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白雪皇后的童话故事

发布时间:2018-12-14     文章来源:翔之梦故事百科     推荐人数:

白雪皇后的故事简介

这个童话故事分为七个独立的小故事,每个小故事都很有趣。

白雪皇后的故事

第一个故事 关于一面镜子和它的碎片

请注意!现在我们要开始讲了。当我们听到这故事的结尾的时候,我们就会知道比现在还要多的事情,因为他是一个很坏的小鬼。他是一个最坏的家伙,因为他是魔鬼。有一天他非常高兴,因为他制造出了一面镜子。这镜子有一个特点:那就是,一切好的和美的东西,在里面一照,就缩作一团,变成乌有;但是,一些没有价值和丑陋的东西都会显得突出,而且看起来比原形还要糟。最美丽的风景在这镜子里就会像煮烂了的菠菜;最好的人不是现出使人憎恶的样子,就是头朝下,脚朝上,没有身躯,面孔变形,认不出来。如果你有一个雀斑,你不用怀疑,它可以扩大到盖满你的鼻子和嘴。

魔鬼说:这真够有趣。当一个虔诚和善良的思想在一个人的心里出现的时候,它就在这镜子里表现为一个露齿的怪笑。于是魔鬼对于他这巧妙的发明就发出得意的笑声来。那些进过魔鬼学校的人——因为他开办一个学校——走到哪里就宣传到哪里,说是现在有一个什么奇迹发生了。他们说,人们第一次可以看到世界和人类的本来面目。他们拿着这面镜子到处乱跑,弄得没有一个国家或民族没有在里面被歪曲过。现在他们居然想飞到天上去,去讥笑一下安琪儿或“我们的上帝”。这镜子和他们越飞得高,它就越露出些怪笑。他们几乎拿不住它。他们越飞越高,飞近上帝和安琪儿;于是镜子和它的怪笑开始可怕地抖起来,弄得它从他们的手中落到地上,跌成几亿,几千亿以及无数的碎片。这样,镜子就做出比以前还要更不幸的事情来,因为有许多碎片比沙粒还要小。它们在世界上乱飞,只要飞到人们的眼睛里去,便贴在那儿不动。这些人看起什么东西来都不对头,或者只看到事物的坏的一面,因为每块小小的碎片仍然具有整个镜子的魔力。有的人甚至心里都藏有这样一块碎片,结果不幸得很,这颗心就变成了冰块。

有些碎片很大,足够做窗子上的玻璃,不过要透过这样的玻璃去看自己的朋友却不恰当。有些碎片被做成了眼镜。如果人们想戴上这样的眼镜去正确地看东西或公正地判断事物,那也是不对头的。这会引起魔鬼大笑,把肚子都笑痛了,因为他对这样的事情感到很痛快。不过外边还有几块碎片在空中乱飞。现在我们听听吧!

第二个故事 一个小男孩和一个小女孩

在一个大城市里,房子和居民是那么多,空间是那么少,人们连一个小花园都没有。结果大多数的人只好满足于花盆里种的几朵花了。这儿住着两个穷苦的孩子,他们有一个比花盆略为大一点的花园。他们并不是兄妹,不过彼此非常亲爱,就好像兄妹一样。他们各人的父母住在面对面的两个阁楼里。两家的屋顶差不多要碰到一起;两个屋檐下面有一个水笕;每间屋子都开着一个小窗。人们只要越过水笕就可以从这个窗子钻到那个窗子里去。

两家的父母各有一个大匣子,里面长着一棵小玫瑰和他们所需用的菜蔬。两个匣子里的玫瑰都长得非常好看。现在这两对父母把匣子横放在水笕上,匣子的两端几乎抵着两边的窗子,好像两道开满了花的堤岸。豌豆藤悬在匣子上,玫瑰伸出长长的枝子。它们在窗子上盘着,又互相缠绕着,几乎像一个绿叶和花朵织成的凯旋门。因为匣子放得很高,孩子们都知道他们不能随便爬到上面去,不过有时他们得到许可爬上去,两人走到一起,在玫瑰花下坐在小凳子上。他们可以在这儿玩个痛快。

这种消遣到冬天就完了。窗子上常常结满了冰。可是这时他们就在炉子上热一个铜板,把它贴在窗玻璃上,溶出一个小小的、圆圆的窥孔来!每个窗子的窥孔后面有一个美丽的、温和的眼珠在偷望。这就是那个小男孩和那个小女孩。男孩的名字叫加伊;女孩叫格尔达。

在夏天,他们只需一跳就可以来到一起;不过在冬天,得先走下一大段梯子,然后又爬上一大段梯子。外面在飞着雪花。

“那是白色的蜜蜂在集合。”年老的祖母说。

“它们也有一个蜂后吗?”那个小男孩子问。因为他知道,真正的蜜蜂群中都有一个蜂后。

“是的,它们有一个!”祖母说,“凡是蜜蜂最密集的地方,她就会飞来的。她是最大的一个蜜蜂。她从来不在这世界上安安静静地活着;她一会儿就飞到浓密的蜂群中去了。她常常在冬夜飞过城市的街道,朝窗子里面望。窗子上结着奇奇怪怪的冰块,好像开着花朵似的。”

“是的,这个我已经看到过!”两个孩子齐声说。他们知道这是真的。

“雪后能走进这儿来吗?”小女孩子问。

“只要你让她进来,”男孩子说,“我就要请她坐在温暖的炉子上,那么她就会融化成水了。”

不过老祖母把他的头发理了一下,又讲些别的故事。

晚间,当小小的加伊在家里、衣服脱了一半的时候,他就爬到窗旁的椅子上去,从那个小窥孔朝外望。有好几片雪花在外面徐徐地落下来,它们中间最大的一片落在花匣子的边上。这朵雪花越长越大,最后变成了一个女人。她披着最细的、像无数颗星星一样的雪花织成的白纱。她非常美丽和娇嫩,不过她是冰块——发着亮光的、闪耀着的冰块——所形成的。然而她是有生命的:她的眼睛发着光,像两颗明亮的星星;不过她的眼睛里没有和平,也没有安静。她对着加伊点头和招手。这个小男孩害怕起来。他跳下椅子,觉得窗子外面好像有一只巨鸟在飞过去似的。

第二天下了一场寒霜……接着就是解冻……春天到来了。太阳照耀着,绿芽冒出来,燕子筑起巢,窗子开了,小孩子们又高高地坐在楼顶水笕上的小花园里。

玫瑰花在这个夏天开得真是分外美丽!小女孩念熟了一首圣诗,那里就提到玫瑰花。谈起玫瑰花,她就不禁想起了自己的花儿。于是她就对小男孩子唱出这首圣诗,同时他也唱起来:

山谷里玫瑰花长得丰茂,

那儿我们遇见圣婴耶稣。

这两个小家伙手挽着手,吻着玫瑰花,望着上帝的光耀的太阳,对它讲话,好像圣婴耶稣就在那儿似的。这是多么晴朗的夏天啊!在外面,在那些玫瑰花丛之间,一切是多么美丽啊——这些玫瑰花好像永远开不尽似的!

加伊和格尔达坐着看绘有鸟儿和动物的画册。这时那个大教堂塔上的钟恰恰敲了五下。于是加伊说:

“啊!有件东西刺着我的心!有件东西落进我的眼睛里去了!”

小女孩搂着他的脖子。他眨着眼睛。不,他什么东西也没有看见。

“我想没有什么了!”他说。但事实并不是这样。落下来的正是从那个镜子上裂下来的一块玻璃碎片。我们还记得很清楚,那是一面魔镜,一块丑恶的玻璃。它把所有伟大和善良的东西都照得藐小和可憎,但是却把所有鄙俗和罪恶的东西映得突出,同时把每一件东西的缺点弄得大家注意起来。可怜的小加伊的心里也粘上了这么一块碎片,而他的心也就立刻变得像冰块。他并不感到不愉快,但碎片却藏在他的心里。

“你为什么要哭呢?”他问。“这把你的样子弄得真难看!我一点也不喜欢这个样子。呸!”他忽然叫了一声:“那朵玫瑰花被虫吃掉了!你看,这一朵也长歪了!它们的确是一些丑玫瑰!它们真像栽着它们的那个匣子!”

于是他把这匣子狠狠地踢了一脚,把那两棵玫瑰花全拔掉了。

“加伊,你在干嘛?”小女孩叫起来。

他一看到她惊惶的样子,马上又拔掉了另一棵玫瑰。于是他跳进他的窗子里去,让温柔的小格尔达待在外边。

当她后来拿着画册跟着走进来的时候,他说这本书只配给吃奶的小孩子看。当祖母在讲故事的时候,他总是插进去一个“但是……”,当他一有机会的时候,就偷偷地跟在她的后面,戴着一副老花镜,学着她的模样讲话:他学得很巧妙,弄得大家都对他笑起来。不久他就学会了模仿街上行人的谈话和走路。凡是人们身上的古怪和丑恶的东西,加伊都会模仿。大家都说:“这个孩子,他的头脑一定很特别!”然而这全是因为他眼睛里藏着一块玻璃碎片,心里也藏着一块玻璃碎片的缘故。他甚至于还讥笑起小小的格尔达来——这位全心全意爱他的格尔达。

他的游戏显然跟以前有些不同了,他玩得比以前聪明得多。在一个冬天的日子里,当雪花正在飞舞的时候,他拿着一面放大镜走出来,提起他的蓝色上衣的下摆,让雪花落到它上面。

“格尔达,你来看看这面镜子吧!”他说。

每一片雪花被放大了,像一朵美丽的花儿,或一颗有六个尖角的星星。这真是非常美妙。

“你看,这是多么巧妙啊!”加伊说,“这比真正的花儿要有趣得多:它里面一点毛病也没有——只要它们不融解,是非常整齐的。”

不一会儿,加伊戴着厚手套,背着一个雪橇走过来。他对着格尔达的耳朵叫着说:“我匣子得到了许可到广场那儿去——许多别的孩子都在那儿玩耍。”于是他就走了。

在广场上,那些最大胆的孩子常常把他们的雪橇系在乡下人的马车后边,然后坐在雪橇上跑好长一段路。他们跑得非常高兴。当他们正在玩耍的时候,有一架大雪橇滑过来了。它漆得雪白,上面坐着一个人,身穿厚毛的白皮袍,头戴厚毛的白帽子。这雪橇绕着广场滑了两圈。于是加伊连忙把自己的雪橇系在它上面,跟着它一起滑。它越滑越快,一直滑到邻近的一条街上去。滑着雪橇的那人掉过头来,和善地对加伊点了点头。他们好像是彼此认识似的。每一次当加伊想解开自己的小雪橇的时候,这个人就又跟他点点头;于是加伊就又坐下来了。这么着,他们一直滑出城门。这时雪花在密密地下着,这孩子伸手不见五指,然而他还是在向前滑。他现在急速地松开绳子,想从那个大雪橇摆脱开来。但是一点用也没有,他的小雪橇系得很牢。它们像风一样向前滑。这时他大声地叫起来,但是谁也不理他。雪花在飞着,雪橇也在飞着。它们不时向上一跳,好像在飞过篱笆和沟渠似的。他非常害怕起来。他想念念祷告,不过他只记得起那张乘法表。

雪越下越大了。最后雪花看起来像巨大的白鸡。那架大雪橇忽然向旁边一跳,停住了;那个滑雪橇的人站起来。这人的皮衣和帽子完全是雪花做成的。这原来是个女子,长得又高又苗条,全身闪着白光。她就是白雪皇后。

“我们滑行得很好,”她说,“不过你在冻得发抖吧?钻进我的皮衣里来吧。”

她把他抱进她的雪橇,让他坐在她的身边,她还用自己的皮衣把他裹好。他好像是坠到雪堆里去了似的。

“你还感到冷吗?”她问,把他的前额吻了一下。

啊!这一吻比冰块还要冷!它一直透进他那一半已经成了冰块的心里——他觉得自己好像快要死了。不过这种感觉没有持续多久、便马上觉得舒服起来。他也不再觉得周围的寒冷了。

“我的雪橇!不要忘记我的雪橇!”

这是他所想到的第一件事情。它已经被牢牢地系在一只白鸡上了,而这只肉鸡正背着雪橇在他们后面飞。白雪皇后又把加伊吻了一下。从此他完全忘记了小小的格尔达、祖母和家里所有的人。

“你现在再也不需要什么吻了,”她说,“因为如果你再要的话,我会把你吻死的。”

加伊望着她。她是那么美丽,他再也想象不出比这更漂亮和聪明的面孔。跟以前她坐在窗子外边对他招手时的那副样儿不同,她现在一点也不像是雪做的。在他的眼睛里,她是完美无缺的;他现在一点也不感到害怕。他告诉她,说他会算心算,连分数都算得出来;他知道国家的整个面积和居民。她只是微笑着。这时他似乎觉得,自己所知道的东西还不太多。他抬头向广阔的天空望;她带着他一起飞到乌云上面去。暴风在吹着,呼啸着,好像在唱着古老的歌儿。他们飞过树林和湖泊,飞过大海和陆地;在他们的下边,寒风在怒号,豺狼在呼啸,雪花在发出闪光。上空飞着一群尖叫的乌鸦。但更上面亮着一轮明朗的月亮,加伊在这整个漫长的冬夜里一直望着它。天亮的时候他在雪后的脚下睡着了。

第三个故事 一个会变魔术的女人的花园

当加伊没有回来的时候,小小的格尔达的心情是怎样的呢?他到什么地方去了呢?谁也不知道,谁也没有带来什么消息。有些男孩子告诉她说,他们看到他把雪橇系到一个漂亮的大雪橇上,开上街道,滑出了城门。谁也不知道他在什么地方。许多人流过眼泪,小小的格尔达哭得特别久,特别伤心。后来大家认为他死了——落到流过城边的那条河里淹死了。啊,那是多么黑暗和漫长的冬天日子啊!

现在春天带着温暖的太阳光来了。

“加伊死了,不见了!”小小的格尔达说。

“我不相信!”太阳光说。

“他死了,不见了!”她对燕子说。

“我不相信!”它们回答说。最后,小格尔达自己也不相信了。

“我将穿起我的那双新红鞋,”她有一天早晨说,“那双加伊从来没有看到过的鞋。然后我就到河边去寻找他!”

