The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

the rushing stream, and springs from one block to another, with her long snow-white hair and her blue-green garment fluttering around her and glittering like the water in the deep Swiss lakes.
' To crush and to hold, mine is the power ! ' she says. ' They have stolen a beautiful boy from me, a boy whom I have kissed, but not kissed to death. He is again among men : he keeps the goats on the mountains, and climbs upward, ever higher, far away from the others, but not from me. He is mine, and I will have him ! '
And she bade Giddiness do her errand, for it was too hot for the Ice Maiden, in summer, in the green woods where the wild mint grows ; and Giddiness raised herself and came down ; and her sisters went with her, for she has many sisters, a whole troop of them ; and the Ice Maiden chose the strongest of the many who hover without and within. These spirits sit on the staircase railing and upon the railing at the summit of the tower ; they run like squirrels along the rocky ridge, they spring over railing and path, and tread the air as a swimmer treads the water, luring their victims forth, and hurling them down into the abyss. Giddiness and the Ice Maiden both grasp at a man as a polypus grasps at everything that comes near it. And now Giddiness was to seize upon Rudy.
' Yes, but to seize him," said Giddiness, ' is more than I can do. The cat, that wretched creature, has taught him her tricks. That child has a particular power which thrusts me away ; I am not able to seize him, this boy, when he hangs by a bough over the abyss. How gladly would I tickle the soles of his feet, or thrust him head over heels into the air ! But I am not able to do it.'
' We shall manage to do it,' said the Ice Maiden. ' Thou or I—I shall do it—I ! '
'No, no ! ' sounded a voice around her, like the echo of the church bells among the mountains ; but it was a song ; it was the melting chorus of other spirits of nature—of good affectionate spirits—the Daughters of the Sunshine. These hover every evening in a wreath about the summits of the mountains ; there they spread forth their roseate wings, which become more and more fiery as the sun sinks, and gleam above the high mountains. The