The Snow Man


The Snow Man
"It's so delightfully cold," said the snow man.

I AM creaking all over, it's so delightfully cold," said the snow man. "This wind does blow life into one, and no mistake. How that glowing thing up there is staring at me!" It was the sun he meant; it was just about setting. "He shall not get me to wink; I can keep the bits right enough."
He had two large three-cornered bits of tile stuck in his head for eyes, and for mouth he had a piece of an old rake, which was his teeth.
He came into the world amidst the cheering of the boys, and was greeted with the tinkling of bells and cracking of whips from the passing sledges.
The sun went down and the full moon rose round and large, bright and beautiful, in the blue sky.
"There he is again from another quarter," said the snow man. He thought it was the sun that showed himself again.
"I have cured him of staring. Now he can hang there and give me light so that I can see myself. If I only knew how I could manage to move about! I should like so much to move about. If I could, I should now be sliding on the ice down yonder, as I have seen the boys doing; but I don't know how to run."
"Go! go!" barked the old yard-dog. He was somewhat hoarse; he had been so ever since he was a house-dog and lay under the stove. "The sun will soon teach you to run. I noticed that with your predecessor last year, and with his predecessors as well. Go! go! They are all gone."
"I do not understand you, comrade," said the snow man. "Will that thing up there teach me to run?" (He meant the moon.) "Well, I noticed he ran just now when I stared hard at him. Now he steals on us from another quarter."
"You don't know much," said the yard-dog; "but then you have only just been put together. What you now see is called the moon, and the one that you saw before was the sun. He will come back again tomorrow. He will soon teach you to run down into the ditch near the ramparts. We shall soon have a change in the weather. I can feel it in my left hind leg; there is a shooting pain in it. We shall have a change."
The Snow Man
"Go! go!" barked the old yard-dog. "The sun will soon teach you to run. I noticed that with your predecessor last year."

"I do not understand you," said the snow man; "but I have a presentiment that it is something unpleasant you mean. He that glowed and went down, whom you call sun, is not my friend, either; my instinct tells me that."
"Go! go!" barked the yard-dog, and walked round three times, and then went into his kennel and lay down to sleep.
There really came a change in the weather. In the early morning a thick clammy fog lay over the whole district. At dawn it began to clear up; but the wind was icy cold, and a regular frost seemed to have set in. What a sight it was when the sun rose! All the trees and bushes were covered with hoar-frost. They looked like a whole forest of white corals, as if all the branches were overloaded with sparkling white flowers. The innumerable delicate little shoots which we do not see in the summer time on account of the luxuriant foliage were now every one of them visible, and looked like sparkling white lace-work, and as if a bright luster streamed out from every branch. The weeping birch waved in the wind. There was life in it, as in the trees in summer time. It was wonderfully beautiful in the sunshine.
How everything sparkled! It seemed as if everything was powdered with diamond dust, and as if large diamonds were sparkling all over the snow that covered the ground; or one might imagine that innumerable little candles were burning with a light still whiter than the white snow.
"How wonderfully beautiful it is!" said a young girl, who stepped out into the garden in company with a young man, and stopped close to the snow man, where they stood looking at the glittering trees. "There is no finer sight to be seen in the summer," she said, and her eyes sparkled.
"And such a fellow as this one is not to be seen at all," said the young man, pointing to the snow man. "He is splendid!"
The young girl laughed, nodded to the snow man, and then danced away over the snow with her friend. The snow creaked under their feet, as if they walked on starch.
"Who were those two?" asked the snow man of the yard-dog. "You have been longer here than I have. Do you know them?"
"Of course I do," said the yard-dog. "She strokes me, and he gives me bones. I should not think of biting either of them."
"But what are they?" asked the snow man.
"Lover-r-rs," said the yard-dog. "They are going to move into the same kennel and gnaw bones together. Go! go!"
"Are those two as important as you or I?" asked the snow man.
"They belong to the family," said the yard-dog. "One doesn't know much, of course, when one was born only yesterday. I can see that by you. I am old and experienced. I know everybody in this house, and I remember the time when I did not stand here in the cold, chained up.
"The cold is delightful," said the snow man. "Go on with your story; go on! But you must not rattle so with your chain, for it makes
me feel shaky."
"Go! go!" barked the yard-dog. "They tell me I was once a pretty little puppy. I lay on a velvet cushion, or in the ladies' laps. They kissed me on the nose, and wiped my paws with embroidered handkerchiefs. They called me 'Beauty' and 'Popsy Wopsy,' but then I grew too big for them, and they gave me to the housekeeper. I had to go to the basement. You can see right down there from where you are standing; you can look down into the room where I was the master; for that's what I was at the housekeeper's. It was not, of course, such a grand place as upstairs, but it was much more comfortable down there; I was not mauled and dragged about by the children as upstairs. I had just as good food as before, and more of it. I had my own cushion, and then there was a stove, the finest thing in the world at this time of the year. I crept right under it and got out of the way. Ah, that stove -- I still dream about it! Go! go!"
"Does a stove look so beautiful, then?" asked the snow man. "Is it at all like me?"
"No, it is just the reverse of you. It is black as coal, and has a long neck with a brass drum to it. It eats firewood till the flames reach right out of its mouth. Whether you are beside it, close to it, or under it, it gives no end of comfort. You can see it through the window from where you are standing."
And the snow man looked and saw a black polished object with a brass drum and the light shining out through an opening. The snow man felt a strange emotion within him; it was a feeling he could not account for, but which all people know who are not snow men.
"And why did you leave her?" said the snow man. He felt that the stove must belong to the female sex. "How could you leave such a place?"
"I was obliged," said the yard-dog ; "they turned me out of doors and chained me up here. I had bitten the youngest boy in the leg, because he kicked away the bone I was gnawing. Bone for bone, thought I; but they took it in bad part, and from that time I have been standing here chained up, and have lost my voice. Just listen -- how hoarse I am! Go! go! That was the end of it all."
The snow man did not listen any longer; he was continually looking down into the basement, into the housekeeper's room, where the stove was standing on its four iron legs. It was of the same size as the snow man.
The Snow Man and the Yard Dog
The snow man and the yard dog.

