Which Treats of a Mirror and of the Splinters
 NOW, then, let us begin. When we are at the end of the
story we shall know more than we know now: but to
Once upon a time there was a wicked Sprite; indeed, he
was the most mischievous of all sprites. One day he
was in a very good humor, for he had made a mirror with
the power of causing all that was good and beautiful,
when it was reflected therein, to look poor and mean;
but that which was good for nothing and looked ugly was
shown magnified and increased in
ugli-  ness. In this
mirror the most beautiful landscapes looked like boiled
spinach, and the best persons were turned into frights,
or appeared to stand on their heads; their faces were
so distorted that they were not to be recognized; and
if anyone had a mole, you might be sure that it would
be magnified and spread over both nose and mouth.
"That's glorious fun!" said the Sprite. If a good
thought passed through a man's mind, then a grin was
seen in the mirror, and the Sprite laughed heartily at
his clever discovery. All the little sprites that went
to his school—for he kept a sprite-school—told one
another that a miracle had happened; and that now only,
as they thought, it would be possible to see how the
world really looked. They ran about with the mirror,
and at last there was not a land or a person who was
not represented distorted in the mirror. So then they
thought they would fly up to the sky, and have a joke
there. The higher they flew with the mirror the more
terribly it grinned; they could hardly hold it fast.
Higher and higher still they flew, nearer and nearer to
the stars, when suddenly the mirror shook so terribly
with grinning, that it flew out of their hands and fell
to the earth, where it was dashed in a hundred and
million and more pieces. And now it worked much more
evil than before, for some of these pieces were hardly
so large as a grain of sand, and they flew about in the
wide world, and when they got into people's eyes, they
were stayed; and then people saw everything perverted,
or only had an eye for that which was evil. This
happened because the very smallest bit had the same
power which the whole mirror had possessed. Some
persons even got a splinter in their heart, and then it
made one shudder, for their heart became like a lump of
ice. Some of the broken pieces were so large that they
were used for window-panes, through which one could not
see one's friends. Other pieces were put in
spectacles; and that was a sad affair when people put
on their glasses to see well and rightly. Then the
wicked Sprite laughed till he almost choked, for all
this tickled his fancy. The fine splinters still flew
about in the air: and now we shall hear what happened
A Little Boy and a Little Girl
 IN a large town, where there are so many houses and so
many people that there is no room left for everybody to
have a little garden, and where, on this account, most
persons are obliged to content themselves with flowers
in pots, there lived two little children who had a
garden somewhat larger than a flower-pot. They were
not brother and sister, but they cared for each other
as much as if they were. Their parents lived exactly
opposite. They inhabited two garrets; and where the
roof of the one house joined that of the other, and the
gutter ran along the extreme end of it, there was to
each house a small window — one needed only to step
over the gutter to get from one window to the other.
The children's parents had large wooden boxes there, in
which vegetables for the kitchen were planted, and
little rose-trees besides; there was a rose in each
box, and they grew splendidly. They know thought of
placing the boxes across the gutter, so that they
nearly reached from one window to the other, and looked
just like two walls of flowers. The tendrils of the
peas hung down over the boxes, and the rose-trees shot
up long branches, twined around the windows, and then
bent toward each other—it was almost like a triumphal
arch of foliage
and flowers. The boxes were very high, and the
children knew that they must not creep over them; so
they often obtained permission to get out of the
windows to each other, and to sit on their little
stools among the roses, were they could play
delightfully. In the winter there was end of this
pleasure. The windows were often frozen over; but then
they heater copper farthings on the stove and laid the
hot farthing on the window pane, and then they had a
capital peep-hole, quite nicely rounded; and out of
each peeped a gentle, friendly eye—it was the little
boy and the little girl who were looking out. His name
was Kay, hers was Gerda. In the summer, with one jump,
 get to each other; but in the winter they
were obliged first to down the long stairs and then up
the long stairs again: and out-of-doors there was quite
"It is the white bees that are swarming," said Kay's
"Do the white bees chose a queen?" asked the little
boy, for he knew the honey-bees always have one.
"Yes," said the grandmother; "she flies where the
swarms hangs in the thickest clusters. She is the
largest of all; and she can never remain quietly on the
earth, but goes up again into the black clouds. Many
a winter's night she flies through the streets of the
town and peeps in at the windows, and they then freeze
in so wondrous a manner that they look like flowers."
"Yes, I have seen it," said both children; and so they
knew that it was true.
"Can the Snow-queen come in?" said the little girl.
"Only let her come in!" said the little boy; "then I'd
put her on the stove, and she'd melt."
And then his grandmother patted his head and told him
In the evening, when little Kay was at home and half
undressed, he climbed up on the chair by the window and
peeped out of the little hole. A few snowflakes were
falling, , and one, the largest of all, remained lying
on the edge of a flower-pot. The flake of snow grew
larger and larger, and at last it was like a young
lady, dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a
million little flakes, like stars. She was so
beautiful and delicate, but she was of ice, of
dazzling, sparkling ice; yet she lived; her eyes gazed
fixedly, like two stars; but there was neither quiet
or repose in them. She nodded toward the window and
beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened
and jumped down from the chair; it seemed to him as if
at that same moment a large bird flew past the window.
The next day it was a sharp frost; and then the spring
came; the sun shone, the green leaves appeared, the
swallows built their nests, the windows were opened,
and the little children
 again sat in their pretty
garden, high up on the leads at top of their houses.
That summer the roses flowered in unwonted beauty. The
little girl had learned a hymn in which there was
something about roses; and then she thought of her own
flowers, and she sang the verse to the little boy, who
then sang it with her:
"The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet;
The Child Jesus is there the children to greet."
And the children held each other by the hand, kissed
the roses, looked up at the clear sunshine, and spoke
as if there really saw Jesus there. What lovely summer
days those were! How delightful to be out in the air,
near the fresh rose-bushes, that seemed as if they
would never finish blossoming!
Kay and Gerda looked at the picture-book full of beasts
and of birds; and it was then—the clock in the
church-tower was just striking five—that Kay said, "Oh,
I feel such a sharp pain in my heart; and now something
has got into my eye!"
The little girl put her arms around his neck. He
winked his eyes; now there was nothing to be seen.
"I think it is out now," said he; but it was not. It
was just one of those pieces of glass from the magic
mirror that had got into his eye; and poor Kay had got
another piece right in his heart. It will soon become
like ice. It did not hurt any longer, but there it
"What are you crying for?" asked he. "You look so
ugly! There's nothing the matter with me. Ah," he
said at once, "that rose is cankered! and look, this
one is quite crooked! After all, those roses are very
ugly; they are just like the box they are planted in!"
And then he gave the box a good kick with his foot and
pulled both the roses up.
