The Snow Queen-Seventh Story: Of the Palace of the Snow Queen and What Happened there at Last

The Snow Queen-Seventh Story: Of the Palace of the Snow Queen and What Happened there at LastThe Snow Queen-Seventh Story: Of the Palace of the Snow Queen and What Happened there at Last

Gerda made it to the Snow Queen’s palace, which was made of drifted snow. Harsh winds cut through and made doors and windows. There were many rooms each cold and barren, the longest of which was over a mile. In the center of the palace was a large lake. Upon its surface were pieces of ice that were precise pieces that would fit together. In the center of this lake was where the Snow Queen had her throne. There by her sat Kay. He was blue but did not feel cold because the Snow Queen had kissed away his coldness and turned his heart to ice. Kay would sit and play with pieces of ice. They didn’t look like anything special, but because of the piece of glass in his eye and heart, they looked like extraordinary things, including words. The Snow Queen had told Kay that if he managed the word “eternity” he would be free and have the whole Earth and a new pair of skates.

The Snow Queen decided that she must be off to Mt. Etna and Vesuvius to make their tops covered with snow. Gerda went up to Kay, where she found him cold. He did not recognize her. She wept hot tears which fell upon Kay and penetrated his heart. His heart warmed and thawed. The piece of glass was pushed out. When this happened, Kay began to cry, and as he did so, the piece of glass in his eye fell out. All of this caused Kay’s bits of ice to make the word eternity. Kay was free to go. The Snow Queen no longer had a hold upon him.

Kay and Gerda left the palace. The reindeer was still standing where they had left him, but he had brought another reindeer along, a female. Her udders were full of milk. Kay and Gerda had their fill and rode to the house of the Finland woman, where they were thoroughly warmed in her hot house. Then they rode to the house of the Lapland woman.

They then left the Lapland woman and went to the forest, where they met the little Robber-Girl. She had left her robber family and was on her own now. She wore a red hat and carried pistols on her belt. The Robber-Girl, as sassy as ever, asked Kay if he wondered if he was worth going all across the world for. Gerda then asked after the prince and princess. They had gone traveling. The old crow was dead.

Gerda and Kay kept walking. They finally made it to their home city. They went into their old home. The clock was still ticking on the wall, but they perceived that they were grown up now. They were man and woman. The grandmother was still there. She read to them both out of the Bible. Kay and Gerda were grown up but knew that they should become as little children to enter into the kingdom of God. They sat in the summer weather and were like children at heart.

The End

Turkdel8Observations

The Snow Queen’s palace sounds like the Fortress of Solitude. Why do all these beings have to go to the North Pole and build houses of ice and snow to be alone?

The more I read about the Snow Queen, the more she sounds like the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia, although, the Snow Queen doesn’t seem quite as evil as the White Witch.

There was no showdown between Kay and Gerda and the Snow Queen. This says something about the Snow Queen. She wasn’t necessarily bad. She wasn’t a villain, although, it kind of seemed like she was, she really wasn’t. Sure, she took Kay away, but he kind of went of his own accord due to the pieces of glass in his heart and eye. Because she wasn’t a villain, there was no need for the final showdown we’re all so familiar with in storytelling.

B6XS0XgCQAA-15HThemes

Think of this entire story as the story of a relationship and a story of man and woman. Kay and Gerda ended up being adults at the end of their tale. They were gone for a long time, probably. They went away children and came back, adults. That’s how life works. We start out as children, innocent, and knowing nothing of the world, but we always end up as adults. The ills of the world touch us and form us in various ways. We go through hardships. We go through trials. Sometimes we have to search for others in our lives.

Kay was the one who veered from the path of righteousness, but Gerda was always the one who was good. This is a sexist idea that we keep perpetuating. The woman is always seen as the more pious counterpart in any relationship, while the man, everyone knows, is going to carouse about and do bad things, maybe he’ll come around at some point, maybe he won’t.

There are people who even say that there will be more women in heaven because women are more righteous and men are prone to sinning, so there will be more of them in Hell. Seriously? Men and women both have the same capacity for good and for evil. Just because a woman is a woman, doesn’t mean she’s going to end up in Heaven, or in Hell, or wherever. The same goes for a man.

