from the fairy tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann (1816)
Once upon a time there was a girl. The girl’s name was Marie. Marie had a brother. The brother’s name was Fritz. They lived with their parents in Germany.
On Christmas Eve their uncle came to visit. The uncle gave Fritz small toy soldiers. For Marie he had a nutcracker made of wood. The nutcracker had a funny-looking face. He had big eyes and a big mouth with square teeth. His head was too big. His legs were thin. But Marie loved the nutcracker.
That night – at midnight – Marie woke up. She heard loud noises. She was afraid. The room was full of mice! Fritz’s soldiers were alive! They were fighting the mice with their swords. The nutcracker was alive, too. He fought the mouse king. The mouse king had seven heads!
Marie was afraid. But she was also brave, because she loved the nutcracker. She threw her shoe at the mouse king. He fell dead to the floor. The other mice ran away quickly.
And then, the nutcracker was no longer made of wood! He was a man – a real man! Marie broke the spell with her love and bravery. Then the Nutcracker was once again a man. And he was a prince! Years later, the prince and Marie got married. And Marie became a princess.