I Blame the Dutch (mpoetess) wrote,
I Blame the Dutch

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The Christmas tree stood by the parlor door,
But the parlor door was locked
And the children could not get inside
Even though they knocked.
For a Christmas tree must wait, folks say
And not be seen till Christmas Day.

But the cat had seen the Christmas tree
As she prowled the house by night,
And the dog had seen the Christmas tree
By the moon's enchanting light;
And a little mouse beside her hole
Had looked at it with eyes of coal.
Even the spiders hoped to see
The secret, silent Christmas tree.

They planned, one day, to creep and crawl
Out of their cracks and up the wall
To get the highest view of all.
But just that day with mop and broom
The housemaid swept them from the room
And so the spiders could not see
The secret, silent Christmas tree.

The fairies heard the spiders weep,
All on a winter's night,
Although their cries made softer sounds
Than moth wings make in flight.
The fairies said: "Each living thing
That creeps, or crawls, or flaps a wing
Shall share the birthday of the King."

They took the spiders to the tree
And, since they were too small
To see as far as cat or mouse,
The fairies let them crawl
Along each twig and bending branch
To look at every ball
And silver star and popcorn string;
And when they had seen everything
They thanked the fairies and went back
Each one to sleep inside his crack.

But, oh, the tree when they were gone
Was very sad to look upon!
Its branches were more gray than green
And little webs hung in between
That dulled the lights and all the sheen.

The fairies shook their heads and sighed,
For in their wisdom, ever wide,
They knew no housewife cared to see
Dull cobwebs on a Christmas tree.
They knew the children, too, would weep
To waken from their yuletide sleep
And glimpse a tree all bearded gray
That would not shine on Christmas Day....

And so they turned the webs to gold
By waving fairy wands, I'm told;
And that is why there'll always be
Bright cobwebs on a Christmas tree.

~Rowena Bennett, as printed in Treasury of Christmas Stories, c. 1960, edited by Ann McGovern.

(Green cover with Christmas ornaments that rather look like they were colored in crayon on wrinkled paper, and a light blue border at top and bottom.)

I think the one I remember best is A Miserable, Merry Christmas, though. Possibly because I read it (or had it read to me at first, I'm sure) in the height of my unseasonably brief horse-crazy phase, which I think lasted from ages 4 to 6.
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