The Snowman and The
By Béatrice Quinio
"It is so delightfully cold today", the snowman said. "My whole body crackles with pleasure. The sky is gray, the clouds hang low and this icy wind whips right through me. I wish it would last a whole life."
The snowman had been brought into existence one freezing afternoon in December in the farm yard, amidst the children's cheerful shouts. The pale sun was about to go down and the full moon appeared in the sky; big and round, bright and beautiful it shone from the black sky among the stars.
"If only I knew how to get away from here", the snowman said with a sigh. "I should so like to move. If only I could, I would immediately go to the pond and skate on the ice, just like the children did a moment ago. I would also love to travel and to discover the world and all its wonders... But I can't move".
"Away, away!" barked the farm's small Corgi, whose turn it was to keep guard in the yard this evening. He was getting old and his voice had turned hoarse at the beginning of winter, and now he couldn't bark properly anymore. But he still loved to talk with all the small guests who gathered in the yard during winter, the tits and robins, the foxes and weasels and not to forget the tiny ice fairies, which only the Corgis are able to see. "The sun will soon make you travel" he said to the snowman. "I saw it last winter with your predecessor. Away! Away!"
"I don't understand", said the snowman. "How can the sun make me travel?"
"You know nothing at all", the small Corgi replied; "but it is true, you will soon discover the world. Yesterday, when the children returned from school, it was snowing. This is how you came into existence. But believe me, when the sun returns tomorrow, a great adventure will begin for you".
"But how come?" The snowman kept wondering.
"There will be a break in the weather. I can feel it in my left hind foot. Away! As soon as the temperature starts to rise, you will slowly begin to melt and turn into water. Then you will flow from here into the creek down there behind the barn. The creek flows to the river and the river flows into the sea, which begins after the fields and hills where the sun goes down every evening."
"My friend, you have been on this earth for much longer than I. Can you tell me whether it is painful to melt?" the snowman inquired slightly worried. "I only know life from its frosty side..."
"Not at all" said the small sheepdog. "You will hardly notice anything at all. Only the sun's caressing! And trust my Corgi words, it is softer than this icy wind!"
"What a relief!" the snowman whispered. "But once I'm in the sea, what will then happen to me?", he still wanted to know.
"That's the beauty of it! Away! Away!" the small sheepdog barked again, very proud of himself. He was all smiles and turned round three times. "Do you see the small cloud coming out of my mouth when I'm barking? This is water vapour and as such you will rise from the sea up to the clouds in the sky, which will bring you to other countries. And next winter you will be reborn as snowflakes and, if you are smart, you will fall in a place where children are playing... Do you get it?"
As a matter of fact the weather changed. The next morning a bright sun made the snow covered fields glitter. The whole country round looked like a forest of white coral. The ice fairies had been busy the whole night. Still quite stiff from the cold, the rooster began to crow. Soon, the first sun rays would warm the earth enough to melt the snow on the frozen fields and make the blackbirds sing.
While the small Corgi had fallen asleep next to the warm stove in the kitchen, the snowman began to drip and then to sweat, faster and faster, until he flowed in all directions. At noon there was hardly anything left of him. His two big coal eyes were lying on the ground and the small birds had flown away with the carrot that was his nose.
But behind the barn, near the fields where the Corgi usually led the cattle, you could hear the clear and joyful song of the creek with which the now melted snowman mixed; overjoyed he now was on the big journey that his friend, the dog, had promised him.
Freely adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Snow Man".
English translation ANo
Graphic by Béatrice Quinio