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I wore a dress today as shining as the sun. It bought me a night outside your room, my drummer, my love: do you hear me? have you forgotten me? You were with me on the glass mountain; I kept you safe, there, from the witch; you gave your hand to me in troth. My drummer, my love, can you hear me? can you hear me?


But the drummer sleeps, and does not hear.

She dreams of a lake she passed, one day, and of three fine cloths of linen she saw lying on its shore: she takes one with her and walks on, and when night comes and she lies half-asleep a soft voice calls her to wake.

Drummer, drummer, do you hear?


She wakes, in her dream, but in the darkness she sees nothing: only a shadow drifting up and down at the foot of her bed. She lifts her head and speaks with it: What do you want?

Give me the robe you took from me, from the shore of the lake.

I will give it to you, the drummer says, if you tell me who you are.

I am the daughter of a mighty king, fallen under a witch’s power, far away atop the glass mountain. Each night my sisters and I must bathe in yon lake, but without the robe you took from me I cannot fly home. I beg you…

The drummer passes the linen into the darkness, and the shadow makes to disappear. Wait, she says. Wait. I will help you. Tell me the way to the glass mountain.

Then the dream shifts, and she is there – atop the glass mountain – begging the witch for food, and a night’s shelter. The witch shows her to a pond and gives her a thimble. Empty the pond, the witch says, and sort the fish therein by colour and size. The drummer fills the thimble and empties it, fills it and empties it, fills it and empties it…

For all her dreams, she never hears the voice beyond the door.

-

I wore a dress today as silver as the moon. It bought me a night outside your room, my drummer, my love: do you hear me? have you forgotten me? You were with me on the glass mountain; I kept you safe, there, from the witch; you gave your hand to me in troth. My drummer, my love, can you hear me? can you hear me?


But the drummer’s sleep is deep, and she does not hear.

She dreams of a forest of giants. She plays her drum without fear, and wakes them, and when they threaten her she says: There are thousands more behind me, and I am showing them the way.

Call them off, the giants answer, and we will carry you wherever you wish to go. From hat-brim to buttonhole she flies across the forest, until the mountain stands before her: thrice as tall as any other, and smooth as glass on every side.

Then the dream changes, and she is there: the witch shows her to a forest and gives her an axe of lead, and says to her: Cut down the whole forest, and split the logs for firewood. The drummer chops, and chops, and the leaden axe bends backwards with every blow; but still she chops, and chops, and chops…

She never hears the voice that calls beyond her door.

-

I wore a dress today as glimmering as the stars. It bought me a night outside your room, my drummer, my love: do you hear me? have you forgotten me? You were with me on the glass mountain; I kept you safe, there, from the witch; you gave your hand to me in troth. My drummer, my love, can you hear me? can you hear me?


Tonight the drummer’s sleep is lighter, but still she dreams: at the base of the glass mountain two men fight over a saddle. What fool wants a saddle without a horse near? she asks them, and they answer: it is an enchanted saddle they fight for. She bids them run a race to win it, and as they run she swings herself astride and rides to the top of the glass mountain.

My love, do you remember? You slept beside me when the work made you weary, and I turned my ring as you slept: when you woke the work was done, but for one fish, one piece of firewood; you broke the witch’s spell for me, you freed me, my drummer, my love. We filled our pockets with jewels…


The firewood is heaped high, and already it is burning, licking the sky with tongues of flame. Only one piece of wood lies untouched by fire, deep in the heart of the blaze.

Bring me that piece of wood, the witch says.

My drummer, my love, do you remember?


She walks into the fire without fear, and it does not burn her. She brings out the wood and lays it at the witch’s feet: and it changes, then, and becomes the princess she sought – the maiden who helped her – the voice in the darkness, so long ago.

I would never forget you, she whispers. The princess answers: Then do not forget.

