On the happiest day of my life, I was riding through the falling snow on a sleigh that was lit by the setting sun. Rushing along through the fir trees in the steaming breath of the horses, I felt like a great white swan, feather-light and wing-borne. “Oh joy and wonder of life! Was anyone ever so happy as I?” I cried. My words rang full and warm as golden bells. I said them again, and they tinkled thin and cold in the air, like breaking icicles. Then my nose began to bleed….
Queen Riding through a Winter Wonderland in The Wild Swans, in Scandinavian Legends and Folk-tales, retold by Gwyn Jones. Illustration by Joan Kiddell-Monroe.