You’ve probably met someone who claimed they saw the winter beast. Usually, as they were hunting in February. “White snout, white fur, and blue feathers on the back. Yep, that was it.” But the beast vanished before they could shoot it. It didn’t like to be seen. Truth is, they haven’t seen the winter beast.
Yes, for sure, the beast knows how to be discreet. It lives from snow. Snow, its food, its home, its everything. It climbs the trees to remove little birds from their nests, but doesn’t eat them. It makes them beds, tucks them in, and smiles as they fall asleep in the great whiteness.
Nobody has seen for sure the winter beast. It licks the trees, claws them, until their sap comes out. It licks the sap. It shines on its snout, on its teeth. The beast has the most marvelous teeth – harder than diamond and equally clear. An assembly of stalactites in the pink forest of gums. Squirrels are its best friends. They will show it where they hid their nuts and, by digging a hole nearby, the beast will make the nuts bigger. Sometimes, it will even make a new tree grow.
The winter beast doesn’t sleep. Its purple eyes are always open.
But winter gets scarce in our country. Summer crawls all the way through fall; spring wakes up before its time. There is no snow in December anymore. The winter beast has become a legend. And frost comes up, creeping at our windows, and the beast is lost. Forests are getting smaller. Cities are growing bigger. The winter beast, still, licks trees and tucks birds to bed, but something has changed. It sees more and more men in the forest, wearing bright yellow jackets. Winter gets scarce. And nobody talks about the beast anymore.
The winter beast disappeared in mid-July, near a lake. Some blue feathers were found floating around. Scientists marveled at their find; it didn’t look like any bird’s feathers they had ever studied. The feathers were sent, with utmost care, to the natural history museum in the capital city. Hypothesizes were made; but nobody thought about the winter beast.
Only the squirrels, with their small hidden nuts, miss it.