More Classic Tales 

A Story From: Denmark
Read Time: ["6 to 10mins"]
For Ages: 5 to 7yrs., 8 to 10yrs., 10 to 14yrs.

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The Snow Queen Story

By Елена Ринго -, CC BY 3.0,

The Snow Queen Fairy Tale (Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen) ~ "Early Reader" Story in English 

This is the Fairy Tale story of The Snow Queen. It has been adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's version and is brought to you by Stories to Grow by. 

The Wizard’s Mirror

ONCE THERE WAS AN EVIL WIZARD who made a mirror with his dark magic.  If anything good or beautiful were in front of this evil mirror, what showed back in the reflection only looked rotten and gray.  

The wizard laughed and laughed.  He wanted to show his evil mirror to the whole world!  He flew high up into the sky, so high the mirror started to shake.  It shook so much that he could no longer hold on to it.  The mirror dropped - down, down, down, back to earth.  It smashed into millions of tiny sharp bits of glass that flew all over the place.

From then on, if one bit of that evil glass landed in anyone’s eye, the person would see only the bad and dark in people.  No more would the person see the good.  So it was in this land for hundreds of years.

Years later, a boy named Kai and a girl named Gerda were friends.  They lived next door to each other, both in attic bedrooms.  When they opened their windows, they were so close they could talk and talk.  A roof gutter ran between the two attic windows where the families had planted a garden.  Vegetables and roses grew there, and it was like their very own garden.  Kai and Gerda’s families were poor and they had no toys to play with.  But they did not mind.  They played in the garden on the roof, and were happy.

When they opened their windows, they were so close they could easily talk.

One day, Gerda and Kai were in the garden, reading a book.  All of a sudden, a gust of wind blew a sharp bit of that evil glass into Kai’s eye.  He stood up.  Kai threw the book down on the roses.  "I will not read anymore!" he said.  Gerda picked up the book and set the broken roses right.  "Do you want to play a clapping game?" she said.  But Kai cried out “No!  I never want to play with you, Gerda.  Ever again!"  

The Snow Queen

The next day, Kai pulled his sled to town.  Ah, his sled was too slow - if only it went faster!  Then he saw a big white sleigh coming down the road.  As the sleigh passed, Kai quickly tied his sled’s rope to the back of it.  Now he could ride very fast behind it!  But what Kai did not know is that driving the sleigh was the Snow Queen herself.  

The Snow Queen, in her white fur coat, had known very well that Kai was up on the road.  She had slowed down her sleigh when she got closer to Kai to let him tie his rope on.  Then she had ridden off very fast, with Kai speeding behind her.

The one driving the sleigh was the Snow Queen herself.

After the Snow Queen drove past the town and deep into the woods, she stopped the sleigh.  She knew that by now, he must be very cold.  “With one kiss,” she said to Kai, “you will no longer feel the cold.”

So Kai let her give him a kiss on one cheek.  “And with this second kiss,” said the Snow Queen, kissing him on the other cheek, “you will forget all about Gerda and your family.”  

The Snow Queen laughed.  She said, “If I kissed you a third time on your forehead, you would die.  But I have things for you to do for me at my palace.” Then the Snow Queen got back into her sleigh and drove on.

Where was Kai?

Kai did not return home that day, or the day after that.  You can imagine how upset everyone was!  They said the boy must have died in the river!  Gerda cried and cried.  She ran to the river and called out - is it true?  But the river would not say.  Gerda took off her red shoes and held them high.  She told the river she would give throw her red shoes into its waters, if only the river would give back her friend Kai.  But the river would not let her throw in the shoes. And so Gerda knew that Kai must not be under the water.

But where was he?  

Gerda went many places looking for Kai!  She went to see a witch.  The witch tried to trick Gerda into staying with her forever. Gerda ran out very fast, just in time.  Then she met a crow.  The crow told Gerda that to find Kai, she must go to the palace of a princess.  

But where was he?

And so off went Gerda to the palace of the princess.  There she met a prince, too, the brother of the princess.  Both of them did not know about Kai.  But they gave Gerda warm clothes and a beautiful coach she could ride on her way.

The Robber Girl

Gerda was riding her coach, and all of a sudden a band of robbers jumped up from behind.  The robbers were led by a Robber Girl, who grabbed Gerda.  She was taken prisoner by the Robber Girl!

Poor Gerda!  She now lost her coach.  She had no clue where to find Kai.  And now she was a prisoner, too!  Plus it was bitter cold.  Gerda had never felt so sad.

When they got to the Robber Girl’s home, the Robber Girl told Gerda she must sleep in a corner, next to a reindeer. 

When she was alone, she cried out, “Oh Kai, where are you?” Two white doves in the lofts heard her cry.  

“Oh Kai, where are you?”

“We remember seeing the boy Kai that the girl speaks of,” said one dove.  

“That was when the Snow Queen drove by on her sleigh,” said the other dove. “He was riding behind her on his sled, very fast."

"What a sad day that was!" said the first dove.  "We were sitting in our tree.  As she sped by, she breathed on our nest.” Said the other, sadly, “Only you and I survived!”

“I am sorry to hear that,” said Gerda.  “But, oh my!  You say you saw my dear Kai?  Where was the sleigh going?”

“Most likely the Snow Queen was headed to Lapland,” said the first dove. “That is where there is snow and ice all year long.  But that’s all we can tell you.”  

“How will I ever find this place, Lapland?” said Gerda.  

“Only you and I survived!”

Then the reindeer, who was roped to a post, spoke up.  “I know all about Lapland,” said he.  “It is where I was born.”

“Please, could you take me there?” said Gerda.  

“Yes I would, if you and I were only free of this place,” said the reindeer.  “But who knows how long we must stay here?”

