Twas The Night Before A New Babbage Christmas
by Mr Salazar Jack*
Adapted from “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the city
Not a creature was stirring, not even a kitty.
The stockings were hung by each stovepipe with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The urchins were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And the Clockwinder, resting from Underby’s trap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the cobbles there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my cot to see what was the matter.
To the Steamworks’ first floor I flew with fleet feet,
Out through the front door and into the street.
The wind blowing briskly did little to muffle
What the street lamp revealed as the source of the scuffle.
When, what to my wondering eyes did it show,
But a wayward green trolley, wheels deep in the snow.
With her little old boiler, belching smoke pea soup thick,
I knew in a moment I had to be quick!
The coals from her fire in danger of dousing,
Could be saved if the trolley succumbed to some rousing.
“Now Trolley!,” I said as I ran up the street,
Knee deep in the snow to this car I would meet,
“You must get back in line with your rails on the track
Put this stumble behind you, and never look back.”
“New Babbage is counting on you to keep steaming,
Keep your coal fire burning, keep your beaming light beaming!”
But now with her wheels axle-deep in the snow,
Though she wanted to move, she just couldn’t go.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the street
The stepping and clomping of many-sized feet.
The citizens of Babbage had heard the loud din,
And donned jackets and scarves as the sound drew them in.
Each gentleman, lady, urchin and beast,
From north and from south, from west and from east,
Slowly walked toward the trolley still stuck in the snow,
How to right the stuck trolley? They didn’t quite know.
Mr Underby chanted, incanted and spelled
But results for his mystic charms never quite gelled.
Lady Breezy, her skirt twirling mad in the gale,
Tapped her bumpershoot’s tip on the car’s snowy wale.
Loki and Myrtil and Skyler and Jimmy,
Tried to wedge a small board ’neath the axle so primmy.
They huffed, and they puffed, then they started to pout,
When they realized the trolley might never get out.
That’s when Clockwinder Tenk, a right thoughtful old gnome,
Thought he’d figured a way for the car to head home.
With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
He reached down with his hammer, then his pipewrench instead.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Feeling deep for the valve, which he turned with a jerk.
And with nary a stain nor a spot on his clothes,
The steam from the sewer pipe rose! Yes! It rose!
With the snow melting quickly from her wheels, I could tell
That our trolley was free! And she rang her strong bell.
Then we said, to each other, as we set things all right,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
*Originally posted on the Ning, December 3rd, 1881.