Skip to main content

Full text of "Fairy tales and stories"

See other formats

•^ ^^ 







-~— Property ot~ 


Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2011 witii funding from 

University of Nortii Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Fairy Tales and Stories ^ ^ 
^ By Hans Christian Andersen 

Translated by Dr. H. W. Dulcken ^ ^ ^ ^ 

Chicago and New York ♦ « ♦ 
Rand, McNally & Company 


- The Silver Shilling 5 

The Old Church Bell d 

The Snail and the Rose Tree 14 

- Little Ida's Flowers 16 

The Tinder-Box 23 

Great Claus and Little Glaus. , 29 

Thumbelina 40 

The Goloshes of Fortune 50 

The Hardy Tin Soldier 76 

The Story of a Mother 80 

The Daisy 85 

A Great Grief 89 

- The Shirt Collar 91 

Ole-Luk-Oie 93 

- The Beetle 103 

What the Old Man Does is Always Right Ill 

- Good Humor 116 

- Children's Prattle 120 

The Flying Trunk 122 

■p The Last Pearl 127 

The Storks 130 

-^ Grandmother 134 

— - The Ugly Duckling 136 

h The Loveliest Rose in the World 145 

Holger Danske 147 

~ The Puppet Showman , , . 152 

A Picture from the Fortress Wall 156 

~ In the Duck Yard 157 

The Red Shoes 162 

Soup on a Sausage-Peg 168 

The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweeper 181 

-- The Old Street Lamp 186 

' The Lovers. 193 

Little Tuk 195 

(h ^ 
A/ ^ 



The Flax 199 

The Girl who Trod on the Loaf , 203 

The Money-Pig 211 

The Darning-Needle 214 

The Fir Tree 217 

Something 225 

A Leaf from the Sky 231 

The Jewish Girl .234 

The Elder Tree Mother 239 

The Farmyard Cock and the Weather Cock 246 

The Old Gravestone 248 

The Old Bachelor's Nightcap 251 

A Rose from the Grave of Homer 284 

The Wind Tells about Waldemar Daa and His Daughters 265 

Five Out of One Shell 276 

The Metal Pig 279 

The Snow Queen — In Seven Stories 290 

The Nightingale 320 

The Neighboring Families 329 

The Little Match Girl 338 

The Elf Hill 34p 

The Buckwheat 347 

The Old House 349 

The Happy Family 856 

The Rose-Elf = 359 

The Shadow 364 

The Angel 376 

Twelve by the Mail 378 

What the Moon Saw 382 



There was once a Shilling-. He came out quite bright 
from the Mint, and sprang up, and rang out, "Hurrah ! now 
I'm off into the wide world." And into the wide world he 
certainly went. 

The child held him with soft, warm hands; the miser 
clutched him in a cold, avaricious palm ; the old man turned 
him goodness knows how many times before parting with 
him; while careless youth rolled him lightly away. The 
Shilling was of silver, and had very little copper about him; 
he had been now a whole year in the world — ^that is to say, 
in the country in which he had been struck. But one day he 
started on his foreign travels ; he was the last native coin in 
the purse borne by his traveling master. The gentleman 
himself was not aware that he still had this coin until he 
came across it by chance. 

"Why, here's a shilling from home left to me," he said. 
"Well, he can make the journey with me." 

And the Shilling rattled and jumped for joy as it was 
thrust back into the purse. So here it lay among strange 
companions, who came and went, each making room for a 
successor; but the Shilling from home always remained in 
the bag, which was a distinction for it. 

Several weeks had gone by, and the Shilling had traveled 
far out into the world without exactly knowing where he 
was, though he learned from the other coins that they were 
French or Italian. One said they were in such and such a 
town, another that they had reached such and such a spot; 
but the Shilling could form no idea of all this. He who has 
his head in a bag sees nothing; and this was the case with 


the Shilling. But one day, as he lay there, he noticed that 
the purse was not shut, and so he crept forward to the open- 
ing, to take a look around. He ought not to have done so; 
but he was inquisitive, and people often have to pay for 
that. He slipped out into the fob; and when the purse was 
taken out at night the Shilling remained behind, and was 
sent out into the passage with the clothes. There he fell 
upon the floor; no one heard it, no one saw it. 

Next morning the clothes were carried back into the 
room; the gentleman put them on, and continued his jour- 
ney, while the Shilling remained behind. The coin was 
found, and was required to go into service again, so he was 
sent out with three other coins. 

"It is a pleasant thing to look about one in the world," 
thought the Shilling, "and to get to know strange people 
and foreign customs." 

And now began the history of the Shilling, as told by 

" 'Away with him, he's bad — no use !' These words went 
through and through me," said the Shilling. "I knew I 
sounded well and had been properly coined. The people 
were certainly mistaken. They could not mean me! but, 
yes, they did mean me. I was the one of whom they said, 
'He's bad — he's no good.' T must get rid of that fellow in 
the dark,' said the man who had received me; and I was 
passed at night and abused in the daytime. 'Bad — no 
good,' was the cry; 'we must make haste and get rid of 

"And I trembled in the fingers of the holder each time I 
was to be passed on as a coin of the country. 

"What a miserable Shilling I am! Of what use is my 
silver to me, my value, my coinage, if all these things are 
looked on as worthless? In the eyes of the world one has 
only the value the world chooses to put upon one. It must 
be terrible indeed to have a bad conscience, and to creep 
along on evil ways, if I, who am quite innocent, can feel so 
badly because I am only thought guilty. 

"Each time I was brought out I shuddered at the thought 
of the eyes that would look at me, for I knew that I should 
be rejected and flung back upon the table, like an impostor 
and a cheat. Once I came into the hands of a poor old 
woman, to whom I was paid for a hard day's work, and she 


could not get rid of me at all. No one would accept me, 
and I was a perfect worry to the old dame. 

" 'I shall certainly be forced to deceive someone with this 
shilling,' she said; 'for, with the best will in the world, I 
can't hoard up a false shilling. The rich baker shall have 
him; he will be able to bear the loss — but it's wrong in me to 
do it, after all.' 

" 'And I must lie heavy on that woman's conscience, too,' 
sighed I. 'Am I really so much changed in my old age?' 

"And the woman went her way to the rich baker; but he 
knew too well what kind of shillings would pass to take me, 
and he threw me back at the woman, who got no bread for 
me. And I felt miserably low to think that I should be the 
cause of distress to others — I who had been in my young 
days so proudly conscious of my value and of the correct- 
ness of my mintage. I became as miserable as a poor shil- 
ling can be whom no one will accept; but the woman took 
me home again, and looked at me with a friendly, hearty 
face, and said: 

" 'No, I will not deceive anyone with thee. I will bore a 
hole through thee, that everyone may see thou art a false 
thing. And yet — it just occurs to me — perhaps this is a 
lucky shilling; and the thought comes so strongly upon me 
that I am sure it must be true! I will make a hole through 
the shilling, and pass a string through the hole, and hang 
the coin round the neck of my neighbor's little boy for a 
lucky shilling.' 

"So she bored a hole through me. It is certainly not 
agreeable to have a hole bored through one; but many 
things can be borne when the intention is good. A thread 
was passed through the hole, and I became a kind of medal, 
and was hung round the neck of the little child; and the 
child smiled at me, and kissed me, and I slept all night on 
its warm, innocent neck. 

"When the morning came, the child's mother took me up 
in her fingers and looked at me, and she had her own 
thoughts about me ; I could feel that very well. She brought 
out a pair of scissors, and cut the string through. 

"'A lucky shilling!' she said. 'Well, we shall soon see 

"And she laid me in vinegar, so that I turned quite green. 
Then she plugged up the hole, and carried me in the even- 


ing twilight, to the lottery collector, to buy a lottery ticket 
that should bring her luck. 

"How miserably wretched I felt! There was a stinging 
feeling in me, as if I should crumble to bits. I knew that I 
should be called false and thrown down — and before a 
crowd of shillings and other coins, too, who lay there with 
an image and superscription of which they might be proud. 
But I escaped that disgrace, for there were many people in 
the collector's room; he had a great deal to do, and I went 
rattling down into the box among the other coins. Whether 
my ticket won anything or not I don't know; but this I do 
know, that the very next morning I was recognized as a 
bad shilling, and was sent out to deceive and deceive again. 
That is a very trying thing to bear when one knows one has 
a good character, and of that I am conscious. 

"For a year and a day I thus wandered from house to 
house and from hand to hand, always abused, always un- 
welcome; no one trusted me; and I lost confidence in the 
world and in myself. It was a heavy time. At last, one 
day a traveler, a strange gentlem^an, arrived, and I was 
passed to him, and he was polite enough to accept me for 
current coin; but he wanted to pass me on, and again I 
heard the horrible cry, 'No use — false!' 

" T received it as a good coin,' said the man, and he 
looked closely at me; suddenly he smiled all over his face; 
and I had never seen that expression before on any face 
that looked at me. 'Why, whatever is that?' he said. 'That's 
one of our own country coins, a good, honest shilling from 
my home, and they've bored a hole through him, and they 
called him false. Now, this is a curious circumstance. I 
must keep him and take him home with me.' 

"A glow of joy thrilled through me when I heard myself 
called a good, honest shilling; and now I was to be taken 
home, where each and everyone would know me, and be 
sure that I was real silver and properly coined. I could 
have thrown out sparks for very gladness ; but, after all, it's 
not in my nature to throw out sparks, for that's the property 
of steel, not of silver. 

"1 was wrapped up in clean white paper, so that I should 
not be confounded with the other coins and spent; and on 
festive occasions, when fellow-countrymen met together, I 
was shown about, and they spoke very well of me; they said 


I was interesting — and it is wonderful how interesting one 
can be without saying a single word. 

"And at last I got home again. All my troubles were 
ended, joy came back to me, for I was of good silver, and 
had the right stamp, and I had no more disagreeables to en- 
dure, though a hole had been bored through me, as through 
a false coin; but that does not matter if one is not really 
false. One must wait for the end, and one will be righted at 
last — that's my belief," said the Shilling. 


In the German land of Wurtemberg, where the acacias 
bloom by the high road, and the apple trees and pear trees 
bend in autumn under their burden of ripe fruit, lies the 
little town of Marbach. Although this place can only be 
ranked among the smaller towns, it is charmingly situated 
on the Neckar stream, that flows on and on, hurrying past 
villages and old castles and green vineyards, to pour its 
waters into the proud Rhine. 

It was late in autumn. The leaves still clung to the 
grapevine, but they were already tinged with red. Rainy 
gusts swept over the country, and the cold autumn winds 
increased in violence and roughness. It was no pleasant 
time for poor folk. 

The days became shorter and gloomier; and if it was dark 
out in the open air, in the little old-fashioned houses it was 
darker still. One of these houses was built with its gable end 
toward the street, and stood there, with its small, narrow 
windows, humble and poor enough in appearance ; the fam- 
ily was poor, too, that inhabited the little house, but good 
and industrious, and rich in a treasure of piety concealed in 
the depth of the heart. And they expected that God would 
soon give them another child; the hour had come, and the 
mother lay in pain and sorrow. Then from the church 
tower opposite the deep, rich sound of the bell came to her. 
It was a solemn hour, and the song of the bell filled the 
heart of the praying woman with trustfulness and faith ; the 
thoughts of her inmost heart soared upward toward the Al- 
mighty, and in the same hour she gave birth to a son. Then 


she was filled with a great joy, and the bell of the tower op- 
posite seemed to be ringing to spread the news of her hap- 
piness over town and country. The clear child-eyes looked 
at her, and the infant's hair gleamed like gold. Thus was 
the little one ushered into the world with the ringing of the 
church bell on the dark November day. The mother and 
father kissed it, and wrote in their Bible: "On the loth of 
November, 1759, 'God gave us a son;" and soon afterward 
the fact was added that the child had been baptized under 
the name of "Johann Christoph Friedrich." 

And what became of the little fellow, the poor boy in the 
pretty town of Marbach? Ah, at that time no one knew 
what would become of him, not even the old church bell 
that had sung at his birth, hanging so high in the tower, 
over him who was one day himself to sing the beautiful 
"Lay of the Bell." 

Well, the boy grew older, and the world grew older with 
him. His parents certainly removed to another town, but 
they had left dear friends in little Marbach; and thus it was 
that mother and son one day arose and drove over to Mar- 
bach on a visit. The lad was only six years old, but he al- 
ready knew many things out of the Bible, and many a pious 
psalm; and many an evening he had sat on his little stool 
listening while his father read aloud from "Gellert's Fables," 
or from the lofty "Messiah" of Klopstock; and he and his 
sister, who was his senior by two years, had wept hot tears 
of pity for Him who died on the cross that we might live 

At the time of this first visit to Marbach the little town 
had not greatly changed; and indeed they had not long left 
it. The houses stood as on the day of the family's de- 
parture, with their pointed gables, projecting walls, the 
higher stories leaning over the lower, and their tiny win- 
dows; but there were new graves in the churchyard; and 
there, in the grass, hard by the wall, lay the old bell. It 
had fallen from its position, and had sustained such damage 
that it could sound no more, and accordingly a new bell had 
been put in its place. 

