Leading up to Christmas there were many articles and mentions of stories and novels set during the winter, especially leading up to the season of good cheer. Dickens, Agatha Christie, Dylan Thomas, Stella Gibbons, A.A. Milne, there were mention of so many, but I didn’t see anywhere a story which made a great impression on my when I was a child, and strangely, still lingers in the corner of my brain – The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson in 1844. In the original Danish it is Snedronningen, and I think I first heard it read on the radio. It enchanted and scared me, it was so easy to imagine the two little children Kay and Gerda, and the broken mirror and the speck of broken mirror or was it ice which was caught in Kay’s eye, or was it his heart? The story has been retold in film, theatre, ballet and in many different ways, the battle between good and evil, and evil always appears more attractive in these sort of stories. The White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ must surely have been influenced by Anderson’s beautiful but evil Snow Queen.
Here is a small except from The Snow Queen:
One evening when little Kay was at home and half undressed, he crept up onto the chair by the
window and looked out of the small hole; a few snowflakes were drifting down, and one of these, the
largest of them, came to lie on the edge of one of the flower-boxes; the snowflake grew and grew, and
finally it turned into a whole woman, dressed in the finest, white gauze that was made up of millions of
starlike flakes. She was very fine and beautiful, but made of ice, of blinding, twinkling ice, and yet she
was alive; her eyes stared like two bright stars, although there was no calmness or rest in them. She
nodded at the window and waved with her hand. The little boy took fright and jumped down from the
chair, it was as if a large bird flew past the window.
Even now, it strikes me as very creepy!