from a realm of Ice
Beautiful as an ice crystal, the fairy called the
Snow Queen was much loved by Danish children
but dangerous to those whose love she returned.
An old tale tells how this was so.
Once, on a cold winter's day in a northern city, a small
boy sat in his little attic room watching the snowflakes
blow against the windowpane. A particularly large and
lacy flake stuck to the glass and caught his eye. It glittered
and spread across the pane until it took the shape of a
tall woman hovering in the winter air. Smiling radiantly,
she beckoned to the boy through the glass, then
disappeared. Entranced, he ran down the stairs and out
into the street. There he found the Snow Queen - for it
was she - awaiting him in a white sledge drawn by white
horses. She gave him her hand, and he climbed into the
sledge among the snowy furs that filled it. At once the
sledge began to move, tearing through the winter streets
and climbing into the air.
Over ditches and hedgrows they flew, with the snow driving
in their faces. As they soared, the Queen put her icy lips to
the little boy's forehead, and he felt a chill that pierced to his
heart. But the fairy only smiled and urged the horses on. At
last the wild ride ended at the fairy's winter palace, set on a
plain of ice in Lapland.
The boy might have remained forever as the shivering inmate
of the Snow Queen's palace. But in Denmark he had a friend
who loved him dearly, a little girl who all alone searched the
wide world until she found him. Her adventures are the stuff
of another tale. What matters is that, invincible in her fidelity,
she rescued her companion and returned him to the gentling
sun. As for the Snow Queen, alone in her wind-swept, frozen
halls, she wept icy tears and waited for the chance to find