'White Snow Bright Snow'

Story Time

November 18, 1998|By Alvin Tresselt

Editor's note: When it begins to look, feel and smell like snow, everyone prepares for a winter blizzard.

Softly, gently in the secret night,

Down from the North came the quiet white.

Drifting, sifting, silent flight,

Softly, gently, in the secret night.

White snow, bright snow, smooth and deep.

Light snow, night snow, quiet as sleep.

Down, down, without a sound;

Down, down, to the frozen ground.

Covering roads and hiding fences,

Sifting in cracks and filling up trenches.

Millions of snowflakes, tiny and light,

Softly, gently, in the secret night.

The postman said it looked like snow. The farmer said it smelled like snow.

The policeman said it felt like snow, and his wife said her big toe hurt, and that always meant snow.

Even the rabbits knew it, and scurried around in the dead leaves. While the children watched the low grey sky, waiting for the first snowflake to fall. Then, just when no one was looking, it came. One flake, two flakes, five, eight, ten, and suddenly the air was filled with soft powdery snowflakes, whispering quietly as they sifted down.

The postman put on his rubbers. The farmer went to the barn for a snow shovel. The policeman buttoned up his coat. His wife made sure she had cough mixture in the medicine cabinet.

But the children laughed and danced, trying to catch the lacy snowflakes on their tongues. While the rabbits hid in their warm burrows under the ground.

Faster and faster came the tiny snowflakes, and the brown earth turned white.

Fields and stone walls, roads and gutters, lawns and sidewalks, BTC all were buried under the soft white snow. It covered the roofs of houses, and piled on top of chimneys. It filled the cold tree branches with great white blossoms. And when night came, icy cold snowflakes sparkled in the light of the street lamps.

The postman slipped and fell into a snowbank. The farmer dug a path from his house to the barn.

The policeman got his feet wet, and had to soak them in a tub of hot water. His wife put a mustard plaster on his chest so he wouldn't catch cold.

The rabbits stirred in their sleep, deep in their warm burrows under the ground, under the snow. And the children dreamed of snow houses and snowmen as they slept in their snug beds under the roof-tops, under the snow.

Silently, the frost made pictures of ice ferns on the window panes. Then without a sound, just when everybody was asleep, the snow stopped, and bright stars filled the night.

In the morning a clear blue sky was overhead and blue shadows hid in all the corners. Automobiles looked like big fat raisins buried in snowdrifts. Houses crouched together, their windows peeking out from under great white eyebrows. Even the church steeple wore a painted cap on its top.

The postman put away his rubbers and took out his high boots. The farmer milked his cows in a barn filled with bright snow-light.

The policeman had a chill, and stayed in bed. His wife sat in a rocker and knitted a long woolen scarf for him.

The rabbits hopped about as best they could, making long funny rabbit tracks in the soft snow. The children made a snowman, a snow house, a snow fort, and then had a snowball fight.

Each day the sun grew stronger, and the snow melted. Big patches of soft muddy ground showed through the snow in the fields. The sound of dripping, running water and the smell of wet brown earth filled the warm air.

The postman slowly delivered his mail so he could enjoy the bright sunshine. The farmer let his cows out in the barnyard for the first time since winter began.

And the children watched for the first robin to tell them Spring had really come.

Excerpt from the book WHITE SNOW BRIGHT SNOW by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. Copyright 1947 by Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Company, Inc. Copyright 1988 by Alvin Tresselt. Reprinted by permission of Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, a division of William Morrow & Company, Inc.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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