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Cfte librarp 

of tbe 

£aniuet0itp of jQottb Carolina 



The Sylvester Hassell Collection 


Sylvester Hassell, D. D. 



£•&••! mi Library 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 








itfitjf 3üustratinn3 de Wut 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S52, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New- York. 




Dueing> the long, long clay of the twenty- 
fourth of December, the children of Doctor 
Stahlbaum were not permitted to enter the par- 
lor, much less the adjoining drawing-room. 
Frederic and Maria sat nestled together in a 
corner of the back chamber ; dusky twilight 
had come on, and they felt quite gloomy and 
fearful, for, as was commonly the case on this 
day, no light was brought in to them. Fred, 
in great secrecy, and in a whisper, informed his 


little sister (slie was only just seven years old), 
that ever since morning be had heard a rustling 
and a rattling, and now and then a gentle 
knocking, in the forbidden chambers. Kot long 
ago also he had seen a little dark man, with a 
large chest under his arm, gliding softly through 
the entry, but he knew very well that it was 
nobody but Godfather Drosselmeier. Upon 
this Maria clapped her little hands together for 
joy, and exclaimed, " Ah, what beautiful things 
has Godfather Drosselmeier made for us this 

Counsellor Drosselmeier was not a very 
handsome man ; he was small and thin, had 
many wrinkles in his face, over his right e}^e he 
had a large black patch, and he was without 
hair, for which reason he wore a very nice white 
wig ; this was made of glass however, and was a 
very ingenious piece of work. The Godfather 
himself was very ingenious also, he understood 
all about clocks and watches, and could even 


make them. Accordingly, wlien any one of tlie 
beautiful clocks in Doctor Stahlbaum's house 
was sick, and could not sing, Godfather Drossel- 
nder would have to attend it. He would then 
take off his glass wig, pull off his brown coat, 
put on a blue apron, and pierce the clock with 
sharp-pointed instruments, which usually caused 
little Maria a great deal of anxiety. But it did 
the clock no harm ; on the contrary, it became 
quite lively again, and began at once right 
merrily to rattle, and to strike, and to sing, so 
that it was a pleasure to all who heard it. 
Whenever he came, he always brought some- 
thing pretty in his pocket for the children, some- 
times a little man who moved his eyes and made 
a 1)0 w, at others, a box, from which a little bird 
hopped out when it was opened — sometimes one 
thins;, sometimes another. 

When Christmas Eve came, he had always a 
beautiful piece of work prepared for them, which 
had cost him a great deal of trouble, and on this 


account it was always carefully preserved by 
their parents, after he had given it to them. 
"Ah, what beautiful present lias Godfather 
Drosselmeier made for us this time ! " exclaimed 
Maria. It was Fred's opinion that this time it 
could be nothing else than a castle, in which all 
kinds of fine soldiers marched up and down and 
went through their exercises ; then other soldiers 
would come, and try to break into the castle, but 
the soldiers within would fire off their cannon 
very bravely, until all roared and cracked again. 
" No, no," cried Maria, interrupting him, " God- 
father Drosselmeier has told me of a lovely gar- 
den where there is a great lake, upon which 
beautiful swans swim about, with golden collars 
around their necks, and sins: their sweetest son^s. 
Then there comes a little girl out of the garden 
down along the lake, and coaxes the swans to 
the shore, and feeds them with sweet cake." 

" Swans never eat cake," interrupted Fred, 
somewhat roughly, " and even Godfather Dros- 


selmeier himself can't make a whole garden. 
After all, we have little good of his playthings ; 
they are all taken right away from us again. I 
like what Papa and Mamma give us much Let- 
ter, for we can keep their presents for ourselves, 
and do as we please with them." The children 
now began once more to guess what it could be 
this time. Maria thought that Miss Trutchen 
(her great doll) was growing very old, for she 
fell almost every moment upon the floor, and 
more awkwardly than ever, which could not 
happen without leaving sad marks upon her face, 
and as to neatness in dress, this was now alto- 
gether out of the question with her. Scolding 
did not help the matter in the least. Frederic 
declared, on the other hand, that a bay horse 
was wanting in his stable, and his troops were 
very deficient in cavalry, as his Papa very well 

By this time it had become quite dark. 
Frederic and Maria sat close together, and did 


not venture again to speak a word. It seemed 
now as if soft wings rustled around them, and 
very distant, but sweet music was heard at inter- 
vals. At this moment a shrill sound broke upon 
their ears — kling, ling — kling, ling — the doors 
flew wide open, and such a dazzling light broke 
out from the great chamber, that with the loud 
exclamation, " Ah ! ah ! 17 the children stood fixed 
at the threshold. But Papa and Mamma 
stepped to the door, took them by the hand, and 
said, " Come, come, dear children, and see what 
Christmas has brought you this year." 


Kind reader, or listener, whatever may be 
your name, whether Frank, Robert, Henry, — 
Anna or Maria, I beg you to call to mind the 
table covered with your last Christmas gifts, as 
in their newest gloss they first appeared to your 


delighted vision. You will then "be able to im- 
agine the astonishment of the children, as they 
stood with sparkling eyes, unable to utter a 
word, for joy at the sight before them. At last 
Maria called out with a deep sigh, " Ah, how 
beautiful ! ah, how beautiful !" and Frederic 
gave two or three leaps in the air higher than he 
had ever done before. The children must have 
been very obedient and good children during the 
past year, for never on any Christmas Eve before, 
had so many beautiful things been given to 
them. A tall Fir tree stood in the middle of 
the room, covered with gold and silver apples, 
while sugar almonds, comfits, lemon drops, and 
every kind of confectionery, hung like buds and 
blossoms upon all its branches. But the great- 
est beauty about this wonderful tree, was the 
many little lights that sparkled amid its dark 
boughs, which like stars illuminated its treasures, 
or like friendly eyes seemed to invite the child- 
ren to partake of its blossoms and fruit. 


Tlie table under the tree shone and flushed 
with a thousand different colors — ah, what beau- 
tiful things were there ! who can describe them \ 
Maria spied the prettiest dolls, a tea set, all 
kinds of nice little furniture, and what eclipsed 
all the rest, a silk dress tastefully ornamented 
with gay ribbons, which hung upon a frame 
before her eyes, so that she could view it on 
every side. This she did too, and exclaimed 
over and over again, " Ah, the sweet — ah, the 
dear, dear frock ! and may I put it on ? yes, yes 
— may I really, though, wear it ?" 

In the meanwhile Fred had been galloping 
round and round the room, trying his new bay 
horse, which, true enough, he had found, fast- 
ened by its bridle to the table. Dismounting 
again, he said it was a wild creature, but that 
was nothing ; he would soon break him. He 
then reviewed his new regiment of hussars, 
who were very elegantly arrayed in red and 
gold, and carried silver weapons, and rode upon 


such bright shining horses, that yon would 
almost believe these were of pure silver also. 
The children had now become somewhat more 
composed, and turned to the picture books, 
which lay open on the table, where all kinds 
of beautiful flowers, and gayly dressed people, 
and boys and girls at play, were painted as 
natural as if they were alive. Yes, the child- 
ren had just turned to these singular books, 
when — kling, ling, kling, ling — the bell was 
heard again. They knew that Godfather Dros- 
selmeier was now about to display his Christmas 
gift, and ran towards a table that stood against 
the wall, covered by a curtain reaching from the 
ceiling to the floor. The curtain behind which 
he had remained so long concealed, was quickly 
drawn aside, and what saw the children then ? 

Upon a green meadow, spangled with 
flowers, stood a noble castle, with clear glass 
windows and golden turrets. A musical clock 
began to play, when the doors and windows 


flew open, and little men and women, with. 
feathers in their hats, and long flowing trains, 
were seen sauntering about in the rooms. In 
the middle hall, which seemed as if it were all 
on fire, so many little tapers were "burning in 
silver chandeliers, there were children in white 
frocks and green jackets, dancing to the sound 
of the music. A man in an emerald-green 
cloak, at intervals put his head out of the 
window, nodded, and then disappeared ; and 
Godfather Drosselmeier himself, only that he 
was not much bigger than Papa's thumb, 
came now and then to the door of the castle, 
looked about him, and then went in again. 
Fred, with his arms resting upon the table, 
gazed at the beautiful castle, and the little walk- 
ing and dancing figures, and then said, " God- 
father Drosselmeier, let me go into your castle." 
The Counsellor gave him to understand that 
that could not be done. And he was right, for 
it was foolish in Fred to wish to go into a castle, 


which with, all its golden turrets was not as high. 
as his head. Fred saw that likewise himself. 
After a while as the men and women kept walk- 
ing back and forth, and the children danced, 
and the emerald man looked out at his window, 
and Godfather Drosselmeier came to the door, 
and all without the least change ; Fred called 
out impatiently, " Godfather Drosselmeier, come 
out this time at the other door." 

" That can never be, dear Fred," said the 

" Well then," continued Frederic, " let the 
green man who peeps out at the window walk 
about with the rest." 

" And that can never be," rejoined the 

"Then the children must come down," cried 
Fred, " I want to see them nearer." 

" All that can never be, I say," replied the 
Counsellor, a little out of humor. " As the 
mechanism is made, so it must remain." 


" So o," cried Fred, in a drawling tone, 

" all that can never be ! Listen, Godfather Dros- 
selnieier. If your little dressed up figures in 
the castle there, can do nothing else but always 
the same thing, they are not good for rauch, and 
I care very little about them. No, give me my 
hussars, who can manoeuvre backward and for- 
ward, as I order them, and are not shat up in a 

\Yith this, he darted towards a large table, 
drew up his regiment upon their silver horses, 
and let them trot and gallop, and cut and slash, 
to his heart's content. Maria also had softly 
stolen away, for she too was soon tired of the 
sauntering and dancing puppets in the castle ; 
but as she was very amiable and good, she did 
not wish it to be observed so plainly in her as it 
was hi her brother Fred. Counsellor Drossel- 
meier turned to the parents, and said, somewhat 
angrily, " An ingenious work like this was not 
made for stupid children. I will put up my cas- 


tie again, and cany it home." But their mother 
now stepped forward, and desired to see the 
secret mechanism and curious works by which 
the little figures were set in motion. The Coun- 
sellor took it all apart, and then put it together 
again. While he was employed in this manner 
he became good-natured once more, and gave the 
children some nice brown men and women, with 
gilt faces, hands, and feet. They were all made 
of sweet thorn, and smelt like gingerbread, at 
which Frederic and Maria were greatly delight- 
ed. At her mother's request, the elder sister, 
Louise, had put on the new dress which had 
been given to her, and she looked most charm- 
ingly in it, but Maria, when it came to her turn, 
thought she would like to look at hers a while 
longer as it hung. This was readily permitted. 



The trutli is, Maria was unwilling to leave 
the table then, because she had discovered some- 
thing upon it, which no one had yet remarked. 
By the marching out of Fred's hussars, who had 
been drawn up close to the tree, a curious little 
man came into view, who stood there silent and 
retired, as if he were waiting quietly for his turn 
to be noticed. It must be confessed, a great 
deal could not be said in favor of the beauty of 
his figure, for not only was his rather broad, 
stout body, out of all proportion to the little, 
slim legs that carried it, but his head was by far 
too large for either. A genteel dress went a 
great way to compensate for these defects, and 
led to the belief that he must be a man of taste 
and good breeding. He wore a hussar's jacket 
of beautiful bright violet, fastened together with 
white loops and buttons, pantaloons of exactly 


the same color, and the neatest boots that ever 
graced the foot of a student or an officer. They 
fitted as tight to his little legs as if they were 
painted upon them. It was laughable to see, 
that in addition to this handsome apparel, he 
had hung upon his back a narrow clumsy cloak, 
that looked as if it were made of wood, and upon 
his head he wore a woodman's cap ; but Maria re- 
membered that Godfather Drosselmeier wore an 
old shabby cloak and an ugly cap, and still he was 
a dear, dear godfather. Maria could not help 
thinking also, that even if Godfather Drosselmeier 
were in other respects as well dressed as this lit- 
tle fellow, yet after all he would not look half so 
handsome as he. The longer Maria gazed upon 
the little man whom she had taken a liking to at 
first sight, the more she was sensible how much 
good nature and friendliness was expressed in his 
features. Nothing but kindness and benevolence 
shone in his clear green, though somewhat too 
prominent eyes. It was very becoming to the 


man that he wore about his chin a nicely trim- 
med beard of white cotton, for by this the sweet 
smile upon Ms deep red lips was rendered much 
more striking. " Ah, dear father," exclaimed 
Maria at last, "to whom belongs that charming 
little man by the tree there ?" 

" He shall work industriously for you all, 
dear child," said her father. " He can crack the 
hardest nuts with his teeth, and he belongs as 
well to Louise as to you and Fred." With these 
words her father took him carefully from the 
table, and raised up his wooden cloak, whereupon 
the little man stretched his mouth wide ojDen, and 
showed two rows of very white sharp teeth. At 
her father's bidding Maria put in a nut, and — 
crack — the man had bitten it in two, so that the 
shell fell off, and Maria caught the sweet kernel 
in her hand. Maria and the other two children 
were now informed that this dainty little man 
came of the family of Nutcrackers, and practised 
the profession of his forefathers. Maria was over- 


joyed at what she heard, and her father said, 
" Dear Maria, since friend Nutcracker is so great 
a favorite with you, I place him under your par- 
ticular care and keeping, although, as I said be- 
fore, Louise and Fred shall have as much right 
to his services as you." 

Maria took him immediately in her arms, and 
set him to cracking nuts, but she picked out the 
smallest, that the little fellow need not stretch 
his mouth open so wide, which in truth was not 
very becoming to him. Louise sat down by her, 
and friend Nutcracker must perform the same 
service for her too, which he seemed to do quite 
willingly, for he kept smiling all the while very 
pleasantly. In the mean time Fred had become 
tired of riding and parading his hussars, and when 
he heard the nuts crack so merrily, he ran to his 
sister, and laughed very heartily at the droll lit- 
tle man, who now, since Fred must have a share 
in the sport, passed from hand to hand, and thus 
there was no end to his labor. Fred always chose 


the biggest and hardest nuts, when all at once — 
crack — crack — it went, and three teeth fell out 
of Nutcracker's mouth, and his whole under jaw 
became loose and rickety. " Ah, my poor dear 
Nutcracker I" said Maria, and snatched him out 
of Fred's hands. 

