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Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

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North Wind

Themes: Power | Sacrifice | Support

When the young girl approached my dwelling, riding on the South Wind, they felt my cold gusts long before they aririved.

“What do you want?” I roared from afar, freezing them with my blasts. The South Wind said: “It is I, and this is she who is meant to be with the prince who lives in the castle east of the sun and west of the moon. She wishes to know if you have ever been there, and can tell her the way, for she would gladly find him again.”

“I know where it is,” I said. “I once blew an aspen leaf there, but I was so tired that for many days afterward I was not able to blow at all. However, if you really are anxious to go there, and are not afraid to go with me, I will take you on my back, and try to blow you there.”

“Get there I must,” said she. “If there is any way of going, I will; and I have no fear, no matter how fast you go.”

I told her we would start the next morning, for we would need the full day. I woke her at daybreak, puffing myself up. I made myself mighty, and away I bore her, high up through the air. I blew steady and strong, determined not to stop until we had reached the end of the world. Down below there was such a storm! It blew down woods and houses, and when we flew over the sea, hundreds of ships were wrecked. We tore on and on, and a long time went by, and then yet more time passed, and still we were above the sea. I began to grow tired, and more tired, and at last I was so utterly exhausted that I could scarcely blow any longer. I sank and sank, lower and lower, until the waves dashed against the heels of the girl on my back. “Are you afraid?” I asked.

“I have no fear,” said she.

We were not very far from land, and I had just enough strength to throw her on to the shore. She landed under the windows of the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon. By then I was so weary and worn out that I had to rest for several days before I could go home again.

The North Wind in East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Blue Fairy Book. Illustration by Kay Nielsen.

North Wind