Wetenschap - 21 december 1995

A Christmas story

A Christmas story

At the Christmas party Friday December 15, Bettina Andersen, a Danish MSc student, told a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. At least she tried to do so, but had to give up after a while.

Those present, numbering over four hundred, were too noisy or were not even aware of the fact that Bettina was speaking. Therefore today we publish a resume of the story which was written in 1861 by Bettina's fellow-countryman and namesake. The story is called The Snowman. The snowman really loved the cold - unlike most foreign students - and he didn't really like the sun, which he regarded as an eye, staring at him all the time.

At nighttime, however, the snowman thought that the moon was the sun back to front and then he liked it. He was quite happy. The only thing he wished for was to be able to move and to walk one day. An old watchdog tried to drive the snowman away and predicted that the sun would make him run in the end. The snowman was puzzled, since he did not expect anything positive from the sun. The old watchdog, forced to stay outdoors since he had bitten one of the children in the house nearby, told the snowman how he used to lie on a pillow near the stove enjoying the warmth. The snowman could see the stove through one of the windows of the house. He watched her - somehow he felt it was a female being - day and night. The poor snowman developed a great longing for the stove. Though the weather was pleasantly cold the snowman did not feel happy. The dog warned him, that longing for the stove was a dangerous habit for a snowman.

At long last the weather changed and the thaw set in. One day the snowman melted away and only a broomstick, around which boys had once built him, rose in the air. At the sight of this piece of firewood the old dog suddenly understood the snowman's longing for the stove. Soon the winter was gone, spring drew nearer, and soon nobody remembered the snowman.

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