söndag 12 december 2010


Of course I don't believe in any such person as Santa Claus, but Tommy does. Tommy is my little brother, aged six. Last Christmas I thought I'd make some fun for the young one by playing Santa Claus, but as always happens when I try to amuse anybody I jes' got myself into trouble.

I went to bed pretty early on Christmas Eve so as to give my parents a chance to get the presents out of the closet in mamma's room, where they had been locked up since they were bought. I kep' my clo'es on except my shoes, and put my nightgown over them so as I'd look white if any of them came near me. Then I waited, pinchin' myself to keep awake. After a while papa came into the room with a lot of things that he dumped on Tommy's bed. Then mamma came in and put some things on mine and in our two stockings that were hung up by the chimney. Then they both went out very quiet, and soon all the lights went out too.

I kep' on pinchin' myself and waitin' for a time, and then when I was sure that everybody was asleep I got up. The first thing I went into was my sister's room and got her white fur rug that mamma gave her on her birthday, and her sealskin cape that was hanging on the closet door. I tied the cape on my head with shoestrings and it made a good big cap. Then I put the fur rug around me and pinned it with big safety pins what I found on Tommy's garters. Then I got mamma's new scrap-basket, trimmed with roses, what Mrs. Simmons 'broidered for the church fair and piled all of the kid's toys into it. I fastened it to my back with papa's suspenders, and then I started for the roof.

I hurt my fingers some opening the scuttle, but kept right on. It was snowing hard and I stood and let myself get pretty well covered with flakes. Then I crawled over to the chimney that went down into our room and climbed up on top of it. I had brought my bicycle lantern with me and I lighted it so as Tommy could see me when I came down the chimney into the room.

There did not seem to be any places inside the chimney where I could hold on by my feet, but the ceiling in our room was not very high and I had often jumped most as far, so I jes' let her go, and I suppose I went down. Anyway, I did not know about anything for a long time. Then I woke up all in the dark with my head feeling queer, and when I tried to turn over in bed I found I wasn't in bed at all, and then my arms and legs began to hurt terrible, mostly one arm that was doubled up. I tried to get up but I couldn't because my bones hurt so and I was terrible cold and there was nothing to stand on. I was jes' stuck. Then I began to cry, and pretty soon I heard mamma's voice saying to papa:

"Those must be sparrers that are making that noise in the chimney. Jes' touch a match to the wood in the boys' fireplace."

I heard papa strike a light and then the wood began to crackle. Then, by jinks! it began to get hot and smoky and I screamed:

"Help! Murder! Put out that fire lest you want to burn me up!"

Then I heard papa stamping on the wood and mamma calling out:

"Where's Billy? Where is my chile?"

Next Tommy woke up and began to cry and everything was terrible, specially the pains all over me. Then papa called out very stern:

"William, if you are in that chimney come down at once!" and I answered, cryin', that I would if I could, but I was stuck and couldn't.

Then I heard papa gettin' dressed, and pretty soon he and John from the stable went up on the roof and let down ropes what I put around me and they hauled me up.

It was jes' daylight and I was all black and sooty and scratched and my arm was broken.

Everybody scolded me excep' mamma. I had spoiled my sister's white rug and broken all of Tommy's toys, and the snow what went in through the scuttle melted and marked the parlor ceiling, besides I guess it cost papa a good deal to get my arm mended. Nobody would believe that I had jes' meant to make some fun for Tommy, and my arm and all my bruised places hurt me awful for a long time. If I live to be a million I am never goin' to play Santa Claus ag'in.

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