Every Scylding in Heorot liked mead a lot,
But Grendel the beast, roaring outside did not.
Grendel hated Scyldings, the whole Danish clan.
Can I say why? I don’t think I can.
He spied on the Scyldings, he fumed and he wailed.
He watched as in Heorot they drank mead and drank ale.
“How can I hurt them, the king and his thanes?”
Alone in his barrow, it drove him insane.
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
Grendel got a horrible, awful idea!
That fiendish old monster was up to no good.
He decided to kill them and gorge on their blood.
Outside the mead-hall, Cain-spawn raged and he roared,
And with his great strength he broke down the door.
The Scyldings lined up, their swords in a row.
“You warriors,” cried Grendel, “are the first ones to go.”
He slaughtered the Danes, ripped many apart.
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TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas 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 bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes–how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight:
“Happy Christmas to all, and to aaaaallllllll a good night!”
MERRY CHRISTMAS, DEAR READERS!!!
It’s not easy for me to write this letter.
I have been an admirer of yours for many years. I have been impressed with the way you have embraced reform within your own organisation, and not shied away from making brave decisions.
I have supported you during the tough times, and when things have been good. I was right behind you when the elves launched legal proceedings after you made them all redundant and hired them back as independent contractors at half their hourly rates. What did they expect? That they could continue to do nothing for most of the time, working barely two months in a year while collecting a generous salary? And when you finally broke into the lucrative Chinese market I celebrated your success.
But being a friend sometimes means having to be a critic. I want you to succeed, but I also want you…
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This is fantastic. Merry Christmas.
(Courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library.)
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yule-tide gay
From now on, our troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
God, I love Christmastime…