这时天还很早。她把还在睡觉的老祖母吻了一下,于是便穿上她的那双红鞋,单独走出城外,到河边去。

“你真的把我亲爱的玩伴带走了吗?如果你把他还给我,我就把这双红鞋送给你!”

她似乎觉得波浪在对她奇怪地点着头。于是她脱下她最心爱的东西——红鞋。她把这双鞋抛到河里去。可是它们落得离岸很近,浪花又把它们打回岸上,送还给她。这条河似乎不愿意接受她这件心爱的东西,因为它没有把她亲爱的加伊夺走。不过她以为她把这双鞋抛得不够远。因此就钻进停在芦苇中的一只船里去。她走到船的另一端,把这双鞋扔出去。但是这船没有系牢,她一动就把船弄得从岸边漂走了。她一发现这情形,就想赶快离开船,但是在她还没有到达另一端以前,船已经离开岸有一亚伦①远了。它漂得比以前更快。

小小的格尔达非常害怕,开始大哭起来。可是除了麻雀以外,谁也听不见她;而麻雀并不能把她送回到陆地上来。不过它们沿着河岸飞,唱着歌,好像是要安慰她似的:“我们在这儿呀!我们在这儿呀!”这船顺流而下。小小的格尔达脚上只穿着袜子,坐着不动。她的一双小红鞋在她后面浮着。但是它们漂不到船边来,因为船走得很快。

两岸是非常美丽的。岸上有美丽的花儿和古树,有放着牛羊的山坡,可是却没有一个人。

“可能这条河会把我送到小加伊那儿去吧。”格尔达想。

这样她的心情就好转了一点。她站起来,把两边美丽的绿色的河岸看了好久。不久她就来到了一个很大的樱桃园。这里面有一座小小的房子,它有一些奇怪的蓝窗子和红窗子,还有茅草扎的屋顶,外面还站着两个木头兵:他们向所有乘船路过的人敬礼。

格尔达喊他们,因为她以为他们是真正的兵士。他们当然是不会回答的。她来到了他们的近旁,河已经把船漂到岸边了。

格尔达更大声地喊起来。这时有一个很老很老的女人拄着拐杖走出来了:她戴着一顶大草帽,上面绘着许多美丽的花朵。

“你这个可怜的小宝贝!”老女人说,“你怎么会在这个浪涛滚滚的河上,漂到这么远的地方来呢?”

于是这老太婆就走下水来,用拐杖把船钩住,把它拖到岸旁,把小小的格尔达抱下来。

格尔达很高兴,现在又回到陆地上来了,不过她有点害怕这位陌生的老太婆。

“来吧,告诉我你是谁?你怎样到这儿来的吧。”她说,格尔达把什么都告诉她了。老太婆摇摇头,说:“哼!哼!”当格尔达把一切讲完了,问她有没有看到过小加伊的时候,老太婆就说他还没有来过,不过他一定会来的,格尔达不要太伤心,她可以尝尝樱桃,看看花儿,它们比任何画册上画的都好,因为它们个个都能讲一个故事。于是她牵着格尔达的手,把她带到小屋子里去,把门锁起来。

窗子开得很高;玻璃都涂上了红色、蓝色和黄色。日光很奇妙地射进来,照出许多不同的颜色。桌上放着许多最好吃的樱桃。格尔达尽量地大吃一通,因为她可以多吃一点,没有关系。当她正在吃的时候,老太婆就用一把金梳子替她梳头发。她的头发髦成了长串的、美丽的黄圈圈,在她和善的小面孔上悬下来,像盛开的玫瑰花。

“我老早就希望有一个像你这样可爱的小女孩,”老太婆说,“现在你看吧,我们两人会怎样在一起幸福地生活!”

当老太婆梳着她的头发的时候,她就渐渐忘记了她的玩伴加伊,因为这个老太婆会使魔术,不过她不是一个恶毒的巫婆罢了。她只是为了自己的消遣而耍一点小幻术,同时她想把小小的格尔达留下来。因此她现在走到花园里去,用她的拐杖指着所有的玫瑰花。虽然这些花开得很美丽,但是不一会儿就都沉到黑地底下去了:谁也说不出,它们原来究竟是在什么地方。老太婆很害怕:假如格尔达看见了玫瑰花,她就会想起自己的花,因此也就记起小小的加伊,结果必定会跑走。

她现在把格尔达领到花园里去。嗨!这里面是多么香,多么美啊!这里盛开着人们能够想象得到的花儿和每季的花儿:任何画册也没有这样多彩,这样美丽。格尔达快乐得跳起来。她一直玩到太阳在高高的樱桃树后面落下去为止。于是她到一个美丽的床上去睡;鸭绒被是红绸子做的,里面还有蓝色的紫罗兰。她在这儿睡着了,做了一些奇异的梦,像一个皇后在新婚的那天一样。

第二天她又可以在温暖的太阳光中和花儿一起玩耍——这样过了好几天,格尔达认识了每一种花。花的种类虽然多,她似乎还觉得缺少一种,不过究竟是哪一种,她可不知道。有一天她坐着呆呆地看老太婆草帽上绘着的花儿:它们之中最美丽的一种是一朵玫瑰花。当老太婆把所有玫瑰花藏到地底下去的时候,她忘记把帽子上的这朵去掉。不过一个人如果不留神,结果总会是这样。

“怎么,这儿没有玫瑰花吗?”格尔达说。

于是她跳到花畦中间去,找了又找,但是她一朵也找不到。这时她就坐在地上哭起来:她的热泪恰恰落到一棵玫瑰花沉下去的地方。当热泪把土润湿了以后,这棵玫瑰就立刻冒出来,开着茂盛的花,正如它坠入土里时那样。格尔达拥抱着它,吻了玫瑰花朵,于是她便想起了家里的那些美丽的玫瑰花,同时也想起了小小的加伊。

“啊,我耽误了多少时间啊!”小姑娘说。“我要去找小小的加伊!你们知道他在什么地方吗?”她问那些玫瑰花。“你们知道他死了没有?”

“他没有死!”玫瑰花朵说。“我们曾经在地里呆了一个时候,所有的死人都在那里。不过加伊并不在那里!”

“谢谢你们!”小小的格尔达说。于是她走到别的花朵面前去,朝它们的花萼里面看,并且问:“你们知道小小的加伊在什么地方吗!”

不过每朵花都在晒太阳,梦着自己的故事或童话。这些故事或童话格尔达听了许多许多,但是没有哪朵花知道关于加伊的任何消息。

卷丹花讲了些什么呢?

你听到过鼓声“冬——冬”吗?它老是只有两个音调:冬——冬!请听妇女们的哀歌吧!请听祭司们的呼唤吧!印度的寡妇穿着红长袍,立在火葬堆上。火焰朝她和她死去了的丈夫身体燎上来。不过这个印度寡妇在想着站在她周围的那群人中的一位活着的人:这个人的眼睛烧得比火焰还要灼热,他眼睛里的火穿进她的心,比这快要把她的身体烧成灰烬的火焰还要灼热。心中的火焰会在火葬堆上的火焰里死去吗?

“这个我完全不懂!”小小的格尔达说。

“这就是我要讲的童话。”卷丹花说。

牵牛花讲了些什么呢?

在一条狭窄的山路上隐隐出现一幢古老的城堡。它古老的红墙上生满了密密的常春藤。叶子一片接着一片地向阳台上爬。阳台上站着一位美丽的姑娘。她在栏杆上弯下腰来,向路上看了一眼。任何玫瑰花枝上的花朵都没有她那样鲜艳。任何在风中吹着的苹果花都没有她那样轻盈。她美丽的绸衣服发出清脆的沙沙声!

“他还没有来吗?”

“你的意思是指加伊吗?”小小的格尔达问。

“我只是讲我的童话——我的梦呀!”牵牛花回答说。

雪球花讲了些什么呢?

有一块长木板吊在树间的绳子上。这是一个秋千。两个漂亮的小姑娘,穿着雪一样白的衣服,戴着飘有长条绿丝带的帽子,正坐在这上面打秋千。她们的哥哥站在秋千上,用手臂挽着绳子来稳住自己,因为他一只手托着一个小碟子,另一只手拿着一根泥烟嘴。他在吹肥皂泡。秋千飞起来了,五光十色的美丽的肥皂泡也飞起来了。最后的一个肥皂泡还挂在烟嘴上,在风中摇摆。秋千在飞着;一只像肥皂泡一样轻的小黑狗用后腿站起来,也想爬到秋千上面来。秋千继续在飞,小狗滚下来,叫着,生着气。大家都笑它,肥皂泡也就破裂了。一块飞舞的秋千板和一个破裂的泡沫——这就是我的歌!

“你所讲的这个故事可能是很动听的,不过你讲得那么凄惨,而且你没有提到小小的加伊。”

风信子讲了些什么呢?

从前有三个美丽的、透明的、娇滴滴的姊妹。第一位穿着红衣服,第二位穿着蓝衣服,第三位穿着白衣服。她们在明朗的月光中,手挽着手在一个静寂的湖边跳舞。她们并不是山妖。她们是人间的女儿。空气中充满了甜蜜的香气!这几位姑娘在树林里消逝了。于是香气变得更浓厚。三口棺材——里面躺着这三位美丽的姑娘——从树丛中飘到湖上来。萤火虫在它们上面飞,像些小小的飞灯一样。这些跳舞的姑娘们在睡觉呢,还是死去了。花的香气说她们死了,同时暮钟也在发出哀悼的声音!

“你们使我感到怪难过的,”小小的格尔达说,“你们发出这样强烈的香气,我不禁要想起那几位死去了的姑娘。嗨,小小的加伊真的死了吗?玫瑰花曾经到地底下去看过,它们说没有。”

“叮!当!”风信子的铃敲起来了。“我们不是为小小的加伊而敲——我们不认识他!我们只是唱着我们的歌——我们所知道的唯一的歌。”

格尔达走到金凤花那儿去。这花在闪光的绿叶中微笑。

“你是一轮光耀的小太阳,”格尔达说。“请告诉我,假如你知道的话,我在什么地方可以找到我的玩伴?”

金凤花放射出美丽的光彩,又把格尔达望了一眼。金凤花会唱出一支什么歌呢?这歌跟加伊没有什么关系。

在一个小院落里,我们上帝的太阳在春天的第一天暖洋洋地照着。它的光线在邻人屋子的白墙上滑行着。在这近旁,第一朵黄花开出来了,在温暖的阳光里像金子一样发亮。老祖母坐在门外的椅子上,她的孙女——一个很美丽的可怜的小姑娘——正回到家里来作短时间的拜望。她吻着祖母。这个幸福的吻里藏有金子,心里的金子。嘴唇是金子,全身是金子,这个早晨的时刻也是金子。这个呀!这就是我的故事!

金凤花说。

“我可怜的老祖母!”格尔达叹了一口气说。“是的,她一定在想念着我,在为我担心,正如她在为小小的加伊担心一样。不过我马上就要回家去了,带着加伊一道回家去。探问这些花儿一点用处也没有。它们只知道唱自己的歌,一点消息也不能告诉我!”于是她把她的小罩衫扎起来,为的是可以跑得快一点。可是当她在水仙花上跳过去的时候,花绊住了她的腿。她停下来瞧瞧这棵长长的花,问道:“也许你知道一点消息吧?”

于是她向这花儿弯下腰来。这花儿讲了些什么呢?

我能看见我自己!我能看见我自己!我的天!我的天!我是多么香啊!在那个小小的顶楼里面立着一位半裸着的小小舞蹈家:她一会儿用一条腿站着,一会儿用两条腿站着。她的脚跟在整个世界上跳。她不过是一个幻象罢了。她把水从一个茶壶里倒到她的一块布上——这是她的紧身上衣——爱清洁是一个好习惯!她的白袍子挂在一个钉子上。它也是在茶壶里洗过、在屋顶上晒干的:她穿上这衣服,同时在颈项上围一条橙子色的头巾,把这衣服衬得更白了。她的腿跷起来了。你看她用一条腿站着的那副神气。我能看见我自己!我能看见我自己!

“这一点也不使我感兴趣!”格尔达说。“这对我一点意义也没有!”于是她跑到花园的尽头去。门是锁上了。不过她把那生了锈的锁扭了一下,这锁便松了,门也自动开了。于是小小的格尔达打着一双赤脚跑到外面来。她回头看了三次,没有任何人在追她。最后她跑不动了,便在一块大石头上坐下来。当她向周围一看的时候,夏天已经过去了——已是晚秋时节。在那个美丽的花园里,人们注意不到这件事情——那儿永远有太阳光,永远有四季的花。

“咳!我耽误了多少光阴啊!”小小的格尔达说。“这已是秋天了!我不能再休息了!”于是她立起身来继续向前走。哦!她的一双小脚是多么酸痛和疲累啊!周围是一片寒冷和阴郁的景色。柳树的叶子已经黄了,雾在它们上面变成水滴下来。叶子在簌簌地往下掉。只有山楂结着果实,酸得使牙齿都要脱落。啊!这个茫茫的世界,是多么灰色和凄凉啊!

①丹麦的长度名,等于0.627米。

第四个故事 王子和公主

格尔达又不得不休息一下。在她坐着的那块地方的对面,一只大乌鸦在雪地上跳过去了。乌鸦已经坐了很久,呆望着她,转动着头。现在它说:“呱!呱!日安!日安!”这是它能够发出的唯一的声音,对于这个小姑娘它是怀有好感的。它问她单独在这个茫茫的大世界里想要到什么地方去。格尔达深深地体会到“单独”这个字的意义。她把她的全部生活和遭遇都告诉了乌鸦,同时问它有没有看到过加伊。

乌鸦若有所思地点点头,同时说:

“可能看到过!可能看到过!”

“怎么,你真的看到过吗?”小姑娘叫起来,几乎把乌鸦搂得闷死了——她是这样热烈地吻它。

“轻一点!轻一点!”乌鸦说。“我相信那可能就是小小的加伊!不过他因为那位公主就把你忘掉了!”

“他是跟一位公主住在一起吗?”格尔达问。

“是的,请听吧!”乌鸦说,“不过要讲你的那种语言,对于我是太难了。如果你能听懂乌鸦的语言,那么我可以讲得更清楚了!”

