Twas the Night Before Yuletide or Santa vs the Reindeer


My Saturday flash fiction blog and Beowulf: The Midgard Horrors will return on January 7th, 2017. I’ll be taking a breather for the holidays. But to tide you over, here’s another way to look at “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Seasons greetings from Midgard and me!

Twas the Night Before Yuletide
or Santa vs. the Reindeer

Twas the night before Yuletide, and all through the land
Santa Claus was preparing to make Christmas grand.
He went out to his stables, his heart full of cheer,
In a last ditch planned effort to rouse his reindeer.

The snow falling brutally as each crisp step cracked
And Saint Nicholas carried the toys he had packed.
When he entered the stables, two ravens sat perched.
All around them were symbols; the wood grains red smirched.

“Now, pray, what is the matter? What mean you birds here?
Have you come to cause trouble among my reindeer?”
The two ravens said nothing, then flew to the door.
Upon flitting, then quitting, they said, “Nevermore.”

“Nevermore?” Santa quoted, “Pray, what does that mean?
In a thousand past years, this beats all I have seen!”
Then they gave a good chuckle with wicked delight.
“Nevermore will you travel on Christmas Eve night!”

A look of surprise as the caws burst in cackle,
And Santa Claus saw Dasher break from his shackle.
Then the ravens flew out as the reindeer stood tall,
Captivating Saint Nick, who in fear took a fall.

“By the power of Christmas, what meaning is this?
Tell me, Dasher, now tell me! Just what is amiss?”
“Weihnachtsmann, some people, they know me as Woden.
In Asgard, I rule. I am Allfather, Odin!

Much too long have you punished these wood folk I see …
As the Lord of the Hunt, I will now set them free.”
And as Odin spoke, magic dispersed from each beast.
“They are reindeer no longer; each soul is released.”

Santa stood in much anger, scoffed, “We will just see.
Odin, you with your antlers can’t take them from me!
Now just look at you, fool, as some reindeer like god-
I will give you a whacking with my lashing rod!”

And as Santa approached swinging hard left and right,
Out of nowhere, the ravens dropped something in sight.
Odin reached out and snatched Gungnir, his magic spear,
Hoof like hands holding on as a battle drew near.

Father Christmas smashed hard with the rod in his hand,
But the spear Odin blocked with had much more command.
Back and forth the two parried, with nary a break,
And then Odin transformed Christmas lights to a snake.

After glow in its making, the brightly lit thing
Made its way around Santa, who started to sing
All the names of the reindeer, but he was ignored.
The serpent squeezed tighter, Santa cried, “I adored

Every single last reindeer that pulled on my sleigh.
And now look at you creatures! My, how you betray!”
From the shadows, the eighth one that Odin had been
Came and offered to Santa, “The age of these men

Now is ending for we are the dwellers who seek
To repay all the wicked and prey on the week.
No more presents and falsehoods from you in your lie.
Know that Midgard is free, as are we, so now die!”

Saint Nick slumped to his side and died in the stable,
The folk of the woodlands placed him on a table.
And as Odin then gathered his things and took flight,
“Merry Yule,” they exclaimed and they all took a bite …
James Matthew Byers resides in Wellington, Alabama with his wife, kids, a dog named after an elf, and two tortoises. He has been published in poetry journals and through Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL, where he received his Master’s in 2010. His epic poem, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, is out now from Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. He also has a short story featured in their upcoming release, Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies. Recently, two of his poems won Prose’s weekly challenge.

Find James Matthew Byers at:




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