Short Story Writing Competition Winner (12 - 17)

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The Frost King

by Rachael Phillips

The Frost King was a lonely ruler. He often found himself looking down from his frozen palace to the village in the distance. So much land lay between the fortress and the town. Swathes of bleak, frigid wasteland – nothing but layers and layers of white flakes which blanketed the ground like an endless ocean. Over the snow, he could make out the thatched roofs of the village houses, and the faint glow of the lamps that marked the road, but apart from that, there was nothing but pretentious buildings, burdened with the hostile coldness of Winter that he was obliged to reign over. Weighed with miserable despair, he stepped away from the crystal ice walls of the expansively empty palace, and slumped into his throne to mull.

Down in the village, the weather was particularly bitter – it was the height of Frost Solstice in this land of ice. Wind screamed past the houses, and whipped up pale, purposeless flakes that obscured the view in a cloak of white. In the most modest and smallest house in the village, a little girl pressed her face against the window pane. Her name was Eve, and she had always been the most optimistic child in the town, never failing to put a smile on everyone else’s face, and she did not intend to let the formidable weather hinder that.

“There must be a way to stop it!” she cried impatiently, watching the spire of the Palace protruding above the snow clouds. Everyone in this town was so miserable!

“There’s nothing you can do, Eve,” replied her mother, “not even the King can control it.” Eve sighed. Maybe she could not stop the snow, but there must be something else she could do to stop the gloom that overhung Winter. Looking at the ochre glow of the lamp outside of her cottage, she had an idea. Then she noticed the bare trees and her imagination started to run, unrestrained. Grabbing her cloak, she ran outside and began to knock on the doors of other villagers. It was not long before the town started to hum with confused whispers and busy footsteps as each person occupied themselves with the task that they were given, by the little girl.

Whilst they were milling around, Eve slipped away. She was going to go to the palace. As far as she knew, no one had ever visited the Frost King. It was far away, but she wanted to show him what she done – maybe that would restore his faith and he would make an effort to make the little village a happier place. Her short legs sunk in the snow, and the chill settled into her bones, so she pulled her cloak tighter, and rubbed her arms together in an attempt to revive some king of warmth. Humming the only song she new, Eve trudged on through the blizzard until she reached the beginning of the winding path of ice that led up to the palace.

It was only then that she could see the sheer size of the construction. It towered far above her expectations, and the ice shimmered in a transparent blue magnificence. As she stood there, looking in awe, Eve could not see the large creature that approached from her side until it nudged her in the ribs. Yelling in shock, she turned to see a huge ice bear looming over her. At first, Eve was horrified, but when she saw the way it’s ivory fur rippled, and the gentle omniscient look in its dark eyes, she realised it was not a malicious beast. In fact, it seemed to invite her onto its back. She climbed on, and settled into its warmth, as it knowingly took her up to the palace of the Frost King.

“Thank you.” smiled Eve, tickling the bear’s chin. It shivered in delight, groaned a goodbye, and took off back down the winding path. Without hesitation, Eve entered the castle through its unnecessarily huge doors. As soon as she entered, there was no wind to whip her hair, and no flurries of snow to make her shudder. All that was there was a defeated looking man on an oversized chair.

At first he did not realise there was a little girl stood in his castle – he was slouched nonchalantly in the throne, and held his head in his hand. When he noticed, he did not bother rising to his feet.
“I do not want company,” he mumbled, “leave me to my sorrow.” Without saying a word, Eve grabbed his arm, and pulled him towards the window. Her heart was in her throat, and it threatened to leap right out if it hammered any faster at the thought of her plan failing now, but she had to hope for the best. As they both looked out of the window, she became overwhelmed with joy – it worked.

Where the village stood, there were colours of all sorts glowing, like a beacon of festivity, seen even through the walls of heavy snowfall. Trees were illuminated and plumes of smoke rose where there were fires lit to warm their homes. The Frost King stood in disbelief, unable to comprehend the change of scenery. There was no longer the bleak view he despised, a reflection of his lonely sorrow.

“You did this?” he asked.

“You made me want to do it.” She answered. “Come and see!” She beckoned. Together they rode back to the village. As they approached, the unfamiliar sound of laughter, and jolly conversation filled the air, and the smell of delicious foods drifted in the wind. In the dark and cold night, the lights twinkled. Adorned trees studded the village. That was how December the twenty fifth marked the day that the hope and joy of a little girl brightened the miserable world, and thawed the frozen heart of the lonely despairing man, the Frost King.