The Snow Man sat on the edge of a cloud, swinging his feet in the darkness. Puffs of smoke drifted up from his pipe and hung in the blackness like little cartoon thoughts, and occasionally he knocked his black boots together, setting loose snowflakes that fell as warm silky rain showers over unsuspecting parts of Australia. Although winter was only a babe on the calendar, The Snow Man had been busy for weeks, spending a great deal of time wandering through Scotland and over certain parts of France. He had chuckled to himself to see the snarled airports and highways - good to know the importance of his handiwork was still recognized and respected among men. Of course the dogs and the children only saw him as something in which to play and frolic. "Well", he thought, "tis the season, after all".
He was feeling quite jolly, satisfied with himself, sitting there on his cloud, when he suddenly noticed a cottage below. Lit from within with a colourful glow, each window was ringed with a mosaic of frost, each pane casting a warm square of orange out into the grey of the Christmas afternoon. He looked closer. He could now see a lady busy bustling about inside. And there on the floor was a large white dog following her every move as she sat the round table with plates of good food, singing along with the carols that played in the background, stopping every now and then to ruffle the big dog’s fur.
The Snow Man thought. Why, how long has it been? Goodness, well over a hundred years? That long since he’d paid a visit to this lady’s part of the world on this, this one day of days? Could that possibly be correct? Well, one last mission before the day was done wouldn’t kill him. Purely as a Christmas gift for these two in their kitchen. He’d hang around just a bit, just to witness their reaction, just to see their faces when they first spied his gift. Now, that would be fun.
So the Snow Man stood up to his fullest full height, and he made his way down far below to that land where his presence, always so rare yet always so welcome, was sure to surprise those two creatures he’d seen.
The lady was in mid laugh when she noticed the snow, falling as innocently as wishes, down through the pine trees and all over the sleeping garden. All the guests rushed to the windows with delight all around. The big white dog dashed outside for a run before settling down at his place neath the table, where he listened to stories and laughter galore as the snowfall grew denser, ever whiter, in the cold air outside.
And it fell and it fell, all during the night.
It fell till each emerald leaf on the grand old magnolia tree wore a muff of pure white. Till every room in the cottage glowed with with the alabaster fairy light of snow. It fell on till those snug in the cottage fell asleep in their beds, huddled together, happy and safe. It was the perfect Christmas gift and the Snow Man knew it and he smiled.
He made his way home sometime around midnight with the warm glow of Christmas still alive in his heart.