The Ballad of Belsnickel

‘Twas two weeks afore christmas
And all through the land
The children were fearful
Of Belsnickel’s hand
If you are good
You have nothing to fear
But if you are naughty
He’ll find you, my dear
Hark little Timmy
Come round our back porch
His eyes teared with terror
Hands clutching a torch
In a voice doused in fear
His speech trembled forth
Of indescretions and crimes
Perpetrated up north
Twas refuge he sought
In our humble abode
Safe haven from Belsnickel
Child collector of old
We took him inside
Gave him birch beer and kiffles
And a soft handkercheif
To dad away sniffles
Belsnickel we told him
Was nay but a tale
To make the naughty behave
And steer the wicked from jail
when finally we calmed him
Even coaxed out a grin
There arose from the front yard
A terrible din
The wailing of children
Lost in despair
Encircled the house
And swirled through the air
I closed all the windows
And locked every door
I threw back the carpet
To reveal a trap door
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
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
On our door he did pound
With a sooty black fist
His face drenched in shadow
His head wreathed in mist
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
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
I lurched ‘cross the room
with my head in a spin
and opened the trap door
to check deep within
But there was no Timmy
crouched down in the hole
Little Timmy was gone
in his place a lump of coal
No one ever saw Timmy
again after that night
he just disappeared
or kept out of sight
His parents spread word
he’d been sent off to school
to learn to behave
and follow the rules
But I saw in their eyes
and heard their voice shake
They lied about Timmy
for I knew his fate
‘Twas Belsnickel that took him
that cold wintry night
now you know the story
sleep tight, nighty night!


Copyright 2013 SkullDug Jerry