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The Russian Santa Claus
Over the Russian snows one day,
Upon the eve of a Christmas day,
While still in the heavens shone afar,
Like a spark of fire, that wondrous star,
Three kings with jewels and gold bedight
Came journeying on through the wintry night.
Out of the East they rode amain,
With servants and camels in their train.
Laden with spices, myrrh, and gold,
Gems and jewels of worth untold,
Presents such as to-day men bring,
To lay at the feet of some Eastern king.
Wrinkled and feeble, old and gray,
Dame Babousca, that Christmas day,
Looked from her hut beside the moor,
Where the four roads crossed by her cottage door,
And saw the kings on their camels white,
A shadowy train in the wintry night.
They knocked at her cabin door to tell
That wonderful story we know so well,
Of the star that was guiding them all the way
To the place where the little Christ-Child lay,
And they begged that she, through the sleet and snow,
To the nearest village with them would go.
But naught cared she for that unknown Child,
And winds about her blew fierce and wild,
For the night was stormy, dark, and cold,
And poor Babousca was weak and old,
And in place of the pitiless winter's night,
Her lowly hut seemed a palace bright.
So to their pleadings she answered "Nay,"
And watched them all as they rode away.
But when they had gone and the night was still,
Her hut seemed lonely, and dark, and chill,
And she almost wished she had followed them
In search of the Babe of Bethlehem.
And then as the longing stronger grew,
She said, "I will find Him," but no one knew,
Where was the cradle in which He lay
When He came to earth upon Christmas day,
For the kings and their trains were long since gone,
And none could tell of the Babe, new born.
Then filling a basket with toys, she said,
As over the wintry moor she sped,
"I will go to the busy haunts of men,
There I shall find the kings, and then,
Together we'll go that Child to meet,
And jewels and toys we'll lay at His feet.
The kings with their trains have long been clay.
The hut on the moor has mouldered away,
But old and feeble, worn and gray,
Every year upon Christmas day,
It matters not though the winds blow chill,
Old Babousca is seeking still.
And every year when the joy-bells chime,
To tell of the blessed Christmas time,
When in Holland they tell to the girls and boys,
Of good Saint Nicholas and his toys,
In Russia, the little children say,
"Old Babousca has passed this way."
- By LIZZIE M. HADLEY