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Mary-Mary and the Snow Giant
Joan G. Robinson
One day Mary-Mary woke up and found that some more snow had fallen in the night. There had been snow for two or three days, but it had all got trampled and dirty. Now there was a new white covering over everything. It looked very pretty.
Mary-Mary decided to go out before breakfast and be the very first person to make foot prints in the new snow.
She dressed quickly and quietly, put on her coat and crept downstairs. In the hall she found Father's boots.
"Just the thing," said Mary-Mary to herself. "I shall feel like a proper snow giant in those." And she stepped inside them, shoes and all, and went quietly out into the back garden. And nobody else knew anything about it at all.
At breakfast-time Mary-Mary's big brothers and sisters were all very excited, talking about the new snow.
"Let's divide the lawn into four," said Miriam; "then we can each have our own part. I shall make a snow palace in mine."
"Good idea," said Martyn. "I shall make a big white horse in mine."
"I shall make an igloo and be an Eskimo," said Mervyn.
"And I shall make a snow queen," said Meg. Mary-Mary said, "I shall do something
better than all of those. I shall make a snow giant."
But Miriam said, "No, we can't divide the lawn into five."
And Martyn said, "You messed it all up last time, making snowballs and things."
And Mervyn said, "You go round the edges or play in the front."
And Meg said, "Anyway, there isn't any such thing as a snow giant."
"Oh, yes, there is!" said Mary-Mary.
"Oh, no, there isn't," said all the others.
Mary-Mary looked at them all and said slowly, in her most important grown-up voice, "There's been a snow giant in the garden already this morning."
"Rubbish," they said. "We don't believe it."
"Moppet knows there was a snow giant," said Mary-
Mary. "Don't you, Moppet?" Then she squeaked,
"Yes," in Moppet's voice.
But the others just said, "Nonsense. Don't take any notice of her." Then they all went off to put on their coats and Wellingtons, and go out in the garden.
Mary-Mary stayed in the kitchen with Mother and helped to put away the spoons and forks. In a minute Martyn came to the back door and said, "Mother, has anyone been in our garden?"
"No," said Mother, "not this morning."
"Not Father even?" said Martyn.
"No," said Mother, "not Father even. He went out early. No one else has been here."
"Only the snow giant," said Mary-Mary.
"Oh, don't be silly," said Martyn, and went out again.
Mary-Mary could hear the others all whispering together outside the back door. "It must have been a burglar!" "Let's find out where he went!" "Don't let Mary-Mary come – she'll spoil it." "We'll track him down."
Then they all went creeping along to the garden again.
Mary-Mary stood on a chair and looked out of the kitchen window. She saw Miriam, Martyn, Mervyn, and Meg all walking in a line round the garden, putting their feet carefully into the big footprints she had left, one after the other, and she began laughing to herself because they looked as if they were playing Follow my Leader.
"Why don't you go out and play too?" said Mother. So Mary-Mary went and put on her own coat and Wellingtons.
As she was going out the others all came along to the house again to find Mother. They stood in a row in the doorway, looking very solemn and mysterious.
Then Miriam said, "Mother, we think we ought to tell you there's been a strange man walking in our garden, and we think he may have been a burglar."
"Good gracious!" said Mother. "How do you know?"
"It wasn't a burglar," said Mary-Mary. "It was the"Be quiet, Mary-Mary," said the others.
"We tracked his footprints in the snow," said Martyn.
"Dearie me!" said Mother. "I wonder who it was."
"It was the snow giant," said Mary-Mary. "Once upon a time there was a huge, great snow giant and he"
"Oh, be quiet, Mary-Mary," said all the others. "He had huge great boots on," said Miriam. ("That's what I was going to say," said Mary-Mary.) "He went into the shed," said Martyn.
("Yes so did the snow giant," said Mary-Mary.) "And came out again," said Mervyn.
("So did the snow giant," said Mary-Mary.)
"And walked all the way round the garden," said Meg.
("So did the")
"BE QUIET, Mary-Mary," they all shouted.
"No," said Mother, "don't shout like that. If Mary-Mary wants to tell us something let her. What is it, Mary-Mary?"
