878. TOMMY TROT’S VISIT TO SANTA CLAUS . THOMAS NELSON PAGE
TOMMY TROT’S VISIT TO SANTA CLAUS
THOMAS NELSON PAGE
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TOMMY TROT’S VISIT TO SANTA CLAUS
The little boy whose story is told here lived in the beautiful country of “Once upon a Time.” His name, as I heard it, was Tommy Trot; but I think that, maybe, this was only a nick-name. When he was about your age, he had, on Christmas Eve, the wonderful adventure of seeing Santa Claus in his own country, where he lives and makes all the beautiful things that boys and girls get at Christmas. In fact, he not only went to see him in his own wonderful city away up toward the North Pole, where the snow never melts and the Aurora lightens up the sky; but he and his friend, Johnny Stout, went with dogs and guns to hunt the great polar bear whose skin afterwards always lay in front of the big library fireplace in Tommy’s home.
This is the way it all happened.
Tommy lived in a big house on top of quite a high hill, not far from a town which could be seen clearly from the front portico and windows. Around the house was a large lawn with trees and shrubbery in it, and at the back was a big lot, in one corner of which stood the stables and barns, while on the other side sloped down a long steep hill to a little stream bordered with willows and maples and with a tract of woodland beyond. This lot was known as the “cow-pasture,” and the woodland was known as the “wood-lot,” while yet beyond was a field which Peake, the farmer, always spoke of as the “big field.” On the other side of the cow-lot, where the stables stood, was a road which ran down the hill and across the stream and beyond the woods, and on the other side of this road near the bottom of the hill was the little house in which lived Johnny Stout and his mother. They had no fields or lots, but only a backyard in which there were chickens and pigeons and, in the Fall, just before Tommy’s visit to Santa Claus, two white goats, named “Billy” and “Carry,” which Johnny had broken and used to drive to a little rough wagon which he had made himself out of a box set on four wheels.
Tommy had no brothers or sisters, and the only cousins he had in town were little girls younger than himself, to whom he had to “give up” when any one was around, so he was not as fond of them as he should have been; and Sate, his dog, a terrier of temper and humours, was about his only real playmate. He used to play by himself and he was often very lonely, though he had more toys than any other boy he knew. In fact, he had so many toys that he was unable to enjoy any one of them very long, and after having them a little while he usually broke them up. He used to enjoy the stories which his father read to him out of Mother Goose and the fairy-books and the tales he told him of travellers and hunters who had shot lions and bears and Bengal tigers; but when he grew tired of this, he often wished he could go out in the street and play all the time like Johnny Stout and some of the other boys. Several times he slipped out into the road beyond the cow-lot to try to get a chance to play with Johnny who was only about a year older than he, but could do so many things which Tommy could not do that he quite envied him. It was one of the proudest days of his life when Johnny let him come over and drive his goats, and when he went home that evening, although he was quite cold, he was so full of having driven them that he could not think or talk of anything else, and when Christmas drew near, one of the first things he wrote to ask Santa Claus for, when he put the letter in the library fire, was a wagon and a pair of goats. Even his father’s statement that he feared he was too small yet for Santa Claus to bring him such things, did not wholly dampen his hope.