Santa and the Sorrel
- December 17, 2020
- Jan Swan Wood
Some years ago on Christmas Eve,
while we were snug in bed,
I thought I heard a noise outside,
so strange, sleep quickly fled.
I nudged Hubby and he said,
“Yes I heard it too my dear.
It must surely be the horses,
t’would be no one else out here.”
For we were on a cow camp,
long miles from traveled ways,
and no one ever ventured far,
on those cold and snowy days.
So Hubby, he got out of bed,
and slipped his Levis on,
then struck a light to see the clock,
It was still five hours ’til dawn.
As he stepped up to the window,
a knock on the door we did hear,
and jumped with a start of wonder,
not quite believing our ears.
I snatched up my warm flannel wrapper,
as Hubby went for the door.
I was only a few steps behind him,
on tiptoes across the cold floor.
Hubby opened the door a few inches,
we were both amazed at the sight.
for there on our step stood old St. Nick,
his suit all frosted and white.
We beckoned to him, still speechless,
he removed his cap and came in,
and carefully stomped the snow off his boots,
Then he turned and spoke with a grin.
“Just to see the looks on your faces,
is near worth the trouble I’ve had,
but I really must ask a favor,
for I need your help really bad.”
“Seems Donner slipped on a rooftop,
and twisted his leg in the fall,
I don’t believe that he’s stifled,
but he can’t get around good at all.”
“So, I was surely wondering,
if I could leave him here tonight,
and maybe borrow a critter,
with which to complete my flight.”
We found our voices finally,
and said that would be okay,
we’d put Donner in a box stall,
then find someone to pull the sleigh.
He warmed up in front of the woodstove,
while we were getting dressed,
Then we bundled up and went outside,
and with a bright, clear night were blessed.
Santa slowly drove his reindeer,
right over close to the shed.
By passing by the horse corral,
sure turning every head!
We helped him get poor Donner,
tucked in snug and warm inside,
then went out to look at the horses,
trying to decide.
Now who would suit ol’ Santa best,
one of the team or a saddle horse?
The team’s the only ones broke to drive,
it must be one of them, of course.
Then Santa said, “No, you’ll need them,
how else will you feed the cows hay?
For he’ll be awfully tired,
if he were to go all that way.”
“How ’bout that little sorrel,
the one with the kink in his tail?
He looks like he’d bring the sleigh home,
from nearly any trail.”
“But Santa, he’s a bad little booger,
he bites and kicks and strikes,
and he’ll even try to throw himself,
if things don’t go just right!”
Santa smiled and said “A good night’s work,
might be just the thing he needs,
so rope him out and get him ready,
the time and the night they speed!”
Hubby got his rope and caught him,
and snubbed him to the fence.
We hobbled him and tied up a hind leg,
then the bawlin’ and fightin’ commenced.
We got out our old buggy harness,
for Donner’s was a wee bit tight,
then carefully put it on him,
and buckled it up just right.
Santa brought the sleigh and the reindeer,
into the corral up close to the snake,
Then we rassled him into the lineup,
as an eye rolling fuss he did make.
After hooking the traces and lines up,
before the hobbles were off his front feet,
Santa blew some dust in his nostrils,
to make him fly and be fleet.
Then he climbed in the sleigh and thanked us,
said he’d be back and gone ‘fore we woke,
and to be sure and check in our stockings,
then to the reindeer he spoke.
They took off in a flurry of sleigh bells,
we watched as he took to the air,
as he faded away in the moonlight,
that colt was doing his share.
Next morning we woke and remembered,
and rushed out to see if it was a dream,
the colt was laying down sleeping,
plumb tuckered out it would seem.
Now you may not believe all this,
for it really is quite a tale,
But we all know it happened,
for each Christmas, without fail,
That rank young colt, now a good horse,
he runs and watches the sky.
We think he’s probably remembering,
that night when he could fly.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....