This fairy tale is all about a man and his wife that were so poor that their children didn’t have any shoes and went to bed early. One winter’s evening, the man heard some taps at his window. He went outside to investigate and it was a white bear. He asked whether he could help the bear and the bear said that he would help the man if he gave him one of his daughters. The bear would make the man rich. The man thought about it but said that he couldn’t give away one of his daughters. The bear began to walk away but he head a voice. It was Eva, the man’s youngest daughter. She said she’d go with the bear if the bear made her dad rich. The bear told Eva to climb onto his back to keep her warm.
The bear took Eva through the forest. Inside a cave was a warm fire and dinner waiting. After dinner, the bear took Eva to a room with a four poster bed and pillows. Just before falling asleep, Eva heard somebody come into the room. She asked if it was the bear but all she heard was a gentle snore.
Time passed and Eva spent more and more time with the bear. She grew really happy with him and began to love him but she did miss her family. He told her she could visit her family with him but not to listen to any of her mother’s advice as that would bring her bad luck. Eva and her family had a wonderful reunion. She told them about the bear and the visitor that came into her room at night. Her mother advised her to light and candle whilst the visitor slept so that he could have a look at him.
That night, Eva ignored what the bear had told her and lit a candle when the visitor came. she was surprised to see a handsome prince lying by her bed. As she leant over him, some candlewax fell onto him. The prince woke up and was annoyed with Eva. He explained to her that his stepmother had bewitched her. He had to love with her for a year without being seen to break the curse. Now he had to marry the stepmother’s daughter who was a troll princess! The prince said he could be found in a castle that was east of the sun and west of the moon. Then the prince disappeared.
Eva set off to find the castle. She walked for days until she came across an old woman carrying a golden apple. The woman did not know where to find the castle, but she gave Eva the golden apple. Eva walked on and met another old woman who was carrying a golden comb. Again, the woman didn’t know where to find the castle but she offered Eva the golden comb. The next woman that Eva came across was sitting at a golden spinning wheel. The woman told Eva that only the North Wind knew how to get to the castle. She gave Eva the golden spinning wheel.
Eva searched until she found the North Wind. The North Wind took Eva up to the castle and blew her beneath the castle window. The troll princess really wanted the golden apple and Eva asked to stay the night with the prince as a trade. The troll princess agreed but gave the prince a sleeping potion. The next day the troll princess asked for the golden comb, but again a potion had been administered to the prince. By the third day, the troll princess was after the golden spinning wheel. The prince was suspicious of his troll princess and only pretended to take the potion. Eva was delighted to see the prince awake and told him what had happened.
The prince told Eva that she could save him. He told his stepmother that he would marry the girl who could wash the candlewax off his shirt. The troll princess made it filthy. As soon as Eva touched the shirt it became clean again. The prince said he would marry Eva and the stepmother and the troll princess were so angry they exploded on the spot!
An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)