Why couldn’t it have been Gerda who got the piece of glass in her eye? There is really no reason it couldn’t have been.

Gerda goes through Hell and back to get Kay back. She endures so many hardships herself, while Kay is seemingly oblivious to the whole thing, again, this is rather sexist. We always assume the woman is working harder at everything and the man does stupid crap unknowingly. “Oh, he doesn’t understand that he was hurting you or that you didn’t like that.” Bull crap.

This is a fairy tale, but Hans reflected some rather realistic struggles and attitudes between men and women. This story is what society expected to happen. Gerda was the good one. Kay was the one who veered off course. They both learned a valuable lesson as they grew up and both ended up “coming to Jesus.” Gerda was able to win Kay over, eventually, with her pious practices. It took her years, but it happened.

Overall

I’m glad Gerda was able to get Kay back, but Kay could have helped her out a bit.

Weigh In

How realistic is it that the man sits and plays with his toys while the woman moves mountains?

If this whole thing sounds familiar, do you think men are actually clueless or do you think they’ve been conditioned to be clueless?

The Snow Queen-Sixth Story: The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

The Snow Queen-Sixth Story: The Lapland Woman and the Finland WomanThe Snow Queen-Sixth Story: The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

Gerda and the reindeer traveled on after the food ran out. They finally made it to a hut. The door was low to the ground and everyone who entered had to crawl through. This was where the Lapland woman lived. She invited them both inside and Gerda told her story.

The Lapland woman wrote a note on a piece of dried cod and told them to go to the Finland woman. Gerda and the reindeer made it to the home of the Finland woman. They knocked at the chimney because there was no door above the ground. Inside it was sweltering. The Finland woman wore hardly anything. Gerda was obliged to take off her warm clothes.

The reindeer spoke to the Finland woman because he knew she had powers. He told her he knew she could tie the four winds up. He asked if she could give Gerda the strength of twelve men. The Finland woman assessed the situation. She took down a scroll with strange markings and began to read. She sweated profusely. After a while, she stopped and took the reindeer into a corner to speak to him.

Kay was with the Snow Queen, but he liked it there. He liked it there because he had a piece of glass in his eye and one in his heart. These would have to be removed for Kay to return. The reindeer asked if the Finland woman could give Gerda anything to help her on her journey and she told the reindeer that she could not give Gerda anything more powerful than she already possessed. The Finland woman told the reindeer he could only take Gerda to the edge of the Snow Queen’s garden, which was two miles away.

The reindeer sped off with Gerda, but she had forgotten her warm clothes. She was set down in the garden, where snowflakes looked like animals. Gerda huffed out her breath and asked for protection. The steam she huffed out turned into angels which began to fight the strangely shaped snowflakes. The little angels helped her stay warm and helped protect her, but it was time to see what had become of Kay.

laplandObservations

I have to wonder if this is some kind of jab at the difference between Laplanders and Finnish people. They both apparently live in strange homes, but the Finland woman walks around practically naked. Here’s the thing, Lapland is basically northern Finland. Gerda would have had to have gone south to go from the Lapland woman to the Finland woman if we’re using a modern-day explanation of Finland and Lapland. I thought the Snow Queen lived near the North Pole. Why does she live in Finland, South Finland to be exact?

Maybe Hans didn’t like Finland? Maybe he had something against Finnish people? I don’t know what the deal is. Surely, Hans would have known that Finnish people didn’t live in tiny huts that were low to the ground, but, then again, perhaps some natives to the area did, especially hunters.

In the United States, we’re often familiar with hearing about how people migrated and immigrated to North America from other regions. The same thing happened in Europe. All those blonde and blue-eyed people up in Scandinavia weren’t necessarily native to the area. There was some migration from the area of Germany and Sweden. Things have gotten mixed up over the years, of course.

My point in mentioning this is that there would have been people who were more “native” to the area and would have had more “native” type traditions, even if they didn’t necessarily look like other natives from other parts of the world.

Hunters up in the Northern regions of Europe and Asia can live in structures similar to the structures mentioned in this story, they’re more often temporary than permanent though. I once watched this special on some people in the region who went out hunting. They took an elaborate tent with them. It was low to the ground just as described in this story and then put a full-blown stove on the inside. They also used reindeer and ate reindeer.

