Dreams of St. Nicholas (and Santa’s First Appearance in American Literature)

“And the sage Oloffe dreamed a dream–and lo, the good St. Nicholas came riding over the tops of the trees, in that self-same wagon wherein he brings yearly presents to children, and he descended hard by where the heroes of Communipaw had made their late repast. And he lit his pipe by the fire, and sat himself down and smoked . . . And when St. Nicholas had smoked his pipe, he twisted it in his hat-band, and laying his finger beside his nose, gave the astonished Van Kortlandt a very signifcant look, then mounting his wagon, he returned over the tree-tops and disappeared.”

— Washington Irving
A History of New York (1812 edition)
Book II, Chapter V

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