The Ice Maiden
The Ice Maiden is one of Hans Christian Andersen’s longest fairy tales, and also one of his more depressing ones. It stars a young boy named Rudy who was born in the Swiss Alps. His father is dead and his mother journey’s to her father’s house with Rudy nothing but a baby in her arms. On the way she slips and falls into a deep chasm filled with snow. She and the child are buried in it and it is some time before the people they are traveling with can dig them out. By then the mother is dead, though the child miraculously survives.
The child is then taken to his grandfather’s and from there eventually to his uncle’s house where he grows up and becomes strong. He is a talented climber, an excellent mountain guide and a very good hunter. Being a good hunter ends up working to his benefit as it brings him to the notice of the upper class. Little Rudy has grown into a very handsome young man and he has his eyes set on Babette, the miller’s daughter. The miller is less than pleased at Rudy’s attentions and sets an impossible task for him, to climb up to a very dangerous mountain peak and fetch back a baby eaglet alive. Rudy has gotten this far and survived, while climbing and hunting in the dangerous and treacherous Alps, with the staunch belief that if he believes in his success that he will succeed and he takes the attitude to the top of the mountain crag and manages to get the baby eaglet without breaking his neck.