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Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh-Ride

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					                           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.

				
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