This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Friday, 12 October 2012


It was a cold night. The wind whistled through bare branches, and the thin clouds scudded by overhead, so quickly that they seemed to be a thin curtain trying to hide the stars.

The boy and the dog snuggled up close together. The boy was short and thin, dressed in a pair of worn blue denims, an old off white T shirt and a brown sweater which was beginning to unravel. The dog was a small black mongrel with a broad white stripe across her shoulders and down her front legs. She lay as close to the boy as she could get, her thin muzzle slotted beneath his neck, her legs bent uncomfortably to bring her torso as close as she could to his. The boy had one arm thrown over the dog, and was sleeping. The dog’s eyes were closed, but she was not sleeping. She was trying to keep from moving, because that might wake the boy, and because it was warm where she was.

It grew colder in the streets and the fields, and the clouds vanished so that the sky stretched overhead brilliant with a million diamond bright lights. Towards midnight, the temperature dropped even more sharply, and an iron cold came upon the land.

The boy slept, and the dog lay still with her face beneath his neck and his arm over her body.

And so it was that Grandfather Frost came down upon the land. He strode over hills and valleys, over field and forest, and at every step of his the land glittered with sparkles of ice. His eyes were the blue of icebergs under a Viking sky, his beard the white of the Antarctic plains, his skin the colour of the ice cap on Chomolungma, queen of mountains. He walked tall over water and land, and at last he came to the town and walked over its narrow lanes and its tall houses, and there at last he came upon the dog and the boy.

For a long time he stood looking down at them, where they lay together in a shop doorway with a cardboard box for shelter, and the boy stirred a little in his sleep, and the dog growled uneasily, and Grandfather Frost stood looking down at them. Then he made a little sign and passed on.

And that night the wind blew hard and the frost came down iron-hard on the land, and the river began to freeze. But in one little doorway it was warm as spring, and the echoes of the songs of nightingales hung faint on the air.

In the morning the boy woke up and patted the dog and looked around, astonished.

“Look at that frost,” said the boy. “It seems enough to have frozen us both to death, but I never felt the least bit cold, did you?”

The dog wagged her tail and licked his face.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2008

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