I would like to share with you a special good-night story for Christmas Eve. In the soft glow of an evening lamp, with the warmth of tomorrow’s expectations curling around everyone’s mind like a lazy smoke, take a moment to share it with a child, be it your children or your own inner child. The whimsy and innocence of this poem have followed me through 49 years of life and is still laced with gentle memories:
Wynkin, Blynkin, and Nod
by Eugene Field
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe—
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”
The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea—
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish—
Never afeard are we”;
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
‘T was all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought ‘t was a dream they ‘d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea—
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
This whimsical little poem was written by American poet and writer Eugene Field in 1938 and first published on March 9th of that year. It was originally titled A Dutch Lullaby. It’s the quintessential young children’s bedtime story, sure to send them off into soft dreams of celestial nets and misty seas and starry herring fish. Enjoy.