The Pink Fairy Book HTML version

The Snow-man
'How astonishingly cold it is! My body is cracking all over!' said the Snow-man. 'The
wind is really cutting one's very life out! And how that fiery thing up there glares!' He
meant the sun, which was just setting. 'It sha'n't make me blink, though, and I shall keep
quite cool and collected.'
Instead of eyes he had two large three-cornered pieces of slate in his head; his mouth
consisted of an old rake, so that he had teeth as well.
He was born amidst the shouts and laughter of the boys, and greeted by the jingling bells
and cracking whips of the sledges.
The sun went down, the full moon rose, large, round, clear and beautiful, in the dark blue
'There it is again on the other side!' said the Snow-man, by which he meant the sun was
appearing again. 'I have become quite accustomed to its glaring. I hope it will hang there
and shine, so that I may be able to see myself. I wish I knew, though, how one ought to
see about changing one's position. I should very much like to move about. If I only could,
I would glide up and down the ice there, as I saw the boys doing; but somehow or other, I
don't know how to run.'
'Bow-wow!' barked the old yard-dog; he was rather hoarse and couldn't bark very well.
His hoarseness came on when he was a house-dog and used to lie in front of the stove.
'The sun will soon teach you to run! I saw that last winter with your predecessor, and
farther back still with his predecessors! They have all run away!'
'I don't understand you, my friend,' said the Snow-man. 'That thing up there is to teach me
to run?' He meant the moon. 'Well, it certainly did run just now, for I saw it quite plainly
over there, and now here it is on this side.'
'You know nothing at all about it,' said the yard-dog. 'Why, you have only just been
made. The thing you see there is the moon; the other thing you saw going down the other
side was the sun. He will come up again tomorrow morning, and will soon teach you how
to run away down the gutter. The weather is going to change; I feel it already by the pain
in my left hind-leg; the weather is certainly going to change.'
'I can't understand him,' said the Snow-man; 'but I have an idea that he is speaking of
something unpleasant. That thing that glares so, and then disappears, the sun, as he calls
it, is not my friend. I know that by instinct.'
'Bow-wow!' barked the yard-dog, and walked three times round himself, and then crept
into his kennel to sleep. The weather really did change. Towards morning a dense damp
fog lay over the whole neighbourhood; later on came an icy wind, which sent the frost
packing. But when the sun rose, it was a glorious sight. The trees and shrubs were
covered with rime, and looked like a wood of coral, and every branch was thick with long
white blossoms. The most delicate twigs, which are lost among the foliage in summer-
time, came now into prominence, and it was like a spider's web of glistening white. The