Josefine Ottesen
  prize-winning Danish author
Presentation > Books > Fantasy tales > The Rainbow Stone

The Rainbow Stone

Høst & Søn, 1999

Extract from The Rainbow Stone
Author's comments

The Mastersinger can no longer sing the rainbow out of the sacred stone. The connection to the Siola, the people in the Hidden Valley, has been broken and drought threatens all life on the island of Liban. In the Festival Arena and the Sacred Circle, Leela is the only one who hears the haunting singing voices and the Siola's sacred emblem is burnt into the skin on her shoulder.
But how can a mute orphan girl have been chosen to recover everything that has been lost?

Back to the top.

Extract from The Rainbow Stone:

Chapter 1

".. When the radiant bow of colours
Builds a bridge from Heaven to Earth,
Then the rain and the sun with their power
Bring sustenance, beauty and growth

Sing, invisible souls,
Let the Lifedance's power expand,
Then bright burns the heart of the Stone,
And so bright shine we all in this land."

Leela brushed her dark hair back from her brow and straightened her back. She had at last finished copying the many verses of the Sacred Song. And she'd managed it before sunset, as Tinka had requested.
The written pages shone white in the deepening twilight and she wondered whether to light the oil lamp. Out of habit, she looked at the fireplace but caught herself in the act. There was no need for a fire. The spring had been unusually hot and, in common with the previous two years, the rains had failed. At that moment, she heard Tinka's energetic steps on the gravel outside.
"Are you finished?" asked her teacher, still finding her breath. "Well done! To be honest, it was a bit late for Durri to discover the new singers don't know the words well enough. After all, they have to sing them at the Festival of the Covenant tomorrow!"
Leela handed the parchment sheets to the grey-haired woman. It was too dark to read them indoors, so she took the transcripts outside. Leela followed.
The evening air was still shimmering with the heat and Leela noticed how thirsty she was. She carefully wet her lips with her tongue - if only she could have something to drink. But she'd had a small cup of water with her supper and they had to use it carefully.
A cool breeze off the sea caused her to look up at the sunset sky. Was the wind a sign of rain? No, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. She turned toward Tinka, who was eagerly studying her work in the last soft light of the day.
"You write really beautifully, Leela," she said appreciatively. "Won't you come up with me and deliver the copies to the Mastersinger? I really think Durri should have the opportunity to thank you personally. It's quite unbelievable that you've managed to write the entire Sacred Song in such a short time."
Leela firmly shook her head but Tinka wasn’t waiting for an answer. She dragged the young girl with her up the steep terrain to the houses around the Sacred Circle.
The choir was practising and the ringing sound of the voices caused Leela to stiffen inside. As long as she could remember, the sound of songs and music had frightened her. She had no idea why, but it was as if the notes pressed in on her and restricted her breathing. She just knew she couldn't go any closer.
Tinka looked at her irritably. "For goodness sake Leela, do you always have to be so sensitive - there's nothing to be afraid of!"
At that moment, a group of young people came by. She heard their whispers and laughter.
"Look at dumb Leela - now she'll have another attack!"
With one swift movement, Leela broke free from Tinka's grip. She ran back towards the House of Scribes, the only place where she knew she could get some peace.

Back to the top.

Author's comments:

When, in the middle of the 1990's, I decided to take my foot off the throttle in relation to my theatre work to prioritise my authorial work, it was especially because I needed some continuous time to write a big novel about something which was prominent in my mind. The result was The Rainbow Stone.
I had grown up in a family where the divine and the spiritual aspects of life were not an everyday part of our lives. I have personally had to work hard to create space in my inner universe for this type of more unwieldy dimension.
It was therefore very exciting to set out on the journey to the island of Liban and, together with Leela, find a path to that part of life which cannot immediately be weighed and measured.