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´╗┐Title: A Christmas Greeting: A Series of Stories
Author: Andersen, H. C. (Hans Christian)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Christmas Greeting: A Series of Stories" ***


New Juveniles for 1864

PUBLISHED BY
JAMES MILLER,
522 BROADWAY, N. Y.

------

MAGNET STORIES,
For Summer Days and Winter Nights.
SECOND SERIES.

------

IMPULSE AND PRINCIPLE,
AND OTHER STORIES.
BY MISS ABBOTT.

------

THE PRIVATE PURSE,
And other Stories.
BY MRS. S. C. HALL.

------

TURNS OF FORTUNE
And other Stories.
BY MRS. S. C. HALL.

------------

Published By James Miller, 522 Broadway.

------------

PHILIP GREY,
OR THREE MONTHS AT SEA.
BY PETER PARLEY.

------

Hans Andersen's Wonderful Tales.
ILLUSTRATED.

------

HANS ANDERSEN'S STORY BOOK.
ILLUSTRATED.

------

Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales.
ILLUSTRATED.

------

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.
New Edition. Illustrated.

------

ESOP'S FABLES.
New Edition. Illustrated.

------

Aunt Carrie's Rhymes for Children.

------

LIFE OF GEO. WASHINGTON.
With Illustrations by Darley.

------------

[Illustration: "The Dream of Little Tuk."]
THE DREAM OF LITTLE TUK.

------------



Hans Andersen's Library.

A CHRISTMAS GREETING
A Series of Stories,
BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
ILLUSTRATED.

[Illustration: "Children Dancing."]

Published by James Miller,
522 Broadway.

------------

A CHRISTMAS GREETING

A Series of Stories,

BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN

[Illustration: "Man Carrying Firewood."]

New York:

(Successor to C.S. Francis & Co.)

Published by James Miller,

522 Broadway.

------------

TO

CHARLES DICKENS, Esq.

I am again in my quiet Danish home, but my thoughts are daily in dear
England, where, a few months ago, my many friends transformed for me
reality into a charming story.

Whilst occupied with a greater work, there sprung forth--as the
flowers spring forth in the forest--seven short stories.* I feel a
desire, a longing, to transplant in England the first produce of my
poetic garden, as a Christmas greeting: and I send it to you, my dear,
noble, Charles Dickens, who by your works had been previously dear to
me, and since our meeting have taken root for ever in my heart.

Your hand was the last that pressed mine on England's coast: it was
you who from her shores wafted me the last farewell. It is therefore
natural that I should send to you, from Denmark, my first greeting
again, as sincerely as an affectionate heart can convey it.

      Hans Christian Andersen.

  Copenhagen. 6th December, 1847.

------

  * The first seven in this volume.

------------

CONTENTS

------

I. The Old House

II. The Drop of Water

III. The Happy Family

IV. The Story of a Mother

V. The False Collar

VI. The Shadow

VII. The Old Street-Lamp

VIII. The Dream of Little Tuk

IX. The Naughty Boy

X. The Two Neighboring Families

XI. The Darning Needle

XII. The Little Match-Girl

XIII. The Red Shoes

XIV. To The Young Readers


------------



THE OLD HOUSE.

In the street, up there, was an old, a very old house,--it was almost
three hundred years old, for that might be known by reading the great
beam on which the date of the year was carved: together with tulips
and hop-binds there were whole verses spelled as in former times, and
over every window was a distorted face cut out in the beam. The one
story stood forward a great way over the other; and directly under the
eaves was a leaden spout with a dragon's head; the rain-water should
have run out of the mouth, but it ran out of the belly, for there was
a hole in the spout.

All the other houses in the street were so new and so neat, with large
window-panes and smooth walls, one could easily see that they would
have nothing to do with the old house: they certainly thought, "How
long is that old decayed thing to stand here as a spectacle in the
street? And then the protecting windows stand so far out, that no one
can see from our windows what happens in that direction! The steps are
as broad as those of a palace, and as high as to a church tower. The
iron railings look just like the door to an old family vault, and then
they have brass tops,--that's so stupid!"

On the other side of the street were also new and neat houses, and
they thought just as the others did; but at the window opposite the
old house there sat a little boy with fresh rosy cheeks and bright
beaming eyes: he certainly liked the old house best, and that both in
sunshine and moonshine. And when he looked across at the wall where
the mortar had fallen out, he could sit and find out there the
strangest figures imaginable; exactly as the street had appeared
before, with steps, projecting windows, and pointed gables; he could
see soldiers with halberds, and spouts where the water ran, like
dragons and serpents. _That_ was a house to look at; and there lived
an old man, who wore plush breeches; and he had a coat with large
brass buttons, and a wig that one could see was a real wig. Every
morning there came an old fellow to him who put his rooms in order,
and went on errands; otherwise, the old man in the plush breeches was
quite alone in the old house. Now and then he came to the window and
looked out, and the little boy nodded to him, and the old man nodded
again, and so they became acquaintances, and then they were friends,
although they had never spoken to each other,--but that made no
difference. The little boy heard his parents say, "The old man
opposite is very well off, but he is so very, very lonely!"

The Sunday following, the little boy took something, and wrapped it up
in a piece of paper, went down stairs, and stood in the doorway; and
when the man who went on errands came past, he said to him--

"I say, master! will you give this to the old man over the way from
me? I have two pewter soldiers--this is one of them, and he shall have
it, for I know he is so very, very lonely."

And the old errand man looked quite pleased, nodded, and took the
pewter soldier over to the old house. Afterwards there came a message;
it was to ask if the little boy himself had not a wish to come over
and pay a visit; and so he got permission of his parents, and then
went over to the old house.

And the brass balls on the iron railings shone much brighter than
ever; one would have thought they were polished on account of the
visit; and it was as if the carved-out trumpeters--for there were
trumpeters, who stood in tulips, carved out on the door--blew with all
their might, their cheeks appeared so much rounder than before. Yes,
they blew--"Trateratra! the little boy comes trateratra!"--and then
the door opened.

The whole passage was hung with portraits of knights in armor, and
ladies in silken gowns; and the armor rattled, and the silken gowns
rustled! And then there was a flight of stairs which went a good way
upwards, and a little way downwards, and then one came on a balcony
which was in a very dilapidated state, sure enough, with large holes
and long crevices, but grass grew there and leaves out of them
altogether, for the whole balcony outside, the yard, and the walls,
were overgrown with so much green stuff, that it looked like a garden;
but it was only a balcony. Here stood old flower-pots with faces and
asses' ears, and the flowers grew just as they liked. One of the pots
was quite overrun on all sides with pinks, that is to say, with the
green part; shoot stood by shoot, and it said quite distinctly, "The
air has cherished me, the sun has kissed me, and promised me a little
flower on Sunday!--a little flower on Sunday!"

And then they entered a chamber where the walls were covered, with
hog's leather, and printed with gold flowers.

    "The gilding decays,
    But hog's leather stays!"

said the walls.

And there stood easy chairs, with such high backs, and so carved out,
and with arms on both sides. "Sit down! sit down!" said they. "Ugh!
how I creak; now I shall certainly get the gout, like the old
clothes-press, ugh!"

And then the little boy came into the room where the projecting
windows were, and where the old man sat.

"I thank you for the pewter soldier, my little friend!" said the old
man, "and I thank you because you come over to me."

"Thankee! thankee!" or "cranky! cranky!" sounded from all the
furniture; there was so much of it, that each article stood in the
other's way, to get a look at the little boy.

In the middle of the wall hung a picture representing a beautiful
lady, so young, so glad, but dressed quite as in former times, with
clothes that stood quite stiff, and with powder in her hair; she
neither said "thankee, thankee!" nor "cranky, cranky!" but looked with
her mild eyes at the little boy, who directly asked the old man,
"Where did you get her?"

"Yonder, at the broker's," said the old man, "where there are so many
pictures hanging. No one knows or cares about them, for they are all
of them buried; but I knew her in by-gone days, and now she has been
dead and gone these fifty years!"

Under the picture, in a glazed frame, there hung a _bouquet_ of
withered flowers; they were almost fifty years old; they looked so
very old!

The pendulum of the great clock went to and fro, and the hands turned,
and every thing in the room became still older; but they did not
observe it.

"They say at home," said the little boy, "that you are so very, very
lonely!"

"Oh!" said he, "the old thoughts, with what they may bring with them,
come and visit me, and now you also come! I am very well off!"

Then he took a book with pictures in it down from the shelf; there
were whole long processions and pageants, with the strangest
characters, which one never sees now-a-days; soldiers like the knave
of clubs, and citizens with waving flags: the tailors had theirs, with
a pair of shears held by two lions,--and the shoemakers theirs,
without boots, but with an eagle that had two heads, for the
shoemakers must have everything so that they can say, it is a
pair!--Yes, that was a picture book!

The old man now went into the other room to fetch preserves, apples,
and nuts;--yes, it was delightful over there in the old house.

"I cannot bear it any longer!" said the pewter soldier, who sat on the
drawers; "it is so lonely and melancholy here! but when one has been
in a family circle one cannot accustom oneself to this life! I cannot
bear it any longer! the whole day is so long, and the evenings are
still longer! here it is not at all as it is over the way at your
home, where your father and mother spoke so pleasantly, and where you
and all your sweet children made such a delightful noise. Nay, how
lonely the old man is!--do you think that he gets kisses? do you think
he gets mild eyes, or a Christmas tree?--He will get nothing but a
grave.--I can bear it no longer!"

"You must not let it grieve you so much," said the little boy; "I find
it so very delightful here, and then all the old thoughts, with what
they may bring with them, they come and visit here."

"Yes, it's all very well, but I see nothing of them, and I don't know
them!" said the pewter soldier, "I cannot bear it!"

"But you must!" said the little boy.

Then in came the old man with the most pleased and happy face, the
most delicious preserves, apples, and nuts, and so the little boy
thought no more about the pewter soldier.

The little boy returned home happy and pleased, and weeks and days
passed away, and nods were made to the old house, and from the old
house, and then the little boy went over there again.

The carved trumpeters blew, "trateratra! there is the little boy!
trateratra!" and the swords and armor on the knights' portraits
rattled, and the silk gowns rustled; the hog's-leather spoke, and the
old chairs had the gout in their legs and rheumatism in their backs:
Ugh!--it was exactly like the first time, for over there one day and
hour was just like another.

"I cannot bear it!" said the pewter soldier, "I have shed pewter
tears! it is too melancholy! rather let me go to the wars and lose
arms and legs! it would at least be a change. I cannot bear it
longer!--Now, I know what it is to have a visit from one's old
thoughts, with what they may bring with them! I have had a visit from
mine, and you may be sure it is no pleasant thing in the end; I was at
last about to jump down from the drawers.

"I saw you all over there at home so distinctly, as if you really were
here; it was again that Sunday morning; all you children stood before
the table and sung your Psalms, as you do every morning. You stood
devoutly with folded hands; and father and mother were just as pious;
and then the door was opened, and little sister Mary, who is not two
years old yet, and who always dances when she hears music or singing,
of whatever kind it may be, was put into the room--though she ought
not to have been there--and then she began to dance, but could not
keep time, because the tones were so long; and then she stood, first
on the one leg, and bent her head forwards, and then on the other leg,
and bent her head forwards--but all would not do. You stood very
seriously all together, although it was difficult enough; but I
laughed to myself, and then I fell off the table, and got a bump,
which I have still--for it was not right of me to laugh. But the whole
now passes before me again in thought, and everything that I have
lived to see; and these are the old thoughts, with what they may bring
with them.

"Tell me if you still sing on Sundays? Tell me something about little
Mary! and how my comrade, the other pewter soldier, lives! Yes, he is
happy enough, that's sure! I cannot bear it any longer!"

"You are given away as a present!" said the little boy; "you must
remain. Can you not understand that?"

The old man now came with a drawer, in which there was much to be
seen, both "tin boxes" and "balsam boxes," old cards, so large and so
gilded, such as one never sees them now. And several drawers were
opened, and the piano was opened; it had landscapes on the inside of
the lid, and it was so hoarse when the old man played on it! and then
he hummed a song.

"Yes, she could sing that!" said he, and nodded to the portrait, which
he had bought at the broker's, and the old man's eyes shone so bright!

"I will go to the wars! I will go to the wars!" shouted the pewter
soldier as loud as he could, and threw himself off the drawers right
down on the floor.

What became of him? The old man sought, and the little boy sought; he
was away, and he stayed away.

"I shall find him!" said the old man; but he never found him. The
floor was too open--the pewter soldier had fallen through a crevice,
and there he lay as in an open tomb.

That day passed, and the little boy went home, and that week passed,
and several weeks too. The windows were quite frozen, the little boy
was obliged to sit and breathe on them to get a peep-hole over to the
old house, and there the snow had been blown into all the carved work
and inscriptions; it lay quite up over the steps, just as if there was
no one at home;--nor was there any one at home--the old man was dead!

In the evening there was a hearse seen before the door, and he was
borne into it in his coffin: he was now to go out into the country, to
lie in his grave. He was driven out there, but no one followed; all
his friends were dead, and the little boy kissed his hand to the
coffin as it was driven away.

Some days afterwards there was an auction at the old house, and the
little boy saw from his window how they carried the old knights and
the old ladies away, the flower-pots with the long ears, the old
chairs, and the old clothes-presses. Something came here, and
something came there; the portrait of her who had been found at the
broker's came to the broker's again; and there it hung, for no one
knew her more--no one cared about the old picture.

In the spring they pulled the house down, for, as people said, it was
a ruin. One could see from the street right into the room with the
hog's-leather hanging, which was slashed and torn; and the green grass
and leaves about the balcony hung quite wild about the falling
beams.--And then it was put to rights.

"That was a relief," said the neighboring houses.


 * * * * *


A fine house was built there, with large windows, and smooth white
walls; but before it, where the old house had in fact stood, was a
little garden laid out, and a wild grapevine ran up the wall of the
neighboring house. Before the garden there was a large iron railing
with an iron door, it looked quite splendid, and people stood still
and peeped in, and the sparrows hung by scores in the vine, and
chattered away at each other as well as they could, but it was not
about the old house, for they could not remember it, so many years had
passed,--so many that the little boy had grown up to a whole man, yes,
a clever man, and a pleasure to his parents; and he had just been
married, and, together with his little wife, had come to live in the
house here, where the garden was; and he stood by her there whilst she
planted a field-flower that she found so pretty; she planted it with
her little hand, and pressed the earth around it with her fingers. Oh!
what was that? She had stuck herself. There sat something pointed,
straight out of the soft mould.

It was----yes, guess!--it was the pewter soldier, he that was lost up
at the old man's, and had tumbled and turned about amongst the timber
and the rubbish, and had at last laid for many years in the ground.

The young wife wiped the dirt off the soldier, first with a green
leaf, and then with her fine handkerchief--it had such a delightful
smell, that it was to the pewter soldier just as if he had awaked from
a trance.

"Let me see him," said the young man. He laughed, and then shook his
head. "Nay, it cannot be he; but he reminds me of a story about a
pewter soldier which I had when I was a little boy!" And then he told
his wife about the old house, and the old man, and about the pewter
soldier that he sent over to him because he was so very, very lonely;
and he told it as correctly as it had really been, so that the tears
came into the eyes of his young wife, on account of the old house and
the old man.

"It may possibly be, however, that it is the same pewter soldier!"
said she, "I will take care of it, and remember all that you have told
me; but you must show me the old man's grave!"

"But I do not know it," said he, "and no one knows it! all his friends
were dead, no one took care of it, and I was then a little boy!"

"How very, very lonely he must have been!" said she.

"Very, very lonely!" said the pewter soldier; "but it is delightful
not to be forgotten!"

"Delightful!" shouted something close by; but no one, except the
pewter soldier, saw that it was a piece of the hog's-leather hangings;
it had lost all its gilding, it looked like a piece of wet clay, but
it had an opinion, and it gave it:

    "The gilding decays,
    But hog's leather stays!"

This the pewter soldier did not believe.


------------



THE DROP OF WATER.

