The Snow Baby
by Suzanne Down
One snowy winter day, a kind woman named Anna was walking along the path in the forest carrying a large basket. She lived all alone in a little cottage in the woods, and was gathering wood for her wood stove to keep her home warm. It had been a long and very cold winter. If ever she collected extra kindling branches, she bound them in bundles tied with red twine to sell in the market place.
As Anna walked and gathered wood, snow fell all around her. Once a most beautiful and large snowflake fell on her red mitten and she looked at it. It was so wonderfully delicate, a tear fell down her cheek and landed on the snowy ground below her. She decided to make a wish. As she raised her face to the snow-filled sky she sang to the winter winds…
‘Snow and wind, hear my call.
What I wish for most of all,
A child to love with all my heart.
Thank you sweet goodness that thou art.’
She closed her eyes for a moment as if praying, then went along gathering twig and branch for her basket.
One tree had many broken branches below it. ‘The wind was strong last night, thank you dear wind for making my wood gathering easier,’ she quietly said as she gathered them all.
Her basket was almost full when she saw something in the curve of one of the tree roots. She went to look and saw, to her amazement, a tiny cradle made all of snow, and sleeping inside was a perfect, lovely, little Snow Baby.
Anna looked all around, but no one was to be seen. There were no footprints in the snow except her own.
‘Could it be? Was my wish granted,’ she spoke aloud. She carefully picked up the small cradle and the sleeping baby, tucked it securely in the basket of branches, and hurried home.
When she reached her home, the baby opened her eyes and smiled. She spoke with a merry little tinkling voice…
‘My dear earth mama,
I am from ice and snow,
I must live where cold winds blow.’
Anna then understood. This dear child was given to her to love and care for, but she needed to live outside in the winter air!
The new mama took the Snow Baby to the side of the house by her bedroom window and started to roll and pat and push the snow. She was making a snow cave for the Snow Baby to have as her room. She lined it with sweet smelling pine boughs and put the snow cradle and baby inside. And there she took good care of her, sang and played games with the child in the winter wonderland every day. At night Anna would look out from the warmth of her own bedroom window and see the Snow Baby sleeping happily in her snow cave.
Anna and the Snow Baby lived happily all winter long. Then one day, Anna noticed there were patches of green grass starting to appear on the snowy ground.
‘Oh dear,’ she cried out, ‘what will become of my Snow Baby when spring comes and all the snow melts?’
She brought more snow to the snow cave and made high snow walls around it to keep her Snow Baby cold enough!
That night Anna had a dream. Grandmother Snow spoke to her. ‘Dear Anna, you have kept your promise and loved your Snow Baby with all your heart. Love is magic. Miracles happen. Go now to the snow cave, go now!’
Anna woke with a start! She rushed outside into the night to the snow cave. She saw her Snow Baby smiling at her with arms reaching for her mama.
‘What is this dear child,’ said Anna. ‘Your cheeks are rosy!’
Anna picked up the baby and kissed her. Her cheeks were warm! The baby touched Anna’s face with her hand. Her little fingers were warm too!
For the Snow Baby had been loved so much by the pure heart of her mama that she had become a human baby. Anna took the child inside the cottage and wrapped her in a blanket. All through the night Anna rocked her and rocked her. As the baby slept, Anna looked at her and looked at her.
‘Imagine, my own real child to love all of our lives!’ And so it was, the mother and child lived a happy, happy, life in the forest cottage every spring, summer, autumn, and winter from that moment onward.
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