"That's a stupid fellow," said Fred. "He 
wants to be a nutcracker, and has poor teeth — 
he don't understand his trade. Give him to me, 
Maria. He shall crack nuts for me if he loses 
all his teeth, and his whole chin into the bargain. 
Yv T hy make such a fuss about such a fellow V 

" No, no," exclaimed Maria, weeping ; " you 
shall not have my dear Nutcracker. See how 
sorrowfully he looks at me, and shows me his 
poor mouth. But you are a hard-hearted fellow ; 
you beat your horses ; yes, and lately you had 
one of your soldiers shot through the head." 

"That's all right," said Fred, "though you 
don't understand it. But Nutcracker belongs as 
much to me as to you, so let me have him." 


Maria began to cry bitterly, and rolled up 
the sick Nutcracker as quickly as she could in her 
little pocket handkerchief. Thei: parents now 
came up with Godfather Drosselmeier. The lat- 
ter, to Maria's great distress, took Fred's part. 
But their father said, " I have placed Nutcracker 
expressly under Maria's protection, and as I see 
that he is now greatly in need of it, I give her 
full authority over him, and no one must dispute 
it. Besides, I wonder at Fred, that he should 
require farther duty from one who has been 
maimed in the service. As a good soldier, he 
ought to know that the wounded are not expected 
to take their place in the ranks." 

Fred was much ashamed, and without troub- 
ling himself farther about nuts or Nutcracker, 
stole around to the opposite end of the table, 
where his hussars, after stationing suitable out- 
posts, had encamped for the night. Maria col- 
lected together Nutcracker's lost teeth, tied up 
his wounded chin with a nice white ribbon which 


slie had taken from her dress, and then wrapped 
up the little fellow more carefully than ever in 
her handkerchief, for he looked very pale and 
frightened. Thus she held him, rocking him in 
her arms like a little child, while she looked over 
the beautiful pictures of the new picture-book, 
which she found among her other Christmas 
gifts. Contrary to her usual disposition, she 
showed some ill-temper towards Father Drossel- 
meier, who kept continually laughing at her, and 
asked again and again how it was that she liked 
to caress such an ugly little fellow. That singu- 
lar comparison with Drosselmeier, which she 
made when her eyes first fell upon Nutcracker, 
now came again into her mind, and she said very 
seriously : " Who knows, dear godfather, if you 
were dressed like nry sweet Nutcracker, and had 
on such bright little boots — who knows but you 
would then be as handsome as he is !" Maria 
could not tell why her parents laughed so loudly 
at this, and why the Counsellor's face turned so 


reel, and lie, for his part, did not laugh half so 
heartily this time as he had done more than once 
before. It is likely there was some particular 
reason for it. + 


In the sitting-room of the Doctor's house, 
just as you enter the room, there stands on the 
left hand, close against the wall, a hi^h °dass- 
case, in which the children preserve all the beau- 
tiful things which are given to them every year. 
Louise was quite a little girl when her father 
had the case made by a skilful joiner, who set 
in it such large, clear panes of glass, and arranged 
all the parts so well together, that every thing 
looked much brighter and handsomer when on 
its shelves than when it was held in the hands. 
On the upper shelf, which Maria and Fred were 
unable to reach, stood all Godfather Drossel- 
meier's curious machines. Immediately below 


this was a shelf for the picture-books ; the two 
lower shelves Maria and Fred filled up as they 
pleased, but it always happened that Maria used 
the lower one as a house for her dolls, while 
Fred, on the contrary, cantoned his troops in the 
one above. 

And so it happened to-day, for while Fred 
set his hussars in order above, Maria, having 
laid Miss Trutchen aside, and having installed 
the new and sweetly dressed doll in her best 
furnished chamber below, had invited herself to 
tea with her. I have said that the chamber was 
well furnished, and it is true ; here was a nice 
chintz sofa and several tiny chairs, there stood 
a tea-table, but above all, there was a clean, white 
little bed for her doll to repose upon. All these 
things were arranged in one corner of the glass 
case, the sides of which were hung with gay pic- 
tures, and it will readily be supposed, that in 
such a chamber the new doll, Miss Clara, must 
have found herself very comfortable. 


It was now late in the evening, and night, 

^ 'OSS- 

incleecl, was close at hand, and Godfather Di 

elmeier had long since gone home, yet still the 
children could not leave the glass-case, although 
their mother repeatedly told them that it was 
high time to go to bed. " It is true," cried Fred 
at last ; " the poor fellows (meaning his hussars) 
would like to get a little rest, and as long as I 
am here, not one of them will dare to nod — I 
know that." With these words he went up to 
bed, but Maria begged very hard, " Only leave 
me here a little while, clear mother. I have two 
or three things to attend to, and when they are 
done I will go immediately to bed." Maria was 
a very good and sensible child, and therefore 
her mother could leave her alone with her play- 
things without anxiety. But for fear she might 
become so much interested in her new doll and 
other presents as to forget the lights which burn- 
ed around the glass case, her mother blew them 
all out, and left only the lamp which hung clown 


from the ceiling in the middle of the chamber, 
and which diffused a soft, pleasant light. " Come 
in soon, dear Maria, or you will not be up in 
time to-morrow morning," called her mother, as 
she went up to bed. There was something Ma- 
ria had at heart to do, which she had not told 
her mother, though she knew not the reason 
why ; and as soon as she found herself alone she 
went quickly about it. She still carried in her 
arms the wounded Nutcracker, rolled up in her 
pocket handkerchief. Now she laid him care- 
fully upon the table, unrolled the handkerchief 
softly, and examined his wound. Nutcracker 
was very pale, but still he smiled so kindly and 
sorrowfully that it went straight to Maria's heart. 
" Ah ! Nutcracker, Nutcracker, do not be angry 
at brother Fred "Because he hurt you so, he did 
not mean to be so rough; it is the wild soldier's 
life with his hussars that has made him a little 
hard-hearted, but otherwise he is a good fellow, 
I can assure you. Now I will tend you very 


carefully until you are well and merry again ; 
as to fastening in your teeth and setting your 
shoulders, that Godfather Drosselmeier must do ; 
he understands such things." 

But Maria was hardly able to finish the 
sentence, for as she mentioned the name of 
Drosselmeier, friend Nutcracker made a terrible 
wry face, and there darted something out of his 
eyes like green sparkling flashes. Maria was 
just going to fall into a dreadful fright, when 
behold, it was the sad smiling face of the hon- 
est Nutcracker again, which she saw before her, 
and she knew now that it must be the glare of 
the lamp, which, stirred by the draught, had 
flared up, and distorted Nutcracker's features so 
strangely. " Am I not a foolish girl," she said, 
" to be so easily frightened, and to think that a 
wooden puppet could make faces at me ? But I 
love Nutcracker too well, because he is so droll 
and so good tempered; therefore he shall be 
taken good care of as he deserves." With this 


Maria took friend Nutcracker in lier arms, 
walked to the glass case, stooped down, and said 
to her new doll, " Pray, Miss Clara, be so good 
as to give up your bed to the sick and wounded 
Nutcracker, and make out as well as you can 
with the sofa, Remember that you are well and 
hearty, or you would not have such fat red 
cheeks, and very few little dolls have such nice 

Miss Clara, in her gay Christmas attire, 
looked very grand and haughty, and would not 
even say " Muck. 1 ' " But why should I stand 
upon ceremony V said Maria, and she took out 
the bed, laid little Nutcracker down upon it 
softly, and gently rolled a nice ribbon which she 
wore around her waist, about his poor shoulders, 
and then drew the bedclothes over him snugly, 
so that there was nothing to be seen of him be- 
low the nose. " He shan't stay with the naughty 
Clara," she said, and raised the bed with Nut- 
cracker in it to the shelf above, and placed it 


close by the pretty village, where Fred's hussars 
were quartered. She locked the case, and was 
about to go up to bed, when — listen children — 
when softly, softly it began to rustle, and to 
whisper, and to rattle round and round, under 
the hearth, behind the chairs, behind the cup- 
boards and glass case. The great clock whir — 
red louder and louder, but it could not strike. 
Maria turned towards it, and there the large 
gilt owl that sat on the top, had dropped down 
its wings, so that they covered the whole face, 
and it stretched out its ugly head with the 
short crooked beak, and looked just like a cat. 
And the clock whirred louder in plain words. 
" Dick — ry, dick — ry, clock — whirr, softly clock, 
Mouse-King has a fine ear — prr — prr — pum — ■ 
purn — the old song let him hear — prr — prr — 
puin — pum — or he might— run away in a fright 
— now clock strike softly and light." And pum 
— pum, it went with a dull deadened sound 
twelve times. Maria besran now to tremble 


with, fear, and she was upon the point of run- 
ning out of the room in terror, when she "beheld 
Godfather Drosselnder, who sat in the owl's 
place on the top of the clock, and had hung 
down the skirts of his brown coat just like 
wings. But she took courage, and cried out 
loudly, with sobs, " Godfather Drosselmeier, 
Godfather Drosselmeier, what are you doing up 
there? Come down, and do not frighten me 
so, you naughty Godfather Drosselmeier !" 

Just then a wild squeaking and whimpering 
broke out on all sides, and then there was a 
running, trotting and galloping behind the walls, 
as if a thousand little feet were in motion, and 
a thousand little lights flashed out of the crev- 
ices in the floor. But they were not lights — no 
— they were sparkling little eyes, and Maria per- 
ceived that mice were all around, peeping out 
and working their way into the room. Pres- 
ently it went trot — trot — ho}3 — hop about the 
chamber, and more and more mice, in greater or 


smaller parties galloped across, aud at last 
placed themselves in line and column, just as 
Fred was accustomed to place his soldiers when 
they went to battle. This Maria thought was 
very droll, and as she had not that aversion to 
mice which most children have, her terror was 
gradually leaving her, when all at once there 
arose a squeaking so terrible and piercing, that 
it seemed as if ice-cold water was poured down 
her back. Ah, what now did she see ! 

I know, my worthy reader Frederic, that thy 
heart, like that of the wise and brave soldier 
Frederic Stahlbaum, sits in the right place, but 
if thou hadst seen what Maria now beheld, thou 
wouldst certainly have run away ; yes, I believe 
that thou wouldst have jumped as quickly as 
possible into bed, and then have drawn the cov- 
ering over thine ears much farther than was 
necessary to keep thee warm. Alas ! poor Maria 
could not do that now, for — listen children — 
close before her feet, there burst out sand and 


lime and crumbled wall stones, as if thrown up 
by some subterranean force, and seven mice- 
heads with seven sparkling crowns rose out of 
the floor, sqeaking and squealing terribly. 
Presently the mouse's body to which these seven 
heads belonged, worked its way out, and the 
great mouse crowned with the seven diadems, 
squeaking loudly, huzzaed in full chorus, as he 
advanced to meet his army, which at once set 
itself in motion, and hott — hott — trot — trot it 
went — alas, straight towards the glass case — 
straight towards poor Maria who stood close be- 
fore it ! 

Her heart had before beat so terribly from 
anxiety and fear, that she thought it would leap 
out of her bosom, and then she knew she must 
die ; but now it seemed as if the blood stood 
still in her veins. Half fainting, she tottered 
backward, when clatter — clatter — rattle — rattle 
it went — and a glass pane which she had struck 
with her elbow fell in pieces at her feet. She 


felt at the moment a sharp pain in her left arm, 
but her heart all at once became much lighter, 
she heard no more squeaking and squealing, all 
had become still, and although she did not dare 
to look, yet she believed that the mice, fright- 
ened by the clatter of the broken glass, had re- 
treated into their holes. But what was that 
again ! Close behind her in the glass case a 
strange bustling and rustling began, and little 
fine voices were heard. " Up, up, awake — arms 
take — awake — to the fight — this night — up, up 
— to the n>kt." And all the while something 
rang out clear and sweet like little bells. " Ah, 
that is my clear musical clock !" exclaimed Maria 
joyfully, and turned quickly to look. 

She then saw how it flashed and lightened 
strangely in the glass case, and there was a great 
stir and bustle upon the shelves. Many little 
figures crossed up and down by each other, and 
worked and stretched out their arms as if they 
were making ready. And now, Nutcracker 


raised himself all of a sudden, threw the bed- 
clothes clear off, and leaped with both feet at 
once out of bed, crying aloud, " Crack — crack 
— crack — stupid pack — drive mouse back — stu- 
pid pack — crack — crack — mouse — back — crick 
— crack — stupid pack." With these words he 
drew his little sword, flourished it in the air, and 
exclaimed, " My loving vassals, friends and 
brothers, will you stand by me in the hard 
fight?" Straightway three Scaramouches, a 
Harlequin, four Chimney-sweepers, two Guitar- 
players and a drummer cried out, " Yes, my lord, 
we will follow you with fidelity and courage — 
we will march with you to battle — to victory or 
death," and then rushed after the fiery Nutcrack- 
er, who ventured the dangerous leap down from 
the upper shelf. Ah, it was easy enough for them 
to perform this feat, for beside the fine garments 
of thick cloth and silk which they wore, the in- 
side of their bodies were made of cotton and 
tow, so that they came down plump, like bags of 


wool. But poor Nutcracker had certainly "bro- 
ken Ms arms or his legs, for remember, it was 
almost two feet from the shelf where he stood 
to the floor, and his body was as brittle as if it 
had been cut out of Linden wood. Yes, Nut- 
cracker would certainly have broken his arms or 
his legs, if, at the moment when he leaped, Miss 
Clara had not sprung quickly from the sofa, and 
caught the hero with his drawn sword in her 
soft arms. " Ah, thou dear, good Clara," sobbed 
Maria, " how I have wronged thee ! Thou didst 
certainly resign thy bed willingly to little Nut- 

But Miss Clara now spoke, as she softly 
pressed the young hero to her silken bosom. 
u You will not, oh, my lord ! sick and wounded 
as you are, share the dangers of the fight. See 
how your brave vassals assemble* themselves, 
eager for the affray, and certain of conquest. 
Scaramouch, Harlequin, Chimney-sweepers, Guit- 
ar-players, Drummer, are all ready drawn up be- 

38 isruTCE acker a:nt> mouse-kes-g. 

low, and the china figures on the shelf stir and 
move strangely ! Will yon not, oh, my lord ! 
repose upon the sofa, or from my arms look 
down upon your victory ? " Thus spoke Clara, 
but Nutcracker demeaned himself very ungra- 
ciously, for he kicked and struggled so violently 
with his legs, that Clara was obliged to set him 
quickly down upon the floor. He then, how- 
ever, dropped gracefully upon one knee, and said, 
" Fair lady, the recollection of thy favor and con- 
descension will go with me into the battle and 
the strife." 

