An expansion on an old carol as I imagine it. Prazsky Hrad is Prague Castle, and Vltava is the river running through Prague. I plan on posting two more parts to finish the story.
It seemed the cold was the enemy that night.
The castle walls of broad-hewn stones built high,
Stood stalwart against the angry wind’s fierce fight,
But still hearth-side we heard its battle cry.
The noble lord of Prazsky Hrad arose,
And with the thoughtful eye his men knew well,
Looked ‘round the room on all of those
Who stood or sat within the glowing hall.
St. Stephen’s feast we always kept with cheer,
And all before the king were glad of heart
For soon cured meats and sweets would here appear
And all the happy company take part.
He stepped down past long robed nobility
Walked over to a window shuttered fast
And opened it, the fields below to see.
Like the image on a royal coin he cast
His shadow on the snow below – made gold
By window light let out – While all around
Shone silver. Silent ‘neath a moon as cold,
The fields in snow were new and cleanly gowned.
Here and there the houses huddled stood,
The deep, crisp snow embanked up to their thatch
And dark and death-like rose the hedging wood
Their only life, the wind their branches catch.
Vltava wended icy black her way,
(The flourish of a scribe ‘cross page most white)
And on her banks, the creaking bridge hard-by,
A-gathering wood, a poor man came in sight.
Illustration by Arthur Gaskin