in two attics, and out on the leads they had put two boxes filled with flowers. There were sweet peas in it, and two rose trees, which grew beautifully, and in summer the two children were allowed to take their little chairs and sit out under the roses. Then they had splendid games.
In the winter they could not do this, but then they put hot pennies against the frozen window-panes, and made round holes to look at each other through.
His name was Kay, and hers was Gerda.
Outside it was snowing fast.
' Those are the white bees swarming,' said the old grandmother.
' Have they also a queen bee ?' asked the little boy, for he knew that the real bees have one.
' To be sure,' said the grandmother. ' She flies wherever they swarm the thickest. She is larger than any of them, and never stays upon the earth, but flies again up into the black clouds. Often at midnight she flies through the streets, and peeps in at all the windows, and then they freeze in such pretty patterns and look like flowers.'
' Yes, we have seen that,' said both children; they knew that it was true.
' Can the Snow-queen come in here ?' asked the little girl.
' Just let her!' cried the boy, " I would put her on the stove, and melt her!'
But the grandmother stroked his hair, and told some more stories.
In the evening, when little Kay was going to bed, he jumped on the chair by the window, and looked through the little hole. A few snow-flakes were falling outside, and one of them, the largest, lay on the edge of one of the window-boxes. The snow-flake grew larger and larger till it took the form of a maiden, dressed in finest white gauze.