Clara then stooped so low that she could 
take him by the arm, raised him gently from his 
knees, took off her bespangled girdle, and was 
about to throw it across his neck, but little Nut- 
cracker stepped two paces backward, laid his 
hand upon his breast, and said very earnestly, 
" Not so, fair lady, lavish not thy favors thus 
irpon me, for — " he stopped, sighed heavily, tore 
off the ribbon which Maria had bound about his 


shoulders, pressed it to his lips, hung it across 
him like a scarf, and then boldly flourishing his 
"bright little blade, leaped like a bird over the 
edge of the glass case upon the floor. You un- 
derstand my kind and good readers and listeners, 
that Nutcracker, even before he had thus come 
to life, had felt very sensibly the kindness and 
love which Maria had shown towards him, and 
it was because he had become so partial to her, 
that he would not receive and wear the girdle 
of Miss Clara, although it shone and sparkled so 
brightly. The true and faithful Nutcracker pre- 
ferred to wear Maria's simple ribbon. But what 
will now happen i As soon as Nutcracker had 
leaped out, the squeaking and whistling was 
heard again. Ah, it is under the large table, 
that the hateful mice have concealed their count- 
less bands, and high above them all towers the 
dreadful mouse with seven heads ! What will 
now happen ! 



" Beat the march, true vassal Drummer 1" 
screamed Nutcracker very loudly, and immedi- 
ately the drummer began to rattle and to roll 
upon his drum so skilfully, that the windows 
of the glass case trembled and hummed again. 
Now it rustled and clattered therein, and Maria 
perceived that the covers of the little boxes in 
which Fred's army were quartered, were burst- 
ing open, and now the soldiers leaped out, and 
then down again upon the lowest shelf, where 
they drew up in fine array. Nutcracker ran up 
and down, speaking inspiring words to the troops 
— " Let no dog of a trumpeter blow or stir !" he 
cried angrily, for he was afraid he should not be 
heard, and then turned quickly to Harlequin, 
who had grown a little pale, and chattered with 
his long chin. " General," he said, earnestly, " I 
know your courage and your experience ; there 


is need now for a quick eye, and skill to seize 
the proper moment. I intrust to your command 
all the cavalry and artillery. You do not need 
a horse, for you have very long legs, and can 
gallop yourself tolerably well. I look to see 
you do your duty." Thereupon Harlequin put 
his long, thin fingers to his mouth, ; and crowed 
so piercingly, that it sounded as if a hundred 
shrill trumpets were blown merrily. 

Then it stirred again in .the glass case — a 
neighing, and a whinnying, and a stamping were 
heard, and see ! Fred's cuirassiers and dragoons, 
but above all, his new splendid hussars marched 
out, and halted close by the case. Regiment 
after regiment now defiled before Nutcracker, 
with fiying colors and warlike music, and ranged 
themselves in long rows across the floor of the 
chamber. Before them went Fred's cannon rat- 
tling along, surrounded by the cannoniers, and 
soon bom — bom it went, and Maria could see 
how the mice suffered by the fire, how the sugar- 


plums plunged into their dark, heavy mass, cov- 
ering them with white powder, and throwing 
them more than once into shameful disorder. 
But the greatest damage was done them by a 
heavy battery that was mounted upon mamma's 
footstool, which — pum, puni — kept up a steady 
fire of caraway seeds against the enemy, by 
which a great many of them fell. The mice, 
notwithstanding, came nearer and nearer, and at 
last mastered some of the cannon, but then it 
went prr — prr — and Maria could scarcely see 
what now happened for the smoke and dust. 
This however was certain, that each corps fought 
with the greatest animosity, and the victory was 
for a long time doubtful. The mice kept de- 
ploying more and more forces, and the little sil- 
ver shot, which they fired very skilfully, struck 
now even into the glass case. Clara and Trut- 
chen ran around in despair. " Must I die in the 
blossom of youth V said Clara. " Have I so well 
preserved myself for this, to perish here in these 


walls ?" cried Trutchen. Then they fell about 
each, other's necks, and screamed so terribly, 
that they could be heard above the mad tumult 
of the battle. 

Of the scene that now presented itself you 
can have no idea, good reader. It went prr — 
prr — puff — piff — clitter — clatter — bom, burum 
— bom, burum — bom — in the wildest confusion, 
while the Mouse-King and mice squeaked and 
screamed, and now and then the mighty voice 
of Nutcracker was heard, as he gave the neces- 
sary orders, and he was seen striding along 
through the battalions in the hottest of the fire. 
Harlequin had made some splendid charges with 
his cavalry, and covered himself with honor, but 
Fred's hussars were battered by the enemy's ar- 
tillery, with odious, offensive balls, which made 
dreadful spots in their red jackets, for which 
reason they would not move forward. Harle- 
quin ordered them to draw off to the left, and 
in the enthusiasm of command headed the move- 


nient himself, and the cuirassiers and dragoons 
followed; that is, they all drew off to the left, 
and galloped home. By this step the battery 
upon the footstool was exposed to great danger, 
and it was not long before a strong body of very 
ugly mice pushed on with such determined bra- 
very, that the footstool, cannons, cannoniers and 
all were overthrown by their headlong charge. 
Nutcracker seemed a little disturbed at this, and 
gave orders that the right wing should make a 
retreating movement. You know very well, oh 
my military reader Frederic, that to make such 
a movement is almost the same thing as to run 
away, and you are now grieving with me at the 
disaster which impends over the army of Maria's 
darling Nutcracker. 

But turn your eyes from this scene, and view 
the left wing, where all is still in good order, 
and where there is yet great hope, both for the 
general and the army. During the hottest of 
the %ht, large masses of mice cavalry had de- 


bouched softly from under the settee, and amid 
loud and hideous squeaking had thrown them- 
selves with fury upon the left wing ; but what 
an obstinate resistance did they meet with there ! 
Slowly, as the difficult nature of the ground re- 
quired — for the edge of the glass case had to be 
traversed — the china figures had advanced, 
headed by two Chinese emperors, and formed 
themselves into a hollow square. These brave, 
motley, but noble troops, which were composed of 
Gardeners, Tyrolese, Bonzes, Friseurs, Merry-an- 
drews, Cupids, Lions, Tigers, Peacocks, and Apes, 
fought with coolness, courage, and determination. 
By their Spartan bravery this battalion of picked 
men would have wrested the victory from the 
foe, had not a bold major rushed madly from the 
enemy's ranks, and bitten off the head of one 
of the Chinese emperors, who in falling dashed 
to the ground two Bonzes and a Cupid. Through 
this gap the enemy penetrated into the square, 
and in a few moments the whole battalion was 


torn to pieces. Their brave resistance, therefore, 
was of no avail to Nutcracker's army, which, 
once having begun to retreat, retired farther and 
farther, and at every step with diminished num- 
bers, until the unfortunate Nutcracker halted 
with a little band close before the glass case. 
" Let the reserve advance ! Harlequin — Scara- 
mouch — Drummer — where are you J" 

Thus cried Nutcracker, in hopes of new 
troops which should deploy out of the glass- 
case. And there actually came forth a few 
brown men and women, made of sweet thorn, 
with golden faces, and caps, and helmets, but 
they fought around so awkwardly, that they did 
not hit one of the enemy, and at last knocked 
the cap off their own general's head. The ene- 
mies' chasseurs, too, bit off their legs before 
long, so that they tumbled over, and carried 
with them to the ground some of Nutcracker's 
best officers. Nutcracker, now completely sur- 
rounded by the foe, was in the greatest peril. 


He tried to leap over the edge, into the glass 
case, but found his legs too short. Clara and 
Trutchen lay each in a deep swoon, — they could 
not help him — hussars, dragoons sprang merrily 
by him into safe quarters, and in wild despair, 
he cried, " A horse — a horse — a kingdom for a 
horse !" At this moment two of the enemies' 
tirailleurs seized him by his wooden mantle, and 
the Mouse-King, squeaking from his seven 
throats, leaped in triumph towards him. Maria 
could no longer control herself. " Oh, my poor 
Nutcracker I" she cried, sobbing, and without 
being exactly conscious of what she did, grasped 
her left shoe, and threw it with all her strength 
into the thickest of the mice, straight at their 
kingf. In an instant, all seemed scattered and 
dispersed, but Maria felt in her left arm a still 
sharper pain than before, and sank in a swoon 
to the floor. 



When Maria woke out of her deep and 
deathlike slumber, she found herself lying in her 
own bed, with the sun shining bright and spark- 
ling through the ice-covered windows into the 
chamber. Close beside her sat a stranger, whom 
she soon recognized, however, as the Surgeon 
Wendelstern. He said softly, " She is awake !" 
Her mother then came to the bedside, and 
gazed upon her with anxious and inquiring 
looks. " Ah, dear mother," lisped little Maria, 
" are all the hateful mice gone, and is the good 
Nutcracker safe V 

" Do not talk such foolish stuff," replied her 
mother ; " what have the mice to do with Nut- 
cracker ? You naughty child, you have caused 
us a great deal of anxiety. But so it always is, 
when children are disobedient and do not mind 


their parents. You played last night with your 
dolls until it was very late. You became sleepy, 
probably, and a stray mouse may have jumped 
out and frightened you ; at all events, you broke 
a pane of glass with your elbow, and cut your 
arm so severely, that neighbor Wendelstern, 
who has just taken the piece of glass out of 
the wound, declares that it came very near cut- 
ting a vein, in which case you might have had a 
stiff arm all your life, or perhaps have bled to 
death. It was fortunate that I woke about 
midnight, and not finding you in your bed, got 
up and went into the sitting-room. There you 
lay in a swoon upon the floor, close hy the glass 
case, the blood flowing in a stream. I almost 
fainted away myself at the sight. There you 
lay, and scattered around, were many of Fred- 
eric's leaden soldiers, broken China figures, gin- 
gerbread men and women and other playthings, 
and not far off your left shoe." 

" Ah ! dear mother, dear mother," exclaimed 


Maria, interrupting her, "those were the traces 
of that dreadful battle between the puppets and 
the mice, and what frightened me so was the 
danger of poor Nutcracker, when the mice were 
going to take him prisoner. Then I threw my 
shoe at the mice, and after that I don't know 
what happened." 

Surgeon Wendelstern here made a sign to 
the mother, and she said very softly to Maria, 
" Well, never mind about it, my dear child, the 
mice are all gone, and little Nutcracker stands 
safe and sound in the glass case." Doctor Stahl- 
bäum now entered the chamber, and spoke for 
a while with Surgeon Wendelstern, then he felt 
Maria's pulse, and she could hear very plainly 
that he said something about a fever. She was 
obliged to remain in bed and take physic, and 
so it continued for some days, although except 
a slight pain in her arm, she felt quite well and 
comfortable. She knew little Nutcracker had 
escaped safe from the battle, and it seemed to 


her that she sometimes heard his voice quite 
plainly, as if in a dream, saying mournfully, 
" Maria, dearest lady, what thanks do I not owe 
you ! but you can do still more for me." Maria 
tried to think what it could be, but in vain ; 
nothing occurred to her. She could not play 
very well on account of the wound in her arm, 
and when she tried to read or look at her pic- 
ture books, a strange glare came across her eyes, 
so that she was obliged to desist. The time, 
during the day, always seemed very long to 
her, and she waited impatiently for evening, as 
her mother then usually seated herself by her 
bedside, and read or related some pretty story 
to her. * 

One evening she had just finished the won- 
derful history of *prince Fackardin, when the 
door opened, and Godfather Drosselmeier en- 
tered, saying, " I must see now for myself how 
it goes with the sick and wounded Maria." As 
soon as Maria saw Godfather Drosselmeier in his 


brown coat, the image of that night in which 
Nutcracker lost the battle against the mice, re- 
turned vividly to her mind, and she cried out 
involuntarily, " Oh Godfather Drosselmeier, you 
have been very naughty ; I saw you as you sat 
upon the clock, and covered it with your wings, 
so that it should not strike loud, to scare away 
the mice. I heard how you called out to the 
Mouse-King. Why did you not come to help 
us ; me, and the poor Nutcracker ? It is all 
your fault, naughty Godfather Drosselmeier, that 
I must he here sick in bed." Her mother was 
quite frightened at this, and said, " What is the 
matter with you, dear Maria ?" 

But Godfather Drosselmeier • made very 
strange faces, and said in a grating, monotonous 
tone, " Pendulum must whirr — whirr — whirr — 
this way — that way — clock will strike — tired of 
ticking — all the day — softly whirr — whirr — 
whirr— strike kling — klang — strike klang — kling 
— bing and bang and bang and bing — 'twill scare 


away the Mouse-King. Then Owl in swift flight 
comes at dead of nisrht. Pendulum must whirr 
— whirr — Clock will strike kling — klan^ — this 
way — that way — tired of ticking all the day — 
bing — bang — and Mouse-King scare away — 
whirr — whirr — prr — prr." Maria stared at God- 
father Drosselmeier, for he did not look at all as 
he usually did, but appeared much uglier, and he 
moved his right arm backward and forward, 
like a puppet pulled by wires. She would have 
been afraid of him, if her mother had not been 
present, and if Fred had not slipped in, in the 
meanwhile, and interrupted him with loud laugh- 
ter. " Ha, ha ! Godfather Drosselmeier," cried 
Fred, " you are to-day too droll again — you act 
just like my Harlequin that I threw into the lum- 
ber room long ago." But their mother was very 
serious, and said, " Dear Counsellor, this is very 
strange sport — what do you really mean by it V 
" Gracious me," replied Drosselmeier, laugh- 
ing, " have you forgotten then my pretty watch- 


maker's song ? I always sing it to suck patients 
as Maria." With this he drew his chair close to 
her bed, and said, " Do not be angry that I did 
not pick out the Mouse-King's fourteen eyes — 
that could not be — but instead, I have in store 
for you a very agreeable surprise." The Coun- 
sellor with these words put his hand in his pocket, 
drew something out slowly, and behold it was — 
Nutcracker with his lost teeth nicely fastened in, 
and his lame chin well set and sound. Maria 
cried aloud with joy, while her mother smiled, and 
said, " You see now, Maria, that Godfather Dross- 
elmeier meant well by your little Nutcracker." 

" But still you must confess," Maria, said the 
Counsellor, " that Nutcracker's figure is none of 
the finest, neither can his face be called exactly 
handsome. How this ugliness came to be hered- 
itary in the family, I will now relate to you, if 
you will listen. Or perhaps you know already 
the story of the Princess Pirlipat and the Lady 
Mouserings, and the skilful, Watchmaker V 


" Look Iiere, Godfather Drosselmeier," inter- 
rupted Fred, " Nutcracker's teetli you have fast- 
ened in very well, and his chin is no longer lame 
and rickety, but why has lie no sword ? why have 
you not put on liis sword ?" 

" Ak," replied the Counsellor, angrily, " you 
must always meddle and make, you rogue. 
What is Nutcracker's sword to me? I have 
cured his wounds, and he may find a sword for 
himself as he can." 