"I feel such a strange crackling within me," he said. "Shall I never be able to get down there? It is an innocent wish, and our innocent wishes ought surely to be fulfilled. It is my highest wish, my only wish, and it would almost be unjust if it were not granted. I must get there, I must lean against her, even if I have to break the window."
"You'll never get there," said the yard-dog; "and if you did get near the stove, you would be gone -- gone!"
"I am as good as gone," said the snow man. "I am breaking up, I think."
The snow man stood the whole day looking in through the window. When the twilight had set in the room looked still more inviting; the stove threw out such a pleasant light -- more pleasant than the moon, or even the sun, could throw out; such as only a stove can do when there is anything in it. When the door of the room was opened, the flame would dart out through the opening, as was its custom; the snow man's white face blushed crimson, while a red glare shone out from his bosom.
"I cannot stand it!" he said. "How it does suit her to stretch out her tongue!"
The night was long, but it did not appear so to the snow man; he stood buried in his own pleasant thoughts, and they froze till they crackled.
In the morning the window-panes in the basement were frozen over with the most beautiful ice flowers that any snow man could desire, but they shut out the stove from his sight. The ice on the panes would not thaw, and he could not see her. It creaked and it crackled; it was just the kind of frosty weather that would please a snow man, but he was not pleased; he could and ought to have felt happy, but he was not happy -- he was stove-sick.
"That's a dangerous complaint for a snow man," said the yard-dog. "I have suffered from it myself, but I have got over it. Go! go! Now
we are going to have a change of weather."
And the weather changed; a thaw had set in. The thaw increased, the snow man decreased. He did not say anything, he did not complain, and that is a certain sign. One morning he fell to pieces. Something like a broomstick stuck out of the ground where he had stood. It was the one round which the boys had built him up.
"Now I can understand about his great longing!" said the yard-dog.
"The snow man has had a stove-rake inside him; it was that which moved in him; now he has got over it. Go! go!"
And soon the winter was over too.
"Go! go!" barked the yard-dog; but the little girls in the house sang:

"Shoot forth, sweet woodruff, so stately and fresh:
Hang out, willow-tree, your long woolen locks;
Come, cuckoo and lark, come hither and sing --
Ere February's close we already have spring;
I, too, will sing, 'Cuckoo I Quivit!'
Shine, dear sun, come often and shine!"

And then nobody thought any more about the snow man.

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The Stories on this site were compiled from the following historical publications and others.

Hans Christian Andersen
Andersen's Fairy Tales
Chicago - New York - San Francisco
Belford, Clarke & Co.

Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen's
for the
Copyrighted 1893, McLoughlin Bros.

Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Camden Press
Dalziel Bros. Engravers and Printers Copyright Unknown, est. 1870

Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
E.P. Dutton and Co.
© 1906-1907

Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
The Century Company,
The DeVinne Press
Copyright 1900