Mary Mapes Dodge



Red And White

by Mary Mapes Dodge

Once on a still December night,
In the freezing, wintry weather,
Two little stockings, red and white,
Were softly talking together.

Firelight flashed in the darkened room,
Shadows were sliding and creeping
Over the beds where, half in the gloom,
Two little children were sleeping.

Hark ye! said White in a whisper low,
I fancy, Red, by your bulging so,
You come from some plump little baby-leg --
If I'm mistaken, your pardon I beg.

That's so, said Red, for she kicked me off
This very day (and she'll have a cough,
As sure as I'm knit, for her careless ways --
A cough that may trouble her all her days).

But you? Ah! you look so fair and trim,
You came from some little royal limb,
With your dainty heading of daisy pink --
At least so an humble sock would think.

Hoho! said White. Don't you know me, Red?
Why, there's my owner in yonder bed --
Yours in the cradle and mine in the crib;
And mine is the bigger, or else I fib.

But bless me, Red, I care not a fig,
Though yours be little and mine be big;
Soon shall we hang in equal pride
From yonder mantel side by side.

Down the chimney a figure will bound --
Old Saint Nicholas, funny and round;
And, stuffing as though he never would stop,
He'll fill us with good things up to the top.

Hurrah! cried Red, and well for me
That I bulge in the ankle and foot, you see.

And well for me, said White, that I,
Though narrow and slim, am long and high.

But, Red, after all, we needn't care,
Though in shape and room we're not a pair;
For the cradle and crib hold sisters, you see,
And the crib will give to the cradle from me.

If I hold more and you hold less,
The babies'll make it even, I guess.

That's so, said Red, but I quite despair
When you hang so grand on the back of a chair.

Pooh, pooh! said White, don't think of that --
Think of the hours that I'm folded flat;
And how often, when shoe-pegs pierce me through,
I long to be woolen and thick like you.

That's so, said Red -- 'twas his pet reply --
But then I take so long to dry!
It's very unpleasant to be so thick --
Besides, I'm just as red as a brick.

My friend, said White, with an anxious sigh,
How quickly your troubles multiply!
I really think
(here he gave a cough)
It affects your spirits -- to be kicked off.

That's so, said Red again -- I feel
Just good for nothing from toe to heel.
She kicks me off, till I'm almost dead,
I'd die of the blues if I wasn't so red.

Come, neighbor, cheer up! said White in distress;
We're only stockings, I must confess;
Yet we suit the feet that are wearing, us out,
So there really is nothing to worry about.

The worst that stockings or children can do
Is to hold the dark side always in view.
This fretting and fussing, dear Red, is shocking.
I know it is; though I'm only a stocking.

And think how grand it will be, dear Red --
Or how glad we shall feel, I should have said --
When on Christmas morning, after their sleep,
Our dear little owners into us peep.

That's so! cried the other. Away with folly,
For the rest of my days I mean to be jolly.
She may kick me off -- the dear little tot --
Whenever she pleases; I'll mind it not.

Christmas is coming! that's so! that's so!
And then I'll be somebody -- won't I, though?
By the way, old White, I wish it were day,
So she'd put me on, and frolic and play.

White laughed with joy, and said, All right.
You've come to your senses now. Good-night.

And so all quiet and peaceful they lay
Till the children awoke at break of day.


Rhymes And Jingles
Copyright 1875
Scribner, Armstrong, And Company