“不成,我没有学过!”格尔达说,“不过我的祖母懂得,也能够讲这种语言。我只希望我也学过。”

“这倒没有什么关系!”乌鸦说,“我尽量把话讲得清楚好了,但是可能越讲越糊涂。”

于是乌鸦把它所知道的事情都讲了出来。

“在我们现在所在的这个王国里,有一位非常聪明的公主。她读过世界上所有的报纸,然后又把它们忘得精光,因为她是那么聪明。最近她坐上了王位——据说这并不怎么有趣——这时她哼出一支歌,而这歌只有这么一句:‘为什么我现在不结婚呢?’她说:‘是的,这句话里有道理。’因此她很想结婚。不过她所希望的丈夫是:当人们和他讲话时,他必须能答话,不仅是站在那儿,只是好看而已——因为这是怪讨厌的。于是她把侍女都召进来:当她们知道了她的用意的时候,她们都非常高兴。‘好极了!’她们说:‘前不久我们也有这个意见。’请你相信,我对你讲的每一个字都是真的!”乌鸦说。“我有一位很驯服的爱人,她可以在宫里自由来往,因此她把所有的事情都告诉我了。”

当然所谓“爱人”也无非是一个乌鸦,因为乌鸦只会找类似的东西——那永远是一个乌鸦。

“所有的报纸立即出版,报纸的边上印着鸡心和公主的名字的头一个字母,作为装饰。人们可以读到:每个漂亮的年轻人可以自由到宫里来和公主谈话,而谈话的人如果能叫人觉得他是毫无拘束、对答如流的话,公主就要选他为丈夫!是的,是的!”乌鸦说,“请你相信我。我的话实实在在,没有半句虚假。年轻人成群结队地到来。当他们来到街上的时候,什么话都会讲;不过他们一起进宫殿的门、看到穿银色制服的门警、看到台阶上站着穿金色制服的仆人和光耀夺目的大厅的时候,他们什么话也说不出来,只能重复地念着公主所说出的话的最后一个字——而她并不要再听自己的话。好像这些人的肚皮里都塞满了鼻烟、已经昏睡过去了似的。只有当他们回到街上来了以后,才能讲话。这些人从城门那儿一直站到宫门口,排成了一长队。我自己曾经去亲眼看过一次!”乌鸦说。“他们变得又饥又渴,不过到了宫殿里,他们连一杯温水也得不到。最聪明的几个人随身带了一点抹了黄油的面包,不过他们并不分给旁边的人吃,因为他们觉得,‘还是让这家伙现出一个饿鬼的样子吧,公主不会要他的!’”

“可是加伊,小小的加伊呢?”格尔达问,“他什么时候来呢?他会不会在他们中间呢?”

“等着!等着!我们马上就要谈到他了!到了第三天才有一位小小的人物到来。他没有骑马,也没有乘车子。他高高兴兴地大步走进宫里来。他的眼睛像你的一样,射出光彩。他的头发是又长又细,不过他的衣服是很寒碜的!”

“那正是加伊!”格尔达高兴地说,“哦,我总算是找到他了!”于是她拍起手来。

“他的背上背着一个小行囊!”乌鸦说。

“不,那一定是他的雪橇了!”格尔达说,“因为他是带着雪橇去的。”

“也可能是!”乌鸦说,“因为我没有仔细去瞧它!不过我听我那位驯服的爱人说起,当他走进宫殿的门、看到穿银色制服的守卫和台阶上穿金色制服的仆人的时候,他一点也不感到慌张。他点点头,对他们说:‘站在这些台阶上一定是一件很腻烦的工作——我倒是宁愿走进去的!’大厅的烛光照耀得如同白昼。枢密顾问官和大臣们托着金盘子,打着赤脚走来走去。这叫人起一种庄严的感觉!他的靴子发出吱格吱格的响声,但是他却一点也不害怕!”

“这一定就是加伊!”格尔达说。“我知道他穿着一双新靴子;我亲耳听到它们在祖母的房间里发出吱格吱格的响声。”

“是的,它们的确发出响声!”乌鸦说,“他勇敢地一直走到公主面前,她是坐在纺车那么大的一颗珍珠上的。所有的侍女和她们的丫环以及丫环的丫环,所有的侍臣和他们的仆人以及仆人的仆人——每人还有一个小厮——都在四周站着。他们站得离门口越近,就越显出一副了不起的神气!这些仆人的仆人的小厮——他老是穿着制服——几乎叫人不敢看他,因为他站在门口的样子非常骄傲!”

“这一定可怕得很!”小小的格尔达说,“但是加伊得到了公主吗?”

“假如我不是一个乌鸦的话,我也可以得到她的,虽然我已经订过婚。他像我讲乌鸦话时一样会讲话——这是我从我驯服的爱人那儿听来的。他既勇敢,又能讨人喜欢。他并不是来向公主求婚,而是专来听听公主的智慧的,他看中了她;她也看中了他。”

“是的,那一定就是加伊!”格尔达说。“他是那么聪明,他可以算心算,一直算到分数。哦!你能带我到宫里去一趟吗?”

“这事说来容易!”乌鸦说。“不过我们怎样实行呢?让我先跟我那个驯服的爱人商量一下吧。她可能给我们一点忠告。我要告诉你一点——像你这样小的女孩子,一般是不会得到许可走进里面去的。”

“会的,我得到许可的!”格尔达说。“当加伊知道我来了的时候,他马上就会走出来,请我进去的。”

“请在门栏那儿等着我吧。”乌鸦说,于是它扭了扭头就飞去了。

当乌鸦回来的时候,天已经黑了很久。

“呱!呱!”它说,“我代表我的爱人向你问候。这是我带给你的一小片面包。这是她从厨房里拿出来的。那儿面包多的是。你现在一定很饿了!……你想到宫里去是不可能的,因为你是打着赤脚的。那些穿着银色制服的警卫和穿着金色制服的仆人们不会让你进去的。不过请你不要哭;你还是可以进去的。我的爱人知道通到睡房的一个小后楼梯,同时她也知道可以在什么地方弄到钥匙!”

于是他们走到花园里去,在一条宽阔的林荫路上走。这儿树叶在簌簌地落下来。当宫殿里的灯光一个接着一个地熄灭了以后,乌鸦就把小小的格尔达带到后门那儿去。这门是半掩着的。

咳!格尔达又怕又急的心跳得多么厉害啊!她仿佛觉得她在做一件坏事似的;然而她所希望知道的只不过是小小的加伊而已。是的,那一定是他。她在生动地回忆着他那对聪明的眼睛和长长的头发。她可以想象得到他在怎样微笑——他在家里坐在玫瑰花树下时的那种微笑。他一定很高兴看到她的;听到她走了那么多的路程来找他;听到家里的人为他的离去而感到多么难过。啊,这既使人害怕,又使人高兴。

他们现在上了楼梯。食橱上点着一盏小灯;在屋子的中央,立着那只驯服的乌鸦。它把头掉向四周,望着格尔达。她依照她祖母教给她的那个样子,行了屈膝礼①。

“我的小姑娘,我的未婚夫把你讲得非常好,”驯服的乌鸦说,“你的身世——我们可以这么讲——是非常感动人的!请你把灯拿起来好吗?我可以在你前面带路。我们可以一直向前走,因为我们不会碰到任何人的。”

“我觉得好像有人在后面跟着我似的。”格尔达说,因为有件什么东西在她身边滑过去了;它好像是墙上的影子,瘦腿的、飞跃的红鬃马,年轻的猎人和骑在马上的绅士和太太们。

“这些事物不过是一个梦罢了!”乌鸦说。“它们到来,为的是要把这些贵人的思想带出去游猎一番。这是一件很好的事情,因为这样你就可以在他们睡觉的时候多看他们一会儿。可是我希望,当你将来得到荣华富贵的时候,请你不要忘了我!”

“这当然不成问题!”树林里的那只乌鸦说。

他们现在走进第一个大厅。墙上挂着许多绣着花的粉红色的缎子。在这儿,梦在他们身边跑过去了,但是跑得那么快,格尔达来不及察看这些要人。第二个大厅总比第一个大厅漂亮。是的,一个人会看得脑袋发昏!最后他们来到了卧室。在这儿,天花板就像生有玻璃——很贵重的玻璃——叶子的棕榈树冠。在屋子的中央有两张睡床悬在一根粗大的金杆子上,而且每一张床像一朵百合花。一张的颜色是白的,这里面睡着公主;另一张是红的,格尔达希望在这里面找到小小的加伊。她把一片红花瓣分开,于是她就看到一个棕色的脖子。哦,这就是加伊!她大声地喊出他的名字,同时把灯拿到他面前来。梦又骑在马上冲进房间里来了,他醒转来,掉过头,然而——他却不是小小的加伊!

这位王子只是脖子跟他的相似。不过他是年轻和美貌的。公主从百合花的床上向外窥看,同时问谁在这儿。小小的格尔达哭起来,把全部故事和乌鸦给她的帮助都告诉了她。

“可怜的孩子!”王子和公主说。

他们称赞了乌鸦一番,同时说他们并不生它们的气,不过它们可不能常做这类的事儿。虽然如此,它们仍然应该得到一件奖赏。

“你们愿意自由地飞出去呢,”公主问,“还是愿意作为宫里的乌鸦而获得一个固定的位置、享受能吃厨房里剩饭的权利呢?”

两只乌鸦鞠了一躬,要求有一个固定的位置,因为它们想到它们的老年。它们说:“老了的时候能够得到一些供给总是一件好事,正如俗语所说的一样。”

王子爬下床来,让格尔达睡在他的床上——他只能够做到这一点。她的小手十指交叉着,想道:“人和动物是多么善良的东西啊!”于是她闭起眼睛,幸福地睡着了。所有的梦又飞进来了;这一次它们是像安琪儿一样。它们拖着一个小雪橇,加伊坐在上面点着头。这一切只不过是个梦罢了。她一醒来,这些梦就不见了。

第二天她全身穿上了丝绸和天鹅绒的衣服。有人向她提议,请她在宫里住下来,享受快乐的时光。不过她只要求得到一辆马拉的小车,和一双小靴子。这样她就可以又开到外面去,去寻找加伊。

她不仅得到一双靴子,还得到一个暖手筒,并且穿着一身干净整齐的衣服。当她要离去的时候,一辆纯金做成的车子就停在门外等她。王子和公主的徽记在那上面亮得像一颗明星。车夫、侍者和骑手——因为还有骑手——都穿着绣有金王冠的衣服。王子和公主亲自扶她上车,同时祝她一路平安。那只树林里的乌鸦——它现在已经结了婚——陪送她走了开头三丹麦里②的路程。它坐在格尔达的身旁,因为叫它背对着马坐着,它可受不了。另外那只乌鸦站在门口,拍着翅膀。她不能跟他们同行,因为她有点头痛,而这头痛是因为她获得了那个固定职位后吃得太多了才有的。车子四壁填满了甜饼干,座位里垫满了姜汁饼干和水果。

“再会吧!再会吧!”王子和公主喊着,小小的格尔达哭起来,乌鸦也哭起来。他们这样一起走了开头几丹麦里路,于是乌鸦也说了声再会——这要算最难过的一次别离。乌鸦飞到一棵树上,拍着黑翅膀,一直到它看不见马车为止——这车子闪耀得像明亮的太阳。

①这是北欧的一种礼节,行这礼的时候,弯一下左腿的膝盖,点一点头。现在北欧(特别是瑞典)的小学生在街上遇见老师时仍然行这种礼。

②一丹麦里大约等于我国计算单位的十五里。

第五个故事 小强盗女孩

他们坐着车子走过浓密的树林。不过车子光耀得像一个火把,把一些强盗的眼睛都弄得昏眩起来,他们再也忍耐不住了。

“那是金子!那是金子!”他们大声说。他们冲上前来,拦住那些马匹,打死那些骑手、车夫和仆人,最后把格尔达从车上拖下来。

“她长得很胖……她长得很美……她是吃胡桃核长大的!”老女强盗说。她的胡子长得又长又硬,她的蓬松的眉毛把眼睛都盖住了。

“她像一个肥胖的小羔羊!哪,好吃得很!”

于是她抽出一把明晃晃的刀子——刀子闪耀得怕人。

“哎哟!”老女人同时大叫了一声,因为她的亲生女儿爬在她的背上,把她的耳朵咬了一口;她是一个顽皮和野蛮的孩子,喜欢寻这种开心。“你这个捣蛋的孩子!”妈妈说,这样她就没有时间来杀掉格尔达了。

“我要她跟我一道玩耍!”小强盗女孩说。“她得把她的暖手筒和美丽的衣服给我,和我在床上一道睡!”

于是这孩子又咬了她一口,弄得老女强盗又跳起来,打着旋转;别的强盗都笑起来,同时说:

“瞧,她和她的小鬼跳得多好!”

“我要坐进那个车子里去!”小强盗女孩说。

她要怎样就怎样,因为她是一个很放肆和固执的孩子。她和格尔达坐在车子里,在树桩和荆棘上面驰过去,一直跑到森林里。小强盗女孩和格尔达是同样岁数,不过她的身体更强壮,肩膀更宽。她的皮肤是棕色的,眼睛很黑,几乎显出阴郁的样子。她把小小的格尔达拦腰抱住,说:

“只要我不生你的气,他们就不能杀你。我想你是一位公主吧?”

