THE ICE MAIDEN
Let us visit Switzerland, and wander through the glorious land of mountains, where the forests cling to the steep walls of rock ; let us mount up to the dazzling snow-fields, and then descend into the green valleys through which rivers and brooks are rushing, hurrying on as if they could not reach the sea and disappear there quickly enough. The sun looks hotly down upon the deep valley, and it glares likewise upon the heavy masses of snow, so that they harden in the course of centuries into gleaming blocks of ice, or form themselves into falling avalanches, or become piled up into glaciers. Two such glaciers lie in the broad rocky gorges under the ' Schreckhorn' and the * Wetterhorn ', by the little mountain town of Grindelwald : they are wonderful to behold, and therefore in the summertime many strangers come from all parts of the world to see them. The strangers come across the lofty snow-covered mountains, they come through the deep valleys ; and in this latter case they must climb for several hours, and, as they climb, the valley seems to be descending behind them, deeper and deeper, and they look down upon it as out of a balloon. Above them the clouds often hang like thick heavy veils of smoke over the mountain-tops, while a sunbeam still penetrates into the valley, through which the many brown wooden houses lie scattered, making one particular spot stand forth in shining transparent green. Down there the water hums and gushes, while above, it purls and ripples and looks like silver bands fluttering down the mountain.
On both sides of the road that leads uphill, stand wooden houses. Each has its potato patch ; and this is a necessity, for there are many little mouths in those cottages—plenty of children are there, who can eat up their share right heartily. They peep forth everywhere, and gather round the traveller, whether he be on foot or in a carriage. All the children here carry on a trade : the