The Ice Maiden


As if HCA wanted not only to show the world the beautiful side of the female sex, but also the dark side, the Ice Maiden is a profound and long story in which the main character – again another person other than the one mentioned in the title – trusting solely in his own strength, is captured and killed by the powerful and evil Ice Maiden.

Illustrated by Edmund Dulac

In this beautiful yet sad story, embedded with poetic allegories, as well as in The Snow Queen, women are the ones who take life away.

“To crush! To hold fast! That is my power!” exclaims the beautiful but deadly Ice Maiden, queen of the glaciars.   This character detests the human race and tries with all her power to kill every single one of them that crosses her path, both men and women alike, young and old.  The ice motif expresses desolation, despair and even death as well as eternal beauty.  In this case, Andersen links it with the feminine character.  Along side the Ice Maiden, stands Dizziness – again represented as a female character.  It’s up to Dizziness, and all “her sisters” to lure humans to dangerous crevasses and in doing so, hand them to the power of her mistress.

The only person who escaped this is the main character – Rudy.  Rudy is described as beautiful, bold and daring, as well as cold – after his encounter with the Ice Maiden when a child.  He is fearless to the point that he dares to do anything to accomplish his goal – even taking to unnecessary risks to gain the love of his life when he becomes a man.  Again, HCA soaks this story with elements of nature from which the main character learns several lifelong lessons, although because of his absolute trust in his own strength, he is taken by the Ice Maiden.  With this the author tries to tell his readers that, even though we may be gifted with good fortune or good health, to put our trust solely on ourselves will in the end lead us off the right path.

But women aren’t mistreated in the this story, for Andersen, through allegories,  describes to the warmth of the female sex as it is said in the following:  “it was the harmonious tones of a chorus of other spirits of Nature, the mild, soft, and loving daughters of the rays of the sun. Every evening they encircle the mountain peaks and spread their rosy wings”.  “Greatly do they love flowers and butterflies and mankind, and they had taken a great fancy to little Rudy.”  or  “And every morning the sun’s rays shone on the sleeping child through the one tiny window of the old man’s house. The daughters of the sun kissed the boy; they tried to thaw, to wipe out the ice kiss given him by the queen of the glaciers”.  Although translated from Danish, HCA uses exquisite language to  “paint” again the light and darks of the human race, specially the female character.

Andersen again embeds his religious beliefs in this overwhelming story, but does it through the stupidity of a cretin, who asks the main character to write a letter to Jesus Christ for him so as to give his life instead of his master’s (Rudy’s Uncle – almost like his father) – who was killed in an avalanche.  Here again is the willingness of self-sacrifice for a loved one and a complete trust in the power of a superior Being.

Although there is much more to this story, the thoughts and insights shared can shed some light of how we conduct ourselves regarding our own strengths and weakness.

I attach the link for those who wish to read the story.


About María Gómez de la Torre

I'm a school teacher and I'm also a storyteller. I enjoy reading new children stories and commenting about them. I specially love dragon tales and stories about fairies. I love people commenting on my thoughts so please feel free to do so - as long as it's positive ;o)

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