“不是。”小小的格尔达说。于是她把自己所遭遇到的事情,和她怎样喜欢小小的加伊,都对她讲了。

小强盗女孩严肃地看了她一眼,轻轻地点了点头,同时说:

“就是我生了你的气,他们也不能杀你,因为那时我就会亲自动手的。”

于是她揩干了格尔达的眼泪,把她的双手放进那又柔和、又温暖的暖手筒里。

现在马车终于停下来了。她们走进强盗宫殿的院子里来。这宫殿从顶到地都布满了裂痕。大渡鸟和乌鸦从敞着的洞口飞出来,大哈叭狗——每只好像能吞掉一个人似的——跳得很高,不过它们并不叫,因为这是不准许的。

在一个古老的、烟熏的大房间里,有一堆火在石铺的地上熊熊地燃着。烟在天花板下面打旋转,想要找一个出路冒出去。有一大罐子汤正在沸腾着,有许多家兔和野兔在铁杆上烤着。

“今晚你跟我和我的小动物一起睡。”小强盗女孩说。

她们吃了一些东西,也喝了一些东西,然后走到铺了稻草和地毯的一个墙角里去。这儿有一百多只鸽子栖在板条上和栖木上。它们都快要睡着了。不过当两个女孩子来到的时候,它们就把头掉过来看了一眼。

“这些东西都是属于我的,”小强盗女孩说。于是她马上抓住手边的一只,提着它的双腿摇了几摇,直到弄得它乱拍起翅膀来。“吻它一下吧!”她大声说,同时在格尔达的脸上打了一巴掌,“那儿坐着几个林中的混蛋,”她继续说,指着墙上用木条拦着的一个洞口。“这两个东西都是林中的混蛋。如果你不把它们关好,它们马上就飞走了。现在请看我的老爱人‘叭’吧。”她抓着一只驯鹿的角,把它拖出来。它是套着的;颈项上戴着一个光亮的铜圈。“我们得把它牢牢地套住,否则它就逃掉了。每天晚上我用一把尖刀子在它脖子上搔搔痒——它非常害怕这一手。”

这小女孩子于是从墙缝里抽出一把长刀,放在驯鹿的脖子上滑了几下。这只可怜的动物弹着腿子。小强盗女孩大笑了一通,把格尔达拖进床里去。

“当你睡觉的时候,你也把这刀子放在身边吗?”格尔达问,同时惊恐地看着这把刀子。

“我总是和我的刀子一起睡觉的!”小强盗女孩回答说,“因为谁也不知道会有什么意外发生呀。不过现在请你把关于加伊的事情,以及你为什么跑到这个大世界里来的缘故,再告诉我一遍吧。”

格尔达又从头讲了一遍。斑鸠在上面的笼子里咕咕地叫,同时别的斑鸠就都睡去了。小强盗女孩用一只手搂着格尔达的脖子,另一只手拿着刀子,也睡去了——人们可以听见这些动作。不过格尔达无论如何也合不上眼睛——她不知道她要活着,还是死去。

强盗们围着火坐着,一面唱歌,一面喝酒。那个强盗老女人就翻着跟头。一个小女孩子看到这情景真要感到害怕。

于是那些斑鸠就说:“咕!咕!我们看见小小的加伊。一只白母鸡背着他的雪橇:他坐在白雪皇后的车子里。当我们待在巢里的时候,车子低低地在树林上飞过去。她在我们的小斑鸠身上吹了一口气:除了我们俩以外,大家都死了。咕!咕!”

“你们在上面讲些什么?”格尔达问,“白雪皇后旅行到什么地方去了?你们知道吗?”

“她大概是到拉普兰①去了,因为那儿整年都是冰雪。你去问问用绳子套着的那只驯鹿吧。”

“那儿有冰有雪,那儿壮丽辉煌!”驯鹿说,“那儿,人们可以在亮晶晶的山谷里自由地跳跃!那儿,白雪皇后架起她夏天的帐篷,不过她经常住的宫殿是在北极附近一个叫做斯匹次卑尔根②的岛上。”

“啊,加伊,小小的加伊!”格尔达叹着气。

“你得静静地躺着,”小强盗女孩说,“否则我就要把刀子刺进你的肚皮里去!”

第二天早晨,格尔达把斑鸠说的话都告诉了她。小强盗女孩的样子非常严肃,不过她点点头,说:

“不要紧!不要紧!你知道拉普兰在什么地方吗?”她问驯鹿。

“谁能比我还知道得更清楚呢?”驯鹿说,它的一双眼睛在脑袋上转动着。“我是在那儿出生,在那儿长大的。我在那儿的雪地上跳跃过。”

“听着!”小强盗女孩对格尔达说。“你要知道:我们的男人都走了。只有妈妈还留下,她将在这儿待下去。不过将近中午的时候,她将从那个大瓶里喝点东西,于是她就要打一个盹儿,那时我再来帮你的忙吧!”

她从床上跳下来,搂着她妈妈的脖子,拉拉她的胡子,于是说:

“早安,我的亲爱的老母山羊。”

她的妈妈在她的鼻子上敲了几下,敲得她发红和发青——不过这完全是从真正的母爱出发的。

妈妈从瓶子里喝了点什么东西以后,就睡过去了。小强盗女孩走到驯鹿那儿,说:

“我倒很想用尖刀再捅你几下,因为这样你的样子才滑稽。不过没有关系,我将解开你的绳子把你放出去,好使你能跑到拉普兰去。不过你得好好地使用你的这双腿,把这个小小的女孩子带到白雪皇后的宫殿里去——她的玩伴就在那儿。你已经听到过她对我讲的话,因为她的声音讲得很大,而且你也在偷听!”

驯鹿快乐得高高跳起来。小强盗女孩把小小的格尔达抱到它的背上,而且很谨慎地把她系牢,甚至还给了她一个小垫子作为座位。

“没有关系,”她说,“你穿上你的皮靴好了,因为天气变冷了。不过我要把这个暖手筒留下,因为它很可爱!但是你仍然不会感到冷的。这是我母亲的一副大手套,可以一直套到你的胳膊肘子上。套上去吧!你的一双手现在真像我那位丑妈妈的手了。”

格尔达快乐得哭起来。

“你流出一大滩眼泪,我看不惯!”小强盗女孩说。“现在你应该显得很快乐才是。你把这两块面包和一块火腿拿去吧,免得挨饿。”

这些东西都被系在驯鹿的背上。小强盗女孩把门打开,把一些大狗都哄进屋子里去。于是她用刀子把绳子割断,并且对驯鹿说:

“你跑吧!不过请你好好地照料这个小女孩子!”

格尔达把她戴着大手套的一双手伸向小强盗女孩,说了声:“再会!”于是驯鹿就在树桩和灌木上飞奔起来,穿过树林,越过沼泽地和大草原,尽快地奔驰。豺狼在呼啸,乌鸦在呱呱地叫。“嘘!嘘!”这是空中发出的声音。天空好像燃烧起来了似的。

“那是我亲爱的老北极光!”驯鹿说,“瞧,它是多么亮!”于是它跑得更快,日夜不停地跑。

面包吃完了,火腿也吃完了,这时他们到达了拉普兰。

①拉普兰(Lapand)是瑞典、挪威和芬兰北部的一块地方,非常寒冷。

②斯匹次卑尔根(Spiyzbergen)是北冰洋上的一个群岛,属于挪威。

第六个故事 拉普兰女人和芬兰女人

他们在一个小屋子面前停下来。这屋子是非常简陋的;它的屋顶低得几乎接触到地面;它的门是那么矮,当家里的人要走出走进的时候,就得伏在地上爬。屋子里除了一个老太婆以外,什么人也没有,她现在在一盏油灯上煎鱼。驯鹿把格尔达的全部经历都讲了,不过它先讲自己的,因为它觉得它的最重要。格尔达冻得一点力气也没有,连一句话也讲不出来了。

“唉,你们这些可怜的东西!”拉普兰女人说,“你们要跑的路还长得很呢!你们还要跑三百多丹麦里路,才能到达芬马克①,因为白雪皇后在那儿的乡下休假。她每天晚上放起蓝色的焰火②。我将在一条干鳕鱼上写几个字,因为我没有纸,你们可以把它带到一个芬兰的老太婆那儿去——她会告诉你更多的消息。”

当格尔达暖了一阵、吃了和喝了一些东西以后,拉普兰女人就在一条干鳕鱼上写下几个字,并且告诉格尔达好好拿着它,然后把她系在驯鹿的背上,这鹿立刻就跳走了,“呼!呼!”它在高空中说。最美丽的、蔚蓝色的北极光,一整夜不停地在闪耀着。

这样他们到了芬马克,他们在那个芬兰女人的烟囱上敲着,因为她连一个门也没有。

屋子里的热气很大,芬兰女人几乎是一丝不挂地住在那儿。她的身材很小,而且很脏。她马上把格尔达的衣服解开,把她的大手套和靴子脱下,否则格尔达就会感到太热了。她在驯鹿的头上放了一块冰,然后读了写在鳕鱼上的字——她一连读了三遍。当她把这些字都记熟了以后,就把这鱼扔进一个汤罐里去煮,因为它是可以吃的,而且她又是一个从来不浪费任何东西的人。

驯鹿先讲了自己的故事,然后又讲了小小格尔达的故事,芬兰女人眨着她聪明的眼睛,一句话也不说。

“你是很聪明的,”驯鹿说,“我知道你能用一根缝线把世界上所有的风都缝在一起。如果船长解开一个结,他就可以有好的风;如果他松开第二个结,那么风就吹得更厉害;不过当他解开第三个和第四个结的时候,那就会有一阵可以把树林吹倒的暴风雨。你能不能给这小女孩一点东西喝,使她能有12个人那么大的力量来制服白雪皇后呢?”

“12个人那么大的力量!”芬兰女人说,“这太管用了!”

她走到橱格子那儿,抱下一大捆皮,把这捆皮打开。它上面写着许多奇怪的字母。芬兰女人读着,一直读到额上滴下汗珠。

不过驯鹿又替小小的格尔达非常殷切地恳求了一番,格尔达本人也用充满了泪珠的、祈求的目光望着这芬兰女人。女人也开始眨着眼睛,把驯鹿牵到一个墙角边去,一面在它背上放一块新鲜的冰,一面说:

“小小的加伊当然是住在白雪皇后那儿的。他在那儿觉得什么东西都合乎他的胃口和想法。他以为那儿就是世界上最美的地方。不过这是因为他的心里有一块镜子的碎片、他的眼里有一颗镜子的碎粒的缘故。必须先把它们取出来,不然他将永远不能成为人了。但是白雪皇后会尽一切力量来留住他的!”

“不过你能不能给小小的格尔达一件什么东西,使她能有力量克服一切困难呢?”

“我不能给她比她现在所有的力量更大的力量:你没有看出这力量是怎样大吗?你没有看出人和动物是怎样为她服务吗?你没有看出她打着一双赤脚在这世界上跑了多少路吗?她不需要从我们这儿知道她自己的力量。她的力量就在她的心里;她是一个天真可爱的孩子——这就是她的力量。如果她自己不能到白雪皇后那儿,把玻璃碎片从小小的加伊身上取出来,那么我们也没有办法帮助她!白雪皇后的花园就从那个离开这儿两丹麦里路的地方开始。你可以把这小姑娘带到那儿去:把她放在雪地上一个生满了红花浆果的大灌木林旁边。不要呆在那儿闲聊,抓紧时间回到这儿来!”

于是芬兰女人就把格尔达抱到驯鹿的背上。它尽快地飞跑。

“哎呀,我没有穿上靴子!没有戴上大手套!”小小的格尔达叫着。

她马上就感到刺人的寒冷;不过驯鹿不敢停下来:它一口气跑到生满了红浆果的那个灌木林旁边。它把格尔达放下来,在她的嘴上吻了一下,于是大颗亮晶晶的眼泪就流到了脸上来。它尽快地又跑回去了。可怜的格尔达站在那儿,在那可怕的、寒冷的芬马克,没有穿鞋子,也没有戴大手套。

她拼命地向前跑。一股雪花卷过来了。它不是从天上落下来的,因为天上非常晴朗,而且还射出北极光。雪花是沿着地面卷来的。它越逼得近,就越变得庞大。格尔达记起,从前她透过热玻璃朝外望的时候,雪花是多么大,多么美丽啊。不过在这儿它们显得非常庞大和可怕——它们是有生命的。它们是白雪皇后的前哨兵,而且是奇形怪状的。有的样子像丑陋的大刺猬;有的像许多伸出头、纠成一团的蛇;有的像毛发直立的小胖熊。它们全都是白得发亮的、有生命的雪花。

小小的格尔达念着《主祷文》。天气是那么寒冷,她可以看到自己呼出的气像烟雾似的从嘴里冒出来。呼出的气越来越浓,形成了明亮的小安琪儿。当他们一接触到地面时,就越变越大。他们都戴着头盔,拿着矛和盾。他们的数目在增大。当格尔达念完了祷告以后,她周围就出现了一个很大的兵团。这些兵士用长矛刺着这些可怕的雪花,把这些雪花打成无数碎片。于是小小的格尔达就又稳步地、勇敢地向前进。安琪儿抚摸着她的手和脚,于是她就不那么感到寒冷了。她匆忙地向白雪皇后的宫殿前进。

不过现在我们要先看看加伊是在做些什么。他一点也没有想到小小的格尔达,更想不到她是站在宫殿的门口。

①芬马克(Finnmark)是挪威最北部的一个县,也是欧洲最北部的一个地区,极为寒冷。

②指北极光。

第七个故事 白雪皇后宫殿里发生的事情和结果

宫殿的墙是由积雪筑成的,刺骨的寒风就是它的窗和门。这里面有一百多间房子,全是雪花吹到一起形成的。它们之中最大的房间有几丹麦里路长。强烈的北极光把它们照亮;它们是非常大、非常空、非常寒冷和非常光亮。这儿从来没有过什么快乐,甚至小熊的舞会也没有。事实上,暴风雪很可能在这儿奏起一点音乐,让北极熊用后腿站着迈迈步子,表演表演它们出色的姿态。它们连打打嘴和敲敲脚掌的小玩意儿都没有。年轻的白狐狸姑娘们也从来没有开过任何小茶话会。

白雪皇后的大厅里是空洞的、广阔的和寒冷的。北极光照得那么准确,你可以算出它在什么时候最高,什么时候最低。在这个空洞的、没有边际的雪厅中央有一个结冰的湖——它裂成了一千块碎片;不过每一片跟其他的小片的形状完全一样,所以这就像一套很完美的艺术品。当白雪皇后在家的时候,她就坐在这湖的中央。她自己说她是坐在理智的镜子里,而且这是唯一的、世上最好的镜子。

小小的加伊冻得发青——的确,几乎是冻得发黑,不过他不觉得,因为白雪皇后把他身上的寒颤都吻掉了。他的心简直像一块冰块。他正在搬弄着几块平整而尖利的冰,把它们拼来拼去,想拼成一件什么东西。这正好像我们想用几块木片拼成图案一样——就是所谓中国玩具②。加伊也在拼图案——最复杂的图案。

这叫做理智的冰块游戏。在他的眼中,这些图案是最了不起的、也是非常重要的东西;这完全是因为他眼睛里的那块镜子碎片在作怪的缘故。他把这些图案摆出来,组成一个字——不过怎么也组不成他所希望的那个字——“永恒”。于是白雪皇后就说:

“如果你能拼出这个图案的话,那么你就是你自己的主人了。我将给你整个世界和一双新冰鞋,作为礼物。”

可是他拼不出来。

“现在我急于要飞到温暖的国度里去!”白雪皇后说,“我要去看看那些黑罐子!”她所指的是那些火山,也就是我们所谓的埃特纳火山和维苏威火山①。“我将使它们变得白一点!有这个需要;这对于葡萄和柠檬是有好处的。”

于是白雪皇后就飞走了。加伊单独坐在那有几丹麦里路长的、又大又空的冰殿里,呆望着他的那些冰块。他坠入深思,几乎把头都想破了。他直挺挺地坐着,一动也不动,人们可能以为他是冻死了。

这时小小的格尔达恰巧走进大门,到宫殿里来了。这儿的风很锐利,不过当她念完了晚祷后,风儿就静下来了,好像睡去了似的。她走进了这个宽广、空洞、寒冷的屋子,看到了加伊。她马上就把他认出来了。她倒在他身上,拥抱着他,紧紧地搂着他,同时叫出声来:

“加伊,亲爱的小加伊!我总算找到你了!”

