As the snowstorm rages outside, with its pellets driven by the howling winds to rattle the windows, this seems to be an appropriate time to dwell on the various stories and legends of snow and winter in a serious of posts.
Jack Frost is often portrayed as an older man, though sometimes the depiction shows him as a young adult or teenager. In both cases he is a creature of the imagination, a sprite or fairy-like personification of the frosty, frigid weather, a variant of old Man Winter.
The changing of colors at end of summer is attributed to him as he is depicted with paint brush and bucket coloring the autumnal foliage, red, yellow, brown and orange.
He is considered friendly but, if provoked, he could kill his victims by covering them with snow.
Jack Frost’s roots appear to have originated from Anglo-Saxon and Norse winter customs. In Viking lore, he may have been referred to as Jokul Frosti (“icicle frost).
In the literature of the early 20th century his characterization took on a more spite-like personality and he was portrayed as dire, mischievous, carefree, happiest when he can behave as he pleases, with no obligations, and somewhat sinister.
He is held responsible for painting the frosty, fern-like patterns on windows and for nipping the extremities in cold weather. Over the years he has taken on the role of villain, hero and disinterested natural force.
Here’s an old Indian Legend called:
The Story of Winter Snow
Once upon a time there lived two Indian boys with their grandmother in a wigwam. One day, while the boys were away hunting for some meat, a stranger called on the grandmother and specifically asked for the boys. As they had yet to return, she politely asked him in to wait for their return.
Late that night they showed up loaded with a large buck deer. The visitor readily accepted the invitation to share the cooked venison. After the meal, the stranger asked the grandmother for her permission to remain with them for the winter. Being a very kind woman she agreed without question.
He was actually a shaman and whenever the boys went on a hunt he gave them hunting medicine to assure their success. This man’s name was Winter Snow.
When spring came he thanked the grandmother for her kindness and hospitality and was gone.
The young man being so drawn to him wanted to go with him and snuck out to pursue him into the woods. One morning after this, the old woman heard a moaning sound outdoors and found that the snow was melting. This sound was made by her grandsons who, as they followed the mysterious stranger, had been transformed into winter snow.