Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

The song Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung by most of us on the stroke of midnight each New Years Eve, however in Scotland, where Auld Lang Syne originates it is also sung on Burns Night, January 25th, to celebrate the life of the author and famous poet Robert Burns. The words 'Auld Lang Syne' literally translates from old Scottish dialect meaning 'Old Long Ago' and is about love and friendship in times past. The lyrics in the song Auld Lang Syne referring to 'We'll take a Cup of Kindness yet' relate to a drink shared by men and women to symbolise friendship.

Happy New Year!!!


Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Littlest Light On The Christmas Tree

The synopsis on says:

"Set in a time after the second World War, it's a magical story about two unforgettable friends. An abandoned, discarded Christmas bulb, afraid and alone... and an eight year old boy who finds him and takes him home. Broken and useless, Little Light is of no value to anyone - except to young Timothy who sees himself in Little Lights plight. Timothy's belief is so strong that Little Light can 'shine' again when the town suffers a blackout from a fierce winter storm, Little Light triumphs over all odds - and his own self doubt - to 'shine', lighting the way for others who 'see the light'."

It's a really sweet little story. :)


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008 (LBE & FD)

I hope you are enjoying the holidays... However you are spending them! :)

For anyone who wants to know how I've been spending mine...


We spent most of Monday making sure housework was up to date... This included laundry, dishes, changing of bedding, etc, etc.

I also started reading a book I'd got online called "Treasury Of Christmas Tales" which - as the name suggests - is a collection of Christmas stories. Stories which include "The Little Match Girl" a condensed version of "A Christmas Carol" and some I hadn't heard before (like "The Christmas Mouse" and "The Christmas Bear"). It also had the poem "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" in it, and the story of "The Nutcracker"... It's a fantastic book! Well worth the US$20 I paid for it! It's a really thick book though, so I've only just finished reading it.


Mam came to do some baking (as mentioned in the "Christmas Goodies 2008" post). We didn't make some of the things we planned to though, because we ended up with less time than planned.

Also, my Grandma and Grandad showed up to spend Christmas and the New Year with my parents, Nan and Wayne. So they dropped Jayde (Grandma's little Yorkshire Terrier) off here, because she is staying with us since she can't stay up there because Jayde and Willow have never gotten on.

Wednesday (Christmas Eve):

Grandma and Grandad came over for at least half the afternoon. Grandma and I took the dogs out for a walk by the river when they first got here while Grandad stayed at our place with Kelly. Then we just chatted for a while before they left.

And in the evening we watched "The Hogfather"... Which I'm sure I posted about when I watched it before. If I didn't then, sorry... If you don't know about it then feel free to ask.

Thursday (Christmas Day):

"Santa" sneakily filled the stockings at some point while we were watching the movie. *Wink* So we had our presents early... Since it was just the two of us and the two dogs we figured we might as well... Since we were up.

Here's a picture of each of the dogs with their stockings. This was the best one we could get of Jayde since she wasn't willing to stay still long enough for a better photo. It was all we could do to get this shot.

We kept most of the dogs' presents aside for them to have when they are seporate again. We figure that way they'll get to enjoy their own presents in peace. Grandma has Jayde's stuff, and Kero's stuff is put away in a bag out of the way until Jayde goes home.

We did keep a couple of things out though.

This huge teddy is one of them. As you can see Kero absolutely LOVES his giant teddy! He also has another slightly smaller one that looks a bit like a lion in a football shirt with a ball under its arm. He likes that one too, but seems to like the one in the photo most.

We also kept a big rawhide bone each out. And, of course, Kero's new harness.

This is another present of Kero's that got kept out. This was a present from Eleri, Faye, Daisy and Mia. He doesn't seem as pleased with it as he is with his teddies and his rawhide bone, but it's a lovely sweater.

The presents of Kero's that got put away are: A squeaky penguin, a squeaky Christmasy ball, a Squeaky bone, a little teddy with a rawhide bone with it, three different tuggy toys (a rope toy with stars on it, a rope toy with chicken legs on it and a soft tuggy toy with a squeaker in it), a big rawhide candy cane, another big rawhide bone, and a load of smaller treats (some rawhide, some not).

As for my presents...

I had some brain teaser type puzzles, some plastic Star Wars models to build, LOADS of chocolates and sweets, a fairy cup with a twisty straw, a Christmasy mug with a tactile Santa on it, a new pair of headphones for my Ipod since I don't like to use the in-ear ones that came with it, some audio books and the two presents I'm about to show you.

The first one I want to show you is the little lion on my shoulder in this picture. Father Christmas may not have been able to come through with the lion but Carl and Rachel came through without even realising it. They got this little lion for me when they went on their safari honeymoon back in August. LOL!

They also got me an elephant bracelet. But I don't have a photo of that to show you.

And, last but not least...

Kelly got me these awesome Eeyore slippers. They're really warm on the toes, and I absolutely LOVE them!


Once the presents were over with we watched Kelly's new DVD... Volume one of the animated TV show from the 80s "Dungeons And Dragons"... Great show!

At some point in the morning we also watched "The Polar Express"... Another movie I'm sure I posted about when I watched it before.

After that it was time for dinner... Turkey, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, sprouts, carrots and gravy... Delicious! Kelly cooked it, and he made so much it took me all day to eat mine. Actually, I only finished the last of it last night some time. LOL!

In the evening Kelly read a couple of stories to me from a book we had sent to us for Christmas from a friend in Finland. I can't remember what the book is called... It's a really good book though! :)

Friday (Boxing Day):

Kelly and I spent the morning preparing nibbles for when Mam, Dad, Grandma, Grandad and Wayne arrived. We made cocktail sausages, mini cheese pizzas, cheese bites, chicken dippers, pickled onions, little squares of cheese, roasted peanuts, salted peanuts and cheesy Doritos. We also had a variety of pops for people to drink... Cola, lemonade, Cherry coke and dandelion and burdock.


Mam, Dad, Grandma, Grandad and Wayne came to exchange presents with us (the stuff from them is mentioned in the list of what I got) and to spend a couple of hours with us.

While they were here Grandma and Wayne took the dogs for a walk. I couldn't go because I'd had a bath just before they came and my hair was still damp, and with this cold still lingering I didn't think I should go out in the freezing cold weather with damp hair.

And in the evening Kelly and I worked on my big model of a Millenneum Falcom together. It took us most of the evening to put it together. It's a very detailed model... It even has little Hans Solo and Chewbakka figures sat in the seats of the cockpit. I've got a smaller version of it too, but I don't think it'll be quite as detailed.

Saturday (today):

We haven't done much. We did watch "Scrooged" today though. And we're watching "School Of Rock" right now. Other than that I've pretty much just been working on getting caught up on blog posts.

I think that covers everything... Enjoy the rest of your day! :)


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Welcome Christmas

Dr. Seuss and Albert Hague

Fah who foraze!
Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas,
come this way!
Fah who foraze!
Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas,
Christmas Day!

Welcome, welcome!
Fah who rahmus!
Welcome, welcome!
Dah who dahmus
Christmas Day,
Is in our grasp,
So long as we,
Have hands to clasp!

Fah who foraze!
Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas!
Bring your cheer.
Fah who foraze!
Dah who doraze!
Welcome all who's,
Far and near

Fah who foraze!
Dah who doraze!
Welcome, Christmas!
Fah who rahmus!
Welcome, Christmas!
Dah who dahmus
Christmas Day,
Will always be
Just as long,
As we have we
Welcome all who's,
Far and near.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas The Night Before Christmas (AKA "A Visit From St Nicholas")

Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem Twas the night before Christmas also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. It is now the tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve. The poem Twas the night before Christmas has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of Twas the night before Christmas St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers! The author of the poem Twas the night before Christmas was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain anonymous. The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry. Clement Clarke Moore came from a prominent family and his father Benjamin Moore was the Bishop of New York who was famous for officiating at the inauguration of George Washington. The tradition of reading Twas the night before Christmas poem on Christmas Eve is now a Worldwide institution.


Twas The Night Before Christmas (Also known as "A Visit From St Nicholas")

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Do you still believe?

Me (over the phone to my Mam): Does she still believe?
Mam (to Shireen who was in the same room as her): Do you believe in Santa?
Shireen: Of course I do, because if I didn't there wouldn't be presents under the tree from him!

So, to all you non-believers I say... Argue that! ;)


Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is definitively called the Christmas Song. The lovely music and lyrics were composed by Torme and Wells in 1946. The most popular recording of this truly great Christmas song, Chestnuts roasting on an open fire was recorded by Nat King Cole. The strong imagery in the words to this Christmas song are also complimented by such sentiments as reflected in one of its lines "from kids from from one to ninety-two" which encompass the essence of the family Christmas. The notion that a traditional Christmas should be white is also profligated in the lyric of this Christmas song, Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.


The Christmas Song
(Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe,
Help to make the season bright.
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa's on his way;
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh.
And every mother's child is going to spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday goodies 2008 (FD)

My Mam and I did some baking today (Tuesday). We made three types of cookies (double chocolate cookies, chocolate marshmallow cookies and jelly cookies). We also made mince pies, cheese straws and chocolate covered marshmallows. Er... A few of the chocolate covered marshmallows never made it long enough to be included in the photo... They "accidentally" fell off the plate and in to my hand... Of course, I then "had to" eat them... I mean, who'd want them after my grubby fingers had been all over them? ;)

We were also going to make some ginger cookies, little ginger cakes, little chocolate cakes, banana-nog and maybe a couple of other things. But Mam ended up not having as long here as she'd thought she would, so that idea got scrapped. No big deal though... It's just the two of us, so those goodies are plenty for us two (Mam did more goodies at her place for everyone else). :)

I might have a go at the banana-nog myself tomorrow (Wednesday). We'll see though.

Wont be doing an actual post tomorrow with it being Christmas eve and all. We've got my Grandma's little Yorkie Jayde and Grandma will be coming to take her for a walk when I take Kero. Other than that the day will be spent making sure everything is ready for Christmas... Making sure dinner just has to be cooked so the day isn't wasted with food preporation, making sure all the laundry and other chores are up to date so nothing other than dinner dishes needs sorting on Christmas day. That sort of thing. It'll be Friday or Saturday before you get a post from me that's not already been scheduled. I doubt I'll even be around reading posts (I know I wont Thursday that's for sure... Kelly and I have agreed on a PC ban for the day).

So... Merry Christmas... Happy Holidays... Yuletide Blessings... Whichever of those applies to you and your family! And if none applies, then happy whatever you happen to be celebrating... Happy Chanuka, for example! May your holidays be full of love and laughter, however you choose to celebrate! :)


Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

The New York Sun - 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? - Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmasy reviews

First of all, did you know that the previous post was my 1000th post? Hmm... Maybe I talk too much? LOL!

Anyway... On to the reviews I promised!


"All I Want For Christmas"... Which is a movie I've had for many years about a little girl named "Hallie" who asks Father Christmas to get her parents to get back together, which prompts her older brother "Ethan" to come up with a plan to try and make her Christmas wish come true. It's a really good movie... Or, I think it is.

"An All Dogs Christmas Carol"... This one's an animated movie about some dogs who use a "miracle dog tag" to re inact the story of A Christmas Carol in order to persuade a nasty dog not to help an even nastier dog to ruin Christmas. It's a cute movie based on the characters from "All Dogs Go To Heaven."

"How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (the animated version)... Basically, the poem by Dr Seuss with animation. Need I say more? ;)


"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens... I don't think I need to tell you about this one. If I do then, seriously, where have you been? This one's a classic, and has been done in so many different versions I've lost track! The version I have though is the original version by Charles Dickens himself.

"Letters From Father Christmas" by J R R Tolkien... Yes, I did say "J R R Tolkien" - honestly! This is a book containing some letters that J R R Tolkien's children recieved from "Father Christmas" after they asked what Father Christmas did other than deliver presents. The letters contain amusing stories about what happens at the North Pole and what the North Polar Bear gets up to. It's definately good for a chuckle! :)

"A Candle In The Forest" by Temple Bailey... This one is a new find. I spotted it on a site that does braille books and thought I'd grab myself a copy to see if it was as good as it sounded. It was! It's a story about a poor family and a rich family who live next door to each other and how the poor family - despite having few possessions and only just enough money to live on - are actually richer because they have something money can't buy... Love! The story is set at Christmas, and shows the boy from the wealthy family learning how much better off the family next door is because they have each other, they have love, and they have the ability to be greatful for the little things. It shows us how a pile of presents can't compare to having your family near you and showing you that they care about you... A lesson many people in this world need to be taught!


"Merry Christmas & Happy New Year" in different languages

Now you can greet your international friends with a warm Christmas wish in their own native language (just a shame pronounciation isn't included on the site I found this on).

