The Pink Fairy Book HTML version

Once upon a time there lived a peasant called Ivan, and he had a wife whose name was
Marie. They would have been quite happy except for one thing: they had no children to
play with, and as they were now old people they did not find that watching the children of
their neighbours at all made up to them for having one of their own.
One winter, which nobody living will ever forget, the snow lay so deep that it came up to
the knees of even the tallest man. When it had all fallen, and the sun was shining again,
the children ran out into the street to play, and the old man and his wife sat at their
window and gazed at them. The children first made a sort of little terrace, and stamped it
hard and firm, and then they began to make a snow woman. Ivan and Marie watched
them, the while thinking about many things.
Suddenly Ivan's face brightened, and, looking at his wife, he said, 'Wife, why shouldn't
we make a snow woman too?'
'Why not?' replied Marie, who happened to be in a very good temper; 'it might amuse us a
little. But there is no use making a woman. Let us make a little snow child, and pretend it
is a living one.'
'Yes, let us do that,' said Ivan, and he took down his cap and went into the garden with his
old wife.
Then the two set to work with all their might to make a doll out of the snow. They shaped
a little body and two little hands and two little feet. On top of all they placed a ball of
snow, out of which the head was to be.
'What in the world are you doing?' asked a passer-by.
'Can't you guess?' returned Ivan.
'Making a snow-child,' replied Marie.
They had finished the nose and the chin. Two holes were left for the eyes, and Ivan
carefully shaped out the mouth. No sooner had he done so than he felt a warm breath
upon his cheek. He started back in surprise and looked--and behold! the eyes of the child
met his, and its lips, which were as red as raspberries, smiled at him!
'What is it?' cried Ivan, crossing himself. 'Am I mad, or is the thing bewitched?'
The snow-child bent its head as if it had been really alive. It moved its little arms and its
little legs in the snow that lay about it just as the living children did theirs.
'Ah! Ivan, Ivan,' exclaimed Marie, trembling with joy, 'heaven has sent us a child at last!'
And she threw herself upon Snowflake (for that was the snow-child's name) and covered
her with kisses. And the loose snow fell away from Snowflake as an egg shell does from
an egg, and it was a little girl whom Marie held in her arms.