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Belsnickel, Berks County, F. L. Sallade, Christmas, Lickus-Lockus, Womelsdorf


Handwritten notes copying a poem by F. L. Sallade entitled "Bells Nickle", transcribed by Alfred L. Shoemaker, originally published in the Reading Weekly Eagle in 1896. The poem relates the stories of Christmas figures such as Belsnickel and their interactions with children.

Corresponds to:

Packet 29-10


Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania


Berks’ Belsnickels Dec. 31, 1892

Amish Christmas Dec. 28, 1895

Bells Nickle

By F. L. Sallade MD

In the days of Lickus-Lockus there was terror in the land. And our playmates oft would shock us with the very stern demand; “If Lickus-Lockus chance about, what ever will you do? With holes enough to let us out we’ll try and tumble through.

Oft we monkeyed round the playground like a lot of little apes, and we got into his vineyard in pretense and stole his grapes. When came the one who just in fun played Lickus-Lockus’ part, each roguish one would start and run and in and out would dart.

But in and out the vineyard where old Lockus got his wine, until some little blackguard was run down and payed his fine.

If the real Lickus-Lockus e’er should chance to come around, even now the sight might shock us, so we’d sink into the ground.

The deeds of Shinner Honnes scarce are equaled in this age, if his tricks he’d played upon us they’d have filled us up with rage. And a very great big rage at that if all the things are true that are told about a man like that who lived ere I and you.

The Eilenspiegel lived about as long as he had breath, and when at last his stock gave out he came unto his death. But ere he died he looked around, and took things very cool; if his brains had not been quite so sound, you'd think he’d been a fool.

He was the man who dug a little hole into the ground, then he really scratched his mug a little bald in a spot round. 'Bout so big as a small saucer there was baldness, bleak and bare; now no more he’ll ever claw, sir, on that baldness for a hair.

And when that hole he had filled in with its own ground again, when even full as it had been, a heap did still remain. He put his mighty brain to work his shovel, heart and soul; a job that he would not shirk but larger dug the hole.

Then shoveled in the ground once more; a failure he disdained, the heap was bigger than before that now outside remained. And then again he should fast and faster with a will, he would, if he’d not died at last be shoveling there still.

But of all the great celebrities on top of this here world, to Christmastide festivities with moustache curled and twirled; came the famous old Bells Nickle from the darkness drear and cold, with fresh rods just out of pickle that he’d kept for young and old.

He would peer in at the window, then he’d come in at the door; and he’d talk a lot of jingo that no one had heard before. And he’d scare us into fits, oh! Sakes alive, what should we do? For with all his benefits, oh! He would whack us black and blue.

Then he strewed the floor with candy, nuts and jimcracks of all sorts; he was just a big Jim Dandy, just the very Prince of Sports. Then there’d be a merry scramble when each back he’d sorely tickle with a smart touch of the bramble that’s the rod he had in pickle. So that all that had been naughty, must of these rods have a share, and of every naughty thought he surely always was aware. And each one he would astonish by his knowledge of misdeeds, then each one he would admonish just according to his needs.

Last of all, he said, “Remember, before I go away, I wish you all, both great and small, a Merry Christmas Day.

Womelsdorf, Pa, Christmas Day, 1896



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Transcription of the Poem



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