A VIKING CHRISTMAS STORY
( I repost every year on christmas eve. ; ) )
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the village
The men sharpened knives and the boys dreamt of pillage.
The skulls were all hung by the chimney with care
In hopes on the morrow, more would be there.
The girls were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of silks, danced in their heads.
And mamma in her gown, and I in my shirt,
Had just caught our breath from a quick winter’s flirt.
When out on the river there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed, to see what was the matter.
Away to the Hall, I flew in a rush,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a longboat with shields, and great men with their gear.
With a bearded old man, lively and wisened,
I knew in a moment it must be Lord Odin.
More rapid than eagles his warriors they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
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 bags full of booty, and Lord Odin too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard at the door
The laughter of brethren hardened by war.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Lord Odin, through the portal, came with a bound.
He was dressed all in grey, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all fouled with snow and with soot.
A bundle of booty he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a merchant, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his laughter how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
The beard of his chin was as white as the snow,
And his purses, hung neatly, from his belt, in a row.
The stump of a pipe, he held tight, in his teeth,
And the smoke it, encircled his head, like a wreath.
He had a long face, pointed hat, and grey cloak,
That shook when he laughed, like the bough of an oak.
He was tall and thin, but a jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
But 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 cheek,
And giving a nod, tossed my share to my feet.
He sprang to his boots, and to men gave a whistle,
And away we all flew like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim, ‘ere we ran into the night,
“Happy Viking to all, and to all a good-fight!”