Monday 1 December 2014

The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus

In Baltimore there lived a boy
He wasn't anybody's joy
Although his name was Jabez Dawes
His character was full of flaws.

In school he never led his classes
He hid old ladies' reading glasses
His mouth was open when he chewed
And elbows to the table glued
He stole the milk of hungry kittens
And walked through the door marked NO ADMITTANCE
He said he acted thus because
There wasn't any Santa Claus.

Another trick that tickled Jabez
Was crying "Boo" at little babies
He brushed his teeth, they said in town
Sideways instead of up and down
Yet people pardoned every sin
And viewed his antics with a grin
Til they were told by Jabez Dawes
That there isn't any Santa Claus!

Deploring how he did behave
His parents swiftly sought their grave
They hurried through the portals pearly
And Jabez left the funeral early.

Like whooping cough from child to child
He sped to spread the rumours wild
"Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes
There isn't any Santa Claus!"
Slunk like a weasel of a marten
Through nursery and Kindergarten
Whispering low to every tot
"There isn't any, no there's not."

He sprawled on his untidy bed
Fresh malice dancing in his head
When presently with scalp a-tingling
Jabez heard a distant jingling:
He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof
Crisply alighting on the roof
What good to rise and bar the door?
A shower of soot was on the floor.

What was beheld by Jabez Dawes?
The fireplace full of Santa Claus!
When Jabez fell upon his knees
With cries of "Don't" and "Pretty Please"
He howled:  "I don't know where you read it
But anyhow I never said it!"
"Jabez," replied the angry saint,
"It isn't I, it's you that ain't.
Although there is a Santa Claus
There isn't any Jabez Dawes!"

Said Jabez then with impudent vim
"Oh yes there is, and I am him!
Your magic don't scare me, it doesn't"
And suddenly he found he wasn't!
From grimy feet to grimy locks
Jabez became a jack in the box
An ugly toy with springs unsprung
Forever sticking out his tongue.

The neighbours heard his mournful squeal
They searched for him but not with zeal
No trace was found of Jabez Dawes
Which led to thunderous applause
And people drank a loving cup
And went and hung their stockings up.

All you who sneer at Santa Claus
Beware the fate of Jabez Dawes
The saucy boy who mocked the saint
Donner and Blitzen licked off his paint.

Ogden Nash

Odgen Nash courtesy

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