5 September 2014

The Lady of the Cold

They went out on to the landing-stage and sniffed towards the sea, The evening sky was green all over, and all the world seemed to be made of thin glass. All was silent, nothing stirred, and slender stars were shining everywhere and twinkling in the ice. It was terribly cold.

Yes, she's on her way, said Too-ticky. “We'd better get inside.”...

Far out on the ice came the Lady of the Cold, She was pure white, like the candles, but if one looked at her through the right pane she became red, and seen through the left one she was pale green.

Suddenly Moomintroll felt the pane become so cold that it hurt, and he drew back his snout in rather a fright.

They sat down by the stove and waited.

“Don't look,” said Too-ticky...

The Lady of the Cold was walking past the bathing-house. Perhaps she did cast an eye through the window, because an icy draught suddenly swept through the room and darkened the red-hot stove for a moment. Then it was over...

The Lady of the Cold was standing by the reeds. Her back was turned, and she was bending down over the snow.

“It's the squirrel.” said Too-ticky. “He's forgotten to keep at home.”

The Lady of the Cold turned her beautiful face towards the squirrel and distractedly scratched him behind one ear. Bewitched, he stared back at her, straight into her cold blue eyes. The Lady of the Cold smiled and continued on her way.

But she left the foolish little squirrel lying stiff and numb with all his paws in the air...

“He's quite dead,” said Little My matter-of-factly...

“At least he saw something beautiful before he died,” said Moomintroll in a trembling voice...

“This squirrel will become earth all in his time” [said Too-ticky kindly]. “And still later on there'll grow trees from him, with new squirrels skipping about in them...”
-- from Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson (1957)

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