" That's true," said Fred, " he is a brave fel- 
low, and will know how to get one." 

" Tell me then, Maria," continued the Coun- 
sellor, " have you heard the story of the Princess 
Pirlipat r 

" I hope, dear Counsellor," said the mother, 
" that your story will not be frightful, as those 
that you narrate usually are." 

" By no means, dearest madam," replied 
Drosselmeier, " on the contrary, what I have this 
time the honor to relate is droll and merry." 


" Begin, begin then, dear Godfather !" cried 
the children, and the Counsellor began as 


Pielepat's mother was the wife of a king, and 
therefore a queen, and Pirlipat straightway at 
the moment of her birth a true princess. The 
king was beside himself with joy, when he saw 
his beautiful daughter, as she lay in the cradle. 
He shouted aloud, danced, jumped about irpon 
one leg, and cried again and again, " Ha ! ha ! 
was there ever any thing seen more beautiful 
than my little Pirlipat?" Thereupon all the 
ministers, generals, presidents and staff officers 
jumped about upon one leg like the king, and 
cried aloud, " No, never !" And it was so, in 
truth, for as long as the world has been stand- 
ing, a lovelier child was never born, than this 



very Princess Pirlipat. Her little face seemed 
made of lilies and roses, delicate white and red ; 
her eyes were of living sparkling azure, and it 
was charming to see how her little locks curled 
in bright golden ringlets. Besides this, Pirlipat 
had brought into the world two rows of little 
pearly teeth, with which two hours after her 
birth, she bit the high chancellor's finger, as he 
was examining her features too closely, so that 
he screamed out, " Oh, Gemini !" Others assert 
that he screamed out, " Oh, Crickee 1" but on this 
point authorities are at the present day divided. 
Well, little Pirlipat bit the high chancellor's 
finger, and the enraptured land knew now that 
some sense dwelt in Pirlipat's beautiful body. 
As has been said, all were delighted. The queen 
alone was very anxious and uneasy, and no one 
knew wherefore, but every body remarked with 
surprise, the care with which she watched Pirli- 
pat's cradle. Besides that the doors were guard- 
ed by soldiers, and not counting the two nurses, 


who always remained close by the cradle, six 
maids night after night sat in the room to 
watch. But what seemed very foolish, and no 
one could understand the meaning of it, was 
this ; each of these six maids must have a cat 
upon her lap, and stroke it the whole night 
through, and thus keep it continually purring. 
It is impossible that you, dear children, can 
guess why Pirlipat's mother made all these ar- 
rangements, but I know, and will straightway 
tell you. 

It happened that once upon a time many 
great kings and fine princes were assembled at 
the court of Pirlipat's father, on which occasion 
much splendor was displayed, the theatres were 
crowded, balls were given, and tournaments held 
almost every day. The king, in order to show 
plainly that he was in no want of gold and sil- 
ver, was resolved to take a good handful out of 
his royal treasury, and expend it in a suitable 
manner. Therefore as soon as he had been pri- 


vately informed by the overseer of the kitchen, 
that the court astronomer had predicted the 
right time for killing, he ordered a great feast 
of sausages, leaped into his carriage, and went 
himself to invite the assembled kings and princes 
to take a little soup with him, in order to enjoy 
the agreeable surprise which he had prepared 
for them. Upon his return, he said very affec- 
tionately to the queen, "You know, my dear, 
how extremely fond I am of sausages." The 
queen knew at once what he meant by that, 
and it was this, that she should take upon her- 
self, as she had often done before, the useful oc- 
cupation of making sausages. The lord treasurer 
must straightway bring to the kitchen the great 
golden sausage kettle, and the silver chopping 
knives and stew-pans. A large fire of sandal 
wood was made, the queen put on her damask 
apron, and soon the sweet smell of the sausage 
meat began to steam up out of the kettle. The 
agreeable odor penetrated even to the royal 


council chamber, and the king, seized with a 
sudden transport, could no longer restrain him- 
self, " With your permission, my lords," he 
cried, and leaped up, ran as fast as he could into 
the kitchen, embraced the queen, stirred a little 
with his golden sceptre in the kettle, and then 
his emotion being quieted, returned calmly to 
the council. 

The important moment had now arrived 
when the fat was to be chopped into little 
pieces, and browned gently in the silver stew- 
pans. The maids of honor now retired, for the 
queen, out of true devotion and reverence for 
her royal spouse, wished to perform this duty 
alone. But just as the fat began to fry, a small 
wimpering, whispering voice was heard, " Give 
me a little of the fat, sister — I should like my 
part of the feast — I too am a queen — give me a 
little of the fat." The queen knew very well 
that it was Lady Mouserings who said this. 
Lady Mouserings had lived these many years in 


the king's palace. She maintained that she was 
related to the royal family, and that she was 
herself a queen in the kingdom of Mousalia, for 
which reason she held a great court under the 
hearth. The queen was a kind and benevolent 
lady, and although she was not exactly willing 
to acknowledge Lady Mouserings as a true 
queen and sister, yet she was very ready to 
allow her a little banquet on this great holiday. 
She answered, therefore, " Come out, then,' Lady 
Mouserings, you are welcome to a little of the 
fat'" Upon this, Lady Mouserings leaped out 
very quickly and merrily, jumped irpon the 
hearth, and seized with her dainty little paws, 
one piece of fat after the other as the queen 
reached it to her. But now, all the cousins and 
aunts of the Lady Mouserings came running out, 
besides her seven sons, rude and forward rogues, 
who all fell at once upon the fat, and the terri- 
fied queen could not drive them away. But as 
good fortune would have it, the chief maid of 


honor came in at this moment, and chased away 
the intruding guests, so that a little of the fat 
was left. The king's mathematician being sum- 
monecl, demonstrated very clearly that there 
was enough, remaining to season all the sau- 
sages, if distributed with the nicest judgment 
and skill. 

Drums and trumpets were now heard with- 
out, and all the invited potentates and princes, 
some on white palfreys, some in crystal carriages, 
came in splendid apparel to the sausage-feast. The 
king received them kindly and graciously, and 
then, adorned with crown and sceptre, as became 
the monarch of the land, seated himself at the 
head of the table. Already in the first course, 
that of the sausage balls, it was observed that 
he grew pale and paler; raised his eyes to 
heaven ; gentle sighs escaped from his bosom, 
and he seemed to undergo great inward suffer- 
ing. But in the second course, which consisted 
of the long sausages, he sank back upon his 


throne, sobbing and moaning, held botli bands 
to bis face, and at last wept and groaned aloud. 
All sprang up from tbe table, the royal physi- 
cian tried in vain to feel the pulse of the un- 
happy monarch, a deep-seated, unknown torture 
appeared to agitate him. At last, after much 
anxiety, and after the application of some very 
strong remedies, the king seemed to come a little 
to himself, and stammered out scarce audibly 
the words, " Too little fat /" 

Then the queen threw herself in despair at 
his feet, and sobbed out, " Oh, my poor, unhappy, 
royal husband ! Alas, how great must be the 
suffering which you endure ! But see the guilty 
one at your feet ; punish, punish her without 
mercy. Alas ! Lady Mouserings with her seven 
sons, and aunts and cousins, have eaten up the 
fat, and — " with these words she fell right over 
backwards in a swoon. Then the kin»", full of 
rage, leaped up and cried out, ■ " Chief maid of 
honor, how happened that V The chief maid of 


honor told the story, as much as she knew of it, 
and the king resolved to take vengeance upon 
Lady Mouserings and her family for having eaten 
up the fat of his sausages. The privy council 
was called, and it was resolved to summon Lady 
Mouserings to trial, and confiscate all her estates. 
But as the king was of opinion that in the 
meanwhile she might eat up more of his sausage 
fat, the affair was placed at last in the hands of 
the royal watchmaker and mechanist. 

This man (whose name was the same as mine, 
to wit, Christian Elias Drosselmeier) engaged, by 
means of a very singular and deep political 
scheme, to drive Lady Mouserings and her family 
from the palace forever. He invented therefore 
several curious little machines, in which a piece 
of toasted fat was fastened to a thread, and these 
Drosselmeier placed around lady Mouserings' 
dwelling. Lady Mouserings was much too wise 
not to see through Drosselmeier's craft, but all 
her Avarnings, all her entreaties were of no avail, 


every one of her seven sons, and many of her 
cousins and aunts, went into Drosselmeier's ma- 
chines, and, as they tried to snap away the fat, 
were caught by an iron grating, which fell sud- 
denly down behind them, and were afterwards 
miserably slaughtered in the kitchen. Lady 
Mousering;s, with the little remnant of her fam- 
ily, forsook the dreadful place. Grief, despair, 
revenge filled her bosom. The court revelled in 
joy at this event, but the queen was very anxious, 
for she knew the disposition of Lady Mouserings, 
and was very sure that she would not suffer the 
death of her sons to go unavenged. In fact, 
Lady Mouserings appeared one day, when the 
queen was in the kitchen, |>reparing a harslet 
hash for her royal husband, a dish of which he 
was very fond, and said, " My sons, my cousins 
and aunts are destroyed ; take care queen, that 
Mouse-Queen does not bite thy little princess in 
two — take good care." With this she disap- 
peared, and was not seen again ; but the queen 


was so frightened that she let the liasli fall into 
the fire ; and thus a second time Lady Mouserings 
sjDoiled a favorite dish for the king, at which he 
was very angry. 

" But this, dear children," said Drossehneier, 
" is enough for to-ni^ht — the rest at another 

Maria, who had her own thoughts about this 
story, begged Godfather Drosselmeier very hard 
to go on, but she could not prevail upon him. 
He rose, saying, " Too much at once is bad for 
the health — the rest to-morrow." As the Coun- 
sellor was just stepping out of the room, Fred 
called out, " Tell me, Godfather Drosselmeier, is 
it then really true that you invented mouse- 
traps ?" 

" How can you ask such a silly question ?" 
said his mother, but the Counsellor smiled mys- 
teriously, and said in an under tone, " Am I a 
skilful watchmaker, and yet not able to invent a 
mousetrap ?" 



You know now, children, commenced Coun- 
sellor Drosselmeier, on the following even- 
ing, why the queen took such care in guarding 
the beautiful Princess Pirlipat. Was it not to 
be feared that Lady Mouserings would execute 
her threat, that she would come again, and bite 
the little princess to death ? Drosselnieier's ma- 
chines were not the least protection against the 
wise and prudent Lady Mouserings, but the court 
astronomer, who was at the same time private 
star-gazer and fortune-teller to his majesty, de- 
clared it to be his opinion that the family of 
Baron Purr would be able to keep Lady Mouse- 
rings from the cradle. Most of that name were 
secretaries of legation at court, with little to 
do, though always at hand for an embassy to a 
foreign power, but they must now render them- 


selves useful at home. And thus it came that 
each of the waiting-women must hold a son of 
that family upon her lap, and by continual and 
attentive fondling, lighten the severe public du- 
ties which fell to their lot. 

Late one night the two chief nurses who sat 
close "by the cradle, started up out of a deep 
sleep. All around lay in quiet slumber — no 
purring — the stillness of the grave ! even the 
death-watch could be heard ticking ! and what 
was the terror of the two chief waiting-women, 
as they just saw before them a large, dreadful 
mouse, which stood erect upon its hind feet, and 
had laid its ugly head close against the face of 
the princess. With a cry of terror they jumped 
up ; all awoke, but in a moment Lady Mouser- 
ings (for the great mouse by Pirlipat's cradle 
was no one but she) ran as fast as she could to 
the corner of the chamber. The secretaries of 
legation leaped after her, but too late — she had 
disappeared through a hole in the chamber 


floor. Little Pirlipat awoke at the noise and 
wept bitterly. " Thank heaven," cried the 
nurse, " she lives — she lives I" But how great 
was their terror, when they looked at Pirlipat, 
and saw what a change had taken place in the 
sweet beautiful child. Instead of the white and 
red face with golden locks, a large, ill-shaped 
head sat upon her thin shrivelled body, her 
azure blue eyes were changed into green staring 
ones, and her little mouth had stretched itself 
from ear to ear. The queen was brought to 
death's door by grief and sorrow, and it was 
found necessary to hang the king's library with 
thick wadded tapestry, for again and again he 
ran his head against the wall, crying out at 
every time in lamentable tones, a Ah, me, un- 
happy monarch !" He might now have seen 
how much better it would have been to eat his 
sausages without fat, and to leave Lady Mouse- 
rings and her family at peace under the hearth ; 
but Pirlipat's royal father did not think about 


this, lie laid all tlie blame upon the court watch- 
maker and mechanist, Christian Elias Drossel- 
meier of Nuremburg. He therefore wisely 
decreed that Drosselrneier should restore the 
Princess Pirlipat to her former condition within 
four weeks, or at least find out some certain and 
infallible method of effecting this, otherwise he 
should suffer a shameful death under the axe of 
the executioner. 

Drosselrneier was not a little terrified, but 
he had great confidence in his skill and good 
fortune, and began immediately the first opera- 
tion which he thought useful. He took little 
Princess Pirlipat apart with great dexterity, un- 
screwed her little hands and feet, and carefully 
examined her inward structure ; but he found, 
alas, that the princess would grow uglier as she 
grew bigger, and knew not what to do or what 
to advise. He put the princess carefully toge- 
ther again, and sank down by her cradle in de- 
spair, for he was not allowed to leave it. The 


fourth, week had commenced — yes, Thursday 
had come, when the king looked in with flash- 
ing eyes, and shaking his sceptre at him, cried, 
" Christian Elias Drosselmeier, cure the princess, 
or thou must die." Drosselmeier began to weep 
bitterly, but the Princess Pirlipat lay as happy 
as the day, and cracked nuts. Pirlipat's uncom- 
mon appetite for nuts now occurred for the first 
time to the mechanist, and the fact likewise that 
she had come into the world with teeth. 

In truth, immediately after her transforma- 
tion, she had screamed continually until a nut 
accidentally came in her way, which she imme- 
diately put into her mouth, cracked it, ate the 
kernel, and then became quite composed. Since 
that time her nurses found that nothing pleased 
her so well as to be supplied with nuts. " Oh, 
sacred instinct of Nature! eternal, inexplicable 
sympathy of existence !" cried Christian Elias 
Drosselmeier. " Thou pointest me to the gates 
of this mystery. I will knock, and they will 


open." He begged straightway for permission 
to speak with the royal astronomer, and was led 
to his apartment under a strong guard. They 
embraced with many tears, for they had been 
warm friends, then retired into a private cabinet, 
and examined a great many books which treated 
of instinct, of sympathies, and antipathies, and 
other mysterious things. Night came on; the 
astronomer looked at the stars, and with the 
aid of Drosselmeier, who had great skill in such 
matters, set up the horoscope of Princess Pirlipat. 
It was a great deal of trouble, for the lines grew 
all the while more and more intricate ; but at last 
— what joy! — at last it became clear, that the 
Princess Pirlipat, in order to be freed from the 
magic which had deformed her, and to regain 
her beauty, had nothing to do but to eat the 
kernel of the nut Crackatuck. 

