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Moa and the lost sun

Moa woke to mooing. She wrapped her blanket around her like a shawl, put her feet in her clogs, and went to milk the cows.

Life moves slowly in winter. Moa took the milk to the cold cellar and returned to bed, to wait for sunrise. It didn’t come.

The sky above the smoke hole in the thatch remained dark. Moa’s family would not wake from their sleep, despite her crying.

Moa dried her tears. Then she hung the lamp from the door on the billygoat’s horn, filled his panniers, and lead him east.

They made good progress through the snow. Soon they came to the bridge over the river.
“Hello,” Moa called. “Master Troll?”

The troll climbed up.
“Where’s the sun?” he said. “I can’t sleep in darkness.”
“I’ll find out,” Moa said. “Will you help?”

They reached the mountains, and climbed slowly, carefully. When they reached the summit, they saw a faint light in the east.

“Is that light small, or far away?” the troll asked.
“It is in the valley,” Moa said. “Unless there’s a hole in the world.”

Moa filled the lamp, then led the way down the mountain. I’m not afraid, she told herself. I have a billygoat and a troll.

As they drew nearer, the troll stopped. “Listen!”
There was a low, rumbling sound. Moa looked at him.
“Not me!” he said.

The light, and the rumbling, grew stronger. At last they could see a huge wolf, holding a shining globe as large as Moa.

“What do we do?” the troll asked.
Moa hesitated. The wolf was bigger and scarier than the troll. “Let’s ask it. Politely.”

“Excuse me?”
The wolf turned to look at the three of them. “No, excuse me,” it smiled. “Did my rumbling belly wake you?”

Moa couldn’t stop the question: “Are you hungry?”
The wolf laughed and looked from her to the billygoat. “Yes. Yes, I am.”

Moa did not know what to say to that, but the troll pushed past her.
“So bright,” he said, then curled up and fell asleep.

“Do you know where the sun is?” Moa asked.
“I caught it,” the wolf said.
“Is that it?”
“In a sense.”
“But why?”
“To eat.”

“You can’t eat the sun!” Moa rushed in and hugged the glowing sphere.
The wolf smiled and lifted his paw; the sphere rose.

The sphere was warm and soft. Moa held on, terrified, as it slowly floated upwards. The wolf stood, mouth open in a grin.

Far below, Moa could see the troll sleeping, and the billygoat standing forlorn. The wolf looked up at her. Then he leapt.

The wolf seemed to grow as it rose, maw gaping wide. The enormous jaws enveloped Moa and the sun, then closed around them.

Darkness fell over the world, and the ground shook when the wolf landed again. The troll stirred, then woke.
“Not again.”

The troll took a firm hold of the wolf’s tail and yanked it, hard. The wolf raised its head to the sky and howled in pain.

When Moa saw the jaws open, she bent her knees, pushed hard against the wolf’s tongue, and jumped, the sun ahead of her.

Once she was clear of the wolf’s teeth, Moa shoved the sun up and away. She watched it rise as she was falling, and smiled.

Her mother nudged her. “Sun’s rising, wake up.”
Moa sat up in bed; heard her dad ask:
“Why is the lamp on the goat’s horn?”

This story was serialised in 25 daily tweets from MicroSFF, December 1st to 25th, 2014. Here those tweets have been collected to give the full story.

Published inShort story