The Sorcerer's Conspectus:

A comprehensive view of Andre Norton's Witch World

by Lotsawatts

Sand Sister

  A Novella in the [Witch World Saga] by Andre Norton


See Also: [Martinez ~ Glossary] [Martinez ~ Races] [Schlobin ~ Survey] [Coulson's Index]

[Expanded Reading Order] [Bibliography Page] [Read it Here[Return to Contents]


Edition Used for Analysis:
[Lore of the Witch World] (1980) Published by DAW, PB, 0-879-97560-1, 978-0-879-97560-9, No.400 #UJ1560, $1.95 ~ cover by Michael Whelan


Tursla was born of the Torpeople in blood and bone but not spirit. Yet her spirit has a twin whose form is sand. When the people of the Tormarsh plan a blood sacrifice of Koris's son to save their dying race, Tursla must stand against her peoples might to save him. Can she do it and can she bear the price she must pay? 

Timeline Points:

  1. p49. Chapter 1:
  2. p50. Midwife: "Tursla—" 'Which was a name of the Moth-maid in the very ancient song-tale of Tursla and the Toad Devil. Thus it was that the child who-was-not-of-the-clan spirit was given a name which was in itself uncanny and even a little tinged with ill-fortune.' 'For the Torfolk were very old indeed. They spoke in their Remember Chants of a day when they had been near unthinking beasts (even less than some of the beasts of this old land) and how Volt, The Old One (he who was not human at all but the last of a much older and greater race than man dared to aspire to equal) had come to be their guide and leader. For he was lonely and found in them some spark of near thought which intrigued him so he would see what he might make of them. Volt's half-avian face still was one they carved on the guard totems…'
  3. p52. 'The years are all the same in Tor Marsh and they pass with a slow and measured beat. Nor do the Torfolk reckon them in any listing. For when Volt left his people they no longer cared to reckon time. They knew that there was war and much trouble in the outer world. Tursla had heard that before she had been born a war leader of that other land had been brought into Tor Marsh by treachery and had been taken away again by his enemies with whom the Torfolk had made an uneasy and quickly broken pact.' (see: Web of the Witch World) 'Also there was still an older story—' 'Even further back in time there had been a man from outside whose ship had floundered on the strip of shore where Tor Marshactually came down in a point to the sea. And there he had been found by one who was a clan mother. She had taken pity on the man, who had been sore hurt, and had, against all custom, brought him to the healers. But the end to that had been sadness, for he had laid a spell of caring on the First Maiden of that clan and she had chosen, against all custom, to go forth with him when he was healed. There had come a time when she returned—alone. Though to her clan she had said the name of a child. Later she had died. Yet the name of the child remained in the chant of the Rememberer. Now it was said that he, too, was a great warrior and a ruler in a land no Torfolkwould ever see.' The story of Koris's parents. (see: Witch World)
  4. p53. 'She [Tursla] grew out of childhood and she set herself obediently to the learning which she should have.'
  5. p54. Tursla old enough to become pregnant. (14?)
  6. p56. Tursla finds the dream pool surrounded by sand.
  7. p57. Xactol. (the sand woman) awakens Tursla's gifts.
  8. p58. Chapter 2:
  9. p60. Tursla discovers the ocean.
  10. p61. Affric insults Tursla.
  11. p62-63. 'Tursla was astounded. Great Callings she had heard talked of; the last had been years ago when the Torfolkhad allowed their stronghold to be invaded for a short time by strangers. It was then that the war leader of the outside lands had been prisoner here—together with her who, it was whispered, had been Koris's chosen lady. There had come no great ill from that, save that it had reached them later that, even as they had closed the marsh, so was now the outer world closed to them in turn. But even then there had been two minds about the right and wrong of what they did.' (see: Web of the Witch World)
  12. p65. Mafra has a vision of what is to come and Tursla's choice.
  13. p67. Chapter 3:
  14. p67. 'Three days went by…'
  15. p70-71 Tursla sits in Volt's chair and has a vision of a young man in armor riding a horse.
  16. p72. "So that old tale still holds meaning," she [Mafra] said. "But Koris was not your rider. This is he whom I told you about—the child of those who would move mountains with spells, slay men with steel, that naught comes to harm him. He is Koris's son, and his name is Simond, which in part was given by that outlander who fought so valiantly beside his father to free Estcarp of the Kolder." "It was Koris's friend Simon Tregarth who was brought hither through strangers' magic and delivered to his enemies. Also with him was she who was Koris's choice of mate after the manner of the outlanders. Then we chose ill, so that in turn the outlands set their own barriers against us." The Turning mentioned (see: Three Against the Witch World)
  17. p73-74. The Torfolkwomen led by Unnanna begin casting a spell.
  18. p74-75. Tursla casts counter-spell to trip up Affric and his warriors.
  19. p76. Chapter 4:
  20. p76. The next day.
  21. p79. Simond is brought to the Hall of Volt.
  22. p80. Simond: "I am son of him who took Volt's axe—by Volt's own wishing. Do you think then that Volt will look with approval on the fate you would give me?" "Where is the axe now?" Unnanna demanded. "Yes, Koris of Gorm took it; but is it not gone from him? Volt's favor follows the axe. With it destroyed, he has lost interest in you." (see: Three Against the Witch World)
  23. p84. Tursla brings Simond to the sand ringed pool.
  24. p85. Chapter 5:
  25. p91. Simond pulls Tursla through the spell barrier.

The Sorcerer’s recommend that you read next: Songsmith

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Formatted and Edited by Jay Watts ~ May, 2022

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