While one Season took care of the world working as it should during their season, the others retreated deep below the earth, to not confuse things. In winter, Spring and Autumn shared Summer's warmth, often passing the time with games. Spring, though, always kept one green-edged rabbit ear turned to the wider world, eager to take her turn. So it was she who one year noticed Winter had gone quiet.
"It's nothing", Summer said, sorting the cards in her hand. "Maybe he is concocting a deep freeze, and it took his attention away from whipping up storms. I'm just glad we have enough earth above us it can't reach us. Your turn."
Spring laid a card, Autum taking the trump, but she did not stop listening.
When the next morning brought no sound of wind or hail, not even the hiss of softly settling snow, Spring climbed out of their hiding spot to check what happened.
She found the sky blank blue, the air icy cold. The snow on the ground grew thicker where it lay in shadows, sprouting tiny fern fronds of frost.
She raced to the mountain Winter usually chose for his base, and found him asleep. Puzzled - the Seasons did not need to sleep, and she had thought it was just a means to pass time off-season - she looked at him for a long time, shifting her weight from one foot to the other every now and then.
He seemed calm. Even breath, unlike hers not fogging the air. No smell nor other sign of magic or illness around him.
Eventually Spring approached him and poked him in the ribs. "Brother, wake up!"
He snorted and sat up, looking around wildly. "Spring? Is it time already?"
"Not at all! You have months to go! Why are you not at work?"
"Aaah, you know." He sat up straight and rubbed phlegm from his eyes. "You know how many creatures sleep through winter? I could not resist giving it a try."
"Oohhh brother. There is no proper winter if you don't make it!"
"I would like to put that to the test."
Spring didn't want to waste time arguing, now. They could do that at one of the turns before next winter. "How about next year? All four of us should talk it over first. What could go wrong, what should we do?"
Winter looked like his favourite food would never again be made.
"How about you keep watch?"
"That will just confuse things further."
Moss and tiny flowers were already sprouting in small cracks in the floor and walls, and she indicated them with a wave of her hand.
"Ah, all right, then. I'll stay awake."