86 THE SNOW-QUEEN
just on the spot where a rose bush had sunk, and when her warm tears watered the earth, the bush came up in full bloom just as it had been before. Gerda kissed the roses and thought of the lovely roses at home, and with them came the thought of little Kay.
' Oh, what have I been doing!' said the little girl. ' I wanted to look for Kav.'
She ran to the end of the garden. The gate was shut, but she pushed against the rusty lock so that it came open.
She ran out with her little bare feet. No one came after her. At last she could not run any longer, and she sat down on a large stone. When she looked round she saw that the summer was over; it was late autumn. It had not changed in the beautiful garden, where were sunshine and flowers all the year round.
' Oh, dear, how late I have made myself! ' said Gerda. 'It's autumn already! I cannot rest! ' And she sprang up to run on.
Oh, how tired and sore her little feet grew, and it became colder and colder.
She had to rest again, and there on the snow in front of her was a large crow.
It had been looking at her for some time, and it nodded its head and said, 'Caw! caw! good day.' Then it asked the little girl why she was alone in the world. She told the crowr her story, and asked if he had seen Kay.
The crow nodded very thoughtfully and said, ' It might be ! It might be ! '
'What! Do you think you have?' cried the little girl, and she almost squeezed the crow to death as she kissed him.
' Gently, gently!' said the crow. ' I think — I know — I think — it might be little Kay, but now he has forgotten you for the princess!'
' Does he live with a princess ? ' asked Gerda.