The other suitors tried to climb the glass mountain by using horses that were shod with sharp nails. They didn’t make it. Even the golden knight didn’t make it. When he hit bottom, I heard his bones rattle in his battered golden armor like dry peas in a pod.
I went into the forest and killed a lynx, and then I fastened his claws to my hands and feet. I went up the mountain on hands and knees. I climbed through the day and into the night, until my feet were torn and bleeding and I could no longer use them. I dug in my claws, fell asleep on the mountain, and woke to an eagle feeding on me as if I were carrion. I seized the bird by the talons and he flew me to the summit. He wouldn’t let go of me, and so I cut off his claws.
That’s how I made it to the top.
The Blood-Stained Climber in The Glass Mountain, Yellow Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.