(Albanian) - Gezur Krislinjden
(Argentine) - Feliz Navidad Y Un Prospero Ano Nuevo
(Armenian) - Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
(Bohemian) - Vesele Vanoce
(Brazilian) - Feliz Natal e Prospero Ano Novo
(China - Cantonese) - Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw SunSing Dan Fai Lok
(China - Mandarin) - Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen TanSheng Dan Kuai Le
(Croatian) - Sretan BozicÈestit Boiæ i sretna Nova godina
(Czech) - Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
(Danish) - Gledlig jul og godt Nytt Aar
(Dutch) - Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
(Dutch - Netherlands) - Prettig Kerstfeest
(Filipinos) - Maligayang Pasko
(Finnish) - Hauskaa Joulua Hyvää joulua ja Onnellista uutta vuotta
(French) - Joyeux Noël et heureuse année
(Gaelic-Irish) - Nolag mhaith Dhuit Agus Bliain Nua Fe Mhaise
(Gaelic-Scot) - Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur
(German) - Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr
(Greek) - Kala Khristougena kai Eftikhes to Neon Ethos
(Hawaiian) - Mele Kalikimake me ka Hauloi Makahiki hou
(Hebrew) - Mo'adim Lesimkha
(Hindi) - Shubh Christmas
(Hungarian) - Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeketBoldog Karacsonyl es Ujevl Unnepeket Kellemes Karacsonyt Es Boldog Uj Evet
(Icelandic) - Gledileg jol og farsaelt komandi arGledlig jol og Nyar
(Indonesia) - Selamat Hari NatalSelamah Tahun Baru
(Iraqi) - Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
(Irish) - Nollaig Shona Duit
(Irish) - Nodlaig mhaith chugnat
(Italian) - Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo Buone Feste NatalizieBuon Natale e felice Capodanno
(Japanese) - Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
(Korean) - Chuk Sung TanSung Tan Chuk Ha.
(Lithuanian) - Linksmu Kaledulinksmu sventu Kaledu ir Laimingu Nauju Metu
(Norwegian) - God Jul Og Godt Nytt Aar
(Peru) - Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo
(Philippines) - Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon
(Polish) - Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia i szczesliwego Nowego Roku
(Portuguese) - Boas Festas e Feliz Ano NovoFeliz Natal e propero Ano Novo
(Romanian) - Sarbatori Fericite. La Multi Ani
(Russian) - S prazdnikom Rozdestva Hristova i s Novim Godom
(Serbian) - Hristos se rodi
(Serb-Croatian) - Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
(Spanish) - Feliz Navidad y prospero Año Nuevo
(Swedish) - God Jul Och Gott Nytt År
(Turkish) - Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun Yeni Yilnizi Kutar, saadetler dilerim
(Ukrainian) - Srozhdestvom Kristovym
(Vietnamese) - Mung Le Giang Sinh. Cung Chuc Tan Nien
(Welsh) - Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
(Yugoslavian) - Cestitamo Bozic

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yule 2008

As most of you know, Kelly and I celebrate Yule as well as Christmas. We exchange a present each (and, of course, Kero gets one too) and begin our holiday celebrations on December 21st each year.

The photo above is of Kero with his present for this year... It's a rope toy that's been bent in to the shape of a circle with some rawhide moulded over where the ends meet to keep it in that shape... So it's a toy and a treat in one! My present was a wooden brain teaser puzzle in the shape of an egg.

We started getting the flat ready for Christmas properly today. We've been having a proper tidy up. Tomorrow we're going to change all the bedding and get it washed up so the beds are clean and fresh too.

We also put some food out for the birds. We've noticed that there are several Robins and Bluetits hanging around in the garden, so we put some food out for them. Kelly would have got photos, but - as he said himself - he doesn't have the patience to sit there with a camera waiting for a bird to decide it's safe to come in to view for long enough for us to get a good photo of it. We couldn't feed the birds last Winter because we were worried that luring them in to the garden would be an open invitation to the cats for lunch. But since we don't have the cats now we thought we'd feed the birds that stick around during Winter.

I think that will do for today. Yule blessings to all! :)


Yule Fires

John G. MacCinnon
(Tune: "Greensleeves")

In ancient days the folk of old
When chilled with fright by Winter's cold
Did kindle up a great Yule fire
With leaping flames in its great pyre;

So to entice the waning Sun
To rise again and wider run;
Its firey course across the sky
To warm them so they would not die

So we, whose minds now sense a chill
Of anger in the evil will
The human conflict, hate, and strife
Which hold a menace over life;

Would kindle up a flame of love
That we within our hearts may move
In Yuletide joy, with love embrace
And thus abide in peace and grace

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mam and Nan

I was going to be posting a couple of reviews for you, but since it's just taken me about five hours to log in to Blogger I think I'll leave those for tomorrow (or maybe Monday). Instead I'll just blog about the important things.


It was my Mam's birthday yesterday(December 19th). Mam, Elizabeth and I went out with a couple of friends and Elizabeth's fiance, Adrian (there are a couple of photos of Mam and I on Mam's blog if you want to see). Then I stayed at my parents' place for the night because it was easier. I came home around lunchtime today.


Today is our friend Nicola's birthday. So happy birthday to her! :)

And, finally...

My Nan had the two biggest lumps removed yesterday. She's got three smaller ones still, but I think they're letting her heal from the biggest two being removed before trying to remove the smaller ones. Anyway, she's fine. A bit sore, obviously, but other than that she's fine. She has to have the stitches out Christmas eve... What a fun way to spend Christmas eve, eh? Still, at least she only has to go over to the doctors' surgery near where they live to have the stitches out.

Will comment on everyone else's blogs and post those reviews for you tomorrow. Right now I think I'm going to go to bed.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day... Stay warm, and stay safe! :)


Where Are You Christmas?

"Where Are You Christmas?"

Where are you Christmas

Why can't I find you

Why have you gone away

Where is the laughter

You used to bring me

Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing

I'm rearranging

Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas

Do you remember

The one you used to know

I'm not the same one

See what the time's done

Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here

Everywhere, oh

Christmas is here

If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind

You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas

I know I've found you

You never fade away

The joy of Christmas

Stays here inside u

Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas

Fill your heart with love

You can see the video of Faith Hill's version of the song at:

You can also see the video for the version sang by Taylor Momsen in "The Grinch" here:

The lyrics for the Taylor Momsen version are slightly different, but I couldn't find the lyrics for the version she sings... Despite spending a whole afternoon just searching the net attempting to do so.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lemonade award

I just got this award from Whim at Thanks Whim! :)

I think I'm meant to pass it on to five people. I'm sure there are others who deserve it just as much, but the five that spring to mind are (in no particular order): Punkn at, Iggy at, Toasty at, Wifey at and Styxie at If you know them and/or read their blogs then you'll understand why.

Enjoy your awards!


How The Grinch Stole Christmas

By Dr. Seuss

Every Who Down in Whoville Liked Christmas a lot...
But the Grinch,Who lived just north of Whoville, Did NOT!
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, His heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown,
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Whoville beneath,
Was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.
"And they're hanging their stockings!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It's practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop Christmas from coming!"
For Tomorrow, he knew, all the Who girls and boys,
Would wake bright and early. They'd rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise!
Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE!
Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast! And they'd FEAST!
They would feast on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast beast.
Which was something the Grinch couldn't stand in the least!
And THEN They'd do something He liked least of all!
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
They'd stand hand-in-hand. And the Whos would start singing!
They'd sing! And they'd sing! And they'd SING!
And the more the Grinch thought of this Who ChristmasSing,
The more the Grinch thought, "I must stop this whole thing!"
"Why, for fifty-three years I've put up with it now!"
"I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! But HOW?"
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
"I know just what to do!" The Grinch laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a great Grinchy trick!"
"With this coat and this hat, I look just like Saint Nick!"
"All I need is a reindeer..." The Grinch looked around.
But, since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch? No! The Grinch simply said,
"If I can't find a reindeer, I'll make one instead!"
So he called his dog, Max. Then he took some red thread,
And he tied a big horn on the top of his head.
THEN He loaded some bags And some old empty sacks,
On a ramshackle sleigh And he hitched up old Max.
Then the Grinch said, "Giddap!" And the sleigh started down,
Toward the homes where the Whos Lay asnooze in their town.
All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care.
When he came to the first little house on the square.
"This is stop number one," the old Grinchy Claus hissed,
And he climbed to the roof, empty bags in his fist.
Then he slid down the chimney. A rather tight pinch.
But, if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch.
He got stuck only once, for a moment or two.
Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue.
Where the little Who stockings all hung in a row.
"These stockings," he grinned, "are the first things to go!"
Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant,
Around the whole room, and he took every present!
Pop guns! And bicycles! Roller skates! Drums!
Checkerboards! Tricycles! Popcorn! And plums!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, very nimbly,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, up the chimney!
Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Whos' feast!
He took the Who-pudding! He took the roast beast!
He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash.
Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!
Then he stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee.
"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will stuff up the tree!"
And the Grinch grabbed the tree, and he started to shove,
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!
Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.
The Grinch had been caught by this tiny Who daughter,
Who'd got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "Santy Claus, why,”
"Why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?"
But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick,
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Santy Claus lied,
"There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side."
"So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear."
"I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here."
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head,
And he got her a drink and he sent her to bed.
And when CindyLou Who went to bed with her cup,
HE went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up!
Then the last thing he took Was the log for their fire!
Then he went up the chimney, himself, the old liar.
On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire.
And the one speck of food That he left in the house,
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.
Then He did the same thing To the other Whos' houses
Leaving crumbs Much too small For the other Whos' mouses!
It was quarter past dawn... All the Whos, still a-bed,
All the Whos, still asnooze When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their presents! The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!
Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
"PoohPooh to the Whos!" he was grinchishly humming.
"They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming!"
"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!"
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
Then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry BooHoo!"
"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch, "That I simply MUST hear!"
So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow.
But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Whoville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?"
"It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!"
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
And what happened then? Whoville they say,
That the Grinch's small heart Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light,
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
And he, HE HIMSELF! The Grinch carved the roast beast!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Award from Matt

Matt was giving out this award (see post here). It's for the same thing as the one I posted yesterday from Wifey. Personally I don't see that I did anything to deserve any awards, but they seem to think I did. And who am I to say no to an award when someone wants me to have it? So there you go... This is my award from Matt. Thanks Matt! :)


White Christmas

The song White Christmas is undoubtedly the most famous and popular of all the Christmas songs. The music and lyrics for White Christmas were written by Irving Berlin in 1942 and originally featured in the movie Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby. The lyrics of White Christmas struck a chord with the soldiers fighting in the Second World War and their families who were waiting for them back home. The song and recording of White Christmas by Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter's orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers was so popular that it was later reprised in the movie called after its name - White Christmas. The film White Christmas once again starred Bing Crosby together with Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.


White Christmas

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten, and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The spirit of the season (Kinda R/WP)

Wifey posted this for those of us who left comments on her blog when she was feeling low (you can see the post here). There was another award too (as you'll see if you read the post) but I just grabbed this one to put in here.

It's amazing how a few kind words from a friend can help you feel so much better. Iggy said it best in his post, and I don't think I can say it as well as he did, so if you go here you can read his post and see what I'm trying to say.

This goes right along with what I was trying to say the other day in the post about greed that I ended up deleting. So, maybe now is a good time to try and say it again?

People have lost sight of the meaning behind the holidays. All people care about nowadays is how many presents they're going to get, or how much so-and-so is going to spend on them. They're writing lists with expensive things like games machines on them. Things that not only cost a fortune, but mean nothing. Sure, those things are fun to play on. But how can you say someone was really thinking of you and what you would like if they've just gone out and brought you the games machine you asked them to buy you? You can't! That's the whole point!

Whether you celebrate because of the birth of Jesus, because it's the Winter Solstice, because of the memory of St Nicholas, or for any other reason, the message should be the same. The holidays are about being with family, thinking of others, and being greatful that you're still around to enjoy it for another year.

But it isn't any more, is it? It's all about money, piles of presents, eating sweets until you're sick, and drinking so much you can hardly stand! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for eating the tasty food and - for those who drink - having a few drinks with friends. It's the fact people don't even know the reason they're doing it that bothers me. The fact that the holidays have become so commercialised that people have started to become greedy and forget about anything other than getting the latest high-tech gadget or toy that everyone "has to" have.

What ever happened to just enjoying the company of family and friends? And to buying a gift that you saw and thought of someone? When did it start to become so important to have expensive presents? What ever happened to being greatful if someone spent even as little as 50p on you? When did the world become so greedy?


Old British Christmas (FD)

Many of the current American ideals about the way Christmas ought to be derive from the English Victorian Christmas, such as that described in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The caroling, the gifts, the feast, and the wishing of good cheer to all - these ingredients came together to create that special Christmas atmosphere.

The custom of gift-giving on Christmas dates only to Victorian times. Before then it was more common to exchange gifts on New Year's Day or Twelfth Night. Santa Claus is known by British children as Father Christmas. Father Christmas, these days, is quite similar to the American Santa, but his direct ancestor is a certain pagan spirit who regularly appeared in medieval mummer's plays. The old-fashioned Father Christmas was depicted wearing long robes with sprigs of holly in his long white hair. Children write letters to Father Christmas detailing their requests, but instead of dropping them in the mailbox, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draft carries the letters up the chimney, and theoretically, Father Christmas reads the smoke. Gifts are opened Christmas afternoon.

From the English we get a story to explain the custom of hanging stockings from the mantelpiece. Father Christmas once dropped some gold coins while coming down the chimney. The coins would have fallen through the ash grate and been lost if they hadn't landed in a stocking that had been hung out to dry. Since that time children have continued to hang out stockings in hopes of finding them filled with gifts.

The custom of singing carols at Christmas is also of English origin. During the middle ages, groups of serenades called "waits" would travel around from house to house singing ancient carols and spreading the holiday spirit. The word "carol" means "song of joy." Most of the popular old carols we sing today were written in the nineteenth century.

The hanging of greens, such as holly and ivy, is a British winter tradition with origins far before the Christian era. Greenery was probably used to lift sagging winter spirits and remind the people that spring was not far away. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe is descended from ancient Druid rites. The decorating of Christmas trees, though primarily a German custom, has been widely popular in England since 1841 when Prince Albert had a Christmas tree set up in Windsor Castle for his wife Queen Victoria, and their children.

