The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King by E. T. A. Hoffmann - Land of Tales

The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King

E. T. A. Hoffmann

Children's Novels

A wonderful yet terrifying Christmas story that inspired Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker. It is Christmas Eve and the children at the Stahlbaum house, Frederic, Marie and Luise, find a raft of toys, made by godfather Drosselmeier, beneath a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Marie finds a strange looking toy, a nutcracker. When the toy’s jaw breaks, Marie, upset, takes him away and bandages him with a ribbon from her dress. She puts him to bed and tells him that her godfather will fix his jaw as good as new. The same night, strange things start to happen in Marie’s bedroom. The great clock starts whirring louder and louder but cannot strike, and at some point, Marie sees her godfather sitting on top of the clock while mice begin to come out from beneath the floorboards including a mouse with seven heads, the Mouse-King. The toys come alive led by the Nutcracker in a battle against the mice and the Mouse-King! When Marie wakes up the next morning, she finds her arm bandaged and tries to tell her parents about the battle between the mice and the toys, but they do not believe her. Then, her godfather tells her the story of Princess Pirlipat and the Queen of the Mice and the curse, which explains the origin of nutcrackers. A wonderful story that may both terrify and enthral children of all ages with ever-shifting borders between reality, imagination and dreams.

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