Mother and son went into the churchyard. They stopped 
where the old bell lay, and the mother told the boy how for 
centuries this had been a very usetul bell, and had rung at 
christenings, at weddings, and at burials; how it had sooken 


at one time to tell of feasts and rejoicings, at another to 
spread the alarm of fire; and how it had, in fact, sung the 
whole life of man. And the boy never forgot what his 
mother told him that day. It resounded and echoed at in- 
tervals in his heart, until, when he was grown a man, he 
was compelled to sing it. The mother told him also how 
the bell had sung of faith and comfort to her in the time of 
her peril, that it had sung at the time when he, her little son, 
was born. And the boy gazed, almost with a feeling of de- 
votion, at the great old bell; and he bent over it and kissed 
it, as it lay all rusty and broken among the long grass and 

The old bell was held in kindly remembrance by the boy, 
who grew up in poverty, tall and thin, with reddish hair and 
freckled face — yes, that's how he looked; but he had a pair 
of eyes, clear and deep as the deepest water. And what for- 
tune had he? Why, good fortune, enviable fortune. We 
find him graciously received into the military school, and 
even in the department where sons of people in society were 
taught, and was that not honor and fortune enough? And 
they educated him to the v/ords of command, "Halt! 
march! front!" and on such a system much might be ex- 

Meanwhile the old church bell had been almost com- 
pletely forgotten. But it was to be presumed that the bell 
would find its way into the furnace, and what would become 
of it then? It was impossible to say, and equally impossible 
to tell what sounds would come forth from the bell that kept 
echoing through the young heart of the boy from Marbach ; 
but that bell was of bronze, and kept sounding so loud that 
it must at last be heard out in the wide world ; and the more 
cramped the space within the school walls, and the more 
deafening the dreary shout of "March! halt! front!" the 
louder did the sound ring through the youth's breast; and 
he sang what he felt in the circle of his companions, and the 
sound was heard beyond the boundaries of the principality. 
But it was not for this that they had given him a presenta- 
tion to the military school, and board, and clothing. Had 
he not been already numbered and destined to be a certain 
wheel in the great watchwork to which we all belong as 
pieces of practical machinery? How imperfectly do we un- 
derstand ourselves! and how, then, shall others, even the 


best men, understand us? But it is the pressure that forms 
the precious stone. There was pressure enough here; but 
would the world be able, some day, to recognize the jewel? 

In the capital of the prince of the country, a great festival 
was being celebrated. Thousands of candles and lamps 
gleamed brightly, and rockets flew toward the heavens in 
streams of fire. " The splendor of that day yet lives in the 
remembrance of men, but it lives through him, the young 
scholar of the military school, who was trying in sorrow 
and tears to escape unperceived from the land ; he was com- 
pelled to leave all— mother, native country, those he loved— 
unless he could resign himself to sink into the stream of 
oblivion among his fellows. 

The old bell was better ofi than he, for the bell would re- 
main peaceably by the churchyard wall in Marbach, safe, 
and almost forgotten. The wind whistled over it, and might 
have told a fine tale of him at whose birth the bell had 
sounded, and over whom the wind had but now blown cold 
in the forest of a neighboring land, where he had sunk down, 
exhausted by fatigue, wdth his wdiole wealth, his only hope 
for the future, the written pages of his tragedy "Fiesco:" 
the wind might have told of the youth's only patrons, men 
who were artists, and who yet slunk away to amuse them- 
selves at skittles while his play was being read; the wind 
could have told of the pale fugitive, who sat for weary weeks 
and months in the wretched tavern, where the host brawled 
and drank, and coarse boozing was going on while he sang 
of the ideal. Heavy days, dark days! The heart must suf- 
fer and endure for itself the trials it is to sing. 

Dark days and cold nights also passed over the old bell. 
The iron frame did not feel them, but the bell within the 
heart of man is affected by gloomy times. How fared it 
with the young man? How fared it with the old bell. The 
bell was carried far away, farther than its sound could have 
been heard from the loftv tower in which it had once hung. 
And the youth? The bell in his heart sounded farther than 
his eye should ever see or his foot should ever wander; it is 
sounding and sounding on, over the ocean, round the Avhole 
earth. But let us firsf speak of the belfry bell. It was car- 
ried awav from T^Tarbach, was sold for old metal, and des- 
tined for the melting furnace in Bavaria. But when and how 
did this happen? 'in the capital of Bavaria, many years 


after the bell had fallen from the tower, there was a talk of 
its being melted down, to be used in the manufactory of a 
memorial in honor of one of the great ones of the German 
land. And behold how suitable this was — how strangely 
and wonderfully things happened in the world! In Den- 
mark, on one of those green islands where the beech woods 
rustle, and the many Huns' graves are to be seen, quite a 
poor boy had been born. He had been accustomed to walk 
about in wooden shoes, and to carry a dinner wrapped in an 
old handkerchief to his father, who carved figureheads on 
the ship-builders' wharves; but this poor lad had become 
the pride of his country, for Thorwaldsen knew how to hew 
marble blocks into such glorious shapes as made the whole 
world wonder, and to him had been awarded the honorable 
commission that he should fashion of clay a noble form that 
was to be cast in bronze — a statue of him whose name the 
father in Marbach had inscribed in the old Bible as Johann 
Christoph Friedrich. 

And the glowing metal flowed into the mold. The old 
belfry bell — of whose home and of whose vanished sounds 
no one thought — this very old bell flowed into the mold, and 
formed the head and bust of the figure that was soon to be 
unveiled, which now stands in Stuttgart, before the old 
palace — a representation of him who once walked to and 
fro there, striving and suffering, harassed by the world with- 
out — he, the boy of Marbach, the pupil of the "Karlschule," 
the fugitive, Germany's great immortal poet, who sang of 
the Hberator of Switzerland and of the Heaven-inspired 
Maid of Orleans. 

It was a beautiful, sunny day; flags were waving from 
roofs and steeples in the royal city of Stuttgart; the bells 
rang for joy and festivity; one bell alone was silent, but it 
gleamed in another form in the bright sunshine — it gleamed 
from the head and breast of the statue of honor. On that 
day, exactly one hundred years had elapsed since the day on 
which the bell at Marbach had sung comfort and peace to 
the suffering mother, when she bore her son, in poverty, in 
the humble cottage — him who was afterward to become the 
rich man, whose treasures enriched the world, the poet who 
sang of the noble virtues of women, who sang of all that 
was great and glorious — Johann Christoph Friedrich Schil- 



Around the garden ran a hedge of hazels; beyond this 
hedge lay fields and meadows, wherein were cows and 
sheep; but in the midst of the garden stood a blooming Rose 
Tree; and under this Rose Tree lived a Snail, who had a 
good' deal in his shell — namely, himself. 

"Wait till my time comes!" he said; "I shall do some- 
thing more than produce roses, bear nuts, or give milk, like 
the Rose Tree, the hazel bush, and the cows !" 

"I expect a great deal of you," said the Rose Tree. "But 
may I ask when it will appear?" 

"I take my time," replied the Snail. "You're always in 
such a hurry. You don't rouse people's interest by sus- 

When the next year came, the Snail lay almost in the 
same spot, in the sunshine under the Rose Tree, which again 
bore buds that bloomed into roses, until the snow fell and 
the weather became raw and cold; then the Rose Tree 
bowed its head, and the Snail crept into the ground. 

A new year began, and the roses came out, and the Snail 
came out also. 

"You're an old Rose Tree now!" said the Snail. You 
must make haste and come to an end, for you have given 
the world all that was in you; whether it was of any use is a. 
question that I have had no time to consider ; but so much is 
clear and plain, that you have done nothing at all for your 
own development, or you would have produced something 
else. How can you answer for that? In a little time you 
will be nothing at all but a stick. Do you understand what 
I say?" 

"You alarm me," replied the Rose Tree. "I never thought 

of that at all." 

"No, you have not taken the trouble to consider anything. 
Have you ever given an account to yourself, why you 
bloomed, and how it is that your blooming comes about— 
why it is thus, and not otherwise?" 

"No," answered the Rose Tree. "I bloomed m gladness, 
because I could not do anything else. The sun shone and 


warmed me, and the air refreshed me. I drank the pure dew 
and the fresh rain, and I Hved, I breathed. Out of the earth 
there arose a power within me, from above there came down 
a strength; I perceived a new, ever-increasing happiness, 
and consequently I was obHged to bloom over and over 
again; that was my life; I could not do otherwise." 

"You have led a very pleasant Hfe," observed the Snail. 

"Certainly. Everything I have was given to me," said 
the Rose Tree. "But more still was given to you. You 
are one of those deep, thoughtful characters, one of those 
highly gifted spirits, which will cause the world to marvel." 

"I've no intention of doing anything of the kind," cried 
the Snail. "The world is nothing to me. What have I to 
do with the world? I have enough of myself and in my- 

"But must we not all, here on earth, give to others the 
best that we have and offer what lies in our power? Cer- 
tainly I have only given roses. But you — you who have 
been so richly gifted — what have you given to the world? 
what do you intend to give?" 

"What have I given — what do I intend to give? I spit 
at it. It's worth nothing. It's no business of mine. Con- 
tinue to give your roses, if you like; you can't do anything 
better. Let the hazel bush bear nuts, and the cows and 
ewes give milk; they have their public; but I have mine 
within myself — I retire within myself, and there I remain; 
the world is nothing to me." 

And so saying the Snail retired into his house, and closed 
up the entrance after him. 

"That is very sad !" said the Rose Tree. "I cannot creep 
into myself, even if I wish it — I must continue to produce 
roses. They drop their leaves and are blown away by the 
wind. But I saw how a rose was laid in the matron's hymn- 
book, and one of my roses had a place on the bosom of a 
fair young girl, and another was kissed by the lips of a child 
in the full joy of life. That did me good ; it was a real bless- 
ing. That's my remembrance — my life !" 

And the Rose Tree went on blooming in innocence, while 
the Snail lay and idled away his time in his house — the 
world did not concern him. 

And years rolled by. 

The Snail had become dust in the dust, and the Rose 


Tree was earth in the earth ; the rose of remembrance in the 
hymn-book was faded, but in the garden bloomed fresh 
rose trees, and under the trees lay new snails; and these 
still crept into their houses, and spat at the world, for it did 
not concern them. 

Suppose we begin the story again, and read it right 
through. It will never alter. 


"My poor flowers are quite dead!" said little Ida. "They 
were so pretty yesterday, and now all the leaves hang 
withered. Why do they do that?'' she asked the student, 
who sat on the sofa; for she liked him very much. He knew 
the prettiest stories, and could cut out the most amusing 
pictures — hearts, with little ladies in them who danced, 
flowers, and great castles, in which one could open the 
doors ; he vvas a merry student. "Why do the flowers look 
so faded to-day?" she asked again, and shovv'ed him a nose- 
gay, which was quite withered. 

"Do you know what's the matter ^^^th them?" said the 
student. "The flowers have been at a ball last night, and 
that's why they hang their heads." 

"But flowers cannot dance !" cried little Ida. 

"Oh, yes," said the student, "when it grows dark, and we 
are asleep, they jump about merrily. Almost every night 
they have a ball." 

"Can children go to this ball?" 

"Yes," said the student, "quite little daisies, and lilies of 
the valley." 

"Where do the beautiful flowers dance?" asked little Ida. 

"Have you not often been outside the town-gate, by the 
great castle, where the King lives in summer, and where the 
beautiful garden is with all the flowers. You have seen the 
swans, which swim up to you when you want to give them 
bread-crumbs? There are capital balls there, believe me." 

"I was out there in the garden yesterday, with my 
mother," said Ida; "but all the leaves were off the trees, and 
there was not one flower left. Where are they? In the 
summer I saw so many." 


"They are within, in the castle," repHed the student 
"You must know, as soon as the King and all the Court go 
to town, the flowers run out of the garden into the castle 
and are merry. You should see that. The two most beau- 
!;•• tiful roses seat themselves on the throne, and then they are 
i-'J^King and Queen; all the red coxcombs range themselves 
jPr. on either side, and stand and bow; they are the chamber- 
lains. Then all the pretty flowers come, and there is a great 
ball. The blue violets represent little naval cadets; they 
dance with the hyacinths and crocuses, which they call 
young ladies ; the tulips and great tiger-lilies are old ladies, 
who keep watch that the dancing is well done, and that 
everything goes on with propriety." 

"But," asked little Ida, "is nobody there who hurts the 
flowers for dancing in the King's castle?" 

"There is nobody who really knows about it," answered 
the student. "Sometimes, certainly, the old steward of the 
castle comes at night, and he has to watch there. He has a 
great bunch of keys with him; but as soon as the flowers 
hear the keys rattle they are quite quiet, hide behind the 
long curtains, and only poke their heads out. Then the old 
steward says, T smell that there are flowers here,' but he 
cannot see them." 