What a magnifying glass is, you surely know--such a round sort of
spectacle-glass that makes everything full a hundred times larger than
it really is. When one holds it before the eye, and looks at a drop of
water out of the pond, then one sees above a thousand strange
creatures. It looks almost like a whole plateful of shrimps springing
about among each other, and they are so ravenous, they tear one
another's arms and legs, tails and sides, and yet they are glad and
pleased in their way.

Now, there was once an old man, who was called by every body
Creep-and-Crawl; for that was his name. He would always make the best
out of everything, and when he could not make anything out of it he
resorted to witchcraft.

Now, one day he sat and held his magnifying glass before his eye, and
looked at a drop of water that was taken out of a little pool in the
ditch. What a creeping and crawling was there! all the thousands of
small creatures hopped and jumped about, pulled one another, and
pecked one another.

"But this is abominable!" said Creep-and-Crawl, "Can one not get them
to live in peace and quiet, and each mind his own business?" And he
thought and thought, but he could come to no conclusion, and so he was
obliged to conjure. "I must give them a color, that they may be more
discernible!" said he; and so he poured something like a little drop
of red wine into the drop of water, but it was bewitched blood from
the lobe of the ear--the very finest sort for a penny; and then all
the strange creatures became rose-colored over the whole body. It
looked like a whole town of naked savages.

"What have you got there?" said another old wizard, who had no name,
and that was just the best of it.

"Why," said Creep-and-Crawl, "if you can guess what it is, I will make
you a present of it; but it is not so easy to find out when one does
not know it!"

The wizard who had no name looked through the magnifying glass. It
actually appeared like a whole town, where all the inhabitants ran
about without clothes! it was terrible, but still more terrible to see
how the one knocked and pushed the other, bit each other, and drew one
another about. What was undermost should be topmost, and what was
topmost should be undermost!--See there, now! his leg is longer than
mine!--whip it off, and away with it! There is one that has a little
lump behind the ear, a little innocent lump, but it pains him, and so
it shall pain him still more! And they pecked at it, and they dragged
him about, and they ate him, and all on account of the little lump.
There sat one as still as a little maid, who only wished for peace and
quietness, but she must be brought out and they dragged her, and they
pulled her, and they devoured her!

"It is quite amusing!" said the wizard.

"Yes; but what do you think it is?" asked Creep-and-Crawl. "Can you
find it out!"

"It is very easy to see," said the other, "it is some great city, they
all resemble each other. A great city it is, that's sure!"

"It is ditch-water!" said Creep-and-Crawl.


------------



THE HAPPY FAMILY.

Really, the largest green leaf in this country is a dock-leaf; if one
holds it before one, it is like a whole apron, and if one holds it
over one's head in rainy weather, it is almost as good as an umbrella,
for it is so immensely large. The burdock never grows alone, but where
there grows one there always grow several: it is a great delight, and
all this delightfulness is snails' food. The great white snails which
persons of quality in former times made fricassees of, ate, and said,
"Hem, hem! how delicious!" for they thought it tasted so
delicate--lived on dock leaves, and therefore burdock seeds were sown.

Now, there was an old manor-house, where they no longer ate snails,
they were quite extinct; but the burdocks were not extinct, they grew
and grew all over the walks and all the beds; they could not get the
mastery over them--it was a whole forest of burdocks. Here and there
stood an apple and a plumb-tree, or else one never would have thought
that it was a garden; all was burdocks, and there lived the two last
venerable old snails.

They themselves knew not how old they were, but they could remember
very well that there had been many more; that they were of a family
from foreign lands, and that for them and theirs the whole forest was
planted. They had never been outside it, but they knew that there was
still something more in the world, which was called the manor-house,
and that there they were boiled, and then they became black, and were
then placed on a silver dish; but what happened further they knew not;
or, in fact, what it was to be boiled, and to lie on a silver dish,
they could not possibly imagine; but it was said to be delightful, and
particularly genteel. Neither the chafers, the toads, nor the
earth-worms, whom they asked about it could give them any
information,--none of them had been boiled or laid on a silver dish.

The old white snails were the first persons of distinction in the
world, that they knew; the forest was planted for their sake, and the
manor-house was there that they might be boiled and laid on a silver
dish.

Now they lived a very lonely and happy life; and as they had no
children themselves, they had adopted a little common snail, which
they brought up as their own; but the little one would not grow, for
he was of a common family; but the old ones, especially Dame Mother
Snail, thought they could observe how he increased in size, and she
begged father, if he could not see it, that he would at least feel the
little snail's shell; and then he felt it, and found the good dame was
right.

One day there was a heavy storm of rain.

"Hear how it beats like a drum on the dock leaves!" said Father Snail.

"There are also rain-drops!" said Mother Snail; "and now the rain
pours right down the stalk! You will see that it will be wet here! I
am very happy to think that we have our good house, and the little one
has his also! There is more done for us than for all other creatures,
sure enough; but can you not see that we are folks of quality in the
world? We are provided with a house from our birth, and the burdock
forest is planted for our sakes! I should like to know how far it
extends, and what there is outside!"

"There is nothing at all," said Father Snail. "No place can be better
than ours, and I have nothing to wish for!"

"Yes," said the dame. "I would willingly go to the manor-house, be
boiled, and laid on a silver dish; all our forefathers have been
treated so; there is something extraordinary in it, you may be sure!"

"The manor-house has most likely fallen to ruin!" said Father Snail.
"or the burdocks have grown up over it, so that they cannot come out.
There need not, however, be any haste about that; but you are always
in such a tremendous hurry, and the little one is beginning to be the
same. Has he not been creeping up that stalk these three days? It
gives me a headache when I look up to him!"

"You must not scold him," said Mother Snail; "he creeps so carefully;
he will afford us much pleasure--and we have nothing but him to live
for! But have you not thought of it?--where shall we get a wife for
him? Do you not think that there are some of our species at a great
distance in the interior of the burdock forest?"

"Black snails, I dare say, there are enough of," said the old
one--"black snails without a house--but they are so common, and so
conceited. But we might give the ants a commission to look out for us;
they run to and fro as if they had something to do, and they certainly
know of a wife for our little snail!"

"I know one, sure enough--the most charming one!" said one of the
ants; "but I am afraid we shall hardly succeed, for she is a queen!"

"That is nothing!" said the old folks; "has she a house?"

"She has a palace!" said the ant--"the finest ant's palace, with seven
hundred passages!"

"I thank you!" said Mother Snail; "our son shall not go into an
ant-hill; if you know nothing better than that, we shall give the
commission to the white gnats. They fly far and wide, in rain and
sunshine; they know the whole forest here, both within and without."

"We have a wife for him," said the gnats; "at a hundred human paces
from here there sits a little snail in her house, on a gooseberry
bush; she is quite lonely, and old enough to be married. It is only a
hundred human paces!"

"Well, then, let her come to him!" said the old ones; "he has a whole
forest of burdocks, she has only a bush!"

And so they went and fetched little Miss Snail. It was a whole week
before she arrived; but therein was just the very best of it, for one
could thus see that she was of the same species.

And then the marriage was celebrated. Six earth-worms shone as well as
they could. In other respects the whole went off very quietly, for the
old folks could not bear noise and merriment; but old Dame Snail made
a brilliant speech. Father Snail could not speak, he was too much
affected; and so they gave them as a dowry and inheritance, the whole
forest of burdocks, and said--what they had always said--that it was
the best in the world; and if they lived honestly and decently, and
increased and multiplied, they and their children would once in the
course of time come to the manor-house, be boiled black, and laid on
silver dishes. After this speech was made, the old ones crept into
their shells, and never more came out. They slept; the young couple
governed in the forest, and had a numerous progeny, but they were
never boiled, and never came on the silver dishes; so from this they
concluded that the manor-house had fallen to ruins, and that all the
men in the world were extinct; and as no one contradicted them, so, of
course it was so. And the rain beat on the dock-leaves to make
drum-music for their sake, and the sun shone in order to give the
burdock forest a color for their sakes; and they were very happy, and
the whole family was happy; for they, indeed were so.


------------



THE STORY OF A MOTHER

A mother sat there with her little child. She was so downcast, so
afraid that it should die! It was so pale, the small eyes had closed
themselves, and it drew its breath so softly, now and then, with a
deep respiration, as if it sighed; and the mother looked still more
sorrowfully on the little creature.

Then a knocking was heard at the door, and in came a poor old, man
wrapped up as in a large horse-cloth, for it warms one, and he needed
it, as it was the cold winter season! Every thing out of doors was
covered with ice and snow, and the wind blew so that it cut the face.

As the old man trembled with cold, and the little child slept a
moment, the mother went and poured some ale into a pot and set it on
the stove, that it might be warm for him; the old man sat and rocked
the cradle, and the mother sat down on a chair close by him, and
looked at her little sick child that drew its breath so deep, and
raised its little hand.

"Do you not think that I shall save him?" said she, "_Our Lord_ will
not take him from me!"

And the old man,--it was Death himself,--he nodded so strangely, it
could just as well signify yes as no. And the mother looked down in
her lap, and the tears ran down over her cheeks; her head became so
heavy--she had not closed her eyes for three days and nights; and now
she slept, but only for a minute, when she started up and trembled
with cold: "What is that?" said she, and looked on all sides; but the
old man was gone, and her little child was gone--he had taken it with
him; and the old clock in the corner burred, and burred, the great
leaden weight ran down to the floor, bump! and then the clock also
stood still.

But the poor mother ran out of the house and cried aloud for her
child.

Out there, in the midst of the snow, there sat a woman in long, black
clothes; and she said, "Death has been in thy chamber, and I saw him
hasten away with thy little child; he goes faster than the wind, and
he never brings back what he takes!"

"Oh, only tell me which way he went!" said the mother: "Tell me the
way, and I shall find him!"

"I know it!" said the woman in the black clothes, "but before I tell
it, thou must first sing for me all the songs thou hast sung for thy
child!--I am fond of them; I have heard them before; I am Night; I saw
thy tears whilst thou sang'st them!"

"I will sing them all, all!" said the mother; "but do not stop me
now;--I may overtake him--I may find my child!"

But Night stood still and mute. Then the mother wrung her hands, sang
and wept, and there were many songs, but yet many more tears; and then
Night said, "Go to the right, into the dark pine forest; thither I saw
Death take his way with thy little child!"

The roads crossed each other in the depths of the forest, and she no
longer knew whither she should go; then there stood a thorn-bush;
there was neither leaf nor flower on it, it was also in the cold
winter season, and ice-flakes hung on the branches.

"Hast thou not seen Death go past with my little child?" said the
mother.

"Yes," said the thorn-bush; "but I will not tell thee which way he
took, unless thou wilt first warm me up at thy heart. I am freezing to
death; I shall become a lump of ice!"

And she pressed the thorn-bush to her breast, so firmly, that it might
be thoroughly warmed, and the thorns went right into her flesh, and
her blood flowed in large drops, but the thorn-bush shot forth fresh
green leaves, and there came flowers on it in the cold winter night,
the heart of the afflicted mother was so warm; and the thorn-bush told
her the way she should go.

She then came to a large lake, where there was neither ship nor boat.
The lake was not frozen sufficiently to bear her; neither was it open,
nor low enough that she could wade through it; and across it she must
go if she would find her child! Then she lay down to drink up the
lake, and that was an impossibility for a human being, but the
afflicted mother thought that a miracle might happen nevertheless.

"Oh, what would I not give to come to my child!" said the weeping
mother; and she wept still more, and her eyes sunk down in the depths
of the waters, and became two precious pearls; but the water bore her
up, as if she sat in a swing, and she flew in the rocking waves to the
shore on the opposite side, where there stood a mile-broad, strange
house, one knew not if it were a mountain with forests and caverns, or
if it were built up; but the poor mother could not see it; she had
wept her eyes out.

"Where shall I find Death, who took away my little child?" said she.

"He has not come here yet!" said the old grave woman, who was
appointed to look after Death's great greenhouse! "How have you been
able to find the way hither? and who has helped you?"

"_Our Lord_ has helped me," said she. "He is merciful, and you will
also be so! Where shall I find my little child?"

"Nay, I know not," said the woman, "and you cannot see! Many flowers
and trees have withered this night; Death will soon come and plant
them over again! You certainly know that every person has his or her
life's tree or flower, just as every one happens to be settled; they
look like other plants, but they have pulsations of the heart.
Children's hearts can also beat; go after yours, perhaps you may know
your child's; but what will you give me if I tell you what you shall
do more?"

"I have nothing to give," said the afflicted mother, "but I will go to
the world's end for you!"

"Nay, I have nothing to do there!" said the woman, "but you can give
me your long black hair; you know yourself that it is fine, and that I
like! You shall have my white hair instead! and that's always
something!"

"Do you demand nothing else?" said she,--"that I will gladly give
you!" And she gave her her fine black hair, and got the old woman's
snow-white hair instead.

So they went into Death's great greenhouse, where flowers and trees
grew strangely into one another. There stood fine hyacinths under
glass bells, and there stood strong-stemmed peonies; there grew water
plants, some so fresh, others half sick, the water-snakes lay down on
them, and black crabs pinched their stalks. There stood beautiful
palm-trees, oaks, and plantains; there stood parsley and flowering
thyme: every tree and every flower had its name; each of them was a
human life, the human frame still lived--one in China, and another in
Greenland--round about in the world. There were large trees in small
pots, so that they stood so stunted in growth, and ready to burst the
pots; in other places, there was a little dull flower in rich mould,
with moss round about it, and it was so petted and nursed. But the
distressed mother bent down over all the smallest plants, and heard
within them how the human heart beat; and amongst millions she knew
her child's.

"There it is!" cried she, and stretched her hands out over a little
blue crocus, that hung quite sickly on one side.

"Don't touch the flower!" said the old woman, "but place yourself
here, and when Death comes,--I expect him every moment,--do not let
him pluck the flower up, but threaten him that you will do the same
with the others. Then he will be afraid! he is responsible for them to
_Our Lord_, and no one dares to pluck them up before _He_ gives
leave."

All at once an icy cold rushed through the great hall, and the blind
mother could feel that it was Death that came.

"How hast thou been able to find thy way hither?" he asked. "How
couldst thou come quicker than I?"

"I am a mother," said she.

And Death stretched out his long hand towards the fine little flower,
but she held her hands fast around his, so tight, and yet afraid that
she should touch one of the leaves. Then Death blew on her hands, and
she felt that it was colder than the cold wind, and her hands fell
down powerless.

"Thou canst not do anything against me!" said Death.

"But that _Our Lord_ can!" said she.

"I only do His bidding!" said Death. "I am His gardener, I take all
His flowers and trees, and plant them out in the great garden of
Paradise, in the unknown land; but how they grow there, and how it is
there I dare not tell thee."

"Give me back my child!" said the mother, and she wept and prayed. At
once she seized hold of two beautiful flowers close by, with each
hand, and cried out to Death, "I will tear all thy flowers off, for I
am in despair."

"Touch them not!" said Death. "Thou say'st that thou art so unhappy,
and now thou wilt make another mother equally unhappy."

"Another mother!" said the poor woman, and directly let go her hold of
both the flowers.

"There, thou hast thine eyes," said Death; "I fished them up from the
lake, they shone so bright; I knew not they were thine. Take them
again, they are now brighter than before; now look down into the deep
well close by; I shall tell thee the names of the two flowers thou
wouldst have torn up, and thou wilt see their whole future life--their
whole human existence: and see what thou wast about to disturb and
destroy."

And she looked down into the well; and it was a happiness to see how
the one became a blessing to the world, to see how much happiness and
joy were felt everywhere. And she saw the other's life, and it was
sorrow and distress, horror, and wretchedness.

"Both of them are God's will!" said Death.

"Which of them is Misfortune's flower? and which is that of
Happiness?" asked she.

"That I will not tell thee," said Death; "but this thou shalt know
from me, that the one flower was thy own child! it was thy child's
fate thou saw'st,--thy own child's future life!"

Then the mother screamed with terror, "Which of them was my child?
Tell it me! save the innocent! save my child from all that misery!
rather take it away! take it into God's kingdom! Forget my tears,
forget my prayers, and all that I have done!"

"I do not understand thee!" said Death. "Wilt thou have thy child
again, or shall I go with it there, where thou dost not know!"

