The Snow Storm” reflects a theme often explored in Youth’s Companion: that play isn’t as satisfying as duty; “Repining and Repentance" appeared in the same issue. Theodore names his sled in a tradition preserved in the film Citizen Kane.


http://www.merrycoz.org/yc/SNOW.xhtml
[Benevolence] “The Snow Storm” (from Youth’s Companion, February 12, 1846; p. 163)

“Oh! mother, how glad I am to see this soft white snow,” said Theodore Warden, a bright faced boy, eight years old, on one cold stormy morning in January, “for now I can play with my handsome sled, which father gave me, as a New Year’s Gift.”

“But,” inquired his mother, “do you know how bitter cold the weather is, and how furiously the north-east wind blows? Shall you be willing to run through the snowbanks and wade through the drifts, without crying and fretting, with the pain of fingers and feet?”

“Why, yes! to be sure, I shall join my playmates, and forget all about the weather when we are rolling up the balls of snow, and building little houses, and coasting down hill, and drawing each other on our sleds. We shall have grand fun together; and mother, I have a name, too, for my little sled. It is to be called Frolic, because I expect to have such a fine time with it.”

“It gives me much pleasure, Theodore,” his mother continued, “to see you so happy on this chilly morning, for it manifests a right spirit, to welcome with joy the varieties of each returning season, bringing as they do, additional tokens of our Heavenly Father’s goodness, and I hope you will remember to think of all these comforts, and not let a day pass without being grateful for them, and trying to use them for your improvement. But do you know that this cold storm, which affords you so much pleasure, brings to many a family, even to some of our near neighbors, a great deal of want and suffering? They have not fuel enough to keep them warm, or tight rooms to shelter them from the penetrating winds and snows, and they are not able to purchase the necessary means of protection.”

“No, mother,” answered Theodore, “I am sure I did not think any were so very destitute. Does the wind really blow through the cracks of their dwellings and drive the snow into them? Why how cold and sorrowful they must be, such a day as this! Pray tell me where they live, and let me carry something to make them comfortable.”

“I will see what we can do,” said Mrs. Marden, after witnessing with much pleasure, the interest which her son manifested in the sufferings of the poor, “but go now and learn your lesson for this morning perfectly, and then come to me.”

In a short time, Theodore had finished his task, and was at his mother’s side, waiting anxiously for her answer. He was a kind-hearted boy, and always desired to assist those in trouble or want. “I am all ready now,” he exclaimed, “let me take something on my little sled to one of those neighbors you spoke about.”

“Well,” she replied, “there is a poor, feeble woman in our street, old Mrs. Jones, who would be very grateful for some assistance, during this cold season. You may carry to her some of our good dinner, which has just been cooked, and as much dry wood as your sled will hold.”

With great delight he loaded his sled with the articles and run off, through the thickly falling flakes of snow, to the cottage of the poor woman. He soon returned, however, and coming into the house, his eyes sparkling with joy, and his face ruddy with the kisses of the frosty air, hastened to his mother, and said, “Oh! how much I thank you, dear mother, for this pleasant morning. I have had a great deal better time, than when I played with my companions, for I feel now, as though I had done some real good. Mrs. Jones was so glad to see the dish of warm meats, and the little pile of wood I carried, that she thanked me a hundred times, and said I must tell you how happy and comfortable the nice presents made her.”

C. E. A.

Copyright 1999-2017, Pat Pflieger
To “Nineteenth-Century American Children & What They Read
Some of the children | Some of their books | Some of their magazines
To “Voices from 19th-Century America
Some works for adults, 1800-1872
To Titles at this site | Subjects at this site | Works by date | Map of the site

Talk to me.