The Robber Girl heard all of this talk.  She was not really so mean after all.  She said to the reindeer, “Go, take her.”  She cut the ropes that bound the reindeer.  She helped Gerda to mount the reindeer and gave her a cushion to sit on.  She even gave Gerda a pair of fur boots, two loaves of bread and a piece of bacon, too.

Off like the wind flew the reindeer and Gerda to Lapland.  They rode and rode until it got dark.  Then they needed to find a place to stay for the night.  

Two visits

They knocked on the door of a hut, and an old woman welcomed them in.  Gerda and the reindeer told her about their search to find Gerda’s friend Kai.  She listened with care.  Then the old woman said, “You still have a long way to go," she said.  "The Snow Queen's palace is 100 miles away."

"How will we know it?" said Gerda.

“Only the Snow Queen’s palace will burn with blue lights.  But do not go there.  When you see those blue lights, look for a hut nearby, like this one.  Inside lives a wise old Lapland woman I know. “

The old woman took a piece of dried fish, and on it she wrote some words.   “Give her this fish,” said the old woman, “and she will help you.”

The next day, the reindeer and Gerda flew like the wind.  At nightfall they saw the blue lights far away.  Then they looked and they found the hut of the wise old woman.  Very cold they were, and glad that the wise old woman let them warm themselves by the fire.

The next day, the reindeer and Gerda flew like the wind.

Gerda told the wise old Lapland woman her story.  

“If you find this boy Kai," said the wise old Lapland woman, "he will not want to leave.  He is in her power.  He thinks that her palace is the very best place in the world.  He has forgotten all about you and anyone he ever loved before.”

“Oh, my!” said Gerda.  Then the reindeer gave the old woman the fish.  “Does it tell you anything?” said the reindeer. 

The wise old Lapland woman read its words three times.  Then she put the fish in the pot on the fire for soup, as she never wanted to waste anything.  

“Tell us, did that mean anything at all?” cried out Gerda.

“Was there magic in those words?” said the reindeer.  “Something to give Gerda the power of ten men?”

“The power of ten men!” said the wise woman in a huff. “That would be of very little use. Kai has some bad glass in his eye.  No doubt, the Snow Queen has kissed him twice.  That means she will always have power over him.”

“But surely something can be done!” cried Gerda.

“Look how far you have already come,” said the wise old woman.  “There is nothing anyone can do for you that you could not do for yourself."

“The power of ten men!” said the wise woman. “That would be of very little use.”

Said the wise old Lapland woman, “This is what I can tell you."  She turned to the reindeer.  "Take Gerda to the Snow Queen’s palace.  You will see a bush with red berries half covered in snow.  That is where you must put her down.  She will go, and you must wait for her.”

So Gerda mounted the reindeer, and off they went.


The Palace of the Snow Queen

“Oh, no!” said Gerda after the wise old woman’s hut was no longer in view behind them.  “I left my fur boots behind!”  But there was no time to go back, and so on they went.

At the bush with red berries, Gerda got off the reindeer.  There she was, with no boots and her feet bare in the cold snow.  But the Snow Queen’s palace was right ahead of her, its blue lights burning in the windows.  And so Gerda walked on.  

As she went, she called and called for Kai.  At last, she found him!  There he was, sitting in front of her on a frozen lake, down on his knees.  The Snow Queen had given him a job of setting pieces of glass into words.  Other pieces of glass must be made into math puzzles.  For this frozen lake was the Lake of Reason, and on this Lake sat the throne of the Snow Queen.

And so there was Gerda, no boots and her feet bare in the cold snow.

Kai's skin was dark blue, almost black.  He had so little feeling left he did not even notice the cold.  The Snow Queen was away and Kai was busy with his task, working on the icy lake.  He moved one piece of ice here and another there, making the words and numbers.

“Kai!” called Gerda.  But Kai did not turn.  Gerda ran right up to his face.  “Kai!  Kai!”  

At last, Kai turned.  But he looked right past her with his deep black eyes, and did not see her at all.  Gerda burst into tears.  Cold and cutting were the winds on that lake.  As Gerda cried “Kai, where are you?” one of her tears blew right onto Kai’s face.

The tear burned Kai’s face until his whole face felt hot.  Then Kai, too, was crying.  

“Gerda!” said Kai, “is that you?” Kai shivered.  He cried with joy, and the evil bit of sharp glass was washed from his eye.  Kai took Gerda’s hands.  Though they were both frozen cold, each of them felt warm inside.

Trip back home

Gerda and Kai walked hand in hand back to the bush with the red berries.  As they walked, the sun came out and warmed and dried them.  The wind stopped and birds started to chirp.  Before they knew it, there was the reindeer, waiting for them.

The reindeer took them back the the first old woman, who gave Gerda a new pair of fur boots.  Each of them got a fur hat, too.  As the reindeer carried them on the long road back home, who came along the road but the Robber Girl!

The Robber Girl said to Gerda, “So this is the friend you traveled all the way across the world to save.  I hope he was worth it!”   They both smiled.

The Robber Girl said they should hop on her sleigh and she would give them a lift home.  When they finally got home it was summertime, and they were all grown up.

It was summertime, and they were all grown up.

In the years that came to be, Gerda and Kai stayed the best of friends.  The rest of their lives were warm and happy.  No more adventures with the Snow Queen or the cold frozen north - and that was just fine with them.



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This story has been adapted from "The Snow Queen" (Danish: Snedronningen), an original fairy tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The tale was first published 21 December 1844 in New Fairy Tales. First Volume. Second Collection. 1845. (Danish: Nye Eventyr. Første Bind. Anden Samling. 1845.)[1] The story centres on the struggle between good and evil as experienced by Gerda and her friend, Kai.