Long ago, giants stepped down from the sky and moved into the ice caverns on the snowy peak of the high mountain. There they lived content until one day the giants’ daughter, Bredla, stomped into her parents’ chamber.
‘I’m leaving to go see flowers. Fendak, the falcon, told me about flowers. He says they’re pretty and of many colors. He says there’s a red velvet rose in a palace garden. I’ve never seen a rose or red or a palace garden. All I’ve got here to look at is a stick with shivering gray leaves. And what’s more, I’m sick of eating sleet,’ said Bredla, and she folded her arms and glowered.
Her parents, as always, were helpless before Bredla’s glower and folded arms. So in minutes she was on her way, crashing clumsily down the mountainside, knocking over tall pine trees and accidentally kicking huge boulders into streams. She said ‘Oops’ or ‘Sorry’ at each mishap, being a little more polite when not in the presence of her parents. She reached a grassy meadow and crossed it to a grove of trees where she came upon a woodcutter, who fell to his knees in terror at the sight of Bredla.
‘Please, please, please don’t tear my arms off,’ pleaded the woodcutter.
‘Tear your arms off? Why would I tear your arms off, tiny man? Tell me about flowers. Where are they? And the red one. The velvet. A rose it’s called. If you know where it is, tell me and point the way. Colors. Flowers of color I want to see. Oh, green trees and green grass are all right, a sight better than the whites and grays and storms of the caverns, I assure you. But I’m determined to see this red velvet rose. Where is it?’ said Bredla, and she folded her arms and glowered.
The woodcutter fainted three times. Three times Bredla revived him by flinging water from a nearby creek into his face. At last the woodcutter realized that perhaps the giantess wasn’t going to tear his arms off.
‘The red velvet rose grows in the garden of the Queen’s palace. Follow the path. It will bring you to the village, and from there you’ll be able to see the palace on the hill,’ said the wet woodcutter.
Bredla thanked him and stomped on her way. Her approach to the village caused the earth to shudder. Villagers scattered in panic. Bredla paid them no heed, for her eyes were trained on the distant castle. On reaching it, she tripped and fell into the moat, got up and waded to where she could look over the wall and into the garden.
There on a round bush she saw the single red velvet rose. A tiny Queen, a watering can in her hand and her mouth agape, stood beside it staring up at Bredla.
‘That’s the rose, I’m guessing,’ said Bredla. ‘It’s lovely. Red, too. I’m guessing again. And you are probably the Queen, I suppose, or they give servants nice clothes around here. I am Bredla. I have come to live near the red velvet rose.’
‘Oh,’ said the Queen.
And that is how Bredla, the giantess, came to live in the palace garden and tend lovingly to the flowers, especially the red velvet rose. And whenever she wanted anything at all, she simply folded her arms and glowered.