bright Northern lights lit them up, and very large and empty and cold and glittering they were ! In the middle of the great hall was a frozen lake which had cracked in a thousand pieces ; each piece was exactly like the other. Here the Snow-queen used to sit when she was at home.
Little Kay was almost blue and black with cold, but he did not feel it, for she had kissed away his feelings and his heart was a lump of ice.
He was pulling about some sharp, flat pieces of ice, and trying to fit one into the other. He thought each was most beautiful, but that was because of the splinter of glass in his eye. He fitted them into a great many shapes, but he wanted to make them spell the word 'Love.' The Snow-queen had said, ' If you can spell out that word you shall be your own master. I will give you the whole world and a new pair of skates.'
But he could not do it.
' Now I must fly to warmer countries,' said the Snow-queen. ' I must go and powder my black kettles' (This was what she called Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius.) ' It does the lemons and grapes good.'
And off she flew, and Kay sat alone in the great hall trying to do his puzzle.
He sat so still that you would have thought he was frozen.
Then it happened that little Gerda stepped into the hall. The biting cold winds became quiet as if they had fallen asleep when she appeared in the great, empty, freezing hall.
She caught sight of Kay; she recognised him, ran and put her arms round his neck, crying, ' Kay! dear little Kay ! I have found you at last!'
But he sat quite still and cold. Then Gerda wept hot tears which fell on his neck and thawed his heart and swept away the bit of the looking-glass. He looked at her and then he burst into tears. He cried so much that the glass splinter swam out of his eye; then he knew