THE SNOW-QUEEN 81
with, ' But —' and then he would get behind her and put on her spectacles, and speak just as she did. This he did very well, and everybody laughed. Very soon he could imitate the way all the people in the street walked and talked.
His games were now quite different. On a winter's day he would take a burning glass and hold it out on his blue coat and let the snow-Hakes fall on it.
' Look in the glass, Gerda ! Just see how regular they are! They are much more interesting than real flowers. Each is perfect; they are all made according to rule. If only they did not melt! '
One morning Kay came out with his warm gloves on, and his little sledge hung over his shoulder. He shouted to Gerda, ' I am going to the market-place to play with the other boys,' and away he went.
In the market-place the boldest boys used often to fasten their sledges to the carts of the farmers, and then they got a good ride.
When they were in the middle of their games there drove into the square a large sledge, all white, and in it sat a figure dressed in a rough white fur pelisse with a white fur cap on.
The sledge drove twice round the square, and Kay fastened his little sledge behind it and drove off. It went quicker and quicker into the next street. The driver turned round, and nodded to Kay in a friendly way as if they had known each other before. Every time that Kay tried to unfasten his sledge the driver nodded again, and Kay sat still once more. Then they drove out of the town, and the snow began to fall so thickly that the little boy could not see his hand before him, and on and on they went. He quickly unfastened the cord to get loose from the big sledge, but it was of no use; his little sledge hung on fast, and it went on like the wind.
Then he cried out, but nobody heard him. He was dreadfully frightened.