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What the frost giants did to nannies run.
From Stories Mother Nature told her children
Start of Story
by Jane Andrews.
Do you believe in giants? No, do you say? Well, listen to my story,
which is a really true one, and then answer my question.
Many hundreds of years ago, certain people who lived in the North, and
were therefore called Northmen, had a strange idea of the form and
situation of the earth: they thought it was a flat, circular piece of
land, surrounded by a great ocean; and that this ocean was again
surrounded by a wall of snow-covered mountains, where lived the race of
I have seen a pretty picture of this world of theirs, with a lovely
rainbow bridge arching up over the sea to the earth, and a great coiled
serpent, holding his tail in his mouth, lying in mid-ocean like a ring
around the land. Perhaps you will some day read about it all, but at
present we have only to do with the Frost Giants; for I want to tell
you, that, although no one now thinks of believing about the serpent or
the flat earth or the rainbow bridge, yet the Frost Giants still live,
and their home is really among the mountains.
You may call them by what name you like, and we may all know certainly
that they are not what the old Northmen believed them to be, but are
God's workmen, a part of Nature's family, employed to work in the great
garden of the world; but, whenever we look at their work, we cannot fail
to admit that to do it needed a giant's strength, and so they deserve
Have you sometimes seen great boulder stones, as big as a small house,
that stand alone by themselves in some field, or on some seashore, where
no other rocks are near? Well, the Frost Giants carried these boulders
about, and dropped them down miles away from their homes, as you might
take a pocketful of pebbles, and drop them along the road as you walk.
Sometimes they roll great rocks down the mountain-sides, playing a
desperate game of ball with each other. Sometimes they are sent to make
a bridge over Niagara Falls, or to build a dam across a mountain torrent
in an hour's time. Now and then they have to rake off a steep mountain-
side as you might a garden-bed; and sometimes to bury a whole village so
quickly that the poor inhabitants do not know what strange hand brought
such sudden destruction upon them. Their deeds often seem to be cruel,
and we cannot understand their meaning; but we shall some time know that
the loving Father who sent them orders nothing for our hurt, but has
always a loving purpose, though it may be hidden.
While I thus introduce to you the Frost Giants, let me also present
their tiny brethren and sisters, the Frost Fairies, who always accompany
them on their expeditions; and, however terrible is the deed that has to
be done, these little people adorn it with the most lovely handiwork,--
tiny flowers and crystals and veils of delicate lace-work, fringes and
spangles and star-work and carving; so that nothing is so hard and ugly
and bare that they cannot beautify it.
Now that you are introduced, you will perhaps like to join a Frost party
that started out to work, one day in the early spring of 1861, from
their homes among the Olympic Mountains.
Can you imagine a beautiful oval-shaped bay, almost encircled by a long
arm of sand stretching out from the mainland? In its deep water the
largest vessels might ride at anchor, but at the time of my story a
lonelier place could scarcely be found. Now and then Indian canoes
glided over the water, and at long intervals some vessel from the great
island away yonder to the North visited the little settlement upon the
shore of the bay. It is indeed a very little settlement,--a few houses
clustered together upon the sandy beach close to the blue water; behind
the houses rises a cliff crowned with great fir-trees, standing tall and
dark in thick ranks, making a dense forest; and beyond this forest,
cold, snow-covered mountains lift their peaks against the sky,--a
fitting home for the Frost Giants.
Three streams, straying from the far-away mountains, and fed by their
melted snows and hidden springs, find their way through the forest, leap
and tumble over the cliff, and, passing through the little settlement,
reach the sea. The people who live here call these little streams RUNS,
and one of them is Nannie's Run.