Frosty the Existentialist Snowman

Once upon a time some children were playing outside in the middle of the winter, near Christmastime. The day was warm, and the snow sticky, and so the children decided to build a snowman.

They rolled three balls of snow, each smaller than the other, and stacked them up. They found a carrot and placed it in the centre of the top ball, as a nose. Then, they used lumps of coal to suggest eyes and a wide smile. They found some leafless branches for arms, and wrapped a scarf around the snowman’s neck.

The children agreed that the snowman needed further decoration. On the street nearby, half-submerged in the snow, lay a discarded top hat. One child dug the hat out of the slush and, brushing it off, placed it upon the snowman’s head.

As soon as the hat had been laid on its head, the snowman began to stir as it came to life. The children were startled, but, as children do, they accepted the event without question or fear.

The snowman was disoriented. He looked around at the children gazing up at him, then down at his thin, fragile stick-hands.

“Who are you?” the snowman asked.

“We are the children of the neighbourhood,” answered the oldest, “and we have built you out of snow on this warm winter day.”

“Who am I?” the snowman asked.

“Your name is Frosty,” the child answered, “and you are our friend.”

“Then play with me,” said Frosty to the children, mouth frozen in a smile. “The day is warm. The sun is shining. Soon, I will melt. Play with me now, while I still live. Hurry.”

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Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at www.jonathanball.com.

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