Santa Claus

The plot by Viktor Rydberg. Picture: the cottage at the foot of the mountain by John Bauer.
Photo: the cottage at the foot of the mountain by John Bauer

Originally published in Ny Illustrerad Tidning 1881.

The midwinter night is cold,
the stars sparkle and shine.
All sleep in lonely yard
deep below the midnight hour.
The moon walks its silent path,
the snow shines white on pine and fir,
the snow shines white on the roofs.
Only the plot is awake.

Standing there so gray at the barn door,
grey against the white drift,
watching, like many winters in the past,
up against the moon's disk,
looking towards the forest, where spruce and pine
draws around the courtyard its dark wall,
ponders, though it will not boats,
over a strange riddle.

Running his hand through his beard and hair,
shaking his head and cap -
"No, that riddle is too difficult,
no, I do not guess this" -
strikes, as he plans, shortly
such questioning thoughts away,
can be arranged and crafted,
can do their job.

Goes to the fish house and tool shed,
feels all the locks -
the cows dream by the light of the moon
summer dreams in the booths;
forget the harness and whip and empty
Pålle in the stable also has a dream:
the manger he leans over
filled with fragrant clover; -

Goes to the fence for lambs and sheep,
see, how they sleep in there;
goes to the chickens, where the rooster stands
proudly on his highest stick;
Karo in dogbots straw feels good,
wakes up and wags his tail slightly,
Karo knows his Santa,
they are good friends.

Santa sneaks last to see
the domestics the dear,
long and well he noticed, that the
keep his diligence in honour;
the children's combs he then on tiptoe
approaching to see the cute little ones,
let no one detest it:
it is his greatest happiness.

So he has seen them, father and son,
clean through many joints
slumber as a child; but whence
they did come here, didn't they?
Family soon followed family,
flourished, aged, went - but where?
The riddle, which does not let
guess what, come again!

The plot wanders to the barn loft:
there he has his dwelling and fortress
high on the hill in the scent of hay,
close to the swallow's nest;
now the swallow's nest is empty,
but in the spring with leaves and flowers
she'll probably come back,
followed by his naughty spouse.

Then she always has to chirp about
many a travel memory,
nothing as well about the riddle, which
moves in the plot's mind.
Through a crack in the barn wall
the moon shines on the old man's beard,
the strip on the beard shines,
Santa is brooding and thinking.

Silent is the forest and the wilderness all,
life out there is frozen,
only from afar of the fall of the rapids
can be heard very slowly the noise.
Santa listens and, half in a dream,
thinks he hears the current of time,
wonders where it will go,
wonder, where the source may be.

The midwinter night is cold,
the stars sparkle and shine.
All sleep in lonely yard
good to morning hour.
The moon lowers its silent spell,
the snow shines white on pine and fir,
the snow shines white on the roofs.
Only the plot is awake.

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