Shrek, a grouchy, mean, selfish green ogre that has always enjoyed living in peaceful solitude in his swamp, finds his life disrupted when numerous fairytale beings, including Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, and Donkey, are forced into the swamp by order of the obsessive, perfectionistic, fairy-tale despising Lord Farquaad.
Shrek leaves the swamp to ask Farquaad for the return of his privacy, with Donkey happily tagging along. Meanwhile, Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man into revealing the whereabouts of the remaining fairytale creatures until his guards rush in with an object Farquaad has been searching for: the Magic Mirror. The Mirror tells him that Farquaad can only become a real king by marrying a princess (completely disregarding his original question regarding if his kingdom was the fairest of them all). The Mirror gives him three princesses to choose from (in a parody of The Dating Game): Cinderella,Snow White, and Princess Fiona. Farquaad chooses Fiona and silences the Mirror before he can mention “the little thing that happens at night” (which is later revealed to be a curse).
Shrek and Donkey arrive at Farquaad’s palace in Duloc, where they find themselves in the midst of a tournament. The winner will have the “privilege” of attempting to rescue Fiona from a castle surrounded by lava and protected by a fire-breathing dragon so that Farquaad may marry her. Shrek (with some help from Donkey) easily beats the other knights in a fashion that resembles a wrestling match and Farquaad agrees to remove the fairytale creatures from the swamp if Shrek rescues Fiona.
Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle and split up to find Fiona. Donkey encounters the dragon and sweet-talks the beast to save himself before discovering that the dragon is female. Dragon takes a liking to Donkey and carries him to her chambers. When Shrek finds Fiona, she is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they are leaving, Shrek manages to save Donkey, caught in Dragon’s tender clutches, and causing her to become irate, chasing Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out of the castle. At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but quickly becomes disappointed when Shrek takes his helmet off and she realises that he is an ogre. The three make their return journey to Farquaad’s palace, with Shrek and Fiona finding they have more in common with each other along the way, and falling in love. However, at night, Fiona refuses to camp with them, taking shelter in a nearby cave until morning. Shrek and Donkey stay awake and watch the stars while Shrek informs Donkey that he plans to build a 10 foot wall around his swamp when he returns. When Donkey persistently asks Shrek why he is doing this, Shrek sadly confesses to him that everyone judges him before they know him; therefore, he feels he is better off alone, despite Donkey’s admittance that he did not immediately judge him when they first met.
The next night, Fiona takes shelter in a nearby windmill. When Donkey hears strange noises coming from the windmill, he finds Fiona has turned into an ogress. Fiona explains she was cursed as a child and turns into an ogress every night, which is why she was locked away in the castle, and that only a kiss from her true love will return her to her “love’s true form”. Shrek, about to confess his feelings for Fiona, overhears part of their conversation, and is heartbroken as he misinterprets her disgust at her transformation into an “ugly beast” as being disgusted with him. Fiona makes Donkey promise not to tell Shrek about the spell, vowing to do it herself, but when the next morning comes, Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to Fiona. The two return to the castle, while a hurt Shrek returns to the now-vacated swamp.
Shrek finds that, despite his privacy, he is miserable and misses Fiona. Donkey comes to the swamp, angry at Shrek, and Shrek reveals that he overheard their conversation. Donkey keeps his promise to Fiona and tells Shrek that she was talking about someone else. He then tells him that Fiona will be getting married shortly, urging Shrek into action to gain Fiona’s true love. They are able to travel to Duloc quickly, thanks to Dragon, who had escaped her confines and followed Donkey. They interrupt the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona, but not before the sun sets, which causes Fiona to turn into an ogress in front of everyone. While her transformation causes Shrek to fully understand what he overheard at the windmill, Farquaad, disgusted over the change, orders Shrek killed and Fiona imprisoned, but Shrek whistles for Dragon, who bursts in and devours Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona admit their love for each other and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken, but is surprised to find that she has remained an ogress, as she “thought [she] was supposed to be[come] beautiful”, to which Shrek replies that she is beautiful. The two of them get married in the swamp and depart on their honeymoon while the rest celebrate by singing “I’am a Believer”.
Dorothy is a young orphaned girl raised by her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in the bleak landscape of a Kansas farm. She has a little black dog Toto, who is her sole source of happiness on the dry, gray prairies. One day the farmhouse, with Dorothy and Toto inside, is caught up in a cyclone and deposited in a field in Munchkins Country, the eastern quadrant of the Land of Oz. The falling house kills the evil ruler of the Munchkins, the Wicked Witch of the East.