不过他坐着一动也不动,直挺挺的,很冷淡。于是小格尔达流出许多热泪。眼泪流到他的胸膛上,渗进他的心里,把那里面的雪块融化了,把那里面的一小块镜子的碎片也分解了。他望着她,她唱出一首圣诗:

山谷里玫瑰花长得丰茂,

那儿我们遇见圣婴耶稣。

这时加伊大哭起来。他哭得厉害,连眼睛中的镜子粉末也流出来了。现在他认得出她,所以他快乐地叫着:

“格尔达,亲爱的格尔达!你到什么地方去了这么久?我也到什么地方去了?”他向周围望了一眼。“这儿是多么寒冷啊!这儿是多么广阔和空洞啊!”

他紧抱着格尔达。她快乐得一时哭,一时笑。他们是那么高兴,连周围的冰块都快乐得跳起舞来。当他们因为疲乏而躺下来的时候,两人就恰恰形成一个字的图案——白雪皇后曾经说过,如果他能拼出这个图案,他就成为他自己的主人,同时她也将给他整个世界和一双新冰靴。

格尔达吻着他的双颊:双颊像开放的花;她吻着他的双眼:双眼像她自己的一样发亮;她吻着他的手和脚,于是他又变得健康和活泼起来。白雪皇后这时尽可以回到家里来,但是他的解放的字据已经亮晶晶地印在冰块上。

他们手挽着手,走出了这座巨大的冰宫。他们谈起了祖母,谈起了屋顶上的玫瑰花。他们到什么地方,风就停息了,同时太阳就露出了面。当他们来到那个红色浆果的灌木林的时候,驯鹿正在那儿等着他们。它还带来了另外一只小母鹿。母鹿的乳房鼓得满满的,所以她给这两个小孩子温暖的奶吃,同时吻着他们的嘴。它们把加伊和格尔达先送到芬兰女人那儿去。他们在她温暖的房间里暖了一阵子,并且得到一些关于回家的路程的指示。然后他们就到拉普兰女人那儿去。这女人已经为他们做好了新衣服,而且把她的雪橇也修好了。

驯鹿和小母鹿在他们旁边连蹦带跳地走着,一直陪送他们到达边境。这儿早春的植物已经冒出绿芽来了。他们和这两只驯鹿和拉普兰女人告了别。“再会吧!”大家都说。初春的小鸟开始喃喃地唱着歌;树林盖满了一层绿色的嫩芽。有一匹漂亮的马儿从树林里跑出来。格尔达认识它,因为它就是从前拉着金马车的那匹马。一个年轻的姑娘骑着它。她头上戴着一顶发亮的红帽子,她还带着枪。这就是那个小强盗女孩。她在家里呆得腻了,想要先到北方去一趟;如果她不喜欢那地方的话,再到别的地方去。她马上就认出了格尔达;格尔达也认出了她。她们见了面非常高兴。

“你真是一个可爱的流浪汉!”她对小小的加伊说。“我倒要问问,你值不值得让一个人赶到天边去找你?”

不过格尔达摸着她的脸,问起那位王子和那位公主。

“他们都旅行到外国去了!”小强盗女孩说。

“可是那只乌鸦呢?”小格尔达问。

“嗯,那只乌鸦已经死了,”小强盗女孩回答说,“那只驯服的爱人便成了一个寡妇,它的腿上还带着一条黑绒!它伤心得很,不过这完全没有一点意义!现在请把你的经过告诉我,你怎样找到他的?”

格尔达和加伊两个人都把经过讲出来了。

“嘶——唏——嗤!”小强盗女孩说。于是她握着他们两人的手,同时答应说,如果她走过他们的城市,她一定会来拜访他们的。然后她就骑着马奔向茫茫的大世界里去了。格尔达和加伊手挽着手走。他们在路上所见到的是一个青枝绿叶、开满了花朵的美丽的春天。教堂的钟声响起来了,他们认出了那些教堂的尖塔和他们所住的那个大城市。他们走进城,一直走到祖母家的门口;他们爬上楼梯,走进房间——这儿一切东西都在原来的地方没有动。那个大钟在“滴答——滴答”地走,上面的针也在转动。不过当他们一走出门的时候,他们就发现自己已经长成大人了。水笕上的玫瑰花正在敞开的窗子面前盛开。这儿有好几张小孩坐的椅子。加伊和格尔达各自坐在自己的椅子上,互相握着手。他们像做了一场大梦一样,已经把白雪皇后那儿的寒冷和空洞的壮观全忘掉了。祖母坐在上帝的明朗的太阳光中,高声地念着《圣经》:“除非你成为一个孩子,你决计进入不了上帝的国度!”③

加伊和格尔达面对面地互相望着,立刻懂得了那首圣诗的意义——

山谷里玫瑰花长得丰茂,

那儿我们遇见圣婴耶稣。

他们两人坐在那儿,已经是成人了,但同时也是孩子——在心里还是孩子。这时正是夏天,暖和的、愉快的夏天。

①中国玩具,指七巧板、九连环等玩具。这里指的是七巧板。

②埃特纳火山(Etna)是意大利的西西里岛上的一座火山,主要喷火口海拔3323米。维苏威火山(Vesuvius)是意大利那不勒斯湾东边的一座火山,海拔1280米。两山的山坡上均种植葡萄及果树。

③《圣经·新约全书·马可福音》第十章第十五节是这样说的:“我实在告诉你们,凡要承受神国的,若不像小孩子,断不能进去。”

英文版:The Snow Queen

Story the First,

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 demon’s 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 person’s 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.

Second Story:

A Little Boy and a Little Girl

IN a large town, full of houses and people, there is not room for everybody to have even a little garden, therefore they are obliged to be satisfied with a few flowers in flower-pots. In one of these large towns lived two poor children who had a garden something larger and better than a few flower-pots. They were not brother and sister, but they loved each other almost as much as if they had been. Their parents lived opposite to each other in two garrets, where the roofs of neighboring houses projected out towards each other and the water-pipe ran between them. In each house was a

little window, so that any one could step across the gutter from one window to the other. The parents of these children had each a large wooden box in which they cultivated kitchen herbs for their own use, and a little rose-bush in each box, which grew splendidly. Now after a while the parents decided to place these two boxes across the water-pipe, so that they reached from one window to the other and looked like two banks of flowers. Sweet-peas drooped over the boxes, and the rose-bushes shot forth long branches, which were trained round the windows and clustered together almost like a triumphal arch of leaves and flowers. The boxes were very high, and the children knew they must not climb upon them, without permission, but they were often, however, allowed to step out together and sit upon their little stools under the rose-bushes, or play quietly. In winter all this pleasure came to an end, for the windows were sometimes quite frozen over. But then they would warm copper pennies on the stove, and hold the warm pennies against the frozen pane; there would be very soon a little round hole through which they could peep, and the soft bright eyes of the little boy and girl would beam through the hole at each window as they looked at each other. Their names were Kay and Gerda. In summer they could be together with one jump from the window, but in winter they had to go up and down the long staircase, and out through the snow before they could meet.

“See there are the white bees swarming,” said Kay’s old grandmother one day when it was snowing.

“Have they a queen bee?” asked the little boy, for he knew that the real bees had a queen.

“To be sure they have,” said the grandmother. “She is flying there where the swarm is thickest. She is the largest of them all, and never remains on the earth, but flies up to the dark clouds. Often at midnight she flies through the streets of the town, and looks in at the windows, then the ice freezes on the panes into wonderful shapes, that look like flowers and castles.”

“Yes, I have seen them,” said both the children, and they knew it must be true.

“Can the Snow Queen come in here?” asked the little girl.

“Only let her come,” said the boy, “I’ll set her on the stove and then she’ll melt.”

Then the grandmother smoothed his hair and told him some more tales. One evening, when little Kay was at home, half undressed, he climbed on a chair by the window and peeped out through the little hole. A few flakes of snow were falling, and one of them, rather larger than the rest, alighted on the edge of one of the flower boxes. This snow-flake grew larger and larger, till at last it became the figure of a woman, dressed in garments of white gauze, which looked like millions of starry snow-flakes linked together. She was fair and beautiful, but made of ice—shining and glittering ice. Still she was alive and her eyes sparkled like bright stars, but there was neither peace nor rest in their glance. She nodded towards the window and waved her hand. The little boy was frightened and sprang from the chair; at the same moment it seemed as if a large bird flew by the window. On the following day there was a clear frost, and very soon came the spring. The sun shone; the young green leaves burst forth; the swallows built their nests; windows were opened, and the children sat once more in the garden on the roof, high above all the other rooms. How beautiful the roses blossomed this summer. The little girl had learnt a hymn in which roses were spoken of, and then she thought of their own roses, and she sang the hymn to the little boy, and he sang too:—

“Roses bloom and cease to be,

But we shall the Christ-child see.”

Then the little ones held each other by the hand, and kissed the roses, and looked at the bright sunshine, and spoke to it as if the Christ-child were there. Those were splendid summer days. How beautiful and fresh it was out among the rose-bushes, which seemed as if they would never leave off blooming. One day Kay and Gerda sat looking at a book full of pictures of animals and birds, and then just as the clock in the church tower struck twelve, Kay said, “Oh, something has struck my heart!” and soon after, “There is something in my eye.”

The little girl put her arm round his neck, and looked into his eye, but she could see nothing.

“I think it is gone,” he said. But it was not gone; it was one of those bits of the looking-glass—that magic mirror, of which we have spoken—the ugly glass which made everything great and good appear small and ugly, while all that was wicked and bad became more visible, and every little fault could be plainly seen. Poor little Kay had also received a small grain in his heart, which very quickly turned to a lump of ice. He felt no more pain, but the glass was there still. “Why do you cry?” said he at last; “it makes you look ugly. There is nothing the matter with me now. Oh, see!” he cried suddenly, “that rose is worm-eaten, and this one is quite crooked. After all they are ugly roses, just like the box in which they stand,” and then he kicked the boxes with his foot, and pulled off the two roses.

“Kay, what are you doing?” cried the little girl; and then, when he saw how frightened she was, he tore off another rose, and jumped through his own window away from little Gerda.

When she afterwards brought out the picture book, he said, “It was only fit for babies in long clothes,” and when grandmother told any stories, he would interrupt her with “but;” or, when he could manage it, he would get behind her chair, put on a pair of spectacles, and imitate her very cleverly, to make people laugh. By-and-by he began to mimic the speech and gait of persons in the street. All that was peculiar or disagreeable in a person he would imitate directly, and people said, “That boy will be very clever; he has a remarkable genius.” But it was the piece of glass in his eye, and the coldness in his heart, that made him act like this. He would even tease little Gerda, who loved him with all her heart. His games, too, were quite different; they were not so childish. One winter’s day, when it snowed, he brought out a burning-glass, then he held out the tail of his blue coat, and let the snow-flakes fall upon it. “Look in this glass, Gerda,” said he; and she saw how every flake of snow was magnified, and looked like a beautiful flower or a glittering star. “Is it not clever?” said Kay, “and much more interesting than looking at real flowers. There is not a single fault in it, and the snow-flakes are quite perfect till they begin to melt.”

Soon after Kay made his appearance in large thick gloves, and with his sledge at his back. He called up stairs to Gerda, “I’ve got to leave to go into the great square, where the other boys play and ride.” And away he went.

In the great square, the boldest among the boys would often tie their sledges to the country people’s carts, and go with them a good way. This was capital. But while they were all amusing themselves, and Kay with them, a great sledge came by; it was painted white, and in it sat some one wrapped in a rough white fur, and wearing a white cap. The sledge drove twice round the square, and Kay fastened his own little sledge to it, so that when it went away, he followed with it. It went faster and faster right through the next street, and then the person who drove turned round and nodded pleasantly to Kay, just as if they were acquainted with each other, but whenever Kay wished to loosen his little sledge the driver nodded again, so Kay sat still, and they drove out through the town gate. Then the snow began to fall so heavily that the little boy could not see a hand’s breadth before him, but still they drove on; then he suddenly loosened the cord so that the large sled might go on without him, but it was of no use, his little carriage held fast, and away they went like the wind. Then he called out loudly, but nobody heard him, while the snow beat upon him, and the sledge flew onwards. Every now and then it gave a jump as if it were going over hedges and ditches. The boy was frightened, and tried to say a prayer, but he could remember nothing but the multiplication table.

The snow-flakes became larger and larger, till they appeared like great white chickens. All at once they sprang on one side, the great sledge stopped, and the person who had driven it rose up. The fur and the cap, which were made entirely of snow, fell off, and he saw a lady, tall and white, it was the Snow Queen.

“We have driven well,” said she, “but why do you tremble? here, creep into my warm fur.” Then she seated him beside her in the sledge, and as she wrapped the fur round him he felt as if he were sinking into a snow drift.

“Are you still cold,” she asked, as she kissed him on the forehead. The kiss was colder than ice; it went quite through to his heart, which was already almost a lump of ice; he felt as if he were going to die, but only for a moment; he soon seemed quite well again, and did not notice the cold around him.

“My sledge! don’t forget my sledge,” was his first thought, and then he looked and saw that it was bound fast to one of the white chickens, which flew behind him with the sledge at its back. The Snow Queen kissed little Kay again, and by this time he had forgotten little Gerda, his grandmother, and all at home.

