"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

"We Revolve Around You"

The Dakota Planet

Once Upon a Wintry Night

Part 1
Once Upon a Wintry Night

The road was long and cold wind howled around me. The last house I stayed at had given me a lantern. I brandished it before me now; a knife through the blackness of the snow.

I was a woman of the road. I spent my life traveling. Over time, I had learned to “tough it out.” I had no other choice, not if I wanted to make it to my next destination. Wherever that may have been.

And yet, my feet stumbled on the icy ground. My pack became a heavier burden with every step. Even my lantern couldn’t keep the storm away.

I found myself longing for the warmth of a home – any home. A place to wait out the storm. That hope kept me putting one foot in front of the other.

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Suddenly, starting of softly then growing in volume, came the sound of singing. The wind shrieked louder than before yet it failed to drown out the sounds and multiple voices became one.

Through the fog of swirling white came a beacon of light.

The light in my own lantern seemed to rekindle briefly as if in answer. What else was I to do? I made for the light immediately.

The walk went faster and I seemed to find new strength in my tired bones. One foot in front of the other. Don’t slip. Keep going. Almost there.

Then I was close enough to see the source of the light: a star, ribbons trailing out behind it and whipping about in the wind. It sat atop a wooden pole. A gust of wind brought snow into my eyes. When my vision cleared, the star was gone. The singing likewise had faded.

But I didn’t despair. I wasn’t lost. In front of me stood a house.

I stumbled forward on my weary legs. I was here. I was close. I wouldn’t give in.

Warm light bathed the snow gold in front of the window. The singing was back, faint and muffled. Whoever it had been was inside now. Talking and laughter drifted in the air, too, as I approached.

My knock sounded dull on this side of the door. A little too quiet and somber. It fit my surroundings perfectly, but for the people inside? Perhaps not so much.

A moment passed so I knocked again. This time someone answered. I squinted in the light and at fist I could see the man standing there. By keeping my eyes down, however, I was able to see a young girl peering up at me from behind him.

“I seek a place to stay the night.” A glance over my shoulder. The blizzard really was strong. “Perhaps a few nights.”

“Please, come in.” The man made way for me.

The child clung to him but would take her eyes off me. A woman appeared. She took my cloak and replaced it with a knit blanket, then led me to the hearth.

For the first time I saw clearly all the people gathered in the small living room. There was the family, of course, which also included three boys playing with a set of wooden knights, and an elderly woman in a rocking chair. But there were also carolers.

In my travels, every year like clockwork, I’d meet some. We weren’t all that different, really. They traveled from house to house, singing songs that brightened up the wintry nights. I around the country, telling my stories. No, we weren’t all that different.

A mug of something warm was put into my hands.

“I have nothing to offer you in return.”

“On a night like this, you don’t have to worry about that,” said the man.

My gaze went to the children, playing near the fireplace. To the carolers, some dressed in traditional clothing, others in costume. To the star propped up against the wall.

“A story, in that case.” These words were familiar. It’s how I often began. “A fairytale.”

The little girl sat down at my feet and I smiled. That was what I did: I traded my stories for a warm place to stay. In truth, I liked seeing how my stories were received.

“I’ve been to many places. Seen many things happen. Met many interesting people along the way. To tell them all would take a lifetime.”

The boys, presumably the girl’s brothers, likewise turned their attention to me.

The question now remained, which story?

Wind buffeted the window panes. Snow swirled into their corners; ice formed intricate designs. Even the carolers, strangers like me in this home, looked at me. Like my lantern paved my way forward, they were led by that star. My gaze fell on the boys’ abandoned knights. A story sparked in my mind. Not a retelling, but one that I had personally experienced.

“A long, long time ago, beyond the seven mountains, and beyond the seven rivers –” I smiled as I uttered the words that began every legend, fairytale, and bedtime story in my country “– there lived a girl who dreamed of adventure.”


for part two, click here

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About the Contributor
Daria Okruta
Daria Okruta, writer
Daria Okruta is currently a senior. This is her first year working at Dakota Planet and she hopes to make it a good one. In her spare time she likes to read and write. In the near future she hopes to publish some of her novels.
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