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What the frost giants did to nannies run.

From Stories Mother Nature told her children
by Jane Andrews.

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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 Frost Giants. 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 their title.



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. NANNIE'S RUN 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.

       


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