1028Themes

What better way to combat evil than to have good? What better way to pierce the dark than to have light?

The Finland woman could give Gerda nothing greater than she already had because Gerda already had good on her side. She already had innocence. She already had determination. The power of twelve men would have done nothing more for her.

In Gerda’s case, we’re talking about the simplest of battles–the fight between good and bad, darkness and light, right and wrong, and so on. It’s the oldest battle in the history of battles. To win, you simply have to be on the good side. At times, it may appear that evil has won, but eventually, bad things catch up to bad things.

Using a quote from The Polar Bear King, my favorite Norwegian filmed movie dubbed into English made in 1991, I would like to point out something, “Too much evil destroys evil.” You can only be so bad before your own badness destroys you.

Gerda will win.

Overall

The Lapland Woman and the Finland woman both seemed to be conjurers or witches of some sort or wise-women if you prefer that term.

Weigh In

Would you live in a house with only the chimney as a way in or a way out?

Would you use a fish as letterhead? 

The Snow Queen-Fifth Story: Little Robber-Girl

The Snow Queen-Fifth Story: Little Robber-GirlThe Snow Queen-Fifth Story: Little Robber-Girl

Gerda continued on her way in her golden carriage given to her by the Prince and Princess. As she came to the woods, robbers were waiting. They spied her carriage and could not pass it up because it was gold. They captured Gerda and her beautiful things.

The woman of the camp thought Gerda would be good eating, but her daughter thought otherwise. The daughter, the little Robber-Girl, pretty much had the run of the camp. What she said went. If she told her mother to do something, she did it. The Robber-Girl said that they would not eat Gerda; she would be a playmate to the Robber-Girl. Gerda would sleep in the bed with the Robber-Girl and her animals. The Robber-Girl would also take her nice fur muff.

The Robber-Girl told Gerda all the things she did. She told her how she got whatever she wanted and that she was obliged to keep all of her pets chained up. There were birds, who were caged. There was a reindeer who was chained up. Gerda was also to be restrained. Each night the Robber-Girl stroked the reindeer’s neck with her knife to remind the reindeer who was the boss. This scared the reindeer and the Robber-Girl got a kick out of scaring it.

In bed, Gerda repeated her story again about Kay and the whole thing. The little Robber-Girl fell asleep and she always slept with her knife. When she was asleep, the animals began to talk to Gerda. They had seen Kay. He was with the Snow Queen who went to Lapland and had her summer palace on an island called Spitsbergen.

In the morning, Gerda told the Robber-Girl all that the animals had said. At first, the Robber-Girl thought it was all made-up, but the reindeer said it was all true and he had been raised in Lapland. The Robber-Girl said she would do something for Gerda. When her mother fell asleep, the Robber-Girl was going to let Gerda go. She would give her back her fur boots, but she would not give back the muff. She would give Gerda her mother’s mittens though. They were large and warm. Gerda would ride upon the reindeer to the Snow Queen. The Robber-Girl also gave Gerda some bread and ham.

The reindeer and Gerda headed away from the robbers’ camp and towards Lapland.

spitsbergenObservations

Spitsbergen is a real place, although, I don’t know if I would want to be in a place called “Spitsbergen.” Spitsbergen was officially discovered in 1596. It’s not at the North Pole, but it’s fairly close. It’s not always white with snow. There are green things that grow there. It only gets about 43 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer though, so it’s not very warm. It’s not a shorts and tank-top kind of place. There are people who live there. Spitsbergen has been a coal mining location for a long time, but at one point it was a whaling base.

Reindeer do live on Spitsbergen as well as polar bears. So have fun with that if you visit. Other than all of that, there isn’t a whole lot to Spitsbergen, even though it’s the 36th largest island in the world and part of Norway.

Quotation-Karl-A-Menninger-police-Meetville-Quotes-176882Themes

People aren’t all bad; nobody is ever all bad. In this story, we find that out. This little Robber-Girl sounds just awful. She’s mean to animals. She’s mean to her mother. She doesn’t see anything wrong with taking something from somebody else. She’s not nice. What little girl taunts an animal with a knife? Despite all of this, she still finds it in her heart to let Gerda go. She also lets the reindeer go and the reindeer seemed to be the animal she liked the most.

