Editor’s Note: Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s almost impossible to walk in a public space in much of the consumer world and not be bombarded with “Deck the Halls” and other sounds of the season. Meanwhile, on our TVs and streaming services, holiday show “best of” lists crop up every time we click. It is, indeed, a wonderful life.
Now we know Christmas itself was not as popular in Jamie’s time as it was in the 1940s. Claire references that wryly when she asks Jamie if they hang the stockings with care by the fire and he responds with, “What? To dry them you mean?”
But we couldn’t resist taking a shot at that tried-and-true seasonal Christmas story, “The Night Before Christmas” aka “A Visit from St. Nicholas” — with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. We hope you enjoy it and to those of our readers who celebrate the season, we wish you a Merry Christmas indeed. Here’s to a wonderful 2017 with, of course, Outlander season 3.
Not a creature was stirring, every door safely locked.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The Highlanders were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sword fights danced in their heads;
And Claire in her shift, and Jamie in his shirt,
Had just settled down after a long, hard day’s work
When out in the courtyard there arose such a stramash,
Jamie grabbed his Sgian-dubh and made ready to slash
Away to the window Jamie flew like a faerie
Tore open the shutters and yelled “Sweet Mother Mary!”
The moon shining brightly on the frozen Scottish moor
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to Jamie’s smoldering eyes should appear,
But a gilded carriage and Highland lords coming near
With a little old driver who gave more than one wince
Jamie knew in a moment inside sat the Bonnie Prince
Like a thundering herd of Highland Koos on they came,
The prince whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, MacDonald! now, Lochiel! now, Clanranald and Murray!
On, Balmerino! on Kilmarnock! And please let’s do hurray!
From the top of the tower and all through the great hall
His fingernails-on-chalkboard voice sent shivers through them all!
To the door of the great house the carriage did fly
As the MacKenzie men began to rise with great sighs
What did the man want now? What idiocy anew?
They rolled up their kilts and grabbed their Sgian-dubhs
And then with a delicate knock, he waited at the door
For his Jacobite supporters to greet and adore
The door flung open wide with barely a sound
And standing before him was the bedraggled Highland crowd
A big boy sword at his side, though he prayed there’d be no need
Mrs. Fitz welcomed the entourage, Jamie bowed to the prince
Only Claire saw his eyes as he bowed with a wince.
The Prince’s eyes did not twinkle; he was far from quite merry
In his cheeks no pink color; he really looked quite harried
As he stepped into the castle with the lords close behind
And the occupants of Leoch formed a long reception line
They bowed and they curtsied and they kissed his princely hand
And marveled at his long journey across their beloved Scotland
Then laughter was stifled as someone caught sight
Of a red mark on his arm… was that a monkey bite?
Jamie motioned to MacDonald and set him about a task
And in the blink of an eye he returned with a large cask
The whisky flowed freely from royalty to maiden
When Clanranald stepped in with his arms fully laden
The prince spoke not a word but turned to each man of the clan
Offered no more than a wave, then raised his own dram
To each lady — single or married — he gave a skein of wool yarn
The finest in the land that would surely keep them warm
Then out the door to the carriage the visitors went with a whistle
And away they all flew like the down of a Scottish thistle
The clan heard him exclaim as the carriage picked up speed
Merry Christmas to all and…wait for it….MARK ME!!!