Kay's patterns were most ingenious, because they were the 'Ice Puzzles of Reason.' In his eyes they were first-rate and of the great- est importance: this was because of the grain of glass still in his eye. He made many patterns forming words, but he never could find out the right way to place them for one particular word, a word he was most anxious to make. It was 'Eternity.' The Snow Queen had said to him that if he could find out this word he should be his own master, and she would give him the whole world and a new pair of skates. But he could not discover it.
'Now I am going to fly away to the warm countries,' said the Snow Queen. 'I want to go and peep into the black caldrons!' She meant the volcanoes Etna and Vesuvius by this. 'I must whiten them a little; it does them good, and the lemons and the grapes too!' And away she flew.
Kay sat quite alone in all those many miles of empty ice halls. He looked at his bits of ice, and thought and thought, till something gave way within him. He sat so stiff and immovable that one might have thought he was frozen to death.
Then it was that little Gerda walked into the Palace, through the great gates in a biting wind. She said her evening prayer, and the wind dropped as if lulled to sleep, and she walked on into the big empty hall. She saw Kay, and knew him at once; she flung her arms round his neck, held him fast, and cried, 'Kay, little Kay, have I found you at last?'
But he sat still, rigid and cold. Then little Gerda shed hot tears; they fell upon his breast and penetrated to his heart. Here they thawed the lump of ice, and melted the little bit of the mirror which was in it. He looked at her, and she sang:
'Where roses deck the flowery vale, There, Infant Jesus, we thee hail!'
Then Kay burst into tears; he cried so much that the grain of glass was washed out of his eye. He knew her, and shouted with joy, 'Gerda, dear little Gerda! where have you been for such a long time? And where have I been?' He looked round and said, 'How cold it is