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The Mountain Prince


The mountain prince, a story about a castle high up in the Icelandic mountains.

A long time ago, in a country far away, in a place where tall white mountains give form to the horizon, a boy lived, named Isen. He lived in a sliver palace, hidden so high in the ever-lasting snow, that no person, living in one of the villages in the valley, ever came there, or even knew of its existence.


He was a happy and smart child. His hair white as snow and his eyes blue as ice. His father was a yeti. Stor was his name. He was a ginormous creature with a wild white fur. Strong were his claws and sharp were his teeth. He could run faster than every avalanche and he dared to go higher into the mountains than any other. If he roared, it would thunder in the valley. Nevertheless his harsh appearanche, when he was happy, he was soft hearted and friendly by nature. And happy he was, in his silver palace.


His mother was a sorceress named Värme. Her eyes and gown had the color of ice, but her nature was quite warm. Despite her stern face, she was friendly and just. With energy she extracted from the middle of the mountain, she would perform magic with snow and wind and she could whisper with age-old spirits.


It was there, in that silver palace, that the boy became a man. When he became of age, he went down to the valley in search for a girl. Isen looked truly amazing, like a real mountain prince. His garments were white as snow, with a belt and cloak covered in crystals. His white hair would flow in the wind and his sun kissed face glowed in the sun. Isen’s appearance did not stay unnoticed in the village, for he was soon surrounded by a herd of young women.


They would hover around him, trying to please and impress. Isen enjoyed the attention and after a while he fell in love with a beautiful girl. For a while, they lived happily in the village. The longer they lived together, the more she longed to marry Isen and live as a princess in the silver palace in the mountains. Isen agreed, for he desired to marry her as well.


He decided to go up the mountain to tell his parents the happy news. “It’s all very well,” said his mother, “but your father and I want to meet this girl before you will marry her. Why don’t you invite her for dinner tomorrow evening?” No sooner said then done, Isen took her up the mountain to the palace. The girl was delighted by the sight of all the silver wonders, but her laugher faded quickly when Isen’s father Stor opened the door. Before Stor had the chance to introduce himself, she screamed and ran away in terror, back to the valley, frightened from Stor’s appearance. But the girl didn’t know the way back to the valley, for the silver palace lied high and hidden. She was unfamiliar with the dangers of the mountain. Before they could find her back, the girl was dead.


Isen mourned for a whole year before he returned to the valley. This time he picked a village smaller than the first one, but not less beautiful. The same thing happened as the year before. The charming and rich looking prince of the mountain, found himself surrounded by young woman, enchanted by his appearance. This time, Isen didn’t enjoyed the attention that much, but he still met a wonderful young lady who was very sweet and thoughtful. They fell in love and lived together in the village for an amount of time. When this girl also started longing to live as a princess in the silver palace, Isen consulted his parents. They had the same wish as last year, they wanted to meet the girl before they would get married. Therefore, Isen took the girl up the mountain right before nightfall. She was even more impressed than the last girl. This time, the sorceress opened the door. But this did not help. As soon as she laid an eye on Värme, she fled and fell from the mountain in the dark.


The prince mourned for two years this time and swore never to marry. But after encouragements from his parents, Isen went down to the valley one last time. He went to the smallest and most beautiful village. For he didn’t feel like attracting any attention, Isen walked around the edge of the village along the stream. After a while, he encountered a girl, sitting by the riverbank. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. But when he came closer to her, Isen saw that she looked very sad and had an empty look in her eyes. For Isen, it was love at first sight. He went over to sit next to her. “Who’s there?” She asked. “It is Isen, I’m the prince of the mountain and this has to be the most beautiful day of my life.” Isen said. “Why are you so sad?” “I’m sad because I will never see the water that is making this river sing. I’m sad because I will never see the sun, bringing warmth to my face. I’m sad because I was born blind and I will die blind. Isen didn’t care for she was blind, he loved her anyway. For a long time, they lived together in the village. Until Isen himself longed to marry her and bring her to live in the silver palace.


One day, he decided to guide her up the mountain where she was greeted by his mother and father. The whole evening and night they talked and enjoyed a cozy meal together. The girl enjoyed the warm voices and friendly people all around her and she was grateful for all the blissfulness. Later than night, when she was vast asleep, Värme called for her son. “You have found the perfect girl.” She said. “I give you my blessing for the marriage and I wish for you to care for her. I also have a gift for her. Take these two ice crystals and lay them on her eyes while she is sleeping. Let’s see what the morning brings”.


The next morning, the girl’s eyes had turned bright blue. She was glowing, for Värme had given her the gift of sight!” The prince and the girl married and up until this day, they live happily together in their silver palace, hidden in the mountains.


The end.


INSPIRATION

When standing on top of Sandafell in Þingeyri in the Westfjords of Iceland, you can see the peak of Kaldbakur, the highest mountain of the Westfjords. The first time, I stood up there, the peaks lingered in the mist, bringing mystery to the scenery. That is when I thought of a hidden palace, hidden in the snow. Read the story here.