This new story for #TwistedTaleTuesday was originally published in Afrikaans on INK as Koningin van Ys for the winter nostalgia competition. I wanted to call it Yskoningin (Ice Queen) but it didn’t create the same images in my mind as this new title.
Though this story didn’t win, it had favourable comments from other writers. Comments included “a fun flight of the imagination” and “fantasy that pulled me in from the start and continues to conjure images in my imagination”. (You can read the original Afrikaans version with comments if you click on the link above.)
Queen of Ice
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Ice crystals formed on her bare arms. Beira smiled delighted. She opened her mouth wide: sleet and wind flew out and froze the landscape. Her cloak fluttered behind her. Where everything was once green and alive, there was only ice. It took only moments for the green to become brown. Summer had tried valiantly to prevent autumn from claiming the land; for a time all the plants had thought that they could still grow during the mild equinox.
But she wasn’t going to stand back anymore. Winter was hers. Winter was without sympathy. Winter was meant to be filled with ice.
Her eye caught a lynx trying to walk against the ice wind swirling around her. She looked into his eyes and saw the wonder he watched her with. Beira swallowed. It rarely happened that she wasn’t feared.
‘Come with me,’ she said to the brave cat.
She could hear how he followed her across the frozen moor, through the woods glistening with ice crystals, to her stone cottage that sometimes looked like a castle.
Beira opened the door and the lynx shot past her into the warm room.
Numerous animal-voices greeted her and the new arrival.
‘Go ahead, share the warm milk with him,’ she said to her guests.
She watched how they made space for the lynx at the cauldron in which milk from the Tree of Winter and Life trickled, and sat down in front of the warm hearth surrounded by all the wild animals who need her.
So, what did you think? Do you like the twist? The cauldron is obviously beneath the roots of a tree that grows in Faerie 😉 With the cold – especially the ice and mist in the mornings – I’m sure I’ve seen the Cailleach freeze the land. Some call her Beira, Queen of Winter. Mm, I should probably do a post on this fascinating Faery…
“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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