HvS Magic Lantern Slide Show, c. 1939-43 The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen Story
From the Hans Christian Andersen book as retold by Olga Boissevain van Stockum and remembered 65 years later by her granddaughter Brigid. The numbers correspond to the slides below.
1. One day the devils worked on a new invention; a mirror that would make everything it reflected into something ugly and distorted.
2. Then the chief devil got the idea of taking the mirror up to Heaven and reflecting God so He would look ugly.
3. The devils rose higher and higher with their evil mirror, but as it got nearer Heaven it began to shiver and finally it shattered into a million tiny pieces! These pieces floated around the Earth, and if anyone got a piece in his eye, he would see the world as ugly and crooked.
4. Once there were two houses in Denmark, side by side. In one lived a little girl called Gerda, and in the other a little boy called Kay. They lived there with their grandmothers. The houses were so close that the eaves of the roofs touched.
5. In Summer the children used to make a bower of beautiful roses and sit there together,reading and playing together. They were very fond of each other.
6. But one day Kay looked up and gave a cry! Something had got into his eye!
7. “What is it?” asked Gerda. “Can I help you?” Kay looked at her and said, “How ugly you look! Get away from me!” Gerda couldn’t understand why he had suddenly become so nasty, but what had happened was that a tiny piece of the devils’ mirror had fallen into his eye.
8. After that, Kay got worse and worse. The piece of mirror glass was working it’s way down until it had lodged itself in his heart, so he couldn’t love anyone anymore. One day Kay was looking out of the window when he saw a strange figure in the whirling snow outside. “Who is that?” He asked his grandmother. “That is the Snow Queen “ she answered. She steals children and takes them away to her castle in the North and there they freeze to death.”
9. But Kay was fascinated by her. All good things seemed evil to him, but the evil Snow Queen seemed fair and beautiful.
10. One day he went with his sled to play in the snow. Gerda still longed to play with him, but he ignored her and rushed after the older boys.
11. Kay saw a white sleigh go by, and he thought, “I’ll hitch my sled to this one and get a free ride!”
12. But the sleigh went faster and faster and then when Kay had gone a long way the Snow Queen ( for it was she) took Kay into her big sleigh saying, “ Come here, my poor child and get warm.” and she breathed on him, and after that Kay didn’t feel the cold anymore.
13. Then she snatched him up into the air and took him to her Palace in the far cold North.
14. Poor Gerda never forgot her playmate, Kay. She wept for him all winter and when Spring came she asked the swallows, who had just migrated back, “Have you seen Kay, my friend?” They said, “We think he has gone far far away, but we are not sure where.”
15. Gerda went to the river, which travels everywhere and asked the river, “Have you seen Kay?” The river said, “Why should I answer you? What will you give me?” “I will give you my new red shoes said poor Gerda.
16. So the river sent a boat drifting down and Gerda got into it, and the river drifted her down for a long time.
17. At last Gerda said, “Where are you taking me? Are you taking me to Kay?”
18. The river said nothing for a long time, then they came to a strange, sleepy, magical part of the river. The river said, “I am taking you to a witch. She knows everything. She will know where Kay is.”
19.It stopped at a enticing looking house. And Gerda got out, feeling quite a bit frightened. 20. When the old witch saw her, she came hobbling out, delighted to see a little girl.The witch had always wanted to have a little girl of her own, so she gladly welcomed her.
21 She took her into her beautiful house, but when Gerda asked her if she knew where Kay was, the cunning witch asked her to sit and have a meal first. Then she took a comb and began to comb Gerda’s hair. This was a magic comb of forgetfulness, so as she combed Gerda’s hair, Gerda forgot all about Kay.
22. The witch was so cunning that she knew all about Kay and Gerda sitting in the bower of roses. In case any roses would remind Gerda of Kay, she used all her magic to make the roses disappear. Then for awhile Gerda was perfectly happy playing in the witch’s garden. But sometimes as she looked at the flowers she had a strange feeling that one flower was missing.
23. One day as the witch was digging in the garden, wearing her hat, Gerda got a shock. On the hat were painted roses. The witch had forgotten the roses painted on her hat!
24. Gerda rushed away and knelt on the ground sobbing. She remembered Kay and the bower of roses. Her tears undid the witch’s magic and the roses sprang up out of the soil. :Where is Kay?” She asked the roses. “He is far away, they said, ”He is in a Palace! But the witch will not help you to find Kay, you must get away as soon as you can.”
