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The Snow Owl

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,225 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Ben thinks his son’s talk of the magical kingdom of Lukana is just typical childhood imagination. But one winter day, when seven year-old Eric sculpts a snow owl in his backyard, he seems to set in motion events that cannot be anything but magical. Now Ben faces the terrifying prospect of losing his only child to a wintry spirit… a spirit that just might be the boy’s true ...more
Kindle Edition, Short story, 11 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Jon and Heather Hartling
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,225 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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What a nice short story! I loved it!

Synopsis: A loving couple. She dies during child birth but not before she asks him for forgiveness. As soon as he sees the baby he realizes that she asked for forgiveness because the child is not his. He makes the heart wrenching decision to raise this child as his own. At seven this child sculpts a snow owl and sets in motion a series of magical events where he confirms that he is Prince of Lukana and he will be traveling there soon.

Again, this story was AW
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-books
Short story for the Kindle.
Jamie gives birth then suffers cardiac arrest. Her last words to Ben are, "I'm sorry." Ben is confused until he sees the baby. Eric is almost white-blond while Ben and Jamie are both dark.
Jamie loved winter and snow sports. Ben loves the summer. The couple often took vacations alone. Perhaps Jamie had an affair.
Eric loves the winter, too. He builds a snow owl in the backyard which seems to get more lifelike each night. Eric tells his father that when the o
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book really made me think and wonder. I already knew for sure that kids see things that us adults have become too "old" and too skeptical to see (well, you adults, because me, I might be weird, but I'm glad that I still see some of these things), but this book made me even more sure than I already was.

For those of you who have children or work with children - you know the ones that have the really huge imaginations. What if they weren't just telling stories? What if they were telling the t
Eric Pabon
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This story is very short, and painfully so. The writer manages to capture perfectly the emotions of the story though.

I feel bad for the father, but understand his love and devotion. I feel bad for the son, and love his youthful vibrancy.

I'm amazed by the amount of story told in so few words, and can safely say, that in this particular story, the author has perfected what many authors can only dream of achieving...damn fine story Mr.
Kevin Carey-Infante
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Sorry. Although the concept was a good one, the story fell way short for me. There was little to no character development. I wanted more...a lot more!
Lori Henrich
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was kind of a disappointing story. I didn't realize it was so short. From the blurb I really expected it to go somewhere.
Amy (DemonKittie)
This was better than I thought it was going to be. I wasn't so sure about the owl part for a few minutes and the ending seems to be a little quick, but I like it. For a short story it is pretty dang good.
Becky Arundale
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own-as-ebook
An amateur fantasy short story.
B.B. Browning
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Great idea but...

Like some reviewers have said, the story has a strong beginning, suddenly ends. For me as a reader, there were many unanswered questions.
I think it would have been much stronger and more interesting if the author had spent more time developing the story after the owl leaves.
I found the story disappointing but clearly many other readers enjoyed it given the many positive 4- or 5-star reviews.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Quick read

Interesting short story about the birth of a son. It’s a very quick read, but I missed the point of the story.
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it

This was kind of a sad book and it was a very quick read. It should be read by 10yr olds to 12yr olds
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my second read for #hohohorat
This is a warm holiday story that speaks of unselfish love. There is pain and fear but love threads throughout. I really enjoyed the charming aspect of what I would call a fairy tale.
I will look for other work by Jon Hartling as I enjoyed the writing style and imagination.
Denise Weldon-siviy
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Almost crystalline elegance

This is a beautifully written tale, elegantly crafted to touch and warm the heart despite its frigid crystalline setting.

Read via Kindle Unlimited
Martin Landry
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
(reposted from
This story has a special meaning to me, despite my never having heard of it nor the author before downloading and reading it. My son was born in January, during a particularly cold winter. A few weeks before his arrival, I was driving down a lonely country side-road, when I came upon an "harfang des neiges," known in English as a "great snowy owl." It was the first time I had seen one in the Ottawa valley, despite regular sightings of falcons and eagles signifying an ab
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys short stories
Recommended to Mareena by: Amazon
Seven-year-old Eric has always had an active imagination and a fascination with snow and cold weather. Initially, his father Ben doesn't think that his son's talk of a magical kingdom known as Lukana is anything more than a little boy's typical childhood imagination. Ben, himself, prefers the summer, while his late wife Jamie - Eric's mother - loved the winter. Jamie died giving birth to Eric, but her final act in life was to apologize to Ben.

Ben never knew exactly why Jamie apologiz
Peg Hubbard
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
At first, I was disappointed that this is actually a short story, when I was anticipating a novel. That said, the story itself did not disappoint me, although it could easily have been made into a much longer story. I was left at the end feeling unsatisfied with the outcome.

This is a fantasy about a man with a remarkable son. At the beginning, we find out that this seemingly perfect marriage has its secret, and the son, Eric, is at the heart of that secret. I won't spoil the rest of
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
A young mother dies in childbirth and begs her husband to forgive her and accept the child. He looks down at a child that can't possibly be his, and decides that he loved his wife enough to raise her child even if she was unfaithful once. The boy is a sunny, bright child with an unusual preference for cold weather and a great imagination that insists he can talk to owls .The young child tells his father that the owls are coming for him and that he is a long lost prince.

