Twas the night before Fishmas, when all through the drought
Not a creature was stirring, not even a trout.
The creels were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Salmon would soon be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their cots,
While visions of fish danced in their thoughts.
And mamma in her‘kerchief, and I in my vest,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s rest.
When out on the lake there arose such a splash,
I sprang from the bed to hear the next crash.
Away to the window I flew like a midge,
Tore open the shutters and looked out at the ridge
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature skiff,and eight rainbows like a mirror.
With a little old guide,so lively and spry,
I knew in a moment it must be the old sockeye.
More rapid than steelhead his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Artic! now, Grayling!now, Atlantic and Rainbow!
On, Brook! On, Brown!on, Chinook and Coho!
To the top of the porch!to the top of the wall!
Now swim away! Swim away! Swim away all!"
As white foam that before the wild river runs,
When they meet with the surface, they munch on the duns.
So up to the waterfall the coursers they flew,
With a skiff full of gear, and St Salmon too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the tin
The flipping and flopping of each little fin.
As I drew in my head,and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Salmon came with a bound.
He was dressed all in red and green, from his kype to his tail,
And his scales were all tarnished with sea kale.
A sling of gear he had flung on his back,
And he looked like an angler,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 of his chin was as white as the snow.
The hook of a fly he held tight in his teeth,
And the hackle it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round slick,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of aspic!
He was chubby and plump,a right jolly old fish,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of my wish!
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 fin aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his skiff,to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all swam like a ballistic missile.
But I heard him exclaim,‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Fishmas to all, and to all a good-night!"