When morning dawned, the forest was covered with a blanket of sparkling, powdery snow. Holly felt it on her leaves before she opened her eyes. And when she did open them, she gasped in delight. It was almost like waking on a different world. Every branch and reed was etched with snow, and the ground was smooth and rounded under the soft covering
Holly chose one of her happiest morning songs to wake her fellow forest dwellers, and she could hear them laughing at the surprise and pleasure of the sight.
It was the deer’s day to prepare breakfast for the guests at the camp, and they quickly whipped up big servings of warm porridge. They sweetened it with maple sap and stirred in crunchy pine nuts and acorns, and soon the visitors were lining up to enjoy their breakfast feast.
So many guests had arrived that it took a couple hours to feed everyone. But the winterbirds had come to sing Festival carols and the rabbits came to dance, so the time passed swiftly.
When the last guest was served, a large buck stepped up to the platform that was used to stage the entertainment, his antlers gleaming with a covering of snow. He was reading a list of activities that the forest dwellers had arranged for the guests when a ripple of jingling bells sounded. Instantly everyone in the forest grew still to listen for the magical voice. “Greetings, Friends,” it said, filling the air everywhere. “This is your ten-minute alert. Today’s surprise guests will be her shortly.” Everybody whistled and cheered.
The great buck quickly explained to the new comers that they were in for a treat. Magic was about to unfold and they would see visitors from the Home World. He asked them to set aside whatever they were doing and get ready just to listen and watch when the guests appeared.
The jingle bells sounded again. “Five-minutes,” the voice said. All the forest grew quiet then while everyone waited, full of excitement, for what would happen next.
Suddenly, the snow, which had stopped just before dawn, seemed to be falling again. Everyone could see it, but no one could feel it on their fur or feathers or leaves. Then, right in the center of it, two baby penguins popped into a clearing.
“Hello! Hello!” they sang. “We’re Paul and Polly Penguin, come from the winterlands of Home World to greet you! We hope you like the snow! Little Pine said that it would be a fine treat for you, especially for your visiting bears.
“We love the snow. We live in it all the time, and we have legends about it,” Paul Penguin said. “We say it is the breath of the Yes laughing, frozen by the cold air.”
“We like it so much,” said Polly, in a sweet and merry voice, “because it’s like sparks of the Great Light, falling to brighten our spirits. Just seeing it makes us so happy that all we can do I play! We ski and sled and skate. We make great castles of snow and make up pretend stories to act out in them. And it’s all great fun.”
“Little Pine asked us to bring you greetings from the Spirits of Fun, by the way,” Paul continued. They’re great friends of ours and often visit us in our winterland. They’ve told us as much about you as Little Pine has. And they sent a special gift for you, in honor of the happiness in your hearts. we’re delighted to see for ourselves all the joy in your hearts, the Light that each of you shines into the world.
“Hold on to that good cheer, friends. Every world needs it; yours more than many. Your happiness has the power to comfort and soothe and heal many wounds. And we have come to thank you, for being who you are, and for understanding in your hearts that life is meant to be lived in gladness and joy.”
“Now, before we go,” Polly said, “here is your gift from the Spirits of Fun. From this moment on, for the rest of the day, each snowflake that touches you will fill you with bubbling light that will make you grin and giggle.”
“Farewell now, and Happy Festival!” the penguin babies sang. And they faded away in a swirl of snow, that continued to fall the rest of the day.