Solveig's Request

    Once upon a time there was a little girl called Solveig. She lived in a little snow-house in a land far off to the north, where in summer the sun never sets and in winter it never even shows itself in the sky. Instead of the sun the sky is filled with twinkling stars, the moon shines, and the glimmering aurora thrusts out its luminous fingers.
    Throughout those endless winter nights Solveig would sit in her snowy parlour, listening to tales of great polar bears that roam the skies, or of the white whale with the golden hair. Even though the frost outside was as keen as a knife, it was as warm and cozy in the little snow-house as in a feather-bed, and as Solveig went to sleep, she would dream that the wise reindeer fairy had turned her into a beautiful snowflake, bringing people luck.

    Do you know who the reindeer fairy is? She is a kind, white reinder hind who grants everyone's secret wishes. Solveig knew this very well, which is why she dropped a glistening little tear into the flames of the fire every day. That was so the reindeer magician in her silent realm of snow would hear the voices of people's dreams, as one wise old woman used to say.

    Solveig was happy in her home made of frozen snow, and the only thing that troubled her was her mischievous elder brother. He was never up to any good. He would stick icicles in her hair and drop small ice chunks down the back of her reindeer-skin coat. Ow! How cold it was! Solveig would have tears in her eyes, but she was afraid to tell anyone, in case her brother would get her back some way.
    One day, when their mother and father were out hunting on the frozen sea, her brother teased her so much that she could stand it no longer. She ran out in tears into the dark polar night, sobbing, "Reindeer fairy, reindeer fairy, take me off some place where my brother may no longer trouble me!"

    At that moment she thought she saw, far off across the tundra, the flash of a white reindeer hind. Around its head shone a veil of glimmering polar light . . .

    Tale continues