More than a hundred and sixty-eight years ago, there lived a curious personage called Old Riddler. His real name was unknown to the people in that part of the country where he dwelt; but this made no difference, for the name given to him was probably just as good as his own. Indeed, I am sure that it was better, for it meant something, and very few people have names that mean anything. He was called Old Riddler for two reasons. In the first place, he was an elderly man; secondly, he was the greatest fellow to ask riddles that you ever heard of. So this name fitted him very well. Old Riddler had some very peculiar characteristics, among others, he was a gnome. Living underground for the greater part of his time, he had ample opportunities of working out curious and artful riddles, which he used to try on his fellow gnomes; and if they liked them, he would go above ground and propound his conundrums to the country people; who sometimes guessed them, but not often. The fact is, that those persons who wished to be on good terms with the old gnome never guessed his riddles. They knew that they would please him better by giving them up. He took such a pleasure in telling the answers to his riddles that no truly kind-hearted person would deprive him of it by trying to solve them.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer. With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name! As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
One day, the cook went into the kitchen to make some gingerbread. She took some flour and water, and treacle and ginger, and mixed them all well together, and she put in some more water to make it thin, and then some more flour to make it thick, and a little salt and some spice, and then she rolled it out into a beautiful, smooth, dark-yellow dough. Then she took the square tins and cut out some square cakes for the little boys, and with some round tins she cut out some round cakes for the little girls. So she took a nice round lump of dough for his body, and a smaller lump for his head, which she pulled out a little for the neck. Two other lumps were stuck on beneath for the legs, and were pulled out into the proper shape, with feet and toes all complete, and two still smaller pieces were made into arms, with dear little hands and fingers. But the nicest work was done on the head, for the top was frizzed up into a pretty sugary hat. On either side was made a dear little ear, and in front, after the nose had been carefully moulded, a beautiful mouth was made out of a big raisin, and two bright little eyes with burnt almonds and caraway seeds. Then the gingerbread man was finished ready for baking, and a very jolly little man he was. In fact, he looked so sly that the cook was afraid he was plotting some mischief, and when the batter was ready for the oven, she put in the square cakes and she put in the round cakes; and then she put in the little gingerbread man in a far back corner, where he couldn't get away in a hurry.
No lines are longer than 80 characters, TYVM. Other specified properties aren't being scored automatically at this time so this is not necessarily good news...