Monday, December 11, 2017
Off the Bookshelf: ICE CHILD, by Evangeline Denmark
This short story takes less than an hour to read, although maybe you should try to read it slowly and savor each line. Like the hero, Sipp, the author has proven her master craftsmanship.
Denmark takes a faerie tale trope that appears in many cultures -- a child of ice or snow, a child with suspicious or unknown parentage, a child who all fear because of so many unanswered questions -- and puts her own spin on it. Sipp is considered evil because he looks different, because the fearful and superstitious and self-righteous believe that what makes him different makes him dangerous. Only two people in his short life have given him love and encouragement. The loss of one destroys his dreams ... and when he finds himself, he fears he must give up the other. (Can't tell you any more than that, because then you might not read the story! And you really gotta ...)
Of course, faerie tales do have happy endings, but like many things in the faerie realms, it isn't quite what we suspect or expect.
Sipp hides from the cold, fears snow, tries not to hear the voices in the frozen wind, but like so many of us, he is hiding from his true nature and letting the fears and prejudices of others blind and imprison him. When he breaks free ... watch out.
Beautiful short story. Parable. Lesson. Promise. Like C.S. Lewis talked about in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, this is one of those moments of near-painful longing and satisfaction, and the hint of otherworldly music. Okay, put another author on my must-read-everything-she's-done list.