The word "wassail" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon phrase waes hael, which means "good health." Originally, wassail was a beverage made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, nuts, eggs, and spices. It was served for the purpose of enhancing the general merriment of the season. Like many of the ancient customs, "wassailing" has a legend to explain its origin. It seems that a beautiful Saxon maiden named Rowena presented Prince Vortigen with a bowl of wine while toasting him with the words "Waes hael." Over the centuries a great deal of ceremony had developed around the custom of drinking wassail. The bowl is carried into a room with great fanfare, a traditional carol about the drink is sung, and finally, the steaming hot beverage is served.

For many years in England, a roasted boar's head was associated with Holiday feasting. The custom probably goes back to the Norse practice of sacrificing a boar at Yuletide in honor of the god Freyr. One story tells of a student at Oxford's Queen College who was attacked on Christmas Day by a wild boar. All he had in his hand to use as a weapon was his copy of Aristotle, so he shoved the book down the boar's throat. Wanting to retrieve his book, the student cut off the animal's head and brought it back to the college where it was served for Christmas dinner with much pomp and ceremony.

The celebration of Boxing Day, which takes place on December 26 - the feast of St. Stephen, is a part of the holiday season unique to Great Britain. Traditionally, it is on this day that the alms box at every English church is opened and the contents are distributed to the poor. Also, this is the day that servants traditionally got the day off to celebrate with their families. It became traditional for working people to break open their tip boxes on this day. Boxing Day began in the mid-nineteenth century when the custom of tipping by rich persons to persons in service positions had apparently gotten out of hand. Children and others pretended to be in the trades and solicited tips. The custom was expanded to giving to anyone and everyone who had less money than you did, and soon the streets at Christmastime were full of aggressive soliciting of tips. To contain the nuisance "Boxing Day" was designated as the one day for giving to the less fortunate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sleigh Ride

By Leroy Anderson

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling
Ring-ting-tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling, "Yoo-hoo!"
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, let's go
Let's look at the show
We're riding in a wonderland of snow

Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, it's grand
Just holding your hand
We're riding along with a song
Of a Wintery fairyland

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
And comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together
Like two birds of a feather would be

Let's take that road before us
And sing a chorus or two
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

There's a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray
It'll be the perfect ending of a perfect day
We'll be singing the songs we love to sing
Without a single stop
By the fireside where we watch the chestnuts pop
(Pop, pop, pop)

There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When we pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print by Currier & Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling
Ring-ting-tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling, "Yoo-hoo!"
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monsters and movies (LBE)

I've not been busy like the rest of you. I mean, I've had a few things going on that have kept me busy, but not anything like the parties, doctor appointments, other holiday related things, etc, that have kept some of the rest of you from blogging. No, the reason I haven't done a "proper" post is that I haven't felt like it. If it weren't for the posts I scheduled then there wouldn't have been a post from me since about this time last week.

I almost did one the other day. It was about how greedy everyone is nowadays and how people are caring more about how much they're getting for Christmas (both quantity of presents and cost) than anything else. But I wasn't happy with it, so I deleted it and abandoned my attempts at writing it.

Other than that I haven't felt like blogging. Between things that happened Tuesday (don't want to talk about it, so please don't ask) and the "monster issue" as we're calling it... Well, those things combined have led to a tough week. Actually, I think Tuesday's events may have contributed a little to the monster issue, but they aren't entirely to blame.

Most of what's behind the monster issue is the adjustment to a world of darkness. I have a very good imagination, and it's causing problems. The only thing is, the problems are ones I think I'm just going to have to learn to live with, because Carl (my brother) is 25 years old and is still having to put up with them after 23 years without any sight. *Sigh* I asked him about it, and he gave me some tips for dealing with it, but so far none of them have helped much. He says it'll get easier with time. I hope it does!

I don't want to go in to too much detail about it. But let's just say that the "Leaf Monster" incedent wasn't an isolated incedent. It's the only one I've gone in to detail about, but the Leaf Monster has many friends. I wont be going in to detail about them though. So, please don't ask me to. One day, perhaps, I will decide to tell you about the monsters. But right now I don't want to.

Anyway... Moving very swiftly on...

My week wasn't all bad. I mean, I watched some really good Christmas movies. They were:

"The Muppets' Christmas Carol"... I'm sure I don't need to tell you about this one. Everyone, I'm sure, knows at least the gist of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and - as the title suggests - this is just a version of it where the characters are played mostly by the muppets (you know? Miss Piggy, Kermit The Frog and all them lot).

"The Grinch"... Again, I'm sure at least most of you know the story. This was the movie version. If you don't know the story then just wait until Friday when Dr Seuss' poem will be published and you'll know the gist of the story. :)

"One Magic Christmas"... This is an old one. It's about a Christmas angel named "Gideon" who's job it is to help a woman named "Ginny Granger" find her Christmas spirit (with the help of her daughter "Abbey").

"Miracle On 34th Street" (the version with Mara Wilson in it)... I think this is another movie that at least most of you know. If you don't then I'll be very surprised.

I wont bother telling you about the movies I'm sure you all know about. If you are one of those few who don't know about them though, feel free to ask... Or, look them up. :)

I've got some other movies I'll be watching at some point in this next week. But I'll tell you about those after I watch them. Maybe I'll also read some of the Christmas stories I've got too? :)


I'm almost ready for Christmas. Got a few more bits to sort tomorrow, but once they're done I'm all set. It's just my Grandad's presents that need fetching. And one or two other little bits, maybe.

We've even got the food for Christmas day and Boxing day in the freezer. Well, other than the cookies mince pies and such. But Mam's baking those with me next week. I have the stuff for making them though. :)


Kelly's more or less 100% better from his cold and flu. I think Wayne is too.

My Dad is at least almost there too. I don't think he's fully better yet, but he's definately getting better.

My Mam has mostly shifted the cough bit, but the cold is still lingering, so she's still not feeling too great.

As for me... My cold still wont break. And my cough can't make it's mind up whether it's going to stay or go away. So, I think I've still got at least a few more days of this. :(

Oh yeah... And now Carl has a cold too. But we didn't give it to him. At least, not unless it snuck in with his Christmas card or something. LOL! Carl's cold is doing the same as mine. One day he could be fine, the next he feels aweful. And so on. I wish our colds would just make their minds up! :(

My Nan is doing OK... Bet she can't wait for Friday to be over though! Mam says she should get to come home the same day. Apparently she only needs a local anasthetic. Personally I'd rather be put right out and stay the night, but it's not me going in (for a change, lol!) I mean, who wants to hear the doctors talking about what they're doing and using to cut you open? I certainly don't!

If what they tried the third time with my eye operation had worked then they'd have wanted me in for a quick procedure under a local anasthetic. When they told me I told them that I'd much rather be knocked out, thank you very much! It's bad enough hearing them talking about stuff as I'm falling asleep without listening to the whole thing going on!

I suppose Nan's age is part of the reason for only giving her a local anasthetic. I mean, she's almost 81!


OK, well, that's all I want to talk about when it comes to this past week. Well, other than one little thing which was the highlight of my week. Some people may find it hard to believe that something as small as this could mean so much to someone. But it meant a lot to me.

On Tuesday... Right when I was having a VERY bad day... Something special came through my letter box. That something was a card. But not just any card. No! This card was special!

Why? Because it came from a special friend who - despite having problems of his own to deal with right now - still took the time to have a special card made for me with a tactile picture on the front and braille inside it.

Now, I don't expect everyone to do this. In fact, I don't mind if nobody ever does. But it really did mean a lot to me that someone took the time to do something like that just for me.

Thank you, Iggy... You're a wonderful friend! :)


All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

The words and lyrics for All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth are by Don Gardner. The first publication of the Christmas song All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth was in 1946. The words of the Christmas song were parodied in the UK in the sixties, at the height of Beatlemania, when a British comedienne named Dora Bryan recorded "All I want for Christmas is a Beatle". Every generation there appears to have a humorous Christmas song released like All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth. One cannot help wonder what future generations will make of the lyrics!


All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

Every body Pauses and stares at me
These two teeth are gone as you can see
I don't know just who to blame for this catastrophe!
But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth!
Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas."

It seems so long since I could say,
"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!"
Gosh oh gee, how happy I'd be,
if I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth.
Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My letter to Santa & his reply (AE&D)

Dear Santa,
I've been a very good girl this year... At least, I've tried my best to be. I've given things I no longer need or want to charity, I've eaten my vegetables (even broccoli) and I've done my best to help keep the housework up to date. But apparently all that isn't good enough! No matter how good I am I still don't seem to be able to be good enough to get a pet lion for Christmas. Is there, perhaps something extra special one must do in order to get such a gift? Perhaps your concerns are that I don't know the requirements for caring for such an animal? If that's the case then I assure you I will put as many hours as necessary in to researching the proper care for a lion in captivity. I already know the basics, and I have no doubt that the rest is available somewhere on the internet... Everything is! So, Santa, I'll ask you again... Can I have a pet lion for Christmas?
Your friend,


Dear Tori,
While I know you have done your best to be good all year, and I appreciate that, I'm afraid your request must be denyed. I'm sure you know how to care for a pet lion, but the last time I tried to bring you one it tried to eat my reindeer, and I'm afraid I can't take the risk of such a thing happening again, since the next time it could be fatal for Dasher. Why, if that reindeer didn't enjoy running so much, and if it weren't for the advantage reindeer have over lions on snow, it would have been fatal the last time. Perhaps you could request a different gift? Preferably one without such sharp teeth and claws?

Good King Wenceslas

The words to the carol "Good King Wenceslas" were written by John Mason Neale and published in 1853, the music originates in Finland 300 years earlier. This Christmas carol is unusual as there is no reference in the lyrics to the nativity. Good King Wenceslas was the king of Bohemia in the 10th century. Good King Wenceslas was a Catholic and was martyred following his assassination by his brother Boleslaw and his supporters, his Saint's Day is September 28th, and he is the Patron Saint of the Czech Republic. St. Stephen's feast day was celebrated on 26th December which is why this song is sung as a Christmas carol.


Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even

Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel

"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"

"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine
Bring me pine logs hither
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither."

Page and monarch forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."

"Mark my footsteps, my good page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed

Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Jokes (FD but AE&D)

Q. What's the most common wine at Christmas?
A. "Do I have to eat my brussel sprouts?"

Q. What do you get if you cross an apple with a Christmas tree?
A. A Pineapple

Q. How many chimneys does Father Christmas go down?
A. Stacks

Q. What's an Ig?
A. An eskimo's home without a loo

Father Christmas went to see a Christmas pantomime. During the interval he got up and went to fetch some refreshments. However, he was then unsure of which row he had been sitting in. He did, however, clearly remember stepping on the foot of a lady on the end of his row.
After a few moments of scanning the crowd he thought he recognised the lady in question. So he went up to her and asked...
Father Christmas: Excuse me, did I step on your toes on my way to get an ice-cream?
Lady: You certainly did!
Father Christmas: Good... That means I'm in the right row!

Q. What reindeer can jump higher than a house?
A. They all can... Houses can't jump!

Q. Where do you find reindeer?
A. It depends on where you leave them

Q. Why does Scrooge like reindeer so much?
A. Because every buck is dear to him

"Dear Father Christmas,
Could you please send me a yellow door for Christmas?
Sincerely, Sherlock Holmes"
Watson: Why do you want a yellow door, Holmes?
Holmes: Lemon-entry my dear Watson!

Q. What do the elves sing to Father Christmas?
A. Freeze A Jolly Good Fellow!

Q. An honest politician, Santa Claus and a kind lawyer were walking down the street and saw a £20 note, which one picked it up?
A. Santa Claus... The other two don't exist!

Q. Who's never hungry at Christmas?
A. The turkey... He's always stuffed

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Mary who?
Mary Christmas

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mistletoe And Wine

Mistletoe and Wine is a popular single by Cliff Richard.
Written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan, it was originally performed by Twiggy in a TV musical based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl in 1986. Richard liked the song but wanted to change the lyrics to reflect a more religious theme, to which the writers agreed.


Mistletoe And Wine

The child is a king, the carollers sing,

The old has passed, there's a new beginning.

Dreams of santa, dreams of snow,

Fingers numb, faces aglow.

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine

Children singing christian rhyme

With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree

A time for rejoicing in all that we see

A time for living, a time for believing

A time for trusting, not deceiving,

Love and laughter and joy ever after,

Ours for the taking, just follow the master.

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine

Children singing christian rhyme

With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree

A time for rejoicing in all that we see

A time for giving, a time for getting,

A time for forgiving and for forgetting.

Christmas is love, christmas is peace,

A time for hating and fighting to cease.

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine

Children singing christian rhyme

With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree

A time for rejoicing in all that we see



You can see the video here:

Here Comes Susie Snowflake

Here comes Suzy Snowflake,
Dressed in a snow-white gown,
Tap, tap, tappin' at your windowpane
To tell you she's in town.

Here comes Suzy Snowflake;
Soon you will hear her say,
"Come out ev'ryone and play with me;
I haven't long to stay.
If you want to make a snowman,
I'll help you make one... one, two, three.
If you wanna take a sleigh ride,
The ride's on me."

Here comes Suzy Snowflake;
Look at her tumblin' down,
Bringing joy to ev'ry girl and boy;
Suzy's come to town.

Song By Rosemary Clooney

You can watch the video here:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas facts (LBE & FD)

The common abbreviation for Christmas to Xmas is derived from the Greek alphabet. X is letter Chi, which is the first letter of Christ's name in the Greek alphabet.

