Thomas Nelson Page

Tommy Trots Visit to Santa Claus (Illustrated)

e-artnow, 2017
ISBN 978-80-273-0149-2


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3






Table of Contents

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.

He even began to dream of being able to go out some time and join the bigger boys in coasting down the long hill on the other side from Johnny Stout’s, for though his father and mother thought he was still rather small to do this, his father had promised that he might do it sometime, and Tommy thought “sometime” would be after his next birthday. When the heavy snow fell just before Christmas he began to be sorry that he had broken up the sled Santa Claus had given him the Christmas before. In fact, Tommy had never wanted a sled so much as he did the afternoon two days before Christmas, when he persuaded his father to take him out again to the coasting hill to see the boys coasting. There were all sorts of sleds: short sleds and long sleds, bob-sleds and flexible fliers. They held one, two, three, and sometimes even half a dozen boys and girls—for there were girls, too—all shouting and laughing as they went flying down the hill, some sitting and some lying down, but all flying and shouting, and none taking the least notice of Tommy. Sate made them take notice of him; for he would rush out after the sleds, barking just as if they had been cats, and several times he got bowled over—once, indeed, he got tangled up in the string of a sled and was dragged squealing with fright down the hill. Suddenly, however, Tommy gave a jump. Among the sleds flying by, most of them painted red, and very fine looking, was a plain, unpainted one, and lying full length upon it, on his stomach, with his heels high in the air, was Johnny Stout, with a red comforter around his neck, and a big cap pulled down over his ears. Tommy knew him at once.

“Look, father, look!” he cried, pointing; but Johnny’s sled was far down the hill before his father could see him. A few minutes later he came trudging up the hill again and, seeing Tommy, ran across and asked him if he would like to have a ride. Tommy’s heart bounded, but sank within him again when his father said, “I am afraid he is rather little.”

“Oh! I’ll take care of him, sir,” said Johnny, whose cheeks were glowing. Tommy began to jump up and down.

“Please, father, please,” he urged. His father only smiled.

“Why, you are not so very big yourself,” he said to Johnny.

“Big enough to take care of him,” said Johnny.

“Why, father, he’s awful big,” chimed in Tommy.

“Do you think so?” laughed his father. He turned to Johnny. “What is your name?”

“Johnny, sir. I live down below your house.” He pointed across toward his own home.

“I know him,” said Tommy proudly. “He has got goats and he let me drive them.”

“Yes, he can drive,” said Johnny, condescendingly, with a nod, and Tommy was proud of his praise. His father looked at him.

“Is your sled strong?” he asked.

“Yes, sir. I made it myself,” said Johnny, and he gave the sled a good kick to show how strong it was.

“All right,” said Tommy’s father. They followed Johnny to the top of the slide, and Tommy got on in front and his father tucked his coat in.

“Hold on and don’t be afraid,” he said.