Jack of Saint Ledan
02/12/2012 § Leave a comment
Once a upon a time in a land faraway, there was a small country where snow is falling all year round, and the weather is always very cold. Sun will shine every now and then but never for an entire day. That country’s name is Saint Ledan, situated in a valley between two beautiful snowy mountains, and, on the other side of both mountains, a vast greenery of the forest.
Outside the two mountains were several countries and kingdoms, whose people have to cross the mountains before getting to the other side of both. A long time ago, people only stop in the valley for a while during their travels on the two snowy mountains. But later on, people started living there and built businesses for the travelers’ needs. Several years after, the population grew bigger with many people deciding to settle in the valley,and so, a new nation was born.
It was Saint Ledan’s trade to accommodate the travelers’ needs which was fundamentally the foundation of the country. They never ran out of travelers coming from different kingdoms and countries and going to another. And Saint Ledan is always so lively.
One day, when snow is not falling on Saint Ledan and the country was warmly embraced by the sun, a man travelling alone was found in an alley by the children playing in the area. He was ragged and dirty. He was wearing a white coat and white pants which both have turned grey due to dirt. His face was hidden by his long, messy hair and a falling, ragged hat. The children were afraid of him and everyone ran to their houses leaving the poor, dirty man alone.
After some time, the children came back one by one. Their arms full of either clothes, or blankets, or breads, or bottles of water. They surrounded the man and one by one give him their presents. They wrap him with blankets and feed him good food. They watched him eat the food and drink the water in an amazing speed. They all watched silently as the poor, dirty man eat the food given to him in the the alley.
After the poor, dirty man ate some of the food given to him, one boy asked him, “What is your name?”
The poor, dirty man answered, “Oh, young man! From the country I’ve been, it was proper etiquette to make yourself be known before asking someone else for his identity. But as you are young and know nothing of the world, and as I am not very respectable in my current state, and as you and your friends have provided me proper clothing and good food, I shall introduce myself first.”
The poor, dirty man drank some water, stood up gently, cleared the snow in his ragged, dirty clothes, removed his hat and fixed his hair. All the children gathered around him watched his every movement. He has soft and kind light grey eyes, a tall nose, short black beard and the features of his face were lined with kindness and softness, although it was hidden by the dirt covering his face.
He, then, faced the children and said, “I am very grateful to you, young people, for providing me warm with the blankets, and stuffing my empty stomach with delicious food. Oh, I thank you, too, for the clean, proper clothes you have kept aside for me. I go by the name of Jack Frosty, and you may call me ‘Jack’, if you would please.”
He bowed and placed his ragged hat back on his head. The children were all silent because, for some, he sounded too formal, and for others, they did not really understand what’s going on. He faced the children and flashed a big, happy smile to them and said, “As I am very grateful to each one of you, I shall present you a little performance as a gift. In all honesty, I am a part of a bigger group, but for some reason I ended up alone in this small country of yours. My friends must be worried sick for me by now, but I trust they will find me by the end of today.”
All the children stood still, silent, and only watched him. He, then, cleared his throat due to the awkward silence of the children and said, “I believe a little performance wouldn’t be as much appreciated in this small alley we are currently in. How about we all move about to a bigger space somewhere in town?”
The children looked at each other and whispered, to the one next to their right, and then, to the one to their left. A small little girl with twin ponytails raised her hand and said, “Mr. Jack, there was this place we all always play. It was only a short walk from here.”
The poor, dirty Jack answered, “Oh, young little miss, how kind of you to give an excellent idea. Then, I believe you little ones should lead the way and bring me there. But, oh wait, young ones! I would be needing a strong stick to walk with for the cold is getting to me.”
And so, one of the boys picked up a lumber lying around and gave it to the poor, dirty Jack. Then all the children and poor, dirty Jack made their way to the Saint Ledan Square while leaping and singing gaily songs.
Saint Ledan Square is an old plaza where people used to gather for festival. It was, however, pretty much unused, as a new plaza, bigger and livelier, have been built for the townspeople. Being spacious, and as it is not way too off from the children’s houses, it became a playground for them to run around all day.
Poor, dirty Jack and the small children reached the Square unnoticed by the townspeople as it was a lean time for the market and other businesses. The children started to chase each other playing their own games as soon as they reached the square. Some children stayed with Jack as he keeps on singing gaily songs. Jack cleared his throat again and said, “If I may have your attention young men and young ladies. As I have said earlier, I will be showing you a little but joyful performance. I would be glad if you would appreciate it. And, of course, each one of you is very much welcome to join me.”
