When I delegated the tucking in of the animals on Christmas Eve to my husband and son, I was grateful to have their assistance but sorry to miss out on my little Christmas Eve chat with everyone. Typically I give everyone extra carrots, hay, grain, apples, even peppermints sometimes. I sing carols to them and tell them that tonight is the night that Santa comes and brings treats to good little ponies, and the like. I also ask them if they wouldn’t mind letting me in on their midnight conversations and send me some sort of sign so I know it’s time. I refer to the old legend about how Christmas Eve is the night that the animals talk… Silly, you might think, because they talk all of the time! From what I can only trace to early European superstitions, at midnight they are all able to speak the same language, the language of humans.
Indeed Jim had actually remembered to give them the word! He reminded them that it was a special night and I was relieved and delighted.
What would they be saying?
We decided the goats would be full of toddler chat and enthusiasm for Santa and the reindeer. I happen to think that the Sheep would speak with a Scottish accent and comment largely on the sparseness of the grazing material and the quality of the hay they’ve been getting and who looks good in what color and such. There are a dozen of them now, and they have been spending time together 24/7 since Balrog went buh-bye. (He was the ram I’d used for 2 breeding seasons.) The wethers and ewe lambs and pregnant ewes have been dining and sleeping pretty peacefully and it sure does simplify things around here for me. So they might also discuss their new togetherness and whether it is agreeable to them or not.
The horses would probably be engrossed in a gossip-session as they are the few animals on the farm that have gotten out and about. They’ve gone swimming in Lake Champlain, know the neighbors, the neighbors’ horses, pets and the geography of the area far better than the sheep. I would guess they enjoy the night sky, also, and are on lookout for eight tiny reindeer and a jolly little elf. I mean, really, there would be a wonderful opportunity for an exchange with the reindeer to find out what is going on in the world so it would be worthwhile to be alert.
Bean-the-bunny is in her own stall on the far end of the barn, but if the barn kitties, Wasabi & Niska, cared to stroll by, they could have a catch-up. Seeing as Wasabi and Niska spend time in the woods and fields, hunting rodents of all sizes, including rabbits, Bean might not enjoy that they are her only companions to share with. She’s been shorted, I realize, and so next year we’ll have to make sure she is situated near the goatsies or sheep so that she can have a less-threatening convo.
The poultry, except for the peafowl, are all of the same species so they don’t have a language barrier anyway. Perhaps the peafowl speak a dialect, of sorts, but I’m betting the Araucanas could interpret for them. The turkeys are now in folks’ ovens or freezers and so they’re not part of the equation. The Indian Runner ducks are in a separate yard and have each other to communicate with also. No need for the special gift that Christmas Eve brings for them under those circumstances.
I used to lie awake listening for, not Santa, but my dogs and cats to talk. Now that I am an adult, I still have a smidgen of hope that I would catch them in the act!
Yes, there is room for silliness this Christmastide. The celebration of holidays is always special and with the ups and downs, an opportunity for finding deeper meaning in life. But you just can’t knock a holiday that has a legend associated with it as being a night the animals talk.