By Hans Christian Andersen
"It is so delightfully cold," said the Snow
Man, "that it makes my whole body crackle.
This is just the kind of wind to blow life
into one. How that great red thing up there
is staring at me!" He meant the sun, who was
just setting. "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 broken rake, and was, of course,
furnished with teeth. He had been brought
into existence amidst the joyous shouts of
boys, the jingling of sleigh-bells, and the
slashing of whips. The sun went down, and
the full moon rose, large, round, and clear,
shining in the deep blue.
"There it comes again, from the other side,"
said the Snow Man, who supposed the sun was
showing himself once more. "Ah, I have cured
him of staring, though; now he may hang up
there, and shine, that I may see myself. If
I only knew how to manage to move away from
this place,- I should so like to move. If I
could, I would slide along yonder on the ice,
as I have seen the boys do; but I don't
understand how; I don't even know how to
"Away, away," barked the old yard-dog. He
was quite hoarse, and could not pronounce "Bow
wow" properly. He had once been an indoor
dog, and lay by the fire, and he had been
hoarse ever since. "The sun will make you
run some day. I saw him, last winter, make
your predecessor run, and his predecessor
before him. Away, away, they all have to
"I don't understand you, comrade," said the
Snow Man. "Is that thing up yonder to teach
me to run? I saw it running itself a little
while ago, and now it has come creeping up
from the other side.
"You know nothing at all," replied the
yard-dog; "but then, you've only lately been
patched up. What you see yonder is the moon,
and the one before it was the sun. It will
come again to-morrow, and most likely teach
you to run down into the ditch by the well;
for I think the weather is going to change.
I can feel such pricks and stabs in my left
leg; I am sure there is going to be a change."
"I don't understand him," said the Snow Man
to himself; "but I have a feeling that he is
talking of something very disagreeable. The
one who stared so just now, and whom he
calls the sun, is not my friend; I can feel
"Away, away," barked the yard-dog, and then
he turned round three times, and crept into
his kennel to sleep.
There was really a change in the weather.
Towards morning, a thick fog covered the
whole country round, and a keen wind arose,
so that the cold seemed to freeze one's
bones; but when the sun rose, the sight was
splendid. Trees and bushes were covered with
hoar frost, and looked like a forest of
white coral; while on every twig glittered
frozen dew-drops. The many delicate forms
concealed in summer by luxuriant foliage,
were now clearly defined, and looked like
glittering lace-work. From every twig
glistened a white radiance. The birch,
waving in the wind, looked full of life,
like trees in summer; and its appearance was
wondrously beautiful. And where the sun
shone, how everything glittered and sparkled,
as if diamond dust had been strewn about;
while the snowy carpet of the earth appeared
as if covered with diamonds, from which
countless lights gleamed, whiter than even
the snow itself.
"This is really beautiful," said a young
girl, who had come into the garden with a
young man; and they both stood still near
the Snow Man, and contemplated the
glittering scene. "Summer cannot show a more
beautiful sight," she exclaimed, while her
"And we can't have such a fellow as this in
the summer time," replied the young man,
pointing to the Snow Man; "he is capital."
The girl laughed, and nodded at the Snow
Man, and then tripped away over the snow
with her friend. The snow creaked and
crackled beneath her feet, as if she had
been treading on starch.
"Who are these two?" asked the Snow Man of
the yard-dog. "You have been here longer
than I have; do you know them?"
"Of course I know them," replied the
yard-dog; "she has stroked my back many
times, and he has given me a bone of meat. I
never bite those two."
"But what are they?" asked the Snow Man.
"They are lovers," he replied; "they will go
and live in the same kennel by-and-by, and
gnaw at the same bone. Away, away!"
"Are they the same kind of beings as you and
I?" asked the Snow Man.
"Well, they belong to the same master,"
retorted the yard-dog. "Certainly people who
were only born yesterday know very little. I
can see that in you. I have age and
experience. I know every one here in the
house, and I know there was once a time when
I did not lie out here in the cold, fastened
to a chain. Away, away!"
"The cold is delightful," said the Snow Man;
"but do tell me tell me; only you must not
clank your chain so; for it jars all through
me when you do that."
"Away, away!" barked the yard-dog; "I'll
tell you; they said I was a pretty little
fellow once; then I used to lie in a
velvet-covered chair, up at the master's
house, and sit in the mistress's lap. They
used to kiss my nose, and wipe my paws with
an embroidered handkerchief, and I was
called 'Ami, dear Ami, sweet Ami.' But after
a while I grew too big for them, and they
sent me away to the housekeeper's room; so I
came to live on the lower story. You can
look into the room from where you stand, and
see where I was master once; for I was
indeed master to the housekeeper. It was
certainly a smaller room than those up
stairs; but I was more comfortable; for I
was not being continually taken hold of and
pulled about by the children as I had been.
