THE SNOW QUEEN 261
SECOND STORY -*
A Little Boy and a Little Girl
In the great town, where there are many houses and so many people that there is not room enough for every one to have a little garden, and where consequently most persons are compelled to be content with some flowers in flowerpots, were two poor children who possessed a garden somewhat larger than a flower-pot. They were not brother and sister, but they loved each other quite as much as if they had been. Their parents lived just opposite each other in two garrets, there where the roof of one neighbour's house joined that of another ; and where the water-pipe ran between the two houses was a little window ; one had only to step across the pipe to get from one window to the other.
The parents of each child had a great box, in which grew kitchen herbs that they used, and a little rose bush ; there was one in each box, and they grew famously, Now, it occurred to the parents to place the boxes across the pipe, so that they reached from one window to another, and looked quite like two embankments of flowers. Pea plants hung down over the boxes, and the rose bushes shot forth long twigs, which clustered round the windows and bent down towards each other : it was almost like a triumphal arch of flowers and leaves. As the boxes were very high, and the children knew that they might not creep upon them, they often obtained permission to step out upon the roof behind the boxes, and to sit upon their little stools under the roses, and there they could play capitally.
In the winter there was an end of this amusement. The windows were sometimes quite frozen all over. But then they warmed copper farthings on the stove, and held the warm coins against the frozen pane ; and this made a capital peep-hole, so round, so round ! and behind it gleamed a pretty, mild eye at each window; and these eyes belonged to the little boy and the little girl.. His name was Kay and the little girl's was Gerda.
In the summer they could get to^one another at one