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Once Upon a Snowflake
By Colleen Messina

1     Once upon a time in a land far north of anywhere, a young man wandered through a dark pine forest, lonely for his lost love. He took enormous breaths of cold air to ease his heartache, but it was no use, and his black mood overcame him. He sat down on a bed of pine needles while choking sobs wracked his thin shoulders. Tears slid slowly down his sallow cheeks and formed sparkling crystals. The trees bent over him like silent sentinels in the freezing wind, enfolding him in their bristly branches.
2     Meanwhile, in the Snow Kingdom above, the citizens were creating a stockpile of snowflakes for the next blizzard. They used a special mold so that all of the snowflakes were identical. They worked carefully because a royal beauty with white-blond hair was visiting the warehouse. She was the princess, and her task was to inspect the quality of the snowflakes.
3     Suddenly, the princess had the oddest sensation that her heart was melting. She, like all ethereal citizens of the Snow Kingdom, had inner sight, so she instantly saw the sobbing young man down on earth. She wanted to help him, so she jumped into a glacial landau and rode to the palace of the Snow King. The Snow Kingdom was known for its beautiful kinetic art. Many stunning sculptures made out of mechanized icicles twisted and turned in the chilly breezes along the frigid highway. When she reached the Ice Palace, she was immediately ushered in to her father's chamber.
4     "Father, with my inner sight, I see a young man in great turmoil. He has a broken heart, and I want to help him," she exclaimed. "My own heart melts for him. You told me that if my heart ever melts for another, it is a sign that I must do something," said the princess, who was as pure as arctic snow.
5     "Yes, dear daughter, that is true. Shall I send him a radiant sunset?" queried the Snow King. He did not want to say anything that might malign the princess's compassionate idea, and being an indulgent father, he thought he might assist her.
6     "No, father, I think I need to do something myself," said the princess.
7     "What is your heart's desire?" said the king. And with his own inner sight, he saw the heartbroken young man.
8     "Father, I want to become human for one hour and try to remind the young man that he is special, even though he has lost his love," said the princess.
9     "What?" shouted the Snow King. "For glacier's sake, he is just an inept human being. Look at him cower under that tree. He has no control of his emotions, and I doubt that you can do anything to help him. It is not safe for you to become human. I am no longer at the zenith of my power, and I will need you to rule the kingdom soon."

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