Then the mother wrung her hands, fell on her knees, and prayed to our
Lord: "Oh, hear me not when I pray against Thy will, which is the
best! hear me not! hear me not!"

And she bowed her head down in her lap, and Death took her child and
went with it into the unknown land.


[Illustration: "THE STORY OF A MOTHER."]


------------



THE FALSE COLLAR.

There was once a fine gentleman, all of whose moveables were a
bootjack and a hair-comb: but he had the finest false collars in the
world; and it is about one of these collars that we are now to hear a
story.

It was so old, that it began to think of marriage; and it happened
that it came to be washed in company with a garter.

"Nay!" said the collar, "I never did see anything so slender and so
fine, so soft and so neat. May I not ask your name?"

"That I shall not tell you!" said the garter.

"Where do you live?" asked the collar.

But the garter was so bashful, so modest, and thought it was a strange
question to answer.

"You are certainly a girdle," said the collar; "that is to say an
inside girdle. I see well that you are both for use and ornament, my
dear young lady."

"I will thank you not to speak to me," said the garter. "I think I
have not given the least occasion for it."

"Yes! when one is as handsome as you," said the collar, "that is
occasion enough."

"Don't come so near me, I beg of you!" said the garter. "You look so
much like those men-folks."

"I am also a fine gentleman," said the collar. "I have a boot-jack and
a hair-comb."

But that was not true, for it was his master who had them: but he
boasted.

"Don't come so near me," said the garter: "I am not accustomed to it."

"Prude!" exclaimed the collar; and then it was taken out of the
washing-tub. It was starched, hung over the back of a chair in the
sunshine, and was then laid on the ironing-blanket; then came the warm
box-iron. "Dear lady!" said the collar. "Dear widow-lady! I feel quite
hot. I am quite changed. I begin to unfold myself. You will burn a
hole in me. Oh! I offer you my hand."

"Rag!" said the box-iron; and went proudly over the collar: for she
fancied she was a steam-engine, that would go on the railroad and draw
the waggons. "Rag!" said the box-iron.

The collar was a little jagged at the edge, and so came the long
scissors to cut off the jagged part.

"Oh!" said the collar, "you are certainly the first opera dancer. How
well you can stretch your legs out! It is the most graceful
performance I have ever seen. No one can imitate you."

"I know it," said the scissors.

"You deserve to be a baroness," said the collar. "All that I have is a
fine gentleman, a boot-jack, and a hair-comb. If I only had the
barony!"

"Do you seek my hand?" said the scissors; for she was angry; and
without more ado, she _cut him_, and then he was condemned.

"I shall now be obliged to ask the hair-comb. It is surprising how
well you preserve your teeth, Miss," said the collar. "Have you never
thought of being betrothed?"

"Yes, of course! you may be sure of that," said the hair comb. "I _am_
betrothed--to the boot-jack!"

"Betrothed!" exclaimed the collar. Now there was no other to court,
and so he despised it.

A long time passed away, then the collar came into the rag chest at
the paper mill; there was a large company of rags, the fine by
themselves, and the coarse by themselves, just as it should be. They
all had much to say, but the collar the most; for he was a real
boaster.

"I have had such an immense number of sweet-hearts!" said the collar,
"I could not be in peace! It is true, I was always a fine starched-up
gentleman! I had both a bootjack and a hair-comb, which I never used!
You should have seen me then, you should have seen me when I lay
down!--I shall never forget _my first love_--she was a girdle, so
fine, so soft, and so charming, she threw herself into a tub of water
for my sake! There was also a widow, who became glowing hot, but I
left her standing till she got black again; there was also the first
opera dancer, she gave me that cut which I now go with, she was so
ferocious! my own hair-comb was in love with me, she lost all her
teeth from the heart-ache; yes, I have lived to see much of that sort
of thing; but I am extremely sorry for the garter--I mean the
girdle--that went into the water-tub. I have much on my conscience, I
want to become white paper!"

And it became so, all the rags were turned into white paper; but the
collar came to be just this very piece of white paper we here see, and
on which the story is printed; and that was because it boasted so
terribly afterwards of what had never happened to it. It would be well
for us to beware, that we may not act in a similar manner, for we can
never know if we may not, in the course of time, also come into the
rag chest, and be made into white paper, and then have our whole
life's history printed on it, even the most secret, and be obliged to
run about and tell it ourselves, just like this collar.


------------



THE SHADOW.

It is in the hot lands that the sun burns, sure enough!--there the
people become quite a mahogany brown, ay, and in the _hottest_ lands
they are burnt to negroes. But now it was only to the _hot_ lands that
a learned man had come from the cold; there he thought that he could
run about just as when at home, but he soon found out his mistake.

He, and all sensible folks, were obliged to stay within doors,--the
window-shutters and doors were closed the whole day; it looked as if
the whole house slept, or there was no one at home.

The narrow street with the high houses, was built so that the sunshine
must fall there from morning till evening--it was really not to be
borne.

The learned man from the cold lands--he was a young man, and seemed to
be a clever man--sat in a glowing oven; it took effect on him, he
became quite meagre--even his shadow shrunk in, for the sun had also
an effect on it. It was first towards evening when the sun was down,
that they began to freshen up again.

In the warm lands every window has a balcony, and the people came out
on all the balconies in the street--for one must have air, even if one
be accustomed to be mahogany!* It was lively both up and down the
street. Tailors, and shoemakers, and all the folks, moved out into the
street--chairs and tables were brought forth--and candles burnt--yes,
above a thousand lights were burning--and the one talked and the other
sung; and people walked and church-bells rang, and asses went along
with a dingle-dingle-dong! for they too had bells on. The street boys
were screaming and hooting, and shouting and shooting, with devils and
detonating balls:--and there came corpse bearers and hood
wearers,--for there were funerals with psalm and hymn,--and then the
din of carriages driving and company arriving:--yes, it was, in truth,
lively enough down in the street. Only in that single house, which
stood opposite that in which the learned foreigner lived, it was quite
still; and yet some one lived there, for there stood flowers in the
balcony--they grew so well in the sun's heat--and that they could not
do unless they were watered--and some one must water them--there must
be somebody there. The door opposite was also opened late in the
evening, but it was dark within, at least in the front room; further
in there was heard the sound of music. The learned foreigner thought
it quite marvellous, but now--it might be that he only imagined
it--for he found everything marvellous out there, in the warm lands,
if there had only been no sun. The stranger's landlord said that he
didn't know who had taken the house opposite, one saw no person about,
and as to the music, it appeared to him to be extremely tiresome. "It
is as if some one sat there, and practised a piece that he could not
master--always the same piece. 'I shall master it!' says he; but yet
he cannot master it, however long he plays."

------

* The word _mahogany_ can be understood, in Danish, as having two
meanings. In general, it means the reddish-brown wood itself; but in
jest, it signifies "excessively fine," which arose from an anecdote of
Nyboder, in Copenhagen, (the seamen's quarter.) A sailor's wife, who
was always proud and fine, in her way, came to her neighbor, and
complained that she had got a splinter in her finger. "What of?" asked
the neighbor's wife. "It is a mahogany splinter;" said the other.
"Mahogany! it cannot be less with you!" exclaimed the woman;--and
thence the proverb, "It is so mahogany!"--(that is, so excessively
fine)--is derived.

------

One night the stranger awoke--he slept with the doors of the balcony
open--the curtain before it was raised by the wind, and he thought
that a strange lustre came from the opposite neighbor's house; all the
flowers shone like flames, in the most beautiful colors, and in the
midst of the flowers stood a slender, graceful maiden,--it was as if
she also shone; the light really hurt his eyes. He now opened them
quite wide--yes, he was quite awake; with one spring he was on the
floor; he crept gently behind the curtain but the maiden was gone; the
flowers shone no longer, but there they stood, fresh and blooming as
ever; the door was ajar, and, far within, the music sounded so soft
and delightful, one could really melt away in sweet thoughts from it.
Yet it was like a piece of enchantment. And who lived there? Where was
the actual entrance? The whole of the ground-floor was a row of shops,
and there people could not always be running through.

One evening the stranger sat out on the balcony. The light burnt in
the room behind him; and thus it was quite natural that his shadow
should fall on his opposite neighbor's wall. Yes! there it sat,
directly opposite, between the flowers on the balcony; and when the
stranger moved, the shadow also moved: for that it always does.

"I think my shadow is the only living thing one sees over there," said
the learned man. "See! how nicely it sits between the flowers. The
door stands half-open: now the shadow should be cunning, and go into
the room, look about, and then come and tell me what it had seen.
Come, now! be useful, and do me a service," said he, in jest. "Have
the kindness to step in. Now! art thou going?" and then he nodded to
the shadow, and the shadow nodded again. "Well then, go! but don't
stay away."

The stranger rose, and his shadow on the opposite neighbor's balcony
rose also; the stranger turned round and the shadow also turned round.
Yes! if any one had paid particular attention to it, they would have
seen, quite distinctly, that the shadow went in through the half-open
balcony-door of their opposite neighbor, just as the stranger went
into his own room, and let the long curtain fall down after him.

Next morning, the learned man went out to drink coffee and read the
newspapers.

"What is that?" said he, as he came out into the sunshine. "I have no
shadow! So then, it has actually gone last night, and not come again.
It is really tiresome!"

This annoyed him: not so much because the shadow was gone, but because
he knew there was a story about a man without a shadow.* It was known
to everybody at home, in the cold lands; and if the learned man now
came there and told his story, they would say that he was imitating
it, and that he had no need to do. He would, therefore, not talk about
it at all; and that was wisely thought.

------

* Peter Schlemihl, the shadowless man.

------

In the evening he went out again on the balcony. He had placed the
light directly behind him, for he knew that the shadow would always
have its master for a screen, but he could not entice it. He made
himself little; he made himself great: but no shadow came again. He
said, "Hem! hem!" but it was of no use.

It was vexatious; but in the warm lands every thing grows so quickly;
and after the lapse of eight days he observed, to his great joy, that
a new shadow came in the sunshine. In the course of three weeks he had
a very fair shadow, which, when he set out for his home in the
northern lands, grew more and more in the journey, so that at last it
was so long and so large, that it was more than sufficient.

The learned man then came home, and he wrote books about what was true
in the world, and about what was good and what was beautiful; and
there passed days and years,--yes! many years passed away.

One evening, as he was sitting in his room, there was a gentle
knocking at the door.

"Come in!" said he; but no one came in; so he opened the door, and
there stood before him such an extremely lean man, that he felt quite
strange. As to the rest, the man was very finely dressed,--he must be
a gentleman.

"Whom have I the honor of speaking to?" asked the learned man.

"Yes! I thought as much," said the fine man. "I thought you would not
know me. I have got so much body. I have even got flesh and clothes.
You certainly never thought of seeing me so well off. Do you not know
your old shadow? You certainly thought I should never more return.
Things have gone on well with me since I was last with you. I have, in
all respects, become very well off. Shall I purchase my freedom from
service? If so, I can do it;" and then he rattled a whole bunch of
valuable seals that hung to his watch, and he stuck his hand in the
thick gold chain he wore around his neck;--nay! how all his fingers
glittered with diamond rings; and then all were pure gems.

"Nay; I cannot recover from my surprise!" said the learned man: "what
is the meaning of all this?"

"Something common, is it not," said the shadow: "but you yourself do
not belong to the common order; and I, as you know well, have from a
child followed in your footsteps, As soon as you found I was capable
to go out alone in the world, I went my own way. I am in the most
brilliant circumstances, but there came a sort of desire over me to
see you once more before you die; you will die, I suppose? I also
wished to see this land again,--for you know we always love our native
land. I know you have got another shadow again; have I anything to pay
to it or you? If so, you will oblige me by saying what it is."

"Nay, is it really thou?" said the learned man: "it is most
remarkable: I never imagined that one's old shadow could come again as
a man."

"Tell me what I have to pay," said the shadow; "for I don't like to be
in any sort of debt."

"How canst thou talk so?" said the learned man; "what debt is there to
talk about? Make thyself as free as any one else. I am extremely glad
to hear of thy good fortune: sit down, old friend, and tell me a
little how it has gone with thee, and what thou hast seen at our
opposite neighbor's there--in the warm lands."

"Yes, I will tell you all about it," said the shadow, and sat down:
"but then you must also promise me, that, wherever you may meet me,
you will never say to any one here in the town that I have been your
shadow. I intend to get betrothed, for I can provide for more than one
family."

"Be quite at thy ease about that," said the learned man; "I shall not
say to any one who thou actually art: here is my hand--I promise it,
and a man's bond is his word."

"A word is a shadow," said the shadow, "and as such it must speak."

It was really quite astonishing how much of a man it was. It was
dressed entirely in black, and of the very finest cloth; it had patent
leather boots, and a hat that could be folded together, so that it was
bare crown and brim; not to speak of what we already know it
had--seals, gold neck-chain, and diamond rings; yes, the shadow was
well-dressed, and it was just that which made it quite a man.

"Now I shall tell you my adventures," said the shadow; and then he
sat, with the polished boots, as heavily as he could, on the arm of
the learned man's new shadow, which lay like a poodle-dog at his feet.
Now this was perhaps from arrogance; and the shadow on the ground kept
itself so still and quiet, that it might hear all that passed: it
wished to know how it could get free, and work its way up, so as to
become its own master.

"Do you know who lived in our opposite neighbor's house?" said the
shadow; "it was the most charming of all beings, it was Poesy! I was
there for three weeks, and that has as much effect as if one had lived
three thousand years, and read all that was composed and written; that
is what I say, and it is right. I have seen everything and I know
everything!"

"Poesy!" cried the learned man; "yes, yes, she often dwells a recluse
in large cities! Poesy! yes, I have seen her,--a single short moment,
but sleep came into my eyes! She stood on the balcony and shone as the
aurora borealis shines. Go on, go on!--thou wert on the balcony, and
went through the doorway, and then------"

"Then I was in the antechamber," said the shadow. "You always sat and
looked over to the antechamber. There was no light; there was a sort
of twilight, but the one door stood open directly opposite the other
through a long row of rooms and saloons, and there it was lighted up.
I should have been completely killed if I had gone over to the maiden;
but I was circumspect, I took time to think, and that one must always
do."

"And what didst thou then see?" asked the learned man.

"I saw everything, and I shall tell all to you: but,--it is no pride
on my part,--as a free man, and with the knowledge I have, not to
speak of my position in life, my excellent circumstances,--I certainly
wish that you would say _you_* to me!"

------

* It is the custom in Denmark for intimate acquaintances to use the
second person singular, "Du," (thou) when speaking to each other. When
a friendship is formed between men, they generally affirm it, when
occasion offers, either in public or private, by drinking to each
other and exclaiming, "_thy health_," at the same time striking their
glasses together.--This is called drinking "_Duus_:"--they are then,
"_Duus Brodre_," (thou brothers,) and ever afterwards use the pronoun
"_thou_," to each other, it being regarded as more familiar than "De,"
(you). Father and mother, sister and brother, say _thou_ to one
another--without regard to age or rank. Master and mistress say _thou_
to their servants--the superior to the inferior. But servants and
inferiors do not use the same term to their masters, or superiors--nor
is it ever used when speaking to a stranger, or any one with whom they
are but slightly acquainted--they then say as in English--_you._

------

"I beg your pardon," said the learned man; "it is an old habit with
me. _You_ are perfectly right, and I shall remember it; but now _you_
must tell me all _you_ saw!"

"Everything!" said the shadow, "for I saw everything, and I know
everything!"

"How did it look in the furthest saloon?" asked the learned man. "Was
it there as in the fresh woods? Was it there as in a holy church? Were
the saloons like the starlit firmament when we stand on the high
mountains?"

"Everything was there!" said the shadow. "I did not go quite in, I
remained in the foremost room, in the twilight, but I stood there
quite well; I saw everything, and I know everything! I have been in
the antechamber at the court of Poesy."

"But _what did_ you see? Did all the gods of the olden times pass
through the large saloons? Did the old heroes combat there? Did sweet
children play there, and relate their dreams?"

