Written by Ada M. Skinner and Eleanor L. Skinner.
A long time ago, Queen Winter sat upon her iceberg throne, in the land of ice and snow, and waving her staff, a huge icicle, asked for all the Snow Fairies and Frost Fairies to draw nearer, as she wished to see them.
“Please tell me, Snow Fairies,” said Queen Winter, “what have you been up to lately; have you made anybody happy by the work you have been doing?”
Queen Winter always thought it important that we all try to make people happy by the things we do.
“Oh, yes,” they all said at once with joy, “we had a great time last night putting white clothes on the trees, white blankets over the grasses, white caps on all the fence posts, and making things look so unique that when the children came out in the morning they just shouted and laughed, and soon threw so much snow over each other that they were dressed in white, and looked just like us Snow Fairies too. They wanted to make castles, forts, snow animals, and other things with the snow as we had done. Sleds were brought out and when the sleigh bells began their music it seemed that everybody was made happy by our efforts.”
“Well done,” said Queen Winter, “I won’t keep you from your work then, as the work you do is so important.”
In a twinkling the Snow Fairies were up in a purple cloud-boat throwing a shower of snowflake kisses down to Queen Winter to thank her for giving them important things to do.
“Now, Frost Fairies,” said Queen Winter, turning to a glittering band who wore some of her own colorful jewels, “what have you been up to lately? Have you made anyone happy?”
“We have made pictures upon the windows and hung your jewels upon the trees for the people to look at, and covered the ponds so people can skate,” said Jack Frost, the leader.
“That is good,” said Queen Winter. “You and the Snow Fairies seem to be making people so happy, but pretty soon our work will be done, and the change of seasons will hide our efforts again; they will hide the snowballs, and melt the skating ponds so that the ice may float downstream. Now I would like to make something that will keep long after we are gone away. Queen Summer is asleep but her harvest of hay and grain is in the barns. Queen Autumn is gone but her harvest of apples and potatoes are in the market; now I want to leave something lasting for people, too.”
“But the sunbeams are away most of the time now,” said Jack Frost. “Can anything grow without them?”
“My harvest will grow best without them,” said Queen Winter, “and I’ll just hang up a thick cloud curtain and ask them to play upon the other side while my harvest grows. Mr. North Wind will help, and if all you Frost Fairies try your best my harvest will soon be ready.”
North Wind soon came with bags of cold air which he scattered around the land, while the Frost Fairies carried it into every little place, wondering all the while what the result would be. But after two days’ of effort they found out; for horses were hitched to sleds and people started for the lakes and rivers, saying, “The ice has frozen so thick that it is time to fill the ice-houses.”
Saws and poles were carried along, and soon huge blocks of ice were finding places upon the sleds ready for the ride to some ice-house where they would be packed so securely in sawdust that Queen Winter’s harvest would keep through the very hottest weather.
“Now people can have ice to keep their food fresh all year long,” said a Frost Fairy. “And don’t forget ice cream, ice cream in summer, fall and winter.”