The Good Witch of the North comes with the Munchkins to greet Dorothy and gives Dorothy the silver shoes (believed to have magical properties) that the Wicked Witch had been wearing when she was killed. In order to return to Kansas, the Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy that she will have to go to the “Emerald City” or “City of Emeralds” and ask the Wizard of Oz to help her. Before she leaves, the Good Witch of the North kisses her on the forehead, giving her magical protection from trouble.
On her way down the road of yellow bricks, Dorothy frees the Scarrecrow from the pole he is hanging on, restores the movements of the rusted Tin Woodman with an oil can, and encourages them and the Cowardly Lion to journey with her and Toto to the Emerald City. The Scarecrow wants to get a brain, the Tin Woodman a heart, and the Cowardly Lion, courage. All four of the travelers believe that the Wizard can solve their troubles. The party finds many adventures on their journey together, including overcoming obstacles such as narrow pieces of the yellow brick road, vicious Kalidahs, a river, and the Deadly Poppies.
When the travelers arrive at the Emerald City, they are asked to wear green spectacles by the Guardian of the Gates as long as they remain in the city. The four are the first to ever successfully meet with the Wizard. When each traveler meets with the Wizard, he appears each time as someone or something different. To Dorothy, the Wizard is a giant head; the Scarecrow sees a beautiful woman; the Tin Woodman sees a ravenous beast; the Cowardly Lion sees a ball of fire. The Wizard agrees to help each of them—but only if one of them kills the Wicked Witch of the West who rules over the western Winkie Country. The Guardian of the Gates warns them that no one has ever managed to harm the very cunning and cruel Wicked Witch.
As the friends travel across the Winkie Country, the Wicked Witch sends wolves, crows, bees, and then her Winkie soldiers to attack them, but they manage to get past them all. Then, using the power of the Golden Cap, the Witch summons the Winged Monkeys to capture Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and Toto, and to destroy the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman.
Dorothy, after finding and learning how to use the Golden Cap, summons the Winged Monkeys to carry her and her companions back to the Emerald City. and the King of the Winged Monkeys tells how he and the other monkeys were bound by an enchantment to the cap by the sorceress Gayelette.When the Wicked Witch gains one of Dorothy’s silver shoes by trickery, Dorothy in anger grabs a bucket of water and throws it on the Wicked Witch. To her shock, this causes the Witch to melt away, allowing Dorothy to recover the shoe. The Winkies rejoice at being freed of the witch’s tyranny, and they help to reassemble the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman. The Winkies love the Tin Woodman, and they ask him to become their ruler, which he agrees to do after helping Dorothy return to Kansas.
When Dorothy and her friends meet the Wizard of Oz again, he tries to put them off. Toto accidentally tips over a screen in a corner of the throne room, revealing the Wizard to be an ordinary old man who had journeyed to Oz from Omaha long ago in a hot air balloon. The Wizard has been longing to return to his home and be in a circus again ever since.
The Wizard provides the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion with a head full of bran, pins, and needles (“a lot of bran-new brains”), a silk heart stuffed with sawdust, and a potion of “courage”, respectively. Because of their faith in the Wizard’s power, these otherwise useless items provide a focus for their desires. In order to help Dorothy and Toto get home, the Wizard realizes that he will have to take them home with him in a new balloon, which he and Dorothy fashion from green silk. Revealing himself to the people of the Emerald City one last time, the Wizard appoints the Scarecrow, by virtue of his brains, to rule in his stead. Dorothy chases Toto after he runs after a kitten in the crowd, and before she can make it back to the balloon, the ropes break, leaving the Wizard to rise and float away alone.
Dorothy turns to the Winged Monkeys to carry her and Toto home, but they cannot cross the desert surrounding Oz, subsequently wasting her second wish. The Soldier with the Green Whiskers advises that Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, may be able to send Dorothy and Toto home. They, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion journey to Glinda’s palace in the Quadling Country. Together they escape the Fighting Trees, dodge the Hammer-Heads, and tread carefully through the china Country. The Cowardly Lion kills a giant spider, who is terrorizing the animals in a forest, and he agrees to return there to rule them after Dorothy returns to Kansas—the Hungry Tiger, the biggest of the tigers ruling in his stead as before. Dorothy uses her third wish to fly over the Hammer-Heads’ mountain, almost losing Toto in the process.
