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The Ballad Of Irving The Christmas Snake

By: Donovan Ackley

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Something came slithering---it ate up the mouse!
Past the stockings that hung by the chimney with care,
Past the note to St. Nicholas---it crawled up the stair.
While the children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Something quite silently snuck by their heads.
Past Ma in her kerchief, and I in my cap;
It giggled to see how we snored in our nap.
Then throughout the house there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
I ran to the hall, spotting squirming out there,
But I tripped upon it, and fell down the stair.
My rump on the rug and my head on the stair
Brought tears to my eyes as I flew through the air.
When my eyes had stopped weeping, and my shouts had died down,
I gathered my wits and quite quickly looked ‘round.
I spotted a movement, so tiny and quick,
I knew that it certainly wasn’t St. Nick!
Nor was it an eagle who had played such games;
Then I heard a soft hissing, and a voice called me names:
“Hey, Bigfoot! Hey, Noisy! Hey Clumsy and Stumbling!
Hey Huge One! Hey Giant! Hey Foolish and Bumbling!”
From the top of the porch, from the stairs, from the hall,
I though I heard voices and dashed after all.
And then in a twinkling I heard on the rug
A whispery slithering made me think of a bug.
As I quickly spun round and fell down with a boom,
Irving the Christmas Snake zipped into the room!
He was dressed all in green, from his head to his tail,
And a coating of soot had helped tarnish each scale.
He wriggled through toys that were piled ‘neath the tree
And curved clear around and was staring at me.
His beady eyes twinkled, his laugh was quite merry;
I found myself thinking “He isn’t too scary.”
Two sharp pointed fangs I could see were his teeth
His red tongue flicked around his small head like a wreath.
He had a long body, and he crawled on his belly
And I thought “I sure hope he’s not eaten our jelly.”
He was shiny and fat, like he’d eaten an elf,
And I gasped when I saw him in spite of myself.
He could not wink his eye, but he darted his head;
I figured that meant I had nothing to dread.
He wasted no time, but went straight to his work----
Untied all the gifts....then he called me a jerk!
But then as his tongue licked both sides of his nose,
With a flick of his tail, up the chimney he rose.
I reached for a club; to my kids gave a whistle,
For our presents were gone! Each had turned to a thistle!
And I heard his last shout, through the tears and the pain:
“Irving the Christmas snake strikes once again!”
So if Christmas morning, your gifts don’t seem right,
Don’t yell at your parents! Keep smiling---don’t fight!
Don’t cry out to Santa that more gifts you’re deserving.....
Be grateful to Santa----he might have sent Irving!

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