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The Snowman That Would Not Melt
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Tommy was a boy who had to think long and hard before embarking on anything new.
The snow had been steadily falling for days and everywhere was white and crisp.
Most of the children had been out building snowmen as soon as the snow settled, but not Tommy.
He wanted to build a special snowman because his Granny always told him that anything built out of love lasted forever. Of course he couldn't expect snow to last forever but he wanted it to last long after everyone else's had melted.
He found an old woolly cap and his Mother had given him a nice big orange carrot, but the only scarf he had was his school one and he knew he shouldn't use that.
His Granny and Grandad were here for the Christmas holidays and he knew Grandad always wore a scarf.
When Tommy asked him if he could use his he chuckled but said, "Sorry Tommy, your Granny would skin me alive. She always knits me a scarf every Christmas, but if you wait until Christmas day then I shall have two and you can have the old one."
Tommy had to be content with that and decided to use his school scarf to begin with and then swap it on Christmas day.
Armed with a shovel and thick gloves he started building his snowman.
His Dad offered to help him but this was something Tommy wanted to do on his own. Every stage of the snowman was slowly built and packed down hard.
As each section was finished he lovingly patted it and smiled.
He felt as though he was building a friend instead of a cold piece of ice.
It took him two days to finish and he decided to name him 'Smiley' as the coal shaped mouth was grinning back at him.
Whenever he passed the window in the living room he checked to see if he was still standing there and grinning.
Tommy stopped to talk to Smiley several times a day and his family wondered what he found to talk to a snowman about.
Some of the children in the neighbourhood poked fun at him but he didn't care, he was sure Smiley could hear him because his smile was larger than ever.
One evening a strange thing happened that only his Grandad saw.
As he stood at the window watching some children having a snowball fight, a large snowball hit Smiley full in the face knocking off his carrot nose.
One of the boys picked it up and ran away with it; just as his Grandad thought about replacing it before Tommy noticed, the snowman grew a new nose.
He didn't tell Tommy what he had seen but he started to keep an eye on the snowman and saw even more strange things.
Because most of the other children's snowmen had either melted or been knocked down they thought it great fun to try and ruin Tommy's.
Several times they snatched his hat or scarf but every time they were instantly replaced; not always with the same colour.
But for some strange reason Tommy didn't notice, or if he did he never mentioned it.
Christmas day came and the weather turned mild and warm.
The sun was shining and Tommy worried about Smiley.
All the other snowmen in their neighbour's gardens had melted and were just pools of water but Smiley stood tall and proud.
At first it was put down to how hard Tommy had packed the snow but gradually people stopped to look and wonder why the snowman hadn't melted.
Could it be that he had mixed something with the snow?
Others said that obviously it wasn't real.
Tommy just smiled to himself because he knew that Smiley was more than a snowman, he was his friend.
The day his Grandparents were leaving his Grandad took him to one side for a chat.
"I know you love that snowman Tommy but is it fair to hold on to him now the snow has gone?" he asked kindly.
"But he's my friend and I never want to lose him." Tommy said unhappily.
"Do you love him?" his Grandad asked gently, "because if you really love someone you want what is best for them don't you, not what is best for you?"
"But he likes it here otherwise he would have melted by now wouldn't he?"
"Maybe he is staying for your sake Tommy, because he knows you love him, but it's time to let him go son."
Tears sprang to Tommy's eyes but he knew his Grandad was right, but he would miss Smiley so much.
Hand in hand with his Grandad, they went to say their goodbyes to Smiley.
Because of what he had seen the snowman do his Grandad felt that he was also saying goodbye to a friend.
Tommy gave Smiley one last hug and said, "Thank you for being my friend and listening to me; I will miss you."
A single tear dropped from Tommy's eye on to the snowman's face and so the process began.
Within hours the snowman had almost melted away and Tommy stayed in his bedroom not wishing to see it.
Sometimes when Tommy was walking up the path to the house he would look at where Smiley had stood and heave a big sigh.
One day he noticed a small green shoot appearing out of the grass and each day it grew taller and taller.
In no time at all a tree stood where Smiley had stood and it became the talk of the neighbourhood.
No one had ever seen such a strange looking tree and Tommy's parents were puzzled as they knew they hadn't planted it.
The trunk was very dark, almost black and the leaves were several different shades of green. Bright red flowers appeared and the centres were orange.
Tommy felt a sense of contentment every time he looked at the tree but didn't know why.
His Grandad did though.
The red was the same shade as the woolly hat Smiley had worn and the centres of the flowers were the same colour as a carrot.
Maybe his wife was right.
Things built out of love will last forever but maybe just in another form.
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