Monday, February 15, 2010
The Snow Queen
In the evening, when little Kay was at home, and half undressed, he climbed up on the chair by the window, and peeped out of the little hole [made by a warm penny pressed against the frozen glass]. A few snow-flakes were falling, and one, the largest of all, remained lying on the edge of a flower-pot.
The flake of snow grew larger and larger; and at last it was like a young lady, dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a million little flakes like stars. She was so beautiful and delicate, but she was of ice, of dazzling, sparkling ice; yet she lived; her eyes gazed fixedly, like two stars; but there was neither quiet nor repose in them. She nodded towards the window, and beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened, and jumped down from the chair; it seemed to him as if, at the same moment, a large bird flew past the window.
--from The Snow Queen by Hans Christien Andersen
We won't be getting another three feet of snow, but between 1" and 5" tonight or tomorrow. I am in awe. All this snow - wow.
What to do? Get the shovel ready again? Squint up into the sky? Shake my fist?
Nah. Instead, I decided to re-read The Snow Queen. When I picked up the volume of Andersen fairytales, the book opened automatically to that story. I've read it so many times. Gerda, the heroine, is young and completely innocent. She cries all the time, gets scared, but never gives up. I love that! Every major role in the story, including the villain and all the people who help Gerda, are women, and we aren't talking sweet, lovely stereotypes, oh no. Witches, shamans, little robber girls - oh yeah - these are some high powered female characters. The only male presences, in fact, are Kay, the little boy who gets kidnapped by the Snow Queen, a young prince (who by the way does NOT marry Gerda), and two animals, the reindeer and the crow, who help Gerda with her quest.
Oh snow gods I bow deeply before you! More snow? OK. If snow in the forecast guides me to read The Snow Queen, then it can't be all bad. More snow?? Why not? Bring it on. Yeah.