"What are you doing?" cried the little girl; and as he
perceived her fright he pulled up another rose, got in
at the window, and hastened off from dear little Gerda.
Afterward, when she brought her picture-book, he asked,
"What horrid beasts had she there?" And if his
 told him stories he always interrupted her;
besides, if he could manage it, he would get behind
her, put on her spectacles, and imitate he way of
speaking: he copied all her ways, and then everybody
laughed at him. He was soon able to imitate the gait
and manner of everyone on the street. Everything that
was peculiar and displeasing in them, that Kay knew how
to imitate; and at such times all the people said, "The
boy is certainly very clever!" But it was the glass he
got in his eye, the glass the was sticking in his
heart, which made him tease even little Gerda, whose
whole soul was devoted to him.
His games now were quite different from what they had
formerly been, they were so very knowing. One winter's
day, when the flakes of snow were flying about, he
spread the skirts of his blue coat and caught the snow
as it fell.
"Look through this glass, Gerda," said he. And every
flake seemed larger, and appeared like a magnificent
flower or a beautiful star: it was splendid to look at!
"Look, how clever!" said Kay. "That's much more
interesting than real flowers. They are as exact as
possible; there is not a fault in them, if they did not
It was not long after this that Kay came one day with
large gloves on and his little sledge as his back and
bawled right into Gerda's ears, "I have permission to
go out into the square, where the others are playing";
and off he was in a moment.
There, in the marketplace, some of the boldest of the
boys used to tie their sledges to the carts as they
passed by, and so they were pulled along and got a good
ride. It was so capital! Just as they were in the
very height of their amusement a large sledge passed
by: it was painted quite white, and there was someone
in it wrapped up in a rough white mantle of fur, with a
rough white fur cap on his head. The sledge drove
around the square twice, and Kay tied on his as quickly
as he could, and off he drove with it. On they went
quicker and quicker into the next street; and the
person who drove turned round to Kay and nodded to him
in a friendly manner, just as if they knew each other.
Every time he was going to untie his sledge
 the person
nodded to him, and then Kay sat quiet; and so on they
went till they came outside the gates of the town.
Then the snow began to fall so thickly that the little
boy could not see an arms-length before him, but still
on he went, when suddenly he let go the string he held
in his hand in order to get loose from the sledge, but
it was of no use; still the little vehicle rushed on
with the quickness of the wind. He then cried aa loud
as he could, but no one heard him; the snow drifted and
the sledge flew on, and sometimes it gave a jerk as
though they were driving over hedges and ditches. He
was quite frightened, and he tried to repeat the Lord's
Prayer; but all he could do, he was only able to
remember the multiplication table.
The snowflakes grew larger and larger, till at last
they looked just like great white fowls. Suddenly they
flew on one side; the large sledge stopped, and the
person who drove rose up. It was a lady; her cloak and
cap were of snow. She was tall, of slender figure, and
of dazzling whiteness. It was the Snow-queen.
"Are you still cold?" said she; and then she kissed his
forehead. Ah! It was colder than ice; it penetrated to
his very heart, which was almost already a frozen lump;
it seemed to him as if he were about to die—but a
moment more and it was quite congenial to him, and he
did not remark the cold that was around him.
"My sledge! Do not forget my sledge!" It was the first
thing he thought of. It was there, to one of the white
chickens, who flew along with it on his back behind the
large sledge. The Snow-queen kissed Kay once more, and
then he forgot little Gerda, grandmother, and all whom
he had left at his home.
"Now you will have no more kisses," said she, "or else
I should kiss you to death!"
 Kay looked at her. She was very beautiful; a more
clever or a more lovely countenance he could not fancy
to himself; and she no longer appeared of ice as
before, when she sat outside the window and beckoned to
him. In his eyes she was perfect. He did not fear her
at all, and t old her that he could calculate in his
head, and with fractions, even; that he knew the number
of square miles there were in the different countries,
and how many inhabitants they contained; and she smiled
while he spoke. It then seemed to him as if what he
knew was not enough, and he looked upward in the large,
huge, empty space above him, and on she flew with him—flew
high over the black clouds, while the storm
moaned and whistled as though it were singing some old
tune. On they flew over woods and lakes, over seas and
many lands; and beneath them the chilling storm rushed
fast, the wolves howled, the snow crackled; above them
flew large screaming crows, but higher up appeared the
moon, quite large and bright, and it was on it that Kay
gazed during the long, long winter's night, while by
day he slept at the feet of the Snow-queen.
Of the Flower Garden at the Old Woman's
Who Understood Witchcraft
 BUT what became of little Gerda when Kay did not
return? Where could he be? Nobody knew; nobody could
give any intelligence. All the boys knew was that they
had seen him tie his sledge to another large and
splendid one which drove down the street and out of the
town. Nobody knew where he was, many sad tears were
shed, and little Gerda wept long and bitterly. At last
she said he must be dead: that he had been drowned in
the river which flowed close to the town. Oh, those
were very long and dismal winter evenings!
At last spring came and its warm sunshine.
"Kay is dead
and gone!" said little Gerda.
 "That I don't believe," said the Sunshine.
"Kay is dead and gone!" said she to the Swallows.
"That we don't believe," said they, and at last little
Gerda did not think so any longer either.
"I'll put on my red shoes," said she, one morning; "Kay
ha never seen them, and then I'll go down to the river
and ask there."
It was quite early; she kissed her old grandmother, who
was still asleep, put on her red shoes, and went alone
to the river.
"Is it true that you have taken my little playfellow?
I will make you a present of my red shoes if you will
give him back to me."
And, as it seemed to her, the blue waves nodded in a
strange manner; then she took off her red shoes, the
most precious things she possessed, and threw them into
the river. But they fell close to the bank, and the
little waves bore them immediately to land; it was as
if the stream would not take what was dearest to her,
for in reality it had not got little Kay; but Gerda
thought that she had not thrown the shoes out far
enough, so she clambered into a boat which lay among
the rushes, went to the farthest end, and threw out the
shoes. But the boat was not fastened, and the motion
which she occasioned made it drift from the shore. She
observed this, and hastened to get back; but before she
could do so the boat was more than a yard from the land
and was gliding quickly onward.
Little Gerda was very much frightened and began to cry;
but no one heard her except the Sparrows, and they
could not carry her to land; but they flew along the
bank and sang as if to comfort her, "Here we are!" The
boat drifted from the stream; little Gerda sat quite
still without shoes, for they were swimming behind the
boat, but could not reach it because it went much
faster than they did.
The banks on both sides were beautiful; lovely flowers,
venerable trees, and slopes with sheep and cows, but
not a human being was to seen.