Oliver Cromwell, in England banned Christmas Carols between 1649 and 1660. Cromwell thought that Christmas should be a very solemn day so he banned carols and parties. The only celebration was by a sermon and a prayer service.

In 1643, the British Parliament officially abolishes the celebration of Christmas.

The Puritans in America tried to make Thanksgiving Day the most important annual festival instead of Christmas.

Silent Night was written in 1818, by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be prepared in time for Christmas Eve. He was saddened by this and could not think of Christmas without music, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music. He sat down and wrote three stanzas. Later that night the people in the little Austrian Church sang "Stille Nacht" for the first time.

St Francis of Assisi introduced Christmas Carols to formal church services.

Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome (125-136 AD) declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate "The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour." In 320 AD, Pope Julius I and other religious leaders specified 25 December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.

26 December was traditionally known as St Stephen's Day, but is more commonly known as Boxing Day. This expression came about because money was collected in alms-boxes placed in churches during the festive season. This money was then distributed during to the poor and needy after Christmas.

Melbourne, Australia has a sporting Boxing Day tradition. The Melbourne Cricket Ground hosts a Cricket test match. Sometimes this attracts 90, 000 spectators. Cricket is Australia's premier Summer sport.

The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531

In 1836, Alabama is the first state in the USA to declare Christmas a legal holiday.

In 1843, the first Christmas card was printed in England for Sir Henry Cole. He was busy man who wanted to save time in his own Christmas letters, but was also interested in encouraging the expansion of the postal system. 1000 copies of the card were sold at one shilling each. It was not until the 1860s that the production of cards accelerated, with cheaper printing methods. Then in 1870, the Post Office introduced a half penny stamp for sending cards.

In 1856, President Franklin Pierce decorates the first White House Christmas tree.

In 1907, Oklahoma became the last USA state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.

At midnight on Christmas Eve 1914 firing from the German trenches suddenly stopped. A German brass band began playing Christmas carols. Early, Christmas morning, the German soldiers came out of their trenches, approaching the allied lines, calling "Merry Christmas". At first the allied soldiers thought it was a trick, but they soon climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the German soldiers. The truce lasted a few days, and the men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings, sang carols and songs. They even played a game of Soccer.

In 1937, the first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria.

In 1974, the Australian city of Darwin is devastated late on Christmas Eve and in the early hours of the morning by Cyclone Tracy.

In 1834, Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert brought the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle for the Royal family.

6 December is St Nicholas's Day - the first of the gift giving days, especially in Holland and Belgium.

Some priests in Australia advise you to say "Happy Christmas", not "Merry Christmas", because Merry has connotations of getting drunk - which brings its own problems. One should say "Happy" instead.

The actual gift givers are different in various countries:

Spain and South America: The Three Kings

Italy: La Befana (a kindly old witch)

England: Father Christmas

France: Pere Noel (Father Christmas)

Russia: In some parts - Babouschka (a grandmotherly figure)

Other parts it is Grandfather Frost.

Germany: Christkind (angelic messenger from Jesus)She is a beautiful fair haired girl with a shining crown of candles.

Scandinavia: a variety of Christmas gnomes. One is called Julenisse

Holland: St Nicholas.

Every year since 1947 the people in Oslo have given a Christmas tree to the city of Westminster. The gift is an expression of goodwill and gratitude for Britain's help to Norway in the 1939-1945 war.

The first American Christmas carol was written in 1649 by a minister named John de Brebeur and is called "Jesus is Born".

Mexicans call the poinsettia "Flower of the Holy Night" - the Holy Night is the Mexican way of saying "Christmas Eve".

Tom Smith who owned a sweet shop in London was the originator of the cracker. In the 1840s Tom found that people like sugar almonds, but while he was in France he discovered a variety of sweets wrapped up in a twist of paper. These bonbons were popular, so Tom decided to copy them. When Tom noticed that young men were buying them to give to their sweethearts he began to place "love mottoes" on small slips of paper inside the sweet wrapping.In 1846 Tom's thoughts turned towards Christmas - instead of sweets he thought he would place toys and novelties inside the twisted wrapping. He experimented with this and the idea of producing a wrapping that could be pulled apart - just like the cracker as we know it today.

The word carol is derived from the old French word caroller which derives from the Latin choraula. This itself was derived from the Greek choraules.

Births on 25 December:

W C Field (1946)

Alice Cooper (1945)Princess Alexandra (1936)

Paul Borget (1935)

Charles Spencer Chaplin (1889)

Deaths on 25 December:

Conrad Hilton (1979)

Humphrey Bogart (1957)

Dorothy Wordsworth (1855)

Sir Isaac Newton (1727)

The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is Bing Crosby's White Christmas.

In Switzerland during the Reformation, al instrumental and choral music was banned from churches. In Germany, disapproval of carols resulted in some being converted into hymns.

Tinsel on the Christmas Tree is attributed to a woman whose husband died. She was left to bring up a large family of children herself. She was left to do everything working so hard and she was determined to make a happy time for them at Christmas. She prepared a Christmas Tree to surprise them on Christmas Day. Unfortunately spiders visited the tree, and crawled from branch to branch, making webs all over it. The Christ Child saw the tree and knew she would be devastated to find this on Christmas morning. He changed the spiders' webs to shining silver.

The first church the Dutch built in New York City was named in St Nicholas' honour -St Nicholas Church.

Many Christmas customs are carryovers from pre-Christian celebrations. Hanging gifts on trees is supposed to stem from tree worship of the Druids, and the belief that the tree was the giver of all good things. The Druids are also partly responsible for the use of mistletoe at Christmastime. They regarded the mistletoe as sacred, made certain that it never touched the ground, and dedicated it to the Goddess of Love, which explains the kissing that goes on under it. Originally, when a boy kissed a girl, he plucked a berry from the cluster and presented it to her. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses.

In Christmas tree decorations, angels are usually portrayed as wimpy blondes in girl's blouses and sandals. In the Bible, however, angels are muscular bullies who frequently goad humans into fistfights. Life isn't all harps and heavenly choirs for angels; there's a strict career structure. The only angels mentioned by name in the Bible are archangels, the eighth-ranking order of angels.

Visitors to Bethlehem rarely exceed a few thousand at Christmas. In 1995, there were rowdy celebrations of the first Christmas in a Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem. The Christmas Eve service televised on 25 December is celebrated not in the Church of the Nativity, which stands over the place where Jesus was said to have been born, but in the nearby Franciscan Church of St. Catherine.

The largest functional Christmas cracker was 45.72 metres long and 3.04 metres in diameter. It was made by Australian international rugby player Ray Price in Markson Sparks of New South Wales, Australia and was pulled in the car park of the Westfield Shopping Town in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia on 9 November 1991.

A goose was customary Christmas fare until Henry VIII took it upon himself to tuck into a turkey. Mince pies were once shaped like mangers and are thought to date back to the sweetmeats formerly presented to the Vatican on Christmas Eve.

The freedom-fighter and religious activist thought to have been born between 6 BC and 30 AD, by the name of Jesus Christ from the Greek christos, "the anointed one". He was born in a stable in Bethlehem. He started out as a carpenter, but became a missionary following his baptism by a cousin, John. After proclaiming himself the Messiah, Jesus was betrayed by a disciple and crucified. He is later said to have risen from the dead.

If you're wondering why men may have not flocked to kiss you under the mistletoe, the answer may be that it was said that it will only work if the person you are kissing is a virgin. On the sixth day of the new moon, a Druid priest used to cut mistletoe from an oak tree with a sacred sickle. A passing virgin was called upon to catch the falling plant, which was not allowed to touch the ground.

The first commercial Christmas card, produced in 1846, featured a drawing of family members happily toasting each other with glasses of wine - a shockingly decadent portrait that was immediately condemned by temperance advocates. In New South Wales, Australia, the average daily mailbag of six to seven million items of mail can triple over Christmas. The heaviest day ever was on 23 December 1997, when a record 23 million items were delivered in this state in Australia.

Santa's Reindeers are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.

Saint Boniface is said to have substituted a fir tree for the pagan oak in the eighth century as a symbol of faith. Martin Luther fostered the Christmas tree cult by using a candlelit tree as a symbol of Christ's heavenly home, while trees decorated with candles, fruit and paper flowers were introduced into Britain soon after Queen Victoria's marriage.

The Celts used to bring a large log indoors as a tribute to the sun god. In Cornwall, revellers would chalk a symbol of a man on the log in a cheery reference to the human sacrifices who used to be thrown on the bonfire.

Ancient Roman observances of the Natalis solis invicti and the Saturnalia occurred in December and involved much feasting, singing, parades and other forms of celebrating. Not to be outdone, when the Church adopted Christmas it introduced a major Christian celebration and feasting became a part of the festivities. As the centuries wore on, depending upon the country, a Christmas goose, turkey or other animal was adopted as the main course in the Christmas feast.

The Christmas tree was first decorated with lights in the 16th century. It is believed that Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, was the first to add lighted candles to the tree. He was so taken with the Christmas night sky that he wished to bring "the lights of the stars" into the home of his family. From this, decorating the tree with ornaments, messages and notes, and small gifts emerged in later centuries leading to our customs today.

Hanging the Christmas stocking on the hearth on Christmas Eve in the hope that it will be filled with presents the next morning is a custom that goes back about 400 years. It derived from the custom in Holland of children placing wooden shoes next to the hearth the night before the arrival of St. Nicholas. The children would fill their shoes with straw and food for St Nicholas's for the donkey that carried the gifts. In exchange he would leave them a small gift such as small cakes, fruits and other gifts. Stockings were substituted for the shoes in Britain, most of Europe and in North America.

A wreath with holly, red berries and other decorations began from at least the 17th century. Holly, with its sharply pointed leaves, symbolised the thorns in Christ's crown-of-thorns. Red berries symbolised the drops of Christ's blood. A wreath at Christmas signified a home that celebrated to birth of Christ.

On Christmas morning since medieval times, church bells have been rung to announce to the world the coming of the saviour. It was customary from the 18th century to wear clothes and carry a small bell to signify the birth of Christ. The ringing of the bells was to signify the importance of His Birth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Christmas questionaire thingy

Oh, look... I found another one... LOL!

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider? Hot chocolate
2. Turkey or Ham? Turkey
3. Do you get a Fake or Real you cut it yourself Christmas tree? Fake
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?Yes
5. Snowball fights or sledding? If there was enough snow... Sledding
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping? No way! I don't even enjoy shopping normally!
7. Favorite Christmas song? Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies? I love watching them!
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? When it's not December yet
10. Stockings before or after presents? Before
11. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them? If I'm anywhere near any I'll stop and listen for a while
12. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you? It varies from year to year, but they usually come to me... They have cars, I don't!
13. Do you read the Christmas Story? No
14. What do you do after presents and dinner? Take a nap (unless we have visitors coming)
15. What is your favorite holiday smell? Christmas goodies baking
16. Ice skating or walking around the mall? Neither... Though if I had to choose one then ice skating
17. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day? Christmas morning
18. Favourite Christmas memory? Me and my brothers working together to help prepare stuff for Christmas dinner
19. Favourite Part about winter? The chance of snow
20. Ever been kissed under mistletoe? No

As usual... If you want to do it then either play in my comments section or copy and paste it to your own blog and play there.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Kero's 2008 Christmasy photo

I realised today that we hadn't yet done a Christmasy photo of Kero for this year. So I asked Kelly to do one for me so I could share it with those of you who love to see photos of furkids... Enjoy! :)


The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

I couldn't resist...

Come on... Sing along!

The Chipmunk Song

Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We've been good, but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.

Want a plane that loops the loop
I still want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.

We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Movies, my Monday and an audiobook (LBE & FD)

Going to start with the audiobook...

It's the one MarmiteToasty sent me, and it's called "Winter Solstice" and is by Rosamunde Pilcher. I actually finished listening to it about a week ago, but never got around to posting about it.

The following is the synopsis for the book on Play (

"Elfrida Phipps loves her new life in the pretty Hampshire village. She has a tiny cottage, her faithful dog Horace and the friendship of the neighbouring Blundells - particularly Oscar - to ensure that her days include companionship as well as independence. But an unforeseen tragedy upsets Elfrida's tranquillity: Oscar's wife and daughter are killed in a terrible car crash and he finds himself homeless when his stepchildren claim their dead mother's inheritance. Oscar and Elfrida take refuge in a rambling house in Scotland which becomes a magnet for various waifs and strays who converge upon it, including an unhappy teenage girl. It could be a recipe for disaster. But somehow the Christmas season weaves its magical spell and for Elfrida and Oscar, in the evening of their lives, the winter solstice brings love and solace."

It's a fantastic story... I can see why Toasty recommended it so highly. :)


Now for the movies...

On Saturday I watched three Christmasy movies... All of which I thoroughly enjoyed!

The first one was "The Snow Queen"... The story the movie is based on is in a post below this one, so I wont bother telling you what it was about. There were, of course, a couple of differences in the movie though... But, aren't there always?

The second one was "The Nightmare Before Christmas"... I'm sure I've posted about this one before. It's the one about Jack Skeleton being bored and fed up with the same old Halloween traditions and accidentally finding his way in to Christmas Town where he gets a glimpse of all the wonders of Christmas and decides he wants to be "Sandy Claws" for the night. But things don't go as planned, and he ends up having to rescue the real guy from The Bogie Man so he can save Christmas.

The third one was "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"... Now I KNOW I posted about this one. And, I'm sure you all know the story well anyway, so I wont bore you with the details.