Now the nut Crackatuck had such a hard 
shell, that an eight-and-forty pounder might 
be wheeled over it without breaking it. This 


hard nut must be cracked with the teeth before 
the princess, by a man who had never been 
shaved, and had never worn boots. The young 
man must then hand her the kernel with closed 
eyes, and must not open them again until he 
had marched seven steps backward without 
stumbling. Drosselmeier and the astronomer 
had labored together, without cessation, for three 
days and nights, and the king was seated at 
dinner on Sunday afternoon, when the mechanist, 
who was to have been beheaded early Monday 
morning, rushed in with joy and transport, and 
proclaimed that he had found out a method 
of restoring to the Princess Pirlipat her lost 
beauty. The king embraced him with great 
kindness, and promised him a diamond sword, 
four orders of honor, and two new Sunday suits. 
" Immediately after dinner we will go to work," 
he added ; " and see to it, dear mechanist, that 
the unshorn young man in shoes is ready at 
hand with the nut Crackatuck ; and take care 


that lie drinks no wine beforehand, for fear he 
should stumble as he goes the seven steps back- 
ward, like a crab ; afterward he may drink like 
a fish." Drosselmeier was very much discom- 
posed at these words ; and, after much stuttering 
and stammering, said, that the method was dis- 
covered, indeed, but that the nut Crackatuck 
and the young man to crack it were yet to be 
sought after, and that it was quite doubtful 
whether nut or nutcracker would ever be found. 
The king in great anger swung his sceptre 
about his crowned head, and roared with the 
voice of a lion, " Then off goes thy head !" It 
was very fortunate for the unhappy Drosselmeier, 
that the kind's dinner had been cooked better 
than usual this day, so that he was in a pleasant 
humor, and disposed to listen to reason, while 
the good queen, who was moved by the hard fate 
of the mechanist, used her influence to soothe 
him. Drosselmeier then after a while took cour- 
age, and represented to the monarch, that he had 


performed Ms task in discovering the means to 
restore the princess to her beauty, and thus by 
the terms of the royal decree had secured his 
safety. The king said that was all trash, stupid 
stuff and nonsense, but resolved at last, that the 
watchmaker should leave the court instantly, 
accompanied by the royal astronomer, and never 
return without the nut Crackatuck in his pocket. 
By the intercession of the queen, he consented 
that the nutcracker might be summoned by a 
notice in all the home and foreign newspapers 
and journals. 

Here the Counsellor broke off again, and 
promised to narrate the rest on the following 



The next evening as soon as the candles were 
lighted, Godfather Drosselmeier appeared, and 
continued his story as follows: 


Drosselmeier and the astronomer had been 
fifteen years on their journey without seeing 
the least signs of the nut Crackatuck. It 
would take me a month, children, to tell where 
they went, and what strange things happened 
to them. I must pass them over, and com- 
mence where Drosselmeier sank at last into 
despondency, and felt a great desire to see his 
dear native city, Nuremburg. This desire came 
upon him all at once, as he was smoking a 
pipe of tobacco with his friend in the middle 
of a great wood in Asia. " Oh, SAveet city," 
he cried, "sweet native city, sweet Nuremberg! 
He who has never seen thee, though he may 
have travelled to London, Paris, Rome, if his 
heart is not dead to emotion, must continually 
desire to visit thee — thee, oh Nuremberg, sweet 
city, where there are so many beautiful houses 
with windows!" As Drosselmeier grieved in 
such a sorrowful manner, the astronomer was 
moved with sympathy, and began to cry and 


howl so pitifully that it was heard far and wide 
through. Asia. He soon composed himself again, 
wiped the tears out of his eyes, and said : " But 
why, my respected colleague, why sit here and 
howl \ Why should we not go to Nuremberg ? 
Is it not all the same, wherever we seek after 
this miserable nut, Crackatuck V 

" That is true," replied Drosselmeier, greatly 
consoled. Both arose, knocked out their pipes, 
and went straightforward out of the wood in the 
middle of Asia, right to Nuremburg. They had 
scarcely arrived there, when Drosselmeier ran to 
his brother, Christopher Zacharias Drosselmeier, 
puppet-maker, varnisher, and gilder, whom he 
had not seen for these many years. The watch- 
maker told him the whole story of the Princess 
Pirlipat, Lady Mouserings, and the nut Crack- 
atuck, so that he struck his hands together, over 
and over again with astonishment, and exclaimed : 

O 7 

" Ei, ei, brother, brother, what strange things are 
these!" Drosselmeier then related the history 


of his travels : how he had passed two years with 
King Date, how coldly he had been received by 
Prince Almond, and how he had sought infor- 
mation to no purpose of the Natural Society in 
Squirrelberg — in short, how his search every- 
where had been in vain to find even the least 
signs of the nut Crackatuck. 

During this account, Christopher Zacharias 
had often snapped his fingers, turned about on 
one foot, winked, laughed, clucked with his 
tongue, and then called out: "Hi — hem — ei — 
oh !— if it should !— " At last, he tossed his hat 
and wig up in the air, clasped his brother round 
the neck, and cried : " Brother, brother, you are 
safe ! — safe, I say ; for I must be wonderfully 
mistaken if I have not that nut Crackatuck at 
this very moment in my possession I" He then 
drew a little box from his pocket, and took out 
of it a gilded nut of moderate size. " See," he 
said, " this nut fell into my hands in this way. 
Many years ago, a stranger came here at Christ- 


mas time with, a sack full of nuts, which, he 
offered for sale cheap. Just as he passed my 
shop, he got into a quarrel with a nut-seller 
of this city, who did not like to see a stranger 
come hither to undersell him, and for this reason 
attacked him. The man put down his sack 
upon the ground, the better to defend himself, 
and at the same moment, a heavily-laden wagon 
passed directly over it ; all the nuts were cracked 
in pieces except this one, which the stranger, 
with a singular smile, offered me, for a bright 
dollar of the year 1720. I thought that strange, 
but as I found in my pocket just such a dollar 
as the man wanted, I bought the nut, and gilded 
it over, without exactly knowing why I bought 
the nut so dear, or why I set so much store by it. 
All doubt, whether this nut was actually the 
long-sought nut, Crackatuck, was instantly re- 
moved, when the astronomer was called, who 
carefully scraped off the gold, and found upon 
the rind the word Crackatuck, engraved in Chi- 


nese characters. The joy of the travellers was 
beyond bounds, and the brother the happiest 
man under the sun, for Drosselmeier assured 
him that his fortune was made, since he would 
have a considerable pension for the rest of his 
clays, and then there was the gold which had 
been scraped off — he might keep that for gild- 
ing. The mechanist and the astronomer had 
both put on their night-caps, and were getting 
into bed as the latter commenced: "My wor- 
thy colleague, good ^fortune never comes sin- 
gle. Take my word for it, we have found, not 
only the nut Crackatuck, but also the young man 
who is to crack it, and hand the kernel to the 
princess. I mean nobody else than your bro- 
ther's son. I cannot sleep ; no, this very night 
I must cast the youth's horoscope." "With these 
words, he threw the night-cap off his head, and 
began straightway to take an observation. 

The brother's son was in truth a handsome, 
well grown young man, who had never been 


shaved, and who had never worn boots. In his 
early youth he had on Christmas nights gone 
around as a Merry Andrew, but this could not 
be seen in his behavior in the least, so well 
had his manners been formed by his fathers 
care. On Christmas days he wore a handsome 
red coat trimmed with gold, a sword, a hat 
under his arm, and a curling wig. In this fine 
dress he would stand in his father's shop, and 
out of gallantry crack nuts for the young girls, 
for which reason he was called the handsome 

On the following morning the astronomer 
was in raptures: he fell upon the mechanist's 
neck, and cried, "It is he — we have him — he 
is found! But there are two things, worthy 
colleague, which we must see to. In the first 
place, we must braid for your excellent nephew 
a stout wooden queue, which shall be joined in 
such a way to his lower jaw, that it can move it 
with great force. In the next place, when we 


arrive at the king's palace, we must let no one 
know that we have brought the voung man 

with us who is to crack the nut Crackatuck. It 
is best that he should not be found for a long 
time. I read in his horoscope, that after many 
young men have broken their teeth to no pur- 
pose, the king will promise to him who cracks 
the nut, and restores to the princess her lost 
beauty, the princess herself, and the succession 
to the throne as a reward." 

His brother, the puppet-maker, was highly 
delighted to think that his son might marry the 
Princess Pirlipat, and become a prince and king, 
and he gave him up entirely into the hands of 
the two travellers. The queue which Drossel- 
meier fastened upon his young and hopeful ne- 
phew, answered admirably, so that he made a 
series of the most successful experiments, even 
upon the hardest peach-stones. As Drossel- 
meier and the astronomer had sent immediate 
information to the palace, of the discovery of the 


nut Crackatuck, suitable notices liad been pub- 
lished, and when the travellers arrived, many 
handsome young men, and among them some 
handsome princes, had appeared, who trusting 
to their sound teeth, were ready to undertake 
the disenchantment of the princess. The travel- 
lers were not a little terrified when they beheld 
the princess again. Her little body, with its 
tiny hands and feet, was hardly able to carry 
her great misshapen head, and the ugliness of 
her face was increased by a white cotton beard, 
which had spread itself around her mouth, and 
over her chin. All happened as the astrono- 
mer had read in the horoscope. One youth in 
shoes after another, bit upon the nut Crackatuck 
until his teeth and jaws were sore, and as he 
was led away, half swooning, by the physician 
in attendance, sighed out, "That was a hard 

When the king, in the anguish of his heart, 
had promised his daughter and his kingdom to 


him who should effect the disenchantment, the 
handsome young Drosselmeier stepped forward, 
and begged for j)ermission to begin the experi- 
ment. And no one had pleased the fancy of 
Princess Pirlipat as well as young Drosselmeier ; 
she laid her little hand upon her heart, and 
sighed deeply, "Ah, if this might be the one 
who is to crack the nut Crackatuck, and become 
my husband !" After young Drosselmeier had 
gracefully saluted the king and queen, and then 
the Princess Pirlipat, he received the nut Crack- 
atuck from the hands of the master of ceremo- 
nies, put it without hesitation between his teeth, 
pulled his queue very hard, and crack — crack — 
the shell broke into many pieces. He then 
nicely removed the little threads and broken 
bits of shell that hung to the kernel, and reach- 
ed it with a low bow to the princess, after which 
he shut his eyes, and began to walk backwards. 
The princess straightway swallowed the kernel, 
and behold ! her ugly shape was gone, and in 



its place appeared a most beautiful figure, with 
a face of roses and lilies, delicate white and red, 
eyes of living, sparkling azure, and locks curling 
in bright golden ringlets. 

Drums and trumpets mingled their sounds 
with the loud rejoicings of the people. The 
king and his whole court danced, as at Pirlipat's 
birth, upon one leg ; and the queen had to be 
carefully tended with Cologne water, because 
she had fallen into a swoon from delight and 
rapture. Young Drosselmeier, who had still his 
seven steps to perform, was a good deal discom- 
posed by the tumult, but he kept firm, and 
was just stretching back his right foot for the 
seventh step, when Lady Mouserings rose squeak- 
ing and squealing out of the floor ; down came 
his foot upon her head, and he stumbled, so that 
he hardly kept himself from falling. Alas ! what 
a hard fate! As quick as thought, the youth 
was changed to the former figure of the princess. 
His body became shrivelled up, and was hardly 


able to support his great misshapen head, his 
eyes turned green and staring, and his mouth 
was stretched from ear to ear. Instead of his 
queue, a narrow wooden cloak hung down upon 
his back, with which he moved his lower jaw. 

The watchmaker and astronomer were be- 
numbed with terror and affright, while Lady 
Mouserings rolled bleeding and kicking upon 
the floor. Her malice did not go unpunished, 
for young Drosselmeier had trodden upon her 
neck so heavily with the sharp heel of his shoe 
that she could not survive. When Lady Mouse- 
rings lay in her last agonies, she squeaked and 
whimpered in a piteous tone : " Oh, Crackatuck ! 
hard nut — hi, hi ! — of thee I now must die ! — 
que, que — son with seven crowns will bite — 
Nutcracker — at night — hi, hi — que, que — and 
revenue his mother's death — short breath — must 
I — hi, hi — die, die — so young — que, que — oh, 
agony! — queek!" With this cry, Lady Mouse- 
rings died, and the royal oven-heater carried out 


her body. As for yonng Drosselmeier, no one 
troubled himself any farther about him, but the 
princess put the king in mind of his promise, and 
he commanded that they should bring the young 
hero before him. But when the unfortunate 
youth approached, the princess held both hands 
before her face, and cried, "Away, away with 
the ugly Nutcracker !" The court marshal im- 
mediately took him by the shoulders, and pushed 
him out of doors. The king was full of anger, 
because they had wished to give him a Nut- 
cracker for a son-in-law, and he put all the 
blame upon the mechanist and astronomer, and 
banished them forever from the kingdom. This 
did not stand in the horoscope which the as- 
tronomer had set up at Nuremberg, but he 
did not allow himself to be discouraged. He 
straightway took another observation, and de- 
clared that he could read in the stars, that 
young Drosselmeier would conduct himself so 
well in his new station, that in spite of his 


deformity, he would yet become a prince and a 
king ; and that his former beauty would return, 
as soon as the son of Lady Mouserings, who had 
been born with seven heads, after the death 
of her seven sons, had fallen by his hand, and a 
maiden had loved him, notwithstanding his ugly 
shape. And they say that young Drosselmeier 
has actually been seen about Christmas time in 
his father's shop at Nuremberg, as a Nutcracker, 
it is true, but, at the same time, as a prince. 

This, children, is the story of the Hard Nut ; 
and you know now why people say so often, 
" That was a hard nut !" and whence it comes 
that Nutcrackers are so ugly. 

The Counsellor thus concluded his narration. 
Maria thought that the Princess Pirlipat was an 
ill-natured, ungrateful thing ; and Fred declared, 
that if Nutcracker were any thing of a man, he 
would not be lon^ in settling matters with the 
Mouse-King, and would get his old shape again 
very soon. 



