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EP121: The Snow Woman’s Daughter

By Eugie Foster.
Read by cunning minx (of Polyamory Weekly).
First appeared in Cricket magazine, February 2007.

When I was a little girl, I thought my mother’s name was Yuki, which means snow. That was part of her name, but I didn’t learn the rest of it until the night my father died.

My mother left us on a slate-gray evening when I was five, with her namesake falling from the sky and piled high around the windows and doors. Awakened by raised voices, I watched through a tear in the curtain that shielded my sleeping mat as my mother wrapped her limbs in a shining, white kimono. As far back as I could remember, she had always worn the dark wool shifts that all mountain people wear, spun from the hair of the half-mad goats that give us milk and cheese. In her kimono she looked like a princess, or a queen. Her skin was paler than mine, and I am thought quite fair. Roku, the boy who lived on the northern crest, used to tease me when we were little, calling me “ghost girl” and “milk face.”

Rated G. Contains non-graphic death and childbearing.

Referenced Sites:

Daily Dragon Podcast

Dragon*Con 2007

Comments (11)

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  1. Martin R says:

    Am I the only one who failed to see the point of this story?

  2. Icepick says:

    I have to agree. It was pretty, but I didn’t feel like it might much of statement. The setup was great and then in the two places I was hoping for the author to say something, nothing. The daughter got over the whole taking lives thing pretty quickly and there was no insight into the decision to live as a human.

  3. Sonia says:

    I got chills at the end – I think its not about the “point of the story” but the feeling that the actions of the characters and descriptions make.

  4. Marcus says:

    A folktale isn’t supposed to have a “point” spelled out for you. Don’t we all understand the tragedy of a relationship out of the couple’s control? Don’t we understand the difficulty of a choice between two great opportunities? The decision to have love and family over immortality and eternal beauty? The “point” is that it resonates at some level with universal human experience.

    That said, I didn’t really like this one, because it is a very close retelling of the original Japanese folktale. The amount of originality brought to it was rather small. It’s like a retelling of Hansel and Grettel from their brother Fritz’s perspective after they get back home, and that’s about it. I guess it’s fine if you’ve never heard it before, but I have.

  5. wonkachocolatebars says:

    even though I heart Minx and think she did a fantastic job doing this story, there was no plot to it. it failed to keep my attention for very long.

  6. Kanteker says:

    The source material for this story, Yuki-Onna, from the Japanese collection of folktales and strange stories by Lafcadio Hearn. No, The Snow Woman’s Daughter is not an original story, simply an original perspective on a very old story.

    The telling of the daughter’s experience as she learns of her mother’s spiritual nature is more a novelty for fans of the Japanese folktale of Yuki-Onna, and enjoyable novelty, but a novelty nonetheless.

    A folk tale like the original, and like this story strived to be, does not require great depth of character, or a moral to the story. The story is enjoyable because of the events that occur to and around the characters. However, if you must have a moral to enjoy a folktale use this. Don’t break promises to malevolent Japanese spirits, or wives.

  7. Space Toast says:

    Very lean, clean story. Well told. Dreamy and atmospheric without bogging down in details. Full of the sort of logical oddities and glossed-over characters that inhabit folktales. More a freshening up of the story than a radical redesign — or, frost spirits help us, lame ’90s deconstruction for the sake of breaking things.

    I’ll look forward to the pure fantasy podcast — as much as the threadbare “castle” in the marquee title makes me cringe.

  8. [...] Show Name: Escape Pod Host: Steve Eley Link to Episode: Escape Pod: The Snow Womans Daughter [...]

  9. scatterbrain says:

    Nice but utterly pointless and over-used plot.

  10. [...] “The Snow Woman’s Daughter” (in Escape Pod, Aug. 30, 2007) [...]

  11. [...] Snow Woman’s Daughter” (reprint) in Escape Pod, Sept. 2007. FREE [...]