 "Perhaps the river will carry me to little Kay," said
she; and then she grew less sad. She rose and looked
for many hours at the beautiful green banks. Presently
she sailed by a large cherry-orchard where was a little
cottage with curious red and blue windows; it was
thatched, and before it two wooden soldiers stood
sentry and presented arms when any one went past.
Gerda called to them, for she thought they were alive;
but they, of course, did not answer. She came close to
them, for the stream drifted the boat quite near the
Gerda called still louder, and an old woman then came
out of the cottage, leaning upon a crooked stick. She
had a large broad-brimmed hat on, painted with the most
"Poor little child!" said the old Woman. "How did you
get upon the large rapid river, to be driven about so
in the wide world?" And then the old Woman went into
the water, caught hold of the boat with her crooked
stick, drew it to the bank, and lifted Gerda out.
And Gerda was so glad to be on dry land again, but she
was rather afraid of the strange old Woman.
"But come and tell who you are and how you came here,"
And Gerda told her all; and the old Woman shook her
head and said, "Ahem! ahem!" And when Gerda had told
her everything, and asked her if she had not seen
little Kay, the old Woman answered that he had not
passed there, but he no doubt would come; and she told
her not to be cast down, but taste her cherries, and
look at her flowers, which were finer than any in a
picture-book, each of which could tell a whole story.
She then took Gerda by the hand, led her into the
little cottage, and locked the door.
The windows were very high up; the glass was red, blue
and green, and the sunlight shone through quite
wondrously in all sorts of colors. On the table stood
the most exquisite cherries, and Gerda ate as many as
she chose, for she had permission to do so. While she
was eating, the old Woman combed
 her hair with a golden
comb, and her hair curled and shone with a lovely
golden color around that sweet little face, which was
so round and so like a rose.
"I have often longed for such a dear little girl," said
the old Woman. "Now you shall see how well we agree
together." And while she combed little Gerda's hair
the child forgot her foster-brother Kay more and more,
for the old Woman understood magic. But she was no
evil being, she only practised her witchcraft a little
for her own private amusement, and now she wanted very
much to keep little Gerda. She therefore went out into
the garden and stretched out her crooked stick toward
the rose-bushes, which, beautifully as they were
blowing, all sank into the earth, and no one could tell
where they had stood. The old Woman feared that Gerda
should see the roses she would think of her own, would
remember little Kay and run away from her.
She now led Gerda into the flower garden. Oh, what
odor and what loveliness was there! Every flower that
one could think of, and of every season, stood there in
fullest bloom; no picture-book could be gayer or more
beautiful. Gerda jumped for joy and played till the
sun set behind the tall cherry-tree; she then had a
pretty bed, with a red silken coverlet filled with blue
violets. She fell asleep, and had as pleasant dreams
as ever a queen on her wedding-day.
The next morning she went to play with the flowers in
the warm sunshine, and thus passed away a day. Gerda
knew every flower; and, numerous as they were, it still
seemed to Gerda that one was wanting, though she did
not know which. One day, while she was looking at the
hat of the old Woman painted with flowers, the most
beautiful of them all seemed to her to be a rose. The
old Woman had forgotten to take it from her hat when
she made the others vanish in the earth. But so it is
when one's thoughts are not collected. "What!" said
Gerda. "Are there no roses here?" and she ran about
amongst the flower-beds and looked and looked, but
there was not one to be found. She then sat down and
wept, but her hot tears
 fell just where the rose-bush
had sunk; and when her warm tears watered the ground,
the tree shot up suddenly, as fresh and blooming as
when it had been swallowed up. Gerda kissed the roses,
thought of her own dear roses at home, and with them of
"Oh, how long I have stayed!" said the little girl. "I
intended to look for Kay! Don't you know where he is?"
asked she of the Roses. "Do you think he is dead and
"Dead he certainly is now," said the Roses. "We have
been in the earth, where all the dead are, but Kay was
"Many thanks!" said little Gerda; and she went to the
other flowers, looked into their cups, and asked,
"Don't you know where little Kay is?
But every flower stood in the sunshine, and dreamed its
own fairy tale or its own story; and they all told her
very many things, but not one knew anything of Kay.
Well, what did the Tiger-lily say?
"Hearest thou not the drum? Bum! bum! those are the
only two tones. Always bum! bum! Hark to the
plaintive song of the old woman! to the call of the
priests! The Hindu woman in her long robe stands upon
the funeral pile; the flames rise around her and her
dead husband, but the Hindu woman thinks on the living
one in the surrounding circle; on him whose eyes burn
hotter than the flames—on him, the fire of whose eyes
pierces her heart more than the flames which soon will
burn her body to ashes. Can the heart's flame die in
the flame of the funeral pile?"
"I don't understand that at all," said little Gerda.
"That is my story," said the Lily.
What did the Convolvulus say?
"Projecting over a narrow mountain-path there hangs an
old feudal castle. Thick evergreens grow on the
dilapidated walls and around the altar, where a lovely
maiden is standing; she bends over the railing and
looks out upon the rose. No fresher rose hangs on the
branches than she; no apple-blossom
 carried away by the
wind is more bouyant! How her splendid silken robe is
"Is he not yet come?"
"Is it Kay that you mean?" asked little Gerda.
"I am speaking about my story—about my dream,"
answered the Convolvulus.
What did the Snowdrops say?
"Between the trees a long board is hanging—it is a
swing. Two little girls are sitting in it, and swing
themselves backward and forward; their frocks are as
white as snow, and long green-silk ribbons flutter from
their bonnets. Their brother, who is older than they
are, stands up in the swing; he twines his arms around
the cords to hold himself fast, for in one hand he has
a little cup and in the other a clay pipe. He is
blowing soap-bubbles. The wing moves, and the bubbles
float in charming, changing colors; the last is still
hanging to the end of the pipe, and rocks in the
breeze. The wing moves. The little black dog, as
light as a soap-bubble, jumps up on his hind legs to
try to get into the swing. It moves, the dog falls
down, barks, and is angry. They tease him; the bubble
bursts! A swing—a bursting bubble—such is my song!"
"What you relate may be very pretty, but you tell it in
so melancholy a manner and do no mention Kay."
What do the Hyacinths say?
"There were once upon a time three sisters, quite
transparent and very beautiful. The robe of one was
red, that of the second blue, and that of the third
white. They danced hand-in-hand beside the calm lake
in the clear moonshine. They were not elfin maidens,
but mortal children. A sweet fragrance was smelt, and
the maidens vanished in the wood; the fragrance grew
stronger—three coffins, and in them three lovely
maidens, passed out of the forest and across the lake:
the shining glow-worms flew around the little floating
lights. Do the dancing maidens sleep, or are they
dead? The odor of the flowers says they are corpses;
the evening bell tolls for the dead!'