"That is famous!" cried little Ida, clapping her hands. 
"But should I not be able to see the flowers?'' 

"Yes," said the student; "only remember, when you go 
out again, to peep through the window; then you will see 
them. That is what I did to-day. There was a long yellow 
lily tying on the sofa and stretching herself. She was a 
Court lady." 

"Can the flowers out of the Botanical Garden get there? 
Can they go the long distance?" 

"Yes, certainly," replied the student; "if they like they 
can fly. Have you not seen the beautiful butterflys, red, 
yellow, and white? They almost look like flowers, and that 
is what they have been. They have flown of¥ their stalks 
high into the air, and have beaten it with their leaves, as if 
these leaves were little wings, and thus they flew. And be- 
cause they behaved themselves Vv^ell, they got leave to fly 
about in the day-time, too, and were not obliged to sit still 
upon their stalks at home; and thus at last the leaves be- 
came real wings. That you have seen yourself. It may be, 


however, that the flowers in the Botanical Garden have 
never been in the King's castle, or that they don't know of 
the merry proceedings there at night. Therefore I will tell 
you something; he will be very much surprised, the botani- 
cal professor, who lives close by here. You know him, do 
you not? When you come into his garden, you must tell 
one of the flowers that there is a great ball yonder at the 
castle. Then that flower will tell it to all the rest, and then 
they wnll fly away; when the professor comes out into the 
garden there will not be a single flower left, and he won't 
be able to make out where they are gone.*' 

"But how can one flower tell it to another? For you 
know flowers cannot speak.'' 

'That they cannot, certainly," replied the student; "but 
then they make signs. Have you not noticed that when the 
wind blows a little the flowers nod at one another and move 
all their green leaves? They can understand that just as 
well as we when we speak together." 

"Can the professor understand these signs?" asked Ida. 

"Yes, certainly. He came one morning into his garden 
and saw a great stinging-nettle standing there, and making 
signs to a beautiful red carnation with its leaves It was 
saying, 'You are so pretty, and I love you with all my 
heart.' But the professor does not like that kind of thing, 
and he directly slapped the stinging-nettle upon its leaves, 
for those are its fingers; but he stung himself, and since that 
time he has not dared to touch a stinging-nettle." 

"That is funny," cried little Ida; and she laughed. 

"How can anyone put such notions into a child's head?" 
said the tiresome privy councilor, who had come to pay a 
visit, and was sitting on the sofa. He did not like the stu- 
dent, and always grumbled when he saw him cutting out 
the merry funny pictures — sometimes a man hanging on a 
gibbet and holding a heart in his hand, to show that he stole 
hearts; sometimes an old witch riding on a broom and car- 
rying her husband on her nose. The councilor could not 
bear this, and then he said, just as he did now, "How can 
anyone put such notions into a child's head? Those are 
stupid fancies!" 

But, to little Ida, what the student told her about her 
flowers seemed very droll; and she thought much about it. 
The flowers hung their heads, for they were tired, because 


they had danced all night: they were certainly ill. Then 
she went with them to her other toys, which stood on a 
pretty little table, and the whole drawer was full of beautiful 
things. In the doll's bed lay her doll Sophy, asleep; but 
little Ida said to her: 

"You must really get up, Sophy, and manage to lie in the 
drawer for to-night. The poor flowers are ill, and they 
must lie in your bed; perhaps they will then get well 

And she at once took the doll out; but the doll looked 
cross, and did not say a single word; for she was cross be- 
cause she could not keep her own bed. 

Then Ida laid the flowers in the doll's bed, pulled the little 
coverlet quite up over them, and said they were to lie still 
and be good, and she would make them some tea, so that 
they might get well again, and be able to get up to-morrow. 
And she drew the curtains closely round the little bed, so 
that the sun should not shine in their eyes. The whole even- 
ing through she could not help thinking of what the student 
had told her. And when she was going to bed herself, she 
was obliged first to look behind the curtain which hung be- 
fore the windows where her mother's beautiful flowers stood 
— hyacinths as well as tulips; then she whispered, 'T know 
you're going to the ball to-night!" But the flowers made 
as if they did not understand a word, and did not stir a leaf; 
but still little Ida knew what she knew. 

When she was in bed she lay for a long time thinking how 
pretty it must be to see the beautiful flowers dancing out in 
the King's castle. "I wonder if my flowers have really been 
there?" And then she fell asleep. In the night she woke 
again: she had dreamed of the flowers, and of the student 
with whom the councilor found fault. It was quite quiet in 
the bedroom where Ida lay; the night-lamp burned on the 
table, and her father and mother were asleep. 

'T wonder if my flowers are still lying in Sophy's bed?'' 
she thought to herself. "How I should like to know it!" 
She raised herself a little, and looked at the door, which 
stood ajar; within lay the flowers and all her playthings. 
She listened, and then it seemed to her as if she heard some- 
one playing on the piano in the next room, but quite softly 
and prettily, as she had never heard it before. "Now all 
the flowers are certainly dancing in there!" thought she. 


"Oh, how glad I should be to see it!" But she dared not 
get up, for she would have disturbed her father and mother. 

"If they would only come in!'' thought she. But the 
flowers did not come, and the music continued to play beau- 
tifully; then she could not bear it any longer, for it was too 
pretty; she crept out of her little bed, and went quietly to 
the door, and looked into the room. Oh, how splendid it 
was, what she saw! 

There was no night-lamp burning, but still it was quite 
light: the moon shone through the window into the middle 
of the floor; it was almost like day. All the hyacinths and 
tulips stood in two long rows in the room; there were none 
at all left at the window. There stood the empty flower-pots. 
On the floor all the flowers were dancing very gracefully 
round each other, making perfect turns, and holding each 
other by the long green leaves as they swung round. But 
at the piano sat a great yellow lily which little Ida had cer- 
tainly seen in summer, for she remembered how the student 
had said, "How like that one is to Miss Lina." Then he 
had been laughed at by all; but now it seemed really to little 
Ida as if the long yellow flower looked like the young lady; 
and it had just her manners in playing — sometimes bend- 
ing its long yellow face to one side, sometimes to the other, 
and nodding in tune to the charming music! No one noticed 
little Ida. Then she saw a great blue crocus hop into the 
middle of the table, where the toys stood, and go to the 
doll's bed and pull the curtains aside: there lay the sick 
flowers, but they got up directly, and nodded to the others, 
to say that they wanted to dance, too. The old chimney- 
sweep doll, whose under lip Avas broken off, stood up and 
bowed to the pretty flowers: these did not look at all ill now; 
they jumped down to the others, and were very merry. 

Then it seemed as if something fell down from the table. 
Ida looked that way. It was the birch rod which was jump- 
ing down! it seemed almost as if it belonged to the flowers. 
At any rate, it was very neat ; and a little wax doll, with just 
such a broad hat on its head as the councilor wore, sat upon 
it. The birch rod hopped about among the flowers on its 
three stilted legs, and stamped quite loud, for it was dancing 
the mazurka; and the other flowers could not manage that 
dance, because thev were too light, and unable to stam.p like 


The wax doll on the birch rod all at once became quite 
great and long, turned itself over the paper flowers, and 
said, "How can one put such things in a child's head? those 
are stupid fancies!'' and then the wax doll was exactly like 
the councilor with the broad hat, and looked just as yellow 
and cross as he. But the paper flowers hit him on his thin 
legs, and then he shrank up again, and became quite a little 
wax doll. That was very amusing to see; and little Ida 
could not restrain her laughter. The birch rod went on 
dancing, and the councilor was obliged to dance too ; it was 
no use, he might make himself great and long, or remain 
the little yellow wax doll with the big black hat. Then the 
other flowers put in a good word for him, especially those 
who had lain in the doll's bed, and then the birch rod gave 
over. At the same moment there was a loud knocking at 
the drawer, inside where Ida's doll, Sophy, lay with many 
other toys. The chimney-sweep ran to the edge of the table, 
lay flat down on his stomach, and began to pull the drawer 
out a little. Then Sophy raised herself, and looked round 
quite astonished. 

"There must be a ball here," said she; "why did nobody 
tell me?" 

"Will you dance with me?" asked the chimney-sweep. 

"You are a nice sort of fellow to dance !" she replied, and 
turned her back upon him. 

Then she seated herself upon the drawer, and thought 
that one of the flowers would come and ask her; but not one 
of them came. Then she coughed, "Hem ! hem ! hem !" but 
for all that not one came. The chimney-sweep now danced 
all alone, and that was not at all so bad. 

As none of the flowers seemed to notice Sophy, she let 
herself fall down from the drawer straight upon the floor, so 
that there was a great noise. The flowers now all came run- 
ning up, to ask if she had not hurt herself; and they were 
all very polite to her, especially the flowers that had lain in 
her bed. But she had not hurt herself at all; and Ida's flow- 
ers all thanked her for the nice bed, and were kind to her, 
took her into the middle of the room, where the moon shone 
in, and danced with her; and all the other flowers formed a 
circle round her. Now Sophy was glad, and said they 
might keep her bed; she did not at all mind lying in the 


But the flowers said, "We thank you heartily, but in any 
way we cannot hve long. To-morrow we shall be quite 
dead. But tell little Ida she is to bury us out in the garden, 
where the canary lies ; then we shall wake up again in sum- 
mer, and be far more beautiful." 

*'No, you must not die," said Sophy; and she kissed the 

Then the door opened, and a great number of splendid 
flowers came dancing in. Ida could not imagine whence 
they had come ; these must certainly all be flowers from the 
King's castle yonder. First of all came two glorious roses, 
and they had little gold crowns on ; they were a King and a 
Queen. Then came the prettiest stocks and carnations ; and 
they bowed in all directions. They had music with them. 
Great poppies and peonies blew upon pea-pods till they 
were quite red in the face. The blue hyacinths and the little 
white snowdrops rang just as if they had been bells. That 
was wonderful music! Then came many other flowers, 
and danced altogether; the blue violets and the pink prim- 
roses, daisies and the lilies of the valley. And all the flow- 
ers kissed one another. It was beautiful to look at! 

At last the flowers wished one another good-night; then 
little Ida, too, crept to bed, where she dreamed of all she had 

When she rose next morning, she went quickly to the lit- 
tle table, to see if the little flowers were still there. She 
drew aside the curtains of the little bed; there were they 
all, bvit they were quite faded, far more than yesterday. 
Sophy was lying in the drawer where Ida had laid her; she 
looked very sleepy. 

''Do you remember what you were to say to me?" asked 
little Ida. 

But Sophy stood quite stupid, and did not say a single 

"You are not good at all!" said Ida. "And yet they all 
danced with you." 

Then she took a little paper box, on which were painted 
beautiful birds, and opened it, and laid the dead flowers 
in it. 

"That shall be your pretty cof¥in," said she, "and when my 
cousins come to visit me by-and-by, they shall help me to 


bury you outside in the garden, so that you may grow again 
in summer, and become more beautiful than ever." 

These cousins were two merry boys. Their names were 
Gustave and Adolphe ; their father had given them two new 
crossbows, and they had brought these with them to show 
to Ida. She told them about the poor flowers that had died, 
and then they got leave to bury them. The two boys were 
first, with their crossbows on their shoulders, and little Ida 
followed with the dead flowers in the pretty box. Out in 
the garden a little grave was dug. Ida first kissed the 
fiowers, and then laid them in the earth in the box, and 
Adolphe and Gustave shot with their crossbows over the 
grave, for they had neither guns nor cannons. 


There came a soldier marching along the high road — 
one, two ! one, two ! He had his knapsack on his back and 
a saber by his side, for he had been in the wars, and now he 
wanted to go home. And on the way he met with an old 
witch; she was very hideous, and her under lip hung down 
upon her breast. She said, "Good evening, soldier. What 
a fine sword you have, and what a big knapsack! You're 
a proper soldier. Now you shall have as much money as 
you like to have." 

"I thank you, you old witch !" said the soldier. 

"Do you see that great tree?" quoth the witch; and she 
pointed to a tree which stood beside them. "It's quite 
hollow inside. You must climb to the top, and then you'll 
see a hole, through which you can let yourself down and get 
deep into the tree. I'll tie a rope round your body, so that 
I can pull you up again when you call me." 

"What am I to do down in the tree?" asked the soldier. 

"Get money," replied the v/itch. "Listen to me. When 
you come down to the earth under the tree, you will find 
yourself in a great hall : it is quite light, for above three hun- 
dred lamps are burning there. Then you will see three 
doors; those you can open, for the keys are hanging there. 
If you go into the first chamber, you'll see a great chest in 
the middle of the floor; on this chest sits a dog, and he's got 


a pair of eyes as big as two tea-cups. But you need not 
care for that. I'll give you my blue-checked apron, and 
you can spread it out upon the floor ; then go up quickly and 
take the dog, and set him on my apron ; then open the chest, 
and take as many shillings as you like. They are of copper; 
if you prefer silver, you must go into the second chamber. 
But there sits a dog with a pair of eyes as big as mill-wheels. 
But do not you care for that. Set him upon my apron, and 
take some of the money. And if you want gold, you can 
have that, too — in fact, as much as you can carry — if you 
go into the third chamber. But the dog that sits on the 
money-chest there has two eyes as big as round towers. He 
is a fierce dog, you may be sure ; but you needn't be afraid, 
for all that. Only set him on my apron, and he won't hurt 
you ; and take out of the chest as much gold as you like." 

