THE SNOW-QUEEN 85
always longed to have a dear little girl just like you, and you shall see how happy we will be together.'
And as she combed Gerda's hair, Gerda thought less and less about Kay, for the old woman was a witch, but not a wicked witch, for she only enchanted now and then to amuse herself, and she did want to keep little Gerda very much.
So she went into the garden and waved her stick over all the rose bushes and blossoms and all; they sank down into the black earth, and no one could see where they had been.
The old woman was afraid that if Gerda saw the roses she would begin to think about her own, and then would remember Kay and run away.
Then she led Gerda out into the garden. How glorious it was, and what lovely scents filled the air! All the flowers you can think of blossomed there all the year round.
Gerda jumped for joy and played there till the sun set behind the tall cherry trees, and then she slept in a beautiful bed with red silk pillows filled with violets, and she slept soundly and dreamed as a queen does on her wedding day.
The next day she played again with the flowers in the warm sunshine, and so many days passed by. Gerda knew every flower, but although there were so many, it seemed to her as if one were not there, though she could not remember which.
She was looking one day at the old woman's sun-hat which had the painted flowers on it, and there she saw a rose.
The witch had forgotten to make that vanish when she had made the other roses disappear under the earth. It is so difficult to think of eveiything.
' Why, there are no roses here ! ' cried Gerda, and she hunted amongst all the flowers, but not one was to be found. Then she sat down and cried, but her tears fell