The story of a boy returning home for Christmas after his first term at boarding school. The previous year he lost his mother, and through the last months he has been bullied mercilessly. He comes home miserable and unable to share that misery. But his grandmother tells him that if it's a real winter the ice will form on the little pond on the estate and he and his brother can spend Christmas there with their cousin Winnie. The boy all but prays for sufficient frost, and to his utter joy, it happens as he had dreamed it might. This is the story of that Christmas, the most wonderful - and yet the most terrible - he has ever known.