Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the pasture
Not a creature was stirring, not even a horse.
The stockings were hung by the run-in shed with care,
In hopes that Stephanie soon would be there.
Oscar and Little Creek were nestled all snug in the barn,
While visions of grain danced in their heads.
And Pako in his thick fur, and I in my Muck boots,
Had just settled our bottoms for a bit of some food.
When out in the far pasture there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bench to see what was the matter.
Away to the gate I flew like a flash
Stepped up on the rung and threw up the hand.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the Vermont hills below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight Spanish mustangs all dressed up in gear.
With a sturdy female driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Stephanie in the guise of St. Nick.
More rapid than draft horses her coursers they came,
And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Destiny! now, Turtle! now, Morado and Adelentado!
On, Mas! On, Minko! on Maya and Montego!
To the top of the arena! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As white snow that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the arena roof the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of grain and hay, and Stephanie too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the arena roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the side of the wall Stephanie did fall.
She was dressed all in red winter clothes, from her head to her boots,
And her clothes were all dirty with horse shit and looked kind of cute.
A bundle of tack she had flung on her back,
And she looked like a peddler, just opening her pack.
Her eyes-how they twinkled! her dimples how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry!
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the look on her face was as pretty as snow.
The stump of a piece of straw she held tight in her teeth,
And the smell of fresh hay it floated around her like a wreath.
She had a broad face and a lean little belly,
That was tight when she laughed, like a hock of ham at the deli!
She was fit and full of life, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw her, in spite of myself!
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying her finger aside of her nose,
And giving a nod, out the arena she goes!
She sprang to her sleigh, to her team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard her exclaim, ‘ere she drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”