This is a short retelling of the East of the Sun and the West of the Moon story while keeping the magic and enchanting elements of the fairy tale.
Once upon a time, in a land shrouded in mystery and magic, there lived a poor farmer and his family. Among his children was a beautiful daughter with a heart as pure as gold. One night, as the northern lights danced across the sky, their lives changed forever.
A great white bear appeared at their door. “Good evening to you,” he said. “Will you give me your youngest daughter? If you do, I will make you as rich as you are now poor.”
The family was terrified, but the daughter agreed to go, lured by the promise of her family’s comfort. She rode on the bear’s back, far into the mountains, to a magnificent castle.
Each night, in the darkness of her room, a mysterious man visited her. She could not see him, for he would only come after the lights were extinguished. “Who are you?” she often whispered, but no answer came.
Driven by curiosity, she lit a candle one night to see the face of her companion. He was a handsome prince, but as the candle wax dripped on him, he awoke.
“You have doomed me,” he said with sorrow. “I am under a spell, bound to be a bear by day and a man by night. Now, I must go to a castle east of the sun and west of the moon, and marry a princess with a nose three yards long.”
Heartbroken, the girl embarked on a perilous journey to find him. She encountered the North Wind, the fiercest of all winds. “Please, North Wind, can you carry me to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon?” she pleaded.
The North Wind agreed and whisked her across the skies to the distant castle. There, she learned the prince was to marry the troll princess the next day. Using her wit and the help of some kindly creatures, she traded her way to the prince’s side with items of enchanted gold.
When the prince saw her, he declared, “She is the one I will marry!” The troll princess, defeated, vanished in a flash, breaking the spell.
The prince explained, “It was your love that freed me. The spell demanded that I marry one who loved me enough to journey beyond the ends of the earth.”
They returned to her home, where the bear had kept his promise, and her family lived in comfort and joy. The prince and the girl, united by love and bravery, ruled the kingdom with kindness and fairness, living happily ever after.
Follow Up Questions
After reading or telling the story “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” here are three follow-up questions you can ask children to engage them further and encourage critical thinking and imagination:
- If you were the young girl in the story, would you have agreed to go with the bear to help your family? Why or why not?
- How do you think the North Wind felt when the girl asked for its help, and why do you think it decided to help her?
- Can you imagine a different ending to the story? What would you change, and how would it end now?
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