Monday, February 18, 2019

Dancing with the Moon

                             Dancing with the Moon
By Valerie L. Egar

            Very long ago, in a land of ice and snow far to the north, a beautiful young woman, Eldreth, lived with her elderly father in a large house in a village nestled at the foot of a mountain.  Nothing thrilled Eldreth more than long sleigh rides in the snow, the full moon rising over the mountain and all the animals— snowy owls, fox, wolves— that lived in the forest.
            “Soon it will be time for you to marry,” her father said.
            Eldreth shook her head. “Not interested!” she replied. She was busy with her stable of horses and long mountain hikes.

            As time passed, though, news of her loveliness spread to nearby villages and those interested in winning her love appeared at the door. One after another, Eldreth sent them away.
            “What is it you want?” her father asked.
            “I will marry the one who dances with the moon,” said Eldreth.
            A few ambitious men climbed to the highest mountain peak on a night when the moon was full and seemed close enough to touch. When they reached the summit, though, they realized that no matter how high they climbed, the moon was too far away.
            After that, people gave up, realizing Eldreth’s demand was her way of saying she didn’t wish to marry.  Every now and then, someone from a land far away would hear about “dancing with the moon” and visit the town to see the odd girl. Then they’d write about it in their travel journal. Aside from attracting a few visitors from foreign lands, no one rushed to the challenge of dancing with the moon and Eldreth remained alone.
            One day, while she was hiking, Eldreth encountered a fox at the edge of an icy stream. Its foot was caught in a trap and it whimpered softly. Eldreth was enraged. “These are my father’s woods and they will not be violated!”

            She freed the fox, wrapping its injured paw with a strip of green silk she ripped from her dress. She spent the rest of the afternoon finding  traps and destroying them. Every day after that, she patrolled the woods, looking for traps and poachers, but found none. “Good! I chased them away!”
            A few months later, on a full moon night, Eldreth looked from her window, admiring the moon. It reflected in the frozen lake just beyond her house, a perfect silver orb on the ice.  Eldreth noticed a fox, jumping and spinning around the silver orb. The fox was dancing with the moon!
           Eldreth ran to the lake and peeked out from behind a tree.  The fox bowed to the moon, jumped high and spun, yipping joyfully.  “I think he loves the moon as much as I do,” Eldreth thought.

When the fox finished his dance, Eldreth stepped from behind the tree and the fox walked to her. He dropped a scrap of green silk at her feet.
“It’s you!”  She kissed the fox on the forehead and though he did not turn into a prince, he did transform into a man who loved Eldreth and treasured the moon as much as she did.

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Copyright 2019 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied, reproduced or distributed without permission from the author.
Published February 16, 2019 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME).

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