"You make me quite sad,' said little Gerda. "I cannot
 help thinking of the dead maidens. Oh! is little Kay
really dead? The Roses have been in the earth, and
they say no."
"Ding, dong!" sounded the Hyacinth bells. "We do not
toll for litle Kay—we do not know him. That is our
way of singing, the only one we have."
And Gerda went to the Ranunculuses, that looked forth
from among the shining green leaves.
"You are a little bright sun," said Gerda. Tell me if
you know where I can find my playfellow."
And the Ranunculus shone brightly and looked again at
Gerda. What song could the Ranunculus sing? It was
one that said nothing about Kay, either.
"In a small court the bright sun was shining in the
first days of spring. The beams glided down the white
walls of a neighbor's house, and close by the fresh
yellow flowers were growing, shining like gold in the
warm sun-rays. An old grandmother was sitting in the
air; her granddaughter, the poor and lovely servant
just come for a short visit. She knows her
grandmother. There was gold, pure, virgin gold in that
blessed kiss. There, that is my little story," said
"My poor old grandmother!" sighed Gerda. "Yes, she is
longing for me, no doubt; she is sorrowing for me, as
she did for little Kay. But I will soon come home, and
then I will bring Kay with me. It is of no use asking
the flowers; they only know their own old hymns, and
can tell me nothing." And she tucked up her frock, to
enable her to run quicker; but the Narcissus gave her a
knock on the leg, just as she was going to jump over
it. So she stood still, looked at the long, yellow
flower, and asked, "You perhaps know something?" and
she bent down to the Narcissus. And what did it say?
"I can see myself—I can see myself! Oh, how odorous I
am! Up in the little garret there stands half-dressed
a little Dancer. She stands now on one leg, now on
both; she despises the whole world, yet she lives only
in imagination. She pours water out of the teapot over
a piece of stuff which she holds in her hand; it is the
bodice: cleanliness is a fine thing. The white dress
 hanging on the hook; it was washed in the teapot and
dried on the roof. She puts it on, ties a
saffron-colored kerchief round her neck, and then the
gown looks whiter. I can see myself—I can see
"That's nothing to me," said little Gerda. "That does
not concern me." And then off she ran to the farther
end of the garden.
The gate was locked, but she shook the rusted bolt till
it was loosened, and the gate opened; and little Gerda
ran off barefooted into the wide world. She looked
round her thrice, but no one followed her. At last she
could run no longer; she sat down on a large stone, and
when she looked about her she saw that summer had
passed; it was late in the autumn, but that one could
not remark in the beautiful garden, where there was
always sunshine and where there were flowers whole year
"Dear me, how long I have stayed!" said Gerda. "Autumn
is come. I must not rest any longer," And she got up
to go farther.
Oh, how tender and wearied her little feet were! All
around it looked so cold and raw; the long
willow-leaves were quite yellow, and the fog dripped
from them like water; one leaf fell after the other:
the sloes only stood full of fruit which set one's
teeth on edge. Oh, how dark and comfortless it was in
the dreary world!
The Prince and the Princess
GERDA was obliged to rest herself again when, exactly
opposite to her, a large raven came hopping over the
white snow. He had long been looking at Gerda and
shaking his head; and now he said, "Caw! caw!" Good
day! good day! He could not say it better; but he felt
a sympathy for the little girl, and asked her where she
was going all alone. The word "alone" Gerda
under-  stood quite well, and felt how much was expressed by it, so
she told the Raven her whole history and asked if he
had not seen Kay.
The Raven nodded very gravely, and said: "It may be.
It may be!"
"What! Do you really think so?" cried the little girl;
and she nearly squeezed the Raven to death, so much did
she kiss him.
"Gently, gently," said the Raven. "I think I know; I
think that it may be little Kay. But now he has
forgotten you for the Princess."
"Does he live with a princess?" asked Gerda.
"Yes. Listen," said the Raven. But it will be
difficult for me to speak your language. If you
understand the raven language I can tell you better."
"No, I have not learned it," said Gerda; "but my
grandmother understands it, and she can speak
gibberish, too. I wish I had learned it."
"No matter," said the Raven; "I will tell you as well
as I can; however, it will be bad enough." And then he
told all he knew.
"In the kingdom where we now are there lives a princess
who is extraordinarily clever, for she has read all the
newspapers in the whole world, and has forgotten them
again, so clever is she. She was lately, it is said,
sitting on her throne—which is not very amusing, after
all—when she began humming an old tune, and it was
just 'Oh, why should I not be married?' 'That song is
not without its meaning,' said she, and so then she was
determined to marry; but she would have a husband who
know to give an answer when he was spoken to, not one
who looked only as if he were a great personage, for
that is so tiresome. She then had all the ladies of
the court drummed together; and when they heard her
intention, all were well pleased, and said, 'We are
quite glad to hear it; it is the very thing we were
thinking of.' You may believe every word I say," said
the Raven, "for I have a tame sweetheart that hops
about in the palace quite free, and it was she who told
me all this.
 "The newspapers appeared for with with a border of
hearts and the initials of the Princess; and therein
you might read that every good-looking young man was at
liberty to come to the palace and speak to the
Princess; and he who spoke in such wise as showed he
felt himself at home there, that one the Princess would
choose for her husband.
"Yes, yes," said the Raven, "you may believe it; it is
as true as I am sitting here. People came in crowds;
there was a crush and a hurry, but no one was
successful on either the first or the second day. They
could all talk well enough when they were out in the
street, but as soon as they came inside the palace
gates and saw the guard richly dressed in silver, and
the lackeys in gold on the staircase, and the large
illuminated saloons, then they were abashed; and when
they stood before the throne on which the Princess was
sitting all they could do was to repeat the last word
they had uttered, and to hear it again did not interest
her very much. It was just as if the people within
were under a charm and had fallen into a trance till
they came out again into the street; for then, oh, then
they could chatter enough. There was a whole row of
them standing from the town gates to the palace. I was
there myself to look," said the Raven. "They grew
hungry and thirsty, but from the palace they got
nothing whatever, not even a glass of water. Some of
the cleverest, it is true, had taken bread and butter
with them; but none shared it with his neighbor, for
each thought, 'Let him look hungry, and then the
Princess won't have him."
"But Kay—little Kay," said Gerda; "when did he come?
Was he among the number?"
"Patience, patience; we are just come to him. It was
on the third day when a little personage without horse
or equipage came marching right boldly up to the
palace; his eyes shone like yours, he had beautiful
long hair, but his clothes were very shabby."
"That was Kay," cried Gerda, with a voice of delight.
"Oh, now I've found him!" And she clapped her hands
"He had a little knapsack at his back," said the Raven.
