Think about what winters are like where you live. Are they chilly and snowy? Or are temperatures more moderate?
Today’s story takes place in a spot where winters are intense – thanks in part to a supernatural spirit with a very cold shoulder!
Today our story is called “The Blizzard Wizard.” Versions of this tale have been told among the indigenous peoples of far north Siberia, near the Arctic Ocean.
Voices in this episode include: Amy Brentano, Joe Hernandez, Erika Rose, and Vivien Lyra Blair, who stars as young Princess Leia in the Disney+ Star Wars series “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Grown-ups, you can see Vivien in the new feature film, “The Boogeyman.”
This episode was adapted for Circle Round by Rebecca Sheir. It was edited by Nora Saks. Original music and sound design is by Eric Shimelonis. Our artist is Sabina Hahn.
ADULTS! PRINT THIS so everyone can color while listening. We’re also keeping an album so share your picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and tag it with #CircleRound. We'd love to see it! To access all the coloring pages for past episodes click HERE. Our resident artist is Sabina Hahn and you can learn more about her HERE.
Things To Think About After Listening
You can add sunshine to someone’s day by giving them some Sun Praise!
Here’s how you do it.
- Find some construction paper or cardstock that’s yellow, orange, red, or any other sunny color.
- Have a grown-up help you cut a big circle out of your paper or cardstock; this circle will be your sun.
- Cut out some long strips, about one inch thick; these will be your rays.
- Use glue to stick the rays all around your sun.
- Think about who you’d like to give your Sun Praise to.
- Once the glue dries, write their name in the middle of the sun.
- Brainstorm praise, compliments, nice things you’d say about this person. Are they kind? Friendly? Funny? Helpful? Do they make amazing chocolate chip cookies? Write one compliment on each sun ray.
When you’re done, give your person their Sun Praise… and watch their faces light up!
It would brighten our day to see your Sun Praise! Grown-ups, snap a photo of your artist (and maybe even the person receiving the praise) and email it to email@example.com. We may include it in a future edition of “The Lion’s Roar”: the monthly newsletter you receive as a member of the Circle Round Club!
Musical Spotlight: Glockenspiel
Like a xylophone, the glockenspiel is a percussion instrument featuring tuned bars you play with mallets – though as you’ll hear in this episode and see in this photo, Eric Shimelonis also plays the ends of the bars with a cello bow!
Traditionally, the glockenspiel has been most prevalent in classical music. However, more modern, diverse artists such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Radiohead and Panic at the Disco all have used the instrument’s glittery, tinkly, bell-like tones in their most well-known songs.
NARRATOR: In the far north… where the vast, tree-less tundra reaches as far as the eye can see… a long-haired girl named Ayana lived with her mother, a talented seamstress.
In Ayana’s part of the world, most of the year it was winter – which meant plenty of long nights and short days. So no sooner after Ayana greeted the sun as it peeked its head above the horizon…
AYANA: Hello, sun!
NARRATOR: …she bid it farewell, as it dipped back down again.
AYANA: Goodbye, sun!
NARRATOR: But winters weren’t just dark in Ayana’s part of the world. They were cold!
So while Mother huddled by the hearthfire – sewing beautiful coats, pants, and mittens – Ayana tied her long black hair into a long thick braid, stuffed it into a woolen cap, bundled up in her coat, then ventured out to collect firewood.
Wood wasn’t easy to come by on the frozen tundra. But Ayana worked hard and usually managed to gather a nice armload of branches and sticks to keep the hut warm. One day, however…
AYANA: Mother! I’m back!
NARRATOR: …she returned with just a handful of twigs.
MOTHER: You were gone for hours, Ayana! [ah-YAH-nuh] What kept you?
AYANA: In short… the weather! Seems we got a real storm last night. The snow was so deep I could hardly walk! Luckily I was able to gather a bit of wood, though I don't know how long it will last.
NARRATOR: Ayana set the twigs by the fire, then pulled off her snow-covered coat and woolen cap. Her long black braid came tumbling out.
MOTHER: My goodness! Look at your beautiful black braid! It’s nearly frozen! (beat) I’m afraid to say it… but from the look and sound of things, I believe we’ve received a rather nasty visit… from the Blizzard Wizard!
NARRATOR: Ayana’s eyes grew wide as she crouched by the fire.
AYANA: The Blizzard Wizard? Who’s that?
MOTHER: The Blizzard Wizard is the coldhearted spirit who brings the harshest of weather to the tundra! Draped in flowing, frosty robes… with a long white beard and a magical staff made of pure, sparkling ice… the Blizzard Wizard makes his way across the land. And with every step, he summons the snow, turning it from feathery confetti into frosty clumps – swirling and blowing so hard and fast you can barely see your hand in front of your face!
NARRATOR: Ayana felt a shiver run down her back.
AYANA: Gosh! As if winters weren’t hard enough up here already! (beat) So how do we keep the Blizzard Wizard away, Mother?
MOTHER: Well… luckily, the two things he fears most are light… and heat. So as long as we keep our fire burning here in our hut, we should be safe.
