The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a Christmas Classic written in 1816, by E. T. A. Hoffmann on which the famous ballet The Nutcracker is based. In the story young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. The story begins on Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house. Marie, seven, and her brother, Fritz, eight, sit outside the parlor speculating about what kind of present their godfather, Drosselmeyer, who is a clockmaker and inventor, has made for them. They are at last allowed in, where they receive many splendid gifts... E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist.