Treats of a Mirror
and of the Splinters Now then, let us begin. When we are at the end of
the story, we shall know more than we know now: but to begin.
Once upon a
time there was
a wicked sprite, indeed he was the most mischievous of all sprites. One
day he was in a very good humor, for he had made a mirror with the
of causing all that was good and beautiful when it was reflected
to look poor and mean; but that which was good-for-nothing and looked
was shown magnified and increased in ugliness. In this mirror the most
beautiful landscapes looked like boiled spinach, and the best persons
turned into frights, or appeared to stand on their heads; their faces
so distorted that they were not to be recognised; and if anyone had a
you might be sure that it would be magnified and spread over both nose
glorious fun!" said
the sprite. If a good thought passed through a man's mind, then a grin
was seen in the mirror, and the sprite laughed heartily at his clever
the little sprites
who went to his school--for he kept a sprite school--told each other
a miracle had happened; and that now only, as they thought, it would be
possible to see how the world really looked.
about with the mirror;
and at last there was not a land or a person who was not represented
in the mirror. So then they thought they would fly up to the sky, and
a joke there. The higher they flew with the mirror, the more terribly
grinned: they could hardly hold it fast. Higher and higher still they
nearer and nearer to the stars, when suddenly the mirror shook so
with grinning, that it flew out of their hands and fell to the earth,
it was dashed in a hundred million and more pieces. And now it worked
more evil than before; for some of these pieces were hardly so large as
a grain of sand, and they flew about in the wide world, and when they
into people's eyes, there they stayed; and then people saw everything
or only had an eye for that which was evil. This happened because the
smallest bit had the same power which the whole mirror had possessed.
persons even got a splinter in their heart, and then it made one
for their heart became like a lump of ice. Some of the broken pieces
so large that they were used for windowpanes, through which one could
see one's friends. Other pieces were put in spectacles; and that was a
sad affair when people put on their glasses to see well and rightly.
the wicked sprite laughed till he almost choked, for all this tickled
flew about in the air: and now we shall hear what happened next.