Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including the species of domestic rodent known as Mus Musculus.
Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood burning caloric apparatus pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of Saint Nicholas.
The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through their cerebrums.
My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head coverings were about to take slumberous advantage of the hibernal darkness when upon the exterior portion of the grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof.
Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this fenestration. Noting hereupon that the lunar brilliance without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian itself. Thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance, drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer.
Piloted by a minuscule aged chauffer so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller.
With his ungulate motive power traveling at what may have been more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen: "Now Dasher, now Dancer", et al..
Guiding them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode, through which structure I could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities. As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a 180 degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved -- with utmost celerity and via a downward leap -- entry by the way of the smoke passage.
He was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebon residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls thereof. His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle. His orbs were scintillating with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability.
The capillaries of his molar regions and nasal protuberance were engorged with blood which suffused in subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the coloration of Albion's floral emblem, the later that of the Prunus Avium, or Sweet Cherry.
His amusing sub- and supra-labials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small tabular and columnar crystals being.
Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose gray fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly.
His visage was wider than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region undulated in the manner of pectinous fruit syrup in a hemispherical container.
He was, in short, neither more or less than obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me visibly frolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so being.
By rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head to one side he indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.
Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the afore-mentioned hosiery with various of the afore-mentioned articles of merchandise extracted from his afore-mentioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle.
Upon completion of his task, he executed an abrupt about face, placed a singular manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating, in reverse, the smoke passage.
He propelled himself in short vector onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed.
But I overheard his parting exclamation, audibly immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility:
"Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that self-same assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn!"
Confused? You may know it better as this:-
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"