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Monday, June 29, 2009

Fairy Tale of Prince and Horse Chapter 8: In the Werewolf's Den

Walpurga, the Abbess of Heidenheim


Fairy Tale of Prince and Horse Chapter 8, in the Werewolf’s Den.As the brightness of day faded, the horse carried the prince further and further into the woods. The sun was hanging low in the sky, when the prince awoke as from a dream. Horse and rider continued on a crooked path twisting deeper and deeper into the woods. At last they left the cold and dewy forest and emerged on a steep road, which became stonier with each step. As a full moon rose in the sky, a small hut could be seen and through its window glimmered candlelight.

The prince dismounted from his exhausted horse, its body damp from exertion. Looking through the window, he spied an old woman setting the table with what looked like a banquet feast. He heard a raspy voice command from within “Enter! The food is ready and you shall be fed the very best!”

She was a hunched woman with a mane of silvery-brown hair. Shuffling back and forth through the room, she never looked into the prince’s face as she carried heaped platters of food and pitchers full to the brim. A broad leather belt girdled her dark and dank dress. Her hair was matted, her skin wrinkled and moist. The prince returned to the horse, who whispered in his ear: “I would advise using a silver spoon when you eat her fare!” The prince removed from the horse’s saddlebag a shiny silver spoon and entered the clammy and dark hut. A chill ran down his spine as he sat at the table. Although a fire burned in the fireplace, the room was cold and the prince could not shake the chill that seized him.

True to her promise, the food was indeed delicious and plentiful. But alas, the old woman placed a tin spoon on the table. Carefully slipping the silver spoon from his pocket, the prince began eating from the splendid assortment. He was soon satisfied and somewhat drowsy from the strong drink.

“You were hungered!” the woman said approvingly. Her chest heaved with each word and her breathing was loud and uneven. “It is good to understand true hunger, food tastes better,” she muttered. The old woman then began a raspy monologue while she cleared the table. She said her name was Walpurga and had lived in the region since birth. She was the last surviving member of a noble family. The prince dozed off as she prattled on about her extensive land holdings, the servants who tended the fine herd of sheep, the succulent little lambs, the sinewy cattle. Soon the prince was snoring. The old woman cautiously rose from her chair and unbuckled her leather belt. It slipped from her waist and she was a wolf.

With lightening speed the wolf lunged across the table toward the sleeper. In the nick of time the prince, now roused and still gripping the silver spoon, held it up to ward off the blow of the wolf’s powerful body. The dreaded snout hissed, the stench and foulness of its breath could be felt against the prince’s cheek. In the last second, the animal veered off to the side howling pitifully. “Quick!” the horse cried out, “You are no match for a werewolf! We must invoke the mistletoe.

“Mistletoe, Mistletoe, Where do you grow?” the steed cried out.

With the prince still holding the silver spoon to keep the wolf at bay, the horse chanted this magic charm:

“Mistletoe, mistletoe, where do you grow?
Neath the full moon glittering?
Neath the owl twittering?
Climb up and around,
Without a sound.

Mistletoe, mistletoe, where do you grow?
Neath the full moon glittering?
Neath the owl twittering?
Form strong bands,
Round werewolf hands.”

Grow fast,
Grow round,
Grow up,
Grow down.
Mistletoe, Mistletoe grow!”

Small voices could be heard from the floor of the cabin as buds sprouted swiftly around the werewolf, who stood subdued by the shining silver spoon:

“Here we grow, here we grow.
All fat-stemmed blossoms.
Your cry was heard,
Like cuckoo bird.
We grow fast,
We grow round,
We grow up,
We grow down. “

The mistletoe grew up on all sides of the werewolf, encircling the beast in a ring of green leaves. The wolf could not step beyond the ring of vegetation and the silver spoon sparkling in the candlelight seemed to terrify the creature even more.

“You must shout out her Christian name three times to break the werewolf spell. Then, she shall serve you and you both will be allied!”

“Walpurga, Walpurga, Walpurga!” the prince screamed out as loudly and forcefully as his lungs permitted.

Where the wolf had stood, a young woman in an abbess’s frock now appeared. At that moment a warmth spread through the room and the prince could feel it in his bones.
“I am Walpurga, the Abbess of Heidenheim. Welcome!” she said.


Read Chapter 7:
http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/06/fairy-tale-of-prince-and-horse-chapter.html

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