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This is the story of Jake the neighborhood bully and Michael  the snowman. All the kids got together and built him every year at the first falling of snow. You see, this Village is in the frozen north where the snow lays on the ground all winter so Michael was like a member of the family to all the people in Frostyville. Everyone except Jake of course.

Everyone had been building Michael for so many years that there was no longer anyone living that didn't remember a time when Michael didn't come to live there each year. Even the oldest living person had a hand at building Michael as a child and that was old Granny Tuttle. She always had fine stories to tell about their snowman. He was such a tradition that the whole town had a big festival to mark the first snow deep enough to build their Michael. They had bonfires to keep warm and hot chocolate to warm cold hands with. Then after Michael was completed, they all went to the school and had a big party. The Michael Festival was almost bigger than Christmas itself, well almost, but Christmas was a big thing in Frostyville too.

They would string lights all over the trees around Michael so he would take on a festive glow from the lights and every child always told Michael what he or she wanted for Christmas. They all figured that surely Michael would tell Santa Claus what they said. That's how much faith and love they had in their Snowman.

As I said though, that is everyone but Jake. He had come to Frostyville as an orphan. He had been raised in a nearby town by a family that had no money or love to share with the little boy with big brown eyes that never quite warmed up to anyone and a bigger attitude. He had always been let down and by golly, it wasn't ever going to happen to him again.

Jake would pick fights with the other kids, especially the ones that were little or didn't have a bigger brother to look out for. Of course the family that took care of him now wanted to shower him with love and if he wanted, they would adopt him. He would have none of that though because he wasn't about to let someone hurt him again and of course they would too you know...

This was Jake's first year in Frostyville when snowfall time came around. He had come to town right after Michael had finished melting the last spring. There was no way he was going to go to that dumb old snowman building thing. Imagine putting so much store in a dumb old snowman and even calling him by a boy's name. They actually think that he watches out for the children, he thought, how stupid can people get? Everyday after Michael had come back to town, Jake had to walk by him to get to school. School, something else that was a waste of his time. He was so angry all the time that he started to talk to Michael as he walked by, saying things like he just ought to throw his hat away or steal his scarf or better yet, just knock the stupid thing down.

One evening on the way home after having had to stay after school for yet another fight during recess, he was in a particularly bad mood by the time he got to Michaelís place at the edge of the park. It was snowing heavily and there was no one around so he stopped to tell that dumb old snowman a thing or two. Being cold and angry beside hungry can make one sad little boy a very bad little boy. He took his book bag and swung it towards Michael while tears streamed down his face. It felt so good to let out the emotion that he kept swinging until he had done a lot of damage to poor Michael. He cried at the snowman to take that and that. Teach you to just stand there and look at ME. With that, he took off running and didn't stop until he got to his front porch.

The next day, the word went around that someone had tried to destroy Michael the night before. The mayor had discovered it on his way home from the town hall. All the children were crying and couldn't believe someone would do that to their Michael.

It didn't take long for the town to figure out that it probably was Jake that had done it since he had made no effort to hide how he felt about that stupid snowman. He denied it and they couldn't prove it so they just set about rebuilding Michael to his former glory but the town's people started watching out for their beloved snowman more carefully after that.

Now, it was a particularly cold and snowy winter that year and they had reports of wild dogs coming into town to find food. So the elders of the village told everyone to walk together and not to be out after dark if they could help it. But Jake, being Jake, never took any notice of anything anyone said to him and decided to go out and play in the woods after dinner. He had learned his way around and knew he wouldn't get lost. He tried to hunt rabbits in the snow and get them with a bow and arrow he made from sticks and string. He had to keep it hidden because everyone would be upset if they knew.

He had found a rabbit that night but had been unable to get close enough to it to hurt it and that made him angry too. Stupid rabbit, what good are dumb old rabbits anyway. Just as he rounded the corner by the park, he saw something move in the trees off to his side. He stopped and watched until he could just make out that it looked like a pack of about six dogs. When they spied him, they started to growl and creep closer to him. He threw his bow and arrows at them but they kept coming after a momentís hesitation. Jake realized that this time he was in serious trouble. They looked mean and hungry. He was too far from a house or a building to run there, they'd overtake him before he got that far. The trees were old and too tall to climb into. The only thing that was close enough to reach was that big old stupid snowman, but it was a big one and if it would hold his weight, he might just be safe. He started to run and as he did, he thought he could hear a voice, a deep voice urging him to run faster. He reached Michael before the dogs caught up to him and started to shinny up Michael. He started to slip back down but just then, it felt to Jake like there were arms helping him up to the snowman's shoulders and holding him there. Surely THAT was just his imagination since he was so scared. Then the same voice softly said to him that he was safe now. Jake started to cry. It had to be the snowman and he, Jake had tried to destroy Michael. Surely this wasn't real and if it was, why would Michael care to help him?

Just about that time, the Mayor and the Village constable came by and saw Jake up on Michael. They both said that that boy just seems to need to be punished for it this time. Suddenly, they saw and heard the snarling dogs. The Constable hooked the car horn, scaring the dogs away. When they reached Jake, he was crying heavily and sobbing his story out to the concerned men. He tried to tell them that he thought the snowman had helped him get up there and had held him up. He thought they would make fun of him and laugh at him for saying something so stupid. A snowman helping a boy, couldn't happen, could it?

That's when the mayor said to Jake with tender voice, "Jake, that's why he's named Michael, he's named after Michael the Arch Angel. He helps us all in times of need, he always has, and he always will."

After that and for many years to come, Michael's biggest fan and most ardent builder was Jake, the little orphan that thought no one loved him and no one would ever care. From Michael, the Village snowman, he had learned to love and to trust.

Written by *snogirl
© copyright 1998
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