If any one of my good readers has ever had 
the misfortune to cut himself with glass, he 
knows how it hurts, and how long a time it 
takes to heal. Whenever Maria tried to get 
uj3, she felt very dizzy, and so it continued for a 
whole week, during which time she was obliged 
to remain in bed ; but at last she became entirely 
well, and could play about the chamber as 
merrily as ever. Every thing in the glass case 
looked prettily, for the trees, flowers, and houses, 
and beautiful puppets, stood there as new and 
bright as ever. But, best of all, Maria found her 
dear Nutcracker again. He stood on the second 
shelf, and smiled upon her with a good, sound 
set of teeth. In the midst of all the pleasure 
which she felt in gazing at her favorite, a pang 
went through her heart, when she thought that 


Godfather Drosselmeier's story had been nothing 
else but the history of the Nutcracker, and 
of his quarrel with Lady Mouserings and her 
son. She knew well enough that her Nutcracker 
could be none other than the young Drosselmeier 
of Nuremberg — Godfather Drosselmeier's agree- 
able, but now, alas ! enchanted, nephew. For, 
that the skilful watchmaker at the court of Pir- 
lipat's father was the Counsellor Drosselmeier 
himself, she did not doubt for an instant, even 
while he was telling the story. 

"But why was it that your uncle did not 
help you? — why did he not help you?" com- 
plained Maria, as it became clearer and clearer 
to her mind, that in that battle which she saw, 
Nutcracker's crown and kingdom were at stake. 
u Were not all the other puppets subject to him, 
and is it not plain that the prophecy of the 
astronomer has been fulfilled, and that young 
Drosselmeier is prince and khig of the puppets ?" 
While the shrewd Maria explained and arranged 


all this so well in her mind, she believed, since 
she had seen Nutcracker and his vassals in life 
and motion, that they actually did live and 
move. But that was not so ; every thing in the 
glass case remained stiff and lifeless ; yet Maria, 
far from giving up her conviction, cast all the 
blame upon the magic of Lady Mouserings and 
her seven-headed son. " But, if you are not able 
to move, or to talk to me, dear Master Drossel- 
meier," she said aloud to the Nutcracker, " yet 
I know well enough that vou understand me, 
and know what a good friend I am to you. 
You may depend upon my help, and I will beg 
of your uncle to bring his skill to your assistance, 
whenever you have need of it." Nutcracker 
remained still and motionless, but it seemed to 
Maria as if a gentle sigh was breathed in the 
glass case, so that the panes trembled, scarce 
audibly indeed, but with a strange, sweet tone ; 
and a voice rang out, like a little bell : " Maria 
mine — I'll be thine — and thou mine — Maria 


mine !" Maria felt, in the cold shuddering: that 
crept over her, a singular pleasure. 

Twilight had come on ; the doctor, with 
Godfather Drosselmeier, entered the sitting- 
room; and it was not long before Louise had 
arranged the tea-table, and all sat around, talking 
cheerfully of various things. Maria had very 
quietly taken her little arm-chair, and seated 
herself close at Godfather Drosselmeier's feet. 
During a moment when they were all silent, she 
looked up with her large blue eyes in the 
Counsellor's face, and said : " I know, dear God- 
father Drosselmeier, that my Nutcracker is your 
nephew, the young Drosselmeier, of Nuremberg, 
and he has become a prince, or king rather, 
as your companion, the astronomer, foretold. 
All has turned out exactly so. You know 
now that he is at war with the son of Lady 
Mouserings — with the hateful Mouse-King. Why 
do you not help him?" Maria then related the 
whole course of the battle, just as she had seen 


it, and was often interrupted by the loud laugh- 
ter of her mother and Louise. Fred and Dros- 
selnieier only remained serious. " Where does 
the child get all this strange stuff in her head V 
said the doctor. 

" She has a lively imagination," replied the 
mother ; " in fact, they are nothing but dreams 
caused by her violent fever. 1 ' 

" That story is not true," said Fred. " My 
red hussars are not such cowards as that. If I 
thought so — swords and daggers ! — I would 
make a stir among them !" 

But Godfather Drosselmeier, with a strange 
smile, took little Maria upon his lap, and said in 
a softer tone than he was ever heard to speak in 
before: "Ah, dear Maria, more power is given 
to thee than to me, or to the rest of us. Thou, 
like Pirlipat, art a princess born, for thou dost 
reign in a bright and beautiful kingdom. But 
thou hast much to suffer, if thou wouldst take 
the part of the poor misshapen Nutcracker, for 


the Mouse-King watches for Mm at every hole 
and corner. I cannot, thou — thou alone canst 
rescue him ; be firm and true." Neither Maria 
nor any one else knew what Drosselmeier meant 
by these words ; and they appeared so singular 
to Doctor Stahlbaum, that he felt the Counsel- 
lor's pulse, and said : " Worthy friend, you have 
some violent congestion about the head ; I will 
prescribe something for you." But the mother 
shook her head thoughtfully, and spoke: "I 
feel what it is that the Counsellor means, but I 
cannot express it in words." 


Not Ions: after, Maria was awaked one moon- 
light night by a strange rattling, that seemed 
to come out of a corner of the chamber. It 
sounded as if little stones were thrown and rolled 
about; and every now and then there was a 


terrible squeaking and squealing. "All ! the 
mice — the mice are coming as^am !" exclaimed 
Maria, in affright ; and she was about to wake 
her mother, but her voice failed her, and she 
could stir neither hand nor foot, for she saw the 
Mouse-King work his way out of a hole in the 
wall, then run, with sparkling eyes and crowns, 
around and around the chamber, when, at last, 
with a desperate leap, he sprang upon the little 
table that stood close by her bed. " Hi — hi — 
hi — must give me thy sugar-plums — thy ginger- 
bread — little thing — or I will bite thy Nut- 
cracker — thy Nutcracker !" So squeaked the 
Mouse-King, and snapped and grated hideously 
with his teeth, then sprang down again, and 
away through the hole in the wall. Maria was 
so distressed by this occurrence that she looked 
very pale in the morning, and was scarcely able 
to say a word. A hundred times she was going 
to inform her mother or Louise of what had 
happened, or at least to tell Fred, but she 


tliouglit : " No one will believe me, and I shall 
only be laughed at." This, at least, was very 
clear, that if she wished to save little Nutcracker, 
she must give up her sugar-plums and her ginger- 
bread. So, in the evening, she laid all that she 
had — and she had a great deal — down before 
the foot of the glass case. 

The next morning:, her mother said : " It 
is strange what brings the mice all at once 
into the sitting-room. See, poor Maria, they 
have eaten up all your gingerbread." And so it 
was. The ravenous Mouse-King had not found 
the sugar-plums exactly to his taste, but he had 
gnawed them with his sharp teeth, so that they 
had to be thrown away. Maria did not grieve 
about her cake and sugar-plums, for she was 
greatly delighted to think that she had saved 
little Nutcracker. But what was her terror, 
when the very next night she heard a squeaking 
and squealing close to her ear ! Ah, the Mouse- 
King was there again, and his eyes sparkled 


more dreadfully, and he whistled and squeaked 
much louder than before: "Must give me thy 
sugar-puppets — chocolate figures — little thing — 
or I will bite thy Nutcracker — thy Nutcracker !" 
and with this, the terrible Mouse-King sprang 
down, and ran away again. Maria was very 
sad; she went the next morning to the glass 
case, and gazed with the most sorrowful looks at 
her sugar and chocolate figures, And her grief 
was reasonable, for thou canst not imagine, my 
attentive reader, what beautiful figures of su^ar 
and chocolate little Maria Stahlbaum possessed. 
A pretty shepherd and shepherdess watched a 
whole flock of milk-white lambs, while a little 
dog frisked about them ; next came two letter- 
carriers, with letters in their hands ; and then four 
neat pairs of nicely-dressed boys and girls, with 
gay ribbons, rocked at see-saw upon as many 
boards, white and smooth as marble. Behind 
some dancers, stood Farmer Caraway and the 
Maid of Orleans — these Maria did not care so 


much about; but close in a corner stood her 
darling, a little red-cheeked baby, and now the 
tears came into her eyes. "Ah, clear Master 
Drosselmeier," she said, turning to Nutcracker, 
"there is nothing that I will not do to save 
you, but this is very hard !" Nutcracker looked 
all the while so sorrowfully, that Maria, who 
felt as if she saw the Mouse-King open his 
seven mouths, to devour the unhappy youth, 
resolved to sacrifice them all. So at evening, 
she placed all her sugar figures down at the foot 
of the glass case, just as she had clone before 
with her sugar-plums and cake. She kissed the 
shepherd, and the shepherdess, and the lambs, 
and at last took her darling, the little red- 
cheeked baby out of the corner, and placed it 
down behind all the rest ; Farmer Caraway and 
the Maid of Orleans must stand in the first 

"Well, that is too bad!" said her mother, 
the next morning. "A mouse must have got 


into the glass case, for all poor Maria's sugar 
figures are gnawed and bitten in pieces." Maria 
could not keep from shedding tears, but she soon 
smiled again, and said to herself: a That is 
nothing, if Nutcracker is only saved." In the 
evening, her mother told the Counsellor of the 
mischief which, the mouse had been doing in the 
glass case, and said : " It is provoking that we 
cannot destroy this fellow that makes such havoc 
with Maria's sugar toys." 

" Ha ! " cried Fred, merrily, " the baker 
opposite has a fine, gray secretary of legation ; 
suppose I bring him over ? He will soon make 
an end of the thing ; he will have the mouse's 
head off, very quickly, even if it be Lady Mouse- 
rings herself, or her son, the Mouse-King." 

"And jump about the tables and chairs," 
said his mother, laughing, "and throw down 
cups and saucers, and do all kinds of mischief." 

"Ah, no indeed," said Fred; "the baker's 
secretary of legation is a light, careful fellow. 


I wish I could walk on the roof of a house as 
well as he !" 

"Let us have no cats in the night," said 
Louise, who could not bear them. 

"Fred's plan is the best," said the- doctor, 
but we will try a trap first. Have we got one V 

"Godfather Drosselmeier can make them 
best," said Fred, " for he invented them." 

All laughed ; and, when the mother said that 
there was no mouse-trap in the house, the Coun- 
sellor assured her that he had a number in his 
possession, and immediately sent for one. In a 
short time it was brought, and a very excellent 
mouse-trap it seemed to be. The story of the 
Hard Nut now came vividly to the minds of the 
children. As the cook toasted the fat, Maria 
shook and trembled. Her head was full of the 
story and its wonders, and she said to her 
old friend Dora: "Ah, great Queen, take care 
of Lady Mouserings and her family!" But 
Fred had drawn his sword, and cried: "Let 


them come on ! — let them come on ! I "will 
scatter them !" But all remained still and quiet 
under the hearth. As the Counsellor tied the 
fat to a fine piece of thread, and set the trap 
softly, softly down by the glass case, Fred cried 
out : " Take care, Godfather Mechanist, or Mouse- 
King will play you a trick !" 

Ah, but what a night did Maria pass ! Some- 
thing cold as ice tapped here and there against 
her arm; and crept, rough and hideous, upon 
her cheek, and squeaked and squealed in her 
ear. The hateful Mouse-King sat upon her 
shoulder. He opened his seven blood-red mouths, 
and, grating and snapping his teeth, he squeaked 
and hissed in her ear: "Wise mouse — wise 
mouse — goes not into the house — goes not to 
the feast — likes sugar things best — craft set at 
naught — will not be caught — give, give all — 
new frock — picture books — all the best— or shall 
have no rest. — I will tear and bite — Nutcracker 
at night — hi, hi — que, que!" Maria was full 


of sorrow and anxiety. She looked very pale 
and disturbed on the following morning, when 
Fred told her that the mouse had not been 
caught, so that her mother thought that she 
was grieving for her sugar things, or perhaps 
was afraid of the mouse. " Do not grieve, dear 
child," she said ; "we will soon get rid of him. 
If the trap does not answer, Fred shall bring his 
gray secretary of legation." 

As soon as Maria was alone in the sitting- 
room, she stepped to the glass case, and said, 
sobbing, to Nutcracker: "Ah, my dear, good 
Mr. Drosselmeier, what can I — poor, unhappy 
maiden — do? for, if I should give up all my 
picture-books, and even my new, beautiful frock, 
to the hateful mouse, he will ask more and 
more. And, when I have nothing left to give 
him, he will at last want me, instead of you, to 
bite in pieces." As little Maria grieved and 
sorrowed in this way, she observed a large spot 
of blood on Nutcracker's neck, which had been 


there ever since the battle. Now, after Maria 
had known that her Nutcracker was young 
Drosselmeier, the Counsellor's nephew, she did 
not carry him any more in her arms, nor hug 
and kiss him, as she used to do; indeed, she 
would very seldom move or touch him; but 
when she saw the spot of blood, she took him 
carefully from the shelf, and commenced rubbing 
it with her pocket-handkerchief. But what was 
her astonishment, when she felt that he suddenly 
grew warm in her hand, and began to move! 
She put him quickly back upon the shelf again, 
when — behold ! — his little mouth began to work 
and twist, and move up and down, and at last, 
with a great deal of labor, he lisped out : "Ah, 
dearest, best Miss Stahlbaum — excellent friend, 
how shall I thank you? No ! no picture-books, 
no Christmas frock ! — Get me a sword — a sword. 
For the rest, I — " Here speech left him, and 
his eyes, which had begun to express the deepest 
sympathy, became staring and motionless. 


Maria did not feel the least terror ; on the 
contrary, she leaped for joy, for she had now 
found a way to rescue Nutcracker without any 
more painful sacrifices. But where should she 
obtain a sword for him ? Maria at last resolved 
to ask advice of Fred ; and in the evening, when 
their parents had gone out, and they sat alone 
together in the chamber by the glass case, she told 
him all that had happened to Nutcracker and 
Mouse-Kino:, and then becwd him to furnish the 
little fellow with a sword. Upon no part of this 
narration did Fred reflect so long and so earnestly 
as upon the poor account which she gave him of 
the bravery of his hussars. He asked once more 
very seriously, if it were so. Maria assured him 
of it upon her word, when Fred ran quickly to 
the glass case, addressed his hussars in a very 
moving speech, and then, as a punishment for 
their cowardice, cut their military badges from 
their caps, and forbade them for a year to play 
the Hussar's Grand March. After this, he turned 


again to Maria, and said : "As to a sword, I can 
easily supply the little fellow witli one. I yester- 
day permitted an old colonel of the cuirassiers 
to retire upon a pension, and consequently he has 
no farther use for his fine sharp sabre." The 
aforesaid colonel was living on the pension which 
Fred had allowed him, in the farthest corner 
of the third shelf. He was brought out, his fine 
silver sabre taken from him, and buckled about 

Maria could scarcely get to sleep that night, 
she was so anxious and fearful. About midnight, 
it seemed to her as if she heard a strange 
rustling, and rattling, and slashing, in the sitting- 
room. All at once, it went " Queek !" " The 
Mouse-King! — the Mouse-King!" cried Maria, 
and sprang in her fright out of bed. All 
was still; but presently she heard a gentle 
knocking at the door, and a soft voice was 
heard: "Worthiest, best, kindest Miss Stahl- 
baum, open the door without fear—good tidings !" 


