“Fantastic Gift”
The Story of the Kingdom of Winter and the Kingdom of Summer

  • #1The Arrogant Kings

    Once upon a time, there were two kingdoms, the Kingdom of Winter and the Kingdom of Summer. In the Kingdom of Winter, it is winter all year round. Ice crystals sparkle under the northern lights. The king believes the Kingdom of Winter to be the most beautiful and happiest place in the world.

    In the Kingdom of Summer, on the other hand, it is summer all year round. Green trees flourish here, producing an ever-present bounty of fruit in exquisite variety. The king of the Kingdom of Summer believes the Kingdom of Summer to be the richest and happiest place in the world.

    Located on opposite sides of the Earth, the two kingdoms have nothing to do with each other.

  • #2A Crisis in the Kingdoms

    In one especially cold year, the princess of the Kingdom of Winter stops speaking with her father, the king, and stops smiling as well. The princess’s heart and body grow colder. Surrounded by ice crystals, she lives, alone and lonely. The princess begins to radiate a chill that grows more intense by the day, an icy procession that threatens to envelope the kingdom. The king finds himself helpless to reverse this dreadful cold, which expands to cover nearly half the Earth.

    In the same year, the prince of the Kingdom of Summer is too rebellious to obey the king and always loses his temper. Flames erupt from the prince when he becomes angry. The intensity of this fire only grows when the king drew near, who knows full well that he may be burned by approaching his son. The prince’s anger spreads scorching heat throughout the kingdom against which all are helpless. An unbearable heat consumes nearly half the Earth. The king can do nothing.

  • #3The Putti’s Strategy

    The encroaching extremes of the two kingdoms endanger the home territory of the Putti, residents of the republic of Spring and the republic of Fall. Highly skilled in making special machines with their exceptional technological skills, called Putti Tech, the Putti of the two republics assemble for a meeting and come up with an idea to avert catastrophe. The idea is to have the king of the Kingdom of Summer gift his servant, the Shining Elephant, to warm the princess of the Kingdom of Winter. The Putti can fly freely between distant lands; but to travel still faster, they put on jet packs to race to the Kingdom of Summer and explain the plight of the Kingdom of Winter to the king. The king accepts their solution for ending the crisis.

  • #4A Gift for the Kingdom of Winter : The Shining Elephant

    At his wits’ end about the heat wave, feeling compassion for the king of the Kingdom of Winter, which faces a comparable crisis, the king immediately tells the Shining Elephant: You are large and gentle and warm. Go to the Kingdom of Winter and warm the princess there. Tired of the stifling heat, the elephant is thrilled to go on this journey. To deliver the large and heavy elephant as quickly as possible, the Putti use Putti Tech to renovate the palace roof and create a drone for transporting the elephant. Escorted by the Putti, the Shining Elephant flies in comfort through the sky and arrives in the Kingdom of Winter on the opposite side of the Earth. Never having seen an elephant before, the people of the Kingdom of Winter shout for joy. With no time to spare, the Shining Elephant snuggles up close to the ice crystals encasing the princess. The ice crystals quickly begin to melt. Soon, the princess reaches out her hands and grasps the elephant’s trunk. Her hands quickly warm, and she begins to smile. The stark cold fades. A more temperate winter returns.

  • #5The Putti’s Second Strategy

    The Putti next explain to the king of the Kingdom of Winter the problems faced by the king of the Kingdom of Summer, the scorching heat caused by the prince, and their idea for rescuing the land from this calamity. The idea is to cool the heart and body of the prince and reawaken his kindness through a gift of ice cream. Filled with gratitude toward the king of the Kingdom of Summer, whose generosity and consideration have saved the Kingdom of Winter, the king immediately hands over magical ice crystals, a royal treasure used to create cold. Once again, using Putti Tech, the Putti create a machine to make ice cream from the ice crystals. To ensure the fastest possible delivery, a machine with a drill on the end drills through the ground at high speed. The Putti arrive in no time at the Kingdom of Summer on the opposite side of the Earth.

  • #6A Gift for the Kingdom of Summer : Ice Machine

    As soon as the Putti arrive, the crystal in the center of the machine begins glowing blue. The surrounding air grows pleasantly cool as the machine churns out ice cream. Having never seen ice cream before, the prince of the Kingdom of Summer is astonished at the delightful cold and sweetness and how the ice cream melts in his mouth. As he eats, the face of the prince, whose anger had deformed his eyebrows, instantly grows more gentle. Calm and clarity spread across his face. With the kindliness of the prince restored, a wonderful summer with abundant fruit returns to the kingdom.

  • #7Epilogue

    Peace also comes to the Commonwealths of Spring and Fall, where the Putti live. It is said that the story of the gifts given by the Kingdoms of Winter and Summer continues to be passed down for countless generations, a symbol of the peace that comes from compassion. What gift would you like to give and to whom? The Putti may be whispering ideas. May a Fantastic Gift fill the hearts of all with joy. May your Christmas be one of warm-heartedness and peace.

Nicolas Buffe

Born in Paris, France, in 1978, and relocated to Tokyo in 2007, Nicolas Buffe creates his own unique worlds through a remarkable blending of Japan’s anime culture, an influence since his youth, with American subcultures, based on the background of baroque art, and traditional forms of European culture from the medieval and Renaissance periods. Inspired by the humanist concept of serio ludere, or serious play, his works incorporate visual elements and interactive experiences fused with narrative elements.

Photo by ImagenSubliminal
(Miguel de Guzman + Rocio Romero), 2018