When Jack Frost was young

This story is about Jack Frost, who in his young years did not want to listen to his mother, Mrs. Old North Wind. One morning he woke up and made a lot of noise, waking his mother up too. “What are you doing? You’re making so much noise this early in the morning,” she grumbled.

“It’s time for me to do my rounds,” Jack Frost said firmly. “I want to start early so the farmers don’t beat me to it and bring their corn and pumpkins to the barn. They’ll have to take me into account, mother. I’m a feisty young man and they’ll know it.”

“Go back to bed, you,” Mrs. Old North Wind said. “It’s not time for frost yet. You’ll have to wait at least two weeks before you can start your rounds.”

“Oh, mother, you’re so old-fashioned,” Jack Frost said. “I want to get to work now. Those farmers think they know everything about the weather, but I want to show them that I’m smarter than they are. I’ll bring the frost tonight.”

“Listen to me, if you don’t want to ruin all your beautiful paintings, Jack, then go back to bed now and wait until I call you. I may be old-fashioned, but I know the value of the beauty of your work, and you have a good reputation as an artist.”

But Jack Frost, like many sons, thought his mother was too old-fashioned. But to prevent her from worrying, he crawled back into bed and stayed quiet all day. When it got dark, he listened to see if Mrs. Old North Wind was still asleep before quietly getting out of bed. He quietly fetched his large white coat and hat and then filled his large white bag with shiny white ice from his mother’s chest. He filled the bag completely. “I’ll give them a good frost tonight,” he said, laughing at the thought of the surprise he would give the farmers.

Then he crept quietly past his sleeping mother and went outside, quickly flying over hill and dale. He spread the white frost everywhere, and when he finally finished his work, the old Sun Man, who appeared over the top of the hill, looked with horror at the white world. “You scoundrel!” he shouted at Jack Frost. “You’re too early! You’ve ruined all your paintings for this year!”

“Old fool, what does he know?” Jack said to himself as he hurried home. “He’s just like mother, just old-fashioned.” Jack crawled quietly into bed, and only woke up when his mother called him.

“Come,” she said one day. “It’s time for you to get to work. Your paintings will be beautiful now. But be careful, my son, sprinkle only light frost tonight and do it again tomorrow night. I’ll go outside tomorrow morning to see what it looks like.”

Jack Frost didn’t tell his mother that he had already been out. He didn’t have to, because the next morning, before Mrs. Old North Wind was on her way, she knew what had happened when she looked out over the landscape. There was no color to be seen, everything was black and brown. “Come outside and look at your work,” she said to her son. “You thought you knew better than your old mother.”

Jack Frost had no idea what Mrs. Old North Wind meant, but he felt that something was wrong, so he followed his mother meekly. When they reached the forest, he knew that something was indeed wrong. There were no beautifully colored leaves on the bushes or trees to be seen. They were all brown and black. “What’s wrong with my paintings?” he asked. “I thought they would be very beautiful this year.”

“You took away the colors before it was time. And you not only surprised the farmers, but you also ruined all your beautiful paintings. Furthermore, you deceived the people who were looking forward to them. There will be no frost this year because you thought you knew better than I did. Go home, there’s nothing left for you to do. Perhaps next year you will listen to me better and not get up before I call you.”

Jack Frost went home, sadder but wiser. He slept the whole next year and did not stick his cold nose out from under his blanket until Mrs. Old North Wind called him again.