At the tail-end of a warm, false-spring day, Old Possum stepped outside to sniff the air, and realized that a hard frost was coming. Would the cheery purple winter windflowers and the winter roses, in a dozen shades of pink, survive the night? Better not to take a chance, he decided.
So, after everyone had eaten their dinner, he went from house to house to sound the frost alarm.
The children gathered twigs, which they stuck in the dirt around the flowers, and the grown-ups brought warm things from their couches and comfy chairs and closets.
When the Gardener ventured outside the cottage the next morning, the landscape glittered with frost, but the delicate spring flowers were nestled under improvised tents made of twigs, soft blankets, scarves, and even, on a few of the smaller plants, knitted hats.