 "No, that was certainly his sledge," said Gerda; "for
when he went away he took his sledge with him."
"That may be," said the Raven. "I did not examine him
so minutely; but I know from my tame sweetheart that
when he came into the courtyard of the palace and saw
the bodyguard in silver, the lackeys on the staircase,
he was not the least abashed; he nodded, and said to
them, 'It must be very tiresome to stand on the stairs;
for my part, I shall go in.' The saloons were gleaming
with lusters; privy-councilors and excellencies were
walking about barefoot and wore gold keys; it was
enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable. His boots
creaked, too, so loudly; but still he was not at all
"That's Kay, for certain," said Gerda. "I know he had
on new boots; I have heard them creaking in grandmama's
"Yes, they creaked," said the Raven. "And on he went
boldy up to the Princess, who was sitting on a pearl as
large as a spinning-wheel. All the ladies of the
court, with their attendants and attendants'
attendants, and all the cavaliers, with their gentlemen
and gentlemen's gentlemen, stood round; and the nearer
they stood to the door the prouder they looked. It was
hardy possible to look at the gentleman's gentleman, so
very haughtily did he stand in the doorway."
"It must have been terrible," said little Gerda. "And
did Kay get the Princess?"
"Were I not a raven I should have taken the Princess
myself, although I am promised. It is said he spoke as
well as I speak when I talk raven language; this I
learned from my tame sweetheart. He was bold and
nicely behaved; he had not come to woo the Princess,
but only to hear her wisdom. She pleased him, and he
"Yes, yes; for certain that was Kay," said Gerda. "He
was so clever; he could reckon fractions in his head.
Oh, won't you take me to the palace?"
"That is very easily said," answered the Raven. "But
how are we to manage it? I'll speak to my tame
 it; she must advise us; for so much I
must tell you, such a little girl as you are will never
get permission to enter."
"Oh yes, I shall," said Gerda. "When Kay hears that I
am here he will come out directly to fetch me."
"Wait for me here on these steps," said the Raven. He
moved his head backward and forward and flew away.
The evening was closing in when the Raven returned.
"Caw! Caw!" said he. "She sends you her compliments;
and here is a roll for you. She took it out of the
kitchen, where there is bread enough. You are hungry,
no doubt. It is not possible for you to enter the
palace, for you are barefoot; the guards in silver and
the lackeys in gold would not allow it; but do not cry,
you shall come in still. My sweetheart knows a little
back stair that leads to the bedchamber, and she knows
where she can get the key of it."
And they went into the garden by the large avenue,
where one leaf was falling after the other; and when
the lights in the palace had all gradually disappeared
the Raven led little Gerda to the back door, which
stood half open.
Oh, how Gerda's heart beat with anxiety and longing!
It was just as if she had been about to do something
wrong, and yet she only wanted to know if little Kay
was there. Yes, he must be there. She called to mind
his intelligent eyes and his long hair so vividly, she
could quite see him as he used to laugh when they were
sitting under the roses at home. "He will, no doubt,
be glad to see you, to hear what a long way you have
come for his sake, to know how unhappy all at home were
when he did not come back."
Oh, what a fright and a joy it was!
They were now on the stairs. A single lamp was burning
there; and on the floor stood the tame Raven, turning
her head on every side and looking at Gerda, who bowed
as her grandmother had taught her to do.
"My intended has told me so much good of you, my dear
young lady," said the tame Raven. "Your tale is very
affecting. If you will take the lamp I will go before.
We will go straight on, for we shall meet no one."
 "I think there is somebody just behind us," said Gerda.
And something rushed past. It was like shadowy figures
on the wall—horses with flowing manes and thin legs,
huntsmen, ladies and gentlemen on horseback.
"They are only dreams," said the Raven. "They come to
fetch the thoughts of the high personages to the chase.
'Tis well, for now you can observe them in bed all the
better. But let me find, when you enjoy honor and
distinction, that you possess a grateful heart."
"Tut! That's not worth talking about," said the Raven
of the woods.
They now entered the first saloon, which was of
rose-colored satin, with artificial flowers on the
wall. Here the dreams were rushing past, but they
hastened by so quickly that Gerda could not see the
high personages. One hall was more magnificent than
the other; one might indeed well be abashed; and at
last they came into the bedchamber. The ceiling of the
room resembled a large palm-tree, with leaves of glass,
of costly glass; and in the middle, from a thick golden
stem, hung two beds, each of which resembled a lily.
One was white, and in the lay the Princess; the other
was red, and it was here that Gerda was to look for
little Kay. She bent back one of the read leaves and
saw a brown neck. Oh, that was Kay! She called him
quite loud by name, held the lamp toward him. The
dreams rushed back again into the chamber. He awoke,
turned his head, and — it was not little Kay!
The Prince was only like him about the neck; but he was
young and handsome. And out of the white lily leaves
the Princess peeped, too, and asked what was the
matter. Then little Gerda cried and told her her whole
story and all that the Ravens had done for her.
"Poor little thing!" said the Prince and the Princess.
They praised the Ravens very much, and told them they
were not at all angry with them, but they were not to
do so again. However, they should have a reward.
"Will you fly about here at liberty," asked the
 "or would you like to have a fixed
appointment as court Ravens, with all the broken bits
from the kitchen?"
And both the Ravens nodded, and begged for a fixed
appointment, for they thought of their old age, and
said, "It was a good thing to have a provision for
their old days."
And the Prince got up and let Gerda sleep in his bed,
and more than this he could not do. She folded her
little hands and thought, "How good men and animals
are!" And she then fell asleep and slept soundly. All
the dreams flew in again, and they now looked like the
angels; they drew a little sledge, in which little Kay
sat and nodded his head; but the whole was only a
dream, and therefore it all vanished as soon as she
The next day she was dressed from head to foot in silk
and velvet. The offered to let her stay at the palace
and lead a happy life, but she begged to have a little
carriage with a horse in front, and for a small pair of
shoes; then, she said, she would again go forth in the
wide world and look for Kay.
Shoes and a muff were given her; she was, too, dressed
very nicely, and when she was about to set off a new
carriage stopped before the door. It was of pure gold,
and the arms of the Prince and the Princess shone like
a star upon it; the coachman, the footmen, and the
outriders—were there, too—all wore golden crowns.