At Glinda’s palace, the travelers are greeted warmly, and it is revealed by Glinda that Dorothy had the power to go home all along. The Silver Shoes she wears can take her anywhere she wishes to go. She tearfully embraces her friends, all of whom will be returned, through Glinda’s use of the Golden Cap, to their respective kingdoms: the Scarecrow to the Emerald City, the Tin Woodman to the Winkie Country, and the Cowardly Lion to the forest. Then she will give the Golden Cap to the king of the Winged Monkeys, so they will never be under its spell again. Having bid her friends farewell one final time, Dorothy knocks her heels together three times, and wishes to return home. When she opens her eyes, Dorothy and Toto have returned to Kansas to a joyful family reunion.
The tale begins on a Christmas Eve in 1843 exactly seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge is established within the first stave as “a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” who has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity or benevolence. He hates Christmas, calling it “humbug”, refuses his nephew Fred’s dinner invitation, and rudely turns away two gentlemen who seek a donation from him to provide a Christmas dinner for the Poor. His only “Christmas gift” is allowing his overworked, underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit Christmas Day off with pay - which he does only to keep with social custom, Scrooge considering it “a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every twenty-fifth of December!”.
Returning home that evening, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost. Dickens describes the apparition thus - “Marley’s face…had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.” It has a bandage under its chin, tied at the top of its head; “…how much greater was his horror, when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head, as if it were too warm to wear indoors, its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast!”
Marley warns Scrooge to change his ways lest he undergo the same miserable afterlife as himself. Scrooge is then visited by three additional ghosts – each in its turn, and each visit detailed in a separate stave – who accompany him to various scenes with the hope of achieving his transformation.
The first of the spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to Christmas scenes of his boyhood and youth, which stir the old miser’s gentle and tender side by reminding him of a time when he was more innocent. They also show what made Scrooge the miser that he is, and why he dislikes Christmas.
The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to several differing scenes - a joy-filled market of people buying the makings of Christmas dinner, the celebration of Christmas in a miner’s cottage, and a lighthouse. A major part of this stave is taken up with the family feast of Scrooge’s impoverished clerk Bob Cratchit, introducing his youngest son,Tiny Tim , who is seriously ill but cannot receive treatment due to Scrooge’s unwillingness to pay Cratchit a decent wage.
The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to come, harrows Scrooge with dire visions of the future if he does not learn and act upon what he has witnessed - including Tiny Tim’s death. Scrooge’s own neglected and untended grave is revealed, prompting the miser to aver that he will change his ways in hopes of changing these “shadows of what may be.”
In the fifth and final stave, Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning with joy and love in his heart, then spends the day with his nephew’s family after anonymously sending a prize turkey to the Cratchit home for Christmas dinner. Scrooge has become a different man overnight and now treats his fellow men with kindness, generosity and compassion, gaining a reputation as a man who embodies the spirit of Christmas. The story closes with the narrator confirming the validity, completeness and permanence of Scrooge’s transformation.
An evil “troll,” “actually the devil himself” makes a magic mirror that has the power to distort the appearance of things reflected in it. It fails to reflect all the good and beautiful aspects of people and things while it magnifies all the bad and ugly aspects so that they look even worse than they really are. The devil teaches a “devil school,” and the devil and his pupils delight in taking the mirror throughout the world to distort everyone and everything. They enjoy how the mirror makes the loveliest landscapes look like “boiled spinach.” They then want to carry the mirror into heaven with the idea of making fools of the angels and God, but the higher they lift it, the more the mirror grins and shakes with delight. It shakes so much that it slips from their grasp and falls back to earth where it shatters into billions of pieces — some no larger than a grain of sand. These splinters are blown around and get into people’s hearts and eyes, making their hearts frozen like blocks of ice and their eyes like the troll-mirror itself, only seeing the bad and ugly in people and things.
Years later, a little boy, Kay, and a little girl, Gerda, live next door to each other in the garrets of buildings with adjoining roofs in a large city. One could get from Kay’s to Gerda’s home just by stepping over the gutters of each building. The two families grow vegetables and roses in window boxes placed on the gutters. Kay and Gerda have a window-box garden to play in, and they become devoted in love to each other as playmates.
Kay’s grandmother tells the children about the Snow Queen, who is ruler over the snowflakes, that look like bees — that is why they are called “snow bees.” As bees have a queen, so do the snow bees, and she is seen where the snowflakes cluster the most. Looking out of his frosted window, Kay, one winter, sees the Snow Queen, who beckons him to come with her. Kay draws back in fear from the window.
By the following spring, Gerda has learned a song that she sings to Kay: Where the roses deck the flowery vale, there, infant Jesus thee we hail! Because roses adorn the window box garden, Gerda is always reminded of her love for Kay by the sight of roses.