Maria knew the voice of the young Drosselmeier, 
so she threw her frock about her, and opened 
the door. Little Nutcracker stood without, 
with a bloody sword in his right hand, and 
a wax taper in his left. As soon as he saw 
Maria, he bent down on one knee, and said: 
" You, oh lady — you alone it was, that filled me 
with knightly courage, and gave this arm strength 
to contend with the presumptuous foe who dared 
to disturb your slumber. The treacherous Mouse- 
King is overcome ; he lies bathed in his blood. 
Scorn not to receive the tokens of victory from 
a knight who will remain devoted to your 
service until death." With these words, Nut- 
cracker took off the seven crowns of the Mouse- 
King, which he had hung upon his left arm, and 
reached them to Maria, who received them with 
great joy. Nutcracker then arose, and said: 
" Best, kindest Miss Stahlbaum, you know not 
what beautiful things I could show you at this 
moment while my enemy lies vanquished, if you 



would have the condescension to follow me for a 
few steps. Oh, will you not be so kind ? will you 
not be so good, best, kindest Miss Stahlbauni V 


I believe that none of you, children, would 
have hesitated for an instant to follow the good, 
honest Nutcracker, who could never have medi- 
tated any evil. Maria consented to follow him, 
so much the more readily, because she knew 
what claims she had upon his gratitude, and 
because she was convinced that he would keep 
his word, and show her many beautiful things. 
" I will go with you, Master Drosselmeier," she 
said ; " but it must not be far, and it must not be 
long, for as yet I have hardly had any sleep." 

"I will choose, then," replied Nutcracker, 
the nearest, though a more difficult way." He 
went onward, and Maria followed him, until he 


stopped before a large, antique wardrobe, which 
stood in the hall. Maria perceived, to her 
astonishment, that the doors of this wardrobe, 
which were always kept locked, now stood wide 
open, so that she could see her father's fox- 
furred travelling coat, which huns; in front. 
Nutcracker clambered very nimbly up by the 
carved figures and ornaments, until he could 
grasp the large tassel which hung down the 
back of the coat, and was fastened to it by a 
thick cord. As soon as Nutcracker pulled upon 
the tassel, a neat little stairs of cedar-wood 
stretched down from the sleeve of the travelling;- 
coat to the floor. "Ascend, if you please, dearest 
Miss," cried Nutcracker. Maria did so; but 
scarcely had she gone up the sleeve — scarcely 
had she seen her way out at the collar, when a 
dazzling light broke forth upon her, and all at 
once she stood upon a sweet-smelling meadow, 
surrounded by millions of sparks, which darted 
up like flashing jewels. "We are now upon 


Candy Meadow," said Nutcracker; "but we 
will directly pass through, yonder gate." When 
Maria looked up, she saw the beautiful gate, 
which stood a few steps before them upon the 
meadow. It seemed built of variegated marble, 
of white, brown, and raisin color; but when 
Maria came nearer, she perceived that the whole 
mass consisted of sugar, almonds and raisins, 
kneaded and baked together, for which reason 
the gate, as Nutcracker assured her when they 
passed through it, was called the Almond and 
Raisin f Gate. Upon a gallery built over the 
gate, made apparently of barley-sugar, there 
were six apes, in red jackets, who struck up 
the finest Turkish music which was ever heard, 
so that Maria scarcely observed that they 
were walking onward and onward, over a rich 
mosaic, which was nothing else than a pavement 
of nicely-inlaid lozenges. Very soon the sweetest 
odors streamed around them, which were wafted 
from a wonderful little wood, that opened on 


eacli side before theni. There it shone and 
sparkled so, among the dark leaves, that the 
golden and silvery fruit could plainly be seen 
hanging from their gayly-colored stems, while 
the trunks and branches were ornamented with 
ribbons and nosegays ; and when the orange 
perfume stirred and moved like a soft breeze, 
how it rustled anions the boughs and leaves, 
and the golden fruit rocked and rattled in merry 
music, to which the bright, dancing sparkles 
kept time ! u Ah, how delightful it is here P 
cried Maria, entranced in happiness. 

" We are in Christmas Wood, best miss," 
said Nutcracker. 

" Ah, if I could but linger here a while," 
cried Maria. " Oh, it is too, too charming !" 

Nutcracker clapped his hands, and some 

little shepherds and shepherdesses, and hunters 

and huntresses came near, who were so delicate 

kand white, that they seemed made of pure sugar. 

They brought a dainty little arm-chair, all of 


gold, laid upon it a green cushion of candied 
citron, and invited Maria very politely to sit 
down. She did so, and immediately the shep- 
herds and shepherdesses danced a very pretty 
ballet, while the hunters very obligingly blew 
their horns, and then all disappeared again in 
the bushes. " Pardon, pardon, kindest Miss 
Stahlbaum," said Nutcracker, " the dance was 
miserably performed, but the people all belong 
to our company of wire dancers, and they can 
do nothing but the same, same thing ; they are 
deficient in variety. And the hunters blew so 
dull and lazily — but shall we not walk a little 

" Ah, it was all very pretty, and pleased me 
very much," said Maria, as she rose, and follow- 
ed Nutcracker. 

They now walked along by a soft, rustling 
brook, out of which all the sweet perfumes 
seemed to arise which filled the whole wood. 
" This is the Orange Brook," said Nutcracker, 


" but its fine perfume excepted, it cannot com- 
pare either in size or beauty with Lemonade 
Kiver, which like it empties into Orgeat Lake." 
In fact Maria very soon heard a louder rustling 
and dashing, and then beheld the broad Lemon- 
ade Eiver, which rolled in proud cream-colored 
billows, between banks covered with bright 
green bushes. A refreshing coolness arose out 
of its noble waves. 

Not far off, a dark yellow stream dragged 
itself lazily along, but it gave forth a very sweet 
odor, and a great number of little children sat 
on the shore angling for little fish, which they 
ate up as soon as caught. When Maria came 
nearer she observed that these fish were shaped 
almost like peanuts. At a distance there was a 
very neat little village, on the borders of this 
stream ; houses, churches, parsonages, barns, 
were all dark brown, but many of the roofs 
were gilded, and some of the walls were painted 
so strangely, that it seemed as if little sugar- 


plums and bits of citron were stuck upon them. 
"That is Gingerbreadville," said Nutcracker, 
" which lies on Molasses River. Very pretty- 
people live in it, but they are a little ill-tem- 
pered, because they suffer a good deal from the 
toothache, and so we will not visit it." 

At this moment Maria observed a little town 
in which the houses were clear and transparent, 
and of different colors, which was a very pretty 
si^ht to look at. Nutcracker went straight for- 
ward towards it, and now Maria heard a busy, 
merry clatter, and saw a thousand tiny little 
figures, collected around some heavily laden 
wagons, which had stopped in the market. 
These they unloaded, and what they took out 
looked like sheets of colored paper and choco- 
late cakes. "We are now in Bonbon Town," 
said Nutcracker. " An importation has just ar- 
rived from Paper Land, and from King Choco- 
late. The poor people of Bonbon Town are 
often terribly threatened by the armies of Gene- 


rals Fly and Gnat, for which reason they fortify 
their houses with stout materials from Paper 
Land, and throw up fortifications of the strong 
bulwarks, which King Chocolate sends to them. 
But, worthiest Miss Stahlbaum, we will not visit 
all the little towns and villages of this land. To 
the capital — to the capital I 1 ' 

Nutcracker hastened forward, and Maria fol- 
lowed full of curiosity. It was not long before 
a sweet odor of roses enveloped them, and every 
thing around was touched with a soft rose-color- 
ed tint. Maria soon observed that this was the 
reflection of the red glancing lake, which rustled 
and danced before them, with charming and 
melodious tones in little rosy waves. Beautiful 
silver-white swans with golden collars, swam 
over the lake sinoin^ sweet tunes, while little 
diamond fish dipped up and down in the rosy 
water, as if in the merriest dance. " Ah," ex- 
claimed Maria, ardently, " this is then the lake 
which Godfather Drosselmeier was once going 


to make for me, and I myself am the maiden, 
who is to fondle and caress the dear swans." 
Nutcracker laughed in a scornful manner, 

O 7 

such as Maria had never observed in him before, 
and then said : " Godfather Drosselmeier can 
never make any thing like this. You — you 
yourself, rather, sweetest Miss Stahlbaum — but 
we will not trouble our heads about that. Let 
us sail across the Rose Lake to the capital." 


Nutcracker clapped his little hands together 
again, when the Rose Lake began to dash louder, 
the waves rolled higher, and Maria perceived a 
car of shells, covered with bright, sparkling, 
gay-colored jewels, moving toward them in the 
distance, drawn by two golden-scaled dolphins. 
Twelve of the loveliest little Moors, with caps 
and aprons braided of humming-bird's feathers, 


leaped upon the shore, and carried, first Marin, 
and then Nutcracker, with a soft, gliding step, 
over the waves, and placed them in the car, 
which straightway began to move across the 
lake. Ah, how delightful it was as Maria sailed 
along, with the rosy air and the rosy waves 
breathing and dashing around her ! The two 
golden-scaled dolphins raised up their heads, 
and spouted clear, crystal streams out of their 
nostrils, high, high in the air, which fell down 
again in a thousand quivering, flashing rainbows, 
and it seemed as if two small silver voices sans: 
out: "Who sails upon the rosy lake? The 
little fairy — awake, awake ! Music and song — 
bim-bim, fishes — sim-sim, swans — tweet-tweet, 
birds — whiz- whiz, breezes ! — rustling:, linain^, 
singing, blowing ! — a faiiy o'er the waves is 
going! Rosy billows, murmuring, playing, 
dashing, cooling the air ! — roll along, along." 

But the sin^in^ of the falling fountains did 
not seem to please the twelve little Moors, 


who were seated up behind the car, for they 
shook their parasols so hard that the palm-leaves 
of which they were made rattled and clattered, 
and they stamped with their feet in very strange 
time, and sang, " Klapp and klipp, and klipp and 
klapp, backward and forward, up and down!" 
" Moors are a merry folk," said Nutcracker, 
somewhat disturbed," but they will make the 
whole lake rebellious." And very soon there 
arose a confused din of strange voices, which 
seemed to float in the sea and in the air ; but 
Maria did not heed them, for she was gazing in 
the sweet-scented, rosy waves, out of which the 
face of a charming little maiden smiled up upon 
her. "Ah!" she cried joyfully, and struck 
her hands together. " Look, look, dear Master 
Drosselmeier ! There is the Princess Pirlipat 
down in the water ! Oh, how sweetly she 
smiles upon me !" 

Nutcracker sighed quite sorrowfully, and 
said : " Oh, kindest Miss Stahlbaum, that is not 


the Princess Pirlipat — it is you, you — it is your 
own lovely face that smiles so sweetly out of the 
Rose Lake." Upon this, Maria drew her head 
back very quickly, put her hands before her 
face, and blushed very much. At this moment, 
she was lifted out of the car by the twelve 
Moors, and carried to the shore. They now 
found themselves in a little thicket, which was 
perhaps more beautiful even than the Christmas 
Wood, it was so bright and sparkling. What 
was most wonderful in it were the strange fruits 
that hung upon the trees, which were not only 
curiously colored, but gave out also every kind 
of sweet odor. " We are in Sweetmeat Grove," 
said Nutcracker, " but yonder is the Capital." 

And what a sight! How can I venture, 
children, to describe the beauty and splendor 
of the city which now displayed itself to Maria's 
eyes, upon the broad, flowery meadow before 
them? Not only did the walls and towers 
glitter with the gayest colors, but the style 


of tlie buildings was like nothing else that is to 
be found in the world. Instead of roofs, the 
houses had diadems set upon them, braided and 
twisted in the daintiest manner ; and the towers 
were crowned with variegated trellis-work, and 
hung with festoons the most beautiful that ever 
were seen. As they passed through the gate, 
which looked as if it were built of macaroons 
and candied fruits, silver soldiers presented arms, 
and a little man in a brocade dressing-gown 
threw himself upon Nutcracker's neck, with the 
words : " Welcome, best prince ! welcome to 
Confectionville !" 

Maria was not a little astonished to hear 
young Drosselmeier called a prince by such a 
distinguished man. But she now heard such 
a hubbub of little voices, such a huzzaing and 
laughter, such a singing and playing, that she 
could think of nothing else, and turned to Nut- 
cracker to ask him what it all meant. " Oh, 
worthiest Miss Stahlbaum, it is nothing uncom- 


mon. Confectionville is a populous and merry 
city ; thus it goes here every day. Let us walk 
farther, if you please." 

They had only gone a few steps, when they 
came to the great market-place, which presented 
a wonderful sight. All the houses around were 
of sugared filagree work; gallery was built 
over gallery, and in the middle stood a tall 
obelisk of white and red sugared cream, while 
four curious, sweet fountains played in the air, 
of orgeat, lemonade, mead, and soda-water, and 
in the great basin were soft bruised fruits, mixed 
with sugar and cream, and touched a little 
by the frost. 

But prettier than all this were the charming 
little people, who, by thousands, pushed and 
squeezed, knocked their heads together, huzzaed, 
laughed, jested, and sang — who had raised indeed 
that merry din which Maria had heard at a 
distance. Here were beautifully-dressed men 
and women, Armenians and Greeks, Jews and 


Tyrolese, officers and soldiers, preachers, shep- 
herds, and harlequins — in short, all the people 
that can possibly be found in the world. On 
one corner the tumult increased; the people 
rocked and reeled to clear the way, for just at 
that moment the Grand Mogul was carried by in 
a palanquin, attended by ninety-three grandees 
of the kingdom, and seven hundred slaves. 
Now, on the opposite corner, the fishermen, five 
hundred strong, were marching in procession; 
and it happened, very unfortunately, that the 
Grand Turk took it into his head just then to 
ride over the market-place with three thousand 
Janissaries, besides which a loner train came from 
the Festival of Sacrifices, with sounding music, 
singing : " Up, and thank the mighty sun !" and 
pushed straight on for the obelisk. Then what a 
squeezing, and a pushing, and a rattling, and a 
clattering. By and by, a screaming was heard, 
for a fisherman had knocked off a Brahmin's 
head in the crowd, and the Great Mogul was 


almost run over by a Harlequin. The tumult 
grew wilder and wilder, and they had com- 
menced to beat and strike each other, when the 
man in the brocade dressing-gown, who had 
called Nutcracker a prince at the gate, clam- 
bered up by the obelisk, and having thrice 
pulled a little bell, called out three times: 
"Confiseur! confiseur! confiseur!" 