"I tell you I was there, and you can conceive that I saw everything
there was to be seen. Had you come over there, you would not have been
a man; but I became so! And besides, I learned to know my inward
nature, my innate qualities, the relationship I had with Poesy. At the
time I was with you, I thought not of that, but always--you know it
well--when the sun rose, and when the sun went down, I became so
strangely great; in the moonlight I was very near being more distinct
than yourself; at that time I did not understand my nature; it was
revealed to me in the antechamber! I became a man!--I came out
matured; but you were no longer in the warm lands;--as a man I was
ashamed to go as I did. I was in want of boots, of clothes, of the
whole human varnish that makes a man perceptible. I took my way--I
tell it to you, but you will not put it in any book--I took my way to
the cake woman--I hid myself behind her; the woman didn't think how
much she concealed. I went out first in the evening; I ran about the
streets in the moonlight; I made myself long up the walls--it tickles
the back so delightfully! I ran up, and ran down, peeped into the
highest windows, into the saloons, and on the roofs, I peeped in where
no one could peep, and I saw what no one else saw, what no one else
should see! This is, in fact, a base world! I would not be a man if it
were not now once accepted and regarded as something to be so! I saw
the most unimaginable things with the women, with the men, with
parents, and with the sweet, matchless children; I saw," said the
shadow "what no human being must know, but what they would all so
willingly know--what is bad in their neighbor. Had I written a
newspaper, it would have been read! but I wrote direct to the persons
themselves, and there was consternation in all the towns where I came.
They were so afraid of me, and yet they were so excessively fond of
me. The professors made a professor of me; the tailors gave me new
clothes--I am well furnished; the master of the mint struck new coin
for me, and the women said I was so handsome! and so I became the man
I am. And I now bid you farewell;--here is my card--I live on the
sunny side of the street, and am always at home in rainy weather!" And
so away went the shadow.

"That was most extraordinary!" said the learned man.

Years and days passed away, then the shadow came again.

"How goes it?" said the shadow.

"Alas!" said the learned man, "I write about the true, and the good,
and the beautiful, but no one cares to hear such things; I am quite
desperate, for I take it so much to heart!"

"But I don't!" said the shadow, "I become fat, and it is that one
wants to become! You do not understand the world. You will become ill
by it. You must travel! I shall make a tour this summer; will you go
with me?--I should like to have a travelling companion! will you go
with me, as shadow? It will be a great pleasure for me to have you
with me; I shall pay the travelling expenses!"

"Nay, this is too much!" said the learned man.

"It is just as one takes it!"--said the shadow. "It will do you much
good to travel!--will you be my shadow?--you shall have everything
free on the journey!"

"Nay, that is too bad!" said the learned man.

"But it is just so with the world!" said the shadow,--"and so it will
be!"--and away it went again.

The learned man was not at all in the most enviable state; grief and
torment followed him, and what he said about the true, and the good,
and the beautiful, was, to most persons, like roses for a cow!--he was
quite ill at last.

"You really look like a shadow!" said his friends to him; and the
learned man trembled, for he thought of it.

"You must go to a watering-place!" said the shadow, who came and
visited him; "there is nothing else for it! I will take you with me
for old acquaintance' sake; I will pay the travelling expenses, and
you write the descriptions--and if they are a little amusing for me on
the way! I will go to a watering-place,--my beard does not grow out as
it ought--that is also a sickness--and one must have a beard! Now you
be wise and accept the offer; we shall travel as comrades!"

And so they travelled; the shadow was master, and the master was the
shadow; they drove with each other, they rode and walked together,
side by side, before and behind, just as the sun was; the shadow
always took care to keep itself in the master's place. Now the learned
man didn't think much about that; he was a very kind-hearted man, and
particularly mild and friendly, and so he said one day to the shadow:
"As we have now become companions, and in this way have grown up
together from childhood, shall we not drink '_thou_' together, it is
more familiar?"

"You are right," said the shadow, who was now the proper master. "It
is said in a very straight-forward and well-meant manner. You, as a
learned man, certainly know how strange nature is. Some persons cannot
bear to touch grey paper, or they become ill; others shiver in every
limb if one rub a pane of glass with a nail: I have just such a
feeling on hearing you say _thou_ to me; I feel myself as if pressed
to the earth in my first situation with you. You see that it is a
feeling; that it is not pride: I cannot allow you to say _thou_ to me,
but I will willingly say _thou_ to you, so it is half done!"

So the shadow said _thou_ to its former master.

"This is rather too bad," thought he, that I must say _you_ and he say
"thou," but he was now obliged to put up with it.

So they came to a watering-place where there were many strangers, and
amongst them was a princess, who was troubled with seeing too well;
and that was so alarming!

She directly observed that the stranger who had just come was quite a
different sort of person to all the others;--"He has come here in
order to get his beard to grow, they say, but I see the real cause, he
cannot cast a shadow."

She had become inquisitive; and so she entered into conversation
directly with the strange gentleman, on their promenades. As the
daughter of a king, she needed not to stand upon trifles, so she said,
"Your complaint is, that you cannot cast a shadow?"

"Your Royal Highness must be improving considerably," said the
shadow,--"I know your complaint is, that you see too clearly, but it
has decreased, you are cured. I just happen to have a very unusual
shadow! Do you not see that person who always goes with me? Other
persons have a common shadow, but I do not like what is common to all.
We give our servants finer cloth for their livery than we ourselves
use, and so I had my shadow trimmed up into a man: yes, you see I have
even given him a shadow. It is somewhat expensive, but I like to have
something for myself!"

"What!" thought the princess, "should I really be cured! These baths
are the first in the world! In our time water has wonderful powers.
But I shall not leave the place, for it now begins to be amusing here.
I am extremely fond of that stranger: would that his beard should not
grow! for in that case he will leave us."

In the evening, the princess and the shadow danced together in the
large ball-room. She was light, but he was still lighter; she had
never had such a partner in the dance. She told him from what land she
came, and he knew that land; he had been there, but then she was not
at home; he had peeped in at the window, above and below--he had seen
both the one and the other, and so he could answer the princess, and
make insinuations, so that she was quite astonished; he must be the
wisest man in the whole world! she felt such respect for what he knew!
So that when they again danced together she fell in love with him; and
that the shadow could remark, for she almost pierced him through with
her eyes. So they danced once more together; and she was about to
declare herself, but she was discreet; she thought of her country and
kingdom, and of the many persons she would have to reign over.

"He is a wise man," said she to herself--"It is well; and he dances
delightfully--that is also good; but has he solid knowledge?--that is
just as important!--he must be examined."

So she began, by degrees, to question him about the most difficult
things she could think of, and which she herself could not have
answered; so that the shadow made a strange face.

"You cannot answer these questions?" said the princess.

"They belong to my childhood's learning," said the shadow. "I really
believe my shadow, by the door there, can answer them!"

"Your shadow!" said the princess; "that would indeed be marvellous!"

"I will not say for a certainty that he can," said the shadow, "but I
think so; he has now followed me for so many years, and listened to my
conversation--I should think it possible. But your royal highness will
permit me to observe, that he is so proud of passing himself off for a
man, that when he is to be in a proper humor--and he must be so to
answer well--he must be treated quite like a man."

"Oh! I like that!" said the princess.

So she went to the learned man by the door, and she spoke to him about
the sun and the moon, and about persons out of and in the world, and
he answered with wisdom and prudence.

"What a man that must be who has so wise a shadow!" thought she; "It
will be a real blessing to my people and kingdom if I choose him for
my consort--I will do it!"

They were soon agreed, both the princess and the shadow; but no one
was to know about it before she arrived in her own kingdom.

"No one--not even my shadow!" said the shadow, and he had his own
thoughts about it!

Now they were in the country where the princess reigned when she was
at home.

"Listen, my good friend," said the shadow to the learned man. "I have
now become as happy and mighty as any one can be; I will, therefore,
do something particular for thee! Thou shalt always live with me in
the palace, drive with me in my royal carriage, and have ten thousand
pounds a year; but then thou must submit to be called shadow by all
and every one; thou must not say that thou hast ever been a man; and
once a-year, when I sit on the balcony in the sunshine, thou must lie
at my feet, as a shadow shall do! I must tell thee: I am going to
marry the king's daughter, and the nuptials are to take place this
evening!"

"Nay, this is going too far!" said the learned man; "I will not have
it; I will not do it! it is to deceive the whole country and the
princess too! I will tell every thing!--that I am a man, and that thou
art a shadow--thou art only dressed up!"

"There is no one who will believe it!" said the shadow; "be
reasonable, or I will call the guard!"

"I will go directly to the princess!" said the learned man.

"But I will go first!" said the shadow, "and thou wilt go to prison!"
and that he was obliged to do--for the sentinels obeyed him whom they
knew the king's daughter was to marry.

"You tremble!" said the princess, as the shadow came into her chamber;
"has anything happened? You must not be unwell this evening, now that
we are to have our nuptials celebrated."

"I have lived to see the most cruel thing that any one can live to
see!" said the shadow. "Only imagine--yes, it is true, such a poor
shadow-skull cannot bear much--only think, my shadow has become mad;
he thinks that he is a man, and that I--now only think--that I am his
shadow!"

"It is terrible!" said the princess; "but he is confined, is he not?"

"That he is. I am afraid that he will never recover."

"Poor shadow!" said the princess, "he is very unfortunate; it would be
a real work of charity to deliver him from the little life he has,
and, when I think properly over the matter, I am of opinion that it
will be necessary to do away with him in all stillness!"

"It is certainly hard!" said the shadow, "for he was a faithful
servant!" and then he gave a sort of sigh.

"You are a noble character!" said the princess.

The whole city was illuminated in the evening, and the cannons went
off with a bum! bum! and the soldiers presented arms. That was a
marriage! The princess and the shadow went out on the balcony to show
themselves, and get another hurrah!

The learned man heard nothing of all this--for they had deprived him
of life.


------------



THE OLD STREET-LAMP.

Have you heard the story about the old street lamp? It is not so very
amusing, but one may very well hear it once. It was such a decent old
street-lamp, that had done its duty for many, many years, but now it
was to be condemned. It was the last evening,--it sat there on the
post and lighted the street; and it was in just such a humor as an old
figurante in a ballet, who dances for the last evening, and knows that
she is to be put on the shelf to-morrow. The lamp had such a fear of
the coming day, for it knew that it should then be carried to the
town-hall for the first time, and examined by the authorities of the
city, who should decide if it could be used or not. It would then be
determined whether it should be sent out to one of the suburbs, or in
to the country to a manufactory; perhaps it would be sent direct to
the ironfounder's and be re-cast; in that case it could certainly be
all sorts of things: but it pained it not to know whether it would
then retain the remembrance of its having been a street-lamp.

However it might be, whether it went into the country or not, it would
be separated from the watchman and his wife, whom it regarded as its
family. It became a street-lamp when he became watchman. His wife was
a very fine woman at that time; it was only in the evening when she
went past the lamp that she looked at it, but never in the daytime.
Now, on the contrary, of late years, as they had all three grown
old,--the watchman, his wife, and the lamp,--the wife had always
attended to it, polished it up, and put oil in it. They were honest
folks that married couple, they had not cheated the lamp of a single
drop. It was its last evening in the street, and to-morrow it was to
be taken to the town-hall; these were two dark thoughts in the lamp,
and so one can know how it burnt. But other thoughts also passed
through it; there was so much it had seen, so much it had a desire
for, perhaps just as much as the whole of the city authorities; but it
didn't say so, for it was a well-behaved old lamp--it would not insult
any one, least of all its superiors. It remembered so much, and now
and then the flames within it blazed up,--it was as if it had a
feeling of--yes, they will also remember me! There was now that
handsome young man--but that is many years since,--he came with a
letter, it was on rose-colored paper; so fine--so fine! and with a
gilt edge; it was so neatly written, it was a lady's hand; he read it
twice, and he kissed it, and he looked up to me with his two bright
eyes--they said, "I am the happiest of men!" Yes, only he and I knew
what stood in that first letter from his beloved.

I also remember two other eyes--it is strange how one's thoughts fly
about!--there was a grand funeral here in the street, the beautiful
young wife lay in the coffin on the velvet-covered funeral car; there
were so many flowers and wreaths, there were so many torches burning,
that I was quite forgotten--out of sight; the whole footpath was
filled with persons; they all followed in the procession; but when the
torches were out of sight, and I looked about, there stood one who
leaned against my post and wept. I shall never forget those two
sorrowful eyes that looked into me. Thus there passed many thoughts
through the old street-lamp, which this evening burnt for the last
time. The sentinel who is relieved from his post knows his successor,
and can say a few words to him, but the lamp knew not its successor;
and yet it could have given him a hint about rain and drizzle, and how
far the moon shone on the footpath, and from what corner the wind
blew.

Now, there stood three on the kerb-stone; they had presented
themselves before the lamp, because they thought it was the
street-lamp who gave away the office; the one of these three was a
herring's head, for it shines in the dark, and it thought that it
could be of great service, and a real saving of oil, if it came to be
placed on the lamp-post. The other was a piece of touchwood, which
also shines, and always more than a stock-fish; besides, it said so
itself, it was the last piece of a tree that had once been the pride
of the forest. The third was a glow-worm; but where it had come from
the lamp could not imagine; but the glow-worm was there, and it also
shone, but the touchwood and the herring's head took their oaths that
it only shone at certain times, and therefore it could never be taken
into consideration.

The old lamp said that none of them shone well enough to be a
street-lamp; but not one of them thought so; and as they heard that it
was not the lamp itself that gave away the office, they said that it
was a very happy thing, for that it was too infirm and broken down to
be able to choose.

At the same moment the wind came from the street corner, it whistled
through the cowl of the old lamp, and said to it, "What is it that I
hear, are you going away to-morrow? Is it the last evening I shall
meet you here? Then you shall have a present!--now I will blow up your
brain-box so that you shall not only remember, clearly and distinctly,
what you have seen and heard, but when anything is told or read in
your presence, you shall be so clear-headed that you will also see
it."

"That is certainly much!" said the old street-lamp; "I thank you much;
if I be only not re-cast."

"It will not happen yet awhile," said the wind; "and now I will blow
up your memory; if you get more presents than that you may have quite
a pleasant old age."

"If I be only not re-cast," said the lamp; "or can you then assure me
my memory?"

"Old lamp, be reasonable!" said the wind, and then it blew. The moon
came forth at the same time. "What do you give?" asked the wind.

"I give nothing!" said the moon; "I am waning, and the lamps have
never shone for me, but I have shone for the lamps."* So the moon went
behind the clouds again, for it would not be plagued. A drop of rain
then fell straight down on the lamp's cowl, it was like a drop of
water from the eaves, but the drop said that it came from the grey
clouds, and was also a present,---and perhaps the best of all. "I
penetrate into you, so that you have the power, if you wish it, in one
night to pass over to rust, so that you may fall in pieces and become
dust." But the lamp thought this was a poor present, and the wind
thought the same. "Is there no better--is there no better?" it
whistled, as loud as it could. A shooting-star then fell, it shone in
a long stripe.

------

* It is the custom in Denmark, and one deserving the severest censure,
that, on those nights in which the moon shines; or, according to
almanac authority, ought to shine, the street lamps are not lighted;
so that, as it too frequently happens, when the moon is overclouded,
or on rainy evenings when she is totally obscured, the streets are for
the most part in perfect darkness. This petty economy is called "the
magistrates' light," they having the direction of the lighting,
paving, and cleansing of towns.

The same management may be met with in some other countries besides
Denmark.

------

"What was that?" exclaimed the herring's head; "did not a star fall
right down? I think it went into the lamp! Well, if persons who stand
so high seek the office, we may as well take ourselves off."

And it did so, and the others did so too; but the old lamp shone all
at once so singularly bright.

"That was a fine present!" it said; "the bright stars which I have
always pleased myself so much about, and which shine so
beautifully,--as I really have never been able to shine, although it
was my whole aim and endeavor,--have noticed me, a poor old-lamp, and
sent one down with a present to me, which consists of that quality,
that everything I myself remember and see quite distinctly, shall also
be seen by those I am fond of; and that is, above all, a true
pleasure, for what one cannot share with others is but a half
delight."