The children were pleased and cheered for Jack and thus he started his little, joyful performance. He started to dance in a funny but gaily way while humming a jolly melody. He sang songs the children knew and they sang together with him, in a cheerful and excited manner. He danced around, and sang at the same time, while grabbing hold of one of the young girl’s hand, inviting her to join him. The children were all happy and some were singing together with him and the others were dancing with him. He, then, started to leap and move around the square, and the children imitated and followed him. They all sing and dance and laugh the whole time. Saint Ledan Square was full of joyful spirit, with gaily melodies from the little festivity that Jack and the children were having. And the little festivity continued on.
It was now afternoon, and the market and other trades were starting to get busy. People were walking hurriedly here and there, some old ladies were sharing gossips while others are exchanging afternoon greetings. Unlike the dead of the noon, afternoons at the plaza and market were always bustling.
The sun is preparing to set for the day and it is about time that the children go home. But the children were having so much fun singing and dancing with poor, dirty Jack that they did not even notice the change in time. Jack, however, noticed it with the skies turning red as the color of flame. Jack, then, said, “Young ones, as we have shared our joyful spirit in this place that even the air breezes happiness, I would propose that we dance and sing around the town plaza. Shall we head there now?”
The children cheered just as lively as when they have started earlier that day. Jack started to sing and dance while leaping forward and heading to town plaza. The children followed him as they dance and sing to his joyful melody. And they all headed to town plaza dancing and leaping and singing. As the town plaza and market have become busy, everyone is looking at Jack and the children as they dance and sing along the way. Some are doubtful as to who is the poor, dirty stranger accompanied by the children. Some are laughing, being affected by the happy spirit brought by Jack’s and the children’s singing and dancing.
As they reached the center of town plaza, Jack stopped and turned to face the children. He, then, said, “I believe all of us have been joyfully celebrating the entire afternoon, young ones. As the sun is about to set, and all of you are about to go home, I shall bid my farewell here.”
After Jack has spoken his words, the giggling and laughing of the children were, little by little, disappearing. Of course, they did not want to end their happy festivity. Jack, once again, cleared his throat, and said, “Of course, I am not yet to leave. I have one last performance for everyone. And, may I request that everyone join me as well?”
The children all became happy and cheered for Jack. Seeing this, Jack started to sing and dance, and the children followed him. Jack stopped for a while and said, “As this is my last performance and I should be on my way now, I will appreciate it very much if all of you continue singing and dancing as you see me off. I am very happy today for everyone seemed to enjoy my little performance and I get to see such happy faces. Now, then, should you not see me off happily, as well?”
The children looked at one another, and then looked at Jack and cheered for him. Jack removed his dirty, ragged hat, and bowed to the children. He, once again, flashed a big, happy smile to the children. He placed back his hat and started to leap away from the town plaza.
At this time, there were two guards approaching the plaza. They saw the unknown starnger with the children starting to go. The guards became alert, and one of them shouted, “Hey, you! Stop right there!”
Jack stopped for a moment, looked back and saw the children being afraid of the guards. He is not far away from where the children are, and so he said, “My, my…young ladies and gentlemen, I believed I wished from you that I be sent off happily?”
Jack, then, started to dance in a funny way with a big, happy smile in his face. After, seeing the children turning happy again, he said, “Now, then, I shall properly take my leave. And, oh, my young friends, cry not, for I, too, will be sad. I am promising you that I shall be back again someday and play with all of you just like today.”
Jack waved gently to the children and smiled happily and started to leap away again. The children continued to sing gaily as they see Jack off. The guards started to chase Jack but he has already turned to the alley were the children first saw him. When the guards reached the alley, Jack was nowhere in sight. They tried to search for Jack but the alley only leads to a dead-end. Without any clue as to where to find him, the guards went back to report to their headquarters. The children on the other hand, continued to dance and sing until their parents came to pick them up.
It was now dusk and the snow is starting to fall on the roofs, the hats of people walking, and the empty grounds. No one noticed that the snow never fall for the entire daylight – not the people on the market nor the children – for everyone was busy on their own. And from somewhere faraway, the sound of bells gently but continuously ringing can be heard.
The next day, the children returned to the alley where they found Jack. He was, however, not there and the children were disappointed. One of the children noticed a ragged dirty hat lying on the ground where Jack was the day before. It was Jack’s hat! The children thought that it fell before he left the town. Jack was nowhere in sight but one young boy took the hat and wore it. He started to dance and sing in his best imitation of Jack’s. And all the children cheered and they started to dance and sing as gaily as the day before. All the days that followed were as jolly for the children as the day before and the hat was passed from one children to the next every single day.
…did you know? On a certain day every hundred years, there will be a ragged, old hat lying somewhere in a certain country. They say that the hat casts magic to its owner, giving him a happy, youthful life. It sounds like a myth but they say that it was true. The country’s name? What was it again…?
The story was adapted from the song ‘Frosty the Snowman’ originally written by Walter ‘Jack’ Rollins.