Then, today, I watched another one... My favourite Christmas movie... Do you remember what I said it was?

"Santa Claus - The Movie"... It's a movie I've watched almost every year for as long as I can remember! It's one of the versions of how the whole Santa Claus thing got started. I don't really know how else to explain it without pretty much telling the story.


And now, on to my day... Well, my day so far anyway, because there's still some of the afternoon and, of course, the evening to go yet. But we wont be picky... Today anyway... LOL! So...

Woke up around 6:00 am. Had breakfast, watched "The Hoobs" on Channel 4 +1 because I missed it on its first showing. Then watched "Santa Claus - The Movie" while drinking a nice, warm cup of tea.

I then spent about an hour talking to my Mam on the phone on and off.

We've decided to postpone the Wednesday dinners until after the new year now. For one thing none of us are all that healthy at the moment, so we're not even close to being good company for one another right now. For another thing both Mam and I are trying to sort out new eating plans, and we want to give ourselves a chance to get them figured out a bit so we can arrange the dinners for Wednesdays to fit in with what we're both trying to eat. My "new meal plan" thingy is pretty easy to figure out, because I'm just working on reducing the things I'm eating that I shouldn't be having (e.g. sweets, pizza, etc) and replacing them with more of what I should be eating (e.g. fruit and vegetables). But my Mam is trying to figure out an actual diet, because she seems to have problems eating certain things, so she's trying to figure out what she can and can't eat without it upsetting her stomache. When she's figured that out we can figure out meals for Wednesday working on that information... Even if we slightly adapt something we're having to make it OK for her, and vice versa.

Despite the fact we talked on the phone for so long, my Mam and Dad popped in on their way to do their weekly shopping. No, not just for the sake of it... I had some Christmas cards I need delivered to people who I know who my Mam sees more than we do, so my Mam came to help me finish writing them and to take them with her to give them to those people for me.

For those who are wondering... My Dad seems to be doing a bit better. At any rate he's changed his comment of, "Not that good," to "Ah, so-so!" And he didn't seem to be coughing and sniffling quite as much.


After they left, Kero and I went out for our walk. It's quite cold out there. The level of cold is within the temperature scale where I don't complain about it though. ;)

Still no snow though... *Sigh*

I didn't get my baguette. :(

Kelly sometimes does the shopping on a Monday, other times he does it on a Tuesday. He said he was probably doing it on Monday this week, but he changed his mind. So he's going tomorrow instead.

I had marmalade on toast for lunch today instead.

So, that's my day so far... Much more interesting than yesterday. LOL!


The lighting of the Christmas lights in town was on Friday. Mam didn't realise until Saturday though, and I only found out today. It's a shame we didn't know in time. There's usually a proper street party with it, and Mam and I would have gone (in my case more to say I'd been than anything). We haven't been able to go in past years because of getting home (by the time it's over there's no busses running here). But this year we could have, because we could have just walked back to my place, and Mam would have stayed the night.

Oh well, too late now... We missed it. Maybe next year?


I've set up a Christmasy post to publish itself every day between now and Christmas. It could be a song, it could be a story, it could be something else... Depends what I find that I didn't post last year or the year before.

I will be doing my usual blog posts in between (if I have anything worth posting) but thought I'd post some Christmasy stuff. I'm scheduling the posts to publish themselves because it's easier to sort the stuff and set it up as I find it... I figure if I'm sorting the posts I might as well take advantage of Blogger's post scheduling thingy.

OK... I think that covers everything... Enjoy the rest of your day! :)


"The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Anderson (LBE)

FIRST STORY. Which Treats of a Mirror and of the Splinters

Now then, let us begin. When we are at the end of the story, we shall know more than we know now: but to begin.Once upon a time there was a wicked sprite, indeed he was the most mischievous of all sprites. One day he was in a very good humor, for he had made a mirror with the power of causing all that was good and beautiful when it was reflected therein, to look poor and mean; but that which was good-for-nothing and looked ugly was shown magnified and increased in ugliness. In this mirror the most beautiful landscapes looked like boiled spinach, and the best persons were turned into frights, or appeared to stand on their heads; their faces were so distorted that they were not to be recognised; and if anyone had a mole, you might be sure that it would be magnified and spread over both nose and mouth."That's glorious fun!" said the sprite. If a good thought passed through a man's mind, then a grin was seen in the mirror, and the sprite laughed heartily at his clever discovery. All the little sprites who went to his school--for he kept a sprite school--told each other that a miracle had happened; and that now only, as they thought, it would be possible to see how the world really looked. They ran about with the mirror; and at last there was not a land or a person who was not represented distorted in the mirror. So then they thought they would fly up to the sky, and have a joke there. The higher they flew with the mirror, the more terribly it grinned: they could hardly hold it fast. Higher and higher still they flew, nearer and nearer to the stars, when suddenly the mirror shook so terribly with grinning, that it flew out of their hands and fell to the earth, where it was dashed in a hundred million and more pieces. And now it worked much more evil than before; for some of these pieces were hardly so large as a grain of sand, and they flew about in the wide world, and when they got into people's eyes, there they stayed; and then people saw everything perverted, or only had an eye for that which was evil. This happened because the very smallest bit had the same power which the whole mirror had possessed. Some persons even got a splinter in their heart, and then it made one shudder, for their heart became like a lump of ice. Some of the broken pieces were so large that they were used for windowpanes, through which one could not see one's friends. Other pieces were put in spectacles; and that was a sad affair when people put on their glasses to see well and rightly. Then the wicked sprite laughed till he almost choked, for all this tickled his fancy. The fine splinters still flew about in the air: and now we shall hear what happened next.

SECOND STORY. A Little Boy and a Little GirlI

n a large town, where there are so many houses, and so many people, that there is no roof left for everybody to have a little garden; and where, on this account, most. persons are obliged to content themselves with flowers in pots; there lived two little children, who had a garden somewhat larger than a flower-pot. They were not brother and sister; but they cared for each other as much as if they were. Their parents lived exactly opposite. They inhabited two garrets; and where the roof of the one house joined that of the other, and the gutter ran along the extreme end of it, there was to each house a small window: one needed only to step over the gutter to get from one window to the other.The children's parents had large wooden boxes there, in which vegetables for the kitchen were planted, and little rosetrees besides: there was a rose in each box, and they grew splendidly. They now thought of placing the boxes across the gutter, so that they nearly reached from one window to the other, and looked just like two walls of flowers. The tendrils of the peas hung down over the boxes; and the rose-trees shot up long branches, twined round the windows, and then bent towards each other: it was almost like a triumphant arch of foliage and flowers. The boxes were very high, and the children knew that they must not creep over them; so they often obtained permission to get out of the windows to each other, and to sit on their little stools among the roses, where they could play delight fully. In winter there was an end of this pleasure. The windows were often frozen over; but then they heated copper farthings on the stove, and laid the hot farthing on the windowpane, and then they had a capital peep-hole, quite nicely rounded; and out of each peeped a gentle friendly eye--it was the little boy and the little girl who were looking out. His name was Kay, hers was Gerda. In summer, with one jump, they could get to each other; but in winter they were obliged first to go down the long stairs, and then up the long stairs again: and out-of-doors there was quite a snow-storm."It is the white bees that are swarming," said Kay's old grandmother."Do the white bees choose a queen?" asked the little boy; for he knew that the honey-bees always have one."Yes," said the grandmother, "she flies where the swarm hangs in the thickest clusters. She is the largest of all; and she can never remain quietly on the earth, but goes up again into the black clouds. Many a winter's night she flies through the streets of the town, and peeps in at the windows; and they then freeze in so wondrous a manner that they look like flowers.""Yes, I have seen it," said both the children; and so they knew that it was true."Can the Snow Queen come in?" said the little girl."Only let her come in!" said the little boy. "Then I'd put her on the stove, and she'd melt."And then his grandmother patted his head and told him other stories.In the evening, when little Kay was at home, and half undressed, he climbed up on the chair by the window, and peeped out of the little hole. A few snow-flakes were falling, and one, the largest of all, remained lying on the edge of a flower-pot. The flake of snow grew larger and larger; and at last it was like a young lady, dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a million little flakes like stars. She was so beautiful and delicate, but she was of ice, of dazzling, sparkling ice; yet she lived; her eyes gazed fixedly, like two stars; but there was neither quiet nor repose in them. She nodded towards the window, and beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened, and jumped down from the chair; it seemed to him as if, at the same moment, a large bird flew past the window.The next day it was a sharp frost--and then the spring came; the sun shone, the green leaves appeared, the swallows built their nests, the windows were opened, and the little children again sat in their pretty garden, high up on the leads at the top of the house.That summer the roses flowered in unwonted beauty. The little girl had learned a hymn, in which there was something about roses; and then she thought of her own flowers; and she sang the verse to the little boy, who then sang it with her:

"The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet,
And angels descend there the children to greet."

And the children held each other by the hand, kissed the roses, looked up at the clear sunshine, and spoke as though they really saw angels there. What lovely summer-days those were! How delightful to be out in the air, near the fresh rose-bushes, that seem as if they would never finish blossoming!Kay and Gerda looked at the picture-book full of beasts and of birds; and it was then--the clock in the church-tower was just striking five--that Kay said, "Oh! I feel such a sharp pain in my heart; and now something has got into my eye!"The little girl put her arms around his neck. He winked his eves; now there was nothing to be seen."I think it is out now," said he; but it was not. It was just one of those pieces of glass from the magic mirror that had got into his eye; and poor Kay had got another piece right in his heart. It will soon become like ice. It did not hurt any longer, but there it was."What are you crying for?" asked he. "You look so ugly! There's nothing the matter with me. Ah," said he at once, "that rose is cankered! And look, this one is quite crooked! After all, these roses are very ugly! They are just like the box they are planted in!" And then he gave the box a good kick with his foot, and pulled both the roses up."What are you doing?" cried the little girl; and as he perceived her fright, he pulled up another rose, got in at the window, and hastened off from dear little Gerda.Afterwards, when she brought her picture-book, he asked, "What horrid beasts have you there?" And if his grandmother told them stories, he always interrupted her; besides, if he could manage it, he would get behind her, put on her spectacles, and imitate her way of speaking; he copied all her ways, and then everybody laughed at him. He was soon able to imitate the gait and manner of everyone in the street. Everything that was peculiar and displeasing in them--that Kay knew how to imitate: and at such times all the people said, "The boy is certainly very clever!" But it was the glass he had got in his eye; the glass that was sticking in his heart, which made him tease even little Gerda, whose whole soul was devoted to him.His games now were quite different to what they had formerly been, they were so very knowing. One winter's day, when the flakes of snow were flying about, he spread the skirts of his blue coat, and caught the snow as it fell."Look through this glass, Gerda," said he. And every flake seemed larger, and appeared like a magnificent flower, or beautiful star; it was splendid to look at!"Look, how clever!" said Kay. "That's much more interesting than real flowers! They are as exact as possible; there i not a fault in them, if they did not melt!"It was not long after this, that Kay came one day with large gloves on, and his little sledge at his back, and bawled right into Gerda's ears, "I have permission to go out into the square where the others are playing"; and off he was in a moment.There, in the market-place, some of the boldest of the boys used to tie their sledges to the carts as they passed by, and so they were pulled along, and got a good ride. It was so capital! Just as they were in the very height of their amusement, a large sledge passed by: it was painted quite white, and there was someone in it wrapped up in a rough white mantle of fur, with a rough white fur cap on his head. The sledge drove round the square twice, and Kay tied on his sledge as quickly as he could, and off he drove with it. On they went quicker and quicker into the next street; and the person who drove turned round to Kay, and nodded to him in a friendly manner, just as if they knew each other. Every time he was going to untie his sledge, the person nodded to him, and then Kay sat quiet; and so on they went till they came outside the gates of the town. Then the snow began to fall so thickly that the little boy could not see an arm's length before him, but still on he went: when suddenly he let go the string he held in his hand in order to get loose from the sledge, but it was of no use; still the little vehicle rushed on with the quickness of the wind. He then cried as loud as he could, but no one beard him; the snow drifted and the sledge flew on, and sometimes it gave a jerk as though they were driving over hedges and ditches. He was quite frightened, and he tried to repeat the Lord's Prayer; but all he could do, he was only able to remember the multiplication table.The snow-flakes grew larger and larger, till at last they looked just like great white fowls. Suddenly they flew on one side; the large sledge stopped, and the person who drove rose up. It was a lady; her cloak and cap were of snow. She was tall and of slender figure, and of a dazzling whiteness. It was the Snow Queen."We have travelled fast," said she; "but it is freezingly cold. Come under my bearskin." And she put him in the sledge beside her, wrapped the fur round him, and he felt as though he were sinking in a snow-wreath."Are you still cold?" asked she; and then she kissed his forehead. Ah! it was colder than ice; it penetrated to his very heart, which was already almost a frozen lump; it seemed to him as if he were about to die--but a moment more and it was quite congenial to him, and he did not remark the cold that was around him."My sledge! Do not forget my sledge!" It was the first thing he thought of. It was there tied to one of the white chickens, who flew along with it on his back behind the large sledge. The Snow Queen kissed Kay once more, and then he forgot little Gerda, grandmother, and all whom he had left at his home."Now you will have no more kisses," said she, "or else I should kiss you to death!"Kay looked at her. She was very beautiful; a more clever, or a more lovely countenance he could not fancy to himself; and she no longer appeared of ice as before, when she sat outside the window, and beckoned to him; in his eyes she was perfect, he did not fear her at all, and told her that he could calculate in his head and with fractions, even; that he knew the number of square miles there were in the different countries, and how many inhabitants they contained; and she smiled while he spoke. It then seemed to him as if what he knew was not enough, and he looked upwards in the large huge empty space above him, and on she flew with him; flew high over,the black clouds, while the storm moaned and whistled as though it were singing some old tune. On they flew over woods and lakes, over seas, and many lands; and beneath them the chilling storm rushed fast, the wolves howled, the snow crackled; above them flew large screaming crows, but higher up appeared the moon, quite large and bright; and it was on it that Kay gazed during the long long winter's night; while by day he slept at the feet of the Snow Queen.

