‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for Maddy and Artemis, who were chasing a mouse.
The stocking were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there with carrots, and dog bones, and catnip, and maybe some chocolate for me and scotch for the hubby.
The chickens were nestled all snug in their beds, with visions of table scraps dancing in their heads.
And I in my wool socks and hubby in his jousting cap, had just settled down in the bed (with the awesome electric heated comforter) for a long winter’s nap.
When out in the carport there arose such a clatter, I would have sprung from my bed to see what was the matter, except I knew it was probably just Red in the dog food again.
Away to the door I stumbled and crashed (over the dog who was not in his bed), tore open the door as I heard the food bin lid smash.
The moon on the poof of the Great Pyrenees, and the clatter of the lid set off the braying of the neighbor’s donkeys.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a rather large butt, and three others standing near.
With a little chestnut horse so lively and quick, I knew in a moment we were the victims of another of Red’s tricks.
More rapid than eagles I flew out the door, and whistled and shouted and scolded some more:
“Now Reddums you bratsky, now Saga you lug, now Cash my spotted one, and Taran you slug,
Back to the barn! Back to your stall! Now move it, I said, Move it you all!”
So out to the barn the horses they flew, with a mouthful of dog food, and Anie following too!
And once in the barn, through the clattering of hoofs, I heard Maddy meowing loudly, ‘cause she was stuck on the roof.
As I fastened the gate and was turning around, down the hay bales Maddy came, with a leap and a bound.
Behind her came a man with hay bits from his head to his foot, and as he dusted himself he was looking quite off-put.
A bundle of carrots he had flung on his back, and he looked rather bedraggled as he fell down with a smack.
His eyes, how they twinkled, his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like apples, though he looked kind of wary.
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, and the beard of his chin was as white as snow.
The stump of his pipe he held tight in his teeth, but I reminded him that we were in a barn, so he snuffed it out in his handkerchief.
He had a broad face and a little round belly, sort of like Reddums actually, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, although Cash eyed him suspiciously, which was just like himself.
With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head, he shook out all the hay bits from his suit of red.
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work, gave each horse a carrot and then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger aside of his nose, no doubt offended by the manure – it doesn’t smell like a rose!
He sprang to his feet, to the horses gave a whistle, and zipped back to the rooftop, faster than a missile.
But I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!