290 THE SNOW QUEEN
that she sat in the mirror of reason, and that this was the only one, and the best in the world.
Little Kay was quite blue with cold—indeed, almost black, but he did not notice it, for she had kissed the cold shudderings away from him ; and his heart was like a lump of ice. He dragged a few sharp flat pieces of ice to and fro, joining them together in all kinds of ways, for he wanted to achieve something with them. It was just like when we have little tablets of wood, and lay them together to form figures—what we call the Chinese puzzle. Kay also went and laid figures, and, indeed, very artistic ones. That was the icy game of reason. In his eyes these figures were very remarkable and of the highest importance ; that was because of the fragment of glass sticking in his eye. He laid out the figures so that they formed a word—but he could never manage to lay down the word as he wished to have it—the word * Eternity'. And the Snow Queen had said,
' If you can find out this figure, you shall be your own master, and I will give you the whole world and a new pair of skates.'
But he could not.
1 Now I'll hasten away to the warm lands,' said the Snow Queen. ' I will go and look into the black pots ' : these were the volcanoes, Etna and Vesuvius, as they are called. ' I shall make them a little white ! That's necessary ; that will do the grapes and lemons good.'
And the Snow Queen flew away, and Kay sat quite alone in the great icy hall that was miles in extent, and looked at his pieces of ice, and thought so deeply that cracks were heard inside him : he sat quite stiff and still, one would have thought that he was frozen to death.
Then it happened that little Gerda stepped through the great gate into the wide hall. Here reigned cutting winds, but she prayed a prayer, and the winds lay down as if they would have gone to sleep ; and she stepped into the great empty cold halls, and beheld Kay; she knew him, and flew to him and embraced him, and held him fast, and called out,
' Kay, dear little Kay ! at last I have found you ! '
But he sat quite still, stiff and cold. Then little Gerda