On Saturday morning, just before dawn, Alfred opened his eyes sensing a change. He took his headlamp from the nightstand and aimed it at the window. He saw fingers of frost creeping around the edges of each pane. “I bet we got more snow. Great!” As an afterthought, he turned the light towards the top of his dresser. The cow was again standing, looking towards the window and the woods beyond. “This is too weird.” Alfred had an idea. “How would you like to go outside, Elsie?” It seemed to him that she nodded, or at least blinked.
He dressed and snuck down the steps and out the door, with Elsie safely in his shirt pocket. Heavy snow covered the walkway. Alfred tried to push through it but the going was tough. “What I need is an angel to brush a path for me. I want to get to my fort to see what’s happening.”
As though a magic hand swept through the snow, a path of lighter, shimmery snow appeared in front of Alfred. Walking along it, the snow wafted up like feathers around him. Alfred only needed to follow the iridescent snow. “I don’t know where it’s taking me, but I feel like I’m walking on air.”
In mere seconds he was at the base of his tree fort and the same silver cylinder stood, clean and shining just beyond. In the exact center lay three, snow white sheep, so small that when he reached to pick them up, he could easily hold all three of them in both hands. “They’re beautiful. Do you want to see, Elsie?” The cow moved in his pocket and Alfred picked her up and set her next to the sheep.
Eager once again to be in his room and examine them closely, he stuffed them in his pocket and ran home.
His mother called from the kitchen, “Breakfast is ready. I made your favorite, French toast.”
“I’m not hungry, Mom. Give my share to Agnes.”
“Well, okay, but you’ll need to eat something before we go shopping. You have to buy something for your sister and I know just the store where they have her favorite collectibles.”
“I’ll be ready. Just give me a minute.”
Alfred ran to his room, arranged the sheep and cow in a circle on his dresser, facing each other and said as he turned to leave, “You guys be good.”
Agnes stopped him at the head of the stairs. “Where have you been sneaking around this morning? I saw you go out the door, but I didn’t see any tracks in the snow.”
“Wherever. I just stayed close to the house.” How could he tell her about the miniature animals without sharing? He knew she collected miniature farm and village scenes. The cow would be just the thing, but…
Returning from the shopping trip, Alfred’s mother made him promise to try again next week to find something for Agnes. “I know you don’t always get along, but just think about what she would like. She can’t play outside in the cold like you do.”
School occupied his time that week, too, just like the last. There was no time to think about cows or sheep or presents for Agnes. Classroom work centered on preparing for the holidays and finishing projects before the year’s end. Again, no new snow fell.
He anticipated another snowfall in the morning as he closed his eyes on Friday night. “Maybe there will be another surprise for me by my fort.”