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The Glamour of the Snow

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The Glamour of the snow Algernon Blackwood is a tale to make children understand:

  • The importance of the power of nature.

  • Not to talk to strangers.

An Overview of the Glamour of the Snow Story

The Glamour of the Snow story begins with Hibbert, an English writer on holiday in the Alps, and his ghostly interaction with a woman who resembles and mimics the voice of his mother and the women he loves. This story teaches children not to venture out alone and not to talk to strangers and beware of strange voices and people. 

The Glamour of the Snow Story

Hibbert, a middle-aged English writer, was leaving for a ski lodge in the Swiss Alps, hoping to spend time writing and communing with nature. He was a cheerful loner who relished his rootless existence, dipping his toe into society only long enough to rub shoulders before slipping away and becoming too close to anyone. He had been acutely sensitive to three dimensions his entire life. He felt closest to them here at the base of the Matterhorn: the world of the English tourist, to which he was born, the Swiss villagers, whom his sympathies are drawn to, and the world of those who regard nature as a dangerous existence that must be respected, and nature's savage domain.

He easily blended in with the tourists, was most prevalent with the people in the village, and felt most at home in nature. His central life was hidden here, with the soul of nature.

He felt torn between the British social elite from which he descended, the peasants whose sensitivity to the mystic side of nature he admired, and the domain of nature that called his soul by name. And he knew that nature's spell was stronger on him than all the other spells in the world combined, stronger than love, revelry, pleasure, and even study. He had always been afraid of letting go. Even as he worshipped her, his pagan soul feared her incredible witchery powers.

Hibbert mingled with the tourists but always stayed on the outskirts of the crowd, and when things quieted down, when the Englishmen gathered around their fires and warm drinks, he slinked away to continue exploring the ice-caked slopes on his own. One night, he stumbled to the skating rink and gilded silently across its surface.

Suddenly, in the icy darkness, he noticed a figure on skates sliding back and forth across the ice from him. It appeared to be a woman dressed in grey, her face hidden behind furs and scarves, her bare hands glistening coldly in the light. He greeted her, and she replied in a strange, accented English that remained cold.

She motioned him to follow her through some gap in the safety netting to the thin ice on the other side, and he grabbed her hand and joined her, enthralled by her daring spirit and light skating. He was struck by how cold and dry it felt, but he could tell she was young and fit. They said little and skated around in the moonlight, after which, with a parting wave, she glided to the pond's edge and appeared to vanish.

He had no idea how she vanished so quickly, but he was captivated by her company. He had the impression that he recognized her from somewhere else and that she knew him. He returned to bed, absorbed by thoughts of ice, stars, and snow.

In the morning, he realised that skating alone with the strange woman was a bad idea, and he searched for her in the hopes of forming a formal acquaintance, but no one seemed to know her. He could not find her anywhere, but he never wondered if she had gone because he knew she was nearby. He enjoyed skiing, luging, skating, and dancing even more as he melted into the winter landscape.

One night, he got excited as he prepared for a fancy dress ball. He seemed to know that his mystery woman would be there tonight, and he knew he would meet her. He looked in the mirror and noticed how much younger and happier he looked. He did not plan to dress up or mingle, but he hoped to catch up with some of the men to talk about skiing, and if he happened to run into her... well, all the better. But before he left, he packed his writings in a box and left a note with his brother's address and the ominous heading.

He was struck by the strangeness of this movement and wondered if something deep within him was attempting to convey a serious warning. But he was too cheerful to notice. He noticed the woman's silver sheet in the world of snow. Everything was covered in snow. It muffled both sound and distance.

He spent the ball lost in strange thoughts and desperately searching for his strange companion. Everything appeared to be lost as the band disbanded and the lights went out, but just as he thought she was gone forever, he noticed her figure, white and enticing, flitting in the shadows just outside. Knowing she was outside, he rushed to his room, locked the door, and bundled up in furs before racing out into the snow to meet her on the desolate alp. The village faded in the distance, and he realised he had never been so high.

He tried to explain how long he had been looking for her (ten days), but he appeared to be losing track of time. Nonetheless, he could recall every location he visited. "You looked for me in the wrong places," she responded. She came to a halt and appeared to be on top of him. He felt a stabbing cold pain all over his body because she touched him with her bare hand.

Hibbert was unaware that he had been skiing for five hours. His body was numb from exhaustion and exposure. He suggested they turn around and return to the village. But she was having none of it.

She rushed at him once more, her cold face pressing against his. He was horrified to discover she lacked a face, and the crushing pressure of snow and fatigue drove him down into the powder, where she threw herself upon him.

And then she said his name in that voice of love and wonder, the voice that carried the accents of two others both taken over long ago by Death—the voice of his mother and the woman he had loved.

Hibbert was fortunate. Just as he was about to fall asleep, a clump of snow fell on him, and the horror of the wetness against his neck was sufficient to wake him up. He staggered to his feet drunkenly and commenced breaking down the mountain, flying as fast as possible. The Algernon half-dream approach of the writer was made here.

He was still deathly weak, and he knew that if he fell even once, he would never be able to get up again. He felt her touching him and listened to her silvery laughter, but he was dying. Just as he was about to be overtaken by her, he noticed a light: the local priest was carrying a lantern while delivering communion to an adjacent parish.

Hibbert’s  Algernon half-dream was broken when he woke up in the morning with a twisted ankle, recovering from the shock in his warm bed, accompanied by a doctor. His exploits earned him the nickname "Mad Hibbert" among English tourists and a horror story among the villagers. A group of daring skiers followed his tracks as far as they could - Hibbert skied higher up the mountain than anyone had ever managed - and photographed the scenery. When Hibbert looked at the photos, he noticed something he kept to himself. There was only one ski track in the snow.

Hibbert Sees the Strange Woman Gliding in the Snow

Hibbert Sees the Strange Woman Gliding in the Snow

The Moral of the Glamour of the Snow Story

The moral of the story is that one should be aware of strange men and women and not venture with them alone. The Force of nature and its strangeness is a marvel, but children should learn to be cautious and take lessons from Hibbert when he tries to delve deeper into it.

Note to Parents 

Parents can read the Glamour of the Snow by Algernon Blackwood to their children and teach them to beware of strangers, and it serves as a cautionary tale for them not to be like Hibbert, a loner who gets carried away by a strange woman.

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FAQs on The Glamour of the Snow

1. Who is Hibbert?

Hibbert is a writer who is having a holiday in the Alps.

2. What voice does the woman mimic?

The woman mimics the voice of Hibbert’s mother and the woman he loves.

3. What is the nickname Hibbert is given?

The nickname that is given to Hibbert is Mad Hibbert.


The Glamour of the snow Algernon Blackwood is a tale to make children understand:

  • The importance of the power of nature.

  • Not to talk to strangers.