I'll tell you an old Christmas story,
As we sit round the log fire at night
Why each Christmas Tree has a fairy on top
And why Santa's beard is so white.
It happened one winter in England,
On a dark Christmas Eve long ago:
There was Santa out doing his rounds,
And playing on t' sledge in t' snow.
He were taking all t' presents to t' houses
And then, when that first job were done,
He went round once again wi' his fairies,
Putting Christmas Trees in every one.
Now just when he thought he might finish,
And last house were almost in sight,
He went to fetch more trees off toboggan.
And he found he were just four trees light.
This discovery quite upset Santa,
So he gave to his reindeer a shout (whoa up!)
And he sent for his Christmas Tree fairy,
To chastise her for leaving them out.
Eeee by gum, tha's a daft little fairy,
Tha's as daft as a fairy could be,
When tha packed up t' sledge this evening,
Tha must'uv missed off some of t' trees.
"Oh Bugger" replied little fairy
Which were really quite un-fairy-like
"I'll have to go back to t' factory
And with that she jumped on her bike.
"Hold on just a minute" cried Santa
"There's a way that won't let you forget
Fetch one tree for each of your fingers
On t' right hand, you'll get it right yet".
Then off like a shot went our fairy,
Much faster than light from the sun,
Cos Einstein hadn't yet been invented
So she wasn't to know it weren't done.
Now if you could have watched little fairy
There were trouble to come you could tell,
For when she was counting her fingers,
She'd counted her thumb in as well.
Now Santa, he'd waited for hours
'Till his patience were running quite dry
'Till at last he saw t' fairy pedalling
For all she were worth through t' sky.
But then as the fairy got nearer,
Santa's anger it grew more and more
He could see from the load she was bearing
That she'd fetched him five trees and not four.
Then Santa got redder and redder
Started roaring with all of his might
Till the glow from his nose outshone Rudolf
And his beard it began to turn white.
"Why tha's stupid" he yelled at the fairy
"Tha's four times as thick as I'd thought.
Now go and put trees in last houses
And as soon as tha's finished: - report!"
So straightway off went our fairy
And as soon as she'd finished last place
She brought fifth tree back to Santa,
And waved it in front of his face.
"Whatever shall I do with this one?"
Our innocent fairy enquired,
So Santa he upped and he told her
'Cause by now he were feeling right tired.
The fairy she looked up at Santa
And her face it turned a mite red
But then, like the good little fairy she was,
She went and she did as he said,
So now at the end of my story
You'll see why to this very night,
Each Christmas Tree has a fairy on top
And old Santa's beard is quite white.
Optional last verse
(I usually miss it out - I think the above verse provides a better finish)
The moral if ever you want one
Is simply, when doing your sums.
If you really must count on your fingers
Don't forget to remember your thumbs!
© TIM BROOKS & MICK FALL (1972)
Based on an old joke
Written on the back seat of a York to London Coach
About this monologue
So, there we were, Mick Fall and me, on a National Coach from York to London, returning to our respective University Courses.
We passed the time, chatting, playing cards and telling jokes.
When Mick recounted a joke about why there was always a fairy on top of the Christmas tree,
I commented that it could be turned into a monologue in the style of those made popular by Stanley Holloway.
After a few moments silence Mick suddenly spouted a couplet which reflected this thought
- then they started coming thick and fast from both of us - in no particular order.
I scribbled them all down in a note pad, and spent some time after the event decoding my writing
- not good at the best of times - but on a bumpy coach....
The reciting of this rhyme at the Herga Christmas parties became something of a tradition -
usually someone fills the breach if I am not there - once when I was sent away on business at short notice, Lesley, my wife, took a tape recording to the party, not letting on what it was until the "play" button was pressed.
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