Paper & Packaging, designed by Martin Pittig, Germany
The “Snow Queen”, one of Hans Christian Andersen’s longest and most sophisticated fairy tales, tells of a little girl who sets out to find her companion whom the “Snow Queen” has taken away from her. Like many of Andersen’s tales, it deals with the happiness of simple, kind people in a humorous and ironic manner, depicting the girl’s search in a series of three dreamlike sequences.
In the first, an evil “troll” who in fact is the devil himself, makes a magic mirror with the power to distort everything in the world, obscuring that which is good and beautiful in people and the world, and magnifying that which is bad and ugly. The devil teaches at a “devils’ school”, and he and his students take great pleasure in the mirror, which makes even the most beautiful landscapes look as nasty as “boiled spinach”. They even try to take the mirror up to heaven, intending to ridicule god and the angels with it, but the higher they lift the mirror, the more it grins and trembles with delight. eventually, it shakes so much that it slips from their hands and tumbles back down to earth, where it shatters into millions of tiny shards, many of which are no bigger than grains of sand. These tiny shards are then blown around by the wind, catching in people’s eyes like chunks of ice and preventing them from seeing anything but the evil and ugliness in humanity and the world. Much, much later, a little boy named Kay and a little girl named Gerda live in neighboring garrets, with adjoining roofs, in a large city. Both the children’s parents grow vegetables and roses in window boxes hung from the gutters, so Kay and Gerda are able to spend many happy hours playing together in a windowbox garden. From Kay’s grandmother, they hear the story of the Snow Queen, who reigns over snowflakes that resemble bees and are thus called “snow bees”. The Snow Queen is usually seen wherever the most snowflakes cluster; it thus happens one fine snowy day that Kay peers out through the frost on his windowpane and sees the Snow Queen, who beckons him towards her. Kay, however, shrinks back in fear. over the next few months, Gerda frequently sings Kay a song about roses that she associates ever more strongly with her love for Kay. When the shards of the troll mirror find their way into Kay’s eyes and heart the following summer, he becomes mean spirited and behaves aggressively. The following winter, he seeks out the Snow Queen, who takes him away to her palace in Spitsbergen, near the North Pole, where he lives in contentment, blinded by the many shards of the troll mirror lodged in his heart and eyes. back at home, Gerda refuses to accept the widespread belief among the residents of the city that Kay has died by drowning in a nearby river, and so sets out to find him – a journey that will take her much further into the unknown heart of friendship, and of herself as well, than she ever dreamed possible.