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East of the Sun and West of the Moon
In a little hut in a big forest outside of a common village lived a poor woodcutter with his wife and eight children. The woodcutters children were all very fair with sun blond hair and snow blue eyes. Tall and slender and as graceful as a doe. The most fair of them all was his youngest daughter. She had hair as white as snow eyes as violet as the flowers in the spring and her skin the cream color of the moon. She was short unlike her siblings but as graceful as a flower in the wind. Her beauty wasn't just on the outside it was inside her too. She was kind, gently and soft spoken. Everyone in the little village loved her and wished for her to marry one of their sons but she wished not. She wished to work with her father in the woods, but her father just scoffed at her and told her it was mens work. Listen she did not she followed him everyday humming to her favorite song carrying a small hatchet and helped cut down trees. Little did she know that while she worked, a polar bear watched her. He watched her as she sang, as she slept, as she worked, he watched her. He fell in love with the fair maiden and wished of her as his wife.
One day as the end of one and the come of another day approing during the winter, the bear banged through their door to the family huddled around a small fire searching for warmth. The woodcutter frightened for himself and his family stood in front of the bear holding an ax in his shaking hands. “W-who are you.” The woodcutter stammered out.
“I am the Ice king from the North.” the bear roared. The woodcutter hearing stories of this great king dropped his hatchet and got on all fours in a bow in front of the great king. The family followed what the woodcutter did in fear of this bear. “Woodcutter I have a proposition for you,” the bear held his head up high and eyed the youngest daughter,
“If you give me your youngest daughter hand in marriage, I will give you all the riches you desire.” The girls head shot up and looked the bear in the eye in horror.
“All the riches?” The woodcutter considered. The girl shocked that her father was considering the offer jumped to her feet and yelled
“NO! I will not marry somebody that I do not love.” Her father hushed her and stood up to the bear and said
“Will you care for my child and make sure she is always well?” The bears head went up and down as if saying yes. The girl shouted no over and over getting quieter and quieter as they continue to negotiate, not even carrying about her feelings.
“Rose my dear child, I love you but I must think about the rest of the family too, these riches will make sure that we are never cold or hungry ever again.” Rose, the girl, too stunned to speak was scooped up and placed on the back of the ice king. He ran away from the little hut, away from the forest and ways from the little village,he ran as fast as he could go, not stopping for food or rest. Along the way he ask Rose if she was frightened and she answered with one simple word, no. The Ice kings castle was made completely out of ice. The bridge, chairs,beds even the books and instruments were made out of ice. The ice castle was magic and no matter how warm it got the castle never melted. The bed and chairs were warm and comfortable and not wet or slippery like ice should be.
The Ice king and Rose were married that day and at night when Rose went to bed someone or something would join her. She didn't know who or what it was. Every night it joined her and when she mentioned it to the Ice king he said nothing of it. Over the few months she grew close to the Ice king and that was how her new life was. By day she would walk, talk, even have a little fun with the Ice king, and by night she would be joined by the stranger in her bed. Even though she was happy and loved the bears company she missed her family dearly. She would mourn for them and wish to know if they were safe and happy. The ice king caught her once sobbing and asked her what was wrong. She told him that she missed her family and just wanted to know if they were all right. The ice king seeing her sorrow gave her something precious to his heart. A mirror. A mirror that knows what you most desire in your heart and reflects it for you too see. She saw her family, her brothers and sisters all leaning around a bed. her mother was whispering to the person in the bed. As Rose looked closer at the person she saw it was her beloved father.
“Ice king I wish a Request from you.” She asked him that evening.
“What is it you wish?”
“I wish to go home for two weeks time, for my father is ill and I fear he is dying.”
“How do I know that you are not tricking me to run away?” Rose showed him the mirror, “How do I know that you will return to me?”
“Because my dear friend my father made and deal and I wish to keep that deal.”
“Just promise me one thing,”The bear asked her when they arrived to her house, “Promise me that you wont tell your family anything.”
“Nothing not even what you eat for breakfast.” Rose confused by her promise left. She was confused but she didn't break it. When anyone asked her where she went or what she did she just told them that she made a promise not to tell. Her family was indeed more rich. They had full meals and was warm every night, bigger beds and house, nicer clothing and gardens. the woodcutter got better through out the days and tried to convince her to stay.