Just because someone seems awfully bad, doesn’t mean they are without feeling or cannot be reached. It’s definitely harder to reach someone who seems so bad. It doesn’t seem like anything you do or say will change how they see the world, but sometimes life can surprise you and they were listening when you thought they were not.

Overall

Maybe the Robber-Girl will grow up to be a decent person?

Weigh In

Do you find it hard to believe that a mother would willingly raise her child in a den of robbers?

Do you think the Robber-Girl needs the Super Nanny?

The Snow Queen-Fourth Story-The Prince and the Princess

The Snow Queen-Fourth Story-The Prince and the PrincessThe Snow Queen-Fourth Story-The Prince and the Princess

Gerda continued on her way away from the conjuring woman. She met a crow. The crow asked her how things were going and she told him her story. She asked about Kay. The crow said he saw someone who might be Kay.

The nearby Princess decided that it was time for her to be wed. She wanted to marry a man who could actually talk to her and not lose his words when he came into her presence. There had been many men, but only one had not lost his words. All the other men forgot everything they were going to say and would only repeat the last two words the princess said.

The crow said he could sneak Gerda into the castle to have a look at the prince who would not be confounded with words. Gerda thought his description sounded enough like Kay that it could be him. The crow was engaged to a crow that lived in the palace. The girl crow also knew where a key was kept. That night, the crow took Gerda to the castle. She curtsied before the crow.

They would have to go upstairs to the room where the prince and princess slept. As they crept up the stairs shadows of men and horses sped past them upon the walls. These were dreams flying to their dreamers. They appeared to Gerda as shadows upon the wall.

They finally made it to the room where the prince and princess slept, but the prince was not Kay. He had hair like Kay, but he was not Kay. He awoke and so too did the princess. In the morning, they straightened things out. Gerda asked to be given a carriage and a horse to continue on with her journey. The prince and princess were very kind to her. The crows got married. Gerda went upon her way continuing on with her search for Kay.

Corvus_macrorhynchos_HardwickeObservations

Crows are very smart birds. They can get quite large as well. When I lived in Okinawa, there were crows in Nago that were chicken-sized. They didn’t have quite the same body shape, but they were large birds. Being as they’re so smart, it is said that if you split a crow’s tongue it can mimic human speech. I don’t know if this is true or not, even if it is, it’s rather cruel.

Crows do seem to be talking to each other. If you ever have the chance to listen to two crows caw back and forth, it definitely sounds like a conversation. They’re so smart. It makes sense that this story would use a crow to sneak a girl into a castle.

These birds are parts of so many stories. Maleficent’s bird friend is a crow. There are crows in multiple Grimm’s fairy tales. There is a lot of lore associated with crows. They are mystery keepers. They are close to death. They are playful. They’re beautiful in their own dark way.

9d88de068c17b85f515e7a463bf3b9bcThemes

The princess wanted a man who would not be intimidated by her. This story was published in the 1800s. It’s not as if this story was from the 1500s or the 1600s. Women had more of a right in the world in the 1800s than they did way back when, but powerful women have always been admired. While powerful women have always been admired, they have not been admired as frequently as powerful men, and they were still looked down upon to a degree. Speaking of the same women, they can also intimidate men. Men can be a little scared of a woman who is smarter, more powerful, older, richer, or any other number of “ers” and “mores.”

Men have this idea in their heads, not all men, but usually men have an idea in their heads of how their lives are supposed to work. They have been told they’re the ones who are expected to be the provider, breadwinner, the protector, and many other labels. When they encounter a woman who challenges their idea of what they’re supposed to be, things can get a little odd. Maybe a man is struck dumb at the sight of a woman who is more powerful and has more money than he does. How many men have had the chance to meet their celebrity crushes, only to act completely stupid when they get the chance? Women do that too, by the way.

All these men that had come to see the princess were intimidated. They took one look at her and lost their places in the world. If the princess already had her own money and her own kingdom and her own army, what good were they? The prince who did come along, obviously wasn’t bothered by any of these things. He either was comfortable with the fact that maybe the princess had more or he was comfortable with being able to offer the Princess other things and considered his other offerings just as valuable to her. Because he had this attitude, he wasn’t intimidated by this princess.