“Now you must have no more kisses,” she said, “or I should kiss you to death.”

Kay looked at her, and saw that she was so beautiful, he could not imagine a more lovely and intelligent face; she did not now seem to be made of ice, as when he had seen her through his window, and she had nodded to him. In his eyes she was perfect, and she did not feel at all afraid. He told her he could do mental arithmetic, as far as fractions, and that he knew the number of square miles and the number of inhabitants in the country. And she always smiled so that he thought he did not know enough yet, and she looked round the vast expanse as she flew higher and higher with him upon a black cloud, while the storm blew and howled as if it were singing old songs. They flew over woods and lakes, over sea and land; below them roared the wild wind; the wolves howled and the snow crackled; over them flew the black screaming crows, and above all shone the moon, clear and bright,—and so Kay passed through the long winter’s night, and by day he slept at the feet of the Snow Queen.

Third Story:

The Flower Garden of the Woman Who Could Conjure

BUT how fared little Gerda during Kay’s absence? What had become of him, no one knew, nor could any one give the slightest information, excepting the boys, who said that he had tied his sledge to another very large one, which had driven through the street, and out at the town gate. Nobody knew where it went; many tears were shed for him, and little Gerda wept bitterly for a long time. She said she knew he must be dead; that he was drowned in the river which flowed close by the school. Oh, indeed those long winter days were very dreary. But at last spring came, with warm sunshine. “Kay is dead and gone,” said little Gerda.

“I don’t believe it,” said the sunshine.

“He is dead and gone,” she said to the sparrows.

“We don’t believe it,” they replied; and at last little Gerda began to doubt it herself. “I will put on my new red shoes,” she said one morning, “those that Kay has never seen, and then I will go down to the river, and ask for him.” It was quite early when she kissed her old grandmother, who was still asleep; then she put on her red shoes, and went quite alone out of the town gates toward the river. “Is it true that you have taken my little playmate away from me?” said she to the river. “I will give you my red shoes if you will give him back to me.” And it seemed as if the waves nodded to her in a strange manner. Then she took off her red shoes, which she liked better than anything else, and threw them both into the river, but they fell near the bank, and the little waves carried them back to the land, just as if the river would not take from her what she loved best, because they could not give her back little Kay.

But she thought the shoes had not been thrown out far enough. Then she crept into a boat that lay among the reeds, and threw the shoes again from the farther end of the boat into the water, but it was not fastened. And her movement sent it gliding away from the land. When she saw this she hastened to reach the end of the boat, but before she could so it was more than a yard from the bank, and drifting away faster than ever. Then 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 by the shore, and sang, as if to comfort her, “Here we are! Here we are!” The boat floated with the stream; little Gerda sat quite still with only her stockings on her feet; the red shoes floated after her, but she could not reach them because the boat kept so much in advance. The banks on each side of the river were very pretty. There were beautiful flowers, old trees, sloping fields, in which cows and sheep were grazing, but not a man to be seen. Perhaps the river will carry me to little Kay, thought Gerda, and then she became more cheerful, and raised her head, and looked at the beautiful green banks; and so the boat sailed on for hours. At length she came to a large cherry orchard, in which stood a small red house with strange red and blue windows. It had also a thatched roof, and outside were two wooden soldiers, that presented arms to her as she sailed past. Gerda called out to them, for she thought they were alive, but of course they did not answer; and as the boat drifted nearer to the shore, she saw what they really were. Then Gerda called still louder, and there came a very old woman out of the house, leaning on a crutch. She wore a large hat to shade her from the sun, and on it were painted all sorts of pretty flowers. “You poor little child,” said the old woman, “how did you manage to come all this distance into the wide world on such a rapid rolling stream?” And then the old woman walked in the water, seized the boat with her crutch, drew it to land, and lifted Gerda out. And Gerda was glad to feel herself on dry ground, although she was rather afraid of the strange old woman. “Come and tell me who you are,” said she, “and how came you here.”

Then Gerda told her everything, while the old woman shook her head, and said, “Hem-hem;” and when she had finished, Gerda asked if she had not seen little Kay, and the old woman told her he had not passed by that way, but he very likely would come. So she told Gerda not to be sorrowful, but to taste the cherries and look at the flowers; they were better than any picture-book, for each of them could tell a story. Then she took Gerda by the hand and led her into the little house, and the old woman closed the door. The windows were very high, and as the panes were red, blue, and yellow, the daylight shone through them in all sorts of singular colors. On the table stood beautiful cherries, and Gerda had permission to eat as many as she would. While she was eating them the old woman combed out her long flaxen ringlets with a golden comb, and the glossy curls hung down on each side of the little round pleasant face, which looked fresh and blooming as a rose. “I have long been wishing for a dear little maiden like you,” said the old woman, “and now you must stay with me, and see how happily we shall live together.” And while she went on combing little Gerda’s hair, she thought less and less about her adopted brother Kay, for the old woman could conjure, although she was not a wicked witch; she conjured only a little for her own amusement, and now, because she wanted to keep Gerda. Therefore she went into the garden, and stretched out her crutch towards all the rose-trees, beautiful though they were; and they immediately sunk into the dark earth, so that no one could tell where they had once stood. The old woman was afraid that if little Gerda saw roses she would think of those at home, and then remember little Kay, and run away. Then she took Gerda into the flower-garden. How fragrant and beautiful it was! Every flower that could be thought of for every season of the year was here in full bloom; no picture-book could have more beautiful colors. Gerda jumped for joy, and played till the sun went down behind the tall cherry-trees; then she slept in an elegant bed with red silk pillows, embroidered with colored violets; and then she dreamed as pleasantly as a queen on her wedding day. The next day, and for many days after, Gerda played with the flowers in the warm sunshine. She knew every flower, and yet, although there were so many of them, it seemed as if one were missing, but which it was she could not tell. One day, however, as she sat looking at the old woman’s hat with the painted flowers on it, she saw that the prettiest of them all was a rose. The old woman had forgotten to take it from her hat when she made all the roses sink into the earth. But it is difficult to keep the thoughts together in everything; one little mistake upsets all our arrangements.

“What, are there no roses here?” cried Gerda; and she ran out into the garden, and examined all the beds, and searched and searched. There was not one to be found. Then she sat down and wept, and her tears fell just on the place where one of the rose-trees had sunk down. The warm tears moistened the earth, and the rose-tree sprouted up at once, as blooming as when it had sunk; and Gerda embraced it and kissed the roses, and thought of the beautiful roses at home, and, with them, of little Kay.

“Oh, how I have been detained!” said the little maiden, “I wanted to seek for little Kay. Do you know where he is?” she asked the roses; “do you think he is dead?”

And the roses answered, “No, he is not dead. We have been in the ground where all the dead lie; but Kay is not there.”

“Thank you,” said little Gerda, and then she went to the other flowers, and looked into their little cups, and asked, “Do you know where little Kay is?” But each flower, as it stood in the sunshine, dreamed only of its own little fairy tale of history. Not one knew anything of Kay. Gerda heard many stories from the flowers, as she asked them one after another about him.

And what, said the tiger-lily? “Hark, do you hear the drum?— ‘turn, turn,’—there are only two notes, always, ‘turn, turn.’ Listen to the women’s song of mourning! Hear the cry of the priest! In her long red robe stands the Hindoo widow by the funeral pile. The flames rise around her as she places herself on the dead body of her husband; but the Hindoo woman is thinking of the living one in that circle; of him, her son, who lighted those flames. Those shining eyes trouble her heart more painfully than the flames which will soon consume her body to ashes. Can the fire of the heart be extinguished in the flames of the funeral pile?”

“I don’t understand that at all,” said little Gerda.

“That is my story,” said the tiger-lily.

What, says the convolvulus? “Near yonder narrow road stands an old knight’s castle; thick ivy creeps over the old ruined walls, leaf over leaf, even to the balcony, in which stands a beautiful maiden. She bends over the balustrades, and looks up the road. No rose on its stem is fresher than she; no apple-blossom, wafted by the wind, floats more lightly than she moves. Her rich silk rustles as she bends over and exclaims, ‘Will he not come?’

“Is it Kay you mean?” asked Gerda.

“I am only speaking of a story of my dream,” replied the flower.

What, said the little snow-drop? “Between two trees a rope is hanging; there is a piece of board upon it; it is a swing. Two pretty little girls, in dresses white as snow, and with long green ribbons fluttering from their hats, are sitting upon it swinging. Their brother who is taller than they are, stands in the swing; he has one arm round the rope, to steady himself; in one hand he holds a little bowl, and in the other a clay pipe; he is blowing bubbles. As the swing goes on, the bubbles fly upward, reflecting the most beautiful varying colors. The last still hangs from the bowl of the pipe, and sways in the wind. On goes the swing; and then a little black dog comes running up. He is almost as light as the bubble, and he raises himself on his hind legs, and wants to be taken into the swing; but it does not stop, and the dog falls; then he barks and gets angry. The children stoop towards him, and the bubble bursts. A swinging plank, a light sparkling foam picture,—that is my story.”

“It may be all very pretty what you are telling me,” said little Gerda, “but you speak so mournfully, and you do not mention little Kay at all.”

What do the hyacinths say? “There were three beautiful sisters, fair and delicate. The dress of one was red, of the second blue, and of the third pure white. Hand in hand they danced in the bright moonlight, by the calm lake; but they were human beings, not fairy elves. The sweet fragrance attracted them, and they disappeared in the wood; here the fragrance became stronger. Three coffins, in which lay the three beautiful maidens, glided from the thickest part of the forest across the lake. The fire-flies flew lightly over them, like little floating torches. Do the dancing maidens sleep, or are they dead? The scent of the flower says that they are corpses. The evening bell tolls their knell.”

“You make me quite sorrowful,” said little Gerda; “your perfume is so strong, you make me think of the dead maidens. Ah! is little Kay really dead then? The roses have been in the earth, and they say no.”

“Cling, clang,” tolled the hyacinth bells. “We are not tolling for little Kay; we do not know him. We sing our song, the only one we know.”

Then Gerda went to the buttercups that were glittering amongst the bright green leaves.

“You are little bright suns,” said Gerda; “tell me if you know where I can find my play-fellow.”

And the buttercups sparkled gayly, and looked again at Gerda. What song could the buttercups sing? It was not about Kay.

“The bright warm sun shone on a little court, on the first warm day of spring. His bright beams rested on the white walls of the neighboring house; and close by bloomed the first yellow flower of the season, glittering like gold in the sun’s warm ray. An old woman sat in her arm chair at the house door, and her granddaughter, a poor and pretty servant-maid came to see her for a short visit. When she kissed her grandmother there was gold everywhere: the gold of the heart in that holy kiss; it was a golden morning; there was gold in the beaming sunlight, gold in the leaves of the lowly flower, and on the lips of the maiden. There, that is my story,” said the buttercup.

“My poor old grandmother!” sighed Gerda; “she is longing to see me, and grieving for me as she did for little Kay; but I shall soon go home now, and take little Kay with me. It is no use asking the flowers; they know only their own songs, and can give me no information.”

And then she tucked up her little dress, that she might run faster, but the narcissus caught her by the leg as she was jumping over it; so she stopped and looked at the tall yellow flower, and said, “Perhaps you may know something.”

Then she stooped down quite close to the flower, and listened; and what did he say?

“I can see myself, I can see myself,” said the narcissus. “Oh, how sweet is my perfume! Up in a little room with a bow window, stands a little dancing girl, half undressed; she stands sometimes on one leg, and sometimes on both, and looks as if she would tread the whole world under her feet. She is nothing but a delusion. She is pouring water out of a tea-pot on a piece of stuff which she holds in her hand; it is her bodice. ‘Cleanliness is a good thing,’ she says. Her white dress hangs on a peg; it has also been washed in the tea-pot, and dried on the roof. She puts it on, and ties a saffron-colored handkerchief round her neck, which makes the dress look whiter. See how she stretches out her legs, as if she were showing off on a stem. I can see myself, I can see myself.”

“What do I care for all that,” said Gerda, “you need not tell me such stuff.” And then she ran to the other end of the garden. The door was fastened, but she pressed against the rusty latch, and it gave way. The door sprang open, and little Gerda ran out with bare feet into the wide world. She looked back three times, but no one seemed to be following her. At last she could run no longer, so she sat down to rest on a great stone, and when she looked round she saw that the summer was over, and autumn very far advanced. She had known nothing of this in the beautiful garden, where the sun shone and the flowers grew all the year round.

“Oh, how I have wasted my time?” said little Gerda; “it is autumn. I must not rest any longer,” and she rose up to go on. But her little feet were wounded and sore, and everything around her looked so cold and bleak. The long willow-leaves were quite yellow. The dew-drops fell like water, leaf after leaf dropped from the trees, the sloe-thorn alone still bore fruit, but the sloes were sour, and set the teeth on edge. Oh, how dark and weary the whole world appeared!

Fourth Story:

The Prince and Princess

GERDA was obliged to rest again, and just opposite the place where she sat, she saw a great crow come hopping across the snow toward her. He stood looking at her for some time, and then he wagged his head and said, “Caw, caw; good-day, good-day.” He pronounced the words as plainly as he could, because he meant to be kind to the little girl; and then he asked her where she was going all alone in the wide world.

The word alone Gerda understood very well, and knew how much it expressed. So then she told the crow the whole story of her life and adventures, and asked him if he had seen little Kay.

The crow nodded his head very gravely, and said, “Perhaps I have—it may be.”

“No! Do you think you have?” cried little Gerda, and she kissed the crow, and hugged him almost to death with joy.

“Gently, gently,” said the crow. “I believe I know. I think it may be little Kay; but he has certainly forgotten you by this time for the princess.”

“Does he live with a princess?” asked Gerda.

“Yes, listen,” replied the crow, “but it is so difficult to speak your language. If you understand the crows’ language1 then I can explain it better. Do you?”

“No, I have never learnt it,” said Gerda, “but my grandmother understands it, and used to speak it to me. I wish I had learnt it.”

“It does not matter,” answered the crow; “I will explain as well as I can, although it will be very badly done;” and he told her what he had heard. “In this kingdom where we now are,” said he, “there lives a princess, who is so wonderfully clever that she has read all the newspapers in the world, and forgotten them too, although she is so clever. A short time ago, as she was sitting on her throne, which people say is not such an agreeable seat as is often supposed, she began to sing a song which commences in these words:

‘Why should I not be married?’