"That's not so bad," said the soldier. "But what am I to 
give you, old witch? for you will not do it for nothing, I 

"No," replied the witch, "not a single shilling will I have. 
You shall only bring me an old tinder-box which my grand- 
mother forgot when she was down there last." 

"Then tie the rope round my body," cried the soldier. 

"Here it is," said the witch, "and here's my blue-checked 

Then the soldier climbed up into the tree, let himself slip 
down into the hole, and stood, as the witch had said, in the 
great hall where the three hundred lamps were burning. 

Now he opened the first door. Ugh! there sat the dog 
with eyes as big as tea-cups staring at him. "You're a nice 
fellow!" exclaimed the soldier; and he sat him on the witch's 
apron, and took as many copper shillings as his pockets 
would hold, and then locked the chest, set the dog on it 
again, and went into the second chamber. Aha! there sat 
the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels. 

"You should not stare so hard at me," said the soldier; 
"you might strain your eyes." And he set the dog upon the 
witch's apron. And when he saw the silver money in the 
chest, he threw away all the copper money he had, and filled 
his pocket and his knapsack with silver only. Then he 
went into the third chamber. Oh, but that was horrid! 
The dog there really had eyes as big as towers, and they 
turned round and round in his head like wheels. 


"Good evening!" said the soldier; and he touched his cap, 
for he had never seen such a dog as that before. When he 
had looked at him a little more closely, he thought, "that 
will do,'' and lifted him down to the floor, and opened the 
chest. Mercy! what a quantity of gold was there! He could 
buy with it the whole town, and the sugar sucking-pigs of 
the cake woman, and all the tin soldiers, whips, and rock- 
ing-horses in the whole world. Yes, that was a quantity of 
money ! Now the soldier threw away all the silver coin with 
which he had filled his pockets and his knapsack, and took 
gold instead; yes, all his pockets, his knapsack, his boots, 
and his cap were filled, so that he could scarcely walk. 
Now indeed he had plenty of money. He put the dog on 
the chest, shut the door, and then called up through the 
tree, "now pull me up, you old vv^itch." 

"Have you the tinder-box?" asked the witch. 

"Plague on it!" exclaimed the soldier, "I had clean for- 
gotten that." And he went and brought it. 

The witch drew him up, and he stood on the high road 
again, with pockets, boots, knapsack, and cap full of gold. 

"What are you going to do with the tinder-box?" asked 
the soldier. 

"That's nothing to you," retorted the witch. "You've 
had your money — just give me the tinder-box." 

"Nonsense!" said the soldier. "Tell me directly what 
you're going to do with it, or I'll draw my sword and cut off 
your head." 

"No !" cried the witch. 

So the soldier cut off her head. There she lay. But he 
tied up all his money in her apron, took it on his back like a 
bundle, put the tinder-box in his pocket, and went straight 
off toward the town. 

That was a splendid tovv^n! And he put up at the very 
best inn and asked for the finest rooms, and ordered his 
favorite dishes, for now he was rich, as he had so much 
money. The servant who had to clean his boots certainly 
thought them a remarkably old pair for such a rich gentle- 
man ; but he had not bought any new ones yet. The next 
day he procured proper boots and handsome clothes. Now 
our soldier had become a fine gentleman; and the people* 
told him of all the splendid things which were in their city, 


and about the King, and what a pretty princess the King's 
daughter was. 

"Where can one get to see her?" asked the soldier. 

"She is not to be seen at all," said they, all together; "she 
lives in a great copper castle, with a great many walls and 
towers round about it; no one but the King may go in and 
out there, for it has been prophesied that she shall marry a 
common soldier, and the King can't bear that." 

"I should like to see her," thought the soldier; but he 
could not get leave to do so. Now he lived merrily, went 
to the theater, drove in the King's garden, and gave much 
money to the poor; and this was very kind of him, for he 
knew from old times how hard it is when one has not a shil- 
ling. Now he was rich, had fine clothes, and gained many 
friends, who all said he was a rare one, a true cavalier; and 
that pleased the soldier well. But as he spent money every 
day and never earned any, he had at last only two shillings 
left; and he was obliged to turn out of the fine rooms in 
which he had dwelt, and had to live in a little garret under 
the roof, and clean his boots for himself, and m.end them 
with a darning-needle. None of his friends came to see 
him, for there were too many stairs to clirnb. 

It was quite dark one evening, and he could not even buy 
himself a candle, when it occurred to him that there was a 
candle-end in the tinder-box which he had taken out of the 
hollow tree into which the witch had helped him. He 
brought out the tinder-box and the candle-end ; but as soon 
as he struck fire and the sparks rose up from the flint, the 
door flew open, and the dog who had eyes as big as a couple 
of tea-cups and whom he had seen in the tree, stood before 
him, and said: 

"What are my lord's commands?" 

"What is this?" said the soldier. "That's a famous tinder- 
box, if I can get everything with it that I want ! Bring me 
some money," said he to the dog: and whisk! the dog was 
gone, and whisk! he was back again, with a great bag full 
of shillings in his mouth. 

Now the soldier knew what a capital tinder-box this was. 
If he struck it once, the dog came who sat upon the chest of 
copper money: if he struck it twice, the dog came who had 
the silver; and if he struck it three times, then appeared the 
dog who had the gold. Now the soldier moved back into 


the fine rooms, and appeared again in handsome clothes; 
and all his friends knew him again, and cared very much for 
him indeed. 

Once he thought to himself, "It is a very strange thing 
that one cannot get to see the Princess. They all say she is 
very beautiful; but what is the use of that, if she has always 
to sit in the great copper castle with the many towers? Can 
I not get to see her at all? Where is my tinder-box?" And 
so he struck a light, and whisk ! came the dog with eyes as 
big as tea-cups. 

"It is midnight, certainly," said the soldier, "but I should 
very much like to see the Princess, only for one little mo- 

And the dog was outside the door directly, and, before 
the soldier thought it, came back with the Princess. She 
sat upon the dog's back and slept; and everyone could see 
she was a real Princess, for she was so lovely. The soldier 
could not refrain from kissing her, for he was a thorough 
soldier. Then the dog ran back again with the Princess. 
But when morning came, and the King and Queen were 
drinking tea, the Princess said she had had a strange dream, 
the night before, about a dog and a soldier — that she had 
ridden upon the dog, and the soldier had kissed her. 

"That would be a fine history!" said the Queen. 

So one of the old Court ladies had to watch the next 
night by the Princess' bed, to see if this was really a dream, 
or what it might be. 

The soldier had a great longing to see the lovely Princess 
again; so the dog came in the night, took her away, and 
ran as fast as he could. But the old lady put on water-boots, 
and ran just as fast after him. When she saw that they 
both entered a great house, she thought "Now I know 
where it is ;" and with a bit of chalk she drew a great cross 
on the door. Then she went home and lay down, and the 
dog came up with the Princess ; but when he saw that there 
was a cross drawn on the door where the soldier lived, he 
took a piece of chalk too, and drew crosses on all the doors 
in the town. And that was cleverly done, for now the lady 
could not find the right door, because all the doors had 
crosses upon them. 

In the morning early came the King and the Queen, the 
old Court lady and all the officers, to see where it was the 


Princess had been. "Here it is!" said the King, when he 
saw the first door with a cross upon it. "Nq, my dear hus- 
band, it is there!" said the Queen, who descried another 
door which also showed a cross. "But there is one, and 
tliere is one!" said all, for wherever they looked there were 
crosses on the doors. So they saw that it would avail them 
nothing if they searched on. 

But the Queen was an exceedingly clever woman, who 
could do more than ride in a coach. She took her great 
gold scissors, cut a piece of silk into pieces, and made a 
neat little bag; this bag she filled with fine wheat flour, and 
tied it on the Princess' back; and v\?hen that was done, she 
cut a little hole in the bag, so that the flour would be scat- 
tered along all the way which the Princess should take. 

In the night the dog came again, took the Princess on 
his back, and ran with her to the soldier, v/ho loved her very 
much, and would gladly have been a prince, so that he 
might have her for his wife. The dog did not notice at all 
how the flour ran out in a stream from the castle to the win- 
dows of the soldier's house, where he ran up the wall with 
the Princess. In the morning the King and Queen saw 
well enough where their daughter had been, and the}^ took 
the soldier and put him in prison. 

There he sat. Oh, but it was dark and disagreeable 
there! And they said to him, "To-morrow you shall be 
hanged." That was not amusing to hear, and he had left 
his tinder-box at the inn. In the morning he could see, 
through the iron grating of the little window, how the peo- 
ple were hurrying out of the town to see him hanged. He 
heard the drums beat and saw the soldiers marching. All 
the people were running out, and among them was a shoe- 
maker's boy with leather apron and slippers, and he gal- 
loped so fast that one of his slippers flew off, and came 
right against the wall where the soldier sat looking through 
the iron grating. 

"Halloo, you shoemaker's boy! you needn't be in such a 
hurry," cried the soldier to him; "it will not begin till I 
come. But if you will run to where I lived, and bring me 
my tinder-box, you shall have four shillings; but you must 
put your best leg foremost." 

The shoemaker's boy wanted to get the four shillings, so 


he went and brought the tinder-box, and — well, we shall 
hear now what happened. 

Outside the town a great gallows had been built, and 
around it stood the soldiers and many hundred thousand 
people. The King and Queen sat on a splendid throne, op- 
posite to the Judges and the whole Council. The soldier 
already stood upon the ladder; but as they were about to 
put the rope round his neck, he said that before a poor 
criminal suffered his punishment an innocent request was 
always granted to him. He wanted very much to smoke a 
pipe of tobacco, as it would be the last pipe he should smoke 
in the world. The King would not say ''No'' to this; so the 
soldier took his tinder-box and struck fire. One — two — 
three! — and there suddenly stood all the dogs — the one with 
eyes as big as tea-cups, the one with eyes as large as mill- 
wheels, and the one whose eyes were as big as round towers. 

"Help me now, so that I may not be hanged," said the 
soldier. And the dogs fell upon the Judge and all the 
Council, seized one by the leg and another by the nose, and 
tossed them all many feet into the air, so that they fell down 
and were all broken to pieces. 

"I won't!" cried the King; but the biggest dog took him 
and the Queen and threw them after the others. Then the 
soldiers were afraid, and the people cried, "Little soldier, 
you shall be our King, and marry the beautiful Princess!" 

So they put the soldier into the King's coach, and all the 
three dogs darted on in front and cried "Hurrah!" and the 
boys whistled through their fingers, and the soldiers pre- 
sented arms. The Princess came out of the copper castle, 
and became Queen, and she liked that well enough. The 
wedding lasted a week, and the three dogs sat at the table, 
too, and opened their eyes wider than ever at all they saw. 


There lived two men in one village, and they had the same 
name — each was called Claus; but one had four horses and 
the other only a single horse. To distinguish them from 
each other, folks called him who had four horses Great 
Claus, and the one who had only a single horse Little Claus. 


Now we shall hear what happened to each of them, for this 
is a true story. ' 

The whole week through little Claus was obliged to plow 
for Great Claus, and to lend him his one horse; then Great 
Claus helped him out with all his four, but only once a 
week, and that on a holiday. Hurrah! how Little Claus 
smacked his whip over all five horses, for they vv^ere as 
good as his own on that one day. The sun shone gayly, 
and all the bells in the steeples were ringing; the people 
were all dressed in their best, and were going to church, 
with their hymn-books under their arms, to hear the clergy- 
man preach, and they saw Little Claus plowing with five 
horses; but he was so merry that he smacked his whip 
again and again, and cried, "Gee up, all my five!" 

"You must not talk so," said Great Claus, "for only the 
one horse is yours." 

But when no one was passing Little Claus forgot that he 
was not to say this, and he cried, "Gee up, all my horses!" 

"Now, I must beg of you to let that alone," cried Great 
Claus, "for if you say it again, I shall hit your horse on the 
head so that it will fall down dead, and then it will be all 
over with him." 

"I will certainly not say it any more," said Little Claus. 

But when people came by soon afterward and nodded 
"good day" to him, he became very glad, and thought it 
looked very well after all that he had five horses to plow his 
field; and so he smacked his whip again, and cried, "Gee 
up, all my horses!" 

"I'll 'gee up' your horses!"' said Great Claus. And he 
took the hatchet and hit the only horse of Little Claus on 
the head, so that it fell down and was dead immediately. 