This prince teaches us a valuable lesson. Maybe you don’t have all these awesome things about you. Maybe you’re not rich. Maybe you don’t have an army. Maybe you’re not skinny, or tall, or white, or you don’t have a nice booty, whatever the case may be that you feel you lack in, you have to consider that you may not actually be lacking. You have to have the attitude that what you do have to offer, and even your perceived faults, are things that are going to be valuable to people. You have to believe that you’re good enough, even if you can’t afford caviar.

Overall

The thought of shadow dreams running all around the house when we’re asleep is kind of weird.

Weigh In

Do you think the prince and princess ended up being happy together?

Do you think crows are wise? 

The Snow Queen-Third Story: The Flower Garden of the Woman who Could Conjure

The Snow Queen-Third Story: The Flower Garden of the Woman who Could ConjureThe Snow Queen-Third Story: The Flower Garden of the Woman who Could Conjure

Since Kay had been gone, Gerda had been very sad. No one knew where he had gone. Gerda looked for herself, she thought the river might have taken him. She offered up her red shoes in return for Kay, but the river would not take her shoes. Gerda decided to get in a boat and look for Kay, but as it turned out, the boat was not tied up and Gerda drifted and drifted away.

An old woman saw her and pulled the boat in. The old woman heard Gerda’s story and wanted Gerda to stay with her because she had wanted a little girl around. The woman had a beautiful garden, which was beautiful all the time. Because of Gerda’s story about Kay and the roses they used to sit under, the woman caused the rose bushes, which were beautiful, to sink into the ground.

Gerda had a wonderful time. She had her own room with beautiful things inside of it. The garden was always beautiful. Gerda played in the garden often and thought it was beautiful, but it seemed there were flowers missing, but she couldn’t place her finger on it. One day she saw a hat of the woman’s. On the hat was rose. Gerda knew that roses were missing from the garden. She looked for them and could not find them. She cried tears which fell to the Earth and softened the ground. The roses sprang up.

She remembered Kay. She remembered her family, which would surely be sad for her. She knew she had been kept at the woman’s house and from her quest. She began asking the flowers were Kay was. The flowers talked, but had no stories about Kay. Each flower seemed to have its own story, empty of anything about anything real. Every  flower said something. No flower had information about anything.

Gerda finally decided to get out. She ran to the garden where there was a gate and forced it open. Once outside, she ran. She looked back and no one was following. She looked around her and it was Autumn, where it had been spring when she left. The world was turning to winter and everything was dark and dreary to her.

Observations

Talking flowers is a concept that has happened a few times in literature, most notoriously, in Lewis Carroll’s stories of Wonderland. In Lewis’ description of flowers and in this story, the flowers seemed to be concerned with only themselves. They all seem very vain. I couldn’t say what all goes on in a flower’s mind, but maybe they are vain.

Themes

Gerda was distracted from her goal and only reminded when she saw one rose. It is easy to be distracted from something if there is nothing around to remind us of it. Gerda’s worry for Kay was replaced with nice things and she forgot the cares of the world. That’s how it would happen with any of us. If someone took our worries away from us and put something else in their place and hid the reminders of those things, we might be very apt to forget all of those things ourselves. Only our minds would hold the key to where we were and what we had been doing. Our minds would forget, for a while, until there was a trigger, just like there was for Gerda in this story.

Gerda spent all this time without even realizing that it was passing. She had been drawn away from everything real, at least to her. That’s not to say the garden wasn’t real or the woman wasn’t real. Each of these things were real in the story, they just weren’t real to Gerda. They didn’t fit into her reality.

It’s the same way with us. If some prince road up to us and was like, “Marry me,” you might be thrilled, but you would know there was something fishy about it. It just doesn’t fit in with how your world usually works. We can be awfully pessimistic about how our lives go, but we’re generally right about the general nature of our lives. Would a prince ride up to you and propose marriage? Probably not, even though you might really like for it to happen.

In another literary note, think of the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter. It’s a similar concept to Gerda’s time in this garden.

Overall

The old woman sought to trap Gerda, but Gerda also trapped herself to an extent.

Weigh In

If someone took away your worries, do  you think you could ever truly forget them?

Would you question the most wonderful and surprising thing in the world, if it happened to you, or just go along with it?