myths from another universe: 2

Three half-grown girls decide one day to climb an immense mountain that, everyone knows, only men should climb. Halfway up, the air grows so thin that they feel faint and cry for help; immediately, a giant man made of snow—a familiar, recurring character at whose appearance all the listeners murmur in approval—appears and offers to carry them the rest of the way to the summit. But there is a catch. There’s always a catch. Depending on who’s telling the story, the catch is either that once they reach the summit, they will become male and no one who knows them back home will recognize them or have anything to do with them; or that they will be obliged to stay forever on the summit, which everyone assumes is cold, windy, and utterly inhospitable. Regardless, it turns out that the top of the mountain is in fact a warm and airy paradise, filled with both men and women whom everyone below imagines to have died in their attempt to reach it. Two of the girls, who might be men at this point, if the story has gone that way, are eager to stay, but the third considers it her duty to go back and inform the rest of the people about this wondrous place. When no one can persuade her to stay they set the snowman after her; he turns himself into an avalanche that destroys them both. There is always an appalled silence at the conclusion of this story.

knit one purl two twilight all afternoon

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