The Prince and the Princess assisted her into the
carriage themselves and wished her all success. The
Raven of the woods, who was now married, accompanied
her for the first three miles. He sat beside Gerda,
for he could not bear riding backward; the other Raven
stood in the doorway and flapped her wings; she could
not accompany Gerda because she suffered from a
headache, since she had had a fixed appointment and ate
so much. The carriage was lined inside with
sugarplums, and in the seats were fruits and
"Farewell! farewell!" cried the Prince and Princess;
and Gerda wept, and the Raven wept. Thus passed the
first miles; and then the Raven bade her farewell, and
this was the most painful separation of all. He flew
into a tree and beat his black wings as long as he
could see the carriage, that shone from afar like a
 THEY drove through the dark wood, but the carriage
shone like a torch, and it dazzled the eyes of the
robbers so that they could not bear to look at it.
"'Tis gold. 'Tis gold!" cried they; and the rushed
forward, seized the horses, knocked down the little
postilion, the coachman, and the servants, and pulled
little Gerda out of the carriage.
"How plump, how beautiful she is! She must have been
fed on nut-kernels," said the old female Robber, who
had a long, scrubby beard, and bushy eyebrows that hung
down over her eyes. "She is as good as a fatted lamb!"
How nice she will be!" And then she drew out a knife,
the blade of which shone so that it was quite dreadful
"Oh!" cried the woman, at the same moment. She had
been bitten in the ear by her own little daughter, who
hung at her back, and who was so wild and unmanageable
that it was quite amusing to see her. "You naughty
child!" said the mother. And now she had not time to
"She shall play with me," said the little Robber-child.
"She shall give me her muff and her pretty frock; she
shall sleep in my bed!" And the she gave her mother
another bite, so that she jumped and ran round with the
And the robbers laughed, and said, "Look how she is
dancing with the little one!"
"I will go into the carriage," said the little
Robber-maiden; and she would have her will, for she was
very spoiled and very headstrong. She and Gerda got
in, and then away they drove over the stumps of felled
trees, deeper and deeper into the woods. The little
Robber-maiden was as tall as Gerda, but stronger,
broader-shouldered, and of dark complexion; her eyes
were quite black; they looked almost melancholy. She
 little Gerda, and said: "They shall not kill
you as long as I am not displeased with you. You are
doubtless a princess?"
"No," said little Gerda, who then related all that had
happened to her and how much she cared about little
The little Robber-maiden looked at her with a serious
air, nodded her head slightly, and said, "They shall
not kill you, even if I am angry with you; then I will
do it myself." And she dried Gerda's eyes and put both
her hands in the handsome muff, which was so soft and
At length the carriage stopped. They were in the midst
of the courtyard of the robber's castle. It was full
of cracks from top to bottom; and out of the openings
magpies and rooks were flying; and the great bulldogs,
each of which looked as if he could swallow a man,
jumped up, but they did not bark, for that was
In the midst of the large, old, smoking hall burned a
great fire on the stone floor. The smoke disappeared
under the stones and had to seek its own egress. In an
immense cauldron soup was boiling, and rabbits and
hares were being roasted on a spit.
"You shall sleep with me to-night, with all my
animals," said the little Robber-maiden. They had
something to eat and drink, and then went into a
corner, where straw and carpets were lying. Beside
them, on laths and perches, sat nearly a hundred
pigeons, all asleep, seemingly, but yet they moved a
little when the Robber-maiden came. "They are all
mine," said she, at the same time seizing one that was
next her by the legs and shaking it so that its wings
fluttered. "Kiss it!" cried the little girl, and flung
the pigeon in Gerda's face. "Up there is the rabble of
the wood," continued she, pointing to several laths
which were fastened before a hole high up in the wall;
"that's the rabble; they would all fly away immediately
if they were not well fastened in. And here is my dear
old Bac." And she laid hold of the horns of a reindeer
that had a bright copper ring round its neck and was
tethered to the spot. "We are obliged to lock this
fellow in, too, or he would make his escape. Every
evening I tickle his neck with my sharp knife; he is so
 at it!" And the little girl drew forth a
long knife from a crack in the wall and let it glide
over the reindeer's neck. The poor animal kicked; the
girl laughed, and pulled Gerda into bed with her.
"Do you intend to keep your knife while you sleep?"
asked Gerda, looking at it rather fearfully.
"I always sleep with the knife," said the little
Robber-maiden; "there is no knowing what may happen.
But tell me now, once more, all about little Kay, and
why you have started off in the wide, world alone."
And Gerda related all, from the very beginning. The
Wood-pigeons cooed above in their cage, and the others
slept. The little Robber-maiden wound her arm round
Gerda's neck, held the knife in the other hand, and
snored so loudly that everybody could her, but Gerda
could not close her eyes, for she did not know whether
she was to live or die. The robbers sat round the
fire, sang and drank; and the old female robber jumped
about so that it was dreadful for Gerda to see her.
Then the wood-pigeons said: "Coo! coo! We have seen
little Kay! A white hen carries his sledge; he himself
sat in the carriage of the Snow-queen, who passed here,
down just over the wood, as we lay in our nest. She
blew upon us young ones, and all died except we two.
"What is that you say up there?" cried little Gerda.
"Where did the Snow-queen go to? Do you know anything
"She is no doubt gone to Lapland, for there are always
snow and ice there. Only ask the Reindeer who is
"Aye, ice and snow indeed! There it is glorious and
beautiful!" said the Reindeer. "One can spring about
in the large, shining valleys! The Snow-queen has her
summer tent there, but her fixed abode is high up
toward the north pole, on the island called
"Oh, Kay! Poor little Kay!" sighed Gerda.
"Do you choose to be quiet?" said the Robber-maiden.
"If you don't I shall make you."
In the morning Gerda told her all that the wood-pigeons
 said, and the little maiden looked very serious,
but she nodded her head and said: "That's no
matter—that's no matter. Do you know where Lapland
lies?" asked she of the Reindeer.
"Who should know better than I?" said the animal; and
his eyes rolled in his head. "I was born and bred
there; there I leaped about on the fields of snow."
"Listen," said the Robber-maiden to Gerda. "You see
that the men are gone; but my mother is still here and
will remain. However, toward morning she takes a
draught out of the large flask, and then she sleeps a
little; then I will do something for you." She now
jumped out of bed, flew to her mother, with her arms
round her neck, and, pulling her by the beard, said,
"Good-morrow, my own sweet nanny-goat of a mother."
And her mother took hold of her nose and pinched it
till it was red and blue; but this was all done out of
When the mother had taken a sup at her flask and was
having a nap the little Robber-maiden went to the
Reindeer and said: "I should very much like to give you
still many a tickling with the sharp knife, for then
you are so amusing; however, I will tether you and help
you out, so that you may get back to Lapland. But you
must make good use of your legs, and take this little
girl for me to the palace of the Snow-queen, where her
playfellow is. You have heard, I suppose, all she
said, for she spoke loud enough, and you were
The Reindeer gave a bound for joy. The Robber-maiden
lifted up little Gerda, and took precaution to bind her
fast on the Reindeer's back; she even gave her a small
cushion to sit on. "Here are your worsted leggings,
for it will be cold; but the muff I shall keep for
myself, for it is so pretty. But I do not wish you to
be cold. Here is a pair of lined gloves of my
mother's; they just reach up to your elbow. On with
them! Now you look about the hands just like my ugly
And Gerda wept for joy.