AYANA: But we’re nearly out of wood, Mother! All we have is what’s in the hearth already, plus the little bit I managed to scrounge up today.
MOTHER: That’s alright. We’ll use what we’ve got, and just hope it lasts long enough ‘til we can gather more!
NARRATOR: Ayana and Mother spent the next hours keeping a close watch on the fire. They did their best to keep it stoked. But as they ran out of wood, the flames in the hearth burned lower and lower, until Ayana cried out in alarm.
AYANA: Mother, the fire has dimmed to its very last ember! How can we possibly keep the – (interrupted)
NARRATOR: But Ayana didn’t have time to finish her sentence. Because all at once, the entrance to the hut opened wide…
[SOT: door, Blizzard Wizard sfx]
NARRATOR: …and a blast of bitter wind came sweeping through. Next thing Ayana and Mother knew, they were clutching each other’s shivering bodies as they stood face to face… with the Blizzard Wizard!
BLIZZARD WIZARD: Greetings and salutations, humans! Ready to be snowed under?
NARRATOR: An explosion of ice and snow erupted from the Blizzard Wizard’s fingers. But as he lunged toward Ayana and her mother, the very last spark from the fire flew up toward the roof. It arced through the air before landing in the folds of the Blizzard Wizard’s billowing white robes… and burning a hole right through!
BLIZZARD WIZARD: (GASP!) Look what you’ve done! Your fire has damaged my snowy robes!
NARRATOR: The Blizzard Wizard lifted his magical staff of ice and pointed it at Mother.
BLIZZARD WIZARD: YOU! You’re a seamstress, are you not?
MOTHER: I am…
BLIZZARD WIZARD: Then you will come to my palace of ice and you will repair my robes! (beat) NOW!
NARRATOR: Then, before Ayana or Mother could say or do a thing, he swooshed his staff through the air.
NARRATOR: Another blast of wind swept through the hut…
NARRATOR: …and Ayana found herself alone, standing up to her knees in a little mound of snow.
AYANA: I can’t believe it! That coldhearted brute took my mother! (beat) But there’s no time to fret. I must find the Blizzard Wizard’s palace of ice, and I must set Mother free!
NARRATOR: Ayana stuffed her long black braid into her woolen cap, pulled on her coat, then headed out the door – with the frozen tundra under her feet… and a fiery determination in her heart.
[theme music in]
NARRATOR: What will Ayana do to save her mother?
We’ll find out what happens, after a quick break.
[theme music out]
[theme music in]
NARRATOR: Welcome back to Circle Round. I’m Rebecca Sheir. Today our story is called “The Blizzard Wizard.”
[theme music out]
NARRATOR: Before the break, Ayana set off to rescue her mother from the Blizzard Wizard and his palace of ice.
Ayana began her quest just as the sun was peeking its shiny head above the horizon. Normally she greeted the sun when it rose, but today she was so lost in her thoughts that she stayed quiet and kept her head low.
SUN: What, no greeting today?
NARRATOR: At the sound of this mysterious voice, Ayana stopped in her tracks.
SUN: …Because usually you greet me when I rise! And you say farewell when I set! It’s something I always look forward to.
NARRATOR: Ayana glanced around, then tilted her head up.
AYANA: Um, Sun…? Are you really talking to me?
SUN: I am! And I’m wondering what’s going on! You seem like you’re in your own little world. Tell me what’s wrong – but make it quick. I’ve got to set in just a little while.
NARRATOR: So Ayana told the sun all about the Blizzard Wizard, and how he had stolen her mother away. She shed a few tears as she spoke, and each one froze into a tiny icicle as it tracked down her cheek.
SUN: Oh, that Blizzard Wizard! He is such a brute! I would vanquish him if I could – but like I said, my time is short this part of the year. So I’ll do what I can to help, by giving you… this.
NARRATOR: Ayana watched as a radiant ball of light came floating out of the sun. When it reached the earth, it turned into a golden bow strung with golden string! Beside it were three shimmering, glowing arrows.
SUN: These arrows contain light and heat, Ayana. They will help you on your journey. Use them wisely and well.
AYANA: I will, mighty sun. I will! Thank you!
NARRATOR: Ayana slung the bow over her shoulder, tucked the arrows in her coat, then continued across the tundra. She hadn’t gotten far when she heard…
NARRATOR: … another voice!
Ayana flicked her head round. And what should she see bounding her way but a big brown reindeer!
REINDEER: The wolf! He’s chasing me! Please help me! Please!
NARRATOR: The reindeer went charging past Ayana, and sure enough – hot on the terrified creature’s tail – was a hungry gray wolf. Without missing a beat, Ayana grabbed the first of the sun’s three arrows. She strung it on her bow and aimed it at the wolf. Then she let it fly!
[SOT: arrow fly]
NARRATOR: The shimmering shaft soared through the air. It didn’t hit the wolf, but it struck the ground right next to him and scared him away!
As the wolf scampered off, Ayana felt something nuzzle her shoulder.
REINDEER: You saved my life, young lady! How can I repay you?
