Thursday, March 06, 2008

East by Pattou

A retelling of the folk tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" Rose was born under the sign of the wanderer. Rose was a bit different from her lithe, pretty, fair, sisters, sturdy and dark and having a love of the outdoors. The family of seven siblings and parents falls on hard times and it looks as if a most beloved sister will die. A bargain with a white bear insures that Sara will survive and the family will flourish. But, Rose must go with the bear to live in a winter castle from which she cannot leave. There are pacts with Troll Queens that cannot be revealed. White bear speaks little and reveals nothing. Besides herself and white bear there are two servants that do not speak her language. She spends her nearly endless days in the castle weaving on a great loom, trying to learn the flauto musical instrument to please white bear, telling him stories and learning the routine and language of the servants. At night all lights must be out then she is joined in bed by a person or animal she cannot see and that does not make any sound beyond sighs. After many months she is allowed a visit home with her family though she has been given many precautions and has agreed to return to the white bear she has begun to care about. While visiting she is given a candle that will remain lit even when none other light will. It was specially prepared by the local witch lady. Rose returns to white bear and the castle more curious than ever to see the person who joins her each night. Finally Rose lights her candle, all is revealed to her and she loses white bear to the troll queen who takes him in a sleigh heading north. Because Rose feels guilty for losing white bear by her actions and because she has grown to care for him she is determined to follow and rescue him from the troll queen. Its a hard journey every north, past the ice bridge with the help of a drunken sailor and a Inuit shaman and finally one of the servants from the winter castle who is at the ice palace of the troll queen and still more planning while enslaved by the trolls. Fans of Beauty and the Beast stories will enjoy this lovely story.
JDW 3/6/08

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