"I can't bear to see you fretting," said the little
Robber-maiden. 'This is just the time when you ought
to keep pleased. Here are two loaves and a ham for
you, so that you won't starve."
 The bread and the meat were fastened to the Reindeer's
back; the little maiden opened the door, called all the
dogs, and then with her knife cut the rope that
fastened the animal, and said to him, "No off with you;
but take good care of the little girl!"
And Gerda stretched out her hands with the large wadded
gloves toward the Robber-maiden, and said, "Farewell!"
and the Reindeer flew on over bush and bramble, through
the great wood, over moor and heath, as fast as he
"Ddsa! ddsa!" was heard in the sky. It was just as if
somebody was sneezing.
"These are my old northern lights," said the Reindeer;
"look how they gleam!" And on he now sped still
quicker; day and night on he went. The loaves were
consumed, and the ham, too; and now they were in
The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman
SUDDENLY they stopped before a little house which
looked very miserable; the roof reached to the ground,
and the door was so low that the family were obliged to
creep upon their stomachs when they went in or out.
Nobody was at home except an old Lapland woman, who was
dressing fish by the light of an oil-lamp. And the
Reindeer told her the whole of Gerda's history, but
first of all his own, for that seemed to him of much
greater importance. Gerda was so chilled that she
could not speak.
"Poor thing!" Said the Lapland woman, "you have far to
run still. You have more than a hundred miles to go
before you get to Finland; there the Snow-queen has her
country-house and burns blue lights every evening. I
will give you a few words from me, which I will write
on a dried haberdine, for paper I have none; this you
can take with you to the Finland woman, and she will be
able to give you more information than I can."
When Gerda had warmed herself, and had eaten and drunk,
the Lapland woman wrote a few words on a dried
 Gerda to take care of them, put her
on the Reindeer, bound her fast, and away sprang the
animal. "Ddsa! ddsa!" Was again heard in the air;
the most charming blue lights burned the whole night in
the sky, and at last they came to Finland. They
knocked at the chimney of the Finland woman—for as to a
door, she had none.
There was such a heat inside that the Finland woman
herself went about almost naked. She was diminutive
and dirty. She immediately loosened little Gerda's
clothes, pulled off her thick gloves and boots, for
otherwise the heat would have been too great, and after
laying a piece of ice on the Reindeer's head read what
was written on the fish-skin. She read it three times;
she then knew it by heart, so she put the fish into the
cupboard, for it might very well be eaten, and she
never threw anything away.
Then the Reindeer related his own story first, and
afterward that of little Gerda; and the Finland woman
wined her eyes, but said nothing.
"You are so clever," said the Reindeer; "you can, I
know, twist all the winds of the world together in a
knot. If the seaman loosens one knot, then he has a
good wind; if a second, then it blows pretty stiffly;
if he undoes the third and fourth, then it rages so
that the forests are upturned. Will you give the
little maiden a potion, that she may possess the
strength of twelve men and vanquish the Snow-queen?"
"The strength of twelve men!" said the Finland woman;
"much good that would be!" Then she went to a cupboard
and drew out a large skin rolled up. When she had
unrolled it, strange characters were t o be seen
written thereon, and the Finland woman read at such a
rate that the perspiration trickled down her forehead.
But the Reindeer begged so hard for little Gerda, and
Gerda looked so imploringly with tearful eyes at the
Finland woman, that she winked and drew the Reindeer
aside into a corner, where they whispered together,
while the animal got some fresh ice put on his head.
" 'Tis true little Kay is at the Snow-queen's and finds
every-  thing there quite to his taste, and he thinks it
the very best place in the world, but the reason of
that is he has a splinter of glass in his eye and in
his heart. These must be got out first, otherwise he
will never go back to mankind, and the Snow-queen will
retain her power over him."
"But can you give little Gerda nothing to take which
will endue her with power over the whole?"
"I can give her no more power than what she has
already. Don't you see how great it is? Don't you see
how men and animals are forced to serve her; how well
she gets through the world barefooted? She must not
hear of her power from us; that power lies in her
heart, because she is a sweet and innocent child. If
she cannot get to the snow-queen by herself and rid
little Kay of the glass, we cannot help her. Two miles
hence the garden of the Snow-queen begins; thither you
may carry the little girl. Set her down by the large
bush with red berries, standing in the snow; don't stay
talking, but hasten back as fast as possible." And now
the Finland woman placed little Gerda on the Reindeer's
back, and off he ran with all imaginable speed.
"Oh, I have not got my boots! I have not brought my
gloves!" cried little Gerda. She remarked she was
without them from the cutting frost, but the Reindeer
dared not stand still. On he ran till he came to the
great bush with the red berried, and there he set Gerda
down, kissed her mouth, while large, bright tears
flowed from the animal's eyes, and then back he went as
fast as possible. There stood poor Gerda now, without
shoes or gloves, in the very middle of dreadful, icy
She ran on as fast as she could. There then came a
whole regiment of snowflakes, but they did not fall
from above, and they were quite bright and shining from
the aurora borealis. The flakes ran along the ground,
and the nearer they came the larger they grew. Gerda
well remembered how large and strange the snowflakes
appeared when she once saw them through a
magnifying-glass; but now they were large and terrific
in another manner—they were all alive. They were the
outposts of the Snow-queen. They had the most wondrous
shapes; some looked
 like large ugly porcupines; others
like snakes knotted together, with their heads sticking
out; and others again like small fat bears, with the
hair standing on end; all were of dazzling
whiteness—all were living snowflakes.
Little Gerda repeated the Lord's Prayer. The cold was
so intense that she could see her own breath, which
came like smoke out of her mouth. It grew thicker and
thicker, and took the form of little angels that grew
more and more when they touched the earth. All had
helms on their heads, and lances and shields in their
hands; they increased in numbers, and when Gerda had
finished the Lord's Prayer she was surrounded by a
whole legion. They thrust at the horrid snowflakes
with their spears, so that they flew into a thousand
pieces, and little Gerda walked on bravely and in
security. The angels patter her hands and feet, and
then she felt the cold less and went on quickly toward
the palace of the Snow-queen.
