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The Omaha Sunday Bee
THE OMAHA DEE
Best A". West
PACES 1 TO 8.
VOI,. XXXVI 11 NO. 20
OMAHA, SUNDAY MOKXINd. DECEMBKU U liKK
SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS.
(Copyright. 1908, by the New York Herald Co.)
All Rights Reserved.
. By Wallace Irwin . j jj jA
'Twas the week before ChriEtmas, when fairies and elves
Ai'o lining by moonlight enjoying themselves,
And Wee Willie Jones lay In bed just as snug
as the average bug In the average rug,
Or the average bear In bis long winter bug,
With visions delighted
His brain was excited;
His fancy a-tingle with thoughts of Kris Kringle,
Who, laden with gifts, would appear at the ingle
To nil up each stocking, then off jlngle-jlngle.
Thus pondered Wee Willie, when suddenly ouch!
The window flew up and the sorry imp Grouch
Topped into the room
With a manner of gloom
Like a cobwebby witch on the back of a brocm.
Ins hair was dishevelled, his eyes were bedevilled,
His shoulders were shrunk, his complexion was sallow
As, dropping his jowl, he began with a growl
This argument grumpy and bumpy and fallow:
"Now, how do you know, little man,"
He began, '
"There's any such person as Santa Claus say!
Did you ever see him 7
Do folks ever tree him '
Or make him come out to be photographed, pray?
And how, it there is such a silly old dunce,
Can he visit nine million chimneys at once
In Maine and in Spain and in Guam and Siam,
Paraguay, Uruguay, Brooklyn, Dakota,
Iceland, Bogota, far Minnesota,
These, to say nothing of Jutland and Ounce
And places in Russia I dread to -pronounce
Doing all this between dusk Christmas eve
And sunrise next morn?"
Here the imp laughed in scorn; .
"It's a pretty large tale Willie, can you believe?"
Bo saying. Imp Grcuch, with a fleer and a leer
And a sneeze and a sniff and a snort and a sneer
With a whisk of his tail through the window out-sped
And left Willie Jones sitting upright in bed
A-feeling as though
Somewhere out In -the snow
Poor Santa Claus, friend of all childhood, lay dead.
So he drooped like a willow and lay on his pillow,
While tears in his eyes welling up like a spring
Cried, "Santa Claus? Never was any such thing!"
Now it happened that night
By the fairyland light
Of a moon that was jolly and frosty and bright
The little gnome Cheerup, the merriest fairy
That ever shed Christmas Kood-will In his flight,
Was out for a spin on his aeroplane airy,
And, hearing Wee Willie's sore wall of despite,
"Highty-tite!" cried the Sprite,
"And It's likewise do-duddy! ,
It seems rather queer'
At this time of the year
For folks to be weeping what ails little Buddy?'
o his airship he tied to the bedpost beside
The pilly where Willie so ardently cried
And he laughed, "Holly-ho!
Now, tell me, sweet child, why you take on so wild?
Is it mincemeat that troubles you so?
Is your hair stuck with gum, have you pains in your turn?
Have you lost your dog Fido? Oh, what is the matter?"
But Willie responded with tear-drops a-spatter,
"What what shall I do? Is it right, is It true
That Santa Claus never existed boo-hoo?
And If be does live, is he able to climb
On nine million separate roofs at a time
In Labrador, Singapore, London and Ounce
And places In Russia I cannot pronounce."
"Aha! let ns seel" the small gnomekin replied;
"Now get on my aeroplane close to my side v
And straight to the Christmas Headquarters we'll buzz it,
So there we may see how old Santa Claus does it."
Then burr-r-r went the flywheel and flap went the wings
And Fairy and Child flew as happy as kings
O'er snpw-flelds and icebergs and strange panoramas
And Willie still clad in his cotton pajamas!
They flew over Boston, they flew over France,
They flew over Switzerland's Alpine expanse;
O'er Europe and Asia they sped through the night,
But when they reached Iceland they turned to the right.
"Hang on!" whispered Cheerup, "for sure as my soul
In seventeen minutes we'll be at the Pole."
So, faithful to schedule, they flew In a trice
( Right over the Jag
Of that Boreal crag
And there at the Pole stood a Palace of Ice
On the top of whose door a bright sign-board did glow:
' I k. MV' lhV vK??3rr X By the Mile or the Year.
Wlllie cowered .back he was dazed, he was thrilled,
For over the ice, far as sight of the eye.
Thousands and thousands of Grown Folks trooped by;
And as Willie they neared
He observed something weird
Each wore a snowy-white Santa Claus beard,
Each wore a cloak such as Santa Claus wears,
Each bore a sack Buch as Santa Claus bears!
Short ones and tall ones,
Fat ones and small ones, '
Rough Santas, bluff Santas, '
Tender and tough Santas,
Onward they marched without rests; halts or pauses.
Over a million complete Santa Clauses,
On, ever on, rank" on rank, moving fast
Till into the Christmas Headquarters they passed.
"Why? Tell me why,"
Quoth the Boy with a cry,
"Why do a million Kris Krlngles go by
And why are they here?" said the Gnome with a grin;
"Whiff! you're invisible follow them in!"
