What "Old Santa" Overheard

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

'Tis said old Santa Claus one time
Told this joke on himself in rhyme:
One Christmas, in the early din
That ever leads the morning in,
I heard the happy children shout
In rapture at the toys turned out
Of bulging little socks and shoes -
A joy at which I could but choose
To listen enviously, because
I'm always just "Old Santa Claus," -
But ere my rising sigh had got
To its first quaver at the thought,
It broke in laughter, as I heard
A little voice chirp like a bird, -

"Old Santa's mighty good, I know.
And awful rich - and he can go
Down ever' chimbly anywhere
In all the world! - But I don't care,
I wouldn't trade with him, and be
Old Santa Clause, and him be me,
Fer all his toys and things! - and I
Know why, and bet you he knows why! -
They wuz no Santa Clause when he
Wuz ist a little boy like me!"

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