ELFINS and various monsters lay claim to a place in almost every fairy tale that respects itself. They often attain human appearance or even embody unique and dangerous circumstances of life. They have free will. The reason of their existence is to conspire against nobler forms of life, and they will to exist only to the degree that they conspire against them. The ice maiden and the snow queen, the fate that pursues the leaden soldier, the witches, the bad wolf or an awful king constitute typical examples of a fairy tale creature. All these beings will to destroy exactly that on which their own existence is totally dependent; they are unconsciously self-destroying forces: they don't have sense of any community, but they curiously approve their ignorance. They maintain themselves by dissolving themselves. Forces totally absurd, but existing, so that a fairy tale, pre-eminently literature of truth, could not skim them over.
EVIL characters, even if they are perfectly disguised, are always being accompanied by a stream of cold air that announces them and remains after they have gone. They do not only lack any charm, but they also spread a deep, existential, fear:
Suddenly there appeared, close by Rudy's side, a young maiden; he had not noticed her till she came quite near to him. She was also going to ascend the mountain. The maiden's eyes shone with an unearthly power, which obliged you to look into them; they were strange eyes,— clear, deep, and unfathomable. "Hast thou a lover?" asked Rudy; all his thoughts were naturally on love just then. "I have none," answered the maiden, with a laugh; it was as if she had not spoken the truth. "Do not let us go such a long way round," said she. "We must keep to the left; it is much shorter." "Ah, yes," he replied; "and fall into some crevasse. Do you pretend to be a guide, and not know the road better than that?" "I know every step of the way," said she; "and my thoughts are collected, while yours are down in the valley yonder. We should think of the Ice Maiden while we are up here; men say she is not kind to their race." "I fear her not," said Rudy. "She could not keep me when I was a child; I will not give myself up to her now I am a man." Darkness came on, the rain fell, and then it began to snow, and the whiteness dazzled the eyes. "Give me your hand," said the maiden; "I will help you to mount." And he felt the touch of her icy fingers. "You help me," cried Rudy; "I do not yet require a woman to help me to climb." And he stepped quickly forwards away from her. The drifting snow-shower fell like a veil between them, the wind whistled, and behind him he could hear the maiden laughing and singing, and the sound was most strange to hear. "It certainly must be a spectre or a servant of the Ice Maiden," thought Rudy, who had heard such things talked about when he was a little boy, and had stayed all night on the mountain with the guides. The snow fell thicker than ever, the clouds lay beneath him; he looked back, there was no one to be seen, but he heard sounds of mocking laughter, which were not those of a human voice. (The Ice Maiden).