When A Child Disappears (story by R.C. Peris)

Queen Fraga, who is the daughter of Lady Defrey and grandchild to Princess Coralla, was only queen for five days before she invited Trificent, the soothsayer, into the castle. Trificent was a hobbled woman and blind in one eye. She carried an immense staff that she used to help her walk. Everyone in court was afraid of her and they backed away when she walked through the halls of the castle towards the throne.

Trificent stopped before Queen Fraga. “My lady,” she said in a dry voice. “How can I help you?”
“I want a child,” said the Queen in a low, tremulous voice. The king had bedded her for every night of their marriage but she wanted nothing left to chance. If she did not produce children, the king would split their matrimonial bond and imprison her.

Trificent smiled hideously. “If I give you a child, it will be a child of magic.”

The queen didn’t care. Trificent then went into a trance and with her staff, she spun out strings to call on the spirits and the spirits searched the kingdom and the heavens for a child and then brought back an immense seed. Trificent touched the queen’s belly and sent the seed deep into her womb.

Nine months later, the queen gave birth to a girl. The king and queen were happy. The child grew and was sweet. But in her tenth year, she was pulled back into the spirit world by a bored god. The child had disappeared. Kidnapped. Queen Fraga cried and moaned. The king bellowed. The queen called for Trificent and Trificent explained the child was magic and she was always tethered by a string to the spirit world.

“Children sometimes disappear. Even children who are not born of magic have a strong connection to the spirit world. They end their days in the bosom of the gods,” said Trificent. “Sometimes the gods send them back but the children are never the same.”

The queen cried for five years and the king waged war in grief. At the end of the year, the child came back. She began torturing and killing animals. She planted snakes in maidens’ beds. She stabbed her mother in the hand. She was a horrible child. The queen begged the gods to take her back.

“My child is damaged,” cried the queen.

Trificent laughed. “This is all because you were desperate for a child. You asked for a child of magic. She is your burden. Deep down she is still your sweet child but the gods have changed so much of her. I must go now.”

The child became a princess and when her mother died under mysterious circumstances and her father died in battle she became queen and ruler. She was the worst ruler in the history of the kingdom.

“I’ve been touched by the gods,” she said. Her name was Queen Hel and when the Christians arrived they feared her greatly and named their underworld after her and made her subservient to the prince of the underworld. Queen Hel laughed. She served no one and burned all the Christians.

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Photo by Paloma A. on Unsplash
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