Long Afore He Knowed Who Santy-Claus Wuz.

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

Jes' a little bit o' feller - I remember still, -
Ust to almost cry far Christmas, like a youngster will.
Fourth o' July's nothin' to it! - New-Year's ain't a smell:
Easter-Sunday - Circus-day - jes' all dead in the shell!
Lordy, though! at night, you know, to set around and hear
The old folks work the story off about the sledge and deer,
And "Santy" skootin' round the roof, all wrapped in fur and fuzz -
Long afore
I knowed who
"Santy-Claus" wuz!

Ust to wait, and set up late, a week er two ahead:
Couldn't hardly keep awake, ner wouldn't go to bed:
Kittle stewin' on the fire, and Mother settin' here
Darnin' socks, and rockin' in the skreeky rockin'-cheer;
Pap gap', and wunder where it wuz the money went,
And quar'l with his frosted heels, and spill his liniment:
And me a-dreamin' sleigh-bells when the clock 'ud whir and buzz,
Long afore
I knowed who
"Santy-Claus" wuz!

Size the fire-place up, and figger how "Old Santy" could
Manage to come down the chimbly, like they said he would:
Wisht that I could hide and see him - wundered what he 'd say
Ef he ketched a feller layin' far him thataway!
But I bet on him, and liked him, same as ef he had
Turned to pat me on the back and say, "Look here, my lad,
Here's my pack, - jes' he'p yourse'f, like all good boys does!"
Long afore
I knowed who
"Santy-Claus" wuz!

Wisht that yarn was true about him, as it 'peared to be -
Truth made out o' lies like that-un's good enough far me! -
Wisht I still wuz so confidin' I could jes' go wild
Over hangin' up my stockin's, like the little child
Climbin' in my lap to-night, and beggin' me to tell
'Bout them reindeers, and "Old Santy" that she loves so well
I'm half sorry far this little-girl-sweetheart of his -
Long afore
She knows who
"Santy-Claus" is!

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