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Who Santy-Claus Wuz

James Whitcomb Riley 1849 (Greenfield) – 1916 (Indianapolis)



Jes' a little bit o' feller--I remember still--
Ust to almost cry fer 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!
Lawzy, though! at night, you know, to set around an' hear
The old folks work the story off about the sledge an' deer,
An' 'Santy' skootin' round the roof, all wrapt in fur an' fuzz--
Long afore
I knowed who
'Santy-Claus' wuz!

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

Size the fire-place up an' figger how 'Ole Santy' could
Manage to come down the chimbly, like they said he would;
Wisht 'at I could hide an' see him--wunderd what he'd say
Ef he ketched a feller layin' fer him thataway!
But I _bet_ on him, an' _liked_ him, same as ef he had
Turned to pat me on the back an' 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 fer 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, an' beggin' me to tell
'Bout them reindeers, and 'Old Santy' that she loves so well
I'm half sorry fer this little-girl-sweetheart of his--
Long afore
She knows who
'Santy-Claus' is!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:40 min read
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James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley was an American writer, poet, and best-selling author. During his lifetime he was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" for his dialect works and his children's poetry respectively. more…

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