First published in German in 1816, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King” is the children’s fairy tale by Prussian composer and romantic author E. T. A. Hoffman that inspired Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. Popularized by a French retelling by Alexandre Dumas in 1844 and immortalized in 1892 in the ballet that has become a part of the Christmas season tradition, Hoffman’s original tale is a magical story of imagination and love. It begins on Christmas Eve as the young Marie and her brother Fritz receive their Christmas gifts, including a beautiful nutcracker that immediately catches Marie’s interest. She begins to have fantastical dreams of her brave nutcracker leading all of her dolls in battle against the cruel and greedy Mouse-King and his army of mice. Her parents do not believe her dreams are real, but Marie is certain that the nutcracker is indeed her magical hero. She continues to dream of dramatic battles, the nutcracker’s eventual victory over the wicked Mouse-King, and a trip to the beautiful Land of Toys. Hoffman’s fairy tale of magic and devotion continues to captivate audiences and inspire adaptations around the world.