She wakes, and hears a voice calling to her in the darkness: You were with me on the glass mountain; I kept you safe, there, from the witch; you gave your hand to me in troth…

“I remember,” she says, and finds her beloved beyond the door.
Written for Flash Fiction Month 2018, day 9. This year I'm also fulfilling a challenge by an anonymous contributor - every character must be queer - as well as one by Teague-Drydan: At least half of the month needs to be fairy tale re-writes. Bonus if they aren't well known fairy tales. Fairy tale count: 4/16.

I've also been persuaded, somehow, to take on another challenge by joe-wright:
The All-Star challenge.
Over the course of FFM, your oeuvre must address the following items:
  • -Something somebody once told you
  • -The sharpest tool
  • -A finger and a thumb
  • -The shape of an L
  • -What does it mean to be 'fed to the rules'?
  • -A smart brain and a dumb head
  • -"You'll never shine if you don't glow"
  • -Definitive proof that all that glitters is in fact gold
  • -A shooting star that breaks the mold
  • -The meteor men, and the hole in the satellite picture
  • -Skating on thin ice
  • -The world on fire
  • -"Can you spare some change for gas?"
  • -An all-star, getting their game on, and going to play, or alternatively and perhaps easier, a rock star, getting the show on, and getting paid.
  • -Shrek
Works on several levels. One: lots of flashbacky dialogue. Two: entire plot revolves around a particular instruction (which I haven't even bothered to include here, but there it is) which was given to one character by another and which was not obeyed, resulting in this situation. Three: I was told this fairy tale as a child.

Nonetheless, I assume it is sufficiently obscure, as it doesn't even have its own English-language Wikipedia page. This is a retelling of "The Drummer".

The rest of today's stories can be found here.

Wordcount: 926.

If you've enjoyed this story, you may be interested in the collection of all my FFM stories this year: Beyond Dreams. You may also enjoy my FFM collections from the previous four years: Borrowed Strength, Ephemeron, Palalgia, and Changeling.
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:iconteague-drydan:
Teague-Drydan Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018  Student Writer
i know have "All Star" stuck in my head, thank you to the unmentionable 5....

anyway, do you have a link to the original story? it sounds lovely based on your telling.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018   Writer
I've had that problem all month so far, and it is definitely all joe-wright's fault. :XD:

Let me see if I can find a link! I was using this as a reference, but that's not going to help you much. This translation looks pretty accurate from a quick skim!
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:iconteague-drydan:
Teague-Drydan Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2018  Student Writer
So... for kicks & giggles I put the first link into Google Translate.  Apparently the main character is a tumbler, not a drummer.  :shrug: who knew?

Thanks for the links, tho!  I haven't read this one yet, which is actually surprising as I've read the grand majority of stories collected & edited by the Grimms.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2018   Writer
I have no idea where Google Translate got that idea. Literally none.

Glad I've given you a new one, then. :D
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:iconteague-drydan:
Teague-Drydan Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2018  Student Writer
I don't either. but it may have gotten confused cuz I jammed a whole HUGE chunk of text at it?

I still need to get me a copy of von Schonwerth's newly translated book.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2018   Writer
This fairy tale challenge has given me an excuse to read a lot of fairy tales for research, which is great. Though unfortunately it also means I'm trying to read them faster than I actually have time for. :XD:
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:iconteague-drydan:
Teague-Drydan Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2018  Student Writer
oops XD have fun! If you find any really good ones, let me know! Even if you don't write about them.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018   Writer
I'll try to!
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(1 Reply)
:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018   General Artist
Beautiful!
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018   Writer
Thank you!
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018
I think I comment about how beautiful your writing is like every single time. I’m bad at finding new words for excellence.  This is quite beautiful, 
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018   Writer
Thank you as always. :heart:
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:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018
The language here is lovely and hypnotic. I might not be familiar with the fairytale, but I think this story stands in its own right.
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:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018   Writer
I'm extremely glad to hear that. The trouble with going for fairy tales that aren't well-known is not being able to just riff on them with the assumption that the audience will get it, so making sure they stand on their own is important.
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