“We’re rich now, you can just stay.” he would say.
“I cant, I made a promise.” That is what she said. Her father wasn't the only one who tried to manipulate her. Her mother pestered her day and night about the ice king. She pestered her so often about the ice king that Rose just gave up. It was her last day home and her mother was packing new clothes for Rose to wear.
“My child I ask you this once more for I am your mother and I worry about you, what is it that you do in that castle?”
“You know I can’t tell you.”
“Oh but I wish you did, for it worries me so not knowing what it is your doing. For all i know you could be living in a dungeon or being torture. and the bear threatened you not to tell.” Wanting to clear her mothers conscience of worry, told her everything. About how she enjoyed the days with the ice king and the books and stories he would read to her. Once she started talking she couldn't stop. She told her all about the bear about how he made her happy and made her feel like she was safe and peaceful she told her about the stranger in her bed every night and that she didn't know who or what it was.
“Rose you don't know what it is? It could be a monster, or worse a troll that sleeps in your bed every night.” Her mother etched with worry fetched candles and flint and firestone to help her light the candle. “Here child, when it is deep in sleep light one of these and look upon its face.” Rose accepted the candle that her mother gave her and buried them deep beneath her cloths.
Late at night when she thought the stranger was fast asleep she light a candle and looked upon the things face. Thing it was not. It was a man. He had fair hair and a fair face and as Rose looked upon him she fell in love. When she leaned over to get a closer look at the beautiful man, three drops of wax dropped on his shirt. The fair man opened his eyes and looked right at rose and moaned.
“Oh my sweet dear Rose what is it that you have done?”
“What do you mean?” Rose asked clearly confused and not understanding.
“If only you have waited a year just a year then the spell would have been lifted and I could have been freed at last.”
“What is it that you are saying?”
“A evil troll placed a spell on me for I did not love her. By day I am beast and by night man. If I were to make a human girl fall in love with me in a years time then I would be free. If not then I would be taken to her castle to be her King, her husband.” Rose looked upon him in horror as she heard the sound of bells and knew it was the evil queen.
“Oh my love tell me what it is I can do?”
“There is nothing you can do for I am now lost to you and it would be best if you tried to forget about me. I t will save you form harm.”
“But my dear Ice king what I f I want to find you to try to save you.”
“I will be in the palace East of the Sun and West of the Moon if you wish to find me but i beg you not too for it is dangerous and I do not wish harm upon you.”
Rose heard the bells once more and the king was gone along with him the palace disagreed leaving Rose alone in the cold snow crying for her lost beloved. The East wind hearing her sorrow asked the child what was the matter and she told him all.
“Cry not my child but My brother the west wind knows where this great place is and shall take you there.” The East wind flew Rose to the West wind but the West wind said “I know where it is but is too far for me to travel too, lets ask my brother south wind for he has gone farther then I.” The south wind saying the same thing as the West wind flew her to their brother the North wind.
“I know where this evil place lies. If I am to take you there you shall know that I wont be able to bring you back for flying there holding just you would be hard enough but holding two would be a great deal too much.” The north wind flew her straight there and asked her alone the way if she was frightened and she answered no. For she loved the Ice king and knew that life without him would be just too much. Rose arrived just in time of the wedding just when they were about to be bound Rose shouted,
“I challenge you!” Rose knowing of Trolls ancient ways knew that if she challenged one and laid out a price the troll would have to accept.
“Who are you to challenge me, you petty little human.”
“I challenge you, for the price of my love, If you can clean out the three drops of wax that are on the kings shirt then you can have him. But if I am to clean them out then he shall become my husband and we will never hear or see from you.” The troll queen laughed at the petty human and accepted thinking without a doubt that she would win. When the queen scrubbed on the shirt it just turned black and the spots growing larger and larger. The queen hollowed in rage and when Rose cleaned the shirt it turned white as snow like it was brand new. The queen not being able to do anything about the sad lose stomped her foot hard in the ground causing a hole making her fall into it never to be seen again. Rose knew that Trolls could never do house work if their life depended on it, they had human slaves to do it for them. Rose took her kings hand in hers and they started their long voyage home.