Feast, Christmas tree
A thin layer of snow covered the green field, and then the church bells rang for the glad Christmas season.
"The birthday bells are ringing," said the Ruler of the year slowly. "Soon the new King and Queen will be born, and I shall go to my rest as my wife has done; my rest in the gleaming star."
And in the green fir wood, where the white snow lay, there stood the Angel of Christmas, and consecrated the young trees that would adorn the feast.
In a few weeks the Ruler of the year had become a very old man, white as snow. "May there be joy in the room and under the green branches," he said. "My time for rest draws nigh, and the young pair of the new year shall receive my crown and scepter."
"But you are still in power," said the Angel of Christmas, "and not yet shall you be granted rest. Let the snow lie close and warm upon the young seed. Learn to endure that another receive homage while you are still the Ruler. Learn to be forgotten and yet to live. The hour of your release shall come when spring appears!"
"And when will spring come?" said Winter.
"It will come when the stork returns!"
With white locks and snowy beard, cold, bent, and old, but still strong as the winter storm and firm as the glittering ice, old Winter sat high up on the snowdrift on the hill, his gaze fixed toward the south, just as the Winter before him had. The ice and snow creaked with the cold; the skaters skimmed over the smooth lakes; the black ravens and crows looked fine against the white ground; no breath of wind stirred. In that quiet air old Winter clenched his fists, and the ice was fathoms thick between land and land.