She was so beautiful and dainty, but all of ice, hard bright ice.
Still she was alive; her eyes glittered like two clear stars, but there was no rest or peace in them. She nodded at the window, and beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened, and sprang down from the chair. It seemed as if a great white bird had flown past the window.
The next day there was a harder frost than before.
Then came the spring, and then the summer, when the roses grew and smelt more beautifully than ever.
Kay and Gerda were looking at one of their picture-books — the clock in the great church-tower had just struck five, when Kay exclaimed, ' Oh! something has stung my heart, and I 've got something in my eye! '
The little girl threw her arms round his neck; he winked hard with both his eyes ; no, she could see nothing in them.
' I think it is gone now,' said he; but it had not gone. It was one of the tiny splinters of the glass of the magic mirror which we have heard about, that turned everything great and good reflected in it small and ugly. And poor Kay had also a splinter in his heart, and it began to change into a lump of ice. It did not hurt him at all, but the splinter was there all the same.
' Why are you crying?' he asked ; ' it makes you look so ugly! There's nothing the matter with me. Just look! that rose is all slug-eaten, and this one is stunted! What ugly roses they are ! '
And he began to pull them to pieces.
' Kay, what are you doing?' cried the little girl.
And when he saw how frightened she was, he pulled off another rose, and ran in at his window away from dear little Gerda.
When she came later on with the picture book, he said that it was only fit for babies, and when his grandmother told them stories, he was always interrupting