The Christmas Baby

by Isabella Valancy Crawford

Isabella Valancy Crawford

How did the new baby get into the house?
There isn't a cranny for cricket or mouse
To squeeze thro', I'm certain; yet when my eyes
Got open this morning, O what a surprise!
There lay the new baby in long, snowy clothes;
And oh, such a lot of dear little pink toes.
I count them all over every time when
Nurse says I may—he has deal more than ten!
I'll give him my top and my pretty new sleigh,—
And Aunt, do you think I've a long time to wait
Before the new baby can learn how to skate?
Will a week be enough? Auntie, I say,
Do you think he'll be able against New Year's Day?
How did he get there? Do you think he will stay?
I wish he would keep his eyes wider, because
He could see the things brought me by good Santa Claus.

Santa Claus rose when the stars were clear,
And brought from their stalls his two reindeer;
And round the edge of his quaint old sledge
All manner of toys that were quaint and queer,
And delicate, dainty, marvellous things,
He nailed with tacks and he tied with strings.
He tied the dolls' hoods under their chins,
And fastened their cloaks with buttons and pins:
"Keep warm, my dears, if you can, because
We've a long way to go over ice and snow,"
Said, cheerily laughing, old Santa Claus.

The wax doll nodded her dainty head;
The wooden one laughed till her cheeks were red;
The little drums rattled, tin trumpets blew,
As the reindeer off thro' the starlight flew;
And the beasts in the ark set up such a roar
As never was heard in the world before;
The grey felt donkey sent out such a bray
That it lasted, I've heard, all Christmas day;
The flannel elephant waved his paws,
And the wooden soldiers, snugly hid
In the long white box, poked up the lid
And shouted, "Hooray for Christmas day,
And a sleigh-ride with jolly old Santa Claus!"

Do you think that Santa Claus meant to go
With his reindeer over the crisp, white snow?
Not he, indeed; for greater speed
He drew up his sledge on the whistling edge
Of a merry young wind that was taking a stroll
From his home on the top of the far North Pole,
Close to the lair of the great white bear,
Who wears white stockings over his toes,
And a greatcoat up to his pointed nose.

O 'twas a merry and wonderful sight,
The drive that Santa Claus took that night!
How the maples swayed, and the pine trees bent
And shouted and rocked as the gay wind went
Over their tall tops, away, away,
With Santa Claus, reindeer, and wonderful sleigh.
And the stars stretched out their hands of light,
And touched each other that wonderful night,
And whispered, "Brothers and sisters, shine
Ten times brighter this Christmas time,
Nor suffer a cloud on our brows to pause,
To darken the path of good Santa Claus."

Speed on, speed on! Hullo! Hullo!
There never was such a mad wind to blow.
While Santa Claus slipped down chimneys wide,
Wind, sledge and reindeer waited outside;
And the wind laughed out with so loud a shout,
That up from the pillows of warm, small beds
Half rose many thousands of bright curly heads.
Round eyes went a-winking, half awake, half asleep,
And some of the bolder from blankets would creep;
And against every rule, all orders and laws,
('Twas really shocking!) would peep in the stocking
Hung up by the chimney for good Santa Claus.

Speed on, speed on, over forest and street!
The bold wind was nimble, the reindeer were fleet;
The sledge was near empty and daylight was nigh,
When a-sailing, a-sailing across the pink sky,
Dropping down thro' the bars of the vanishing stars,
A white stork came wearily flying the way
Old Santa Claus journeyed with reindeer and sleigh.
Said the jolly old Santa Claus: "Dear Mistress Stork,
What brings you abroad must be wonderful work;
And hullo! let me see—of all marvellous things,
What's that snuggled close in the down of your wings?
And what is that cuddled, dear Stork, on your breast,
Close, close as a birdling deep hid in its nest—
A doll, or a blossom-bud? Dear neighbor Stork, pause,
And show me your treasures!" cried good Santa Claus.

Said the Stork, "Dear friend, I just have come
From that land close to Heaven,
Where babies are brought by angels down
And to the wise Storks given,
That on their wings so warm and white
They may carry them down thro' the stars so bright.
And lay them in the cradles set,
By many a glowing hearth,
In palace tall or cottage small,
Upon the merry earth.
And I am tired, and well I may be,
For the dear, good angels gave to me
Three little baby buds—Santa Claus, see!"

She ruffled her feathers, warm and deep,
To let the good saint see
How cosily and rosily,
Like stars in snowy clouds asleep,
There lay the babies three!
Pink smiles upon their dimpled lips,
Like lily buds their hands;
Their heads still shining from the touch
Of snowy angel bands.
"The dear, dimpled babies!" said good Santa Claus,
And took one of them up in his fur-mittened hands:
"Let me help you to finish your Christmastide work,
Your wings must be tired, my dear Mistress Stork.
There's yet one wide chimney I have to slip down
Before I can turn my sledge from the town.
I'll carry the dear little baby down, too,
And take some of the trouble, good neighbour, from you;
And I'll wrap it close in my long beard, because
It's a very cold morning," said good Santa Claus.

The wise Stork said, "Thanks, I've a long way to fly;
Take care of the baby, dear Santa; good-bye!"
Away went the Stork, her legs flying like strings,
And the two other babies asleep on her wings.

So it happened, my dear, in this wonderful way,
Santa Claus brought the baby on bright Christmas day.
And when you roused up, in your stocking to peep,
Lo! there in his crib lay the baby asleep.
And you'll love the old Santa, I'm certain, because
He brought the new baby—the good Santa Claus!

Last updated April 01, 2023