Once upon a time there was a young queen who said,”If only, my lonely days would end and I might have a child,” but never had one. “I would call her Story and she would be beautiful and her voice so sweet that all would come to hear her recite”, pledged the young queen as a tear ran down her cheek.
It happened once as the young queen was bathing, a large frog leaped from the water onto her breast. “Queen Muse, your wish shall be fulfilled, before twelve full cycles of the moon have passed,you shall birth a daughter. You may name her ‘Story’ as you have planned and it is true that none shall be able to resist the lure of her voice and shall travel far to hear her recitations.”
What the frog had told her had came true, and the young queen had discovered she was with child and began to recite short fables and long epics as she rubbed her hands over her round belly. It came that she had a little girl who was so pretty and words so mesmerizing that the queen could not contain her joy and ordered a great banquet.
She invited her kin from near and far, friends and ambassadors from all of the other kingdoms and lands that bordered. She invited also the greatest bards of the village that they might be kind and well-disposed towards the child. There were thirteen of them but she only had twelve silver lyres with which to gift them, so one of them had to be left at home as she could not be embarassed.
The feast was held and the bards brought gifts with which to bestow the young princess- one gave words, another wit, one richness of tone, and so on with everything one might wish for Story. When eleven of the bards made their tribute, suddenly the thirteenth bard entered the hall and said not a word to the others or the queen and spoke directly to the child, “Your words are wistful and kind but on your thirteenth winter, your lips will fall mute and the cold winds shall blow fiercely and entrap you within a block of frigid and unbreakable ice. All may see your beauty and imagine your voice but never hear you from within”. And without saying another word, he left wrapping his cloak around him tightly.
Shocked and frightened, but the twelfth bard, whose good words were yet to be spoken walked forward and knowing he could not undo the evil sentence, but could perhaps soften it he said, “This truth is truer than true, winter’s breath is cold and bluer that blue, but if the right words are told your skin will take a rosier hue and then Story you will know precisely what you shall do”
So each winter, the queen made her castle more secure and boarded up the windows and put curtains across the doors. She spoke with wise women and magi too but all agreed that none could prevent the sad truth.
Meanwhile the gifts of the bards were generously fulfilled on the young girl, for her recitations were perfect in every detail and crowds would gather in the spring and summer just to hear her speak ten words of poetry.
It happened that on the very day when she was thirteen years old, that the queen was away in the east and though she hurried her envoys to bring her home that the young princess Story was alone.
She always wondered about the bricked off dining hall and the tower above it and though she knew she was forbidden, she climbed up the narrow winding-staircase, and reached a little door. An old iron key was in the lock but when Story turned it the door went wide.
There was a tiny desk and a tiny scribe.
“Who are you?”, the young princess spoke.
“I am the writer of the tale”, the goblin answered. His eyes two tiny black marbles rolled towards her and he pierced her finger upon his quill. He wrote in blood upon his parchment.
The young princess fell to the floor and the winds ripped the boards right from the windows and the doors and ice pierced the thatch and all around young Story grew a pile of ice that froze into place and became solid as glass. Though you could still see the surprise on her face, none could hear another word from her lips. Sadly, the writer spoke and “This is my block”.
Luminous and bright the ice held her tight and though all knew that story lied within through this winter and then hundreds more, the young princesses freedom none could restore. The castle fell into disrepair and the kingdom into poverty and the block was carried down and placed at the center of the hall. The twelve bards of the kingdom had each tried their most magical words but they echoed and boomed but no reply was ever heard. Historians and storytellers from the world wide would come and recite to the princess inside but none could seem to break the spell and the princess was locked in her own forzen hell.
The queen after most of a century collapsed over that granite hard ice block with her daughter inside finally giving up all hope in bleak sadness she died.
How long passed? It depends on who is telling the tale but one winter when all was white with snow and the air pierced by hail, a young traveller sought shelter inside of a ruined castle hall. All the tapestries torn and the furniture burned for warmth, the young man sat against a solid block off ice that was now fogged white. He brought his cape close around his body and pulled from his satchel a pen and a bound pad that he had inherited from his father who had inherited it before and he began to read a story that started a hundred years or more before in a forgotten kingdom with a long-dead queen and thoughtless act and an evil deed.
See his father had been a bard as his father before and each had sat and written just a little bit more. As the young bard read he realized that he was within just such a hall and though the block was covered in leaves from fall and piles of snow, he brushed them away and just had to know.
Inside was a young frail dark-haired child, no older than he and her eyes were wide and her blue lips slightly parted as if in middle of a word.
He opened his ink bottle. It was more than half frozen and dipped in his pen and then her began the tale again. Only as he wrote and he got to this moment and he got to this part he could hear nothing but the beat of his heart.
He wrote quickly as if he could not waste a moment and despite his haste chose each word wisely and finished the tale and as he did he could see the princess was not quite so pale.
Her skin began to become bright as spring roses and her lips like blood. As she warmed the blocked began to sweat and then pour and puddles began to appear on the floor and suddenly as if winter was over and never to return a warm wind blew and spring had returned.
From Story’s soft mouth came the words that she meant to speak those centuries before. She whispered them now into the ears of the young bard who had freed her, “Who is this story for?”
Please link your answers to last week’s challenge in the comments here. The challenge for this next Friday is to write about:
I will check back with next Freewriting Friday.