‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the blockhouse
All the creatures were stirring, even the damned mouse;
The traps were all set throughout with care,
In hopes that the St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The goblins nestled all hidden beneath their beds,
While visions of rotten plums turned rancid in their heads,
And Minion in his cowl, and I in my steel cap,
Were selecting our weapons in readiness for a scrap —
When out in the courtyard there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the dread bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the dark portal I flew like a flash,
Chanted the spell, and threw up the bone ash.
The moon on the crust of the new fallen snow,
Gave a horrible lustre of mid-day to objects in show;
When, what to my watering eyes should appear,
But an armoured sleigh, and eight war reindeer,
With an ominous driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than orcs his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen;
“To the top of the tower! To the top of the castle wall!
“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As leaves of flayed skin that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the keep-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of weapons — and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each damn spiked hoof.
As I dispelled the dark portal, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dress’d in bits of fur, yet nearly naked from his head to his foot,
And those bits of clothes were all tarnish’d with blood and soot;
A veritable armoury was hung on his back,
He was the stereotypical barbarian, the normal maniac:
His eyes — how they narrowed! His scars: how menacing,
His cheeks marked with dried blood, his nose twitched a reckoning;
His frostbitten lips were drawn up in a snarl,
Twisting the beard of his chin which looked entirely banal;
The blade of a dagger he held tight in his teeth,
The pommel of it in the shape of a funeral wreath.
His knuckles they cracked of their own accord,
A horrible harmony, such a frightful chord.
He was tall and solid, a right hardened nut,
We were ready though to kick his barbarian butt.
A wink of his eye and a crick of his neck,
This wouldn’t be a dance in some discotheque.
With a guttural growl he went straight to his work,
Lashing out with horrid hammer and deadly dirk,
The Minion struck a blow that took off his nose
Whilst I swung low and sliced off a few toes.
He sprung back to the chimney with a piercing scream
But fell afoul of Norman the troll with his two-by-four beam:
We heard him exclaim, ere he fell outright —
Cursed Christmas to you all, and to all a damned night.