Beauty vs Beauty
Tom sat on his step looking out over the cobblestone street. It was late, and deserted. Full moon above the thatched rooftops. Patchy clouds with stars in between. His parents were tucked up in bed, beneath warm blankets. He should be, too, but he wasn’t. Instead, he looked out over this cobblestone street, yellow with lamplight and white with snow.
The Princess arrived on her gold-plated tandem bicycle. It had two seats and two sets of pedals. It also had a basket on the front with hot soup and rolls in. They had been having an affair for weeks now, ever since their meeting at the village carnival. It wasn’t really an affair, but it was just as risky. Tom would be outcast from society, if found out, or possibly flogged.
She appeared from nowhere, as usual, as knowledgeable of the commoners' backstreets as she was of the royal courtyards. They were at the touching stage now, so greeted each other with a hug and a kiss. The Princess’s lips were so soft that Tom thought they might melt in his own. Her eyes were so deep and sparkling, they reminded him of jewels, floating in pools.
Together they cycled out of the labourers' village towards the restful abandon of the brook. The Princess unravelled a fishing rod with a glow worm on the hook, casting into the smooth silken silvery surface. They laid a mat and sat, one hand around the other and one hand each on the rod. Soon enough they caught a majestic starfish, studying it intently before returning it unharmed.
Comfortably, her in her diamond-studded robes and him in his brown rags, they devised their plan about running away together, across the valley. He would build their home and she would work the land for vegetables. They argued about who was more besotted with who, glad to be away from the world they knew and happy to have some time with themselves. They lay back, relaxed, about to christen their secret relationship by creating love for the first time...
Just then, they noticed a dark spec coming out of the moon. They both sat up, thinking it must be an asteroid. It was actually The Snow Queen, in her flying chariot of ice, driven by six black unicorns with wings. She breezed to earth and landed on the other side of the brook. Tom got to his feet and undressed to his long johns. He was a strong swimmer.
The Princess tugged his arm and begged him to stay put. Tom knew he shouldn’t investigate, but curiosity and excitement got the better of him. The Princess tried to pull him to ground, to ignore the distraction and create love, but Tom was off into the freezing water and splashing his way across.
On the other side, The Snow Queen was waiting for him, off her throne and on her booted feet. She helped him up and touched his fingers to her lips. He caught a glimpse of her sharp, blue tongue. She looked both sexy and cruel in a very deliberate way – something Tom had never encountered before. She was old enough to make The Princess seem like a child in comparison. She had longer legs, a tighter waist, bigger breasts, and firmer flesh. She peered down at him, holding his chin up to her, and smiled the widest, whitest smile he had ever seen, nose and cheekbones above chiselled by a master sculptor.
Her eyes, narrow and dark, burned with a faint shade of crimson. She didn’t lead Tom away, but merely nodded her head towards the ice chariot, and opened one side of her polar bear skin cloak.
Across the brook, The Princess dove into the water in a desperate bid to stop Tom from being taken away from her. She was a weak swimmer and got into trouble halfway, sinking beneath the calm surface into strong currents below. She died crying Tom’s name.
When Tom escaped from the Snow Queen’s Palace several years later, and heard of her fate, he regularly planted flowers at the spot where they had almost created love, and very nearly died himself, from a broken heart.
© Sharon Hood
Start to fin in 60 min
Sharon saw an animated version of The Snow Queen one Christmas Eve, and inserts this occasion as a ‘life marker’ in her diary. She says it invigorated and refreshed her and motivated her and inspired her. A truly magical children’s adventure, even better than The Snowman. Because there are so many versions however, she has been unable to acquire it on DVD.