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How Much Does a Snowflake Weigh?

One Hundred Wisdom Stories from Around the World, Margaret Silf, p.29. “How Much Does a Snowflake Weigh?” Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press. Copyright (C) 2003. Used by Permission for this one time use. No reprints or use permitted. All Rights Reserved.

It was deep winter and the snow was falling steadily upon the hillside.

A tiny mouse crept out of its hole for a little break in its long winter sleep. Drowsily, the little mouse looked around and twitched its whiskers, and would have gone back to sleep inside its hole, had not a tiny voice echoed from somewhere out there in the white winter world: "Hello, little mouse. Can't you sleep?"

The mouse looked around and caught sight of a tiny bird sitting, shivering, on a bare branch just overhead. "Hello, Jenny Wren," said the mouse, pleased to find some company on this bleak day. "I just came up for a bit of air before I go back to sleep for the rest of the winter."

But it was so good to find company that for a while, the mouse and the wren sat there together, huddled beneath the lowest branches of a pine tree, watching the snow falling and enjoying a little congenial conversation.

"How much do you think a snowflake weighs?" the mouse asked the wren suddenly.

"A snowflake weighs almost nothing," the wren replied. "A snowflake is so insignificant, it carries almost no weight at all. How could you possibly weigh a snowflake?"

"Oh, I disagree," said the mouse. "In fact, I can tell you that last winter, around this time, I woke up from my winter dreaming and came out here for a breath of fresh air, and because I had no companions and nothing better to do, I sat here counting the snowflakes as they fell. I watched them settling on these branches, and covering the pine needles with a blanket of whiteness. I got as far as two million, four hundred and ninety-two thousand, three hundred and fifty-nine. And then—when the very next snowflake fell and settled on the branch—the branch dropped right down to the ground and all the snow slid off it. So you see, just that one last snowflake weighed enough to make the branch sink down and all the snow slide off. So a snowflake does weigh something. It does make a difference!"

The wren, who was only a tiny, little bird herself and didn't think she had much influence on the great, big world around her, pondered for a long time over the mouse's story. "Perhaps," she thought to herself, "it really is true that just one little voice can make a difference."

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Last updated on Friday, November 7, 2014.

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