From the Galpoghor Series:
Kotura, Lord of the Winds
Continued from the last issue
When Kotura returned, he was surprised to find the girl asleep on his bed. The roar of his deep voice woke her at once and she explained that her father had sent her to be his wife.
Kotura frowned, fell silent, then shouted at her gruffly, 'Then why do you lie there sleeping? I am hungry, be quick and prepare some meat.'
As soon as the meat was ready, Kotura ordered second daughter to take it from the pot and cut it in half.
'You and I will eat one half,' he said. 'And you will take the other to my neighbor. But do not go in: wait outside for the dish to be returned.'
Second daughter took the meat and went outside into the blinding storm. The wind was howling so hard and the black night was so smothering that she could see and hear nothing at all. So, fearing to take another step, she tossed the meat as far as she could and returned to Kotura's tent.
'Have you given the meat to my neighbor?' he asked.
'Of course I have,' replied second daughter.
'You haven't been long,' he said. 'Show me the dish, I want to see what she gave you in return.'
Somewhat afraid, second daughter did as she was build and Kotura frowned as he saw the empty dish. But he said not a word and went to bed. In the morning, he brought in some untanned hides and told second daughter to make him a coat, shoes and mittens by nightfall.
'Set to work,' he said. 'This evening I shall judge your handiwork.'
With those words, Kotura went off and second daughter got down to her task. She was in a great hurry, knowing that she must complete the joy by nightfall. By and by, a wizened old woman covered in snow came into the tent. She spoke to second daughter.
'I've something in my eye, child,' she said. 'Pray help me to take it out; I cannot manage it by myself.'
'Oh, go away and don't bother me,' said the girl, 'I am too busy to leave my work.'
The snow woman went away without a word.
As darkness came, Kotura returned from hunting.
'Are my new clothes ready?' he asked.
'Here they are,' replied second daughter.
He tried on the garments and saw at once they were poorly cut and much too small. Flying into a rage, he flung second daughter even farther than her sister. And she too met a cold death in the snow.
Back home the old father sat in with his youngest daughter, waiting in vain for the storm to abate. But the blizzard redoubled its force, and it seemed the camp would be blown away at any minute.
'My daughters did not heed my words,' the old man reflected sadly. 'They have angered Kotura even more. Go to him, my last daughter, though it breaks my heart to lose you; you alone can now save our clan from certain doom.'
Youngest daughter left the camp, turned her face into the north wind and pushed the sled before here. The wind shrieked and seethed about her. The snowflakes powdered her red-rimmed eyes all but blinding her. Yet she somehow staggered on through the blizzard mindful of her father's every word. The strings of her coat came undone- but she did not stop to tie them. The snow forced its way into her shoes - but she did not stop to shake it out. And, although her face was numb and her lungs were almost bursting, she did not pause for breath. Only when she had reached the hilltop did she halt to shake out the snow from her shoes and tie the strings of her coat.
Just at that moment, a little bird flew down and perched on her shoulder. Instead of chasing him away, she gently stroked his downy breast.
When the bird flew away, she sat upon her sled and glided over the snow, down the hillside, right to Korura's door.
Without showing her fear, the young girl went boldly into the tent and sat down patiently waiting for the giant to appear. It was not long before the door flap was lifted and in came the handsome young giant, Lord of the Winds.
When he set eyes on the young girl, a smile lit up his.
two sharp knives and some bone needles and scrapers for dressing hides.
The giant chuckled and said, 'You have some fine gifts to keep you busy.'
At dawn Kotura rose and brought some deerskins. As before, he gave orders that new shoes, mittens and a coat were to be made by nightfall.
'Should you make them well,' he said, 'you shall be my wife.'
As soon as Kotura had gone, youngest daughter set to work. The snow woman's gifts indeed proved very useful: there was all she needed to make the garments.
But how could she do it in a single day? That was impossible!
All the same, she carefully dressed and scraped the skins, cut and sewed so quickly that her fingers were soon raw and bleeding.
As she was about her work, the door flap was raised and in came the old snow woman.
'Help me, my child,' she said. 'There's a mote in my eye. Pray help me to take it out.'
At once youngest daughter set aside her work and soon had the mote out of the old woman's eye.
'That's better', said the snow woman, 'my eye does not hurt any more. Now, child, look into my right ear and see what you can see.'
Youngest daughter looked into the old woman's right ear and gasped in surprise.
'What do you see?' the snow woman asked.
'I see a maid sitting in your ear', the girl replied.
'Then, why don't you call to her? She will help you make Kotura's clothes.'
At her call, not one but four maids jumped from the snow woman's ear and immediately set to work. They dressed the skins, scraped them smooth, cut and sewed them into shape, and very soon the garments were all ready. Then the snow woman took the four maids back into her ear and exited.
As darkness fell, Kotura returned.
'Have you completed your tasks?' he asked.
'Yes, I have', the girl said.
'Then show me the new clothes so that I may try them on.'
Youngest daughter handed him the clothes, and Kotura passed his great hand gently over them. The skins were soft and supple to the touch. He put them on the coat and the shoes and the mittens. And they were neither small nor large. They fitted him perfectly.
Kotura smiled. 'I like you, youngest daughter,' he said. 'And my mother and four sisters like you, too. You work well, and you have much courage. You braved a terrible storm so that your people might not die. And you did all that you were told to. Pray stay with me and be my wife.'
No sooner had the words passed his lips than the storm in the tundra was stilled. No longer did the Eskimo people hide from the north wind in their tents. They were saved. One by one they emerged into the bright sunshine.
And with them came the old father, tears of joy glistening on his sunken cheeks, proud that his youngest, dearest daughter had saved the people from the blizzard.
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