I decided to re-read the fairy story The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen for the Literary Christmas Challenge. The original story was published in New Fairy Tales in December 1844. I loved this story as a child and I found a copy in my local library with beautiful illustrations by P J Lynch. I have a fascination with the culture and traditions of the Far North so this book seemed to be very appropriate.
The story in my book was retold from the original English version by Caroline Peachey. The structure of the story is simple but effective following Gerda in her search for her friend Kay. The illustrations are superb especially the drawings of the Snow Queen showing her as beautiful but cold and terrifying. I particularly liked the picture of Gerda riding through the forest on the back of the reindeer with the sky illuminated by the Northern Lights.
I didn't realise there was such an overtly religious dimension to this story with a refrain which is repeated throughout the book
"Our roses bloom and fad away,
Our infant Lord abides alway;
May we be blessed His face to see,
And ever little children be."
I'm sure it is possible to analyse this story in greater depth but I think I will leave it there - I enjoyed being transported back to a favourite tale of my childhood.