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Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

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Guest at the Fiery Feast

Themes: Attraction | Death

The king married a snow-daughter who could not stand the heat. She had a fire-brother who could not stand the cold. The king made an underground house of ice for his queen, and he had a huge oven built for the fire-brother so he could live comfortably.

One day, the king gave a feast, and he invited the fire-brother. When his fiery guest entered the hall, all the rest of us fled outside to get out of the scorching heat. The king became upset and said he never should have taken the fire-brother into his house. The brother laughed and challenged the king, saying, “Come here and embrace me, and then I’ll go home at once!”

Before the king could reply, the fire-brother seized him in a tight embrace. The king screamed in agony and when the queen heard his cries, she ran into the room. The king lay dead on the ground, burnt to a cinder.

The snow-sister flew at her brother in a blizzard of rage. Oh, the Earth herself has never seen such a fight! When it was over, there was nothing left of either of them.

As a guest, I felt very sorry for the king. He had tried so hard to accommodate everyone, but in the end, they all succumbed.

A Guest at the Fiery Feast in The Snow-daughter and the Fire-son, Yellow Fairy Book