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By Robin McKinley

The tale of Princess Lissar, who flees her father's wrath and is granted an unforeseen new life

Princess Lissla Lissar is the one baby of the king and his queen, who was once the main appealing lady in seven kingdoms. every person enjoyed the sumptuous king and his matchless queen loads that nobody had any recognition to spare for the princess, who grew up in seclusion, hearing the stories her nursemaid instructed approximately her marvelous parents.
But the queen takes sick of a mysterious losing illness and on her deathbed extracts an odd promise from her husband: "I wish you to vow me . . . you'll only marry somebody as appealing as I was."

The king is loopy with grief at her loss, and sluggish to regain either his wits and his power. yet on Lissar's 17th birthday, years after the queen's loss of life, there's a grand ball, and everybody current appears to be like on the princess in astonishment and whispers to their pals, How like her mom she is!

On the day after the ball, the king pronounces that he's to marry again—and that his bride is the princess Lissla Lissar, his personal daughter.

Lissar, bodily damaged, part mad, and terrified, flees her father's lust along with her one unswerving pal, her sighthound, Ash. it's the starting of iciness as they trip into the mountains—and at the evening while it starts off to snow, they discover a tiny, abandoned cabin with the makings of a fireplace ready-laid within the hearth.

Thus starts off Lissar's lengthy, profound, and important trip clear of treachery and soreness and horror, to belief and love and therapeutic.

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The stripped carcasses of the opposite small beasts lay in effortless achieve at the desk, yet Ash used to be, as ordinary, reason on cooked meals. Lissar tucked her hair up back, one plait below one other, pulled her costume on back, and gave them dinner. They spent such a lot of one other week on the hut. Lissar accumulated what herbs she may perhaps locate this early within the season and hung them in bunches from the low ceiling; there have been hooks there already, and thread got here from the unravelling of the ever-present washing-cloth blanket; and Lissar was hoping that the beef she had smoked might maintain. The hut blazed with cleanness; she had almost replenished the wood-pile, even if her wooden was once neither of nearly as good a top quality, being merely what she might decide up from the ground of the wooded area, or reduce the place it lay fallen along with her small hatchet and produce again, nor used to be it stacked as effectively. She had buried the continues to be of her wintry weather latrine, or no less than she dug and became over the earth the place she remembered the latrine have been, for the melt-water appeared to have handled it unusually successfully already; and now she went faraway from the hut to do her enterprise, as Ash had performed instantly considering the fact that they either woke at the grassy hillock. there has been not anything left for her to do—except, might be, wish to discover a person to thank, a few day, and probably placed into their fingers the issues she had no longer been in a position to exchange: apples, onions, potatoes, flour, grain, blankets. and he or she might upload: a comb, strong cleaning soap, a moment bucket, an awl. A moment bucket could were a finer luxurious than clean greens and silk undies. She had already came across that her white deerskin gown didn't get soiled. She, within it, did; however it remained as unperturbed via use and put on as Ash’s new curly coat was—although Ash now required brushing, which Lissar did as most sensible she may possibly along with her hands and the broom, nightly, via the fireplace, in order that mats she wouldn't be capable of care for should not have an opportunity to shape. yet her gown didn't require even this a lot care; if a bit dust adhered to a hem, a knee, an elbow, Lissar waited until eventually it dried and flicked it off. It healthy her in addition to Ash’s coat healthy Ash; it virtually stunned her that she may possibly take it off. It was once as though it, too, had grown out of her epidermis. It wasn’t even more unbelievable than fleethound should still develop the thick shaggy fur of a northland wolf-hound. The gown appeared besides to be resistant to the jabs and slashes of Lissar’s lively open air lifestyles, and took no harm, regardless of how dense the twigs and thorns; and Lissar’s personal ft and arms grew tricky, until eventually she rarely regarded the place to place her palm while she reached to snatch a department, until eventually she may stroll rapidly and simply even upon the streambed, which was once sharp with rocks. The morning they set out Lissar felt a pang of parting. She couldn't say she were chuffed the following, yet she had lived, and that was once a superb deal—she knew simply how a lot. And whereas the hut—and Ash—had given her the potential, nonetheless she had taken these ability and used them, selected to exploit them, identified that she had so selected.

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