‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the farm,
Not a creature was stirring, not even in the barn;
The stockings were hung by the coat rack with care,
In hopes that St. Leo Claus soon would be there;
The goats were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of peanut hay danced in their heads;
And Stella in her ‘kerchief, and Jake in his cap,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
(Well let’s be honest, Stella sprang, Jake mosied.)
Away to the window Stella flew like an owl,
Frantically barking and threw out a howl.
The moon on the breast of the white sand yard,
Gave a lustre of midday to winter swiss chard,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny hen-deer,
With a little old driver so orange and fat,
I knew in a moment he must be Leo the cat.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dizzy! now, Cadence! now Leah and Pevie!
On, Anna! on, Elsa! on, Golden Girls and Pevie!
To the top of the deck! to the top of the catitat!
Now dash away! flit away! fly away stat!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of mischeif, and St. Leo Claus too—
And then, in a twinkling, from the cat room we heard
Clucking and meowing, it sounded absurd
As Stella drew in her head, and was turning around,
Through the cat door St. Leo Claus came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his paws were all tarnished with litter and soot;
A bundle of joy he had flung on his face,
And he looked like a runner who just won a race.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his whiskers, how merry!
His ears like a wizard, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the fur on 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 purred, like a bowl full 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 rub on my leg,
Soon gave me to know I had so much to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And clawed all the stockings; then turned like a jerk,
And laying his paw on the side of the tree,
And giving a push, down it toppled with glee;
He sprang to the counter, gave the cookies a shove,
And to the floor they all flew like the down of a dove.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he darted out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”