The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1845, was one of his longest stories. It was written as seven continuous stories. Scholars, critics and readers agreed it was also one of his best.
Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark in 1805. At a young age it was apparent that he had great intelligence and imagination, which his parents encouraged. He had a passion for literature and maintained this throughout his life, becoming one of the world's best known and appreciated authors of fairy tales, plays and verse.
In The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen focused on the struggle between good and evil which his characters, Kai and Gerda, were to experience. Kai falls victim to the hobgoblin that tries to destroy the good in the world by distorting all that was good through a mirror of his creation. Gerda is the heroine of the story and eventually saves Kai. Here then is the first story of The Snow Queen which introduces the hobgoblin and his evil intent:
Which Describes a Looking Glass and the Broken Fragments.
You must attend to the commencement of this story, for when we get to the end we shall know more than we do now about a very wicked hobgoblin. He was one of the very worst, for he was a real demon. One day, when he was in a merry mood, he made a looking-glass which had the power of making everything good or beautiful that was reflected in it almost shrink to nothing, while everything that was worthless and bad looked increased in size and worse than ever.
The most lovely landscapes appeared like boiled spinach, and the people became hideous, and looked as if they stood on their heads and had no bodies. Their countenances were so distorted that no one could recognize them, and even one freckle on the face appeared to spread over the whole of the nose and mouth. The demon said this was very amusing.
When a good or pious thought passed through the mind of any one it was misrepresented in the glass, and then how the demon laughed at his cunning invention. All who went to the demonís school, for he kept a school, talked everywhere of the wonders they had seen, and declared that people could now, for the first time, see what the world and mankind were really like. They carried the glass about everywhere, till at last there was not a land nor a people who had not been looked at through this distorted mirror.
They wanted even to fly with it up to heaven to see the angels, but the higher they flew the more slippery the glass became, and they could scarcely hold it, till at last it slipped from their hands, fell to the earth, and was broken into millions of pieces. But now the looking-glass caused more unhappiness than ever, for some of the fragments were not so large as a grain of sand, and they flew about the world into every country.
When one of these tiny atoms flew into a personís eye, it stuck there unknown to him, and from that moment he saw everything through a distorted medium, or could see only the worst side of what he looked at, for even the smallest fragment retained the same power which had belonged to the whole mirror. Some few persons even got a fragment of the looking-glass in their hearts, and this was very terrible, for their hearts became cold like a lump of ice. A few of the pieces were so large that they could be used as window-panes; it would have been a sad thing to look at our friends through them. Other pieces were made into spectacles. This was dreadful for those who wore them, for they could see nothing either rightly or justly. At all this the wicked demon laughed till his sides shook. It tickled him so to see the mischief he had done. There were still a number of these little fragments of glass floating about in the air, and now you shall hear what happened with one of them.
To read the full story and other tales by Hans Christian Anderon, check out the links below at Amazon
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