West of the Moon

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She rode many weary days, before she got to the east wind's house, but at last she did reach it, and she asked the east wind if he could tell her the way to the prince who lived east of the sun and west of the moon. Yes, the east wind had often heard tell of it, the prince and the castle, but he didn't know the way there, for he had never blown so far. Maybe he knows, for he's much stronger. If you will just get on my back I'll carry you there.

When they arrived at the west wind's house, the east wind said the girl he had brought was the one who was supposed to have had the prince who lived in the castle east of the sun and west of the moon. She had set out to find him, and he had brought her here, and would be glad to know if the west wind knew how to get to the castle. Maybe he'll tell you. Get on my back, and I'll carry you to him. Yes, she got on his back, and so they traveled to the south wind, and I think it didn't take long at all. When they got there, the west wind asked him if he could tell her the way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the moon, for she was the one who was supposed to have had the prince who lived there.

Well, I have visited a lot of places in my time, but I have not yet blown there. If you want, I'll take you to my brother the north wind; he is the oldest and strongest of us all, and if he doesn't know where it is, you'll never find anyone in the world to tell you. Get on my back, and I'll carry you there.

Yes, she got on his back, and away he left his house at a good clip. They were not long underway. When they reached the north wind's house he was so wild and cross, that he blew cold gusts at them from a long way off. But if you really wish to go there, and aren't afraid to come along with me, I'll take you on my back and see if I can blow you there. Yes, with all her heart; she wanted to and had to get there if it were at all possible; and she wouldn't be afraid, however madly he went.


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Early next morning the north wind woke her, and puffed himself up, and blew himself out, and made himself so stout and big. Off they went high up through the air, as if they would not stop until they reached the end of the world. Here on earth there was a terrible storm; acres of forest and many houses were blown down, and when it swept over the sea, ships wrecked by the hundred. They tore on and on -- no one can believe how far they went -- and all the while they still went over the sea, and the north wind got more and more weary, and so out of breath he could barely bring out a puff, and his wings drooped and drooped, until at last he sunk so low that the tops of the waves splashed over his heels.

They weren't very far from land by now, and the north wind had enough strength left that he managed to throw her up on the shore under the windows of the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon. But then he was so weak and worn out, that he had to stay there and rest many days before he could go home again.

East of The Sun West of The Moon (1990) Recorded on: Oct 30th, 2010

The next morning the girl sat down under the castle window, and began to play with the golden apple. The first person she saw was the long-nosed princess who was to have the prince. You may name your own price," said the princess.


  • Review of the Day: West of the Moon by Margi Preus.
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  • Yes, that could be done. So the princess took the golden apple; but when the girl came up to the prince's bedroom that night, he was fast asleep. She called him and shook him, and cried and grieved, but she could not wake him up. That day she sat down under the castle windows and began to card with her golden carding comb, and the same thing happened. The princess asked what she wanted for it. She said it wasn't for sale for gold or money, but if she could have permission to go to the prince and be with him that night, the princess could have it.

    But when she went to his room she found him fast asleep again, and however much she called, and shook, and cried, and prayed, she couldn't get life into him. As soon as the first gray peep of day came, the princess with the long nose came, and chased her out again. That day the girl sat down outside under the castle window and began to spin with her golden spinning wheel, and the princess with the long nose wanted to have it as well.

    She opened the window and asked what she wanted for it. The girl said, as she had said twice before, that it wasn't for sale for gold or money, but if she could go to the prince who was there, and be alone with him that night she could have it. Yes, she would be welcome to do that. But now you must know that there were some Christians who had been taken there, and while they were sitting in their room, which was next to the prince's, they had heard how a woman had been in there, crying, praying, and calling to him for two nights in a row, and they told this to the prince. That evening, when the princess came with a sleeping potion, the prince pretended to drink it, but threw it over his shoulder, for he could guess it was a sleeping potion.

    So, when the girl came in, she found the prince wide awake, and then she told him the whole story of how she had come there. But now I won't have the long-nose, and you are the only woman in the world who can set me free. I'll say that I want to see what my wife is fit for, and beg her to wash the shirt which has the three spots of tallow on it.

    She'll agree, for she doesn't know that you are the one who put them there. Only Christians, and not such a pack of trolls, can wash them out again.

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    I'll say that I will marry only the woman who can wash them out, and ask you to try it. Though she is loathe to go, she knows that she has little choice in the matter, and must leave her little sister behind with her foul relatives. Svaalberd turns out to be even fouler, however, and as she plans her escape Astri hits up on the idea of leaving Norway and going to America. With time and opportunity she makes good her plans, taking little sister Greta with her, protecting the both of them, and making difficult choices every step of the way.

    You see, my own great-great-grandfather immigrated to America around the same time as Ms. This guy we actually have photographs of. Why he left had as much to do with his abusive father as anything else, but I never really understood the true impetus behind leaving an entire country. On top of that, she provides a bit of context to the immigrant historical experience that we almost never see.

    SHORT STORY FOR KIDS WRITTEN BY PETER CHRISTEN ASBJØRNSEN and JØRGEN ENGEBRETSEN MOE

    We always hear about immigrants coming to America but have we ever seen a true accounting of how much food and staples they were told to bring for the boat trip? It should surprise no one when I say that Preus is also just a beautiful writer. I mean, she is a Newbery Honor winner after all. The reader, obviously, but anyone else? Knowing this, the book takes on the feel of a kind of confessional.

    See a Problem?

    Plus, it turns out that she has a LOT to confess. As characters go, Astri is a bit of a remarkable protagonist. Have you read Harriet the Spy recently? Our protagonists are inevitably stouthearted and true and if they do have flaws then they work through them in a healthy all-American kind of way. This section is then followed with thoughts on what makes a person bad.

    Does desperation counteract sin? How do you gauge individual sins? Here, Preus returns to the notion of where stories stop and lies begin again and again. There are no easy answers to be found here. How many of us remember the reason that Julie in Julie of the Wolves ran away to join a furry pack?

    In the case of West of the Moon the attempt could be read any number of ways. She, also, does not know the way to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but lends the youngest daughter a horse to reach the East Wind and gives her the spinning wheel. The East Wind has never been to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but his brother the West Wind might have, being stronger.

    He takes her to the West Wind. The North Wind reports that he once blew an aspen leaf there, and was exhausted after, but he will take her if she really wants to go.

    East of the Sun and West of the Moon | Bedtime Stories

    The youngest daughter does wish to go, and so he takes her there. The next morning, the youngest daughter takes out the golden apple. The troll princess who was to marry the prince sees it and wants to buy it. The girl agrees, if she can spend the night with the prince. The troll princess agrees but gives the prince a sleeping drink , so that the youngest daughter cannot wake him. The same thing happens the next night, after the youngest daughter pays the troll princess with the gold carding-combs. During the girl's attempts to wake the prince, her weeping and calling to him is overheard by some imprisoned townspeople in the castle, who tell the prince of it.

    On the third night, in return for the golden spinning wheel, the troll princess brings the drink, but the prince does not drink it, and so is awake for the youngest daughter's visit. The prince tells her how she can save him: He will declare that he will marry anyone who can wash the tallow drops from his shirt since trolls , such as his stepmother and her daughter, the troll princess, cannot do it.

    So instead, he will call in the youngest daughter, and she will be able to do it, so she will marry him.