"It is a very estimable thought," said the wind; "but you certainly
don't know that there must be wax-candles; for unless a wax-candle be
lighted in you there are none of the others that will be able to see
anything particular about you. The stars have not thought of that;
they think that everything which shines has, at least, a wax-candle in
it. But now I am tired," said the wind, "I will now lie down;" and so
it lay down to rest.

The next day--yes, the next day we will spring over: the next evening
the lamp lay in the arm chair,--and where? At the old watchman's. He
had, for his long and faithful services, begged of the authorities
that he might be allowed to keep the old lamp; they laughed at him
when he begged for it, and then gave him it; and now the lamp lay in
the arm-chair, close by the warm stove, and it was really just as if
it had become larger on that account,--it almost filled the whole
chair. The old folks now sat at their supper, and cast mild looks at
the old lamp, which they would willingly have given a place at the
table with them. It is true they lived in a cellar, a yard or so below
ground: one had to go through a paved front-room to come into the room
they lived in; but it was warm here, for there was list round the door
to keep it so. It looked clean and neat, with curtains round the bed
and over the small windows, where two strange-looking flowerpots stood
on the sill. Christian, the sailor, had brought them from the East or
West Indies; they were of clay in the form of two elephants, the backs
of which were wanting: but in their place there came flourishing
plants out of the earth that was in them; in the one was the finest
chive,--It was the old folks' kitchen-garden,--and in the other was a
large flowering geranium--this was their flower-garden. On the wall
hung a large colored print of "The Congress of Vienna;" there they had
all the kings and emperors at once. A Bornholm* clock, with heavy
leaden weights went "tic-tac!" and always too fast; but the old folks
said it was better than if it went too slow. They ate their suppers,
and the old lamp, as we have said, lay in the armchair close by the
warm stove. It was, for the old lamp, as if the whole world was turned
upside down. But when the old watchman looked at it, and spoke about
what they had lived to see with each other, in rain and drizzle, in
the clear, short summer nights, and when the snow drove about so that
it was good to get into the pent-house of the cellar,--then all was
again in order for the old lamp, it saw it all just as if it were now
present;--yes! the wind had blown it up right well,--it had
enlightened it.

------

* Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic is famous for its
manufactures of clocks, potteries, and cement; it contains also
considerable coal mines, though not worked to any extent. It is
fertile in minerals, chalks, potters' clay of the finest quality, and
other valuable natural productions; but, on account of the jealous
nature of the inhabitants, which deters foreigners from settling
there, these productions are not made so available or profitable as
they otherwise might be.

------

The old folks were so clever and industrious, not an hour was quietly
dozed away; on Sunday afternoons some book was always brought forth,
particularly a book of travels, and the old man read aloud about
Africa, about the great forests and the elephants that were there
quite wild; and the old woman listened so attentively, and now and
then took a side glance at the clay elephants--her flower-pots. "I can
almost imagine it!" said she; and the lamp wished so much that there
was a wax candle to light and be put in it, so that she could plainly
see everything just as the lamp saw it; the tall trees, the thick
branches twining into one another, the black men on horseback, and
whole trains of elephants, which, with their broad feet, crushed the
canes and bushes.

"Of what use are all my abilities when there is no wax candle?" sighed
the lamp; "they have only train oil and tallow candles, and they are
not sufficient."

One day there came a whole bundle of stumps of wax candles into the
cellar, the largest pieces were burnt, and the old woman used the
smaller pieces to wax her thread with when she sewed; there were wax
candle ends, but they never thought of putting a little piece in the
lamp.

"Here I stand with my rare abilities," said the lamp; "I have
everything within me, but I cannot share any part with them. They know
not that I can transform the white walls to the prettiest
paper-hangings, to rich forests, to everything that they may wish for.
They know it not!"

For the rest, the lamp stood in a corner, where it always met the eye,
and it was neat and well scoured; folks certainly said it was an old
piece of rubbish; but the old man and his wife didn't care about that,
they were fond of the lamp.

One day it was the old watchman's birth day; the old woman came up to
the lamp, smiled, and said, "I will illuminate for him," and the
lamp's cowl creaked, for it thought, "They will now be enlightened!"
But she put in train oil, and no wax candle; it burnt the whole
evening; but now it knew that the gift which the stars had given it,
the best gift of all, was a dead treasure for this life. It then
dreamt--and when one has such abilities, one can surely dream,--that
the old folks were dead, and that it had come to an ironfounder's to
be cast anew; it was in as much anxiety as when it had to go to the
town-hall to be examined by the authorities; but although it had the
power to fall to pieces in rust and dust, when it wished it, yet it
did not do it; and so it came into the furnace and was re-cast as a
pretty iron candlestick, in which any one might set a wax candle. It
had the form of an angel, bearing a nosegay, and in the centre of the
nosegay they put a wax taper and it was placed on a green
writing-table; and the room was so snug and comfortable: there hung
beautiful pictures--there stood many books; it was at a poet's, and
everything that he wrote, unveiled itself round about: the room became
a deep, dark forest,--a sun-lit meadow where the stork stalked about;
and a ship's deck high aloft on the swelling sea!

"What power I have!" said the old lamp, as it awoke. "I almost long to
be re-cast;--but no, it must not be as long as the old folks live.
They are fond of me for the sake of my person. I am to them as a
child, and they have scoured me, and they have given me train oil.
After all, I am as well off as 'The Congress,'--which is something so
very grand."

From that time it had more inward peace, which was merited by the old
street-lamp.

------------



THE DREAM OF LITTLE TUK.

Ah! yes, that was little Tuk: in reality his name was not Tuk, but
that was what he called himself before he could speak plain: he meant
it for Charles, and it is all well enough if one do but know it. He
had now to take care of his little sister Augusta, who was much less
than himself, and he was, besides, to learn his lesson at the same
time; but these two things would not do together at all. There sat the
poor little fellow with his sister on his lap, and he sang to her all
the songs he knew; and he glanced the while from time to time into the
geography-book that lay open before him. By the next morning he was to
have learnt all the towns in Zealand by heart, and to know about them
all that is possible to be known.

His mother now came home, for she had been out, and took little
Augusta on her arm. Tuk ran quickly to the window, and read so eagerly
that he pretty nearly read his eyes out; for it got darker and darker,
but his mother had no money to buy a candle.

"There goes the old washerwoman over the way," said his mother, as she
looked out of the window. "The poor woman can hardly drag herself
along, and she must now drag the pail home from the fountain: be a
good boy, Tukey, and run across and help the old woman, won't you?"

So Tuk ran over quickly and helped her; but when he came back again
into the room it was quite dark, and as to a light, there was no
thought of such a thing. He was now to go to bed; that was an old
turn-up bedstead; in it he lay and thought about his geography lesson,
and of Zealand, and of all that his master had told him. He ought, to
be sure, to have read over his lesson again, but that, you know, he
could not do. He therefore put his geography-book under his pillow,
because he had heard that was a very good thing to do when one wants
to learn one's lesson; but one cannot, however, rely upon it entirely.
Well there he lay, and thought and thought, and all at once it was just
as if some one kissed his eyes and mouth: he slept, and yet he did not
sleep; it was as though the old washerwoman gazed on him with her mild
eyes and said, "It were a great sin if you were not to know your
lesson tomorrow morning. You have aided me, I therefore will now help
you; and the loving God will do so at all times." And all of a sudden
the book under Tuk's pillow began scraping and scratching.

"Kickery-ki! kluk! kluk! kluk!"--that was an old hen who came creeping
along, and she was from Kjoge. I am a Kjoger hen,"* said she, and then
she related how many inhabitants there were there, and about the
battle that had taken place, and which, after all, was hardly worth
talking about.

------

* Kjoge a town in the bay of Kjoge "To see the Kjoge hens," is an
expression similar to "showing a child London," which is said to be
done by taking his head in both hands, and so lifting him off the
ground. At the invasion of the English in 1807, an encounter of a no
very glorious nature took place between the British troops and the
undisciplined Danish militia.

------

"Kribledy, krabledy--plump!" down fell somebody: it was a wooden bird,
the popinjay used at the shooting-matches at Prastoe. Now _he_ said
that there were just as many inhabitants as he had nails in his body;
and he was very proud. "Thorwaldsen lived almost next door to me.*
Plump! here I lie capitally."

------

* Prastoe, a still smaller town than Kjoge. Some hundred paces from it
lies the manor-house Ny Soe, where Thorwaldsen generally sojourned
during his stay in Denmark, and where he called many of his immortal
works into existence.

------

But little Tuk was no longer lying down: all at once he was on
horseback. On he went at full gallop, still galloping on and on. A
knight with a gleaming plume, and most magnificently dressed, held him
before him on the horse, and thus they rode through the wood to the
old town of Bordingborg, and that was a large and very lively town.
High towers rose from the castle of the king, and the brightness of
many candles streamed from all the windows; within was dance and song,
and King Waldemar and the young, richly-attired maids of honor danced
together. The morn now came; and as soon as the sun appeared, the
whole town and the king's palace crumbled together, and one tower
after the other; and at last only a single one remained standing where
the castle had been before,* and the town was so small and poor, and
the school boys came along with their books under their arms, and
said, "2000 inhabitants!" but that was not true, for there were not so
many.

------

* Bordingborg, in the reign of King Waldemar a considerable place, now
an unimportant little town. One solitary tower only, and some remains
of a wall, show where the castle once stood.

------

And little Tukey lay in his bed: it seemed to him as if he dreamed,
and yet as if he were not dreaming; however, somebody was close beside
him.

"Little Tukey! little Tukey!" cried some one near. It was a seaman,
quite a little personage, so little as if he were a midshipman; but a
midshipman it was not.

"Many remembrances from Corsor.* That is a town that is just rising
into importance; a lively town that has steam-boats and stagecoaches:
formerly people called it ugly, but that is no longer true. I lie on
the sea," said Corsor; "I have high roads and gardens, and I have
given birth to a poet who was witty and amusing, which all poets are
not. I once intended to equip a ship that was to sail all round the
earth; but I did not do it, although I could have done so: and then,
too, I smell so deliciously, for close before the gate bloom the most
beautiful roses."

------

* Corsor, on the Great Belt, called, formerly, before the introduction
of steam-vessels, when travellers were often obliged to wait a long
time for a favorable wind, "the most tiresome of towns." The poet
Baggesen was born here.

------

Little Tuk looked, and all was red and green before his eyes; but as
soon as the confusion of colors was somewhat over, all of a sudden
there appeared a wooded slope close to the bay, and high up above
stood a magnificent old church, with two high pointed towers. From out
the hill-side spouted fountains in thick streams of water, so that
there was a continual splashing; and close beside them sat an old king
with a golden crown upon his white head: that was King Hroar, near the
fountains, close to the town of Roeskilde, as it is now called. And up
the slope into the old church went all the kings and queens of
Denmark, hand in hand, all with their golden crowns; and the organ
played and the fountains rustled. Little Tuk saw all, heard all. "Do
not forget the diet," said King Hroar.[1] Again all suddenly
disappeared. Yes, and whither? It seemed to him just as if one turned
over a leaf in a book. And now stood there an old peasant-woman, who
came from Soroe,[2] where grass grows in the marketplace.

------

[1] Roeskilde, once the capital of Denmark. The town takes its name
from King Hroar, and the many fountains in the neighborhood. In the
beautiful cathedral the greater number of the kings and queens of
Denmark are interred. In Roeskilde, too, the members of the Danish
Diet assemble.

[2] Soroe, a very quiet little town, beautifully situated, surrounded
by woods and lakes. Holberg, Denmark's Moliere, founded here an
academy for the sons of the nobles. The poets Hauch and Ingemann were
appointed professors here. The latter lives there still.

------

She had an old grey linen apron hanging over her head and back: it was
so wet, it certainly must have been raining "Yes, that it has," said
she; and she now related many pretty things out of Holberg's comedies,
and about Waldemar and Absalon; but all at once she cowered together,
and her head began shaking backwards and forwards, and she looked as
she were going to make a spring. "Croak! croak!" said she: "it is wet,
it is wet; there is such a pleasant death-like stillness in Soroe!"
She was now suddenly a frog, "Croak;" and now she was an old woman.
"One must dress according to the weather," said she. "It is wet, it is
wet. My town is just like a bottle; and one gets in by the neck, and
by the neck one must get out again! In former times I had the finest
fish, and now I have fresh rosy-cheeked boys at the bottom of the
bottle, who learn wisdom, Hebrew, Greek,--Croak!" When she spoke it
sounded just like the noise of frogs, or as if one walked with great
boots over a moor; always the same tone, so uniform and so tiring that
little Tuk fell into a good sound sleep, which, by the bye, could not
do him any harm.

But even in this sleep there came a dream, or whatever else it was:
his little sister Augusta, she with the blue eyes and the fair curling
hair, was suddenly a tall, beautiful girl, and without having wings
was yet able to fly; and she now flew over Zealand--over the green
woods and the blue lakes.

"Do you hear the cock crow, Tukey? cock-a-doodle-doo! The cocks are
flying up from Kjoge! You will have a farm-yard, so large, oh! so very
large! You will suffer neither hunger nor thirst! You will get on in
the world! You will be a rich and happy man! Your house will exalt
itself like King Waldemar's tower, and will be richly decorated with
marble statues, like that at Prastoe. You understand what I mean. Your
name shall circulate with renown all round the earth, like unto the
ship that was to have sailed from Corsor; and in Roeskilde"----

"Do not forget the diet!" said King Hroar.

"Then you will speak well and wisely, little Tukey; and when at last
you sink into your grave, you shall sleep as quietly"----

"As if I lay in Soroe," said Tuk, awaking. It was bright day, and he
was now quite unable to call to mind his dream; that, however, was not
at all necessary, for one may not know what the future will bring.

And out of bed he jumped, and read in his book, and now all at once he
knew his whole lesson. And the old washerwoman popped her head in at
the door, nodded to him friendly, and said, "Thanks, many thanks, my
good child, for your help! May the good ever-loving God fulfil your
loveliest dream!"

Little Tukey did not at all know what he had dreamed, but the loving
God knew it.


------------



THE NAUGHTY BOY.

A long time ago there lived an old poet, a thoroughly kind old poet.
As he was sitting one evening in his room, a dreadful storm arose
without, and the rain streamed down from heaven; but the old poet sat
warm and comfortable in his chimney-corner, where the fire blazed and
the roasting apple hissed.

"Those who have not a roof over their heads will be wetted to the
skin," said the good old poet.

"Oh let me in! let me in! I am cold, and I'm so wet!" exclaimed
suddenly a child that stood crying at the door and knocking for
admittance, while the rain poured down, and the wind made all the
windows rattle.

"Poor thing!" said the old poet, as he went to open the door. There
stood a little boy, quite naked, and the water ran down from his long
golden hair; he trembled with cold, and had he not come into a warm
room he would most certainly have perished in the frightful tempest.

"Poor child!" said the old poet, as he took the boy by the hand. "Come
in, come in, and I will soon restore thee! Thou shalt have wine and
roasted apples, for thou art verily a charming child!" And the boy was
so really. His eyes were like two bright stars; and although the water
trickled down his hair, it waved in beautiful curls. He looked exactly
like a little angel, but he was so pale, and his whole body trembled
with cold. He had a nice little bow in his hand, but it was quite
spoiled by the rain, and the tints of his many-colored arrows ran one
into the other.

The old poet seated himself beside his hearth, and took the little
fellow on his lap; he squeezed the water out of his dripping hair,
warmed his hands between his own, and boiled for him some sweet wine.
Then the boy recovered, his cheeks again grew rosy, he jumped down
from the lap where he was sitting, and danced round the kind old poet.

"You are a merry fellow," said the old man; "what's your name?"

"My name is Cupid," answered the boy. "Don't you know me? There lies
my bow; it shoots well, I can assure you! Look, the weather is now
clearing up, and the moon is shining clear again through the window."

"Why, your bow is quite spoiled," said the old poet.

"That were sad indeed," said the boy, and he took the bow in his hand
and examined it on every side. "Oh, it is dry again, and is not hurt
at all; the string is quite tight. I will try it directly." And he
bent his bow, took aim, and shot an arrow at the old poet, right into
his heart. "You see now that my bow was not spoiled," said he,
laughing; and away he ran.