"Oh, now I haven't any horse at all!" said Little Claus, 
and began to cry. 

Then he flayed the horse, and let the hide dry in the wind, 
and put it in a sack and hung it over his shoulder, and went 
to the town to sell his horse's skin. fB. 

He had a very long way to go, and was obliged to pass 
through a great dark wood, and the weather became dread- 
fully bad. He went quite astray, and before he got into the 
right way again it was evening, and it was too far to get 
home again or even to the town before nightfall. 

Close by the road stood a large farm-house. The shut- 


ters were closed outside the windows, but the hght could 
still be seen shining out over them. 

"I may be able to get leave to stop here through the 
night," thought Little Claus; and he went and knocked. 

The farmer's wife opened the door; but when she heard 
what -he wanted she told him to go away, declaring that her 
husband was not at home, and she would not receive 

"Then I shall have to lie outside," said Little Claus. And 
the farmer's wife shut the door in his face. 

Close by stood a great haystack, and between this and the 
farm-house was a little outhouse thatched with straw, 

"Up there I can lie," said Little Claus, when he looked up 
at the roof; "that is a capital bed. I suppose the stork won't 
fl[y down and bite me in the legs." For a living stork was 
standing on the roof, where he had his nest. 

Now Little Claus climbed up to the roof of the shed, 
where he lay, and turned round to settle himself comforta- 
bly. The wooden shutters did not cover the windows at 
the top, and he could look straight into the room. There 
was a great table, with the cloth laid, and wine and roast 
meat and a glorious fish upon it. The farmer's wife and 
the clerk were seated at table, and nobody besides. She was 
filling his glass, and he was digging his fork into the fish, 
for that was his favorite dish. 

"If one could only get some, too!" thought Little Claus, 
as he stretched out his head toward the window. Heavens! 
what a glorious cake he saw standing there ! Yes, certainly, 
that was a feast. 

Now he heard someone riding along the high road. It 
was the woman's husband, who was coming home. He was 
a good man enough, but he had the strange peculiarity that 
he could never bear to see a clerk. If a clerk appeared be- 
fore his eyes he became quite wild. And that was the rea- 
son why the clerk had gone to the wife to wish her good- 
day, because he knew that her husband was not at home; 
and the good woman therefore put the best fare she had be- 
fore him. But when they heard the man coming they were 
frightened, and the woman begged the clerk to creep into 
a great empty chest which stood there; and he did so, for 
he knew the husband could not bear the sight of a clerk. 
The woman quickly hid all the excellent meat and wine in 


her baking-oven; for if the man had seen that, he would 
have been certain to ask what it meant. 

"Ah, yes!" sighed Little Claus, up in his shed, when he 
saw all the good fare put away. 

"Is there anyone up there?" asked the farmer; and he 
looked up at Little Claus. "Who are you lying there? 
Better come with me into the room." 

And Little Claus told him how he had lost his way, and 
asked leave to stay there for the night. 

"Yes, certainly," said the peasant; "but first we must 
have something to live on.'' 

The woman received them both in a very friendly way, 
spread the cloth on a long table, and gave them a great 
dish of porridge. The farmer was hungry, and ate with a 
good appetite; but Little Claus could not help thinking of 
the capital roast meat, fish, and cake, which he knew were 
in the oven. Under the table, at his feet, he had laid the 
sack with the horse's hide in it; for we know that he had 
come out to sell it in the town. He did not relish the por- 
ridge, so he trod upon the sack, and the dry skin crackled 
quite loudly. 

"Why, what have you in your sack?" asked the farmer. 

"Oh, that's a magician," answered Little Claus. "He 
says we are not to eat porridge, for he has conjured the 
oven full of roast meat, fish, and cake." 

"Wonderful!" cried the farmer; and he opened the oven 
in a hurry, and found all the dainty provisions which his 
wife had hidden there, but which, as he thought, the wizard 
had conjured forth. The woman dared not say anything, 
but put the things at once on the table ; and so they both ate 
of the meat, the fish, and the cake. Now Little Clau.s again 
trod on his sack, and made the hide creak. 

"What does he say now?" said the farmer. 

"He says," replied Claus, "that he has conjured three bot- 
tles of wine for us, too, and that they are standing there in 
the corner behind the oven." 

Now the woman was obliged to bring out the wine which 
she had hidden, and the farmer drank it and became very 
merry. He would have been very glad to see such a con- 
juror as Little Claus had there in the sack. 

"Can he conjure the demon forth?" asked the farmer. 
"I should like to see him, for now I am merry." 


"Oh, yes," said Little Claus; "my conjuror can do any- 
thing that I ask of him — Can you not?" he added, and trod 
on the hide, so that it crackled. ''He says 'Yes.' But the 
demon is very ugly to look at; we had better not see him." 

"Oh, I'm not at all afraid. Pray, what will he look like?" 

"Why, he'll look the very image of a clerk." 

"Ha!" said the farmer, "that is ugly! You must know, 
I can't bear the sight of a clerk. But it doesn't matter now, 
for I know that he's a demon, so I shall easily stand it. 
Now I have courage, but he must not come too near me." 

"Now I will ask my conjuror," said Little Claus; and 
he trod on the sack and held his ear down. 

"What does he say?" 

"He says you may go and open the chest that stands in 
the corner, and you will see the demon crouching in it; but 
you must hold the lid so that he doesn't slip out." 

"Will you help me to hold him?" asked the farmer. And 
he went to the chest where the wife had hidden the real 
clerk, who sat in there and vs^as very much afraid. The 
farmer opened the lid a little way and peeped in under- 
neath it. 

"Hu!" he cried, and sprang backward. "Yes, now I've 
seen him, and he looked exactly like our clerk. Oh, that 
was dreadful!"' 

Upon this they must drink. So they sat and drank until 
late into the night. 

"You must sell me that conjuror," said the farmer. "Ask 
as much as you like for him; I'll give you a whole bushel 
of money directly." 

"No, that I can't do," said Little Claus ; "only think how 
much use I can make of this conjuror." 

"Oh, I should so much like to have him!" cried the 
farmer; and he went on begging. 

"Well," said Little Claus, at last, "as you have been so 
kind as to give me shelter for the night, I will let it be so. 
You shall have the conjuror for a bushel of money; but I 
must have the bushel heaped up." 

"That you shall have," replied the farmer. "But you 
must take the chest yonder away with you. I will not keep 
it in my house an hour. One cannot know — perhaps he 
may be there still." 

Little Claus gave the farmer his sack with the dry hide in 



it, and got in exchange a whole bushel of money, and that 
heaped up. The farmer also gave him a big truck, on which 
to carry oflf his money and chest. 

"Farewell!" said Little Claus; and he went off with his 
money and the big chest, in which the clerk was still sit- 

On the other side of the wood was a great deep river. 
The water rushed along so rapidly that one could scarcely 
swim against the stream. A fine new bridge had been built 
over it. Little Claus stopped on the center of the bridge, 
and said quite loud, so that the clerk could hear it. 

"Ho, what shall I do with this stupid chest? It's as 
heavy as if stones were in it. I shall only get tired if I drag 
it any farther, so I'll throw it into the river; if it swims 
home to me, well and good ; and if it does not, it will be no 
great matter." 

And he took the chest with one hand, and lifted it up a 
little, as if he intended to throw it into the river. 

"No! let be!" cried the clerk from within the chest; "let 
me out first!" 

"Hu!" exclaimed Little Claus, pretending to be fright- 
ened, "he's in there still! I must make haste and throw him 
into the river, that he may be drowned." 

"Oh, no, no!" screamed the clerk. "I'll give you a whole 
bushelful of money if you'll let me go." 

"Why, that's another thing!" said Little Claus; and he 
opened the chest. 

The clerk crept quickly out and pushed the empty chest 
into the water, and went to his house, where Little Claus 
received a whole bushelful of money. He had already re- 
ceived one from the farmer, and so now he had his truck 
loaded with money. 

"See, I've been well paid for the horse," he said to him- 
self when he had got home to his own room, and was emp- 
tying all the money into a heap in the middle of the floor. 
"That will vex Great Claus when he hears how rich I have 
grown through my one horse ; but I won't tell him about it 

So he sent a boy to Great Claus to ask for a bushel meas- 

"What can he want with it?" thought Great Claus. And 
he smeared some tar underneath the measure so that some 


part of whatever was measured should stick to it. And 
thus it happened; for when he received the measure back, 
there were three new eight-shilhng pieces adhering thereto. 

"What's this?" cried Great Claus; and he ran off at once 
to Little Claus. "Where did you get all that money from?" 

"Oh, that's for my horse's skin. I sold it yesterday even- 

"That's really being well paid," said Great Claus. And he 
ran home in a hurry, took an ax, and killed all his four 
horses; then he flayed them, and carried off their skins to 
the town. 

"Hides! hides! who'll buy any hides?" he cried through 
the streets. 

All the shoemakers and tanners came running, and asked 
how much he wanted for them. 

"A bushel of money for each!" said Great Claus. 

"Are you mad?" said they. "Do you think we have 
money by the bushel?" 

"Hides! hides!" he cried again; and to all who asked 
him what the hides would cost, he replied, "A bushel of 

"He wants to make fools of us," they all exclaimed. And 
the shoemakers took their straps, and the tanners their 
aprons, and they began to beat Great Claus. 

"Hides! hides!" they called after him, jeeringly. "Yes, 
we'll tan your hide for you till the red broth runs down. 
Out of the town with him !" And Great Claus made the best 
haste he could, for he had never yet been thrashed as he was 
thrashed now. 

"Well," said he, when he got home, "Little Claus shall 
pay for this. I'll kill him for it." 

Now, at Little Claus' the old grandmother had died. She 
had been very harsh and unkind to him, but yet he was very 
sorry, and took the dead woman and laid her in his warm 
bed, to see if she would not come to life again. There he 
intended she should remain all through the night, and he 
himself would sit in the corner and sleep on a chair, as he 
had often done before. As he sat there, in the night the 
door opened, and Great Claus came in with his ax. He 
knew where Little Claus' bed stood; and, going straight up 
to it, he hit the old grandmother on the head, thinking she 
was Little Claus. 


"D'ye see," said he, "3^ou shall not make a fool of me 
again." And then he went home. 

"That's a bad fellow, that man," said Little Claus. "He 
wanted to kill me. It was a good thing for my old grand- 
mother that she was dead already. He would have taken 
her hfe." 

And he dressed his grandmother in her Sunday clothes, 
borrowed a horse from his neighbor, harnessed it to a car, 
and put the old lady on the back seat, so that she could not 
fall out when he drove. And so they trundled through the 
wood. When the sun rose they were in front of an inn; 
there Little Claus pulled up, and went in to have some re- 

The host had very, very much mioney ; he was also a very 
good man, but exceedingly hot, as if he had pepper and to- 
bacco in him. 

"Good morning,'" said he to Little Claus. "You've put on 
your Sunday clothes early to-day." 

"Yes," answered Little Claus; "I'm going to town with 
my old grandmother; she's sitting there on the car without. 
I can't bring her into the room. Will you give her a glass 
of mead? But you must speak very loud, for she can't hear 

"Yes, that I'll do," said the host. And he poured out a 
great glass of mead, and went out with it to the dead grand- 
mother, who had been placed upright in the carriage. 

"Here's a glass of mead from your son,'' quoth mine host. 
But the dead v»?oman replied not a word, but sat quite still. 
"Don't you hear?" cried the host, as loud as he could, 
"here is a glass of mead from your son!'' 

Once more he called out the same thing, but as she per- 
sisted in not hearing him, he became angry at last, and 
threw the glass in her face, so that the mead ran down over 
her nose, and she tumbled backward into the car, for she 
had only been put upright, and not bound fast. 

"Hallo!" cried Little Claus, running out at the door, 
and seizing the host by the breast; "you've killed my grand- 
mother now! See, there's a big hole in her forehead." 

"Oh, here's a misfortune!'' cried the host, wringing his 
hands. "That all comes of my hot temper. Dear Little 
Claus, I'll give you a bushel of money, and have your 
grandmother buried as if she were my own; only keep 


quiet, or I shall have my head cut off, and that would be so 
very disagreeable!" 

So Little Claus again received a whole bushel of money, 
and the host buried the old grandmother as if she had been 
his own. And when Little Claus came home with all his 
money, he at once sent his boy to Great Claus to ask to bor- 
row a bushel measure. 

"What's that?" said Great Claus. . "Have I not killed 
him? I must go myself and see to this." And so he went 
over himself with the bushel to Little Claus. 

"Now, where did you get all that money from?" he 
asked; and he opened his eyes wide when he saw all that 
had been brought together. 

"You killed my grandmother, and not me," replied Little 
Claus; "and I've been and sold her, and got a whole bushel 
of money for her.'' 

"That's really being v\^ell paid," said Great Claus; and 
he hastened home, took an ax, and killed his own grand- 
mother directly. Then he put her on a carriage, and drove 
off to the town with her, to where the apothecary lived, and 
asked him if he would buy a dead person. 

