The Daily Prompt : Him, the king and the snow

Image result for alfred jewel


A snowflake flutters onto his lashes, melts, is blinked away before another lands. What began as a flurry is falling heavier now, snow settling in the pits and dips in mud grown solid under days of frost and bitter wind.

He doesn’t notice. Doesn’t see the bare trees, black lacework against the solid grey sky, or the vixen crossing the barren field, her belly sunk with hunger, her brush thin, the dull russet hair. He doesn’t see her stop, raise her nose to sniff the air – to sniff him – and hurry on her way, too cautious, too experienced to stay where the meaty, lactic tang of humans hangs.

The world passes unseen.

All he knows are his breathing and the exquisite crystal teardrop that’s nestled in his palm, the golden wires that twine and coil along the edge, that twist into the snout, the flaring nostrils of a fierce beast, that whirl into two great, fathomless eyes, protecting the king, his emerald gown, the coal black stare.

His hands grow hard with the cold, as if the stone has sunk into him, made him stone too. The snow falls harder, blotting out the sky, the vixen’s tracks, the spindle trees – leaving him, the king and the snow.


Written for The Daily Prompt – today the word is EXQUISITE.

There was one object I though of after reading the prompt word – The Alfred Jewel. Twelve hundred years old, it’s one of the finest examples of Anglo Saxon goldsmithing in this country.

Commissioned by King Alfred himself, as the inscription “aelfred mec heht gewyrcan” (Alfred ordered me made) attests, it’s always seemed like a perfect, magical object to me and I tried to imagine how the man who found it in the late seventeenth century might have felt as it lay in his hand.

See here to learn more about the jewel.


10 thoughts on “The Daily Prompt : Him, the king and the snow

  1. I love this piece, so perfect for this winter season, so evocative of a few brief moments in time, so present, so now. I loved too the contrasts, the golden interlace and the tangle of bare branches, the threadbare vixen and the fiery beast, the pinched fingers of the finder and the warm colours of the regal figure. You’ve done it again, Lynn: that ship in a bottle, perfect in every detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Chris! Love the parallels you’ve picked out, that contrast between the cold, barren reality and the magical quality of the jewel. I think we’ve discussed the Alfred Jewel before – I just find it extraordinary. Mind you, we have part of the Staffs Anglo Saxon hoard here in Bristol at the moment, so I’ll be off to marvel at that soon. Thanks for your comment and your kind support 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I saw that the Hoard was on show in Bristol — shall try to get to see it! And I saw the Jewel many years ago, in Oxford at the Bodleian I think — it is everything one expects.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve seen the Jewel too, years ago. I was transfixed by the detail, the craftsmanship. It couldn’t be replicated now, I’m sure, such arts being lost. Excited to see the hoard – ah, those garnets 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful Lynn. Exquisite really does describe the piece you’ve written. Such careful detail written wonderfully to describe this object.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful image, of all this activity around him, and his laser focus on the object in his hand — that focus tells us all we need to know about its importance.

    Interesting real life item, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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