‘Why not indeed?’ said she, and so she determined to marry if she could find a husband who knew what to say when he was spoken to, and not one who could only look grand, for that was so tiresome. Then she assembled all her court ladies together at the beat of the drum, and when they heard of her intentions they were very much pleased. ‘We are so glad to hear it,’ said they, ‘we were talking about it ourselves the other day.’ You may believe that every word I tell you is true,” said the crow, “for I have a tame sweetheart who goes freely about the palace, and she told me all this.”

Of course his sweetheart was a crow, for “birds of a feather flock together,” and one crow always chooses another crow.

“Newspapers were published immediately, with a border of hearts, and the initials of the princess among them. They gave notice that every young man who was handsome was free to visit the castle and speak with the princess; and those who could reply loud enough to be heard when spoken to, were to make themselves quite at home at the palace; but the one who spoke best would be chosen as a husband for the princess. Yes, yes, you may believe me, it is all as true as I sit here,” said the crow. “The people came in crowds. There was a great deal of crushing and running about, but no one succeeded either on the first or second day. They could all speak very well while they were outside in the streets, but when they entered the palace gates, and saw the guards in silver uniforms, and the footmen in their golden livery on the staircase, and the great halls lighted up, they became quite confused. And when they stood before the throne on which the princess sat, they could do nothing but repeat the last words she had said; and she had no particular wish to hear her own words over again. It was just as if they had all taken something to make them sleepy while they were in the palace, for they did not recover themselves nor speak till they got back again into the street. There was quite a long line of them reaching from the town-gate to the palace. I went myself to see them,” said the crow. “They were hungry and thirsty, for at the palace they did not get even a glass of water. Some of the wisest had taken a few slices of bread and butter with them, but they did not share it with their neighbors; they thought if they went in to the princess looking hungry, there would be a better chance for themselves.”

“But Kay! tell me about little Kay!” said Gerda, “was he amongst the crowd?”

“Stop a bit, we are just coming to him. It was on the third day, there came marching cheerfully along to the palace a little personage, without horses or carriage, his eyes sparkling like yours; he had beautiful long hair, but his clothes were very poor.”

“That was Kay!” said Gerda joyfully. “Oh, then I have found him;” and she clapped her hands.

“He had a little knapsack on his back,” added the crow.

“No, it must have been his sledge,” said Gerda; “for he went away with it.”

“It may have been so,” said the crow; “I did not look at it very closely. But I know from my tame sweetheart that he passed through the palace gates, saw the guards in their silver uniform, and the servants in their liveries of gold on the stairs, but he was not in the least embarrassed. ‘It must be very tiresome to stand on the stairs,’ he said. ‘I prefer to go in.’ The rooms were blazing with light. Councillors and ambassadors walked about with bare feet, carrying golden vessels; it was enough to make any one feel serious. His boots creaked loudly as he walked, and yet he was not at all uneasy.”

“It must be Kay,” said Gerda, “I know he had new boots on, I have heard them creak in grandmother’s room.”

“They really did creak,” said the crow, “yet he went boldly up to the princess herself, who was sitting on a pearl as large as a spinning wheel, and all the ladies of the court were present with their maids, and all the cavaliers with their servants; and each of the maids had another maid to wait upon her, and the cavaliers’ servants had their own servants, as well as a page each. They all stood in circles round the princess, and the nearer they stood to the door, the prouder they looked. The servants’ pages, who always wore slippers, could hardly be looked at, they held themselves up so proudly by the door.”

“It must be quite awful,” said little Gerda, “but did Kay win the princess?”

“If I had not been a crow,” said he, “I would have married her myself, although I am engaged. He spoke just as well as I do, when I speak the crows’ language, so I heard from my tame sweetheart. He was quite free and agreeable and said he had not come to woo the princess, but to hear her wisdom; and he was as pleased with her as she was with him.”

“Oh, certainly that was Kay,” said Gerda, “he was so clever; he could work mental arithmetic and fractions. Oh, will you take me to the palace?”

“It is very easy to ask that,” replied the crow, “but how are we to manage it? However, I will speak about it to my tame sweetheart, and ask her advice; for I must tell you it will be very difficult to gain permission for a little girl like you to enter the palace.”

“Oh, yes; but I shall gain permission easily,” said Gerda, “for when Kay hears that I am here, he will come out and fetch me in immediately.”

“Wait for me here by the palings,” said the crow, wagging his head as he flew away.

It was late in the evening before the crow returned. “Caw, caw,” he said, “she sends you greeting, and here is a little roll which she took from the kitchen for you; there is plenty of bread there, and she thinks you must be hungry. It is not possible for you to enter the palace by the front entrance. The guards in silver uniform and the servants in gold livery would not allow it. But do not cry, we will manage to get you in; my sweetheart knows a little back-staircase that leads to the sleeping apartments, and she knows where to find the key.”

Then they went into the garden through the great avenue, where the leaves were falling one after another, and they could see the light in the palace being put out in the same manner. And the crow led little Gerda to the back door, which stood ajar. Oh! how little Gerda’s heart beat with anxiety and longing; it was just as if she were going to do something wrong, and yet she only wanted to know where little Kay was. “It must be he,” she thought, “with those clear eyes, and that long hair.” She could fancy she saw him smiling at her, as he used to at home, when they sat among the roses. He would certainly be glad to see her, and to hear what a long distance she had come for his sake, and to know how sorry they had been at home because he did not come back. Oh what joy and yet fear she felt! They were now on the stairs, and in a small closet at the top a lamp was burning. In the middle of the floor stood the tame crow, turning her head from side to side, and gazing at Gerda, who curtseyed as her grandmother had taught her to do.

“My betrothed has spoken so very highly of you, my little lady,” said the tame crow, “your life-history, Vita, as it may be called, is very touching. If you will take the lamp I will walk before you. We will go straight along this way, then we shall meet no one.”

“It seems to me as if somebody were behind us,” said Gerda, as something rushed by her like a shadow on the wall, and then horses with flying manes and thin legs, hunters, ladies and gentlemen on horseback, glided by her, like shadows on the wall.

“They are only dreams,” said the crow, “they are coming to fetch the thoughts of the great people out hunting.”

“All the better, for we shall be able to look at them in their beds more safely. I hope that when you rise to honor and favor, you will show a grateful heart.”

“You may be quite sure of that,” said the crow from the forest.

They now came into the first hall, the walls of which were hung with rose-colored satin, embroidered with artificial flowers. Here the dreams again flitted by them but so quickly that Gerda could not distinguish the royal persons. Each hall appeared more splendid than the last, it was enought to bewilder any one. At length they reached a bedroom. The ceiling was like a great palm-tree, with glass leaves of the most costly crystal, and over the centre of the floor two beds, each resembling a lily, hung from a stem of gold. One, in which the princess lay, was white, the other was red; and in this

Gerda had to seek for little Kay. She pushed one of the red leaves aside, and saw a little brown neck. Oh, that must be Kay! She called his name out quite loud, and held the lamp over him. The dreams rushed back into the room on horseback. He woke, and turned his head round, it was not little Kay! The prince was only like him in the neck, still he was young and pretty. Then the princess peeped out of her white-lily bed, and asked what was the matter. Then little Gerda wept and told her story, and all that the crows had done to help her.

“You poor child,” said the prince and princess; then they praised the crows, and said they were not angry for what they had done, but that it must not happen again, and this time they should be rewarded.

“Would you like to have your freedom?” asked the princess, “or would you prefer to be raised to the position of court crows, with all that is left in the kitchen for yourselves?”

Then both the crows bowed, and begged to have a fixed appointment, for they thought of their old age, and said it would be so comfortable to feel that they had provision for their old days, as they called it. And then the prince got out of his bed, and gave it up to Gerda,—he could do no more; and she lay down. She folded her little hands, and thought, “How good everyone is to me, men and animals too;” then she closed her eyes and fell into a sweet sleep. All the dreams came flying back again to her, and they looked like angels, and one of them drew a little sledge, on which sat Kay, and nodded to her. But all this was only a dream, and vanished as soon as she awoke.

The following day she was dressed from head to foot in silk and velvet, and they invited her to stay at the palace for a few days, and enjoy herself, but she only begged for a pair of boots, and a little carriage, and a horse to draw it, so that she might go into the wide world to seek for Kay. And she obtained, not only boots, but also a muff, and she was neatly dressed; and when she was ready to go, there, at the door, she found a coach made of pure gold, with the coat-of-arms of the prince and princess shining upon it like a star, and the coachman, footman, and outriders all wearing golden crowns on their heads. The prince and princess themselves helped her into the coach, and wished her success. The forest crow, who was now married, accompanied her for the first three miles; he sat by Gerda’s side, as he could not bear riding backwards. The tame crow stood in the door-way flapping her wings. She could not go with them, because she had been suffering from headache ever since the new appointment, no doubt from eating too much. The coach was well stored with sweet cakes, and under the seat were fruit and gingerbread nuts. “Farewell, farewell,” cried the prince and princess, and little Gerda wept, and the crow wept; and then, after a few miles, the crow also said “Farewell,” and this was the saddest parting. However, he flew to a tree, and stood flapping his black wings as long as he could see the coach, which glittered in the bright sunshine.

Fifth Story:

Little Robber-Girl

THE coach drove on through a thick forest, where it lighted up the way like a torch, and dazzled the eyes of some robbers, who could not bear to let it pass them unmolested.

“It is gold! it is gold!” cried they, rushing forward, and seizing the horses. Then they struck the little jockeys, the coachman, and the footman dead, and pulled little Gerda out of the carriage.

“She is fat and pretty, and she has been fed with the kernels of nuts,” said the old robber-woman, who had a long beard and eyebrows that hung over her eyes. “She is as good as a little lamb; how

nice she will taste!” and as she said this, she drew forth a shining knife, that glittered horribly. “Oh!” screamed the old woman the same moment; for her own daughter, who held her back, had bitten her in the ear. She was a wild and naughty girl, and the mother called her an ugly thing, and had not time to kill Gerda.

“She shall play with me,” said the little robber-girl; “she shall give me her muff and her pretty dress, and sleep with me in my bed.” And then she bit her mother again, and made her spring in the air, and jump about; and all the robbers laughed, and said, “See how she is dancing with her young cub.”

“I will have a ride in the coach,” said the little robber-girl; and she would have her own way; for she was so self-willed and obstinate.

She and Gerda seated themselves in the coach, and drove away, over stumps and stones, into the depths of the forest. The little robber-girl was about the same size as Gerda, but stronger; she had broader shoulders and a darker skin; her eyes were quite black, and she had a mournful look. She clasped little Gerda round the waist, and said,—

“They shall not kill you as long as you don’t make us vexed with you. I suppose you are a princess.”

“No,” said Gerda; and then she told her all her history, and how fond she was of little Kay.

The robber-girl looked earnestly at her, nodded her head slightly, and said, “They sha’nt kill you, even if I do get angry with you; for I will do it myself.” And then she wiped Gerda’s eyes, and stuck her own hands in the beautiful muff which was so soft and warm.

The coach stopped in the courtyard of a robber’s castle, the walls of which were cracked from top to bottom. Ravens and crows flew in and out of the holes and crevices, while great bulldogs, either of which looked as if it could swallow a man, were jumping about; but they were not allowed to bark. In the large and smoky hall a bright fire was burning on the stone floor. There was no chimney; so the smoke went up to the ceiling, and found a way out for itself. Soup was boiling in a large cauldron, and hares and rabbits were roasting on the spit.

“You shall sleep with me and all my little animals to-night,” said the robber-girl, after they had had something to eat and drink. So she took Gerda to a corner of the hall, where some straw and carpets were laid down. Above them, on laths and perches, were more than a hundred pigeons, who all seemed to be asleep, although they moved slightly when the two little girls came near them. “These all belong to me,” said the robber-girl; and she seized the nearest to her, held it by the feet, and shook it till it flapped its wings. “Kiss it,” cried she, flapping it in Gerda’s face. “There sit the wood-pigeons,” continued she, pointing to a number of laths and a cage which had been fixed into the walls, near one of the openings. “Both rascals would fly away directly, if they were not closely locked up. And here is my old sweetheart ‘Ba;’” and she dragged out a reindeer by the horn; he wore a bright copper ring round his neck, and was tied up. “We are obliged to hold him tight too, or else he would run away from us also. I tickle his neck every evening with my sharp knife, which frightens him very much.” And then the robber-girl drew a long knife from a chink in the wall, and let it slide gently over the reindeer’s neck. The poor animal began to kick, and the little robber-girl laughed, and pulled down Gerda into bed with her.

“Will you have that knife with you while you are asleep?” asked Gerda, looking at it in great fright.

“I always sleep with the knife by me,” said the robber-girl. “No one knows what may happen. But now tell me again all about little Kay, and why you went out into the world.”

Then Gerda repeated her story over again, while the wood-pigeons in the cage over her cooed, and the other pigeons slept. The little robber-girl put one arm across Gerda’s neck, and held the knife in the other, and was soon fast asleep and snoring. But Gerda could not close her eyes at all; she knew not whether she was to live or die. The robbers sat round the fire, singing and drinking, and the old woman stumbled about. It was a terrible sight for a little girl to witness.

Then the wood-pigeons said, “Coo, coo; we have seen little Kay. A white fowl carried his sledge, and he sat in the carriage of the Snow Queen, which drove through the wood while we were lying in our nest. She blew upon us, and all the young ones died excepting us two. Coo, coo.”

“What are you saying up there?” cried Gerda. “Where was the Snow Queen going? Do you know anything about it?”

“She was most likely travelling to Lapland, where there is always snow and ice. Ask the reindeer that is fastened up there with a rope.”

“Yes, there is always snow and ice,” said the reindeer; “and it is a glorious place; you can leap and run about freely on the sparkling ice plains. The Snow Queen has her summer tent there, but her strong castle is at the North Pole, on an island called Spitzbergen.”

“Oh, Kay, little Kay!” sighed Gerda.

“Lie still,” said the robber-girl, “or I shall run my knife into your body.”

In the morning Gerda told her all that the wood-pigeons had said; and the little robber-girl looked quite serious, and nodded her head, and said, “That is all talk, that is all talk. Do you know where Lapland is?” she asked the reindeer.

