The Snow Man by Hans Christian Andersen
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It is so delightfully cold,'' said the Snow Man, ``that it makes my
whole body crackle. This is just the kind of wind to blow life into
one. How that great red thing up there is staring at me!'' He meant the
sun, who was just setting. ``It shall not make me wink. I shall
manage to keep the pieces.''
He had two triangular pieces of tile in his head, instead of eyes; his mouth was made of an old broken rake, and was, of course, furnished with teeth. He had been brought into existence amidst the joyous shouts of boys, the jingling of sleigh-
``There it comes again, from the other side,'' said the Snow Man, who supposed the sun was showing himself once more. ``Ah, I have cured him of staring, though; now he may hang up there, and shine, that I may see myself. If I only knew how to manage to move away from this place,--
``Away, away,'' barked the old yard-
``I don't understand you, comrade,'' said the Snow Man. ``Is that thing up yonder to teach me to run? I saw it running itself a little while ago, and now it has come creeping up from the other side.''
``You know nothing at all,'' replied the yard-
``I don't understand him,'' said the Snow Man to himself; ``but I have a feeling that he is talking of something very disagreeable. The one who stared so just now, and whom he calls the sun, is not my friend; I can feel that too.''
``Away, away,'' barked the yard-
There was really a change in the weather. Towards morning, a thick fog covered the whole country round, and a keen wind arose, so that the cold seemed to freeze one's bones; but when the sun rose, the sight was splendid. Trees and bushes were covered with hoar frost, and looked like a forest of white coral; while on every twig glittered frozen dew-
``This is really beautiful,'' said a young girl, who had come into the garden with a young man; and they both stood still near the Snow Man, and contemplated the glittering scene. ``Summer cannot show a more beautiful sight,'' she exclaimed, while her eyes sparkled.
``And we can't have such a fellow as this in the summer time,'' replied the young man, pointing to the Snow Man; ``he is capital.''
The girl laughed, and nodded at the Snow Man, and then tripped away over the snow with her friend. The snow creaked and crackled beneath her feet, as if she had been treading on starch.
``Who are these two?'' asked the Snow Man of the yard-
``Of course I know them,'' replied the yard-
``But what are they?'' asked the Snow Man.
``They are lovers,'' he replied; ``they will go and live in the same kennel by-
``Are they the same kind of beings as you and I?'' asked the Snow Man.
``Well, they belong to the same master,'' retorted the yard-
``The cold is delightful,'' said the Snow Man; ``but do tell me tell me; only you must not clank your chain so; for it jars all through me when you do that.''
``Away, away!'' barked the yard-
``Does a stove look beautiful?'' asked the Snow Man, ``is it at all like me?''
``It is just the reverse of you,'' said the dog; ``it's as black as a crow, and has a long neck and a brass knob; it eats firewood, so that fire spurts out of its mouth. We should keep on one side, or under it, to be comfortable. You can see it through the window, from where you stand.''
Then the Snow Man looked, and saw a bright polished thing with a brazen knob, and fire gleaming from the lower part of it. The Snow Man felt quite a strange sensation come over him; it was very odd, he knew not what it meant, and he could not account for it. But there are people who are not men of snow, who understand what it is. ``And why did you leave her?'' asked the Snow Man, for it seemed to him that the stove must be of the female sex. ``How could you give up such a comfortable place?''
``I was obliged,'' replied the yard-
But the Snow Man was no longer listening. He was looking into the housekeeper's room on the lower storey; where the stove stood on its four iron legs, looking about the same size as the Snow Man himself. ``What a strange crackling I feel within me,'' he said. ``Shall I ever get in there? It is an innocent wish, and innocent wishes are sure to be fulfilled. I must go in there and lean against her, even if I have to break the window.''
``You must never go in there,'' said the yard-
``I might as well go,'' said the Snow Man, ``for I think I am breaking up as it is.''
During the whole day the Snow Man stood looking in through the window, and in the twilight hour the room became still more inviting, for from the stove came a gentle glow, not like the sun or the moon; no, only the bright light which gleams from a stove when it has been well fed. When the door of the stove was opened, the flames darted out of its mouth; this is customary with all stoves. The light of the flames fell directly on the face and breast of the Snow Man with a ruddy gleam. ``I can endure it no longer,'' said he; ``how beautiful it looks when it stretches out its tongue?''
The night was long, but did not appear so to the Snow Man, who stood there enjoying his own reflections, and crackling with the cold. In the morning, the window-
``That is terrible disease for a Snow Man,'' said the yard-
``Come from your fragrant home, green thyme;
And nobody thought any more of the Snow Man.
Stretch your soft branches, willow-
The months are bringing the sweet spring-
When the lark in the sky sings joyfully.
Come gentle sun, while the cuckoo sings,
And I'll mock his note in my wanderings.''
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