25. So Gerda hurried out of the house before the witch realised she had remembered Kay. Outside it was cold and raining. The witch kept it Summer always in her garden by magic.
26. Gerda fled away, feeling very cold and miserable. At last she saw a raven, and asked him. “Have you seen Kay? He is in a Palace.”
27. “Oh, a Palace! Of course I know where he is,” said the raven. “Follow me.” He led Gerda to the door of a magnificent Palace.
28. Gerda felt very shy but she crept inside, and the ravens showed the way. As they walked through the Palace it was night, and all the dreams of the Prince and Princess inside came rushing past them.
29. But when Gerda saw the Prince sleeping in a beautiful bed, made like a huge flower, she burst into tears. “This is not Kay!” she sobbed.
30. Her crying woke the Prince and Princess, and they felt very sorry for her, when they heard her story.
31. They gave her warm clothes and a golden coach so that she could search for Kay in comfort. They thought he might be in the North, maybe taken by the Snow Queen to her Palace.
32. But as Gerda went on her way the golden coach attracted the attention of some robbers.
33. They attacked the coach and killed the coachman, and were going to kill Gerda, too.
34. They took away her fine clothes and were about to kill her, when the Chief Robber’s daughter came up and begged her father to let her keep Gerda to play with, and she bit his ear until he agreed. She was a very spoiled child, so the robbers gave Gerda to her.
35. As the wicked robbers feasted, the Robber’s child wanted Gerda to play with her, but Gerda only cried.
“If you don’t amuse me, I’ll let you be killed!” said the Robber’s child. Gerda then told her the whole story of how she had lost her friend and was looking for him, and the tale of all her adventures. The robber girl listened, and was fascinated, she had never thought of anyone but herself in all her life!
36. She was so touched by Gerda’s story that she said “I will help you. Here is my reindeer, and you can have my old boots and gloves. The reindeer will take you to the Wise woman of the West wind, she will help you. Gerda kissed her and thanked her.
37. The reindeer seemed to know what to do, for it guided her through the forest and over the hills.
38. At last they arrived at the house of the Wise Woman of the West wind, and Gerda timidly knocked at the door.
39. The old woman made them welcome, and Gerda and the reindeer were fed and looked after. Gerda told her story, and finished by saying that maybe Kay was at the Snow Queens’ Palace. "Huttu tattu! " cried the old woman. “I am sure he is there! But in order to find the Palace you must ask my sister, the Wise Woman of the North Wind. I will write a letter asking her to help you. She will know where the Palace is. But it is a long and hard journey!" “I must go”, said Gerda, “I must find Kay!”
40. So she and the reindeer followed the directions of the old woman, and set out over the frozen forest.
41. After a long journey all the trees disappeared because it was too cold for them, and at last, in the bitter cold they came to the hut of the wise woman of the North Wind.
42. This old woman also made them welcome after reading her sister’s letter. . She was pleased to have visitors as usually no one visited her as it was so far north. Gerda told her the story of Kay, and the old woman nodded. “Yes, he is there,” she said. “My son ,the North wind ,saw him yesterday. He is nearly frozen, so you must hurry. Luckily the wicked Snow Queen is away, so you have a chance." She told them how to get to the Snow Quenn’s Palace, which was not far away.
43. With new hope, Gerda and the reindeer set off.
44. As they saw the Palace, the reindeer said goodbye to Gerda. “I can’t help you anymore,” he said. “Only you can break the spell. But I will wait for you here.”
45. The Snow Queen had set evil spells around the Palace filling the entrance with monsters so no one could enter. At first Gerda was afraid she would not be able to get through.
46. Then she knelt down and prayed the “Our Father”. As the words came out of her mouth into the cold air, every word became an angel, and the angels fought the monsters until they had all disappeared.
47.In the cold hall of the Palace she saw Kay, trying to fit some pieces of ice together so that they would spell Eternity. It was a task given him by the Snow Queen.
48. Gerda rushed up to Kay and kissed him, throwing her warm arms around him. Her tears melted the splinter of the mirror inside his heart , and washed it away.
49 When this happened all the pieces of ice suddenly arranged themselves to spell Eternity.
50. The reindeer joyously brought them home again.
51. Kay’s loving nature had returned, and when they arrived back home it was Spring again!
52. Their two Grannies were delighted to see them again and welcomed them back with tears in their eyes.
53. And when they grew up Kay and Gerda married and lived happily ever after in the houses with the bower of roses.