Spirit of Yule! what a scene of surprise
Lay before Willie's wide-wondering eyes!
Think of a room packed with Christmas-tree stores
Forty times bigger than all of Outdoors
Stretching through galleries ninety-six floors!
Think of a million Kris Krlngles in line
Round a great platform of Jolly oak-wood
Where in his pride the real Santa Claus stood
Viewing the ranks with expression condign!
Suddenly clapping his hands as a sign,
Every Kris before Wee Willie's eyes
Put up his hand and removed his disguise.
Whisk went the whiskers and Santa Claus cloaks,
Off came the Santa Claus boots of all the Jokes!
There in their natural shapes were revealed
Plain Men of Business nowise concealed,
Fathers and Uncles, Big Brothers and Cousins,
Grandfathers also by thousands of dozens.
(Any bright boy in that vast congregation
Surely would recognize some male Relation
Who oft at Christmas in Santa clothes foxy
Gave out the Santa Claus presents by proxy.)
And there in the line, less than ten feet away,
Willie's own Father stood out plain as day.
(Willie kept quiet and looked rather silly,
Being invisible lucky for Willie! )
(Which was not very tall),
With his eyes flashing bright
Santa gazed at them all.
Then spoke like a Marshal reviewing his ranks,
"Ho, Slaves of St. Nick, ye aro here many thanks!
Now first let me ask,
Were you true to your task?
Iast Christmas morn were you nil at the Tree
Wearing your boots and your whiskers like Me,
Lighting the candles and giving out toys,
Dolls for the Girlies and guns for the Boys?"
(Cries of "We were!") "I'm delighted to see
All have obeyed my now famous Decree,
Saying 'The World has so populous grown
No Kinrle Saint can supply It alone;
Therefore the Grown Folks who love their chicks dearly
Must come to the Pole and report to me yearly.
And on this condition
Each one I commission
To act as my substitute fully disguised.
And at twelve of the clock
To fill up each sock
Of Well-Behaved Children with presents mofet prized,
To slide, if ye will, down the chimneys soot-blacking,
Or up the dumb-waiter if chimneys be lacking,
Yet always be sly in the tricks that ye're brewing
That no Child on earth may suspect what you're doing,
So," said the Saint, "Bluce the midnight is fleeting,
Substitute Santas, I give you all greeting!"
"Hurrahl" cried the Grandpas in hundreds ot dozens,
" 'Rah!" cried the Fathers and Uncles and Cousins;
And soon round the Hall sauntered nobles and peasant:
Talking together and picking out presents.
Santa strolled with them, responding to questions,
Hinting and helping and giving suggestions.
"This book is charming for bright little men
These nice, skates for a schoolboy of ten
That Paris doll would Just suit tiny Jen."
While this occurred Willle'B Father stepped out,
Spoke to the Saint in a manner of doubt;
"Sir, if I may
Ask it, what would you say
A suitable present for Willie would be?".
Pursed his Hps, closed his eyes,
Puzzled a moment, then said, "Let me Bee!"
Then very softly, that no one might hear,
Whispered a word in the gentleman's ear.
(Willie, with heart-beats 'most ready to choke;
Leaning far forward to hear what they spoke,
. Almost dropped off his invisible cloak.)
"Good!" winked' bis Father, and Santa, says he,
"That we can find in Lot 6,000 B."
And as they set forth. down the corridors hollow,
Willie and Cheerup decided to follow.
Onward they sped with invisible tread.
Past stacks and stacks
Of pretty knick-knacks,
Candy in sacks and stacks of sweet smacks.
Bright jum ping-jacks,
Dolls of pink wax with hair golden flax,
Books with bright backs,
And charming kodaks
Angling and dangling from tacky black racks.
So onward, and onward, and onward they walked.
While Mr. Jones gawked and Santa Claus talked.
Till finally Willie to Cheerup cried, "Dearie!
I'm awfully weary;
My feet are quite heavy, my eyes are all bleary."
So down they both sat on a ChrlBtmaa box nigh
Willie lay back with a satisfied sigh.
Dropped his wee head upon Cbeerup's wee knee.
Sighed, ' Wake me up when there's something to see,"
Sank to deep breathing, quite glad to forego
Santa Claus, Christmas, the Pole and
Snug as a guest in the Waldorf-Astoria
Willie awoke in his bed in Peoria.
First he said, "Whero have I been? let me see!"
Then he bounced upward, exclaiming, "Whoopee!
Don't you say, 'Isn't no Santa' to me!
Folks who think lightly of Santa Claus had
Better not interview Me or My Dad!"
When it was Christmas and good Mr. Jones
Draped in white whiskers stood close to the Tree,
Willie excitedly felt in his bones,
"Santa Claus picked out this present for me!"
Then came the gift and he found with a laugh.
Just what he wanted a new phonograpbl
Mending his airship high up in the eaves,
Cheerup the gnome giggled deep In bis sleeves;
"Christmas, though Santa Claus never comes near It,
Must be the same if he's there In the spirit
Love will pop in through the chimney once more,
Sorrow the Wolf will slink out by the door;
Stockings hang heavy.jo hearts should hang light,"
Chuckled the Gnome.
And, I think .he .was right .