This is an allegorical story I wrote this spring for my son encouraging him to look for the deeper meaning of the story. It’s about Hope and Belief, Heaven, and the Power of Jesus Christ over Death. It’s a step away from my usual posting, however I’ve had a few people ask that I put it on so that they could read it to their kids. Here goes:
Freckles came into the world early one fall morning. He didn’t know much, other than sense the world was now a much colder place than before. He would roll into a tight ball with the other bits of warmth around him. A larger warmth became his source of comfort and food. He would seek out that warmth constantly. It was his life. He soon came to know the other little bits of warmth as sisters and brothers. There were seven of them. The larger warmth he soon called Mama. Together they were family.
For a long time Freckles stayed burrowed in a nest with his brothers and sisters. However, the urge to move grew upon him as he grew older and his body filled out and strength came to his legs. Eventually his eyes opened and he became more and more aware of the world around him. It was dim and filled with poky stiff brown bits. “Straw.” He could see other bits of fluff and knew they were his sisters and brothers. They too liked to explore in little circles, but mainly they all stayed in a ball because it was warmest there together.
As Freckles grew stronger he explored further from the hollowed out nest. He discovered a big world filled with strange creatures. A big hairy beast with a wet nose liked to come in and stick that wet nose right in his face and take a big sniff. The first time freaked Freckles out. His tail shot up stiff as a stick and his back arched involuntarily. A tiny hiss escaped his mouth and he stayed frozen like that until the beast retreated. Soon he learned the beast was called Dog and it was no threat– as long as he moved very VERY slowly. There were other creatures that looked just like his mama, though they were much bigger and rougher. Cats. That’s what Freckles and his family were.
Eventually Freckles grew brave enough to venture out of the straw towards a great source of light. It hurt his eyes, but he was drawn to it. He stood on the threshold of the hole that separated the light from the darkness of his home and gazed out in disbelief. The world was much bigger than he had presumed. It was gigantic and scary and made him feel very small. It was very bright outside, and a soft looking whiteness draped over everything in mounds. Tall sticks pointed up into the grayish expanse that his Mama called “Sky”, as she walked past, her feet making dents in the whiteness. “Snow.” Freckles sniffed the snow and found it wet and cold with very little smell.
He and his siblings grew accustomed to checking out the world beyond the door, but they stayed close to the shed that was their home, because they grew cold quickly and tired easily. It was safe and familiar.
Other creatures came often. One was very tall and quiet. One was smaller and very noisy. They walked on two legs and the tall one brought a good thing—A warm liquid that pleased the mouth. “Milk.” The smaller one was scary at first and very rough, but really it was okay once you got used to it. Mama called them “her People.” She said to watch out for the little one, he could be rough but really meant no harm. The tall one was everyone’s favorite because she brought the food and gave wonderful cuddles and pets.
One day Freckles woke up and it was so, so very cold. No matter how hard he burrowed into the warmth of his siblings, he couldn’t stay warm enough. His mother and all the other cats curled in tight and together they found some warmth. No one moved very much. Not even the dog. The deep cold lasted for a long time and a few of Freckles siblings stopped moving. His mama carried them out and he never saw them again. He was very sad and missed them a lot. At times he was so cold he thought he would stop moving too just like them.
The snow grew into giant hills around the outside of the shed and it was dark for long periods of time. The people came every day with food and warm milk. Freckles was very grateful that they provided the warm milk which warmed up his belly for a time. The days were filled often with a howling that mama called “Wind” and blowing snow that stung if he was brave enough to go out of the door of the shed—which wasn’t often. He preferred the bit of warmth found by curling up with his family.
It was all just regular life to Freckles. He didn’t know any different and he made up games with his four remaining sisters and brothers. They would roll in Dog’s fluffy long tail and bite and wrestle and chew. He thought life was good, though hard and sad at the same time.
The days grew warmer and he would go outside and sit on top of the snow hills and watch little creatures fly in the sticks above him. They were busy little creatures and so very fascinating. “Birds.” They would sing out a sweet little chicka-dee-dee and always flit to an high stick when he tried to catch them. They came out even in the blustery weather and were always cheerful and busy. Being brave enough he’d climb high up in the sticks and balance carefully to watch them collect seeds from a special feeder the tall person always filled for them. He thought about catching them, but they were always too quick.
Some days were really warm. So warm that Freckles could go for a much longer adventure from the shed. He discovered that the world was much the same everywhere. Snow was everywhere, except the on the tall sticks that stood up into the sky. Some other kind of sticks were covered in hard bushy bristles. “Trees.” Sometimes the snow covered the bushy trees too.
The snow even covered the home of the people and covered their big, loud moving beast that they would get into and disappear for long periods. Always they would return, and the cats enjoyed jumping all over the beast that was warm for a little while after it quit moving and making growling noises.
One especially warm day, Freckles became aware that all the animals talking about something they called summer. Everyone seemed excited. But it sounded really strange to him.
So he asked his mother, “What is summer?”
“Summer is a wonderful time, son. It’s when the snow is no longer here and there is green grass and it’s warm all the time. So warm, that we don’t even need to stay in the shed! It’s wonderful!”
Her explanation was confusing. The snow would leave? He couldn’t imagine the world without snow. That would be very strange. And grass? What IS that? And green? Whatever could she mean? The warm part sounded really good though, enough for him to be excited.