"Who is it, and where did you get him from?" asked the 

"It's my grandmother," answered Great Claus. "I've 
killed her to get a bushel of money for her." 

"Heaven save us!" cried the apothecary, "you're rav- 
ing! Don't say such things, or you may lose your head.'' 
And he told him earnestly what a bad deed this was that he 
had done, and what a bad man he was, and that he must be 
punished. And Great Claus was so frightened that he 
jumped out of the surgery straight into his carriage, and 
whipped the horses, and drove home. But the apothecary 
and all the people thought him mad, and so they let him 
drive whither he would. 

"You shall pay for this!" cried Great Claus, when he 
was out upon the high road; "yes, yes, you shall pay me 
for this. Little Claus!" And directly he got home he took 
the biggest sack he could find, and went over to Little 
Claus, and said, "Now, you've tricked me again! First I 
killed my horses, and then my old grandmother! That's all 
your fault, but you shall never trick me any more." And 
he seized Little Claus round the body, and thrust him into 


the sack, and took him upon his back, and called out to him, 
"Now I shall go off with you and drown you." 

It was a long way that he had to travel before he came 
to the river, and Little Claus was not too light to carry. 
The road led him close to a church; the organ was play- 
ing, and the people were singing so beautifully! Then 
Great Claus put down his sack, with Little Claus in it, close 
to the church door, and thought it would be a very good 
thing to go in and hear a psalm before he went farther; for 
Little Claus could not get out, and all the people were in 
church ; and so he went in. 

"Ah, yes, yes!" sighed Little Claus in the sack. And 
he turned and twisted, but he found it impossible to loosen 
the cord. Then there came by an old drover v/ith snow- 
white hair, and a great staff in his hand; he was driving a 
whole herd of cows and oxen before him, and they stumbled 
against the sack in which Little Claus was confined, so that 
it was overthrown. 

''Oh, dear!" sighed Little Claus, "I am so young yet, and 
am to go to heaven directly !" 

"And I, poor fellow," said the drover, "am so old already, 
and can't get there yet!" 

"Open the sack," cried Little Claus; "creep into it in- 
stead of me, and you will get to heaven directly." 

"With all my heart," replied the drover; and he untied 
the sack, out of which Little Claus crept forth immediately. 

"But will you look after the cattle?" said the old man; 
and he crept into the sack at once, whereupon Little Claus 
tied it up, and went his way with all the cows and oxen. 

Soon afterward Great Claus came out of the church. He 
took the sack on his shoulders again, although it seemed 
to him as if the sack had become lighter; for the old drover 
was only half as heavy as Little Claus. 

"How light he is to carry now! Yes, that is because I 
have heard a psalm." 

So he went to the river, which was deep and broad, threw 
the sack with the old drover in it into the water, and called 
after him, thinking that it was Little Claus, "You lie there! 
Now you shan't trick me any more!" 

Then he went home; but when he came to a place where 
there was a cross road, he met Little Claus driving all his 


"What's this?" cried Great Claus. "Have I not drowned 

"Yes,'' repHed Little Claus, "you threw me into the river 
less than half an hour ago." 

"But wherever did you get all those fine beasts from?" 
asked Great Claus. 

"These beasts are sea-cattle," replied Little Claus. "I'll 
tell you the whole story — and thank you for drowning me, 
for now I'm at the top of the tree. I am really rich ! How 
frightened I was when I lay huddled in the sack, and the 
wind whistled about my ears when you threw me down from 
the bridge into the cold water! I sank to the bottom imme- 
diately; but I did not knock myself, for the most splendid 
soft grass grows down there. Upon that I fell; and imme- 
diately the sack was opened, and the loveliest maiden, with 
snow-white garments and a green wreath upon her wet 
hair, took me by the hand, and said, 'Are you come, Little 
Claus? Here you have some cattle to begin with. A mile 
farther along the road there is a whole herd more, which I 
will give to you.' And now I saw that the river formed a 
great highway for the people of the sea. Down in its bed 
they walked and drove directly from the sea, and straight 
into the land, to where the river ends. There it was so beau- 
tifully full of flowers and of the freshest grass; the fishes, 
which swam in the water, shot past my ears, just as here 
the birds in the air. What pretty people there were there, 
and what fine cattle pasturing on mounds and in ditches!" 

"But why did you come up again to us directly?" asked 
Great Claus. "I should not have done that, if it is so beauti- 
ful down there.'' 

"Why," replied Little Claus, "in that I just acted with 
good policy. You heard me tell you that the sea-maiden 
said, 'a mile farther along the road — ' and by the road she 
meant the river, for she can't go anywhere else — 'there is a 
whole herd of cattle for you.' But I know what bends the 
stream makes — sometimes this, sometimes that; there's a 
long way to go round; no, the thing can be managed in a 
shorter Avay by coming here to the land, and driving across 
the fields toward the river again. In this manner I save 
myself almost half a mile, and get all the quicker to my sea- 
cattle 1" 

"Oh, you are a fortunate man!" said Great Claus. "Do 


you think I should get some sea-cattle too if I went down to 
the bottom of the river?" 

"Yes, I think so," feplied Little Claus. "But I cannot 
carry you in the sack as far as the river; you are too heavy 
for me! But if you will go there, and creep into the sack 
yourself, I will throw you in with a great deal of pleasure." 

"Thanks!" said Great Claus; "but if I don't get any sea- 
cattle when I am down there, I shall beat you, you may be 

"Oh, no; don't be so fierce!" 

And so they went together to the river. When the 
beasts, which were thirsty, saw the stream, they ran as fast 
as they could to get at the water. 

"See how they hurry!" cried Little Claus. "They are 
longing to get back to the bottom." 

"Yes, but help me first!" said Great Claus, "or else you 
shall be beaten." 

And so he crept into the great sack, which had been laid 
across the back of one of the oxen. 

"Put a stone in, for I'm afraid I shan't sink else," said 
Great Claus. 

"That can be done," replied Little Claus; and he put a 
big stone into the sack, tied the rope tightly, and pushed 
against it. Plump! Down went Great Claus into the river, 
and sank at once to the bottom. 

"I'm afraid he won't find the cattle!" said Little Claus; 
and then he drove homeward with what he had. 


There was once a v/oman who wished for a very little 
child; but she did not know where she could procure one. 
So she went to an old witch and said : 

"I do so very much wish for a little child! can you not tell 
me where I can get one?" 

"Oh! that could easily be managed," said the witch. 
"There you have a barleycorn; that is not the kind which 
grows in the countryman's field, and which the chickens 
get to eat. Put that into a flower-pot, and you shall see 
what you shall see " 


"Thank you," said the woman; and she gave the witch 
twelve shilHngs, for that is what it cost. 

Then she went home and planted the barleycorn, and im- 
mediately there grew up a great handsome flower, which 
looked like a tulip; but the leaves were tightly closed, as 
though it were still a bud. 

"That is a beautiful flower," said the woman; and she 
kissed its yellow and red leaves. But just as she kissed it 
the flower opened with a pop! It was a real tulip, as one 
could now see; but in the middle of the flower there sat 
upon the green velvet stamens a httle maiden, dehcate and 
graceful to behold. She was scarcely half a thumb's length 
in height, and, therefore, she was called Thurnbelina. 

A neat polished walnut-shell served Thumbelina for a 
cradle, blue violet-leaves were her mattresses, with a rose- 
leaf for a coverlet. Tliere she slept at night; but in the 
day-time she played upon the table, where the woman had 
put a plate with a wreath of flowers around it, whose stalks 
stood in water; on the water swam a great tulip-leaf, and on 
this the little maiden could sit, and row from one side of 
the plate to the other, with two white horse-hairs for oars. 
That looked pretty indeed! She could also sing, and, indeed, 
so delicately and sweetly, that the like had never been heard. 

Once as she lay at night in her pretty bed, there camic an 
old Toad creeping through the window, in which one pane 
was broken. The Toad was very ugly, big and damp; it 
hopped straight down upon the table, where Thumbelina 
lay sleeping under the rose-leaf. 

"That would be a handsome wife for my son," said the 
Toad; and she took the walnut-shell in which Thumbelina 
lay asleep, and hopped with it through the window down 
into the garden. 

There ran a great broad brook; but the margin was 
swampy and soft, and here the Toad dwelt with her son. 
Ugh! he was ugly, and looked just like his mother. 
"Croak! croak; brek-kek-kex!" that was all he could say 
when he saw the graceful little maiden in the walnut-shell. 

"Don't speak so loud, or she will awake," said the old 
Toad. "She might run away from us, for she is as light as 
a bit of swan's-down. We will put her out in the brook 
upon one of the broad water-lily leaves. That vvill be just 
like an island for her, she is so small and light. Then she 


can't get away, while we put the stateroom under the marsh 
in order, where you are to Hve and keep house together." 

Out in the brook grew many water-HHes with broad green 
leaves, which looked as if they were floating on the water. 
The leaf which lay farthest out was also the greatest of all, 
and to that the old Toad swam out and laid the walnut-shell 
upon it with Thumbelina. The little tiny Thumbelina woke 
early in the morning, and when she saw where she was she 
began to cry very bitterly; for there was water on every side 
of the great green leaf, and she could not get to land at all. 
The old Toad sat down in the marsh, decking out her room 
with rushes and yellow weed — it was to be made very pretty 
for the new daughter-in-law; then she swam out, with her 
ugly son, to the leaf on which Thumbelina was. They 
wanted to take her pretty bed, which was to be put in the 
bridal chamber before she went in there herself. The old 
Toad bowed low before her in the water, and said : 

"Here is my son; he will be your husband, and you will 
live splendidly together in the marsh." 

"Croak! croak! brek-kek-kex!'' was all the son could 

Then they took the delicate little bed, and swam away 
with it; but Thumbelina sat all alone upon the green leaf 
and wept, for she did not like to live at the nasty Toad's, 
and have her ugly son for a husband. The little fishes 
swimming in the water below had both seen the Toad, and 
had also heard what she said; therefore they stretched forth 
their heads, for they wanted to see the little girl. So soon as 
they saw her they considered her so pretty that they felt 
very sorry she should have to go down to the ugly Toad. 
No, that must never be! They assembled together in the 
water around the green stalk which held the leaf on which 
the little m^aiden stood, and with their teeth they gnawed 
away the stalk, and so the leaf swam down the stream; and 
away went Thumbelina far away, where the Toad could not 
get at her. 

Thumbelina sailed by many cities, and the little birds 
which sat in the bushes saw her, and said, "What a lovely 
little girl!" The leaf swam away from them, farther and 
farther; so Thumbelina traveled out of the country. 

A graceful little white Butterfly always fluttered round 
her, and at last alighted on the leaf. Thumbelina pleased 


him, and she was very glad of this, for now the Toad could 
not reach them; and it was so beautiful where she was 
floating along — the sun shone upon the water, and the 
water glistened like the most splendid gold. She took her 
girdle and bound one end of it round the Butterfly, fastening 
the other end of the ribbon to the leaf. The leaf now glided 
onward much faster and Thumbelina, too, for she stood 
upon the leaf. 

There came a big Cockchafer flying up ; and he saw her, 
and immediately clasped his claws round her slender waist, 
and flew with her up into a tree. The green leaf went swim- 
ming down the brook, and the Butterfly with it; for he was 
fastened to the leaf, and could not get away from it. 

Mercy! how frightened poor little Thumbelina was when 
the Cockchafer flew with her up into the tree! But espe- 
cially she was sorry for the fine white Butterfly whom she 
had bound fast to the leaf, for, if he could not free himself 
from it, he would be obliged to starve. The Cockchafer, 
however, did not trouble himself at all about this. He 
seated himself with her upon the biggest green leaf of the 
tree, gave her the sweet part of the flowers to eat, and de- 
clared that she was very pretty, though she did not in the 
least resemble a cockchafer. Afterward came all the other 
Cockchafers who lived in the tree to pay a visit; they 
looked at Thumbelina, and said: 

''Why, she has not even more than two legs! — that has 
a wretched appearance." 

"She has not any feelers!" cried another. 

"Her waist is quite slender — fie! she looks like a human 
creature — how ugly she is!" said all the lady Cockchafers. 

And yet Thumbelina was very pretty. Even the Cock- 
chafer who had carried her off saw that; but when all the 
others declared she was ugly, he believed it at last, and 
would not have her at all — ^she might go whither she liked. 
Then they flew down with her from the tree, and set her 
upon a daisy, and she wept, because she was so ugly that the 
Cockchafers would have nothing to say to her; and yet she 
was the loveliest little being one could imagine, and as 
tender and delicate as a rose-leaf. 

