'Twas the Night Before Chitlásha
by Bob Alberti
'Twas the Night before Chitlásha and all through the clan Not a person was stirring, neither Pe Choi nor Man. The slaves were all locked in their stables with care For I didn't wish any more trouble down there. The children were nestled all snug on their mats, With nightmares of Ssuganar tormenting the brats. And I hung the meshqu "Don't disturb, I relax", While my wives settled down for a night on their backs. When out in the courtyard their arose such a clatter I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter. I leapt over my third wife, cross the room did I dash And I just reached the balcony when there came a great flash. The moons on the breasts of the demon Quyo Gave a red-and-green luster to her statue below, When what to my wondering eyes should appear But a shining blue oval that filled me with fear. Out leaped a creature with a nose that glowed red So I feared in a moment I soon would be dead. More rapid than Hlaka these monsters they came And one 'round the back called out their true names; "Now DASHER! now DANCER, now PRANCER and VIXEN! On COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As leaves which before a wild hurricane fly When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky So up to the rooftop the first creature flew With eight more behind it, and a palanquin too. And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each demon-hoof. As I entered the room and was looking around Down the chimney a humanoid came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A brick fireplace had appeared at his back Where there had been a mural from the Wheel of Black. His eyes, how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a berry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow And my wives and I feared there was nowhere to go. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke seemed to come from burning a leaf. He had a broad face and a little round belly, Which shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump, like a demonic peasant, And the smile I gave him was carefully pleasant. A wink of an eye and a twist of his head Seemed like a spell-motion, and filled me with dread. He spoke not a word for the spell he would work And had just turned around when he stopped with a jerk. A finger was laid to one side of his nose When he started to glow with the color of rose. My wife used the same Eye to capture the sleigh You can see them in Bey Su where they're on display. A priest closed the nexus with a ritual spell But I left the brick fireplace. Why not? It works well. I rewarded my wife with thesun and gold And named her First Wife though just sixteen years old. Thus did she exclaim during our evening rites "HAPPY CHITLASHA TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!"
Copyright © 1995 Bob Alberti, Jr. with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, M. A. R. Barker, Santa Claus, and most of Western Civilization. Permission to copy and redistribute is granted as long as this paragraph is retained.
Arjai hi Vaisoner, Priest of Ksarul, Cloak of Azure Gems Clan.
Tarinu hiKirisaya, Warrior of Chiteng, Golden Bough Clan.
Adlar hiFershena, Warrior of Karakan, Red Sword Clan.
Bob Alberti, Priest of Ethernet, Programming Geeks Clan.