"Well," said Mary-Mary, "once upon a time there was a huge, great snow giant "
"There's no such thing," said Miriam.
" and he came in the garden early in the morning" "Not our garden," said Martyn.
" and he sat down in the middle of the lawn"
"I don't believe it," said Mervyn.
"and had snow for breakfast and"
"Rubbish," said Meg.
"No, don't interrupt," said Mother. "Go on, Mary-Mary."
But Mary-Mary was getting cross at being interrupted so much; so she finished off by saying very quickly and loudly, "– and then four silly great children who thought they knew everything came walking into the garden, and they were all rather cross and grumbly, and all their names began with an M. They were called Mumbling, Muttering, Moaning, and – and Mumps, and when the snow giant saw them all grumbling round the garden he–"
But the others all shouted, "Be quiet, Mary-Mary! Why don't you go and play in the front garden and leave us alone?"
So Mary-Mary said, "All right, I will. I thought you wanted to know, but if you don't want to know I won't tell you." And she walked away with her nose in the air.
The snow in the front was nice and thick, and no one had trodden on it except down the path. Mary-Mary decided to make a real snow giant, just outside the sitting-room window.
"Then they'll have to believe in him," she said, "when they see him looking in at the window."
She began making a big pile of snow under the window, and was still hard at work when the postman came in at the gate.
"Hallo," he said. "What are you making?" Mary-Mary told him. "Would you like to help?" she asked.
The postman said, no, he was sorry he couldn't help because he'd got work to do. But, all the same, he stopped long enough to show her how to roll some really big snowballs and pile them, one on top of the other, under the window; and soon the snow giant was as high as the window-sill.
"I must be off now," said the postman; "but that's quite a nice start for a snowman."
"Thank you very much," said Mary-Mary. "You have helped me a lot. If I wasn't so busy I'd help you take the letters round."
"That's all right," said the postman. "Any day will do for that. You don't get snow every day." And he went off, laughing.
The next person to come in at the gate was the milk-boy. He whistled when he saw the big pile of snow and said, "What's that going to be – a snowman?"
"A snow giant," said Mary-Mary.
"It wants to be bigger than that, then," said the milk-boy.
"Yes, it does," said Mary-Mary. "Would you like to help make it bigger?"
"What, me?" said the milk-boy. "Oh, no, I've got work to do."
But, all the same, he rolled up his sleeves and set to work to show Mary-Mary how to do it, and in a few minutes the snow giant reached half-way up the window. The milk-boy stepped back; puffing and blowing and wiping his face on a big red handkerchief.
"That's going to be a bit of all right," he said. "But I must be off."
"Thank you very much," said Mary-Mary. "You have helped me a lot. If I wasn't so busy I'd help you with the milk-bottles."
"That's all right," said the milk-boy. "Any old day will do for that." And he ran off up the road after the milk-cart.
Mary-Mary looked at the snow giant and decided he was tall enough now. All he needed was his head. She wasn't big enough to reach up, not even if she stood on the window-sill; so she decided to make it separately and ask some one else to lift it up when it was finished.
She rolled a very big snowball to the middle of the front gate and patted it smooth. Then she put two pebbles in for eyes, a lump of snow for a nose, and a twig from the hedge to make a mouth. It began to look very jolly.
Mary-Mary laughed and put her own woolly cap on top. Then she picked some small green branches. She'd on ately ;hed. f the two md a look oolly aches
from the hedge and stuck them into the snowball all round the edges of the woolly cap. They looked just like hair. Then she made some eyebrows as well, to match.
A van drew up in front of the house, and a delivery man got down and came to the front gate with a big box under his arm. He grinned at Mary-Mary sitting in the snow by the great big snowball. Then he rested the box on the wall for a moment, and began writing in a little notebook.
"I'm sorry my snow giant's head is in the way," said Mary-Mary.
"That's all right," said the man. "I expect I can step over it."
"He's got a body over there," said Mary-Mary, pointing to it.
"That's nice," said the man, still writing.
"I think he'd really rather his head was on his body," said Mary-Mary. "It would be much easier for him than having it kicking around by the gate, wouldn't it?"
