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Snow Man
by [?]

“It’s so wonderfully cold that my whole body crackles!” said the Snow Man. “This is a kind of wind that can blow life into one; and how the gleaming one up yonder is staring at me.” He meant the sun, which was just about to set. “It shall not make me wink–I shall manage to keep the pieces.”

He had two triangular pieces of tile in his head instead of eyes. His mouth was made of an old rake, and consequently was furnished with teeth.

He had been born amid the joyous shouts of the boys, and welcomed by the sound of sledge bells and the slashing of whips.

The sun went down, and the full moon rose, round, large, clear, and beautiful in the blue air.

“There it comes again from the other side,” said the Snow Man. He intended to say the sun is showing himself again. “Ah! I have cured him of staring. Now let him hang up there and shine, that I may see myself. If I only knew how I could manage to move from this place, I should like so much to move. If I could, I would slide along yonder on the ice, just as I see the boys slide; but I don’t understand it; I don’t know how to run.”

“Away! away!” barked the old Yard Dog. He was quite hoarse, and could not pronounce the genuine “bow, wow.” He had got the hoarseness from the time when he was an indoor dog, and lay by the fire. “The sun will teach you to run! I saw that last winter, in your predecessor, and before that in his predecessor. Away! away!–and away they all go.”

“I don’t understand you, comrade,” said the Snow Man. “That thing up yonder is to teach me to run?” He meant the moon. “Yes, it was running itself, when I saw it a little while ago, and now it comes creeping from the other side.”

“You know nothing at all,” retorted the Yard Dog. “But then you’ve only just been patched up. What you see yonder is the moon, and the one that went before was the sun. It will come again to-morrow, and will teach you to run down into the ditch by the wall. We shall soon have a change of weather; I can feel that in my left hind leg, for it pricks and pains me: the weather is going to change.”

“I don’t understand him,” said the Snow Man; “but I have a feeling that he’s talking about something disagreeable. The one who stared so just now, and whom he called the sun, is not my friend. I can feel that too.”

“Away! away!” barked the Yard Dog; and he turned round three times, and then crept into his kennel to sleep.

The weather really changed. Towards morning, a thick damp fog lay over the whole region; later there came a wind, an icy wind. The cold seemed quite to seize upon one; but when the sun rose, what splendour! Trees and bushes were covered with hoar frost, and looked like a complete forest of coral, and every twig seemed covered with gleaming white buds. The many delicate ramifications, concealed in summer by the wreath of leaves, now made their appearance: it seemed like a lace-work, gleaming white. A snowy radiance sprang from every twig. The birch waved in the wind–it had life, like the rest of the trees in summer. It was wonderfully beautiful. And when the sun shone, how it all gleamed and sparkled, as if diamond dust had been strewn everywhere, and big diamonds had been dropped on the snowy carpet of the earth! or one could imagine that countless little lights were gleaming, whiter than even the snow itself.

“That is wonderfully beautiful,” said a young girl, who came with a young man into the garden. They both stood still near the Snow Man, and contemplated the glittering trees. “Summer cannot show a more beautiful sight,” said she; and her eyes sparkled.