Holiday Reruns: ‘Twas the Night Before (Goblin) Christmas

(With Apologies to Clement C. Moore)

’Twas the night of midwinter, and all through the cave,
Every goblin was starving; their outlook was grave.
Jig sorted through discarded garbage with care,
In the hopes that some scrap of food might be found there.

The children were hungry and wailed from their cribs,
Their baby fangs scraping on bare old dwarf ribs.
And Jig in his loincloth with Smudge on his lap,
Knew he would soon take a permanent nap.

When deep in the tunnels came a terrible fuss.
So Jig stood to go, “’Cause they always send us.”
Away through the darkness he tiptoed in fear,
Listening hard with his pointy blue ears.

With Smudge on his shoulder and knife in his hand,
He crept toward the snow-covered, cold, moonlit land.
When what to Jig’s wide rheumy eyes should appear,
But the wreck of a sleigh and eight vicious reindeer.

The driver in red cracked a wicked long whip,
Making Jig’s small knife start to shake in his grip.
Larger than stallions the great beasts appeared,
Their teeth bared and ready, their antlers like spears.

“Smudge, what are we doing? They’re going to eat us!
We’re goblins! Everyone always defeats us.
In every fight it’s the goblins who fall,
So run away, run away, run away all!”

While the stranger struggled to extract his sleigh,
Jig and his spider were soon on their way.
When what of all things should choose to betray him,
But the growl of his stomach, calling out to slay him.

And Smudge in his fear grew as hot as a coal.
The intruder advanced, like a vicious red troll.
Jig threw his spider at the stranger’s white beard.
Smudge burst into flames, and the man’s face was seared.

The stranger wore fur from his head to his foot,
And now, thanks to Smudge, he was covered in soot.
A strange lumpy bundle he had in his sack,
Like bodies to feed to his animal pack.

His eyes how they glowed, and his scowl was so scary,
His whip was a viper to slay the unwary.
His cloak was thick fur, just the color of blood.
His breath smelled all sour from within his hood.

He stomped on the floor, his face red with fury.
While Smudge ran away, Jig cowered and worried.
The man doffed his cloak and howled from his belly,
And he shook from his rage like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a damn pointy-eared elf!
And Jig groaned when he saw him, in spite of himself.
A glint of the eye and a twist of his head,
Gave Jig to know he might soon end up dead.

He came after Jig with his whip and a dirk,
While the poor goblin fled, then turned with a jerk.
At the mouth of the lair Jig gave a great shout.
“He’ll feed twenty mouths, and he’s brought eight huge mounts!”

A desperate whistle called reindeer to fight,
But the goblins were starving and set them alight.
And Jig said to himself as he thought of those beasts,
“Happy winter to all, and to all a good feast!”