I received quite as good food, or even
better. I had my own cushion, and there was
a stove- it is the finest thing in the world
at this season of the year. I used to go
under the stove, and lie down quite beneath
it. Ah, I still dream of that stove. Away,
"Does a stove look beautiful?" asked the
Snow Man, "is it at all like me?"
"It is just the reverse of you,' said the
dog; "it's as black as a crow, and has a
long neck and a brass knob; it eats firewood,
so that fire spurts out of its mouth. We
should keep on one side, or under it, to be
comfortable. You can see it through the
window, from where you stand."
Then the Snow Man looked, and saw a bright
polished thing with a brazen knob, and fire
gleaming from the lower part of it. The Snow
Man felt quite a strange sensation come over
him; it was very odd, he knew not what it
meant, and he could not account for it. But
there are people who are not men of snow,
who understand what it is. "'And why did you
leave her?" asked the Snow Man, for it
seemed to him that the stove must be of the
female sex. "How could you give up such a
"I was obliged," replied the yard-dog. "They
turned me out of doors, and chained me up
here. I had bitten the youngest of my
master's sons in the leg, because he kicked
away the bone I was gnawing. 'Bone for
bone,' I thought; but they were so angry,
and from that time I have been fastened with
a chain, and lost my bone. Don't you hear
how hoarse I am. Away, away! I can't talk
any more like other dogs. Away, away, that
is the end of it all."
But the Snow Man was no longer listening. He
was looking into the housekeeper's room on
the lower storey; where the stove stood on
its four iron legs, looking about the same
size as the Snow Man himself. "What a
strange crackling I feel within me," he said.
"Shall I ever get in there? It is an
innocent wish, and innocent wishes are sure
to be fulfilled. I must go in there and lean
against her, even if I have to break the
"You must never go in there," said the
yard-dog, "for if you approach the stove,
you'll melt away, away."
"I might as well go," said the Snow Man,
"for I think I am breaking up as it is."
During the whole day the Snow Man stood
looking in through the window, and in the
twilight hour the room became still more
inviting, for from the stove came a gentle
glow, not like the sun or the moon; no, only
the bright light which gleams from a stove
when it has been well fed. When the door of
the stove was opened, the flames darted out
of its mouth; this is customary with all
stoves. The light of the flames fell
directly on the face and breast of the Snow
Man with a ruddy gleam. "I can endure it no
longer," said he; "how beautiful it looks
when it stretches out its tongue?"
The night was long, but did not appear so to
the Snow Man, who stood there enjoying his
own reflections, and crackling with the cold.
In the morning, the window-panes of the
housekeeper's room were covered with ice.
They were the most beautiful ice-flowers any
Snow Man could desire, but they concealed
the stove. These window-panes would not thaw,
and he could see nothing of the stove, which
he pictured to himself, as if it had been a
lovely human being. The snow crackled and
the wind whistled around him; it was just
the kind of frosty weather a Snow Man might
thoroughly enjoy. But he did not enjoy it;
how, indeed, could he enjoy anything when he
was "stove sick?"
"That is terrible disease for a Snow Man,"
said the yard-dog; "I have suffered from it
myself, but I got over it. Away, away," he
barked and then he added, "the weather is
going to change." And the weather did change;
it began to thaw. As the warmth increased,
the Snow Man decreased. He said nothing and
made no complaint, which is a sure sign. One
morning he broke, and sunk down altogether;
and, behold, where he had stood, something
like a broomstick remained sticking up in
the ground. It was the pole round which the
boys had built him up. "Ah, now I understand
why he had such a great longing for the
stove," said the yard-dog. "Why, there's the
shovel that is used for cleaning out the
stove, fastened to the pole." The Snow Man
had a stove scraper in his body; that was
what moved him so. "But it's all over now.
Away, away." And soon the winter passed. "Away,
away," barked the hoarse yard-dog. But the
girls in the house sang,
"Come from your fragrant home, green thyme;
Stretch your soft branches, willow-tree;
The months are bringing the sweet
When the lark in the sky sings joyfully.
Come gentle sun, while the cuckoo sings,
And I'll mock his note in my wanderings."
And nobody thought any more of the Snow Man.