Honolulu resident Margaret Steele wrote this Pidgin-English version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It remains an island classic.
Wuz da nite befo’ Christmas an’ from hea to Wailuku,
No creetcha wuz stirrin’ not even one uku.
Da keikis wen snuggle down safe in da beds,
Big dreams of tofuti wen dance roun’ da heads.
An’ me wid my Primo an’ Ma wid her poi,
We jus’ settle down fo’ one rap, when oh Boy!
One awful big clatter come from da lanai,
I tink maybe coconuts wen fall from da sky.
I wen jump up so fas’ I knock ova da chaia
I wen run to da windo to see what stay dea.
All ova da beach da kine silva moonlight
On da sand an’ da sea it shinin’ so bright,
I can see all da tings on da sho’ plenty clea,
An’ I see sumting out dea dat stay mo’ plenty quea!
One tiny surfboard lyin’ der on da groun’
An’ eight tiny sea horses jus’ swimmin’ aroun’
An’ one little ol surfer so lively, so quick,
I wen tink to myself, “Ey, brah! Dat Saint Nick!”
He wuz chubby an’ jolly, da kine roly poly,
An’ dressed all in fur from da chin to okole.
He had one white beard an’ one little roun’ belly
Dat went shake when he laugh like Tutu’s guava jelly.
He wastin’ no time, brah, he wen put down da sack
Dat wuz big as one mountain slung up on his back.
He got plenty good tings for all da keiki
An’ he wen pile dem unda da coconut tree.
He work an’ he work an’ he neva pau hana
Til he put someting der fo’ all da Ohana.
He wen give me one wink an’ one shaka, an’ pau!
Da seahorses dey know it come time to go now!
He wen pick up da board an’ he run to da ocean,
He wen harness da team an’ he settem in motion.
Mo fasta dan jet planes da seahorses swum
He wen whistle an’ shout an’ he call ’em each one:
“Go Kimo, Go Noni! Gettum Kaipo an’ Lani!
Go Kona, go Pua! Geevum Kiki an’ Nani”
To da cres of da wave, tru da foam an’ da spray,
Dey swimmin’ like crazy, dey flyin’ away!
Til all I wen see on da wata out fa,
Wuz one twinkle of light like one dyin’ out star.
But I hea ol Nick holla
Across da dark sea,
“Merry Christmas, da kine,
This classic was written several years ago by Margaret Steele, and is still available in book form. It’s soft cover, about eight pages long, illustrated with black-and-white pictures.
To order, contact Steele directly, 3735 Diamond Head Circle, Honolulu, HI 96815, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.