Barren, windswept, old-country landscapes, and gaunt figures, give a certain severity, and semblance of weight, to the tale of simple-seeming Simon who heads off, with little sister Meg, to wake Spring at Winter's farm. (He overheard two ravens speaking figuratively.) As soon as grim, sepulchral Winter hears their mission, he pelts them with ice--turning Meg into a tiny brown wren. . . who then tells Simon how to put Winter to rout. Where Winter sows sleet, Simon spreads meal--and up spring stalks of wheat Where Winter prunes buds, Simon throws an apple--and up springs a blossoming tree. And when Simon makes his way into the house, asking for ""a princess in green and gold"" (his mother's jesting description), a fair-haired, green-robed girl directs him up to a bedroom where Meg awakens--to look out with him over an expanse of green and gold. As a simpleton story, it has no particular punch. As an allegory, it's strained, overextended, overexplained. But Simon's battle with Winter is dramatically staged and briefly compelling.