Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday Blog Share!
Today I’m sharing an excerpt from Journey to the Fair Mountain. This is a short story describing a teenager’s journey through the snow to be married off to her late father’s cousin, the king of Denmark, and so save the family home for her mother and younger sisters. If only it had been the king’s younger brother she had been due to marry. But then Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, would have had a very different plot!
I knocked the door softly and heard my father’s weak voice summon me in. The room was hot and reeked of sickness. I stood in the doorway and curtseyed, reluctant to go further into the stench, but my father raised his hand and beckoned me to him. I had no option but to advance and kneel by his bedside. He put a cold, thin hand on the top of my head. When he spoke his breath was laboured, each word struggling to get out. “Dearest daughter, you know that I am dying.” I raised my head to protest, but he stayed me with his hand. “No, no time for protest. Too tired.” He paused to regain his strength, his lungs heaving to take in enough breath to continue. “My esteemed cousin, my heir, has written. He is, as you know, a widower. He has offered his hand in marriage to my oldest daughter.” I gasped. I had no wish to marry, even though I was nearly seventeen. Surely he understood that? My father saw the alarm in my eyes. “It will secure this castle as a home for your mother and sisters,” he said. “And you will become the queen.”
Journey to the Fair Mountain is one of several stories based on females in Shakespeare’s plays. I you enjoy this one, you may like to read, Chains Of Magic (Othello) A Midsummer Day’s Dream, or The Ghost Queen (The Winter’s Tale). All are published by Solstice. The Ghost Queen is due out in September as part of the latest Solstice anthology – Realms of Fantastic Stories.