Once upon a time when all the ground was white with snow and all the roofs were trimmed with icicles, a little boy went out into the world to make snowballs. His mother wrapped him up so nice and warm from head to toe that you could scarcely see anything of him but the tip of his nose; and when the snowbirds that lived in his own front yard saw him, they did not know him.
They flew away to the top of the fence, and cocked their heads first on one side, and then on the other, as if they were thinking, “Who can this be?” but by and by they found out.
“Chirp, chirp,” they said to each other. “It is only the little boy who throws us crumbs from the window;” and they flew down into the yard again to watch him make snowballs.
The little boy knew just how to make snowballs, and how to throw them, too, for he had seen his big cousin do it. First he took a handful of snow, and then he packed it in his hands like this; and then hurrah! he threw it as far as he could send it. One of his snowballs went into the corner of the yard and one against a tree, and one all the way over the fence into the street. It was great fun to play in the snow, and the little boy was sad when his father called from the house to tell him it was time to come in.
“As soon as I make one more,” he answered; and he took a great handful of snow, and made such a big snowball that he thought he must take it into the house to show to his mother. Now the little boy’s mother had gone to market while he was playing in the snow; but he took the snowball into the living room, and put it on the rug near the fireplace so that she would see it when she came home.
There was a bright fire burning in, and it sounded just as if it were laughing, with its cricklety cracklety, cricklety cracklety, when the little boy put the snowball down in front of it.
“Oh! what a nice big fire,” he said; and he climbed up into the rocking chair close beside it to wait for his mother.
“Rockity rock, rockity rock,” said the rocking chair.
“Cricklety, cracklety,” laughed the fire; and the little boy was so comfortable and so warm that he went fast asleep on the cushions.
When he woke up his mother was still away at the market; and the fire was still laughing, louder than ever.
“Cricklety cracklety, cricklety cracklety;” but when he looked on the rug for his snowball it was gone! There was nothing there at all but a little pool of water.
The little boy looked under the chair and under the table and under the dresser, behind the door and in all the corners; upstairs and downstairs, high and low; but he could not find the snowball anywhere.
And what do you think had become of it? The little boy’s mother guessed as soon as she came home; and if you will ask your mother I am sure she will tell you.