North Wind and Little Jack Frost
One winter night old North Wind and little Jack Frost had a talk which I happened to overhear.
North Wind called Jack Frost to see a snowdrift which he had blown into a fence corner, and, with his gray wing, swept into curves as pretty as one ever sees anywhere except in a little child's face. Jack Frost looked and laughed, saying, "I can make things quite as pretty, but I must work in the water."
North Wind wrapped his cloak of clouds about him, and went to see Jack Frost work in a stream of water not far away.
As they flew, with clouds and snow before them, Jack Frost peeped in a window, and saw a little boy sleeping. "Let's do something for Willie Winkle," whispered Jack Frost.
"Agreed!" shouted North Wind. To work they went, North Wind puffing little starry gems of snow against the window-pane outside, while Jack Frost fastened them on, and, at the same time, drew pictures of trees and vines on the inside, which were so pretty that North Wind fairly shook the house, trying to get in to see them. Jack Frost, fearing all the noise of North Wind would waken Willie Winkle, hurriedly tasted the water in Willie's silver cup, which turned the water to ice, and crept out at the keyhole.
When North Wind and Jack Frost reached the brooklet, they were talking about the children they had seen that night; and the little brook stopped to listen, for she had missed the visits from the children for many a day. And, as she listened, every drop, ripple, and dimple of the brooklet turned to crystal, and stood still there, waiting until spring for the children.
When North Wind and Jack Frost passed a tiny pond, old North Wind fairly held his breath a moment with delight; then he, being the older, said, "Let's work together this winter."
"Agreed!" laughed Jack Frost, from the turret of an ice palace which he was finishing.
"Will you ripple the top of this water while I freeze it?"
"That I will," answered old North Wind.
"It will spoil the skating for the big boys, but we'll work for the little folks tonight."
So North Wind blew across the water till it wrinkled and waved like a broad field of wheat under the wing of South Wind in Summer. Jack Frost followed close upon the breath of North Wind, kissed the ripples and wrinkles, and there they stood.
The waters were all curled and frozen over little caves, shining grottos, and glittering palaces of ice.
As North Wind and Jack Frost were going home next morning, they saw Willie Winkle looking at the pretty pictures on his window.
"Let us speak to him," said North Wind. But at his voice the window rattled and shook so noisily that Willie Winkle ran away to sit by the warm fire.
After breakfast Willie Winkle went again to the window, and, seeing the beautiful drifts, and wreaths, and banks, and puffs of snow in corners, on gate-posts, and in tree-tops, he begged to go outside. He was no sooner in the yard than Jack Frost came creeping, and North Wind came shouting; and one pinched his ears; the other blew off-his hat. And such a wrestling match as Willie Winkle had with them made even his mamma laugh.
When he went in the house, his cheeks were as red as roses, and his fingers as purple as Jack Frost could make them with his kisses and pinches.