I thought it was time to repost this short story I wrote a couple of years ago on returning from a trip to Norway. The Word of the Day is Horrific, so I hope this story fits the bill.
This story was written in response to Laura M Bailey’s challenge. See Link:
You may also wish to read my previous entry for the 3-way challenge:
The Ice Witch of Norway
There was a Witch who lived in a simple hut in the mountains of the far north of Norway.
The Winters were long and harsh and ravaged the land between October and early May.
During the Winter months, the people huddled together in their wooden houses around the fire and prayed for the Spring.
The Witch lived alone in the hill and seemed to delight in the snow, dancing and capering on all but the most terrible snow storms.
People started to believe that this woman was responsible for bringing the winter that she seemed to enjoy so much.
It was her fault that the Winters were so harsh. It was her fault that the lambs and kids born early would perish in the late winter frosts.
After one particularly bad blizzard, the menfolk gathered in the beer house drinking the last of their precious brew.
“Something has got to be done!” Cried Olav Harkensson.
“She was out dancing again last night,” agreed Nils Thorssen, “There were lights flashing in the sky, bright greens. She was casting a spell. Bringing this storm down upon us, no doubt”.
As the menfolk talked and drank, they began to grow braver and more stupid. They no longer feared the magic that the Witch could bring down upon them. This winter had been particularly bad, it was nearly May and it was still not showing signs of departing. Eventually, they grabbed torches and pitchforks and went to find the witch.
The blizzard had passed but it was still snowing lightly as they climbed up the mountain path onto the high plateau where the Witch lived. Her hut was built near the steep side of a mountain, near a frozen waterfall and the snow-covered meadow that she danced in.
She must have sensed their presence because the door opened and she strode out, tall and proud to meet them.
Her long red hair caught in the wind and flapped around her white face. Her dark wool cloak also flapped like a banner in the cold icy air.
Defiantly she stood in front of her simple hut.
“What do you want?” She shouted in a clear voice that carried and echoed around the valley.
Olav Harkensson, who was the self-appointed leader of the group, stepped forward.
“Leave this place, you foul Witch and take this accursed Winter away with you!”
The Witch threw back her head and laughed.
“And what if I fail to acquiesce to your request? What will you do then?”
The angry mob drew back from the glare of her eyes. Some people made the sign of the cross across their fur-clad chests. A young firebrand by the name of Magnus Vigmir ran forward, either braver than the rest or drunker and threw his flaming torch at the Witch’s hut.
Despite the snow, the timber caught alight quickly and within a short moment, the hut was ablaze.
Boldened by this move, the men rushed forward brandishing their pitchforks.
Before they could reach her, the Witch wrapped her black cloak around her and transformed into an enormous raven.
The mob shouted in horror and clung to each other in fear like little boys.
The raven flew around them and the Witches voice called out.
“Fools, You Fools! It was not I who brought the Winter. The Winter clings hard to all the lands this far north, but I summoned the Spring every year followed by the Summer. I could only do this for a few months before Winter returned to claim what is rightfully hers. Now I will leave to find somewhere else to call home.”
The Raven flew away to the west and was never seen again. The Spring never came that year and the people either perished or moved further south and closer to the sea. To this day, that valley in the far north of Norway is known as the Valley of Eternal Winter.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 16/October/2018