Twas harvest before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a field mouse.
The corn cribs were stuffed by the farmers with care,
In hopes that corn futures would prove more than fair.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of popcorn danced in their heads.
And ma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the tunda there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon glowing off the new-fallen snow
gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what did my wondering eyes bestow,
but a bright shiny combine, and eight reindeer cows.
With a little old driver, dressed lively in red,
I knew in a moment it must be our neighbor, Fred.
More rapid than the Duke boys, they came,
whistling and shouting he called them by name!
"Now Elsie! now, Bossie! now, Patches and Rusty!
On, Snowflake! On, Daisy! on, Darcy and Trusty!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the stall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the combine full of Toys, and Old Fred too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Fred came, with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his coveralls were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, I think he’d had a bit too much sherry!
His John Deere hat was pulled way down low,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his cap,
gave me a nod, and was gone, just like that!
He sprang to his combine, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew down the tundra, fast as a missle,
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"