The Snow Queen
And no, the Disney-fied version is not correct. Are you surprised?
It's Montana, and we're in the middle of another snowstorm. It actually rained first before turning to snow, so driving right now is especially pleasant. Anyway, the original story of "The Snow Queen" was written by Hans Christian Andersen and is one of his longest and most acclaimed fairy tales. The tale is actually told in seven stories.
1. About the Mirror and its Pieces
2. A Little Boy and a Little Girl
3. The Flower Garden of the Woman Who Knew Magic
4. The Prince and the Princess
5. The Little Robber Girl
6. The Lapp Woman and the Finn Woman
7. What Happened at the Snow Queen's Palace and What Happened Afterwards
Gee, that doesn't sound like any of the events that transpired in Frozen, does it? Here's a quick synopsis of how the Fairy Tale really goes.
1. The devil, in the form of a troll, creates a mirror that shines back to everyone only their bad and ugly aspects of themselves. As he and his trolls attempt to carry the mirror to heaven, the mirror begins to laugh so much that it wiggles out of their hands and falls back to earth and shatters. These splinters are blown all over the earth and get into people's eyes and hearts. The eyes no longer see good in people. The heart turns to ice.
2. Years later Kai and Gerda grow up next door to each other and play in the garden together everyday where the roses grow. Gerda sings a song to Kai about the roses since they remind her of him. In the winter when Kai is peering out his window to look for the snow bees, he spots the snow queen instead. She beckons him, but he refuses to go with her. He never tells Gerda, not wanting to make her afraid of the Snow Queen's presence. In the spring splinters of that sodden mirror get into Kai's eyes and he sees only the bad and ugly of everyone, even his own grandmother and Gerda. He isolates himself and refuses to keep company with anyone anymore. The following winter the Snow Queen finds him in the market square and he hitches his sled to her white coach. She kisses him once to make him numb to the cold. She kisses him a second time to make him forget about everyone else in his life, including Gerda, before taking him away to her palace. Everyone in town assumes Kai drowned in the river, but Gerda refuses to believe it. She offers the river the gift of her new red shoes in exchange for Kai and the river does not take them, therefore it doesn't have Kai.
3. Gerda visits a sorceress with a garden of eternal summer. The sorceress adores Gerda and orders all her rose bushes to sink into the ground because she knows that roses remind Gerda of Kai, and she wants Gerda to forget Kai so that Gerda would stay with her forever. Yet the sorceress forgets about the rose she stuck in her hat and Gerda's tears raise a flower bush who tells her that it could see all the dead while it was underground and Kai was not among them.
4. Gerda flees and meets a crow who tells her it spotted Kai in the princess's palace. Gerda goes to meet the prince and princess, and while the prince looks like Kai, it is not him. She tells them her tale and they give her warm clothes and a coach to assist her in looking for Kai.
5. While riding in her new coach, Gerda gets noticed by robbers and kidnapped. She makes friends with the little robber girl whose pet doves tell Gerda that they saw the Snow Queen take Kai away to her palace in Lapland. The captive reindeer, Bae, tells Gerda that he knows how to get there since it's his homeland.
6. The robber girl frees Gerda and the reindeer so they can travel north to the Snow Palace. Along the way the meet with a Lapp woman and a Finn woman who claim that Gerda's innocence of heart is all she needs to free Kai from the Snow Queen and remove the splinters of mirror from his eyes and heart.
7. When Gerda arrives at the Snow Palace, the snowflakes guarding it won't move aside until she says the Lord's Prayer. When she finally reaches Kai, he is in the middle of a frozen lake attempting to spell a word correctly to earn his freedom from the Snow Queen. Gerda's tears melt his frozen heart and his tears wash out the mirror splinters and they dance joyously around the lake somehow making the ice splinters spell the word "eternity" while they do so. Eternity is the Snow Queen's "safe word" for Kai to leave her palace and the two happily travel back to their own village where they are now full grown because the journey had taken entirely too long.
Disney couldn't have really made that a charming children's tale, could they? Maybe we can consider Frozen to be an origin story for the Snow Queen and just know that in the future Elsa will begin kidnapping children and keeping them in her Snow Palace. You know, sometime after Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven have passed on.
Picture taken from my front yard on December 15th, 2017.