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The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
Start of Story
Now we are about to begin, and you must attend; and when we get to the
end of the story, you will know more than you do now about a very wicked
hobgoblin. He was one of the worst kind; in fact he was a real demon.
One day he was in a high state of delight because he had invented a
mirror with this peculiarity, that every good and pretty thing reflected
in it shrank away to almost nothing. On the other hand, every bad and
good-for-nothing thing stood out and looked its worst. The most
beautiful landscapes reflected in it looked like boiled spinach, and the
best people became hideous, or else they were upside down and had no
bodies. Their faces were distorted beyond recognition, and if they had
even one freckle it appeared to spread all over the nose and mouth. The
demon thought this immensely amusing. If a good thought passed through
any one's mind, it turned to a grin in the mirror, and this caused real
delight to the demon. All the scholars in the demon's school, for he
kept a school, reported that a miracle had taken place: now for the
first time it had become possible to see what the world and mankind were
really like. They ran about all over with the mirror, till at last there
was not a country or a person which had not been seen in this distorting
They even wanted to fly up to heaven with it to mock the angels;
but the higher they flew, the more it grinned, so much so that they
could hardly hold it, and at last it slipped out of their hands and fell
to the earth, shivered into hundreds of millions and billions of bits.
Even then it did more harm than ever. Some of these bits were not as big
as a grain of sand, and these flew about all over the world, getting
into people's eyes, and, once in, they stuck there, and distorted
everything they looked at, or made them see everything that was amiss.
Each tiniest grain of glass kept the same power as that possessed by the
whole mirror. Some people even got a bit of the glass into their hearts,
and that was terrible, for the heart became like a lump of ice. Some of
the fragments were so big that they were used for window panes, but it
was not advisable to look at one's friends through these panes. Other
bits were made into spectacles, and it was a bad business when people
put on these spectacles meaning to be just. The bad demon laughed
till he split his sides; it tickled him to see the mischief he had done.
But some of these fragments were still left floating about the world,
and you shall hear what happened to them.