His mama explained that grass was what was under the snow and was much like straw only softer and stuck to the ground, along with something called dirt. Which was another wonderful thing to dig in. Though he couldn’t really figure out how it would all look like. She said that green was a color much like the bristly trees only much brighter and greener. Freckles tried to picture that and it was so very strange. And she added that the stick-like trees would be covered in clothes of green too!
It was all so very strange and scary and kind of wonderful to think about. He was looking forward to this summer! He wanted it to come right now! Every day he would bounce up from his straw nest and look out and expect summer! But it was still white. Every day it didn’t change. It always looked the same. He grew upset with his mother for telling him such a story about something called summer.
“It’s just not true, this summer thing you talk about!” He grumbled to Mama.
“Why do you say that?”
“I don’t believe you because everything is the same. Nothing changes. I think the snow will always be here.”
“The snow WILL leave. Slowly it will go and at the right time it will be summer.”
“Well how can we make summer hurry up and come then?”
“We can’t. We don’t do the work of bringing summer.”
“Then how does summer come? What tells the snow to leave?”
“It all has to do with the sun.”
“Oh you know that big bright thing that comes up in the sky every morning and leaves for the night.”
“How could that thing possibly bring summer?”
“It’s exactly what is needed to bring summer, my son. It is warmth and light and it is what makes the snow go away.”
“But how? It’s here now and doesn’t seem to make any difference at all.” Freckles gazed up at the bright light in the sky and sneezed.
“Oh but it is! Every morning it comes a little bit sooner and stays a little bit longer. The snow is starting to feel it’s power and it’s running away! It can’t match the power of the sun, no matter how hard it tries.”
Freckles decided to watch and see if his mother was right and sure enough he noticed that it didn’t stay dark as long and the snow hills were shrinking and suddenly there was something appearing where the snow had retreated. Grass? He wondered. Though it looked more straw-colored than this green mama talked about. He pointed this out to his mother.
“Oh it will change to green. The sun will make sure of that.”
And he believed her! It really did seem like the sun was winning! Until one day he woke up and it was dull and gray with the wind was howling and a thick layer of new snow had covered up everything just the same as before. It was so dull it was as if the sun had forgotten to show up that day. He was crushed. The hope of summer dwindled and he moped in the shed with the other cats who were also grumbling about sun not doing a very good job.
“I thought you said summer was coming? I’m starting to think it’s something you made up.” Freckles accused his mother as they sat in the doorway and watched the snow come down. “I thought you said the sun was powerful. But it doesn’t look that way. I think the snow will stay forever like always!”
“It may seem that way to the untrained eye, but my dear, the sun IS powerful! And it’s still working even when you can’t see it.” Mama nudged his shoulder gently.
“Doesn’t look that way to me!” Freckles scowled up at the darkened sky.
“Don’t worry, the Sun WILL win! The snow WILL leave and summer will come, you just have to believe that.”
“I don’t think I can. I don’t see how it could possibly win. Look at all this snow! I think we need to figure out how to make the snow go away ourselves. Like using those things the people use to scrape it back, only bigger!”
“There is nothing WE can do to make the snow go away, my dear. It is completely the work of the sun. It is the only thing that will defeat the snow. The ONLY thing that will bring summer.”
“But I want summer to come now! I can’t wait for it to happen some day.” Freckles whined.
“The best thing to do son, is to stay hopeful and keep showing up every day to look for the signs of the Sun’s work. The more you look the more you will find.”
Freckles did as his mama suggested and kept an eye open for any sign of change. The Sun did get stronger and even though there were days of cold and snow, the irresistible power of the Sun’s rays made the snow run away a little quicker each day. At first it was hard to tell but soon Freckles feel a difference in the snow. It became stickier and heavier. Soon he saw big patches where the snow had left and dry grass was in its place, and he could feel a warmer touch to the wind.
Loud honking noises in the sky drew his attention and massive bird creatures flew over heralding the news that summer was just around the corner. More and more birds showed up to join the friendly chickadees and chat about the changes happening. There was an expectant feeling in the air now.
However, even with all these changes, Freckles was confused. Though the Sun seemed to be defeating the snow, it still didn’t look like the summer Mama described. It seemed, the quicker the snow left, the muddier and deader things looked. The sun exposed junk and mounds of manure–from the ponies in the pasture and the chickens in the yard–that had been trapped in snow. The sun melted the snow but revealed a dead, brown, ugly landscape that really stunk. And still, heaps of dirty, yellowed snow clung to many parts of the yard, apparently resistant to the heat of the sun.
Mama encouraged Freckles to stay patient and keep watching when he complained. She explained that the Sun would bring new life to the world. And soon he saw that the strong steady light of the Sun was compelling something from the snow-free ground. Tiny bits of green poked up from the dirt. A faint glow of something filled the whole world. He couldn’t see it when he looked at it dead on. It was a glow only caught out of the corner of his eye. Was this the green his mother described?
Freckles got up each morning looking for signs of new life coming out of the deadened landscape. He was hoping that the Sun would defeat the snow once and for all–hoping that summer really was as wonderful as his mother described.
Every day he showed up, and the sun showed up, and you know what? His Mama was right! The sun DID win! The snow ran away and was completely gone! The dead, brown grass DID turn green and fresh clothes of green covered the naked trees! But you know something?
It was SO VERY much better than she described!