I was made by a goblin who was at the height of his career when he created me.

Everything that looks into me, however beautiful—appears ugly, defected and worthless. Pure genius!

The demon was so amused by me that he started a goblin school. Goblins spirited me up into the sky, as high as they could get, so they could see the whole world reflected in me. They all wanted to see how ugly it could be!

I got a real kick out of making the earth look smaller and smaller, and getting it all in my glass, but then one day, I got too high, and I exploded.

The splinters were no bigger than grains of sand, and they settled into people’s eyes. Now everybody sees the world the way I do. Some of my fragments have even gotten into their hearts, and turned them to ice.

The goblin couldn’t be more pleased.

Goblin’s Mirror in The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen. Illustrations by A.W. Bayes and H.J. Ford.