If you found yourself on the school corridors during Christmas, what would you do?
This is a seasonal twist on the classic, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, following a clandestine group of teachers who have premeditated a plan to sneak into their school building over the Christmas break. Their mission: to steal all the students’ books in order to eliminate marking, forever!
‘Twas the night before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the school
Not a teacher was marking, now isn’t that cool?
The cupboards unlocked in the classroom, beware;
In the hope that the caretaker, wouldn’t be there.
The students were absent all back in their beds,
With visions of cover-lessons, danced in their heads;
The head teacher with cloak and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the yard there arose such a natter,
I sprang from the bed to see t’was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of shadows on objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should feature,
But, a big black-bin, above eight fellow teachers.
With a coat and her bag, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment, it must be Miss. Nicks.
Quicker than an email, her teachers they came,
And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Jill! now, Frances! now, Nancy and Dixon!
Now Sid! Now, Sarah! Now, Rhonda and Kickson!
To the top of the corridor! To the stage in the hall!
Now hide away! Throw away! Stash away all!”
As wet ink that befall on the pages they flew,
If the books meet a student, don’t let them review!
So, up to each classroom, the teachers they knew,
With a bin-full of padlocks, scissors and glue.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the staff-room.
The clinking of padlocks you could only presume.
As I drew in my hand, and grabbed my class books,
In came Miss Nicks, with a bin full of books!
She was dressed all in stripes, from her head to her foot,
And her clothes were all tarnished with glue, tar and soot;
A bundle of books she had flung in her bin,
And she looked like a pedlar just closing me in.
Her eyes; how they glowered! Her dimples, how scary!
Her cheeks were like crystal, her nose, big and hairy!
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the point of her chin was as white as the snow;
The page of a book she held tight in her teeth,
Each ripped and circled her feet in a wreath;
She had a pointed face and a little round glasses,
That shook, when she scowled, just like her classes.
She was frail and thin, a sight for sore eyes,
And I laughed when I saw her, in spite of her guise;
A squint of her eye and a twist of her head,
Soon she hinted, I had nothing to dread;
She spoke not a word, but went straight to work,
And filled all the cupboards; the bins with a smirk,
And laying her finger aside of her nose,
And giving a nod, up the corridor she rose;
She sprang to her car, to her team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the edge of a chisel.
But I heard her exclaim, as they drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to marking goodnight!”
Until recently, it was believed that the original prose was written in 1822 for Clement Clarke Moore‘s two daughters, Margaret and Charity, and later anonymously published in the Troy [New York] Sentinel on December 23, 1823. But, according to University of Toronto English Library, in 2000, Don Foster, in his book Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous (New York: Henry Holt, 2000) was able to demonstrate that Moore could not have been the author. Foster concluded that it was probably written by Major Henry Livingston Jr.