Despite the in
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this for free on Amazon back in April of 2014 and kind of forgot about it, not gonna lie. Then a random power outage happened, and I got this one read. I was fascinated by the story and really wanted to have more. It felt like there was so much more to learn about Lukana.
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a very short tale but a wonderul one. Weaving elements of fantasy and horror together, this one really struck a chord with me. It seemed at first this was just a fairy-tale-esque story about a boy with an overactive imagination who builds a snow owl instead of a snow man and his father who wanted more than anything for his child's dreams to come true. But it became apparent that the authors may have been trying to tell the readers something more - something about the loss of a loved one ...more
Jan 26, 2016 added it
I thought this book was amazing! I am an ten and a half year old and I love this book. I told my friends about it and they all said 'What ever'. I thought they liked fantasy books like me but apparently they don't. This book explains my life so well when I heard about Jon Heartling I was so amazed by him. His books are actually inspireing me to make books as well based of all his books that I have read I really enjoy his personality and all the effort he put into his books he has amazing express ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
If author Jon Hartling's presentation seems a bit puzzling, it's because he's a Lovecraft fan and is drawing his writing style from the 1920s. Although this clever short story doesn't have the more in-depth, personal perspective favored by modern writers, that doesn't detract from his realistic characters and smooth, subtle plotline. [SPOILER ALERT] I'd love to know what would have happened if the boy HAD been taken by the snow owl to Lukana, but that's a story for a longer book. [END SPOILER AL ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed the premise, but I think the story would have been better served by beginning in the second scene where the action actually begins and then letting the back story be revealed later. From the second scene, the tension builds up nicely - and then all the trouble literally melts away without any effort on the part of the characters. An otherwise enjoyable writing style is unfortunately marred by punctuation errors and dialectal use of the word 'anyways.' I think this story has a lot of po ...more
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012, free-on-kindle
What to say, what to say.....

A very short story that felt more like a legend / fable / myth being retold. It wasn't bad but it wasnt riveting either.

Thank Goodness for Kindle dictionary because the author uses several words that you don't hear everday. Such as deleterious, loquacious,preternatural just to name a few. So I guess if I learned a few new words that must account for something :)
Gretchen March
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thought this was a chapter book?

This book was very good. Although I thought it would be a chapter book and not only about twenty pages it was an enjoyable quick read.I chose this rating because it was a great book but the shortness of it.I really wish it wasn't as much of a cliffhanger and more of the book. I suggest this book for a quick read for a needed 20 minute break. This book was great! and for free $$$
Stacie  Haden
When l first bought my Kindle years ago, l downloaded a few free books- this was one of them. I came across it today and checked it on goodreads before l opened it or cleared it out. It isn't a book, but rather a short story. So, I just took 15 minutes of my time...and...I don't know. It was ok. It could have easily been turned into a book by adding character development. As it stands, anyone with a speck of talent could have written it.
Dec 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
What the hell? Sure, I know this is a short story and a quick read, but to me it felt as if this is an unfinished project. You get the feeling that the writer just got tired of writing and developing the story and gave it the most random ending he could just to get it over with.
If this was a two chapter story I guess it would be ok as it is, but to end it right there you are no doubt left wondering about the future of the main character and asking yourself what the hell have you just read.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tales-retold
"Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind? Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind..."
I had no idea when I downloaded this short that this would be my favourite Romantic art song in a short story. Just as Franz Schubert put Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's "Der Erlkönig" to music, so has this story has very nicely modernized it. In a way, I wish there was more, but just like the original poem, less is more. Thank you, Mr. Hartling. Nicely done.
Joseph Edward Ryan
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This has to be one of the best short stories, I have ever read. I loved it on many levels, and it really took me away to another place. Well written, and well thought out. Beautiful ending, which leaves just enough for the imagination.

I don't understand the 3 star reviews - this is 5 stars all the way. Well done Jon Hartling!
Nov 18, 2014 rated it liked it
This short story was...interesting. It was powerful, but very abrupt. I felt that the author could maybe have done a better job fleshing things out, while still living in the realm of short story. However, I do like the lack of detail too, because it allows the reader to sympathize more for the father, and to understand his confusion with everything that is happening with his son.
The Snow Owl is a fantasy/paranormal story that rambles and twists in its writing about a young family who experience a rather interesting event.

I wish there'd been more time to explore the events leading up to the climax, I feel there would have been a greater emotional attachment to the characters. As it stands, this reads well but lacks depth.
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Jon Hartling had been writing aimlessly for many years before the stars aligned and he discovered his muse in the classic stories of H.P. Lovecraft. With the invaluable help of his wife Heather in an editorial and technical capacity, he began writing short stories of weird fiction. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and children and dreams of one day owning a plush Cthulhu doll that’s wearing a G ...more
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“Everyone who knew Ben and Jamie said that theirs was a marriage made in heaven. ” 0 likes
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