Once upon a dark and wintry night, there lived a little girl called Spangle. She was a little bit odd, but just loved to visit the old wise man. One day, she was on one such visit when he dropped dead. That's right, dead. At least, that's what she told her father when the old tailor asked. In truth, she had no idea what had happened to him. One second he had been telling her silly stories of things he surely made up and the next he was a pile of dust on the oak rocking chair. But her father already thought she was strange enough without tales of old men disappearing.

At the funeral, everyone from the small village showed. The old wise man, who was never known as anything else in this village, had been a friend and advisor to everyone. They all cast her evil glares from beneath their black mourning hats, but she didn't notice, for her mind was wrapped up in her friend's mysterious death. Besides, she was used to people staring at her. Before he had, presumably, died, he had said a word to her, just one word thick with emotion and longing in his rough, forced tone: summer.

Spangle tried it on her tongue a couple times. It sounded warm and comforting, strange and exotic. For in Spangle's land, there were no seasons. All the people knew was being wrapped in thick blankets as the cold snow fell and the sky hung a bleak grey overhead. The old wise man talked of a time when there was warmth all around and the sun shone on the land in a joyful glow. Spangle shook her head as if trying to shake the pieces of a jigsaw into place. It didn't work, and possibly left her more confused and hopeless than ever.

At this point in our story, you might be wondering why Spangle didn't cry for her friend, or at least feel more grief than she did. After all, she had gone over to his house to hear the odd stories and fairy tales of his since before she could remember. Surely, she must be some cold, unfeeling creature, you say. However, that is not true. Spangle, along with the others in the wintry land, were so used to death that they had gone into a sort of trance. There was never any happiness in this land, therefore there was no sadness. Every being hung in a grey area underneath their grey sky. They weren't awake or asleep, they were just there. How such a tragedy could have befallen this land, nobody knew. But the fact of it was that one day there was sun, and the next there wasn't. But the old man's tales, they were stupendous. They made Spangle want more than she had ever before. Adventures and obstacles, love and misery, sparkle and light; they were as unreal to her world as summer.

Of course, Spangle and her people knew nothing of joy. They didn't understand the feelings people got when they fell in love or lost someone dear to them. This wintry land was filled with dangerous creatures and people. Those who were, quite simply, bored and caused destruction as something to do. Polar bears were as frequent as squirrels in a big city, and as everyone knows, polar bears are the only creatures on earth that hunt humans. In fact, Spangle had lost her mother two years ago, when she was twelve years old. She'd been lost to one such creature while gathering firewood from the dead forest.

Would Spangle ever find joy in life? It was hard to know. But she held onto that one word with such hope and determination that she would find everything the old wise man talked of, and more. She knew she would find it, and when she did, her people would be set free from their chains. So it was that the little girl called Spangle changed the world with one word: summer.