The naughty boy! to shoot the old poet in that way; he who had taken
him into his warm room, who had treated him so kindly, and who had
given him warm wine and the very best apples!

The poor poet lay on the earth and wept, for the arrow had really
flown into his heart.

"Fie!" said he, "how naughty a boy Cupid is! I will tell all children
about him, that they may take care and not play with him, for he will
only cause them sorrow and many a heart-ache."

And all good children to whom he related this story, took great heed
of this naughty Cupid; but he made fools of them still, for he is
astonishingly cunning. When the university students come from the
lectures, he runs beside them in a black coat, and with a book under
his arm. It is quite impossible for them to know him, and they walk
along with him arm in arm, as if he, too, were a student like
themselves; and then, unperceived, he thrusts an arrow to their bosom.
When the young maidens come from being examined by the clergyman, or
go to church to be confirmed, there he is again close behind them.
Yes, he is for ever following people. At the play he sits in the great
chandelier and burns in bright flames, so that people think it is
really a flame, but they soon discover it is something else. He roves
about in the garden of the palace and upon the ramparts: yes, once he
even shot your father and mother right in the heart. Ask them only,
and you will hear what they'll tell you. Oh, he is a naughty boy, that
Cupid; you must never have anything to do with him. He is for ever
running after everybody. Only think, he shot an arrow once at your old
grandmother! But that is a long time ago, and it is all past now;
however, a thing of that sort she never forgets. Fie, naughty Cupid!
But now you know him, and you know, too, how ill-behaved he is!


------------



THE TWO NEIGHBORING FAMILIES.

We really might have thought something of importance was going on in
the duck-pond, but there was nothing going on. All the ducks that were
resting tranquilly on the water, or were standing in it on their
heads--for that they were able to do--swam suddenly to the shore: you
could see in the wet ground the traces of their feet, and hear their
quacking far and near. The water, which but just now was smooth and
bright as a mirror, was quite put into commotion. Before, one saw
every tree reflected in it, every bush that was near: the old
farm-house, with the holes in the roof and with the swallow's nest
under the eaves; but principally, however, the great rose-bush, sown,
as it were, with flowers. It covered the wall, and hung forwards over
the water, in which one beheld the whole as in a picture, except that
everything was upside down; but when the water was agitated, all swam
away and the picture was gone. Two duck's feathers, which the
fluttering ducks had lost, were rocking to and fro: suddenly they flew
forwards as if the wind were coming, but it did not come: they were,
therefore, obliged to remain where they were, and the water grew quiet
and smooth again, and again the roses reflected themselves--they were
so beautiful, but that they did not know, for nobody had told them.
The sun shone in between the tender leaves--all breathed the most
beautiful fragrance; and to them it was as with us, when right
joyfully we are filled with the thought of our happiness.

"How beautiful is existence!" said each rose. "There is but one thing
I should wish for,--to kiss the sun, because it is so bright and
warm.* The roses yonder, too, below in the water, the exact image of
ourselves--them also I should like to kiss, and the nice little birds
below in their nest. There are some above, too; they stretch out their
heads and chirrup quite loud: they have no feathers at all, as their
fathers and mothers have. They are good neighbors, those below as well
as those above. How beautiful existence is!"

------

* In Danish the sun is of the feminine gender, and not, as with us,
when personified, spoken of as "he." We beg to make this observation,
lest the roses' wish "to kiss the sun," be thought unmaidenly. We are
anxious, also, to remove a stumbling block, which might perchance trip
up exquisitely-refined modern notions, sadly shocked, no doubt, as
they would be, at such an apparent breach of modesty and
decorum.--(Note of the Translator.)

------

The young birds above and below--those below of course the reflection
only in the water--were sparrows: their parents were likewise
sparrows; and they had taken possession of the empty swallow's nest of
the preceding year, and now dwelt therein as if it had been their own
property.

"Are those little duck children that are swimming there?" asked the
young sparrows, when they discovered the duck's feathers on the water.

"If you _will_ ask questions, do let them be a little rational at
least," said the mother. "Don't you see that they are feathers, living
stuff for clothing such as I wear, and such as you will wear also? But
ours is finer. I should, however, be glad if we had it up here in our
nest, for it keeps one warm. I am curious to know at what the ducks
were so frightened; at us, surely not; 'tis true I said 'chirp,' to
you rather loud. In reality, the thick-headed roses ought to know, but
they know nothing; they only gaze on themselves and smell: for my
part, I am heartily tired of these neighbors."

"Listen to the charming little birds above," said the roses, "they
begin to want to sing too, but they cannot as yet. However, they will
do so by and by: what pleasure that must afford! It is so pleasant to
have such merry neighbors!"

Suddenly two horses came galloping along to be watered. A peasant boy
rode on one, and he had taken off all his clothes except his large
broad black hat. The youth whistled like a bird, and rode into the
pond where it was deepest; and as he passed by the rosebush he
gathered a rose and stuck it in his hat; and now he fancied himself
very fine, and rode on. The other roses looked after their sister, and
asked each other, "Whither is she going?" but that no one knew.

"I should like to go out into the world," thought one; "yet here at
home amid our foliage it is also beautiful. By day the sun shines so
warm, and in the night the sky shines still more beautifully: we can
see that through all the little holes that are in it." By this they
meant the stars, but they did not know any better.

"We enliven the place," said the mamma sparrow; "and the swallow's
nest brings luck, so people say, and therefore people are pleased to
have us. But our neighbors! Such a rose-bush against the wall produces
damp; it will doubtless be cleared away, and then, perhaps, some corn
at least may grow there. The roses are good for nothing except to look
at and to smell, and, at most to put into one's hat. Every year--that
I know from my mother--they fall away; the peasants wife collects them
together and strews salt among them; they then receive a French name
which I neither can nor care to pronounce, and are put upon the fire,
when they are to give a pleasant odor. Look ye, such is their life;
they are only here to please the eye and nose! And so now you know the
whole matter."

As the evening came on, and the gnats played in the warm air and in
the red clouds, the nightingale came and sang to the roses; sang that
the beautiful is as the sunshine in this world, and that the beautiful
lives for ever. But the roses thought that the nightingale sang his
own praise, which one might very well have fancied; for that the song
related to them, of that they never thought: they rejoiced in it,
however, and meditated if perhaps all the little sparrows could become
nightingales too.

"I understood _the song of that bird quite well_," said the young
sparrows; "one word only was not quite clear to me. What was the
meaning of 'the beautiful?'"

"That is nothing," said the mamma sparrow, "that is only something
external. Yonder at the mansion, where the pigeons have a house of
their own, and where every day peas and corn is strewn before them--I
have myself eaten there with them, and you shall, too, in time; tell
me what company you keep, and I'll tell you who you are--yes, yonder
at the mansion they have got two birds with green necks and a comb on
their head; they can spread out their tail like a great wheel, and in
it plays every color, that it quite hurts one's eyes to look at it.
These birds are called peacocks, and that is 'THE BEAUTIFUL.' They
only want to be plucked a little, and then they would not look at all
different from the rest of us. I would already have plucked them, if
they had not been quite so big."

"I will pluck them," chirped the smallest sparrow, that as yet had not
a single feather.

In the peasant's cottage dwelt a young married couple; they loved each
other dearly, and were industrious and active: everything in their
house looked so neat and pretty. On Sunday morning early the young
woman came out, gathered a handful of the most beautiful roses, and
put them into a glass of water, which she placed on the shelf.

"Now I see that it is Sunday," said the man, and kissed his little
wife. They sat down, read in the hymn-book, and held each other by the
hand: the sun beamed on the fresh roses and on the young married
couple.

"This is really too tiring a sight," said the mamma sparrow, who from
her nest could look into the room, and away she flew.

The next Sunday it was the same, for every Sunday fresh roses were put
in the glass: yet the rose-tree bloomed on equally beautiful. The
young sparrows had now feathers, and wanted much to fly with their
mother; she, however, would not allow it, so they were forced to
remain. Off she flew; but, however, it happened, before she was aware,
she got entangled in a springe of horse-hair, which some boys had set
upon a bough. The horse-hair drew itself tightly round her leg, so
tightly as though it would cut it in two. That was an agony, a fright!
The boys ran to the spot and caught hold of the bird, and that too in
no very gentle manner.

"It's only a sparrow," said they; but they, nevertheless, did not let
her fly, but took her home with them, and every time she cried they
gave her a tap on the beak.

There stood in the farm-yard an old man, who knew how to make
shaving-soap and soap for washing, in square cakes as well as in round
balls. He was a merry, wandering old man. When he saw the sparrow that
the boys had caught, and which, as they said, they did not care about
at all, he asked, "Shall we make something very fine of him?" Mamma
sparrow felt an icy coldness creep over her. Out of the box, in which
were the most beautiful colors, the old man took a quantity of gold
leaf, and the boys were obliged to go and fetch the white of an egg,
with which the sparrow was painted all over; on this the gold was
stuck, and mamma sparrow was now entirely gilded; but she did not
think of adornment, for she trembled in every limb. And the
soap-dealer tore a bit off the lining of his old jacket, cut scollops
in it so that it might look like a cock's comb, and stuck it on the
head of the bird.

"Now, then, you shall see master gold-coat fly," said the old man, and
let the sparrow go, who, in deadly fright, flew off, illumined by the
beaming sun. How she shone! All the sparrows, even a crow, although an
old fellow, were much frightened at the sight; they, however flew on
after him, in order to learn what foreign bird it was.

Impelled by anguish and terror, he flew homewards: he was near falling
exhausted to the earth. The crowd of pursuing birds increased; yes,
some indeed even tried to peck at him.

"Look! there's a fellow! Look! there's a fellow!" screamed they all.

"Look! there's a fellow! Look! there's a fellow!" cried the young
sparrows, as the old one approached the nest. "That, for certain, is a
young peacock; all sorts of colors are playing in his feathers: it
quite hurts one's eyes to look at him, just as our mother told us.
Chirp! chirp! That is the beautiful!" And now they began pecking at
the bird with their little beaks, so that it was quite impossible for
the sparrow to get into the nest: she was so sadly used that she could
not even say "Chirrup," still less, "Why, I am your own mother!" The
other birds, too, now set upon the sparrow, and plucked out feather
after feather; so that at last she fell bleeding in the rose-bush
below.

"Oh! poor thing!" said all the roses, "be quieted; we will hide you.
Lean your little head on us."

The sparrow spread out her wings once more, then folded them close to
her body, and lay dead in the midst of the family who were her
neighbors,--the beautiful fresh roses.

"Chirp! chirp!" sounded from the nest. "Where can our mother be? It is
quite inconceivable! It cannot surely be a trick of hers by which she
means to tell us that we are now to provide for ourselves? She has
left us the house as an inheritance; but to which of us is it
exclusively to belong, when we ourselves have families?"

"Yes, that will never do that you stay here with me when my household
is increased by the addition of a wife and children," said the
smallest.

"I shall have, I should think, more wives and children than you," said
the second.

"But I am the eldest," said the third. They all now grew passionate;
they beat each other with their wings, pecked with their beaks, when,
plump! one after the other was tumbled out of the nest. There they lay
with their rage; they turned their heads on one side, and winked their
eyes as they looked upward: that was their way of playing the
simpleton. They could fly a little, and by practice they learned to do
so still better; and they finally were unanimous as to a sign by
which, when at some future time they should meet again in the world,
they might recognise each other. It was to consist in a "Chirrup!" and
in a thrice-repeated scratching on the ground with the left leg.

The young sparrow that had been left behind in the nest spread himself
out to his full size. He was now, you know, a householder; but his
grandeur did not last long: in the night red fire broke through the
windows, the flames seized on the roof, the dry thatch blazed up high,
the whole house was burnt, and the young sparrow with it; but the
young married couple escaped, fortunately, with life. When the sun
rose again, and every thing looked so refreshed and invigorated, as
after a peaceful sleep, there was nothing left of the cottage except
some charred black beams leaning against the chimney, which now was
its own master. A great deal of smoke still rose from the ground, but
without, quite uninjured, stood the rose-bush, fresh and blooming, and
mirrored every flower, every branch, in the clear water.

"Oh! how beautifully the roses are blooming in front of the burnt-down
house!" cried a passer-by. "It is impossible to fancy a more lovely
picture. I must have that!"

And the man took a little book with white leaves out of his pocket: he
was a painter, and with a pencil he drew the smoking house, the
charred beams, and the toppling chimney, which now hung over more and
more. But the large and blooming rose-tree, quite in the foreground,
afforded a magnificent sight; it was on its account alone that the
whole picture had been made.

Later in the day two of the sparrows who had been born here passed by.
"Where is the house?" asked they. "Where the nest? Chirp! chirp! All
is burnt down, and our strong brother,--that is what he has got for
keeping the nest. The roses have escaped well; there they are yet
standing with their red cheeks. They, forsooth, do not mourn at the
misfortune of their neighbors. I have no wish whatever to address
them; and, besides, it is very ugly here, that's my opinion." And off
and away they flew.

On a beautiful, bright, sunny autumn day--one might almost have
thought it was still the middle of summer--the pigeons were strutting
about the dry and nicely-swept court-yard in front of the great
steps--black and white and party-colored--and they shone in the
sunshine. The old mamma pigeon said to the young ones: "Form
yourselves in groups, form yourselves in groups, for that makes a much
better appearance."

"What little brown creatures are those running about amongst us?"
asked an old pigeon, whose eyes were green and yellow. "Poor little
brownies! poor little brownies!"

"They are sparrows: we have always had the reputation of being kind
and gentle; we will, therefore, allow them to pick up the grain with
us. They never mix in the conversation, and they scrape a leg so
prettily."

"Yes, they scratched three times with their leg, and with the left leg
too, and said also "Chirrup!" It is by this they recognised each
other; for they were three sparrows out of the nest of the house that
had been burnt down.

"Very good eating here," said one of the sparrows. The pigeons
strutted round each other, drew themselves up, and had inwardly their
own views and opinions.

"Do you see the cropper pigeon?" said one of the others. "Do you see
how she swallows the peas? She takes too many, and the very best into
the bargain!"--"Coo! coo!"--"How she puts up her top-knot, the ugly,
mischievous creature!" "Coo! coo! coo!"

And every eye sparkled with malice. "Form yourselves in groups! form
yourselves in groups! Little brown creatures! Poor little brownies!
Coo! coo!" So it went on unceasingly, and so will they go on
chattering in a thousand years to come.

The sparrows ate right bravely. They listened attentively to what was
said, and even placed themselves in a row side by side, with the
others. It was not at all becoming to them, however. They were not
satisfied, and they therefore quitted the pigeons, and exchanged
opinions about them; nestled along under the garden palisades, and, as
they found the door of the room open that led upon the lawn, one of
them, who was filled to satiety, and was therefore over-bold, hopped
upon the threshold. "Chirrup!" said he, "I dare to venture!"

"Chirrup!" said another, "I dare, too, and more besides!" and he
hopped into the chamber. No one was present: the third saw this, and
flew still further into the room, calling out, "Either all or nothing!
However, 'tis a curious human nest that we have here; and what have
they put up there? What is that?"

Close in front of the sparrows bloomed the roses; they mirrored
themselves in the water, and the charred rafters leaned against the
over-hanging chimney. But what can that be? how comes this in the room
of the mansion? And all three sparrows were about to fly away over the
roses and the chimney, but they flew against a flat wall. It was all a
picture, a large, beautiful picture, which the painter had executed
after the little sketch.

"Chirrup!" said the sparrows, "it is nothing! It only looks like
something. Chirrup! That is beautiful! Can you comprehend it? I
cannot!" And away they flew, for people came into the room.

Days and months passed, the pigeons had often cooed, the sparrows had
suffered cold in winter, and in summer lived right jollily; they were
all betrothed and married, or whatever you choose to call it. They had
young ones, and each naturally considered his the handsomest and the
cleverest: one flew here, another there; and if they met they
recognised each other by the "Chirrup?" and by the thrice-repeated
scratching with the left leg. The eldest sparrow had remained an old
maid, who had no nest and no family; her favorite notion was to see a
large town, so away she flew to Copenhagen.