THIRD STORY. Of the Flower-Garden At the Old Woman's Who Understood Witchcraft

But what became of little Gerda when Kay did not return? Where could he be? Nobody knew; nobody could give any intelligence. All the boys knew was, that they had seen him tie his sledge to another large and splendid one, which drove down the street and out of the town. Nobody knew where he was; many sad tears were shed, and little Gerda wept long and bitterly; at last she said he must be dead; that he had been drowned in the river which flowed close to the town. Oh! those were very long and dismal winter evenings!At last spring came, with its warm sunshine."Kay is dead and gone!" said little Gerda."That I don't believe," said the Sunshine."Kay is dead and gone!" said she to the Swallows."That I don't believe," said they: and at last little Gerda did not think so any longer either."I'll put on my red shoes," said she, one morning; "Kay has never seen them, and then I'll go down to the river and ask there."It was quite early; she kissed her old grandmother, who was still asleep, put on her red shoes, and went alone to the river."Is it true that you have taken my little playfellow? I will make you a present of my red shoes, if you will give him back to me."And, as it seemed to her, the blue waves nodded in a strange manner; then she took off her red shoes, the most precious things she possessed, and threw them both into the river. But they fell close to the bank, and the little waves bore them immediately to land; it was as if the stream would not take what was dearest to her; for in reality it had not got little, Kay; but Gerda thought that she had not thrown the shoes out far enough, so she clambered into a boat which lay among the rushes, went to the farthest end, and threw out the shoes. But the boat was not fastened, and the motion which she occasioned, made it drift from the shore. She observed this, and hastened to get back; but before she could do so, the boat was more than a yard from the land, and was gliding quickly onward.Little Gerda was very frightened, and began to cry; but no one heard her except the sparrows, and they could not carry her to land; but they flew along the bank, and sang as if to comfort her, "Here we are! Here we are!" The boat drifted with the stream, little Gerda sat quite still without shoes, for they were swimming behind the boat, but she could not reach them, because the boat went much faster than they did.The banks on both sides were beautiful; lovely flowers, venerable trees, and slopes with sheep and cows, but not a human being was to be seen."Perhaps the river will carry me to little Kay," said she; and then she grew less sad. She rose, and looked for many hours at the beautiful green banks. Presently she sailed by a large cherry-orchard, where was a little cottage with curious red and blue windows; it was thatched, and before it two wooden soldiers stood sentry, and presented arms when anyone went past.Gerda called to them, for she thought they were alive; but they, of course, did not answer. She came close to them, for the stream drifted the boat quite near the land.Gerda called still louder, and an old woman then came out of the cottage, leaning upon a crooked stick. She had a large broad-brimmed hat on, painted with the most splendid flowers."Poor little child!" said the old woman. "How did you get upon the large rapid river, to be driven about so in the wide world!" And then the old woman went into the water, caught hold of the boat with her crooked stick, drew it to the bank, and lifted little Gerda out.And Gerda was so glad to be on dry land again; but she was rather afraid of the strange old woman."But come and tell me who you are, and how you came here," said she.And Gerda told her all; and the old woman shook her head and said, "A-hem! a-hem!" and when Gerda had told her everything, and asked her if she had not seen little Kay, the woman answered that he had not passed there, but he no doubt would come; and she told her not to be cast down, but taste her cherries, and look at her flowers, which were finer than any in a picture-book, each of which could tell a whole story. She then took Gerda by the hand, led her into the little cottage, and locked the door.The windows were very high up; the glass was red, blue, and green, and the sunlight shone through quite wondrously in all sorts of colors. On the table stood the most exquisite cherries, and Gerda ate as many as she chose, for she had permission to do so. While she was eating, the old woman combed her hair with a golden comb, and her hair curled and shone with a lovely golden color around that sweet little face, which was so round and so like a rose."I have often longed for such a dear little girl," said the old woman. "Now you shall see how well we agree together"; and while she combed little Gerda's hair, the child forgot her foster-brother Kay more and more, for the old woman understood magic; but she was no evil being, she only practised witchcraft a little for her own private amusement, and now she wanted very much to keep little Gerda. She therefore went out in the garden, stretched out.her crooked stick towards the rose-bushes, which, beautifully as they were blowing, all sank into the earth and no one could tell where they had stood. The old woman feared that if Gerda should see the roses, she would then think of her own, would remember little Kay, and run away from her.She now led Gerda into the flower-garden. Oh, what odour and what loveliness was there! Every flower that one could think of, and of every season, stood there in fullest bloom; no picture-book could be gayer or more beautiful. Gerda jumped for joy, and played till the sun set behind the tall cherry-tree; she then had a pretty bed, with a red silken coverlet filled with blue violets. She fell asleep, and had as pleasant dreams as ever a queen on her wedding-day.The next morning she went to play with the flowers in the warm sunshine, and thus passed away a day. Gerda knew every flower; and, numerous as they were, it still seemed to Gerda that one was wanting, though she did not know which. One day while she was looking at the hat of the old woman painted with flowers, the most beautiful of them all seemed to her to be a rose. The old woman had forgotten to take it from her hat when she made the others vanish in the earth. But so it is when one's thoughts are not collected. "What!" said Gerda. "Are there no roses here?" and she ran about amongst the flowerbeds, and looked, and looked, but there was not one to be found. She then sat down and wept; but her hot tears fell just where a rose-bush had sunk; and when her warm tears watered the ground, the tree shot up suddenly as fresh and blooming as when it had been swallowed up. Gerda kissed the roses, thought of her own dear roses at home, and with them of little Kay."Oh, how long I have stayed!" said the little girl. "I intended to look for Kay! Don't you know where he is?" she asked of the roses. "Do you think he is dead and gone?""Dead he certainly is not," said the Roses. "We have been in the earth where all the dead are, but Kay was not there.""Many thanks!" said little Gerda; and she went to the other flowers, looked into their cups, and asked, "Don't you know where little Kay is?"But every flower stood in the sunshine, and dreamed its own fairy tale or its own story: and they all told her very many things, but not one knew anything of Kay.Well, what did the Tiger-Lily say?"Hearest thou not the drum? Bum! Bum! Those are the only two tones. Always bum! Bum! Hark to the plaintive song of the old woman, to the call of the priests! The Hindoo woman in her long robe stands upon the funeral pile; the flames rise around her and her dead husband, but the Hindoo woman thinks on the living one in the surrounding circle; on him whose eyes burn hotter than the flames--on him, the fire of whose eyes pierces her heart more than the flames which soon will burn her body to ashes. Can the heart's flame die in the flame of the funeral pile?""I don't understand that at all," said little Gerda."That is my story," said the Lily.What did the Convolvulus say?"Projecting over a narrow mountain-path there hangs an old feudal castle. Thick evergreens grow on the dilapidated walls, and around the altar, where a lovely maiden is standing: she bends over the railing and looks out upon the rose. No fresher rose hangs on the branches than she; no appleblossom carried away by the wind is more buoyant! How her silken robe is rustling!"'Is he not yet come?'""Is it Kay that you mean?" asked little Gerda."I am speaking about my story--about my dream," answered the Convolvulus.What did the Snowdrops say?"Between the trees a long board is hanging--it is a swing. Two little girls are sitting in it, and swing themselves backwards and forwards; their frocks are as white as snow, and long green silk ribands flutter from their bonnets. Their brother, who is older than they are, stands up in the swing; he twines his arms round the cords to hold himself fast, for in one hand he has a little cup, and in the other a clay-pipe. He is blowing soap-bubbles. The swing moves, and the bubbles float in charming changing colors: the last is still hanging to the end of the pipe, and rocks in the breeze. The swing moves. The little black dog, as light as a soap-bubble, jumps up on his hind legs to try to get into the swing. It moves, the dog falls down, barks, and is angry. They tease him; the bubble bursts! A swing, a bursting bubble--such is my song!""What you relate may be very pretty, but you tell it in so melancholy a manner, and do not mention Kay."What do the Hyacinths say?"There were once upon a time three sisters, quite transparent, and very beautiful. The robe of the one was red, that of the second blue, and that of the third white. They danced hand in hand beside the calm lake in the clear moonshine. They were not elfin maidens, but mortal children. A sweet fragrance was smelt, and the maidens vanished in the wood; the fragrance grew stronger--three coffins, and in them three lovely maidens, glided out of the forest and across the lake: the shining glow-worms flew around like little floating lights. Do the dancing maidens sleep, or are they dead? The odour of the flowers says they are corpses; the evening bell tolls for the dead!""You make me quite sad," said little Gerda. "I cannot help thinking of the dead maidens. Oh! is little Kay really dead? The Roses have been in the earth, and they say no.""Ding, dong!" sounded the Hyacinth bells. "We do not toll for little Kay; we do not know him. That is our way of singing, the only one we have."And Gerda went to the Ranunculuses, that looked forth from among the shining green leaves."You are a little bright sun!" said Gerda. "Tell me if you know where I can find my playfellow."And the Ranunculus shone brightly, and looked again at Gerda. What song could the Ranunculus sing? It was one that said nothing about Kay either."In a small court the bright sun was shining in the first days of spring. The beams glided down the white walls of a neighbor's house, and close by the fresh yellow flowers were growing, shining like gold in the warm sun-rays. An old grandmother was sitting in the air; her grand-daughter, the poor and lovely servant just come for a short visit. She knows her grandmother. There was gold, pure virgin gold in that blessed kiss. There, that is my little story," said the Ranunculus."My poor old grandmother!" sighed Gerda. "Yes, she is longing for me, no doubt: she is sorrowing for me, as she did for little Kay. But I will soon come home, and then I will bring Kay with me. It is of no use asking the flowers; they only know their own old rhymes, and can tell me nothing." And she tucked up her frock, to enable her to run quicker; but the Narcissus gave her a knock on the leg, just as she was going to jump over it. So she stood still, looked at the long yellow flower, and asked, "You perhaps know something?" and she bent down to the Narcissus. And what did it say?"I can see myself--I can see myself I Oh, how odorous I am! Up in the little garret there stands, half-dressed, a little Dancer. She stands now on one leg, now on both; she despises the whole world; yet she lives only in imagination. She pours water out of the teapot over a piece of stuff which she holds in her hand; it is the bodice; cleanliness is a fine thing. The white dress is hanging on the hook; it was washed in the teapot, and dried on the roof. She puts it on, ties a saffron-colored kerchief round her neck, and then the gown looks whiter. I can see myself--I can see myself!""That's nothing to me," said little Gerda. "That does not concern me." And then off she ran to the further end of the garden.The gate was locked, but she shook the rusted bolt till it was loosened, and the gate opened; and little Gerda ran off barefooted into the wide world. She looked round her thrice, but no one followed her. At last she could run no longer; she sat down on a large stone, and when she looked about her, she saw that the summer had passed; it was late in the autumn, but that one could not remark in the beautiful garden, where there was always sunshine, and where there were flowers the whole year round."Dear me, how long I have staid!" said Gerda. "Autumn is come. I must not rest any longer." And she got up to go further.Oh, how tender and wearied her little feet were! All around it looked so cold and raw: the long willow-leaves were quite yellow, and the fog dripped from them like water; one leaf fell after the other: the sloes only stood full of fruit, which set one's teeth on edge. Oh, how dark and comfortless it was in the dreary world!