The tumult was immediately appeased ; each 
one tried to help himself as well as he could ; 
and, after the confused trains and processions 
were set in order, and the dirt upon the Great 
Mogul's clothes was brushed off, and the Brah- 
min's head put on again, the former hubbub 
began anew. " What do they mean by ( Con- 
fiseur,' good Master Drosselmeier V asked Maria. 

"Ah, best Miss Stahlbaum," replied Nut- 
cracker, "by ' Confiseur' is meant an unknown 
but very fearful power, which they believe can 
do with them as he pleases; it is the Fate 
that rules over this merry little people, and 


they fear it so much, that the mere mention 
of the name is able to still the greatest tumult. 
Each one then thinks no longer of any thing 
earthly — of cuffs, and kicks, and broken heads, 
but retires within himself, and says : i What are 
we, and what is our destiny V " 

Maria could not refrain from a loud exclama- 
tion of surprise and wonder, as all at once they 
stood before a castle glimmering with rosy light, 
and crowned with a hundred airy towers. Beau- 
tiful nosegays of violets, narcissuses, tulips, and 
dahlias, were hung about the walls, and their 
dark, glowing colors only heightened the dazzling, 
rose-tinted, white ground upon which they were 
fastened. The large cupola of the centre building 
and the sloping roofs of the towers were spangled 
with a thousand gold and silver stars. "We 
are now in front of Marchpane Castle," said 
Nutcracker. Maria was completely lost in ad- 
miration of this magic palace, yet it did not 
escape her that one of the large towers was 


without a roof, while little men were moving 
around it upon a scaffolding of cinnamon, as 
if busied in repairing it. But before she had 
time to inquire about it, Nutcracker continued : 
" Not long ago, this beautiful castle was threatened 
with serious injury, if not with entire destruction. 
The Giant Sweet-tooth came this way, and bit 
off the roof of yonder tower, and was gnawing 
upon the great cupola, when the people of Con- 
fection ville gave up to him a full quarter of the 
city, and a considerable portion of Sweetmeat 
Grove, as tribute, with which he contented him- 
self, and went his way." 

At this moment soft music was heard, the 
doors of the palace opened, and twelve little 
pages marched out with lighted cloves, which 
they carried in their hands like torches. Each 
of their heads was a pearl; their bodies were 
made of rubies and emeralds ; and they walked 
upon feet cast out of pure gold. Four ladies 
followed them, almost as tall as Maria's Clara, 


but so richly and splendidly dressed, that she 
saw in a moment that they were princesses born. 
They embraced Nutcracker in the tenderest 
manner, and cried with joyful sobs : " Oh, my 
prince, my best prince ! Oh, my brother 1" 

Nutcracker seemed very much moved; he 
wiped the tears out of his eyes ; then took Maria 
by the hand, and said with great emotion: 
"This is Miss Maria Stahlbaum, the daughter 
of a much-respected and very worthy physician, 
and she is the preserver of my life. Had she 
not thrown her shoe at the right time — had she 
not supplied me with the sword of a pensioned 
colonel, I should now be lying in my grave, torn 
and bitten to pieces by the terrible Mouse- 
King. View her — gaze upon her, and tell me, 
if Pirlipat, although a princess by birth, can 
compare with her in beauty, goodness, and 
virtue ? No, I say no I" 

And all the ladies cried out " No !" and 
then fell upon Maria's neck, exclaiming: "Ah, 


clear preserver of the prince, our beloved brother ! 
charming Miss Maria Stahlbaum !" She now ac- 
companied these ladies and Nutcracker into the 
castle, and entered a room, the walls of which 
were of bright, colored crystal. But of all the 
beautiful things which Maria saw here, what 
pleased her most were the nice little chairs, 
sofas, secretaries, and bureaus, with which the 
room was furnished, and which were all made 
of cedar or Brazil-wood, and ornamented with 
golden flowers. The princesses made Maria and 
Nutcracker sit down, and said that they would 
immediately prepare something for them to eat. 
They then brought out a great many little cups 
and saucers, and plates and dishes, all of the 
finest porcelain, and spoons, knives, and forks, 
graters, kettles, pans, and other kitchen furniture, 
all of gold and silver. 

Then they brought the finest fruits and 
sugar-things, such as Maria had never seen before, 
and began in the nicest manner to squeeze the 


fruits with their little snow-white hands, and to 
pound the spice, and grate the sugar-almonds, in 
short, so to turn and handle every thing, that 
Maria could see how well the princesses had 
been brought up, and what a delicious meal they 
were preparing. As she desired very much to 
learn stich things, she could not help wishing to 
herself that she might assist the princesses in 
their labor. The most beautiful of Nutcracker's 
sisters, as if she had guessed Maria's secret 
thoughts, reached her a little golden mortar, 
saying : " Oh, sweet friend, dear preserver of my 
brother, will you not pound a little of this sugar- 
candy V 

While Maria pounded in the mortar, Nut- 
cracker began to give a full account of his 
adventures, of the dreadful battle between his 
army and that of the Mouse-King, and how he 
had lost it by the cowardice of his troops ; how 
the terrible Mouse-King lay in wait to bite him 
in pieces, and how Maria, to preserve him, gave 


up many of his subjects, who had entered her 
service, and all just as it had happened. During 
this narration, it seemed to Maria, as if his 
words became less and less audible, and the 
pounding of her mortar also sounded more and 
more distant, until she could scarcely hear it; 
presently, she saw a silver gauze before her, in 
which the princesses, the pages, Nutcracker, and 
herself, too, were all enveloped. A singular 
humming, and rustling, and singing was heard, 
which seemed to die away in the distance ; and 
now Maria was raised up, as if upon mounting 
waves, higher and higher — higher and higher — 
higher and higher ! 


Pee — puff it went ! Maria fell down from 
an immeasurable height. That was a fall ! But 
she opened her eyes, and there she lay upon her 


little bed ; it was bright clay, and lier mother 
stood by her, saying: "How can you sleep 
so long? breakfast has been ready this great 
while." You now perceive, kind readers and 
listeners, that Maria, completely confused by 
the wonderful things which she had seen, had at 
last fallen asleep in the room at Marchpane 
Castle, and that the Moors, or the pages, or 
perhaps even the princesses themselves must 
have carried her home, and laid her softly in 
bed.. " Oh, mother, dear mother, you cannot 
think where young Master Drosselmeier led 
me last night, and what beautiful things I have 
seen !" And then she began and told the whole, 
almost as accurately as I have related it, while 
her mother listened in astonishment. 

When she had finished, her mother said: 
" You have had a long and very beautiful dream, 
but now drive it all out of your head." Maria 
insisted upon it that she had not dreamed, but 
had actually seen what she had related, when 


her mother led her into the sitting-room, to 
the glass case ; took Nutcracker out, who was 
standing, as usual, irpon the second shelf, and 
said: "Silly child, how can you believe that 
this wooden. Nuremberg puppet can have life or 
motion V 

" But, dear mother," replied Maria, " I know 
little Nutcracker is young Master Drosselmeier, 
of Nuremberg, Godfather Drosselmeier's nephew." 
Then her father and mother both laughed very 
heartily. "Ah, dear father," said Maria, almost 
crying, "you should not laugh so at my Nut- 
cracker ; he has spoken very well of you ; for 
when we entered Marchpane Castle, and he 
presented me to his sisters, the princesses, he 
said that you were a much respected and very 
worthy physician." At this the laughter was 
still louder, and Louise, and even Fred, joined 
in. Maria then ran into the other chamber, 
took the seven crowns of the Mouse-Kino- out 
of her little box, brought them in, and handed 


tliem to her mother, saying: "See here, dear 
mother, here are the seven srowns of the Mouse- 
King, which young Master Drosselmeier gave me 
last night, as a token of his victory." Her mother 
examined the little crowns in great astonish- 
ment; they were made of a strange but very 
shining metal, and were so delicately worked, 
that it seemed impossible that mortal hands 
could have formed them. Her father, likewise, 
could not gaze enough at them, and he insisted 
very seriously that Maria should confess how she 
obtained them. But she could give no other 
account of them, and kept firm to what she had 
said ; and, as her father spoke very harshly to 
her, and even called her a little story-teller, she 
began to cry bitterly, and said: "Oh, what, 
what then shall I say V 

At this moment the door opened. The 
Counsellor entered, and exclaimed: "What's 
this ? what's this F The doctor told him of all 
that had happened, and showed him the little 


crowns. As soon as the Counsellor cast his 
eyes on them, he laughed and cried : " Stupid 
pack — stupid pack ! These are the very crowns 
which I used to wear on my watch-chain, years 
ago, and which I gave to little Maria, on her 
"birthday, when she was two years old. Don't 
you remember them ?" Neither father nor mother 
could remember them ; but when Maria saw 
that her parents had forgotten their anger, she 
ran to Godfather Drosselmeier, and said : "Ah, 
you know all about it, Godfather Drosselmeier. 
Tell them yourself, that my Nutcracker is your 
nephew, young Master Drosselmeier, of Nurem- 
berg, and that it was he who gave me the 
crowns !" 

The Counsellor's face turned very dark and 
grave, and he muttered : " Stupid pack — stupid 
pack !" Upon this, the doctor took little Maria 
upon his knee, and said very seriously : " Listen 
to me, Maria. Once for all, drive your foolish 
dreams and nonsense out of your head. If I 


ever hear you say again, that the silly, ugly 
Nutcracker is the nephew of your Godfather 
Drosselmeier, I will throw him out of the win- 
clow, and all the rest of your puppets, Miss Clara 
not excepted." 

Poor Maria durst not now speak of all these 
wonders, but she thought so much the more. 
Her whole soul was full of them ; for you may 
imagine, that things so fine and beautiful as those 
which she had seen are not easily forgotten. Even 
Fred turned his back upon his sister, whenever 
she spoke of the wonderful kingdom in which 
she had been so happy; and, it is said, that 
he sometimes would mutter between his teeth : 
" Silly goose !" But that I can hardly believe 
of so amiable and good-natured a fellow. This 
is certain, however, he no longer believed a 
word of what Maria had told him. He made a 
formal apology to his hussars, on public parade, 
for the injustice which he had done them; stuck 
in their caps feathers of goose-quill, much finer 


and taller than those of which they had been 
deprived; and permitted them again to blow 
the Hussar's Grand March. Ah, ha ! we know 
best how it stood with their courage, when those 
hateful balls spotted their red coats ! 

Maria was not allowed, then, to speak any 
more of her adventures, but the images of that 
wonderful fairy kingdom played about her in 
sweet, rustling tones. She could bring them all 
back again, whenever she fixed her thoughts 
steadfastly upon them, and hence it came, that, 
instead of playing, as she formerly did, she would 
sit silent and thoughtful, musing within her- 

O 7 O 

self, for which reason the rest would often scold 
her, and call her a little dreamer. Some time 
after this, it happened that the Counsellor was 
busy, repairing a clock in Doctor Stahlbaum's 
house. Maria sat close by the glass case, and, 
lost in her dreams, was gazing at Nutcracker, 
when the words broke from her lips involuntarily : 
"Ah, dear Master Drosselmeier, if you actually 


were living, I would not behave like Princess 
Piriipat, and slight you, because for my sake 
you had ceased to be a handsome young 
man !" 

At this, the Counsellor screamed: "Hey — - 
hey — stupid pack!" Then there was a clap, 
and a knock, so loud, that Maria sank from 
her chair in a swoon. When she came to her- 
self, her mother was busied about her, and 
said : " How came such a great girl to fall from 
her chair? Here is Godfather Drosselmeier's 
nephew, just arrived from Nuremberg ! Come 
■ — behave like a little woman I" 

She looked up ; the Counsellor had put on 
his glass wig again, and his brown coat ; he was 
smiling very pleasantly, and he held by the hand 
a little but very well-shaped young man. His 
face was as white as milk, and as red as blood ; 
he wore a handsome red coat, trimmed with 
gold, and shoes and white silk stockings ; in his 
button-hole was stuck a nosegay ; his hair was 


nicely powdered and curled ; and down his back 
there hnng a magnificent queue. The sword by 
his side seemed to be made of nothing but jewels, 
it flashed and sparkled so brightly, and the 
little hat which he carried under his arm looked 
as if it were overlaid with soft, silken flakes. It 
very soon appeared how polite and well-bred 
the young man was, for he had brought Maria 
a great many handsome playthings — the nicest 
gingerbread, and the same sugar figures which 
the Mouse-King had bitten to pieces ; and for 
Fred he had brought a splendid sabre. At table, 
the little fellow cracked nuts for the whole com- 
pany — the hardest could not resist him; with 
the right hand he put them in his mouth ; with 
the left, he pulled hard upon his queue, and — 
crack — the nut fell in pieces ! Maria had turned 
very red when she first saw the handsome young 
man ; and she became still redder, when, after 
dinner, young Drosselmeier invited her to go 
with him into the sitting-room to the glass case. 


" Play prettily together, children ; I have nothing 
against it, since all my clocks are going," cried 
the Counsellor. 

Scarcely was Maria alone with young Dros- 
sehneier, when he stooped upon one knee, and 
said : " Oh, my very best Miss Stahlbaum, you 
see here at your feet the happy Drosselmeier, 
whose life you saved on this very spot. You 
said most amiably, that you would not slight 
me, like the hateful Princess Pirlipat, if I had 
become ugly for your sake. From that moment, 
I ceased to be a miserable Nutcracker, and 
resumed again my old — and, I hope, not dis- 
agreeable — figure. Oh, excellent Miss Stahl- 
bauni, make me happy with your dear hand; 
share with me crown and kingdom ; rule with 
me in Marchpane Castle, for there I am still 
king !" 

Maria raised the youth, and said softly: 
"Dear Master Drosselmeier, you are a kind, 
good-natured young man; and, since you rule 


in such a charming land, among such pretty, 
merry people, I will be your bride." With 
this, Maria immediately became Drosselmeier's 
betrothed bride. 

After a year and a day, he came, as I have 
heard, and carried her away in a golden chariot, 
drawn by silver horses. There danced at the 
wedding two-and-twenty thousand of the most 
splendid figures, adorned with pearls and dia- 
monds; and Maria, it is said, is at this hour 
queen of a land, where sparkling Christmas 
woods, transparent Marchpane Castles — in short, 
where the most beautiful, the most wonderful 
things can be seen by those who will only have 
eyes for them. 







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