"Yes, I expect it would," said the delivery man. "It's so much nicer to be all in one piece, don't you think?" said Mary-Mary.
"Yes, much nicer," said the man.
"So he'd be awfully glad if you'd do it for him," said Mary-Mary.
The man shut his little book, put his pencil behind his ear, and picked up the box again.
"If you would be so kind," said Mary-Mary very politely, and, getting up quickly, she stood in front of the snowball so that the man couldn't step over it.
"Eh?" said the man. "What do you want me to do?"
"Put his head on for him, please," said Mary-Mary. "He can't do it himself and I'm not tall enough to reach."
"Oh, I see!" said the man, laughing. "Yes, I'll do it for you. Which way round do you want him?"
"Looking in, please," said Mary-Mary. "I want him to give my big brothers and sisters a very small fright, because they said they didn't believe in him."
The delivery man looked at the side of the snowball which had the face on it.
"Oh, yes, he's a fine fellow," he said. "I don't think he'll frighten them much. He's got a nice smile." "Yes, hasn't he?" said Mary-Mary. "I made it. It's a twig really."
The delivery man lifted the snow giant's head very carefully and put it on top of the snow giant's body in front of the sitting-room window. One of the pebble eyes fell out, and some of the green hair came out from under the woolly cap; but he lifted Mary-Mary up, and she put them back in the right places.
Then Mary-Mary said, "Thank you very much. You have helped me a lot. Shall I help you do your deliveries?"
But the man said, no, there was no need, because he only had to drive the van from house to house delivering packages.
When the delivery man had driven away again, Mother made a hot chocolate drink and called all the children in from the garden.
Miriam, Martyn, Mervyn, and Meg came in, stamping the snow from their boots and blowing on their cold fingers.
"Well, how did you all get on?" said Mother.
"We haven't finished yet," said Miriam. "We spent such a lot of time looking for the burglar."
"There wasn't any burglar," said Mary-Mary. "How do you know?" said the others.
"Because I know who it was," said Mary-Mary. "Look here – do you know anything about it?" said Martyn.
"Of course I do," said Mary-Mary.
"Who was it, then?"
"I told you," said Mary-Mary. "It was the snow gi–" "Oh, yes, I know all about your old snow giant," said Martyn. "But who was it really?"
"Me, of course," said Mary-Mary.
"But they were huge, great footprints!" said Miriam. "I know," said Mary-Mary. "I had Father's boots on.
That's why I was being a snow giant, and I did sit down in the middle of the lawn and I did eat some snow."
"Well, you might have told us!" said Martyn.
"Well, really," said Mother. "I do think you're all rather silly. Mary-Mary tried to tell you over and over again, but you just wouldn't listen."
"Yes, but she kept on talking about a snow giant," they said; "and we knew there was no such thing."
"But there is," said Mary-Mary, "and if you don't believe me go into the sitting-room and have a look."
"Into the sitting-room!" said Mother. 'Oh, Mary-Mary, what have you been doing? Surely you haven't brought a whole lot of snow into the house! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"
And she ran along the passage, with the others all following, and opened the door into the sitting-room. Then Mary-Mary heard Mother laughing and laughing, and she heard the others all saying, "Oh, my goodness!" "How did she do it?" "Isn't it huge?" and
"I bet some one helped her!"
Then Mary-Mary began laughing too, and ran after them all. And when she saw her snow giant smiling in at the window with his twiggy mouth and his pebble eyes and his green-leaf hair sticking out from under the woolly cap she laughed more than ever, because he really did look so splendid and surprising.
"Well," said Mother, "I think you'll all have to agree that Mary-Mary's snow giant is quite the best thing in the garden!"
And they all had to agree that he was, and Mary-Mary was so pleased with herself that she turned head over heels nine times running, all round the sitting-room floor.
"The trouble with Mary-Mary is she's much too big for her boots," said Martyn.
"Oh, no!" said Mary-Mary, surprised. "The boots were much too big for me."
So there was a snow giant in Mary-Mary's garden,
after all, and that is the end of the story.