furs, wind the tree-tops plied, Tucked in warm and snug together, Have I rested for a minute, until now your whisking through the winter weather pack has in it Where the tinkle of the sleigh-bells is the All the bright, abundant harvest of the only sound that stirs. merry Christmastide? You just sit here and grow chubby off the Santa, wouldn’t it be pleasant to surprise me goodies in my cubby with a present? From December to December, till your And this ride behind the reindeer is the white beard sweeps your knees; boon your Goody begs; For you must allow, my Goodman, that Think how hard my extra work is, tending you’re but a lazy woodman the Thanksgiving turkeys And rely on me to foster all our fruitful And our flocks of rainbow chickens – those Christmas trees. that lay the Easter eggs. While your Saintship waxes holy, year by *** year, and roly-poly, Jump in quick then? That’s my bonny. Hey Blessed by all the lads and lassies in the down derry! Nonny nonny! limits of the land. While I tie your fur cap closer, I will kiss While your toes at home you’re toasting, your ruddy chin. then poor Goody must go posting I’m so pleased I fall to singing, just as sleigh Out to plant and prune and garner, where bells take to ringing! our fir-tree forests stand. Are the cloud-spun lap robes ready? Tirra- lira! Tuck me in Oh! But when the toil is sorest how I love our fir-tree forest. Off across the starlight Norland, where no Heart of light and heart of beauty in the plant adorns the moorland Northland cold and dim, Save the ruby-berried holly and the frolic All with gifts and candles laden to delight a mistletoe! boy or maiden, Oh, but this is Christmas revel! Off across And its dark-green branches ever the frosted level murmuring the Christmas hymn. Where the reindeers’ hoofs strike sparkles from the crispy, crackling snow! *** *** Now we pass through dusky portals to the Santa, don’t pass by that urchin! Shake the drowsy land of mortals; pack, and deeply search in Snow-enfolded, silent cities stretch about All your pockets. There is always one toy us dim and far. more. I told you so. Oh! How sound the world is sleeping, Up again? Why, what’s the trouble? On midnight watch no shepherd keeping, your eyelash winks the bubble Though an angel-face shines gladly down Mortals call a tear, I fancy. Holes in from every golden star. stocking, heel and toe? Here’s a roof. I’ll hold the reindeer. I Goodman, though your speech is crusty suppose this weathervane, Dear, now and then, there’s nothing rusty Some one set here just on purpose for our In your heart. A child’s least sorrow makes team to fasten to. your wet eyes glisten, too; There’s its gilded cock, - the gaby! – wants But I’ll mend that sock so neatly it shall to crow and tell the baby hold your gifts completely. We are come. Be careful, Santa! Don’t Take the reins and let me show you what a get smothered in the flue. woman’s wit can do. Back so soon? No chimney-swallow dives Puff! I’m up again, my Deary, flushed a bit but where his mate can follow. and somewhat weary, Bend your cold ear, Sweetheart Santa, With my wedding snow-flake bonnet worse down to catch my whisper faint: for many a sooty knock; Would it be so very shocking if your Goody But be glad you let me wheedle, since, an filled a stocking icicle for needle, Just for once? Oh, dear! Forgive me. Threaded with the last pale moonbeam, I Frowns do not become a Saint. have darned the laddie’s sock. I will peep in at the skylights, where the Then I tucked a paint-box in it (‘twas no moon sheds tender twilights easy task to win it Equally down silken chambers and down From the artist of the Autumn leaves) and attics bare and bleak. frost-fruits white and sweet, Let me shower with hailstone candies these With toys your pocket misses – oh! And two dreaming boys – the dandies kisses upon kisses In their frilled and fluted nighties, rosy To cherish safe from evil paths the cheek to rosy cheek. motherless small feet. *** Chirrup! Chirrup! There’s a patter of soft So our sprightly reindeer clamber, with their footsteps and a clatter fairy sleigh of amber, Of child voices. Speed it, reindeer, up the On from roof to roof, the woven shades of sparkling Artic Hill! night about us drawn. Merry Christmas, little people! Joy-bells On from roof to roof we twinkle, all the ring in every steeple, silver bells a-tinkle, And Goody’s gladdest of the glad. I’ve Till blooms in yonder blessed East the rose had my own sweet will. of Christmas dawn. #### Now the pack is fairly rifled, and poor With Our Compliments Santa’s well nigh stifled; Yet you would not let your Goody fill a single baby sock; Yes, I know the task takes brains, Dear. I can only hold the reindeer And to see me climb down chimney – it would give your nerves a shock.