NARRATOR: Ayana flashed the reindeer a smile.
AYANA: Repay me? There’s no need.
REINDEER: Sure there is! (beat) It looks like you’re on a journey. How about I give you a lift and you tell me your story along the way?
NARRATOR: So Ayana climbed onto the reindeer’s back and recounted her tale. It turned out the reindeer knew exactly where the Blizzard Wizard lived. All the animals did, and they did their best to steer clear of his icy palace!
But the reindeer wanted to help Ayana. So with her fleet feet, she loped across the ice and snow, for miles and miles and miles, until…
REINDEER: …Here we are! The palace of ice!
NARRATOR: Ayana looked up. Looming before her was a towering palace, with magnificent spires, towers, and turrets all carved from clear, glistening ice.
Through one of the transparent walls Ayana could see her mother. The poor woman was crouching on the icy floor, with the Blizzard Wizard’s snowy robes in her lap. Frozen tears covered her cheeks. Her fingers trembled as she sewed.
AYANA: Mother looks so miserable! But I don’t see an entrance. How do I get inside the palace?
REINDEER: Well… it’ll help if you cross that first!
NARRATOR: The Reindeer tilted her head downward. And that’s when Ayana saw it: a deep canyon, forming a big gap between her and the palace!
AYANA: Oh dear. I suppose the canyon is too wide for you to jump across?
REINDEER: Sorry to say, but yes.
AYANA: That’s alright, Reindeer. You’ve helped me get this far; I’ll figure the rest out myself. Thank you!
NARRATOR: Ayana hopped down from the reindeer’s back. As the reindeer went bounding away, Ayana took a few tentative steps toward the canyon. Just then, a gust of wind went sweeping past.
NARRATOR: Ayana’s woolen cap fell loose from her head, and her long black braid came tumbling out. As the thick braid flapped around her head, suddenly she knew just what she would do.
AYANA: I still have two of the three arrows the sun gave me! Perhaps one of them will do the job…?
NARRATOR: Ayana pulled the second arrow from her coat. Gripping the arrow in one hand, she clutched her long black braid with the other. Then she lifted the arrow, and slicing it sideways like a knife…
[SOT: magical sun-arrow slice]
NARRATOR: … she chopped her braid right off! Then she got to work weaving her long, black hair into a rope!
She tied a tight loop at one end, then she hurled the rope toward the other side of the canyon.
AYANA: (ad-lib hurling rope across the canyon, such as:) Huhhh!
NARRATOR: To her delight, the rope made it all the way across, before catching a craggy outcropping of ice.
AYANA: Okay! Now all I have to do is use my rope to swing across the canyon, then I’ll bust inside the palace and save my Mother!
NARRATOR: Grasping the rope with all her strength, Ayana took a running jump, then swung across the canyon!
NARRATOR: To her relief, she made it all the way over. But to her dismay…
BLIZZARD WIZARD: Hello, young lady!
NARRATOR: …the Blizzard Wizard was waiting on the other side!
BLIZZARD WIZARD: So! You’ve come to rescue your mother, have you?
NARRATOR: Ayana felt her blood run cold. But she took a breath, then fixed the Blizzard Wizard with a fierce gaze.
AYANA: Yes! I’ve come to rescue my mother. So let her go! Now!
NARRATOR: The Blizzard Wizard smiled, showing a mouthful of frosty white teeth, each one as pointy as an icicle.
BLIZZARD WIZARD: You know, I admire your perseverance, young lady. Too bad it’s no match for my polar freeze!!!
NARRATOR: The Blizzard Wizard lifted his magical staff and swooshed it through the air.
NARRATOR: All at once a piercing wind struck Ayana’s face.
NARRATOR: And though the frigid air stung her cheeks and nearly took her breath away….
NARRATOR: …she knew she had no time to lose. With trembling hands, she reached for the sun’s third and final arrow. The wind was blowing so hard she could barely bring the arrow to the bow, let alone aim. But then, summoning all of her courage, all of her hope, and all of her fiery determination, she let the arrow fly!
NARRATOR: The glowing shaft went rocketing through the air… before piercing right through the Blizzard Wizard’s magical staff of ice!
[SOT: staff pierce]
BLIZZARD WIZARD: Oh no! You’ve struck my staff! The source of all my power! And now it’s melting clean away!
NARRATOR: It was true! The moment the sun’s arrow hit the staff, the ice turned into liquid… and then… before Ayana’s very eyes… so did the Blizzard Wizard!
BLIZZARD WIZARD: I’m melting! Meelllltiiiiing!
NARRATOR: But that wasn’t all. The palace of ice was melting, too! And once Mother was freed from her crystal prison, she came rushing toward her daughter and wrapped her in a hug.
MOTHER: (as she hugs her daughter) Ayana! I thought I’d never see you again! How did you get here? How did you defeat the Blizzard Wizard? (beat) And what did you do to your hair!?!?
NARRATOR: Ayana grinned. Her mother was in for a very long story. But Ayana had the whole rest of the winter to tell it – without worrying about the Blizzard Wizard taking anyone by storm!