The whole summer through poor Thumbelina lived quite 
alone in the great wood. She wove herself a bed out of 
blades of grass, and hung it up under a shamrock, so that 


she was protected from the rain ; she plucked the honey out 
of the flowers for food, and drank of the dew which stood 
every morning upon the leaves. Thus summer and autumn 
passed away; hut now came winter, the cold, long winter. 
All the birds who had sung so sweetly before her flew away; 
trees and flowers shed their leaves; the great shamrock 
under which she had lived shriveled up, and there remained 
nothing of it but a yellow, withered stalk; and she was 
dreadfully cold, for her clothes were torn, and she herself 
was so frail and delicate — poor little Thumbelina! she was 
nearly frozen. It began to snow, and every snowflake that 
fell upon her was like a whole shovelful thrown upon one 
of us, for we are tall, and she was only an inch long. Then 
she wrapped herself in a dry leaf, but that tore in the mid- 
dle, and would not warm her — she shivered with cold. 

Close to the wood into which she had now come lay a 
great corn-iield, but the corn was gone long ago ; only the 
naked dry stubble stood up out of the frozen ground. 
These were just like a great forest for her to wander 
through; and, oh! how she trembled with cold. Then she 
arrived at the door of the Field Mouse. This Mouse had a 
little hole under the stubble. There the Field Mouse lived, 
warm and comfortable, and had a v/hole roomful of corn — a 
glorious kitchen and larder. Poor Thumbelina stood at 
the door just like a poor beggar girl, and begged for a lit- 
tle bit of a barleycorn, for she had not had the smallest mor- 
sel to eat for the last two days. 

"You poor little creature," said the Field Mouse — for 
after all she was a good old Field Mouse — "come into my 
warm room and dine with me." 

As she was pleased with Thumbelina, she said, "If you 
like you may stay with me through the winter, but you 
must keep mv room clean and neat, and tell me little stories, 
for I am very fond of those." 

And Thum.belina did as the kind old Field Mouse bade 
her, and had a very good time of it. 

"Now we shall soon have a visitor," said the Field Mouse. 
"My neighbor is in the habit of visiting me once a week. 
He is even better oiT than I am, has great rooms, and beau- 
tiful black velvety fur. If you could only get him for your 
husband you would be well provided for. You must tell 
him the prettiest stories you know. 


But Thumbelina did not care about this; she thought 
nothing of the neighbor, for he was a Mole. He came and 
paid his visits in his black velvet coat. The Field Mouse 
told how rich and how learned he was, and how his house 
was more than twenty times larger than hers; that he had 
learning, but that he did not like the sun and beautiful 
flowers, for he had never seen them. 

Thumbelina had to sing, and she sang "Cockchafer, fly 
away," and "When the parson goes afield." Then the Mole 
fell in love with her, because of her delicious voice; but he 
said nothing, for he was a sedate Mole. 

A short time before he had dug a long passage through 
the earth from his own house to theirs; and Thumbelina 
and the Field Mouse obtained leave to walk in this passage 
as much as they v/ished. But he begged them not to be 
afraid of the dead bird which was lying in the passage. It 
was an entire bird, with wings and beak. It certainly must 
have died only a short time before, and was now buried 
just where the Mole had made his passage. 

The Mole took a bit of decayed wood in his mouth, and 
it glimmered like fire in the dark; then he went first and 
lighted them through the long, dark passage. When they 
came where the dead bird lay, the Mole thrust up his broad 
nose against the ceiling, so that a great hole was made, 
through which the daylight could shine down. In the mid- 
dle of the floor lay a dead Swallow, his beautiful wings 
pressed close against his sides, and his head and feet drawn 
back under his feathers; the poor bird had certainly died of 
cold. Thumbelina was very sorry for this; she was very 
fond of all the little birds, who had sung and twittered so 
prettily before her through the; but the Mole gave 
him a push with his crooked legs, and said, "Now he doesn't 
pipe any more. It must be miserable to be born a little bird. 
I'm thankful that none of my children can be that; such a 
bird has nothing but his 'tweet-tweet,' and has to starve in 
the winter!" 

"Yes, you may well say that, as a clever man," observed 
the Field Mouse. "Of what use is all this 'tweet-tweet' to a 
bird when the winter comes? He must starve and freeze. 
But they say that's very aristocratic." 

Thumbelina said nothing; but when the two others 
turned their backs on the bird, she bent down, put the 


feathers aside which covered his head, and kissed him upon 
his closed eyes. 

"Perhaps it was he who sang so prettily before me in the 
summer," she thought. "How much pleasure he gave me, 
the dear, beautiful bird!" 

The Mole now closed up the hole through which the day- 
light shone in, and accompanied the ladies homiC. But at 
night Thumbelina could not sleep at all; so she got up out 
of her bed, and wove a large, beautiful carpet of hay, and 
carried it and spread it over the dead bird, and laid the thin 
stamens of flowers, soft as cotton, and which she had found 
in the Field Mouse's room, at the bird's sides, so that he 
might lie soft in the ground. 

''Farewell, you pretty little bird!" said she. "Farewell! 
and thanks to you for your beautiful song in the summer, 
when all the trees were green, and the sun shone down 
warmly upon us." And then she laid the bird's head upon 
her heart. But the bird was not dead; he was only lying 
there torpid with cold; and now he had been warmed, and 
came to life again. 

In autumn all the swallows fly away to warm countries; 
but if one happens to be belated, it becomes so cold that it 
falls down as if dead, and lies where it fell, and then the cold 
snow covers it. 

Thumbelina fairly trembled, she was so startled; for the 
bird was large, very large, compared with her, who was only 
an inch in height. But she took courage, laid the cotton 
closer round the poor bird, and brought a leaf that she had 
used as her own coverlet, and laid it over the bird's head. 

The next night she crept out to him again — and now he 
was alive, but quite weak ; he could only open his eyes for a 
moment and look at Thumbelina, who stood before him 
with a bit of decayed wood in her hand, for she had not a 

"I thank you, you pretty little child," said the sick Swal- 
low; 'T have been famously warmed. Soon I shall get my 
strength back again, and I shall be able to fly about in the 
warm sunshine." 

"Oh!" she said, "it is so cold without. It snows and 
freezes. Stay in your warm bed, and I will nurse you." 

Then she brought the Swallow water in the petal of a 
flower; and the Swallow drank, and told her how he had 


torn one of his wings in a thorn-bush, and thus he had not 
been able to fly so fast as the other swallows, which had sped 
away, far away, to the warm countries. So at last he had 
fallen to the ground; but he could remember nothing more, 
and did not know at all how he had come where she had 
found him. 

The whole winter the Swallow remained there, and 
Thumbelina nursed and tended him heartily. Neither the 
Field Mouse nor the Mole heard anything about it, for 
they did not like the poor Swallow. So soon as the spring 
came, and the sun warmed the earth, the Swallow bade 
Thumbelina farewell, and she opened the hole which the 
Mole had made in the ceiling. The sun shone in upon them 
gloriously, and the Swallow asked if Thumbelina would go 
with him; she could sit upon his back, and they would fly 
away far into the green wood. But Thumbelina knew that 
the old Field Mouse would be grieved if she left her. 

"No, I cannot!" said Thumbelina. 

"Farewell, farewell, you good, pretty girl!" said the 
Swallow; and he flew out into the sunshine. Thumbelina 
looked after him, and the tears came into her eyes, for she 
was heartily and sincerely fond of the poor Swallow. 

"Tweet-weet! tweet-weet!" sang the birdj and flew into 
the green forest. Thumbelina felt very sad. She did not get 
permission to go out into the warm sunshine. The corn 
which was sown in the field over the house of the Field 
Mouse grew up high into the air; it was quite a thick wood 
for the poor girl, who was only an inch in height. 

"You are betrothed now, Thumbelina," said the Field 
Mouse. "My neighbor has proposed for you. What great 
fortune for a poor child like you ! Now you must work at 
your outfit, woolen and linen clothes both; for you must 
lack nothing when you have become the Mole's wife." 

Thumbelina had to turn the spindle, and the Mole hired 
four spiders to weave for her day and night. Every evening 
the Mole paid her a visit; and he was always saying that 
when the summer should draw to a close, the sun would not 
shine nearly so hot, for that now it burned the earth almost 
as hard as a stone. Yes, when the summer should have 
gone, then he would keep his wedding day with Thumbelina. 
But she was not glad at all, for she did not like the tiresome 
Mole. Every morning when the sun rose, and every even- 


ing when it went down, she crept out at the door; and when 
the wind blew the corn-ears apart, so that she could see the 
blue sky, she thought how bright and beautiful it was out 
here, and wished heartily to see her dear Swallow again. 
But the Swallow did not come back; he had doubtless flown 
far away, in the fair green forest. When autumn came on, 
Thumbelina had all her outfit ready. 

"In four weeks you shall celebrate your wedding," said 
the Field Mouse to her. 

But Thumbelina wept, and declared she would not have 
the tiresome Mole. 

"Nonsense!" said the Field Mouse; "don't be obstinate, 
or I will bite you with my white teeth. He is a very fane 
man whom you will marry. The Queen herself has not 
such a black velvet fur; and his kitchen and cellar are full. 
Be thankful for your good fortune." 

Now the wedding was to be held. The Mole had already 
come to fetch Thumbelina; she was to live with him, deep 
under the earth, and never to come out into the warm sun- 
shine, for that he did not like. The poor little thing was 
very sorrowful ; she was now to say farewell to the glorious 
sun, which after all, she had been allowed by the Field 
Mouse to see from the threshold of the door. 

"Farewell, thou bright sun!" she said, and stretched out 
her arms toward it, and walked a little way forth from the 
house of the Field Mouse, for now the corn had been 
reaped, and only the dry stubble stood in the fields. Fare- 
well!" she repeated, twining her arms round a little red 
flower which still bloomed there. "Greet the little Swallow 
from me, if you see him again." 

"Tweet-weet! tweet-weet!" a voice suddenly sounded 
over her head. She looked up; it was the little Swallow, 
who was just flying by. When he saw Thumbelina he was 
very glad; and Thumbelina told him how loth she was to 
have the ugly Mole for her husband, and that she was to 
live deep under the earth, where the sun never shone. And 
she could not refrain from weeping. 

"The cold winter is coming now," said the Swallow; "I 
am. goins: to flv far away into the warm countries. Will you 
come with me? You can sit upon my back, then we shall 
fly from the ugly Mole and his dark room — away, far away, 
over the mountains to the warm countries, where the sun 


shines warmer than here, where it is always summer, and 
there are lovely flowers. Only fly with me, you dear little 
Thumbelina, you who saved my life when I lay frozen in 
the dark earthy passage." 

"Yes, I will go with you!" said Thumbelina; and she 
seated herself on the bird's back, with her feet on his out- 
spread wing, and bound her girdle fast to one of his strong- 
est feathers; then the Swallow flew up into the air over 
forest and over sea, high up over the great mountains, 
where the snow always lies ; and Thumbelina felt cold in the 
bleak air, but then she hid under the bird's warm feathers, 
and only put out her little head to admire all the beauties 
beneath her. 

At last they came to the warm countries. There the sun 
shone far brighter than here; the sky seemed twice as 
high; in ditches and on the hedges grew the most beautiful 
blue and green grapes; lemons and oranges hung in the 
woods; the air was fragrant with myrtles and balsams, and 
on the roads the loveliest children ran about, playing with 
gay butterflies. But the Swallow flew still farther, and it be- 
came more and more beautiful. Under the more glorious 
green trees by the blue lake stood a palace of dazzling white 
m.arble, from the olden time. Vines clustered around lofty 
pillars; at the top were many swallows' nests, and in one 
of these the Swallow lived who carried Thumbelina. 

"That is my house," said the Swallow; "but it is not right 
that you should live there. It is not yet properly arranged 
by a great deal, and you will not be content with it. Select 
for yourself one of the splendid flowers which grow down 
yonder, then I will put you into it, and you shall have 
everything as nice as you can wish." 

"That is capital," cried she, and clapped her little hands. 

A great marble pillar lay there, which had fallen to the 
ground and had been broken into three pieces; but be- 
tween these pieces grew the most beautiful great white 
flowers. The Swallow flew down with Thumbelina, and set 
her upon one of the broad leaves. But what was the little 
maid's surprise? There sat a little man in the midst of the 
flower, as white and transparent as if he had been made of 
glass ; he wore the neatest of gold crowns on his head, and 
the brightest wings on his shoulders; he himself was not 
bigger than Thumbelina. He was the Angel of the flower. 



In each of the flowers dwelt such a Httle man or woman, 
but this one was King over them all. 

"Heavens! how beautiful he is!" whispered Thumbelina 
to the Swallow. 

