The Snowman
by dodyskin

In my grandmother's youth a man who was not a man came to the village. He was very handsome and tall, this man who was not a man, and the women of the village stole glance after glance from the corners of their eyes. The man walked through the village and went from house to house, tapping on the windows and knocking on the doors.

But the elders in the village cautioned the people. They could see that for all his beauty, the man wore a rat skin coat and that he should not be let in to sit beside the fire. So the man shivered in the driving wind and peered through the windows at the hearths inside.

The girl who would be Grandmother thought the man must be mad or stupid. Everyone knew that there were no locks on doors yet. The girl who would be Grandmother watched the man as he wandered until she began to feel a pain in her heart from looking. She went to her grandmother and asked how it was that this man could be left to freeze in the snow. Grandmother held the girl close and told her that just as a man could wear the coat of an animal, an animal could wear the coat of a man. The man who was not a man could no more freeze in the snow than the seal in the sea and Grandmother told her to keep this knowledge near her for all her days.

But the girl could not believe that anything so beautiful could be so deceptive, for she was young and hopeful still, so she took a blanket and a hot stone and ran out into the snow, crying to the man to take them.

The storm was fierce and the girl was slight, and she fought against the wind that pushed against her and whispered to her to go home. The snow beat at her face and the wind whipped at her arms and soon she was lost and wandering in the white.

She wandered for a long time. Then, she tripped and fell over a statue. It was the beautiful man, frozen and still. The girl was so tired and so lost and so sad. She climbed into his lap, wrapped the blanket around them both and went to sleep forever.

The girl who grew up to be Grandmother melted the heart of the man. He rose to his feet and carried her home and the elders saw that he was indeed a strange and unique beast. And they tried to invite him to sit by their hearths and warm himself a while.

But the man refused. He walked away and nobody in the village ever saw him again.


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