“The Snowman” by Hans Christian Andersen

This is such a sad story. It starts with a snowman enjoying the nice crisp winter air, and then a bitter old dog comes around and starts to taunt the snowman. The dog first tells the snowman that the sun will make him melt eventually and then directs the snowman’s attention to the stove indoors. From there, it becomes a tale of unrequited love.

During the whole day the Snow Man stood looking in through the window, and in the twilight hour the room became still more inviting, for from the stove came a gentle glow, not like the sun or the moon; no, only the bright light which gleams from a stove when it has been well fed. When the door of the stove was opened, the flames darted out of its mouth; this is customary with all stoves. The light of the flames fell directly on the face and breast of the Snow Man with a ruddy gleam. “I can endure it no longer,” said he; “how beautiful it looks when it stretches out its tongue?”

And in the end, of course the snowman melts when the weather warms. “And nobody thought anymore of the snowman.” Really a depressing little story, but beautifully written; the descriptions of the ice and snow are sparkling. I may not always love Andersen’s stories, but I do love his style. You can read it for yourself at Sur La Lune, among other places.

By the way, I took the photo at the top last winter. We haven’t had enough snow yet this year to build a snowman. I don’t actually know who made the one above; I just saw it when we were driving around one day and had to snap a photo. I loved its “hair.”

Tif, from Tif Talks Books, is the hostess of this great feature, Fairy Tale Fridays. Head over there to see her take on “The Snowman” and to share your own thoughts. Next week, we’ll be looking at “The Elves” by the Brothers Grimm.