In one big town lived two poor children. Their names were Kay and Gerda. They had a large garden full of roses. They were not brother and sister, but they loved each other very much.Can the Snow Queen come in here?’ asked the girl one day.»Only let her try» said the boy. I’ll put her on the stove, and she’ll melt.

One evening when little Kay was at home, he climbed on a chair and looked out the window. One of the snowflakes was larger than the others and it became larger and larger till at last it became the figure of a woman dressed in a long white dress. Her dress was made of a million little flakes. She was beautiful but made of ice, and her eyes were made of ice, too, and were shining like bright stars. She nodded toward the window and waved her hand. The little boy got afraid and ran from the window.

Then spring came and the children were again in the garden. Kay and Gerda held each other by the hand and kissed the roses. One day Kay and Gerda sat looking at the pictures of animals and birds in a big book. Suddenly Kay cried out, ‘Oh, there is something in my heart I feel such a pain and soon after that he said, ‘There is something in my eye.’ Gerda put her arm round his neck and looked into his eye, but she did not see anything. ‘I think it is gone,’ he said.

But it was not gone — it was one of the bits of the magic mirror which made everything beautiful and kind seem ugly and evil. Poor little Kay also received a small piece of that mirror in his heart, which very quickly became a piece of ice and made his heart cold and evil.

‘Why are you crying?’ said he. ‘It makes your face ugly. Oh, see!’ he cried suddenly. ‘There roses are ugly,’ and he pulled off some roses. When Kay saw that Gerda got frightened, he laughed and ran away from her. After that time his games became evil and even cruel. It was the bit of glass in his eye and a piece of ice in his heart that made him like this. He was even cruel to Gerda who loved him with all her heart.

One day when he was playing in a big square, he saw a very large sledge. It was white and in it sat a woman in white fur coat and a white cap. The sledge drove round the square and when it went away, Kay’s little sledge followed it. Kay cried out loudly but nobody heard him when the snow fell upon him and the sledge drove on and on.

Suddenly the large sledge stopped and the person in it stood up. The fur and the cap which were made of snow fell off, and he saw a lady, tall and white. It was the Snow Queen. She seated Kay in her sledge and kissed him. The kiss was colder than ice; it went to his heart. Kay felt as if he was dying but only for a moment. Soon he felt quite well again and did not notice the cold around him.

‘Now I mustn’t give you more kisses’ said the Snow Queen, ‘or I can kiss you to death.’ Kay looked at her and saw that she was very beautiful. She smiled to him all the time and flew higher and higher with him upon a black cloud. They flew over woods and lakes, over seas and lands. Below them the wolves howled and the wind roared; above them the full moon was shining. And so Kay spent the long winter night and in the morning he slept at the foot of the Snow Queen.


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