June 28, 2012

Hans Christian Andersen wrote quite a good long fairy tale and called it The Snow Queen. Andrew Lang included a version of it in his Pink Fairy Book. The story begins in the Pink Fairy Book as follows:

There was once a dreadfully wicked hobgoblin. One day he was in capital spirits because he had made a looking-glass which reflected everything that was good and beautiful in such a way that it dwindled almost to nothing, but anything that was bad and ugly stood out very clearly and looked much worse.

Now in my nice red volume of Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, the story opens like this:

Listen! We are beginning our story! When we arrive at the end of it we shall, it is hoped, know more than we know now. There was once a magician! a wicked magician!! a most wicked magician!!! Great was his delight at having constructed a mirror possessing this peculiarity, viz., that everything good and beautiful, when reflected in it, shrank up almost to nothing, whilst those things that were ugly and useless were magnified, and made to appear ten times worse than before.

You can probably guess which one I think is the best.

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