The days are getting shorter and shorter every week here in Denmark. The Northern wind is howling in the tree tops and the nights are bitterly cold. Last night my apple trees dropped their last brown leaves in the heavy storm coming from the north. I couldn’t sleep, because some branches were banging on the roof. My bag door blow up and I had to go to the backside of the house to secure it. As I turned around the corner of the house, I saw what had caused the door to blow up! King Winter had rumbled by my house in his wagon pulled by his two white Tundra Wolves, his white coat was blowing in the wind behind the wagon, and I saw how it left a carpet of rime frost over the garden. I went inside and asked Ebbe and Selene to help light candles in my windows as a celebration of the return of King Winter.
Last winter Ebbe was asleep most of the time, but it seams like he has grown out of his need for the long winter sleep. Selene was very disappointed that I hadn’t called her when King Winter passed by, she has a list of things she wants to ask him, and now it’s too late. I told her that we could send him a letter to calm her down. I asked Ebbe to find his bundle of whispering leaves with all the stories about the seasons. I had traded a broken teapot for this lovely collection of stories at the Kaputs Caves, and they have become Ebbe’s favorite Nidlongdir stories. I asked the twins to snuggle into their tiny beds; we rolled the whispering leaves, and pushed them into our ears so that we could listen to the story about King Winter.
If you follow the trail of the reindeers as fare north as you can, and you find the spot where you are standing exactly under the North Star, a big grey seal will pick you up, and offer you a ride to the ice palace Kylmä. Kylmä is the home of King Winter and his ice dragon, also known as The Northern Wind. During most of the summer the ice dragon is resting under Kylmä to gather all the strength it can to blow heavy ice storms at sea, and keep King Winter’s white fur coat full of ice and snow.
King Winter lives alone with his dragon, because no one can stand the cold at Kylmä for very long. Many have tried to enter Kylmä, and never returned, it is said that the entrance of Kylmä is filled with frozen visitors. Only a very few visitors are known to have returned safely from a stay at King Winter’s palace. One of them is Santa Clause. He passes Kylmä every year at the end of the autumn to open the gate of Kylmä, and awake the ice dragon to make sure he will get lots of Christmas snow. When the spring is near, the Spring Maiden will close the gate of Kylmä with her green key of spring, to make sure King Winter will be able to rest in peace until it’s time for him to go to work again. Some say the Spring Maiden is deeply in love with King Winter. To show him her affection, she weaves his beard with flowers before she closes the gate. In return King Winter lets millions of ice bells tinkle in her honor, and if you listen to the sound of melting snow and ice in the spring, you can hear his bells greeting her welcome!
To the south in the other end of King Winter’s kingdom, he keeps his army of penguins. To call them an army may sound strange, but they are indeed one of the most powerful armies in the world. Not that they ever have been into a battle, no they keep order at the south pole by making sure the Queen Of Summer wont melt the poles and create chaos. But what powers can an army of penguins possibly have you might ask! The penguin’s power lies in their black feathers, the Queen Of Summer fear to be wrapped in a coat of black feathers, but she is very vain and the black coat of penguin feathers is irresistible beautiful. The penguins work every day of the year on preparing the black feather coat in case the queen should pass by, and try to heat up the South Pole, she will be wrapped in the isolating coat and King Winter will come and carry her away from his kingdom.
There is an old tail that tells how King Winter got his two white tundra wolves. At the time when the world was still very young King Winter ruled the world! The other seasons only had very little powers, but he was getting tired and felt he needed a rest. He used to ride on the back of the ice dragon the Northern Wind, but the dragon was very wild and hard to tame. One Night King Winter fell of the Northern Wind. He fell into a deep gap of ice. His broad shoulders was stuck in the gap, he desperately struggled to get free, but ho matter how hard he struggled he was trapped. King Winter called the Northern Wind but it had run wild and didn’t listen to his calls. King Winter sat in the ice gap for many days and nights, there were no sign of the Northern Wind, and one day the sun broke through, and a small white flower had found its way through the snow and ice and started to bloom. The next day the Spring Maiden felt her powers had increased, and she started her long walk of rebirth to turn the world green. The small white flower called for the Spring Maiden to come and rescue it from the cold surroundings. The Spring Maiden never had a call form a flower that fare to the north, so she decided to help the poor flower growing in the cold north. To walk into King Winter’s kingdom would be risky, so she asked Mother Wolf if she would lend her two of her wolf pups to accompany her on her journey. Mother Wolf was very clever she had her spies every where, and she knew King Winter was trapped in the ice gap, but she didn’t want him to rule the world any more, she wanted spring to get more power, so that her pups wouldn’t have to starve all the time. Mother Wolf agreed to let her two oldest pups follow the Maiden Of Spring on her journey on one condition, the Spring Maiden should offer to help King Winter out of the ice gap, if he in return would retrieve into his palace in the spring every year. As a gift from Mother Wolf, King Winter was to receive the two white wolf pups so that he would be able to travel safely in a wagon pulled by the two strong white wolves. The Spring Maiden walked for many days, and when she finely reached King Winter in the ice gap he was so tired that he had gone to sleep. His long white beard was wrapped around the white flower. The Spring Maiden felt sorry for the once so powerful king, he looked so lost trapped in the ice gap, that she sat down beside him and started to weave his beard with flowers. The King felt the tenderness deep into his frozen heart, and when he opened his eyes, the Spring Maiden gave him a kiss of rebirth. He soon regained his strength and pulled himself out of the ice gap. The King gladly accepted Mother Wolf’s gift, he was so happy that the beautiful Spring Maiden had offered him kindness in his darkest hour, that he created millions of ice bells to follow the Spring Maiden on her spring journey of rebirth. King Winter fed the two wolf pups with big fat fish and he purchase a wagon from the grey dwarfs living in the mountains on the border of his kingdom. The two wolf pups grew into the two strongest tundra wolves ever seen, and some even say that King Winter’s wagon is made of the same stuff as Santa’s sleigh.
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