Rock Crystal by Adalbert Stifter – A Story for Christmas

“One of the most beautiful of Church festivals comes in midwinter when nights are long and days are short, when the sun slants towards earth obliquely and snow mantles the fields: Christmas.”

This is a wonderful story, pitched perfectly on the line between magic and reality.

On Christmas Eve two young children set out from their home in a village high in the Alps to visit their grandparents in the next valley. As they make their way home again the light begins to fade and the snow begins to fall. How will they find their way?

The story is lovely, and to say any more than that would spoil it. And this is a story that you really want to live through with Conrad and his little sister Sanna.

It unravels in such lovely prose, simple and utterly beautiful, and it paints quite wonderful pictures of the mountains, of the snow and ice.

Rock Crystal is a quiet and moving story, about nature and community, presenting truths that are so simple and so profound.

I am so glad that I saved it to read at Christmas. It was just right.

Translated by Elizabeth Mayer and Marianne Moore


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