'It was a frosty morning. The air was crisp and cold and everything sparkled in the winter sunshine. The little mice hurrying along the path turned up their collars and blew on their paws in an effort to keep warm.
"Merry Midwinter," panted Dusty Dogwood, scurrying past Mr. Apple and the Toadflax children with a huge covered basket. Mr. Apple and the children were busy too, dragging great sprays of holly and trails of ivy and mistletoe towards the Old Oak Palace. When they arrived at the gates, they heaped all the branches on the ground, and Wilfred tugged at the bell.'. . .
"When the days are the shortest, the nights are the coldest,
The frost is the sharpest, the year is the oldest,
The sun is the weakest, the wind is the hardest,
The snow is the deepest, the skies are the darkest,
Then polish your whiskers and tidy your nest,
And dress in your riches and finest and best . . .
For winter has brought you the worst it can bring,
And now it will give you
The promise of SPRING! "