Edith M. Thomas



Babouscka sits before the fire

Upon a winter's night;

The driving winds heap up the snow,

Her hut is snug and tight;

The howling winds, they only make

Babouscka's fire more bright!

She hears a knocking at the door;

So late—who can it be?

She hastes to lift the wooden latch

(No thought of fear has she).

The wind-blown candle in her hand

Shines out on strangers three.

Their beards are white with age, and snow

That in the darkness flies;

Their floating locks are long and white,

But kindly are the eyes

That sparkle underneath their brows,

Like stars in frosty skies.

"Babouscka, we have come from far:

We tarry but to say,

A little Prince is born this night

Who all the world will sway.

Come, join the search; come, go with us

Who go these gifts to pay."

Babouscka shivers at the door,

"I would I might behold

The little Prince who shall be King;

But ah! the night is cold,

The wind so fierce, the snow so deep,

And I, good sirs, am old."

The strangers three, no word they speak,

But fade in snowy space.

Babouscka sits before her fire,

And looks with wistful face.

"I wish that I had questioned them

So I the way might trace.

"When morning comes with blessed light,

I'll early be awake,

My staff in hand. I'll go,—perchance,

Those strangers overtake—

And for the Child some little toys

I'll carry, for His sake."


The morning came, and, staff in hand,

She wandered in the snow;

She asked the way of all she met,

But none the way could show.

"It must be farther yet," she sighed;

"Then farther will I go."

And still 'tis said on Christmas Eve,

When high the drifts are piled,

With staff and basket on her arm,

Babouscka seeks the Child.

At every door her face is seen,

Her wistful face and mild.

At every door her gifts she leaves,

And bends and murmurs low,

Above each little face half hid

By pillows white as snow;

"And is He  here?"—then softly sighs,

"Nay, farther must I go!"