The Snow-child  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Snow-child is a widespread European folktale, found in many medieval tellings.

It is Aarne-Thompson type 1362.


A merchant returns home after an absence of two years to find his wife with a newborn son. She explains one snowy day she swallowed a snowflake while thinking about her husband which caused her to conceive. Pretending to believe, he raises the boy with her until he takes the boy on and sells him into slavery. On his return, he explains to his wife that the boy melted in the heat.


The tale appears in medieval fabliaux, and was used in school exercise of rhetoric. It first appears in the 11-century Cambridge Songs. A medieval play about the Virgin Mary has characters disbelieving her story of her pregnancy citing the tale.

It contrast to Aarne-Thompson type 703*, Snow Maiden, where a child really has a magical snow-related origin.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Snow-child" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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