The Ballad of Belsnickel

belsnickel1
‘Twas two weeks afore christmas
And all through the land
The children were fearful
Of Belsnickel’s hand
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If you are good
You have nothing to fear
But if you are naughty
He’ll find you, my dear
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Hark little Timmy
Come round our back porch
His eyes teared with terror
Hands clutching a torch
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In a voice doused in fear
His speech trembled forth
Of indescretions and crimes
Perpetrated up north
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Twas refuge he sought
In our humble abode
Safe haven from Belsnickel
Child collector of old
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We took him inside
Gave him birch beer and kiffles
And a soft handkercheif
To dad away sniffles
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Belsnickel we told him
Was nay but a tale
To make the naughty behave
And steer the wicked from jail
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when finally we calmed him
Even coaxed out a grin
There arose from the front yard
A terrible din
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The wailing of children
Lost in despair
Encircled the house
And swirled through the air
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I closed all the windows
And locked every door
I threw back the carpet
To reveal a trap door
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Inside we tucked Timmy
And bade him to hush
We shut him inside
In a flurry of dust
___________________
I rushed to the front door
 and peeked through the glass
what I saw set me back
and I let out a gasp
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A heavy dark figure
loomed in front of my door
his clothes draped and tattered
dangled down to the floor
___________________
His carriage behind him
black and shackled to a host
of shaggy black beasts
tied to a post
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On our door he did pound
With a sooty black fist
His face drenched in shadow
His head wreathed in mist
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The screws of the hinges
torqued themselves in reverse
as the door toppled inward
I jumped back with a curse
___________________
Belsnickel stood there
a sight to behold
like a king of the beggars
from dark days of old
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His black robes were all dusted
With coal from the mines
And his breath smelled of creosote
And bacon and lyme
___________________
His face was soot covered
and calloused and rough
and his beard was all black
with tangles and tufts
___________________
He carried a switch
made of cable and twine
in his meaty right hand
a black jug of red wine
___________________
His eyes gleamed like sapphires
catching bits of the moon
and under his breath
he hummed a strange tune
___________________
His gaze locked on mine
and a smile crossed his face
“Timmy”  he said
as he wrinkled his face
___________________
“I know that he’s here
So you’d best not deny”
I just shook my head
and let out a sigh.
___________________
In a flash he was gone
and the house it did shudder
and shake to it’s timbers
as if torn asunder
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I lurched ‘cross the room
with my head in a spin
and opened the trap door
to check deep within
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But there was no Timmy
crouched down in the hole
Little Timmy was gone
in his place a lump of coal
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No one ever saw Timmy
again after that night
he just disappeared
or kept out of sight
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His parents spread word
he’d been sent off to school
to learn to behave
and follow the rules
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But I saw in their eyes
and heard their voice shake
They lied about Timmy
for I knew his fate
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‘Twas Belsnickel that took him
that cold wintry night
now you know the story
sleep tight, nighty night!

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Copyright 2013 SkullDug Jerry