There is a particularly vicious faerie of some renown who once designed a mirror that would warp the world in reflection so that all the ugly and painful things would seem large and intolerable while everything lovely and wonderful would appear small and insignificant. The faerie thought this was a brilliant invention and laughed heartily at everything he saw. Then one fateful day, he dropped it from the sky, and it shattered into millions of little pieces. These microscopic shards of glass would infect the people of the world so that they would only notice that which is ugly and terrifying and forget that there is anything beautiful in the world. 

One young boy who suffered from the infection of glass was named George. He was with his friend Gemma when it happened, playing in the snow. He felt something sharp strike his eye and his chest. Ouch!  he cried, and Gemma came running over to see what the matter was. It’s fine, I just got something in my eye, but it’s gone now. It was not fine, though, because George had caught a piece of the distorting mirror in his eye and heart. The first thing he noticed was that their snow man was lopsided, so he destroyed the whole thing. When Gemma started crying, he didn’t see that she was afraid and hurt but only noticed that the tears made her look ugly. This unexpected demeanor increased over the days, and soon he would not talk to Gemma at all except to tell her that she said or did something wrong. 

Not long after the incident, when George had thoroughly drawn into himself and decided the world was too ugly to behold, the Snow Queen abducted him. She carried him off while he was out sledding alone. At first, he was scared, but soon the beautiful and imperious woman took him into the seat of her sleigh, wrapped him in her snow cloak and kissed his forehead. At that moment, he became so inebriated with the cold that he couldn’t feel it anymore. She left him in the vast halls of her snow palace while she went to collect more people suffering from the same ailment. There, he remained for an indeterminate amount of time, forgetting all about Gemma and enjoying the quiet comfort of the cold empty space. It seemed that he would continue this existence forever when one day, a little girl entered the abode. On seeing him, she leapt in excitement and wrapped him in a warm embrace. Then, George started to feel that perhaps he did not belong in this cold palace after all, but, all the same, he was determined to stay and did not move. At his unresponsiveness, Gemma began to cry, and her warm tears thawed his icy heart. Now, George woke up and wondered why he was here and seeing Gemma, he recognized her. Then, the sinking feeling of shame filled his heart, and he wished he could leave the snow house. Still, he felt that he was bound to this place and that Gemma and his home could never welcome him again. This thought brought forth a burst of tears, and so he cried out the remaining shard of mirror in his eye. Then he saw how generous it was that Gemma came all this way to find him, and he found a way to hope that they would soon be home and the world would be beautiful once more. 

*Based on the fairy tale of The Snow Queen as told by Hans Christian Anderson.