Karl Wiener

The snowman

 
          Even the sun itself seemed to enjoy the wonderful winters day. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen. The rafters of the cottages in the valley seemed to buckle under the weight of snow that covered the roofs, and from each chimney there beckoned a trail of smoke. The slope behind the cottages had been commandeered by the children as a sledge-run and echoed with their delight as they slid and tumbled head over heels down the hill. Peals of laughter could be heard. They came from the snowball fights whenever a hit was scored. There amidst the children stood the lonely figure of a snowman leaning on his broom. Under the crumpled hat that covered his head, a wide grin stretched from ear to ear. A pipe warmed his red nose and his coal black eyes watched the bustle around him with some amusement.
           The fun and the games lasted until dusk, when the children reluctantly returned to their homes. Now they sat in front of their cosy fire-place, enjoying baked apples and listening to their grandfather, who told about the old snowman and his adventures.                 
           Outside the snowman remained silent and lonely, gazing up at the night sky. There was silence. But suddenly the stillness was broken by the beat of wings. A flock of wild geese alighted on the ice of the village pond. Cackling and flapping their wings they talked about the events of the day. But soon tiredness from their long flight overcame them. One by one they became silent and snuggled down for the night. Once again the snowman felt lonely.
           However, one restless goose continued to waddle up and down searching for the elusive blade of grass beneath the snow. So it was that she became aware of the snowman. Somewhat curious she approached to study this funny figure of a man. What a strange looking fellow she thought, standing there mute, without any sign of movement. The goose was about to turn away again when the sound of a deep sigh made her stop and listen. The snowman looked so miserable that the goose was sorry for him. She asked the reason for his sadness. "Well", said the snowman, "winter will soon be coming to an end, the snow will melt, and I’ll quit this world. I’ll never get to see the spring".
          The snowman’s grief touched the goose and she wondered how she could be of help. Finally she had an idea. "Tomorrow", she said, „we’ll be flying westward up over the mountains where the snow never melts. If you’ll follow the trail of our flock, it will lead you up into the mountains of which I spoke". The snowman reflected on the words of the goose, and before he fell asleep he had reached a decision.
          Next morning the children were surprised to find their old snowman had disappeared. Heeding the advice of the goose he had set out for the mountains where the snow never melts. It was a long way, and if it wasn’t for Father Christmas, who passed at midway offering a ride on his sleigh, he would never have reached his destination. The reindeers pulling the sleigh ran like the wind and set him down on the highest peak of the mountains. There, having arrived at what he believed to be his future home, overcome with fatigue, he fell into a deep sleep and dreamt of a world of sunshine, full of flowers and laughing children.
          But next morning, when he opened his eyes, he saw the sky was overcast. Dark clouds surrounded him. Above the summits a storm was blowing, whilst fog hid the valley below. It seemed that the winter with all the hail and snow was doing its best to prevent the onset of spring. The bad weather carried on for many days. But then one morning he awoke to find the fog had lifted and he could look down into the valley. The snowman saw, what no snowman had seen before. Down in the valley nature had woken from its long slumber. Children romped beside the banks of a brook that meandered through a meadow covered with beautiful flowers. The snowman gazed at the children playing and marvelled at the sun glittering on the surface of the water. But he could neither hear the children’s laughter nor the murmur of the brook. Not a sound reached his ears from the valley below. To be honest, he didn’t feel as if he belonged to the world down there.
          The snowman longed to be amidst the children. So he made his way step by step down towards the valley. But in his excitement he lost his balance and like a clap of thunder he tumbled down and down landing as a big heap of snow on the floor of the valley. The children approached the scene with shouts of joy to romp in the snow before it finally melted and joined droplet by droplet a big cloud. Since that time that cloud drifts around the world. The wind pushes it towards the morning sunrise, and the children wait for the next winter when the droplets will fall as snow to earth again.
 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Karl Wiener.
Published on e-Stories.org on 06.11.2007.

 

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