Dat's my name don't ya know. If you're an English speaker you're probably wonderin' how to pronounce dat. 'Cause of dem two little dots above da o. Dat's called a umlaut and it makes kind of a eeeew sound like you just bit into a pickled herring. But dat don't matter. You can just call me Snow because dat's what I am -- da God of Snow.
Didn't tink der was a God of Snow? Oh, we had all kindsa Gods back in da days of da Norse. You betcha. Der was Tor, who I'm sure you heard of 'cause of dat hammer ting. Den der was Odin, who you probably heard of too. He was God of all kindsa tings. And der were lots more I know you haven't heard of by golly.
My best friend is Bror. He's da God of Rain. He was a popular guy in da old days. Dey would pray to Bror for rain if it got too dry. Den dey would pray for Bror to stop da rain if der was floods. He's important to dis story but I'll talk more about him in a minute you betcha.
But I didn't start out being da God of Snow. No siree. 'Cause der didn't used to be snow dontcha know. You might find dis hard to believe but long, long ago, in da old days, der was only rain and ice chunks. Yep, it would rain rain rain all spring and summer and fall. Den da wedder would get really cold like it does in da nort and when Bror sent da rain down it would freeze into big chunks o' ice. Some o' dem chunks were as big as a cow. I tell ya, lots o' big strong Vikings got sent to Valhalla a little early from gettin' hit wit one o' dose monsters. So nobody even went outside in da winter 'cause o' danger from ice chunks.
Finally, some smart guy came up wit dose Viking helmets so dey could go outside in da winter. Dey worked okay, but even if you're wearin' a tick iron helmet, a chunk o' ice as big as a cow can still knock ya down like a bug. So anudder smart guy came up wit da idea of puttin' horns on dem helmets. Dey got two o' da biggest horns dey could find and stuck 'em on top of da helmet, pointin' off to da side so when da ice chunks came down dey would hit one of dem horns and deflect away, keepin' your average Viking from gettin' creamed. I tink it saved da whole Viking race in general. But dis still wasn't da best way to go out and enjoy da winter. And believe me, der's a lot o' winter to enjoy in da far nort!
So der I was, lonely little Snö, da God of Dandelions. Now don't laugh. Like I told ya, we had Gods for everyting in dose days. And dat's what snö used to mean. It used to be da Nordic word for dandelion. And ya gotta admire dem dandelions. In summer dey multiply like cockroaches -- yellow yellow everywhere. Ya can never get rid of 'em, even if you're da guy who spends all day in front o' your house tryin' to get a green lawn. So I was da God of Dandelions. But nobody ever prayed to me except for a coupla times when dat guy wit da lawn prayed for me to go away.
As God of Dandelions, I always used to get peeved when da Goddess of Winter was havin' a bad year and decided to come around when she wasn't supposed to. Dose were da years when ice chunks fell in da late spring. Dat could sure wipe out a whole field of dandelions dontcha know. It would flatten 'em like pieces of lutefisk. I felt bad for my pretty little dandelions when dat happened 'cause I was supposed to be der God.
So one day I got a idea. Like I said, Bror, da God of Rain was my best friend. And we were talking.
"Can't ya make dose ice chunks a little softer?" I asked. "I mean, geez, dey can knock down a full grown moose!"
"Can't do it," said Bror.
Bror never did use a lot o' words. And I guess da ice chunks had always been dat way so how could it ever be different? But I had an idea.
"How about dis?" I said. "After midsummer goes away, da dandelions are all done for da year. I don't got much to do after dat. How about in da fall, when da wedder gets cold, I go up in da sky wit you when you're gonna make rain? And den, when da water comes down and starts to freeze, I kinda run my hands over it and keep breakin' it up, so at least if it turns to ice chunks, it will be really small chunks."
Bror looked off into da distance. "Okay," he mumbled.
Like I said, Bror doesn't say much.
So, sure enough, when da wedder got cold, I went up into da sky wit Bror. When he made it rain I ran my hands all over da sky, breakin' up da water before it could freeze into chunks. And ya know what? It made snow!
Well, I'll tell ya', it was quite a sensation down in da village. Everyone looked up at da white flakes dat were fallin' all around and dey started laughing! And den dey watched it pile up and somebody picked up some of it and made it into a white ball and trew it at somebody else. And den, in honor of dis new gift from da sky, dey formed it into a man, wit a big round ball on da bottom, a smaller ball in da middle, and a little ball on top for da head! And den dey started worshiping it, because let's face it, snow is a lot better den ice chunks fallin' on your head. You betcha.
No one knew what to call da stuff so for da first and only time in my life, I called down from da sky in my best god voice. (Actually I was doing my Tor impression which always cracks 'em up in Valhalla.) "Snö!" I shouted as loud as I could. "It's called Snö!" One of da villagers looked up and shouted back, "Dandelions?"
I had been afraid of dat. "No!" I shouted. "Forget dandelions! Da white stuff is Snö!"
And dat's what dey called it. And I became da God of Snow. Better den Dandelions I tink.
So dat's how I made snow. And people liked it. Dey learned to ski on it which is fun if ya' haven't tried it. Dey made forts out of it when it got really cold and it kept 'em warm. And above all, I tink it's beautiful. It turns a winter world dat's all brown and gray into sometin' dat's pure white and dazzling. Not too bad for a very minor Nordic God, dontcha tink?
But here's why I'm tellin' ya all of dis. I been hearin' tings. Lots of people are goin' around sayin' dat dey hate snow. Can you believe it? How could der be a knucklehead who hates snow? But I guess der are lots 'o knuckleheads des days.
I know I know. Ever since dey invented cars dey been havin' a problem wit snow. Da wheels spin out. Da car rolls over. But all I gotta say to dat is, "Learn how to drive in da stuff for Odin's sake! How hard can it be? It comes every winter! Take a break and enjoy it!"
For dose of you who really hate it, you can go to da places dat don't ever get no snow. Go sout. To da land of my cousin Hilmer da God of Sunburn. He'd love to see ya down der dontcha know. You can spend da rest of da winters down der and never have da wheels of your car spin out again.
For da rest of ya in da nort I don't wanna sound too peeved here, but you need to stop complaining about snow. I been gettin' a little tired lately, aldough da winters are gettin' shorter I tink, tanks to dat Global warming. But winters still come. And I could decide to stop doin' my job. And when dat happens, guess what? Ice chunks, all winter long! And who knows how to make iron helmets dese days? I don't tink anybody remembers. And ya' don't even wanna tink about what ice chunks da size of cows would do to dose precious cars you worry about so much.
So here's whatcha need to do. When da calendar says winter, look for da snow. Watch it come down outa da sky. Enjoy da stuff. Go play in it. Go skiing. Go sledding. Or maybe just watch it from your window and say, "Dat's really nice, isn't it Honey?"
And if it wouldn't be too much trouble, once in a while you can whisper a prayer. "Tank you Snö," or sometin' like dat. You can even forget da two little dots over de o and just pronounce it da English way. Call it snow if it makes you happy. Eeder way, I'm just lookin' for a little gratitude here.
Udderwise, da ice chunks will return.
And ya' better start learnin' to make a helmet ...
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to my brother Don for introducing me to Snö and for making sure my Scandinavian dialect was authentic.
Article © Wayne Faust. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-04-09