It has been a very cold winter in the Serranía de Ronda. Paul Whitelock was inspired to write about Jack Frost by the continuing icy mornings he is experiencing where he lives in the campo outside Ronda
Our hamlet is in a bit of a frost pocket, set deep in a valley outside Ronda. The first frosts came back in November and have lasted ever since. Minus 5 degrees Centigrade has been typical but a couple of weeks back the temperature at 8.00 am had plummeted to -15 C!
This has entailed much scraping of windscreens in the mornings if we have an early start.
But, who is Jack Frost?
Commonly referred to in English folklore as Jack Frost this sprite or elf of Anglo-Saxon and/or Nordic origin is known in Spanish as Padre Invierno or Jack Frío. In Britain and the United States, Jack Frost is a variant of Old Man Winter and is held responsible for frosty weather, for nipping the nose and toes in cold weather, colouring the foliage in autumn, and leaving fernlike patterns on cold windows in winter.
Jack Frost is regarded as a friendly sprite, but if he’s provoked he can kill his victims by covering them with snow – so beware!
Despite his relatively easy-going nature he sometimes appears in literature, film, television, song and video games as a sinister mischief maker.
In literature, in L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902), Jack Frost is the son of the otherwise unnamed Frost King. He takes pleasure in nipping “scores of noses and ears and toes.” In Laurell K. Hamilton’s Meredith Gentry series, a character emerges as the original Jack Frost. Jack Frost has also appeared as a minor character in the Rupert Bear stories, and in Jack of Fables the titular character became Jack Frost for a period of time. A second Jack Frost appears as the son of Jack Horner and The Snow Queen. In the Rainbow Magic books by Daisy Meadows, Jack Frost is an antagonist who wants to freeze Fairyland. He is accompanied by pesky goblins who steal fairies. Jack Frost also appears in First Death in Nova Scotia, a poem by Elizabeth Bishop. Jack Frost is also a character in the novels Reaper Man and Hogfather by Terry Pratchett, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and The Veil trilogy of novels by Christopher Golden.
In comic books, Jack Frost appears as a superhero in works published by Timely Comics (now Marvel Comics) in the 1940s. A man covered in ice, he could project ice and cold.
There is a Russian film from 1964, with the Russian title Morozko – the Russian equivalent of Jack Frost. The character of Jack Frost also appears in three American films, two of them named simply Jack Frost. In one Jack Frost is a serial killer turns into a snowman and continues his rampage. This movie spawned a sequel: Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (great title!). In the other Jack Frost film, Michael Keaton plays a human by the name of Jack Frost, who gets killed in a car-crash on Christmas Eve. A year later he returns as a snowman to spend time with his son.
Before the days of television, Jack Frost appeared in the children’s radio serial The Cinnamon Bear. On television, Jack Frost makes an appearance in Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas In July. He reappears in Frosty’s Winter Wonderland. In a Rankin-Bass Christmas TV special of 1979, Jack Frost, the title character falls in love with a human girl and seeks to become human. Father Winter grants his wish, but tells him that if he does not have a house, a horse, a bag of gold, and a wife by “the first sign of spring” he will become a sprite again.
Jack Frost is a character in a number of video games including AdventureQuest, Killing Floor, City of Villains, Guild Wars, Granado Espada, and RuneScape.
In music Jethro Tull and Saint Vitus both have songs alluding to Jack Frost. The name has also been employed as a pseudonym by musicians Bob Dylan and Jack Dempsey.
Back to the weather here – I thought Spring had arrived in the last few days, but it was -3 C again this morning!