So one morning the people from a small mountain village woke up and found their houses burried under the snow up to the roofs. They started digging tunnels from their own to the neighboring houses, and gathered in small groups to decide what they could do.
They finally decided that the best thing to do is to send someone on the highest mountain peak, where the good wizard Father Frost lived in his palace of ice and ask him for help.
But no one was willing to go on such a dangerous trip.
“I am ready to go” an old man said. “But I’m afraid I’m too old and slow to reach the peak on time. If only I was 20 years younger… ”
“Don’t worry, grandfather, I will go!” his little grandaughter said. She was an orphan, living in his home since her parents died.
“No, not you!” the neighbors pitied her: ” You are too young and tender for such a hard job!” “You don’t even have a warm coat!”, “No hat and scarf!”, “Not even woolen mittens!”.
“I’m not afraid!” The little girl said – “My feet are strong and I’m as fast as a mountain goat!”
“But you’ll freeze up there, with no shelter to hide from frost!”
“I will not.” the girl said firmly. “I have a warm little heart, full of love for everyone. It will save me from the frost.”
“Go, my child.” the old man said. “I know your good heart and I trust it.”
The children, who were all her friends, gave her their warmest clothes:
“Here, take my coat.” one of them said.
“My mittens are so warm. Put them on!” said another.
“Take my hat!”, “My scarf!”, “My woolen socks!”, “And my boots!”
Soon, the little girl was ready to go.
She waved back at her friends and started for the snowy mountain peak a quick pace…
She went further and higher, never thinking about rest. Soon she was able to see the glittering ice on top of the highest peak
All of a sudden, the whirlwinds, woke up from their sleep and noticing the little figure in the snow, became furious:
“Who dares to tresspass our property?”
Let’s show her who we are!” They screamed.
“Let’s blow at her so hard, untill she forgets where she’s heading for!”
And they started whirling fiercely around the girl
But she only huddled into her warm coat,and bravely went on.
The whirlwinds got very tired, and one after the other, fell on the ground gasping for breath.
“What a strong girl!” one of them said. “We are exhausted, and she’s not even tired…”
“No human being has ever overmastered us, let alone such a fragile little girl… If we can not manage ourselves, let’s call our sisters the Blizzards for help.”
So they called for the Blizzards…
Hearing them the Blizzards became very angry:
“She will pay for that!” They roared and threw themselves after her.
It was a long an uneven struggle, but the girl overcame the Blizzards too, thanks to her strong warm heart, that never let her feel fear, or weariness.
The Blizzards fell on the ground breathing heavily.
“That’s-s-s -a -s-s-shame!” one of them hissed. “We are not able to stop her! Let’s call our mother for help!”“
“Mother, mother!” they all screamed. ”Come to help!”
Their mother was the Frosty Winter Witch. She came at once, and said:
“I saw everything. Now listen to me: When you can not defeat someone by force, turn things the other way round. Let’s be good to her!”
“What do you mean? To kiss her?” a whirlwind asked ironically.
“Nothing of the sort.” the Frosty Winter said: “Let’s just try to be polite and kind, so she will never suspect us of any evil thoughts…
So the winds stopped and the blizzards went away.
The Frosty Winter Witch appeared before the girl in like a beautiful young woman in a sparkling white gown, with long white hairs and a crown of icy diamonds.
“Am I dreaming, or is this some good mirracle?… the girl thought. “ This beautiful lady has the face of my dear mother, and I can hear her sweet voice singing my lullaby!
Oh, how I want to hear some more! I’ll sit here for a while…” she said to herself. “I’m so near to the Palace. No more than an hour walking left…I’ll be on time…”
The little girl sat down and closed her eyes. The Frosty Winter Witch grinned in delight:
“Sleep, little girl. And may you sleep forever!”
Then she left the sleeping girl on the snowy hill and flew away to tell her children how she managed to decieve the girl.
The little girl was sleeping, smiling happily. But the colour of her face was changing as time passed. Her pink cheeks became at first red, then blue, then waxy yellow… She was slowly freezing…
Until all of a sudden, something stirred the snow. A skueaking sound was heard, and a tiny head showed up from a hole in the snow. It was a little white mouse. Her shiny black eyes fixed on the sitting figure.
“Someone’s in trouble!” squeaked the mouse. And right after that a number of little holes opened in the snow, and a number of mice peeped out of the holes.
They ran to the girl, and started massaging her feet and hands.
But mice were so little and their labours so inneficient, that they decided to call their friends the rabbits for help.
This time bigger holes opened in the snow, and a number of white rabbits peeped out and ran to the resque.
From the snow covered pine trees, a number of squirels jumped down, and soon the girl was covered with white and brown fur all over. The little animals warmed her up with their own furry bodies. They were extremely happy, to see her cheeks becoming pink again.
Soon the girl opened her eyes…
She thanked her new friends for saving her life, and told them why she was here and where she was going. “We are coming with you!” the animals cheered. “We also suffer very much from this never ending Winter.
Flocking around the girl, the animals accompanied her to the Ice Palace. There, they all knocked at the gate, but no one answered…
“What might have happened to Father Frost?” the animals wondered.
“Let’s try to open the door! It’s not locked!”. They opened the heavy gate and the girl stepped in, followed by her friends.
A glittering icy corridor lead them to a big crystal hall. And there, on a gorgeous throne of carved ice, Father Christmas was fast asleep sitting on his icy throne, dressed in silver embroidered clothes.
Two squirrels jumped in his lap and tickled his face with their furry tails..
A mighty sneezing sound made them all freeze with fear. But Father Christmas opened his blue eyes and smiled: What are you doing here, little friends?”
The girl told him everything.
“You mean, I have slept here, while the wicked Winter Witch was trying to stop Spring from coming? Throughout the whole winter?” Father Christmas asked astonished. “I gues, she decided to outsmart me and stay on Earth forever.!… But I will not let her!
Thank you little ones for waking me up! Now I’ll restore the natural order and give everyone what he deserves.”
Then he blew on his silver whistle and in an instant, all his subjects appeared in the big crystal hall. He ordered them to go and find the Frosty Winter Witch and bring her to the palace, so he could lock her down in the cellar until next year. He also told them to clear the skies from clouds, so that the sun can melt the snow.
When the big gates opened again, the sun outside was shining and the soft snow, has started to melt.
The way back was much easier. The new friends parted, promising to help anytime when needed.
Everyone in the village cheered, meeting the brave little girl.
They were very happy to pick the first snowdrops and give them to her.
Spring was also very happy to hear the songs and see the dances the children had prepared specially for her.