“Who should know better than I do?” said the animal, while his eyes sparkled. “I was born and brought up there, and used to run about the snow-covered plains.”

“Now listen,” said the robber-girl; “all our men are gone away,— only mother is here, and here she will stay; but at noon she always drinks out of a great bottle, and afterwards sleeps for a little while; and then, I’ll do something for you.” Then she jumped out of bed, clasped her mother round the neck, and pulled her by the beard, crying, “My own little nanny goat, good morning.” Then her mother filliped her nose till it was quite red; yet she did it all for love.

When the mother had drunk out of the bottle, and was gone to sleep, the little robber-maiden went to the reindeer, and said, “I should like very much to tickle your neck a few times more with my knife, for it makes you look so funny; but never mind,—I will untie your cord, and set you free, so that you may run away to Lapland; but you must make good use of your legs, and carry this little maiden to the castle of the Snow Queen, where her play-fellow is. You have heard what she told me, for she spoke loud enough, and you were listening.”

Then the reindeer jumped for joy; and the little robber-girl lifted Gerda on his back, and had the forethought to tie her on, and even to give her her own little cushion to sit on.

“Here are your fur boots for you,” said she; “for it will be very cold; but I must keep the muff; it is so pretty. However, you shall not be frozen for the want of it; here are my mother’s large warm mittens; they will reach up to your elbows. Let me put them on. There, now your hands look just like my mother’s.”

But Gerda wept for joy.

“I don’t like to see you fret,” said the little robber-girl; “you ought to look quite happy now; and here are two loaves and a ham, so that you need not starve.” These were fastened on the reindeer, and then the little robber-maiden opened the door, coaxed in all the great dogs, and then cut the string with which the reindeer was fastened, with her sharp knife, and said, “Now run, but mind you take good care of the little girl.” And then Gerda stretched out her hand, with the great mitten on it, towards the little robber-girl, and said, “Farewell,” and away flew the reindeer, over stumps and stones, through the great forest, over marshes and plains, as quickly as he could. The wolves howled, and the ravens screamed; while up in the sky quivered red lights like flames of fire. “There are my old northern lights,” said the reindeer; “see how they flash.” And he ran on day and night still faster and faster, but the loaves and the ham were all eaten by the time they reached Lapland.

Sixth Story:

The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

THEY stopped at a little hut; it was very mean looking; the roof sloped nearly down to the ground, and the door was so low that the family had to creep in on their hands and knees, when they went in and out. There was no one at home but an old Lapland woman, who was cooking fish by the light of a train-oil lamp. The reindeer told her all about Gerda’s story, after having first told his own, which seemed to him the most important, but Gerda was so pinched with the cold that she could not speak. “Oh, you

poor things,” said the Lapland woman, “you have a long way to go yet. You must travel more than a hundred miles farther, to Finland. The Snow Queen lives there now, and she burns Bengal lights every evening. I will write a few words on a dried stock-fish, for I have no paper, and you can take it from me to the Finland woman who lives there; she can give you better information than I can.” So when Gerda was warmed, and had taken something to eat and drink, the woman wrote a few words on the dried fish, and told Gerda to take great care of it. Then she tied her again on the reindeer, and he set off at full speed. Flash, flash, went the beautiful blue northern lights in the air the whole night long. And at length they reached Finland, and knocked at the chimney of the Finland woman’s hut, for it had no door above the ground. They crept in, but it was so terribly hot inside that that woman wore scarcely any clothes; she was small and very dirty looking. She loosened little Gerda’s dress, and took off the fur boots and the mittens, or Gerda would have been unable to bear the heat; and then she placed a piece of ice on the reindeer’s head, and read what was written on the dried fish. After she had read it three times, she knew it by heart, so she popped the fish into the soup saucepan, as she knew it was good to eat, and she never wasted anything. The reindeer told his own story first, and then little Gerda’s, and the Finlander twinkled with her clever eyes, but she said nothing. “You are so clever,” said the reindeer; “I know you can tie all the winds of the world with a piece of twine. If a sailor unties one knot, he has a fair wind; when he unties the second, it blows hard; but if the third and fourth are loosened, then comes a storm, which will root up whole forests. Cannot you give this little maiden something which will make her as strong as twelve men, to overcome the Snow Queen?”

“The Power of twelve men!” said the Finland woman; “that would be of very little use.” But she went to a shelf and took down and unrolled a large skin, on which were inscribed wonderful characters, and she read till the perspiration ran down from her forehead. But the reindeer begged so hard for little Gerda, and Gerda looked at the Finland woman with such beseeching tearful eyes, that her own eyes began to twinkle again; so she drew the reindeer into a corner, and whispered to him while she laid a fresh piece of ice on his head, “Little Kay is really with the Snow Queen, but he finds everything there so much to his taste and his liking, that he believes it is the finest place in the world; but this is because he has a piece of broken glass in his heart, and a little piece of glass in his eye. These must be taken out, or he will never be a human being again, and the Snow Queen will retain her power over him.”

“But can you not give little Gerda something to help her to conquer this power?”

“I can give her no greater power than she has already,” said the woman; “don’t you see how strong that is? How men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how well she has got through the world, barefooted as she is. She cannot receive any power from me greater than she now has, which consists in her own purity and innocence of heart. If she cannot herself obtain access to the Snow Queen, and remove the glass fragments from little Kay, we can do nothing to help her. Two miles from here the Snow Queen’s garden begins; you can carry the little girl so far, and set her down by the large bush which stands in the snow, covered with red berries. Do not stay gossiping, but come back here as quickly as you can.” Then the Finland woman lifted little Gerda upon the reindeer, and he ran away with her as quickly as he could.

“Oh, I have forgotten my boots and my mittens,” cried little Gerda, as soon as she felt the cutting cold, but the reindeer dared not stop, so he ran on till he reached the bush with the red berries; here he set Gerda down, and he kissed her, and the great bright tears trickled over the animal’s cheeks; then he left her and ran back as fast as he could.

There stood poor Gerda, without shoes, without gloves, in the midst of cold, dreary, ice-bound Finland. She ran forwards as quickly as she could, when a whole regiment of snow-flakes came round her; they did not, however, fall from the sky, which was quite clear and glittering with the northern lights. The snow-flakes ran along the ground, and the nearer they came to her, the larger they appeared. Gerda remembered how large and beautiful they looked through the burning-glass. But these were really larger, and much more terrible, for they were alive, and were the guards of the Snow Queen, and had the strangest shapes. Some were like great porcupines, others like twisted serpents with their heads stretching out, and some few were like little fat bears with their hair bristled; but all were dazzlingly white, and all were living snow-flakes. Then little Gerda repeated the Lord’s Prayer, and the cold was so great that she could see her own breath come out of her mouth like steam as she uttered the words. The steam appeared to increase, as she continued her prayer, till it took the shape of little angels who grew larger the moment they touched the earth. They all wore helmets on their heads, and carried spears and shields. Their number continued to increase more and more; and by the time Gerda had finished her prayers, a whole legion stood round her. They thrust their spears into the terrible snow-flakes, so that they shivered into a hundred pieces, and little Gerda could go forward with courage and safety. The angels stroked her hands and feet, so that she felt the cold less, and she hastened on to the Snow Queen’s castle.

But now we must see what Kay is doing. In truth he thought not of little Gerda, and never supposed she could be standing in the front of the palace.

Seventh Story:

Of the Palace of the Snow Queen and What Happened There At Last

THE walls of the palace were formed of drifted snow, and the windows and doors of the cutting winds. There were more than a hundred rooms in it, all as if they had been formed with snow blown together. The largest of them extended for several miles; they were all lighted up by the vivid light of the aurora, and they were so large and empty, so icy cold and glittering! There were no amusements here, not even a little bear’s ball, when the storm might have been the music, and the bears could have danced on their hind legs, and shown their good manners. There were no pleasant games of snap-dragon, or touch, or even a gossip over the tea-table, for the young-lady foxes. Empty, vast, and cold were the halls of the Snow Queen. The

flickering flame of the northern lights could be plainly seen, whether they rose high or low in the heavens, from every part of the castle. In the midst of its empty, endless hall of snow was a frozen lake, broken on its surface into a thousand forms; each piece resembled another, from being in itself perfect as a work of art, and in the centre of this lake sat the Snow Queen, when she was at home. She called the lake “The Mirror of Reason,” and said that it was the best, and indeed the only one in the world.

Little Kay was quite blue with cold, indeed almost black, but he did not feel it; for the Snow Queen had kissed away the icy shiverings, and his heart was already a lump of ice. He dragged some sharp, flat pieces of ice to and fro, and placed them together in all kinds of positions, as if he wished to make something out of them; just as we try to form various figures with little tablets of wood which we call “a Chinese puzzle.” Kay’s fingers were very artistic; it was the icy game of reason at which he played, and in his eyes the figures were very remarkable, and of the highest importance; this opinion was owing to the piece of glass still sticking in his eye. He composed many complete figures, forming different words, but there was one word he never could manage to form, although he wished it very much. It was the word “Eternity.” The Snow Queen had said to him, “When you can find out this, you shall be your own master, and I will give you the whole world and a new pair of skates.” But he could not accomplish it.

“Now I must hasten away to warmer countries,” said the Snow Queen. “I will go and look into the black craters of the tops of the burning mountains, Etna and Vesuvius, as they are called,—I shall make them look white, which will be good for them, and for the lemons and the grapes.” And away flew the Snow Queen, leaving little Kay quite alone in the great hall which was so many miles in length; so he sat and looked at his pieces of ice, and was thinking so deeply, and sat so still, that any one might have supposed he was frozen.

Just at this moment it happened that little Gerda came through the great door of the castle. Cutting winds were raging around her, but she offered up a prayer and the winds sank down as if they were going to sleep; and she went on till she came to the large empty hall, and caught sight of Kay; she knew him directly; she flew to him and threw her arms round his neck, and held him fast, while she exclaimed, “Kay, dear little Kay, I have found you at last.”

But he sat quite still, stiff and cold.

Then little Gerda wept hot tears, which fell on his breast, and penetrated into his heart, and thawed the lump of ice, and washed away the little piece of glass which had stuck there. Then he looked at her, and she sang—

“Roses bloom and cease to be,

But we shall the Christ-child see.”

Then Kay burst into tears, and he wept so that the splinter of glass swam out of his eye. Then he recognized Gerda, and said, joyfully, “Gerda, dear little Gerda, where have you been all this time, and where have I been?” And he looked all around him, and said, “How cold it is, and how large and empty it all looks,” and he clung to Gerda, and she laughed and wept for joy. It was so pleasing to see them that the pieces of ice even danced about; and when they were tired and went to lie down, they formed themselves into the letters of the word which the Snow Queen had said he must find out before he could be his own master, and have the whole world and a pair of new skates. Then Gerda kissed his cheeks, and they became blooming; and she kissed his eyes, and they shone like her own; she kissed his hands and his feet, and then he became quite healthy and cheerful. The Snow Queen might come home now when she pleased, for there stood his certainty of freedom, in the word she wanted, written in shining letters of ice.

Then they took each other by the hand, and went forth from the great palace of ice. They spoke of the grandmother, and of the roses on the roof, and as they went on the winds were at rest, and the sun burst forth. When they arrived at the bush with red berries, there stood the reindeer waiting for them, and he had brought another young reindeer with him, whose udders were full, and the children drank her warm milk and kissed her on the mouth. Then they carried Kay and Gerda first to the Finland woman, where they warmed themselves thoroughly in the hot room, and she gave them directions about their journey home. Next they went to the Lapland woman, who had made some new clothes for them, and put their sleighs in order. Both the reindeer ran by their side, and followed them as far as the boundaries of the country, where the first green leaves were budding. And here they took leave of the two reindeer and the Lapland woman, and all said—Farewell. Then the birds began to twter, and the forest too was full of green young leaves; and out of it came a beautiful horse, which Gerda remembered, for it was one which had drawn the golden coach. A young girl was riding upon it, with a shining red cap on her head, and pistols in her belt. It was the little robber-maiden, who had got tired of staying at home; she was going first to the north, and if that did not suit her, she meant to try some other part of the world. She knew Gerda directly, and Gerda remembered her: it was a joyful meeting.

“You are a fine fellow to go gadding about in this way,” said she to little Kay, “I should like to know whether you deserve that any one should go to the end of the world to find you.”

But Gerda patted her cheeks, and asked after the prince and princess.

“They are gone to foreign countries,” said the robber-girl.

“And the crow?” asked Gerda.

“Oh, the crow is dead,” she replied; “his tame sweetheart is now a widow, and wears a bit of black worsted round her leg. She mourns very pitifully, but it is all stuff. But now tell me how you managed to get him back.”

Then Gerda and Kay told her all about it.

“Snip, snap, snare! it’s all right at last,” said the robber-girl.

Then she took both their hands, and promised that if ever she should pass through the town, she would call and pay them a visit. And then she rode away into the wide world. But Gerda and Kay went hand-in-hand towards home; and as they advanced, spring appeared more lovely with its green verdure and its beautiful flowers. Very soon they recognized the large town where they lived, and the tall steeples of the churches, in which the sweet bells were ringing a merry peal as they entered it, and found their way to their grandmother’s door. They went upstairs into the little room, where all looked just as it used to do. The old clock was going “tick, tick,” and

the hands pointed to the time of day, but as they passed through the door into the room they perceived that they were both grown up, and become a man and woman. The roses out on the roof were in full bloom, and peeped in at the window; and there stood the little chairs, on which they had sat when children; and Kay and Gerda seated themselves each on their own chair, and held each other by the hand, while the cold empty grandeur of the Snow Queen’s palace vanished from their memories like a painful dream. The grandmother sat in God’s bright sunshine, and she read aloud from the Bible, “Except ye become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of God.” And Kay and Gerda looked into each other’s eyes, and all at once understood the words of the old song,

“Roses bloom and cease to be,

But we shall the Christ-child see.”

And they both sat there, grown up, yet children at heart; and it was summer,—warm, beautiful summer.

文章来源:安徒生童话

还记得那段神话故事吗?还记得那份令人感动的精神吗?正义的力量赋予了神话一个坚硬无比的灵魂。神话,在很远很远的地方,走过很远很远的旅程,送来了整整一个“曾经”。

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