FOURTH STORY. The Prince and Princess

Gerda was obliged to rest herself again, when, exactly opposite to her, a large Raven came hopping over the white snow. He had long been looking at Gerda and shaking his head; and now he said, "Caw! Caw!" Good day! Good day! He could not say it better; but he felt a sympathy for the little girl, and asked her where she was going all alone. The word "alone" Gerda understood quite well, and felt how much was expressed by it; so she told the Raven her whole history, and asked if he had not seen Kay.The Raven nodded very gravely, and said, "It may be--it may be!""What, do you really think so?" cried the little girl; and she nearly squeezed the Raven to death, so much did she kiss him."Gently, gently," said the Raven. "I think I know; I think that it may be little Kay. But now he has forgotten you for the Princess.""Does he live with a Princess?" asked Gerda."Yes--listen," said the Raven; "but it will be difficult for me to speak your language. If you understand the Raven language I can tell you better.""No, I have not learnt it," said Gerda; "but my grandmother understands it, and she can speak gibberish too. I wish I had learnt it.""No matter," said the Raven; "I will tell you as well as I can; however, it will be bad enough." And then he told all he knew."In the kingdom where we now are there lives a Princess, who is extraordinarily clever; for she has read all the newspapers in the whole world, and has forgotten them again--so clever is she. She was lately, it is said, sitting on her throne--which is not very amusing after all--when she began humming an old tune, and it was just, 'Oh, why should I not be married?' "That song is not without its meaning,' said she, and so then she was determined to marry; but she would have a husband who knew how to give an answer when he was spoken to--not one who looked only as if he were a great personage, for that is so tiresome. She then had all the ladies of the court drummed together; and when they heard her intention, all were very pleased, and said, 'We are very glad to hear it; it is the very thing we were thinking of.' You may believe every word I say, said the Raven; "for I have a tame sweetheart that hops about in the palace quite free, and it was she who told me all this."The newspapers appeared forthwith with a border of hearts and the initials of the Princess; and therein you might read that every good-looking young man was at liberty to come to the palace and speak to the Princess; and he who spoke in such wise as showed he felt himself at home there, that one the Princess would choose for her husband."Yes, Yes," said the Raven, "you may believe it; it is as true as I am sitting here. People came in crowds; there was a crush and a hurry, but no one was successful either on the first or second day. They could all talk well enough when they were out in the street; but as soon as they came inside the palace gates, and saw the guard richly dressed in silver, and the lackeys in gold on the staircase, and the large illuminated saloons, then they were abashed; and when they stood before the throne on which the Princess was sitting, all they could do was to repeat the last word they had uttered, and to hear it again did not interest her very much. It was just as if the people within were under a charm, and had fallen into a trance till they came out again into the street; for then--oh, then--they could chatter enough. There was a whole row of them standing from the town-gates to the palace. I was there myself to look," said the Raven. "They grew hungry and thirsty; but from the palace they got nothing whatever, not even a glass of water. Some of the cleverest, it is true, had taken bread and butter with them: but none shared it with his neighbor, for each thought, 'Let him look hungry, and then the Princess won't have him."'"But Kay--little Kay," said Gerda, "when did he come? Was he among the number?""Patience, patience; we are just come to him. It was on the third day when a little personage without horse or equipage, came marching right boldly up to the palace; his eyes shone like yours, he had beautiful long hair, but his clothes were very shabby.""That was Kay," cried Gerda, with a voice of delight. "Oh, now I've found him!" and she clapped her hands for joy."He had a little knapsack at his back," said the Raven."No, that was certainly his sledge," said Gerda; "for when he went away he took his sledge with him.""That may be," said the Raven; "I did not examine him so minutely; but I know from my tame sweetheart, that when he came into the court-yard of the palace, and saw the body-guard in silver, the lackeys on the staircase, he was not the least abashed; he nodded, and said to them, 'It must be very tiresome to stand on the stairs; for my part, I shall go in.' The saloons were gleaming with lustres--privy councillors and excellencies were walking about barefooted, and wore gold keys; it was enough to make any one feel uncomfortable. His boots creaked, too, so loudly, but still he was not at all afraid.""That's Kay for certain," said Gerda. "I know he had on new boots; I have heard them creaking in grandmama's room.""Yes, they creaked," said the Raven. "And on he went boldly up to the Princess, who was sitting on a pearl as large as a spinning-wheel. All the ladies of the court, with their attendants and attendants' attendants, and all the cavaliers, with their gentlemen and gentlemen's gentlemen, stood round; and the nearer they stood to the door, the prouder they looked. It was hardly possible to look at the gentleman's gentleman, so very haughtily did he stand in the doorway.""It must have been terrible," said little Gerda. "And did Kay get the Princess?""Were I not a Raven, I should have taken the Princess myself, although I am promised. It is said he spoke as well as I speak when I talk Raven language; this I learned from my tame sweetheart. He was bold and nicely behaved; he had not come to woo the Princess, but only to hear her wisdom. She pleased him, and he pleased her.""Yes, yes; for certain that was Kay," said Gerda. "He was so clever; he could reckon fractions in his head. Oh, won't you take me to the palace?""That is very easily said," answered the Raven. "But how are we to manage it? I'll speak to my tame sweetheart about it: she must advise us; for so much I must tell you, such a little girl as you are will never get permission to enter.""Oh, yes I shall," said Gerda; "when Kay hears that I am here, he will come out directly to fetch me.""Wait for me here on these steps," said the Raven.He moved his head backwards and forwards and flew away.The evening was closing in when the Raven returned. "Caw --caw!" said he. "She sends you her compliments; and here is a roll for you. She took it out of the kitchen, where there is bread enough. You are hungry, no doubt. It is not possible for you to enter the palace, for you are barefooted: the guards in silver, and the lackeys in gold, would not allow it; but do not cry, you shall come in still. My sweetheart knows a little back stair that leads to the bedchamber, and she knows where she can get the key of it."And they went into the garden in the large avenue, where one leaf was falling after the other; and when the lights in the palace had all gradually disappeared, the Raven led little Gerda to the back door, which stood half open.Oh, how Gerda's heart beat with anxiety and longing! It was just as if she had been about to do something wrong; and yet she only wanted to know if little Kay was there. Yes, he must be there. She called to mind his intelligent eyes, and his long hair, so vividly, she could quite see him as he used to laugh when they were sitting under the roses at home. "He will, no doubt, be glad to see you--to hear what a long way you have come for his sake; to know how unhappy all at home were when he did not come back."Oh, what a fright and a joy it was!They were now on the stairs. A single lamp was burning there; and on the floor stood the tame Raven, turning her head on every side and looking at Gerda, who bowed as her grandmother had taught her to do."My intended has told me so much good of you, my dear young lady," said the tame Raven. "Your tale is very affecting. If you will take the lamp, I will go before. We will go straight on, for we shall meet no one.""I think there is somebody just behind us," said Gerda; and something rushed past: it was like shadowy figures on the wall; horses with flowing manes and thin legs, huntsmen, ladies and gentlemen on horseback."They are only dreams," said the Raven. "They come to fetch the thoughts of the high personages to the chase; 'tis well, for now you can observe them in bed all the better. But let me find, when you enjoy honor and distinction, that you possess a grateful heart.""Tut! That's not worth talking about," said the Raven of the woods.They now entered the first saloon, which was of rose-colored satin, with artificial flowers on the wall. Here the dreams were rushing past, but they hastened by so quickly that Gerda could not see the high personages. One hall was more magnificent than the other; one might indeed well be abashed; and at last they came into the bedchamber. The ceiling of the room resembled a large palm-tree with leaves of glass, of costly glass; and in the middle, from a thick golden stem, hung two beds, each of which resembled a lily. One was white, and in this lay the Princess; the other was red, and it was here that Gerda was to look for little Kay. She bent back one of the red leaves, and saw a brown neck. Oh! that was Kay! She called him quite loud by name, held the lamp towards him--the dreams rushed back again into the chamber--he awoke, turned his head, and--it was not little Kay!The Prince was only like him about the neck; but he was young and handsome. And out of the white lily leaves the Princess peeped, too, and asked what was the matter. Then little Gerda cried, and told her her whole history, and all that the Ravens had done for her."Poor little thing!" said the Prince and the Princess. They praised the Ravens very much, and told them they were not at all angry with them, but they were not to do so again. However, they should have a reward. "Will you fly about here at liberty," asked the Princess; "or would you like to have a fixed appointment as court ravens, with all the broken bits from the kitchen?"And both the Ravens nodded, and begged for a fixed appointment; for they thought of their old age, and said, "It is a good thing to have a provision for our old days."And the Prince got up and let Gerda sleep in his bed, and more than this he could not do. She folded her little hands and thought, "How good men and animals are!" and she then fell asleep and slept soundly. All the dreams flew in again, and they now looked like the angels; they drew a little sledge, in which little Kay sat and nodded his head; but the whole was only a dream, and therefore it all vanished as soon as she awoke.The next day she was dressed from head to foot in silk and velvet. They offered to let her stay at the palace, and lead a happy life; but she begged to have a little carriage with a horse in front, and for a small pair of shoes; then, she said, she would again go forth in the wide world and look for Kay.Shoes and a muff were given her; she was, too, dressed very nicely; and when she was about to set off, a new carriage stopped before the door. It was of pure gold, and the arms of the Prince and Princess shone like a star upon it; the coachman, the footmen, and the outriders, for outriders were there, too, all wore golden crowns. The Prince and the Princess assisted her into the carriage themselves, and wished her all success. The Raven of the woods, who was now married, accompanied her for the first three miles. He sat beside Gerda, for he could not bear riding backwards; the other Raven stood in the doorway,and flapped her wings; she could not accompany Gerda, because she suffered from headache since she had had a fixed appointment and ate so much. The carriage was lined inside with sugar-plums, and in the seats were fruits and gingerbread."Farewell! Farewell!" cried Prince and Princess; and Gerda wept, and the Raven wept. Thus passed the first miles; and then the Raven bade her farewell, and this was the most painful separation of all. He flew into a tree, and beat his black wings as long as he could see the carriage, that shone from afar like a sunbeam.

FIFTH STORY. The Little Robber Maiden

They drove through the dark wood; but the carriage shone like a torch, and it dazzled the eyes of the robbers, so that they could not bear to look at it."'Tis gold! 'Tis gold!" they cried; and they rushed forward, seized the horses, knocked down the little postilion, the coachman, and the servants, and pulled little Gerda out of the carriage."How plump, how beautiful she is! She must have been fed on nut-kernels," said the old female robber, who had a long, scrubby beard, and bushy eyebrows that hung down over her eyes. "She is as good as a fatted lamb! How nice she will be!" And then she drew out a knife, the blade of which shone so that it was quite dreadful to behold."Oh!" cried the woman at the same moment. She had been bitten in the ear by her own little daughter, who hung at her back; and who was so wild and unmanageable, that it was quite amusing to see her. "You naughty child!" said the mother: and now she had not time to kill Gerda."She shall play with me," said the little robber child. "She shall give me her muff, and her pretty frock; she shall sleep in my bed!" And then she gave her mother another bite, so that she jumped, and ran round with the pain; and the Robbers laughed, and said, "Look, how she is dancing with the little one!""I will go into the carriage," said the little robber maiden; and she would have her will, for she was very spoiled and very headstrong. She and Gerda got in; and then away they drove over the stumps of felled trees, deeper and deeper into the woods. The little robber maiden was as tall as Gerda, but stronger, broader-shouldered, and of dark complexion; her eyes were quite black; they looked almost melancholy. She embraced little Gerda, and said, "They shall not kill you as long as I am not displeased with you. You are, doubtless, a Princess?""No," said little Gerda; who then related all that had happened to her, and how much she cared about little Kay.The little robber maiden looked at her with a serious air, nodded her head slightly, and said, "They shall not kill you, even if I am angry with you: then I will do it myself"; and she dried Gerda's eyes, and put both her hands in the handsome muff, which was so soft and warm.At length the carriage stopped. They were in the midst of the court-yard of a robber's castle. It was full of cracks from top to bottom; and out of the openings magpies and rooks were flying; and the great bull-dogs, each of which looked as if he could swallow a man, jumped up, but they did not bark, for that was forbidden.In the midst of the large, old, smoking hall burnt a great fire on the stone floor. The smoke disappeared under the stones, and had to seek its own egress. In an immense caldron soup was boiling; and rabbits and hares were being roasted on a spit."You shall sleep with me to-night, with all my animals," said the little robber maiden. They had something to eat and drink; and then went into a corner, where straw and carpets were lying. Beside them, on laths and perches, sat nearly a hundred pigeons, all asleep, seemingly; but yet they moved a little when the robber maiden came. "They are all mine," said she, at the same time seizing one that was next to her by the legs and shaking it so that its wings fluttered. "Kiss it," cried the little girl, and flung the pigeon in Gerda's face. "Up there is the rabble of the wood, continued she, pointing to several laths which were fastened before a hole high up in the wall; "that's the rabble; they would all fly away immediately, if they were not well fastened in. And here is my dear old Bac"; and she laid hold of the horns of a reindeer, that had a bright copper ring round its neck, and was tethered to the spot. "We are obliged to lock this fellow in too, or he would make his escape. Every evening I tickle his neck with my sharp knife; he is so frightened at it!" and the little girl drew forth a long knife, from a crack in the wall, and let it glide over the Reindeer's neck. The poor animal kicked; the girl laughed, and pulled Gerda into bed with her."Do you intend to keep your knife while you sleep?" asked Gerda; looking at it rather fearfully."I always sleep with the knife," said the little robber maiden. "There is no knowing what may happen. But tell me now, once more, all about little Kay; and why you have started off in the wide world alone." And Gerda related all, from the very beginning: the Wood-pigeons cooed above in their cage, and the others slept. The little robber maiden wound her arm round Gerda's neck, held the knife in the other hand, and snored so loud that everybody could hear her; but Gerda could not close her eyes, for she did not know whether she was to live or die. The robbers sat round the fire, sang and drank; and the old female robber jumped about so, that it was quite dreadful for Gerda to see her.Then the Wood-pigeons said, "Coo! Cool We have seen little Kay! A white hen carries his sledge; he himself sat in the carriage of the Snow Queen, who passed here, down just over the wood, as we lay in our nest. She blew upon us young ones; and all died except we two. Coo! Coo!""What is that you say up there?" cried little Gerda. "Where did the Snow Queen go to? Do you know anything about it?""She is no doubt gone to Lapland; for there is always snow and ice there. Only ask the Reindeer, who is tethered there.""Ice and snow is there! There it is, glorious and beautiful!" said the Reindeer. "One can spring about in the large shining valleys! The Snow Queen has her summer-tent there; but her fixed abode is high up towards the North Pole, on the Island called Spitzbergen.""Oh, Kay! Poor little Kay!" sighed Gerda."Do you choose to be quiet?" said the robber maiden. "If you don't, I shall make you."In the morning Gerda told her all that the Wood-pigeons had said; and the little maiden looked very serious, but she nodded her head, and said, "That's no matter-that's no matter. Do you know where Lapland lies!" she asked of the Reindeer."Who should know better than I?" said the animal; and his eyes rolled in his head. "I was born and bred there--there I leapt about on the fields of snow."Listen," said the robber maiden to Gerda. "You see that the men are gone; but my mother is still here, and will remain. However, towards morning she takes a draught out of the large flask, and then she sleeps a little: then I will do something for you." She now jumped out of bed, flew to her mother; with her arms round her neck, and pulling her by the beard, said, "Good morrow, my own sweet nanny-goat of a mother." And her mother took hold of her nose, and pinched it till it was red and blue; but this was all done out of pure love.When the mother had taken a sup at her flask, and was having a nap, the little robber maiden went to the Reindeer, and said, "I should very much like to give you still many a tickling with the sharp knife, for then you are so amusing; however, I will untether you, and help you out, so that you may go back to Lapland. But you must make good use of your legs; and take this little girl for me to the palace of the Snow Queen, where her playfellow is. You have heard, I suppose, all she said; for she spoke loud enough, and you were listening."The Reindeer gave a bound for joy. The robber maiden lifted up little Gerda, and took the precaution to bind her fast on the Reindeer's back; she even gave her a small cushion to sit on. "Here are your worsted leggins, for it will be cold; but the muff I shall keep for myself, for it is so very pretty. But I do not wish you to be cold. Here is a pair of lined gloves of my mother's; they just reach up to your elbow. On with them! Now you look about the hands just like my ugly old mother!"And Gerda wept for joy."I can't bear to see you fretting," said the little robber maiden. "This is just the time when you ought to look pleased. Here are two loaves and a ham for you, so that you won't starve." The bread and the meat were fastened to the Reindeer's back; the little maiden opened the door, called in all the dogs, and then with her knife cut the rope that fastened the animal, and said to him, "Now, off with you; but take good care of the little girl!"And Gerda stretched out her hands with the large wadded gloves towards the robber maiden, and said, "Farewell!" and the Reindeer flew on over bush and bramble through the great wood, over moor and heath, as fast as he could go."Ddsa! Ddsa!" was heard in the sky. It was just as if somebody was sneezing."These are my old northern-lights," said the Reindeer, "look how they gleam! And on he now sped still quicker--day and night on he went: the loaves were consumed, and the ham too; and now they were in Lapland.

