The Garden of Paradise
It was brightly lit, for inside the cave burned a fire so large that it could have roasted a stag. And this was actually being done. A magnificent deer, antlers and all, had been stuck on a spit, and was being slowly turned between the rough-hewn trunks of two pine trees. An elderly woman, so burly and strong that she might have been taken for a man in disguise, sat by the fire and threw log after log upon it.
"You can come nearer," she said. "Sit down by the fire and let your clothes dry."
"There's an awful draft here," the Prince remarked, as he seated himself on the ground.
"It will be still worse when my sons get home," the woman told him. "You are in the cave of the winds, and my sons are the four winds of the world. Do I make myself clear?"
"Where are your sons?" the Prince asked.
"Such a stupid question is hard to answer," the woman told him. "My sons go their own ways, playing ball with the clouds in that great hall. "And she pointed up toward the sky.
"Really!" said the Prince. "I notice that you have a rather forceful way of speaking, and are not as gentle as the women I usually see around me."
"I suppose they have nothing better to do. I have to be harsh to control those sons of mine. I manage to do it, for all that they are an obstinate lot. See the four sacks that hang there on the wall! They dread those as much as you used to dread the switch that was kept behind the mirror for you. I can fold the boys right up, let me tell you, and pop them straight into the bag. We don't mince matters. There they stay. They aren't allowed to roam around again until I see fit to let them. But here comes one of them."
It was the North Wind who came hurtling in, with a cold blast of snowflakes that swirled about him and great hailstones that rattled on the floor. He was wearing a bear-skin coat and trousers; a seal-skin cap was pulled over his ears; long icicles hung from his beard; and hailstone after hailstone fell from the collar of his coat.
"Don't go right up to the fire so quickly," the Prince warned him.