But now we shall see how Kay fared. He never thought
of Gerda, and least of all that she was standing before
What Took Place in the Palace of the Snow-Queen,
and What Happened Afterward
THE walls of the palace were of driving snow, and the
windows and doors of cutting winds. There were more
than a hundred halls there, according as the snow was
driven by the winds. The largest was many miles in
extent; all were lighted up by the powerful aurora
borealis, and all were so large, so empty, so icy cold,
and so resplendent! Mirth never reigned there; there
was never even a little bear-ball, with the storm for
music, while the polar bears went on their hind legs
and showed off their steps. Never a little tea-party
of white young lady foxes; vast, cold, and empty were
the halls of the Snow-queen. The northern lights shone
with such precision that one could tell exactly when
they were at their highest or lowest degree of
brightness. In the
 middle of the empty, endless hall
of snow was a frozen lake; it was cracked in a thousand
pieces, but each piece was so like the other that it
seemed the work of a cunning artificer. In the middle
of this lake sat the Snow-queen when she was at home;
and then she said she was sitting in the Mirror of
Understanding, and that this was the only one and the
best thing in the world.
Little Kay was quite blue—yes, nearly black—with cold,
but he did not observe it, for she had kissed away all
feeling of cold from his body, and his heart was a lump
of ice. He was dragging along some pointed flat pieces
of ice which he laid together in possible ways, for he
wanted to make something with them, just as we have
little flat pieces of wood to make geometrical figures
with, called the Chinese Puzzle. Kay made all sorts of
figures, t he most complicated, for it was an
ice-puzzle for the understanding. In his eyes the
figures were extraordinarily beautiful and of the
utmost importance, for the bit of glass which was in
his eye caused this. He found whole figures which
represented a written word, but he never could manage
to represent just the word he wanted—that word was
"Eternity"; and the Snow-queen had said, "If you can
discover that figure you shall be your own master, and
I will make you a present of the whole world and a pair
of new skates." But he could not find it out.
"I am going now to the warm lands," said the
Snow-queen. "I must have a look down into the black
cauldrons." It was the volcanoes Vesuvius and Etna
that she meant. "I will just give them a coating of
white, for that is as it ought to be; besides, it is
good for the oranges and the grapes." And then away
she flew; and Kay sat quite alone in the empty halls of
ice that were miles long, and looked at the blocks of
ice, and thought and thought till his skull was almost
cracked. There he sat quite benumbed and motionless;
one would have imagined he was frozen to death.
Suddenly little Gerda stepped through the great portal
into the palace. The gate was formed of cutting winds;
but Gerda repeated her evening prayer, and the winds
were laid as though they slept, and the little maiden
entered the fast, empty, cold
 halls. There she beheld
Kay. She recognized him, flew to embrace him, and
cried out, her arms firmly holding him the while, "Kay,
sweet little Kay!" Have I then found you at last?"
But he sat quite still, benumbed and cold. Then little
Gerda shed burning tears, and they fell on his bosom,
they penetrated to his heart, they thawed the lumps of
ice, and consumed the splinters of the looking-glass;
he looked at her, and she sang the hymn:
The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet,
The Child Jesus is there the children to greet.
Hereupon Kay burst into tears; he wept so much that the
splinter rolled out of his eye, and he recognized her
and shouted: "Gerda, sweet little Gerda! Where have
you been so long? And where have I been?" He looked
round him. "How cold it is here!" said he. "How empty
and cold!" And he held fast by Gerda, who laughed and
wept for joy. It was so beautiful that even the blocks
of ice danced about for joy, and when they were tired
and laid themselves down they formed exactly the
letters which the Snow-queen had told him to find out;
so now he was his own master, and he would have the
whole world and a pair of new skates into the bargain.
Gerda kissed his cheeks, and they grew quite blooming;
she kissed his eyes, and they shone like her own; she
kissed his hands and feet, and he was again well and
merry. The Snow-queen might come back as soon as she
liked; there stood his discharge written in resplendent
masses of ice.
They took each other by the hand and wandered forth out
of the large hall; hey talked of their old grandmother
and of the roses upon the roof, and wherever they went
the winds ceased raging and the sun burst forth. And
when they reached the bush with the red berries they
found the Reindeer waiting for them. He had brought
another, a young one, with him, whose udder was filled
with milk, which he gave to the little ones, and kissed
their lips. They then carried Kay and Gerda first to
the Finland woman, where they warmed themselves in the
warm room and
 learned what they were to do on their
journey home; and then they went to the Lapland woman,
who made some new clothes for them and repaired their
The Reindeer and the young hind leaped along beside
them and accompanied them to the boundary of the
country. Here the first vegetation peeped forth; here
Kay and Gerda took leave of the Lapland woman.
"Farewell! farewell!" said they all. And the first
green buds appeared, the first little birds began to
chirrup, and out of the wood came, riding on a
magnificent horse which Gerda knew (it was one of the
leaders in the golden carriage), a young damsel with a
bright-red cap on her head and armed with pistols. It
was the little Robber-maiden, who, tired of being at
home, had determined to make a journey to the north,
and afterward in another direction if that did not
please her. She recognized Gerda immediately; and
Gerda knew her, too. It was a joyful meeting.
"You are a fine fellow for tramping about," said she to
little Kay; "I should like to know, faith, if you
deserve that one should run from one end of the world
to the other for your sake!"
But Gerda patted her cheeks and inquired for the Prince
and the Princess.
"They are gone abroad," said the other.
"But the Raven?" asked little Gerda.
"Oh, the Raven is dead," answered she. "His tame
sweetheart is a widow, and wears a bit of black worsted
round her leg; she laments most piteously, but it's all
mere talk and stuff! Now tell me what you've been
doing and how you managed to catch him."
And Gerda and Kay both told her their story.
And "Schnipp-schnapp-schnurre-basselurre," said the
Robber-maiden, and she took the hands of each, and
promised that if she should some day pass through the
town where they lived she would come and visit them,
and then away she rode. Kay and Gerda took each
other's hand. It was lovely spring weather, with
abundance of flowers and of verdure. The church-bells
rang, and the children recognized the high towers, and
 town; it was that in which they dwelt. They
entered, and hastened up to their grandmother's room,
where everything was standing as formerly. The clock
said, "Tick! tack!" and the finger moved round, but as
they entered they remarked that they were now grown up.
The roses on the leads hung blooming in at the open
window; there stood the little children' chairs, and
Kay and Gerda sat down on them, holding each other by
the hand; they both had forgotten the cold, empty
splendor of the Snow-queen as though it had been a
dream. The grandmother sat in the bright sunshine and
read aloud from the Bible, "Unless ye become as little
children ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."
And Kay and Gerda looked in each other's eyes, and all
at once they understood the old hymn:
The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet,
The Child Jesus is there the children to greet.
There sat the two grown-up persons; grown-up, and yet
children, children at least in heart. And it was
summer-time, summer, glorious summer!
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