Everyone knows the Christmas Cat,
He’s angry, huge and mean,
But nobody knows where he came from
Or where he will next be seen.
His eyes stared at you, open wide,
Both of them fierce ablaze,
It took a brave, brave man indeed
To steadily meet his gaze.
His whiskers were like razors,
His back was curved up high,
And those sharp claws on his hairy paws
Could make a grown man cry.
He curled and curved his great big tail,
He jumped and scratched and hissed,
Sometimes by the harbourside,
Sometimes in the mountain mist.
Vicious, large and evil,
Through freezing snows he came,
And in the houses everywhere
Folk trembled at his name.
A cruel ‘meow’ would let you know
Something evil was on its way,
And mice were never meat enough,
Men were his natural prey.
He feasted on the very poor
Who worked the Christmas through
But still had no new clothes to wear
No coat, no shirt, no shoe.
He’d steal their Christmas dinner,
He’d eat it with one chew,
And because their dinner was so small
He would then eat them too.
So mothers sat at spinning wheels,
They span their wool and thread
To make some clothes to give their child
So the Cat would not strike them dead.
But if a child received no new clothes
The threat was very real,
When the Cat made his Christmas call
They’d become his Christmas meal.
Candlelight on Christmas Eve,
The Cat peers through the pane,
Sees children clad in new costume,
Knows his efforts are in vain.
Perhaps a shirt, perhaps some socks,
A vest, a scarf, or shoe,
Whatever the child needed
To see the winter through.
The Cat would sigh, would hiss, would howl,
It would beat his mighty paws,
But there was no more he could do
For the child stayed out his claws.
I’m not sure he’s still around,
Nobody I know can say,
But if we all get Christmas clothes
That Cat will be kept at bay.
If you see a child who’s going cold,
Garments ragged and threadbare,
Help save him from the Christmas Cat,
Give him something new to wear.
This good deed will keep them safe
And give you a warm feeling too,
It will give you joy throughout your day
And a happy Christmas too.
“The Christmas Cat” is an English version of ‘Jólakötturinn’ by Jóhannes úr Kötlum and is taken from “Bad Santas and other Creepy Christmas Characters by Paul Hawkins, published by Simon & Schuster. The illustration is by Mel Four and is taken from the book.