Saving spring

The winter was cold and cruel. People suffered and prayed for its end.

Published - March 23, 2017 05:00 pm IST

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

This is a folk-tale from Scandinavia. It tells us what happens when the seasons do not follow their set patterns.

It was a cold, long winter. It was almost June, and it was still winter. The people of that village suffered. One day, the mayor called a meeting in the town hall. Everyone gathered and even the roaring fire could not keep them warm. The mayor told them that Spring had been kidnapped by Old Man Winter, and he needed a volunteer to rescue her. Other villages had already sent people but had not succeeded.

On a mission

A young man named Oscar volunteered. Soon, Oscar was on his way to the North Pole. It was a cold, hard trek through snow and sleet. Oscar kept his mind alert by thinking only of the comfort Spring would bring. All through his journey he saw villages empty of people and animals. Everything was frozen and the land lay devastated.

Finally, he arrived at Old Man Winter’s castle. Soldiers surrounded him and dragged him into the palace, and locked up in a room. It was a large room, empty except for a few rabbits, deer, guinea pigs...all shivering with cold. Oscar sat down and fell asleep. When he woke up saw that he had become a tiger! Just then he saw a rabbit and he realised he was hungry. He lunged at the rabbit, but it ran away. Oscar followed it into a dark corridor but could not find it anywhere.

Oscar realised he had just tried to kill a rabbit and he was filled with remorse. He heard a voice, “It is all right my friend, this is what Old Man Winter does to people when they come to save Spring. He transforms them into animals and they forget their humanity. All the animals you saw in that room were transformed by him.”

“What can I do?” asked Oscar. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. I came to save Spring.”

“There is only one way to remember. Tattoo your name on your paw so that you never forget. All of us have our names tattooed on our paws, so that we remember. I am Greta and I come from a small village in the North. My village is frozen and the people and the animals there are dead. I am the only survivor. So, I came to save Spring. I live underground with some animals and we are digging a tunnel under the ice castle to reach Spring’s jail. But we are small and weak. But you are big and strong. You can help us dig faster...”

Greta took Oscar to the dark underground cave. Oscar worked long hours, following the maps and directions Greta had given. Days later, after many misadventures and troubles, he and the other animals reached the area under Spring’s jail. Oscar and the animals burst out of the tunnel frightening the soldiers. Spring woke up from her enchanted sleep and they left the jail and walked out of the palace.

Old Man Winter intercepted them. Spring said, “You cannot win again Old Man Winter. I was asleep when you kidnapped me. Now I am awake and am surrounded by loving people. I am now stronger than you. Go home now Old Man Winter and wait for next year. You have done great evil, and you should spend the next few months thinking about your crime and learning to regret it. Do not try to disturb the order of the seasons ever again, because if you continue to do so, Nature will eventually notice and take Her revenge.”

Old Man Winter knew he was defeated.

Spring kissed each animal, and they were human again. “Thanks to you, my heroes, all will be well again. Summer and Autumn will follow me, and Old Man Winter will not dare to interfere again.” She flew away, trailed by a stream of rose petals that showered the people as they waved at her. They said their goodbyes to each other, began their journey to the town or village they came from.

Oscar took Greta back to his village with him. Everyone welcomed them as heroes. They were soon married on the village green, where flowers grew again, and they lived happily ever after.


0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.