There one beheld a large house, painted with many bright colors, quite
close to the canal, in which lay many barges laden with earthen pots
and apples. The windows were broader below than above, and when the
sparrow pressed through, every room appeared like a tulip, with the
most varied colors and shades, but in the middle of the tulip white
men were standing: they were of marble, some, too, were of plaister;
but when viewed with a sparrow's eyes, they are the same. Up above on
the roof stood a metal chariot, with metal horses harnessed to it; and
the goddess of victory, also of metal, held the reins. It was
_Thorwaldsen's Museum._

"How it shines! How it shines!'' said the old maiden sparrow. That,
doubtless, is 'the beautiful.' Chirrup! But here it is larger than a
peacock!" She remembered still what her mother, when she was a child,
had looked upon as the grandest among all beautiful things. The
sparrow fled down into the court: all was so magnificent. Palms and
foliage were painted on the walls. In the middle of the court stood a
large, blooming rose-tree; it spread out its fresh branches, with its
many roses, over a grave. Thither flew the old maiden sparrow, for she
saw there many of her sort. "Chirrup!" and three scrapes with the left
leg. Thus had she often saluted, from one year's end to the other, and
nobody had answered the greeting--for those who are once separated do
not meet again every day--till at last the salutation had grown into a
habit. But to-day, however, two old sparrows and one young one
answered with a "Chirrup!" and with a thrice-repeated scrape of the
left leg.

"Ah, good day, good day!" It was two old birds from the nest, and a
little one besides, of the family. "That we should meet here! It is a
very grand sort of place, but there is nothing to eat here: that is
'the beautiful!' Chirrup!"

And many persons advanced from the side apartments, where the
magnificent marble figures stood, and approached the grave that hid
the great master who had formed the marble figures. All stood with,
glorified countenances around Thorwaldsen's grave, and some picked up
the shed rose-leaves and carefully guarded them. They had come from
far--one from mighty England, others from Germany and France: the most
lovely lady gathered one of the roses and hid it in her bosom. Then
the sparrows thought that the roses governed here, and that the whole
house had been built on account of them. Now, this seemed to them, at
all events, too much; however, as it was for the roses that the
persons showed all their love, they would remain no longer. "Chirrup!"
said they, and swept the floor with their tails, and winked with one
eye at the roses. They had not looked at them long before they
convinced themselves that they were their old neighbors. And they
really were so. The painter who had drawn the rose-bush beside the
burned-down house, had afterwards obtained permission to dig it up,
and had given it to the architect--for more beautiful roses had never
been seen--and the architect had planted it on Thorwaldsen's grave,
where it bloomed as a symbol of the beautiful, and gave up its red
fragrant leaves to be carried to distant lands as a remembrance.

"Have you got an appointment here in town?" asked the sparrows.

And the roses nodded: they recognised their brown neighbors, and
rejoiced to see them again. "How delightful it is to live and to
bloom, to see old friends again, and every day to look on happy faces!
It is as if every day were a holy-day."

"Chirrup!" said the sparrows. "Yes, it is in truth our old neighbors;
their origin--from the pond--is still quite clear in our memory!
Chirrup! How they have risen in the world! Yes, Fortune favors some
while they sleep! Ah! there is a withered leaf that I see quite
plainly." And they pecked at it so long till the leaf fell off; and
the tree stood there greener and more fresh, the roses gave forth
their fragrance in the sunshine over Thorwaldsen's grave, with whose
immortal name, they were united.


------------



THE DARNING-NEEDLE.

There was once upon a time a darning needle, that imagined itself so
fine, that at last it fancied it was a sewing-needle.

"Now, pay attention, and hold me firmly!" said the darning-needle to
the fingers that were taking it out. "Do not let me fall! If I fall on
the ground, I shall certainly never be found again, so fine am I."

"Pretty well as to that," answered the fingers; and so saying, they
took hold of it by the body.

"Look, I come with a train!" said the darning-needle, drawing a long
thread after it, but there was no knot to the thread.

The fingers directed the needle against an old pair of shoes belonging
to the cook. The upper-leather was torn, and it was now to be sewed
together.

"That is vulgar work," said the needle; "I can never get through it. I
shall break! I shall break!" And it really did break. "Did I not say
so?" said the needle; "I am too delicate."

"Now it's good for nothing," said the fingers, but they were obliged
to hold it still; the cook dropped sealing-wax upon it, and pinned her
neckerchief together with it.

"Well, now I am a breast-pin," said the darning-needle. "I was sure I
should be raised to honor: if one is something, one is sure to get
on!" and at the same time it laughed inwardly; for one can never see
when a darning-needle laughs. So there it sat now as proudly as in a
state-carriage, and looked around on every side.

"May I take the liberty to inquire if you are of gold?" asked the
needle of a pin that was its neighbor. "You have a splendid exterior,
and a head of your own, but it is small, however. You must do what you
can to grow, for it is not every one that is bedropped with
sealing-wax!" And then the darning-needle drew itself up so high that
it fell out of the kerchief, and tumbled right into the sink, which
the cook was at that moment rinsing out.

"Now we are going on our travels," said the needle. "If only I do not
get lost!" But it really did get lost.

"I am too delicate for this world!" said the needle, as it lay in the
sink, "but I know who I am, and that is always a consolation;" and the
darning-needle maintained its proud demeanor, and lost none of its
good-humor.

And all sorts of things swam over it--shavings, straws, and scraps of
old newspapers.

"Only look how they sail by," said the needle. "They do not know what
is hidden below them! I stick fast here: here I sit. Look! there goes
a shaving: it thinks of nothing in the world but of itself--but of a
shaving! There drifts a straw; and how it tacks about, how it turns
round! Think of something else besides yourself, or else perhaps
you'll run against a stone! There swims a bit of a newspaper. What's
written there is long ago forgotten, and yet out it spreads itself, as
if it were mighty important! I sit here patient and still: I know who
I am, and that I shall remain after all!"

One day there lay something close beside the needle. It glittered so
splendidly, that the needle thought it must be a diamond: but it was
only a bit of a broken bottle, and because it glittered the
darning-needle addressed it, and introduced itself to the other as a
breast-pin.

"You are, no doubt, a diamond?"

"Yes, something of that sort." And so each thought the other something
very precious, and they talked together of the world, and of how
haughty it is.

"I was with a certain miss, in a little box," said the darning-needle,
"and this miss was cook; and on each hand she had five fingers. In my
whole life I have never seen anything so conceited as these fingers!
And yet they were only there to take me out of the box and to put me
back into it again!"

"Were they, then, of noble birth?" asked the broken bottle.

"Noble!" said the darning-needle; "no, but high-minded! There were
five brothers, all descendants of the 'Finger' family. They always
kept together, although they were of different lengths. The outermost
one, little Thumb, was short and stout; he went at the side, a little
in front of the ranks: he had, too, but one joint in his back, so that
he could only make one bow; but he said, if a man were to cut him off,
such a one were no longer fit for military service. Sweet-tooth, the
second finger, pryed into what was sweet, as well as into what was
sour, pointed to the sun and moon, and he it was that gave stress when
they wrote. Longman, the third brother, looked at the others
contemptuously over his shoulder. Goldrim, the fourth, wore a golden
girdle round his body! and the little Peter Playallday did nothing at
all, of which he was very proud. 'Twas boasting, and boasting, and
nothing but boasting, and so away I went."

"And now we sit here and glitter," said the broken glass bottle.

At the same moment more water came along the gutter; it streamed over
the sides and carried the bit of bottle away with it.

"Well, that's an advancement," said the darning-needle. "I remain
where I am: I am too fine; but that is just my pride, and as such is
to be respected." And there it sat so proudly, and had many grand
thoughts.

"I should almost think that I was born of a sunbeam, so fine am I! It
seems to me, too, as if the sunbeams were always seeking me beneath
the surface of the water. Ah! I am so fine, that my mother is unable
to find me! Had I my old eye that broke, I verily think I could weep;
but I would not--weep! no, it's not genteel to weep!"

One day two boys came rummaging about in the sink, where they found
old nails, farthings, and such sort of things. It was dirty work;
however, they took pleasure in it.

"Oh!" cried one who had pricked himself with the needle, "there's a
fellow for you."

"I am no fellow, I am a lady!" said the darning-needle; but no one
heard it. The sealing-wax had worn off, and it had become quite black;
but black makes one look more slender, and the needle fancied it
looked more delicate than ever.

"Here comes an egg-shell sailing along!" said the boys; and then they
stuck the needle upright in the egg-shell.

"The walls white and myself black," said the needle. "That is
becoming! People can see me now! If only I do not get seasick, for
then I shall snap."

But it was not sea-sick, and did not snap.

"It is good for sea-sickness to have a stomach of steel, and not to
forget that one is something more than a human being! Now my
sea-sickness is over. The finer one is, the more one can endure!"

"Crack!" said the egg-shell: a wheel went over it.

"Good heavens! how heavy that presses!" said the needle. "Now I shall
be sea-sick! I snap!" But it did not snap, although a wheel went over
it. It lay there at full length, and there it may lie still.


------------



THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL.

Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and
evening--the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there
went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked
feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was
the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had
hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them
as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that
rolled by dreadfully fast. One slipper was nowhere to be found; the
other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he
thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other
should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her
tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a
quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in
her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no
one had given her a single farthing.

She crept along trembling with cold and hunger--a very picture of
sorrow, the poor little thing!

The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful
curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now
thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt
so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was new year's eve;
yes, of that she thought.

In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the
other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet
she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to
go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and
could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would
certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she
had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the
largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.

Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might
afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out
of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it.
She drew one out. "Rischt!" how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a
warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it
was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though
she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet
and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed
influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already
stretched out her feet to warm them too; but--the small flame went
out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt out
match in her hand.

She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the
light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil,
so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a
snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and
the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and
dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose
hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and
fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when--the
match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left
behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the
most magnificent Christmas trees: it was still larger, and more
decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in
the rich merchant's house.


[Illustration: THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL.]


Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and
gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows
looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands
towards them when--the match went out. The lights of the Christmas
tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one
fell down and formed a long trail of fire.

"Some one is just dead!" said the little girl; for her old
grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no
more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.

She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in
the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so
mild, and with such an expression of love.

"Grandmother!" cried the little one; "oh, take me with you! You go
away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like
the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!"
And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall,
for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her.
And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than
at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and
so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in
brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was
neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety--they were with God.

But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with
rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall--frozen
to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the
child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. "She
wanted to warm herself," people said: no one had the slightest
suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed
of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the
joys of a new year.


------------



THE RED SHOES.

There was once a little girl who was very pretty and delicate, but in
summer she was forced to run about with bare feet, she was so poor,
and in winter wear very large wooden shoes, which made her little
insteps quite red, and that looked so dangerous!

In the middle of the village lived old Dame Shoemaker; she sate and
sewed together, as well as she could, a little pair of shoes out of
old red strips of cloth; they were very clumsy, but it was a kind
thought. They were meant for the little girl. The little girl was
called Karen.

On the very day her mother was buried, Karen received the red shoes,
and wore them for the first time. They were certainly not intended for
mourning, but she had no others, and with stockingless feet she
followed the poor straw coffin in them.

Suddenly a large old carriage drove up and a large old lady sate in
it: she looked at the little girl, felt compassion for her, and then
said to the clergyman:

"Here, give me the little girl, I will adopt her!"

And Karen believed all this happened on account of the red shoes, but
the old lady thought they were horrible, and they were burnt. But
Karen herself was cleanly and nicely dressed; she must learn to read
and sew; and people said she was a nice little thing, but the
looking-glass said: "Thou art more than nice, thou art beautiful!"

Now the queen once traveled through the land, and she had her little
daughter with her. And this little daughter was a princess, and people
streamed to the castle, and Karen was there also, and the little
princess stood in her fine white dress, in a window, and let herself
be stared at; she had neither a train nor a golden crown, but splendid
red morocco shoes. They were certainly far handsomer than those Dame
Shoemaker had made for little Karen. Nothing in the world can be
compared with red shoes.

Now Karen was old enough to be confirmed; she had new clothes and was
to have new shoes also. The rich shoemaker in the city took the
measure of her little foot. This took place at his house, in his room;
where stood large glass-cases, filled with elegant shoes and brilliant
boots. All this looked charming, but the old lady could not see well,
and so had no pleasure in them. In the midst of the shoes stood a pair
of red ones, just like those the princess had worn. How beautiful they
were! The shoemaker said also they had been made for the child of a
count, but had not fitted.

"That must be patent leather!" said the old lady, "they shine so!'"

"Yes, they shine!" said Karen, and they fitted, and were bought, but
the old lady knew nothing about their being red, else she would never
have allowed Karen to have gone in red shoes to be confirmed. Yet such
was the case.

Everybody looked at her feet; and when she stepped through the chancel
door on the church pavement, it seemed to her as if the old figures on
the tombs, those portraits of old preachers and preachers' wives, with
stiff ruffs, and long black dresses, fixed their eyes on her red
shoes. And she thought only of them as the clergyman laid his hand
upon her head, and spoke of the holy baptism, of the covenant with
God, and how she should be now a matured Christian; and the organ
pealed so solemnly; the sweet children's voices sang, and the old
music-directors sang, but Karen only thought of her red shoes.

In the afternoon, the old lady heard from every one that the shoes had
been red, and she said that it was very wrong of Karen, that it was
not at all becoming, and that in future Karen should only go in black
shoes to church, even when she should be older.

The next Sunday there was the sacrament, and Karen looked at the black
shoes, looked at the red ones--looked at them again, and put on the
red shoes.

The sun shone gloriously; Karen and the old lady walked along the path
through the corn; it was rather dusty there.

At the church door stood an old soldier with a crutch, and with a
wonderfully long beard, which was more red than white, and he bowed to
the ground, and asked the old lady whether he might dust her shoes.
And Karen stretched out her little foot.

"See! what beautiful dancing-shoes!" said the soldier, "sit firm when
you dance;" and he put his hand out towards the soles.

And the old lady gave the old soldier an alms, and went into the
church with Karen.

And all the people in the church looked at Karen's red shoes, and all
the pictures, and as Karen knelt before the altar, and raised the cup
to her lips, she only thought of the red shoes, and they seemed to
swim in it; and she forgot to sing her psalm, and she forgot to pray,
"Our father in Heaven!"

Now all the people went out of church, and the old lady got into her
carriage. Karen raised her foot to get in after her, when the old
soldier said,

"Look, what beautiful dancing shoes!"

And Karen could not help dancing a step or two, and when she began her
feet continued to dance; it was just as though the shoes had power
over them. She danced round the church corner, she could not leave
off; the coachman was obliged to run after and catch hold of her, and
he lifted her in the carriage, but her feet continued to dance so that
she trod on the old lady dreadfully. At length she took the shoes off,
and then her legs had peace.

The shoes were placed in a closet at home, but Karen could not avoid
looking at them.

Now the old lady was sick, and it was said she could not recover. She
must be nursed and waited upon, and there was no one whose duty it was
so much as Karen's. But there was a great ball in the city, to which
Karen was invited. She looked at the old lady, who could not recover,
she looked at the red shoes, and she thought there could be no sin in
it;--she put on the red shoes, she might do that also, she thought.
But then she went to the ball and began to dance.

When she wanted to dance to the right, the shoes would dance to the
left, and when she wanted to dance up the room, the shoes danced back
again, down the steps, into the street, and out of the city gate. She
danced, and was forced to dance straight out into the gloomy wood.

Then it was suddenly light up among the trees, and she fancied it must
be the moon, for there was a face; but it was the old soldier with the
red beard; he sate there, nodded his head, and said, "Look, what
beautiful dancing shoes!"

Then she was terrified, and wanted to fling off the red shoes, but
they clung fast; and she pulled down her stockings, but the shoes
seemed to have grown to her feet. And she danced, and must dance, over
fields and meadows, in rain and sunshine, by night and day; but at
night it was the most fearful.

She danced over the churchyard, but the dead did not dance,--they had
something better to do than to dance. She wished to seat herself on a
poor man's grave, where the bitter tansy grew; but for her there was
neither peace nor rest; and when she danced towards the open church
door, she saw an angel standing there. He wore long, white garments;
he had wings which reached from his shoulders to the earth; his
countenance was severe and grave; and in his hand he held a sword,
broad and glittering.