SIXTH STORY. The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

Suddenly they stopped before a little house, which looked very miserable. The roof reached to the ground; and the door was so low, that the family were obliged to creep upon their stomachs when they went in or out. Nobody was at home except an old Lapland woman, who was dressing fish by the light of an oil lamp. And the Reindeer told her the whole of Gerda's history, but first of all his own; for that seemed to him of much greater importance. Gerda was so chilled that she could not speak."Poor thing," said the Lapland woman, "you have far to run still. You have more than a hundred miles to go before you get to Finland; there the Snow Queen has her country-house, and burns blue lights every evening. I will give you a few words from me, which I will write on a dried haberdine, for paper I have none; this you can take with you to the Finland woman, and she will be able to give you more information than I can."When Gerda had warmed herself, and had eaten and drunk, the Lapland woman wrote a few words on a dried haberdine, begged Gerda to take care of them, put her on the Reindeer, bound her fast, and away sprang the animal. "Ddsa! Ddsa!" was again heard in the air; the most charming blue lights burned the whole night in the sky, and at last they came to Finland. They knocked at the chimney of the Finland woman; for as to a door, she had none.There was such a heat inside that the Finland woman herself went about almost naked. She was diminutive and dirty. She immediately loosened little Gerda's clothes, pulled off her thick gloves and boots; for otherwise the heat would have been too great--and after laying a piece of ice on the Reindeer's head, read what was written on the fish-skin. She read it three times: she then knew it by heart; so she put the fish into the cupboard --for it might very well be eaten, and she never threw anything away.Then the Reindeer related his own story first, and afterwards that of little Gerda; and the Finland woman winked her eyes, but said nothing."You are so clever," said the Reindeer; "you can, I know, twist all the winds of the world together in a knot. If the seaman loosens one knot, then he has a good wind; if a second, then it blows pretty stiffly; if he undoes the third and fourth, then it rages so that the forests are upturned. Will you give the little maiden a potion, that she may possess the strength of twelve men, and vanquish the Snow Queen?""The strength of twelve men!" said the Finland woman. "Much good that would be!" Then she went to a cupboard, and drew out a large skin rolled up. When she had unrolled it, strange characters were to be seen written thereon; and the Finland woman read at such a rate that the perspiration trickled down her forehead.But the Reindeer begged so hard for little Gerda, and Gerda looked so imploringly with tearful eyes at the Finland woman, that she winked, and drew the Reindeer aside into a corner, where they whispered together, while the animal got some fresh ice put on his head."'Tis true little Kay is at the Snow Queen's, and finds everything there quite to his taste; and he thinks it the very best place in the world; but the reason of that is, he has a splinter of glass in his eye, and in his heart. These must be got out first; otherwise he will never go back to mankind, and the Snow Queen will retain her power over him.""But can you give little Gerda nothing to take which will endue her with power over the whole?""I can give her no more power than what she has already. "Don't you see how great it is? Don't you see how men and animals are forced to serve her; how well she gets through the world barefooted? She must not hear of her power from us; that power lies in her heart, because she is a sweet and innocent child! If she cannot get to the Snow Queen by herself, and rid little Kay of the glass, we cannot help her. Two miles hence the garden of the Snow Queen begins; thither you may carry the little girl. Set her down by the large bush with red berries, standing in the snow; don't stay talking, but hasten back as fast as possible." And now the Finland woman placed little Gerda on the Reindeer's back, and off he ran with all imaginable speed."Oh! I have not got my boots! I have not brought my gloves!" cried little Gerda. She remarked she was without them from the cutting frost; but the Reindeer dared not stand still; on he ran till he came to the great bush with the red berries, and there he set Gerda down, kissed her mouth, while large bright tears flowed from the animal's eyes, and then back he went as fast as possible. There stood poor Gerda now, without shoes or gloves, in the very middle of dreadful icy Finland.She ran on as fast as she could. There then came a whole regiment of snow-flakes, but they did not fall from above, and they were quite bright and shining from the Aurora Borealis. The flakes ran along the ground, and the nearer they came the larger they grew. Gerda well remembered how large and strange the snow-flakes appeared when she once saw them through a magnifying-glass; but now they were large and terrific in another manner--they were all alive. They were the outposts of the Snow Queen. They had the most wondrous shapes; some looked like large ugly porcupines; others like snakes knotted together, with their heads sticking out; and others, again, like small fat bears, with the hair standing on end: all were of dazzling whiteness--all were living snow-flakes.Little Gerda repeat~d the Lord's Prayer. The cold was so intense that she could see her own breath, which came like smoke out of her mouth. It grew thicker and thicker, and took the form of little angels, that grew more and more when they touched the earth. All had helms on their heads, and lances and shields in their hands; they increased in numbers; and when Gerda had finished the Lord's Prayer, she was surrounded by a whole legion. They thrust at the horrid snow-flakes with their spears, so that they flew into a thousand pieces; and little Gerda walked on bravely and in security. The angels patted her hands and feet; and then she felt the cold less, and went on quickly towards the palace of the Snow Queen.But now we shall see how Kay fared. He never thought of Gerda, and least of all that she was standing before the palace.

SEVENTH STORY. What Took Place in the Palace of the Snow Queen, and what Happened Afterward

The walls of the palace were of driving snow, and the windows and doors of cutting winds. There were more than a hundred halls there, according as the snow was driven by the winds. The largest was many miles in extent; all were lighted up by the powerful Aurora Borealis, and all were so large, so empty, so icy cold, and so resplendent! Mirth never reigned there; there was never even a little bear-ball, with the storm for music, while the polar bears went on their hindlegs and showed off their steps. Never a little tea-party of white young lady foxes; vast, cold, and empty were the halls of the Snow Queen. The northern-lights shone with such precision that one could tell exactly when they were at their highest or lowest degree of brightness. In the middle of the empty, endless hall of snow, was a frozen lake; it was cracked in a thousand pieces, but each piece was so like the other, that it seemed the work of a cunning artificer. In the middle of this lake sat the Snow Queen when she was at home; and then she said she was sitting in the Mirror of Understanding, and that this was the only one and the best thing in the world.Little Kay was quite blue, yes nearly black with cold; but he did not observe it, for she had kissed away all feeling of cold from his body, and his heart was a lump of ice. He was dragging along some pointed flat pieces of ice, which he laid together in all possible ways, for he wanted to make something with them; just as we have little flat pieces of wood to make geometrical figures with, called the Chinese Puzzle. Kay made all sorts of figures, the most complicated, for it was an ice-puzzle for the understanding. In his eyes the figures were extraordinarily beautiful, and of the utmost importance; for the bit of glass which was in his eye caused this. He found whole figures which represented a written word; but he never could manage to represent just the word he wanted--that word was "eternity"; and the Snow Queen had said, "If you can discover that figure, you shall be your own master, and I will make you a present of the whole world and a pair of new skates." But he could not find it out." am going now to warm lands," said the Snow Queen. "I must have a look down into the black caldrons." It was the volcanoes Vesuvius and Etna that she meant. "I will just give them a coating of white, for that is as it ought to be; besides, it is good for the oranges and the grapes." And then away she flew, and Kay sat quite alone in the empty halls of ice that were miles long, and looked at the blocks of ice, and thought and thought till his skull was almost cracked. There he sat quite benumbed and motionless; one would have imagined he was frozen to death.Suddenly little Gerda stepped through the great portal into the palace. The gate was formed of cutting winds; but Gerda repeated her evening prayer, and the winds were laid as though they slept; and the little maiden entered the vast, empty, cold halls. There she beheld Kay: she recognised him, flew to embrace him, and cried out, her arms firmly holding him the while, "Kay, sweet little Kay! Have I then found you at last?"But he sat quite still, benumbed and cold. Then little Gerda shed burning tears; and they fell on his bosom, they penetrated to his heart, they thawed the lumps of ice, and consumed the splinters of the looking-glass; he looked at her, and she sang the hymn:

"The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet,
And angels descend there the children to greet."

Hereupon Kay burst into tears; he wept so much that the splinter rolled out of his eye, and he recognised her, and shouted, "Gerda, sweet little Gerda! Where have you been so long? And where have I been?" He looked round him. "How cold it is here!" said he. "How empty and cold!" And he held fast by Gerda, who laughed and wept for joy. It was so beautiful, that even the blocks of ice danced about for joy; and when they were tired and laid themselves down, they formed exactly the letters which the Snow Queen had told him to find out; so now he was his own master, and he would have the whole world and a pair of new skates into the bargain.Gerda kissed his cheeks, and they grew quite blooming; she kissed his eyes, and they shone like her own; she kissed his hands and feet, and he was again well and merry. The Snow Queen might come back as soon as she liked; there stood his discharge written in resplendent masses of ice.They took each other by the hand, and wandered forth out of the large hall; they talked of their old grandmother, and of the roses upon the roof; and wherever they went, the winds ceased raging, and the sun burst forth. And when they reached the bush with the red berries, they found the Reindeer waiting for them. He had brought another, a young one, with him, whose udder was filled with milk, which he gave to the little ones, and kissed their lips. They then carried Kay and Gerda--first to the Finland woman, where they warmed themselves in the warm room, and learned what they were to do on their journey home; and they went to the Lapland woman, who made some new clothes for them and repaired their sledges.The Reindeer and the young hind leaped along beside them, and accompanied them to the boundary of the country. Here the first vegetation peeped forth; here Kay and Gerda took leave of the Lapland woman. "Farewell! Farewell!" they all said. And the first green buds appeared, the first little birds began to chirrup; and out of the wood came, riding on a magnificent horse, which Gerda knew (it was one of the leaders in the golden carriage), a young damsel with a bright-red cap on her head, and armed with pistols. It was the little robber maiden, who, tired of being at home, had determined to make a journey to the north; and afterwards in another direction, if that did not please her. She recognised Gerda immediately, and Gerda knew her too. It was a joyful meeting."You are a fine fellow for tramping about," said she to little Kay; "I should like to know, faith, if you deserve that one should run from one end of the world to the other for your sake?"But Gerda patted her cheeks, and inquired for the Prince and Princess."They are gone abroad," said the other."But the Raven?" asked little Gerda."Oh! The Raven is dead," she answered. "His tame sweetheart is a widow, and wears a bit of black worsted round her leg; she laments most piteously, but it's all mere talk and stuff! Now tell me what you've been doing and how you managed to catch him."And Gerda and Kay both told their story.And "Schnipp-schnapp-schnurre-basselurre," said the robber maiden; and she took the hands of each, and promised that if she should some day pass through the town where they lived, she would come and visit them; and then away she rode. Kay and Gerda took each other's hand: it was lovely spring weather, with abundance of flowers and of verdure. The church-bells rang, and the children recognised the high towers, and the large town; it was that in which they dwelt. They entered and hastened up to their grandmother's room, where everything was standing as formerly. The clock said "tick! tack!" and the finger moved round; but as they entered, they remarked that they were now grown up. The roses on the leads hung blooming in at the open window; there stood the little children's chairs, and Kay and Gerda sat down on them, holding each other by the hand; they both had forgotten the cold empty splendor of the Snow Queen, as though it had been a dream. The grandmother sat in the bright sunshine, and read aloud from the Bible: "Unless ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."And Kay and Gerda looked in each other's eyes, and all at once they understood the old hymn:

"The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet,
And angels descend there the children to greet."

There sat the two grown-up persons; grown-up, and yet children; children at least in heart; and it was summer-time; summer, glorious summer!