It was on a pleasant summer’s day that splinters of the troll-mirror get into Kay’s heart and eyes while he and Gerda are looking at a picture book in their window-box garden. Kay’s personality changes: he becomes cruel and aggressive. He destroys their window-box garden, he makes fun of his grandmother, and he no longer cares about Gerda, since all of them now appear bad and ugly to him. The only beautiful and perfect things to him now are the tiny snowflakes that he sees through a magnifying glass.
The following winter he goes out with his sled to the market square and hitches it—as was the custom of those playing in the snowy square—to a curious white sleigh carriage, driven by the Snow Queen, who appears as a woman in a white fur-coat. Outside the city she shows herself to Kay and takes him into her sleigh. She kisses him only twice: once to numb him from the cold, and the second time to cause him to forget about Gerda and his family. She does not kiss him a third time as that would kill him. Kay is then taken to the Snow Queen’s palace on Spitsbergen, near the North Pole where he is contented to live due to the splinters of the troll-mirror in his heart and eyes.
The people of the city get the idea that Kay has been drowned in the river nearby, but Gerda, who is heartbroken at Kay’s disappearance, goes out to look for him. She questions everyone and everything about Kay’s whereabouts. Gerda offers her new red shoes to the river in exchange for Kay; by not taking the gift at first, the river seems to let her know that Kay is not drowned. Gerda next visits an old sorceress, who wants Gerda to stay with her forever. She causes Gerda to forget all about her friend and, knowing that the sight of roses will remind Gerda of Kay, the sorceress causes all the roses in her garden to sink beneath the earth. At the home of the old sorceress, a rosebush raised from below the ground by Gerda’s warm tears tells her that Kay is not among the dead, all of whom it could see while it was under the earth. Gerda flees from the old woman’s beautiful garden of eternal summer and meets a crow, who tells her that Kay was in the princess’s palace. She subsequently goes to the palace and meets the princess and her prince, who appears very similar to Kay. Gerda tells them her story and they help by providing warm clothes and a beautiful coach. While traveling in the coach Gerda is captured by robbers and brought to their castle, where she is befriended by a little robber girl, whose pet doves tell her that they had seen Kay when he was carried away by the Snow Queen in the direction of Lapland. The captive reindeer, Bae, tells her that he knows how to get to Lapland since it is his home.
The robber girl, then, frees Gerda and the reindeer to travel north to the Snow Queen’s palace. They make two stops: first at the Lapp woman’s home and then at the Finn woman’s home. The Finn woman tells the reindeer that the secret of Gerda’s unique power to save Kay is in her sweet and innocent child’s heart:
“I can give her no greater power than she has already,” said the woman; “don’t you see how strong that is? How men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how well she has got through the world, barefooted as she is. She cannot receive any power from me greater than she now has, which consists in her own purity and innocence of heart. If she cannot herself obtain access to the Snow Queen, and remove the glass fragments from little Kay, we can do nothing to help her …”
When Gerda gets to the Snow Queen’s palace, she is first halted by the snowflakes which guard it. The only thing that overcomes them is Gerda’s praying the Lord’s Prayer, which causes her breath to take the shape of angels, who resist the snowflakes and allow Gerda to enter the palace. Gerda finds Kay alone and almost immobile on the frozen lake, which the Snow Queen calls the “Mirror of Reason” on which her throne sits. Gerda finds Kay engaged in the task that the Snow Queen gave him: he must use pieces of ice as components of a Chinese puzzle to form characters and words. If he is able to form the word “eternity” (Danish: Evigheden) the Snow Queen will release him from her power and give him a pair of skates. Gerda finds him, runs up to him, and weeps warm tears on him, which melt his heart, burning away the troll-mirror splinter in it. Kay bursts into tears, dislodging the splinter from his eye. Gerda kisses Kay a few times, and he becomes cheerful and healthy again, with sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks: he is saved by the power of Gerda’s love. He and Gerda dance around on the lake of ice so joyously that the splinters of ice Kay has been playing with are caught up into the dance. When the splinters tire of dancing they fall down to spell the very word Kay was trying to spell, “eternity.” Even if the Snow Queen were to return, she would be obliged to free Kay. Kay and Gerda then leave the Snow Queen’s domain with the help of the reindeer, the Finn woman, and the Lapp woman. They meet the robber girl after they have crossed the line of vegetation, and from there they walk back to their home, “the big city.” They find that all is the same at home, but they have changed! They are now grown up, and they are delighted to see that it is summertime. At the end, the grandmother reads a passage from the Bible:
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).