"Dance shalt thou!" said he,--"dance in thy red shoes till thou art
pale and cold! Till thy skin shrivels up and thou art a skeleton!
Dance shalt thou from door to door, and where proud, vain children
dwell, thou shalt knock, that they may hear thee and tremble! Dance
shalt thou------!"

"Mercy!" cried Karen. But she did not hear the angel's reply, for the
shoes carried her through the gate into the fields, across roads and
bridges, and she must keep ever dancing.

One morning she danced past a door which she well knew. Within sounded
a psalm; a coffin, decked with flowers, was borne forth. Then she knew
that the old lady was dead, and felt that she was abandoned by all,
and condemned by the angel of God.

She danced, and she was forced to dance through the gloomy night. The
shoes carried her over stack and stone; she was torn till she bled;
she danced over the heath till she came to a little house. Here, she
knew, dwelt the executioner; and she tapped with her fingers at the
window, and said, "Come out! come out! I cannot come in, for I am
forced to dance!"

And the executioner said, "Thou dost not know who I am, I fancy? I
strike bad people's heads off; and I hear that my axe rings!"

"Don't strike my head off!" said Karen, "then I can't repent of my
sins! But strike off my feet in the red shoes!"

And then she confessed her entire sin, and the executioner struck off
her feet with the red shoes, but the shoes danced away with the little
feet across the field into the deep wood.

And he carved out little wooden feet for her, and crutches, taught her
the psalm criminals always sing; and she kissed the hand which had
wielded the axe, and went over the heath.

"Now I have suffered enough for the red shoes!" said she; "now I will
go into the church that people may see me!" And she hastened towards
the church door: but when she was near it, the red shoes danced before
her, and she was terrified, and turned round. The whole week she was
unhappy, and wept many bitter tears; but when Sunday returned, she
said, "Well, now I have suffered and struggled enough! I really
believe I am as good as many a one who sits in the church, and holds
her head so high!"

And away she went boldly; but she had not got farther than the
churchyard gate before she saw the red shoes dancing before her; and
she was frightened, and turned back, and repented of her sin from her
heart.

And she went to the parsonage, and begged that they would take her
into service; she would be very industrious, she said, and would do
everything she could; she did not care about the wages, only she
wished to have a home, and be with good people. And the clergyman's
wife was sorry for her and took her into service; and she was
industrious and thoughtful. She sate still and listened when the
clergyman read the Bible in the evenings. All the children thought a
deal of her; but when they spoke of dress, and grandeur, and beauty,
she shook her head.

The following Sunday, when the family was going to church, they asked
her whether she would not go with them; but she glanced sorrowfully,
with tears in her eyes, at her crutches. The family went to hear the
word of God; but she went alone into her little chamber; there was
only room for a bed and chair to stand in it; and here she sate down
with her prayer-book; and whilst she read with a pious mind, the wind
bore the strains of the organ towards her, and she raised her tearful
countenance, and said, "O God, help me!"

And the sun shone so clearly! and straight before her stood the angel
of God in white garments, the same she had seen that night at the
church door; but he no longer carried the sharp sword, but in its
stead a splendid green spray, full of roses. And he touched the
ceiling with the spray, and the ceiling rose so high, and where he had
touched it there gleamed a golden star. And he touched the walls, and
they widened out, and she saw the organ which was playing; she saw the
old pictures of the preachers and the preachers' wives. The
congregation sat in cushioned seats, and sang out of their
prayer-books. For the church itself had come to the poor girl in her
narrow chamber, or else she had come into the church. She sate in the
pew with the clergyman's family, and when they had ended the psalm and
looked up, they nodded and said, "It is right that thou art come!"

"It was through mercy!" she said.

And the organ pealed, and the children's voices in the choir sounded
so sweet and soft! The clear sunshine streamed so warmly through the
window into the pew where Karen sate! Her heart was so full of
sunshine, peace, and joy, that it broke. Her soul flew on the sunshine
to God, and there no one asked after the Red Shoes.



------------



TO THE YOUNG READERS

Here is another volume of Andersen's charming stories for you; and I
am sure you will be glad to get it. For my part, I am always delighted
to find one that I do not happen to have yet seen; and as I know the
others pleased you--for I have heard so, both directly and indirectly,
from a great many people, there can be no doubt that you all will be
overjoyed to have a few more of these stories told you.

And there is no one who participates in this delight more than--whom
do you think? Why, than Andersen himself! He is so happy that his
Tales have been thus joyfully received, and that they have found their
way to the hearts and sympathies of you all. He speaks of it with
evident pleasure; and it is not vanity, but his kind affectionate
nature, which inclines him to mention such little occurrences as prove
how firm a hold his writings have taken on the minds of the young and
gentle-natured. "So much praise might," he says, "spoil a man, and
make him vain. Yet no, it does not spoil him: on the contrary, it
makes him better; it purifies his thoughts, and this must give one the
impulse and the will to deserve it all." He was so pleased to hear,
and I, you may be sure, was equally pleased to tell him, what had been
written to me by a friend a short time before--that several little
boys and girls, Miss Edgeworth's nephews and nieces were so delighted
with the "**Tales From Denmark**," that they not only read and re-read
them continually, but used _to act the stories_ together in their
play-hours!

And a certain little dark-eyed thing of my acquaintance, "little
Nelly," or "the little gipsey," as I sometimes call her, knows the
whole story of "Ellie and the Pretty Swallow," by heart; and another
"wee thing," that cannot yet read, but is always wanting to have
stories told her, knows all about Kay and Gerda, and the
flower-garden, and how Gerda went to look for her brother, inquiring
of every body she met, and how at last the good sister found him.

In Copenhegan, as Andersen himself told me, all the children know him.
"And," he said, with such a countenance that showed such homage was
dearer to him than the more splendid honors paid as tributes to his
genius, "as I walk along the street, the little darlings nod and kiss
their hands to me; and they say to one another, 'There's Andersen!'
and then some more run and wave their hands. Oh yes, they all know me.
But sometimes, if there be one who does not, then, perhaps, his mamma
will say, 'Look, that is he who wrote the story you read the other
day, and that you liked so much;' and so we soon get acquainted." And
_this_ popularity delights him more than anything; and you surely
cannot call it vanity.

In the account he has written of his life, he relates a circumstance
that happened to him at Dresden; and it is so pretty that I insert it
here. He writes: "An evening that for me was particularly interesting
I spent with the royal family, who received me most graciously. Here
reigned the same quiet that is found in private life in a happy
family. A whole troop of amiable children, all belonging to Prince
John, were present. The youngest of the princesses, a little girl who
knew that I had written the story of 'The Fir-tree,' began familiarly
her conversation with me in these words: 'Last Christmas we also had a
fir-tree, and it stood here in this very room.' Afterwards, when she
was taken to bed earlier than the others, and had wished her parents
and the king and queen 'Good night,' she turned round once more at the
half-closed door, and nodded to me in a friendly manner, and as though
we were old acquaintance. I was her prince of the fairy tale."

But it is not the praise of the great, or the admiration of a court,
on which he sets most value, as you will see by the following extract
from a letter which I received from him to-day, only an hour or two
ago. It is about his stay in England, and his visit to the north,
after I had left him, and I am sure he will not mind my sharing thus
much of what he writes to me with you. "The hearty welcome I met with
in Scotland moved me greatly. My writings were so well known, I found
so many friends, that I can hardly take in so much happiness. But I
must relate you one instance: in Edinburgh I went with a party of
friends to Heriot's Hospital, where orphan children are taken care of
and educated. We were all obliged to inscribe our names in the
visitors' book. The porter read the names, and asked if that was
Andersen the author: and when some one answered 'Yes,' the old man
folded his hands and gazed quite in ecstacy at an old gentleman who
was with us, and said: 'Yes, yes! he is just as I had always fancied
him to myself--the venerable white hair--the mild expression--yes,
that is Andersen!' They then explained to him that I was the person.
'That young man!' he exclaimed; 'Why generally such people, when one
hears about them, are either dead or very old.' When the story was
told me, I at first thought it was a joke; but the porter came up to
me in a most touching manner, and told me how he and all the boys
entered so entirely and heartily into my stories. It so affected me
that I almost shed tears."

This is indeed popularity!

Now I dare say you thought that the little princes and princesses in a
king's palace had tastes and feelings very different from a poor
charity-boy; but you see, although so different in rank, they were
alike in one thing--they were both children; and childhood, if left to
itself, is in all situations the same.

And do you know, too, my little friends, that you are very excellent
critics? Yes, most sage and excellent critics; though I dare say not
one of you even ever dreamt of such a thing. But it is, nevertheless,
true; and not some, but all of you, whether in England, Scotland, or
Ireland--the little boys in Heriot's Hospital, and the little princess
at Dresden who knew the story of "The Fir-Tree." For without one
dissentient voice you have passed favorable judgment on these stories:
in your estimation of them your were unanimous.

Yet when they first appeared in Denmark some of the critics by
profession found fault with them, and wondered, as they said, how an
author who had written works of greater pretension, could think of
making his appearance with something so childish as these tales. And
some kind friends, grown-up people, whose opinion was not unimportant,
advised him by all means to give up writing such stories as he had no
talent for them; and it was only later, that, to use Andersen's own
words, "every door and heart in Denmark was open to them." But all of
you, not critics by profession, you welcomed them at once; as soon as
you saw them you perceived their beauty--you cherished and gave them a
place in your heart. And this is the reason why I say that you are
sage and excellent critics; and if you can preserve the same
simple-heartedness, finding pleasure in what is natural and truthful,
and allow yourselves to be guided by the instincts of your pure
uncorrupted nature, you may always be so.

You will like to know that Thorwaldsen, the great Thorwaldsen, loved
to hear Andersen repeat these tales. It is true he has quite a
peculiar way of relating them, which adds greatly to their charm. I
begged him one day to tell me the story of "The Top and Ball," and he
immediately sat down on the sofa and began. Though I knew it by heart
from beginning to end, so often had I read it over, yet it now seemed
quite new, from his manner of telling it; and I was as amused and
laughed as much as though I had never heard it before. That very
pretty one, "Ole Luckoie," was written when in the society of
Thorwaldsen; and "often at dusk," so Andersen relates, "when the
family circle were sitting in the summer house, would Thorwaldsen
glide gently in, and, tapping me on the shoulder, ask, 'Are we little
ones to have no story tonight?' It pleased him to hear the same story
over and over again; and often, while employed on his grandest works,
he would stand with a smiling countenance and listen to the tale of
'Top and Ball,' and 'The Ugly Duck.'" The last is my favorite also.

From Rome, where this occurred, you must now take a jump with me to
Hamburg; for I have to tell you an anecdote that happened there to
Andersen, also, about his stories which he relates in his "Life." He
had gone to see Otto Speckter, whose clever and characteristic
pictures most of you will certainly know, and he intended to go
afterwards to the play. Speckter accompanied him. "We passed an
elegant house. 'We must first go in here, my dear friend,' said he; 'a
very rich family lives there, friends of mine, friends of your tales;
the children will be overjoyed--' 'But the opera,' said I. 'Only for
two minutes,' he replied, and drew me into the house, told my name,
and the circle of children collected round me. 'And now repeat a
story,' he said: 'only a single one.' I did so, and hurried to the
theatre. 'That was a strange visit,' I said. 'A capital one! a most
excellent one!' shouted he. 'Only think! the children are full of
Andersen and his fairy tales: all of a sudden he stands in the midst
of them, and relates one himself, and then he is gone--vanished. Why,
that very circumstance is a fairy tale for the children, and will
remain vividly in their memory.' It amused me too."

You will be getting impatient, I am afraid. However, before I finish I
must tell you something about the stories in this volume. The
translation of them I had begun in Andersen's room, and when he came
in we began talking about them, one of which, "The Little Girl with
the Matches," I had read in his absence. I told him how delighted I
was with it--that I found it most exquisitely narrated; but that how
such a thing came into his head, I could not conceive. He then said,
"That was written when I was on a visit at The Duke of Augustenburg's.
I received a letter from Copenhagen from the editor of a Danish
almanac for the people, in which he said he was very anxious to have
something of mine for it, but that the book was already nearly
printed. In the letter were two woodcuts, and these he wished to make
use of, if only I would write something to which they might serve as
illustrations. One was the picture of a little match-girl, exactly as
I have described her. It was from the picture that I wrote the
story--wrote it surrounded by splendor and rejoicing, at the castle of
Grauenstein, in Schleswig."

"And Little Tuk," said I.--"Oh! 'Little Tuk,'" answered he, laughing;
"I will tell you all about him. When in Oldenburg I lived for some
time at the house of a friend, the Counsellor von E***. The children's
names were Charles and Gustave (Augusta?) but the little boy always
called himself 'Tuk.' He meant to say 'Charles,' but he could not
pronounce it otherwise. Now once I promised the dear little things
that I would put them in a fairy tale, and so both of them appeared,
but as poor children in the story of 'Little Tuk.' So you see, as
reward for all the hospitality I received in Germany, I take the
German children and make Danes of them."

You see he can make a story out of anything. "They peep over his
shoulder," as he once wrote to me, a long time ago. And one time, when
he was just going to set off on a journey, his friend said to him, "My
little Erich possesses two leaden soldiers, and he has given one of
them to me for you, that you may take it with you on your travels."

Now I should not at all wonder if this were the very "Resolute Leaden
Soldier" you read of in the "**Tales From Denmark**;" but this one, it
is true, was a Turk, and I don't think the other was. And then, too,
there is nothing said about this one having but one leg. However, it
may be the same, after all.

As to the tale called "The Naughty Boy," that, it is true, is an old
story. The poet Anacreon wrote it long, long ago; but Andersen has
here re-told it in so humorous a manner, that it will no doubt amuse
you as much as though it had been written originally by him. He has
given the whole, too, quite another dress; and "the naughty boy"
himself he has tricked out so drolly, and related such amusing tricks
of him, that I think Mr. Andersen had better take care the young rogue
does not play him a sly turn some day or other, for the little
incorrigible rascal respects nobody.

Before I say farewell, there is one thing I must tell you; which is,
there are two persons you certainly little think of, to whom you owe
some thanks for the pretty tales of Anderson that have so greatly
delighted you, as well as for those he may still write. You will never
guess who they are, so I will tell you. They are Frederick VI., the
late, and Christian VIII., the present King of Denmark. The former
gave Andersen a pension to relieve him from the necessity of depending
on his pen for bread; so that, free from cares, he was able to pursue
his own varied fancies. Though not much, it was sufficient; but the
present king, who has always been most kind to your friend
Andersen--for so you surely consider him--increased his pension
considerably, in order that, he might be able to travel, and follow in
full liberty the bent of his genius.

Now do you not like a king who thus holds out his hand to genius, who
delights to honor the man who has done honor to their common country,
and who is proud to interest himself in his fate as in that of a
friend? And this King Christian VIII. does. Am I not right, then, in
saying that you owe him your thanks?

Farewell, my little friends, and believe that I am always ready and
willing to serve you.

Charles Boner.*

Donau Stauf, near Ratisbon.

------

* By whom several of the stories in this volume were translated

------------



Published by James Miller, New York.



------------



THE STORY

OF THE

RED BOOK OF APPIN:

A Fairy Tale of the Middle Ages.

WITH

AN INTERPRETATION.

By the Author of
"Alchemy and the Alchemists,"
"Swedenborg a Hermetic Philosopher," and
"Christ the Spirit."

Price 50 cents.


------



THE ICE MAIDEN,

And other Tales.

By Hans Christian Andersen.

Translated by Fanny Fuller. Price 75 cents.



------



ON THE

CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE

of

WASHINGTON.

By M. Guizot.

50 cents.



------



FRIENDS IN COUNCIL.

A SERIES OF READINGS, AND DISCOURSES THEREON.

4 vols. 12mo.



------



THE

UGLY DUCK,

And other Tales.

BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.

Illustrated.

[Illustration: Mother Holding Mistletoe Above Infant.]

New York:

Published by James Miller,

(Successor To C. S. Francis & Co.)

522 Broadway.





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