The little Prince was very much frightened at the Swal- 
low, for it was quite a gigantic bird to him, who was so 
small. But when he saw Thumbelina, he became very glad; 
she was the prettiest maiden he had ever seen. Therefore 
he took off his golden crown, and put it on her head, asked 
her name, and if she would be his wife, and then she should 
be Queen of all the flowers. Now this was truly a diiiferent 
kind of man to the son of the Toad, and the Mole with the 
black velvet fur. She therefore said "Yes" to the charming 
Prince. And out of every flower came a lady or lord, so 
pretty to behold that it was a delight; each one brought 
Thumbelina a present; but the best gift was a pair of beauti- 
ful wings which had belonged to a great white fly; these 
were fastened to Thumbelina's back, and now she could fly 
from flower to flower. Then there w^as much rejoicing; and 
the little Swallow sat above them in the nest, and was to 
sing the marriage song, which he accordingly did as well 
as he could; but yet in his heart he was sad, for he was so 
fond, Oh! so fond of Thumbelina, and would have liked 
never to part from her. 

"You should not be called Thumbelina," said the Flower 
Angel to her; "that is an ugly name, and you are too fair 
for it — we will call you Maia." 




In a house in Copenhagen, not far from the King's New 
Market, a companv — a verv large company — had assem- 
bled, having received invitations to an evening party there. 
One-half of the companv had alreadv sat at the card-tables, 
the other half awaited the result of the hostess' question, 
"What shall we do now?" They had progressed so far, and 


the entertainment began to show some degree of animation. 
Among other subjects the conversation turned upon the 
Middle Ages. Some considered that period much more in- 
teresting than our own time; yes, Councilor Knap defended 
this view so zealously that the lady of the house went over 
at once to his side; and both loudly exclaimed against Oer- 
sted's treatise in the Almanac on old and modern times, in 
which the chief advantage is given to our own day. The 
councilor considered the times of the Danish King Hans 
as the noblest and happiest age. 

While the conversation takes this turn, only interrupted 
for a moment by the arrival of a newspaper, which con- 
tained nothing worth reading, we will betake ourselves to 
the ante-chamber, where the cloaks, sticks, and goloshes 
had found a place. Here sat two maids — an old one and a 
young one. One would have thought they had come to 
escort their mistresses home; but, on looking at them more 
closely, the observer could see that they were not ordinary 
servants; their shapes were too graceful for that, their 
complexions too delicate, and the cut of their dresses too 
uncommon. They were two fairies. The younger was not 
Fortune, but lady's-maid to one of her ladies of the bed- 
chamber, who carry about the more trifling gifts of Fortune. 
The elder one looked somewhat more gloomy — she was 
Care, who always goes herself in her owii exalted person to 
perform her business, for thus she knows that it is well 

They were telling each other where they had been that 
day. The messenger of Fortune had only transacted a few 
unimportant affairs, as, for instance, she had preserved a 
new bonnet from a shower of rain, had procured an honest 
man a bow from a titled Nobody, and so on; but what she 
had still to relate was something quite extraordinary. 

"I can likewise tell," she said, "that to-day is my birth- 
day; and in honor of it a pair of goloshes has been en- 
trusted to me, which I am to bring to the human race. 
These goloshes have the property that everyone who puts 
them on is at once transported to the time and place in 
which he likes best to be — every wish in reference to time, 
place, and circumstance is at once fulfilled; and so for once 
man can be happy here below!" 

-'Believe me,'' said Care, "he will be very unhappy, and 


will bless the moment when he can get rid of the goloshes 

"What are you thinking of?" retorted the other. "Now 
I shall put them at the door. Somebody will take them by 
mistake, and become the happy one." 

You see, this was the dialogue they held. 


It was late. Councilor Knap, lost in contemplation of the 
times of King Hans, wished to get home; and fate willed 
that instead of his own goloshes he should put on those of 
Fortune, and thus went out into East Street. But by the 
power of the goloshes he had been put back three hundred 
years — into the days of King Hans ; and therefore he put 
his foot into the mud and mire in the street, because in those 
days there was not any pavement. 

"Why, this is horrible — how dirty it is here!" said the 
councilor. "The good pavement is gone, and all the lamps 
are put out." 

The moon did not yet stand high enough to give much 
light, and the air was tolerably thick, so that all objects 
seemed to melt together in the darkness. At the next cor- 
ner a lamp hung before a picture of the Madonna, but the 
light it gave was as good as none; he only noticed it when 
he stood just under it, and his eyes fell upon the painted 

"This is probably a museum of art," thought he, "where 
they have forgotten to take down the sign." 

A couple of men in the costume of those past days went 
by him. 

"How they look!'' he said. "They must come from a 

Suddenly there was a sound of drums and fifes, and 
torches gleamed brightly. The councilor started. And 
now he saw a strange procession go past. First came a 
whole troop of drummers, beating their instruments very 
dexterously; they were followed by men-at-arms, with 
longbows and crossbows. The chief man in the procession 


was a clerical lord. The astonished councilor asked what 
was the meaning of this, and who the man might be. 

"That is the Bisliop of Zealand." 

"What in the world has come to the bishop!" said the 
councilor, with a sigh, shaking his head, "This could not 
possibly be the bishop !" 

Ruminating on this, and without looking to the right or 
to the left, the councilor went through the East Street, and 
over the Highbridge Place. The bridge which led to the 
Palace Square was not to be found; he perceived the shore 
of a shallow water and at length encountered two people, 
who sat in a boat, 

"Do you wish to be ferried over to the Holm, sir?" they 

"To ■ the Holm !" repeated the councilor, who did not 
know, you see, in what period he was. 'T want to go to 
Christian's Haven and to Little Turf Street.'' 

The men stared at him. 

"Pray tell me where the bridge is?" said he. "It is 
shameful that no lanterns are lighted here; and it is as 
muddy, too, as if one were walking in a marsh." But the 
longer he talked with the boatmen the less could he under- 
stand them. "I don't understand your Bornhelm talk," he 
at last cried, angrily, and turned his back upon them. He 
could not find the bridge, nor was there any paling. "It is 
quite scandalous how things look here!" he said — never 
had he thought his own times so miserable as this evening. 
"I think it will be best if I take a cab," thought he. But 
v^'here were the cabs? — not one v/as to be seen. "I shall 
have to go back to the King's New Market, where there are 
many carriages standing; otherwise I shall never get as far 
as Christian's Haven.'' 

Now he went toward East Street, and had almost gone 
through it when the moon burst forth. 

"What in the world have they been erecting here?" he 
exclaimed, when he saw the East Gate, which in those days 
stood at the end of East Street. 

In the meantime, however, he found a passage open, and 
through this he came out upon our Nevv^ Market; but it was 
a broad meadow. Single bushes stood forth, and across the 


meadow ran a great canal or stream. A few miserable 
wooden booths for Dutch skippers were erected on the op- 
posite shore. 

"Either I behold a Fata Aforgana, or I am tipsy," sighed 
the councilor. "What can that be? What can that be?" 

He turned back, in the full persuasion that he must be ill. 
In walking up the street he looked more closely at the 
houses; most of them were built of laths, and many were 
only thatched with straw. 

"No, I don't feel well at all!" he lamented. "And yet I 
only drank one glass of punch! But I cannot stand that; 
and besides, it was very foolish to give us punch and warm 
salmon. I shall mention that to our hostess — the agent's 
lady. Suppose I go back and say how I feel? But that 
looks ridiculous, and it is a question if they will be up still." 

He looked for the house, but could not find it. 

"That is dreadful!" he cried; "I don't know East Street 
again. Not one shop is to be seen ; old, miserable, tumble- 
down huts are all I see, as if I were at Roeskilde or Ring- 
stedt. Oh, I am ill! It's no use to make ceremony. But 
where in all the world is the agent's house? It is no longer 
the same; but within there are people up still. I certainly 
must be ill !" 

He now reached a half-open door, where the light shone 
through a chink. It was a tavern of that date — a kind of 
beer-house. The room had the appearance of a Dutch 
wine-shop ; a number of people, consisting of seamen, citi- 
zens of Copenhagen, and a few scholars, sat in deep conver- 
sation over their jugs, and paid little attention to the new- 

'T beg pardon," said the councilor to the hostess, "but I 
feel very unwell ; would you let them get me a fly to go to 
Christian's Haven?" 

The woman looked at him and shook her head; then she 
spoke to him in German. 

The councilor now supposed that she did not understand 
Danish, so he repeated his wish in the German language. 
This, and his costume, convinced the woman that he was a 
foreigner. She soon understood that he felt unwell, and 
therefore brought him a jug of water. It certainly tasted a 
little of sea-water, though it had been taken from the spring 


The councilor leaned his head upon his hand, drew a 
deep breath, and thought of all the strange things that were 
happening about him. 

"Is that to-day's number of the Day?" he said, quite 
mechanically, for he saw the woman was putting away a 
large sheet of paper. 

She did not understand what he meant, but handed him 
the leaf; it was a woodcut representing a strange appear- 
ance in the air which had been seen in the city of Cologne. 

''That is very old," said the councilor, who became quite 
cheerful at sight of this antiquity. "How did you come by 
this strange leaf? This is very interesting, although the 
whole thing is a fable. Nowadays these appearances are 
explained to be northern lights that have been seen; prob- 
ably they arise from electricity." 

Those who sat nearest to him and heard his speech looked 
at him in surprise, and one of them rose, took off his hat 
respectfully, and said, with a very grave face: 

"You must certainly be a very learned man, sir!" 

"Oh, no!" replied the councilor; "I can only say a word 
or two about things one ought to understand." 

^'Modestia is a beautiful virtue," said the man. "More- 
over, I must say to your speech, 'mihi secus videtur;' yet 
I will gladly suspend my Judiciimi." 

"May I ask with whova I have the pleasure of speaking?'' 
asked the councilor. 

"I am a bachelor of theology," replied the man. 

This answer sufficed for the councilor; the title corre- 
sponded with the garb. 

"Certainly," he thought, "this must be an old village 
schoolmaster, a queer character, such as one finds some- 
times over in Jutland." 

"This is certainly not a ^ocus docendi," began the man; 
"but I beg you to take the trouble to speaK. You are 
doubtless well read in the ancients?" 

"Oh, yes," replied the councilor. ''I am fond of reading 
useful old books; and am fond of the modern ones too, with 
the exception of the 'Every-day Stories,' of which we have 
enough, in all conscience.'' 

"Every-day Stories?" said the bachelor, inquiringly. 

"Yes, I mean the new romances we have now." 

"Oh!" said the man, with a smile, "they are very witty, 


and are much read at court. The King is especially partial 
to the romances by Messieurs Iffven and Gaudian, which 
talks about King Arthur and his knights of the Round Ta- 
ble. He has jested about it with his noble lords." 

"That I certainly have not yet read," said the councilor; 
"that must be quite a new book published by Heiberg." 

"No," retorted the man, "it is not published by Heiberg, 
but by Godfrey von Gehmen.""^ 

"Indeed! is he the author?" asked the councilor. "That 
is a very old name : was not that the name of about the first 
printer who appeared in Denmark?" 

"Why, he is our first printer," replied the man. 

So far it had gone well. But now one of the men began 
to speak of a pestilence which he said had been raging a 
few years ago; he meant the plague of 1484. The councilor 
supposed he meant the cholera, and so the conversation 
went on tolerably. The Freebooters' War of 1490 w^as so 
recent that it could not escape mention. The English pi- 
rates had taken ships from the very wharves, said the mian; 
and the councilor, who was well acquainted with the events 
of 1 801, joined in manfully against the English. The rest 
of the talk, however, did not pass over so well; every mo- 
ment there was a contradiction. The good bachelor was 
terribly ignorant, and the simplest assertion of the councilor 
seemed too bold or too fantastic. They looked at each 
other, and when it became too bad, the bachelor spoke 
Latin, in the hope that he would be better understood, but 
it was of no use. 

"How are you now?" asked the hostess, and she plucked 
the councilor by the sleeve. 

Now his recollection came back; in the course of the 
conversation he had forgotten everything that had hap- 

"Good Heavens! where am I?" he said, and he felt dizzy 
when he thought of it. 

"We'll drink claret, mead, and Bremen beer," cried one of 
the guests, "and you shall drink with us." 

Two girls came in. One of them had on a cap of two 
colors. They poured out drink and bowed; the councilor 
felt a cold shudder running all down his back. "What's 

* The first printer and publisher in Denmark under King Hans. 


that? what's that?" he cried; but he was obhged to drink 
with them. They took possession of the good man quite 
pohtely. He was in despair, and when one said that he was 
tipsy he felt not the slightest doubt regarding the truth of 
the statement, and only begged them to procure him a 
droschky. Now they thought he was speaking Muscovite. 

Never had he been in such rude, vulgar company. 

"One would think the country was falling back into heath- 
enism,'' was his reflection. "This is the most terrible mo- 
ment of my life." 

But at the same time the idea occurred to him to bend 
down under the table, and then to creep to the door. He 
did so; but just as he had reached the entry, the others dis- 
covered his intention. They seized him by the feet, and 
now the goloshes, to his great good fortune, came ofif, and 
— the whole enchantment vanished. 

The councilor saw quite plainly, in front of him, a lamp 
burning, and behind it a great building; everything looked 
familiar and splendid. It was East Street, as we know it 
now. He lay with his legs turned toward a porch, and op- 
posite to him sat the watchman asleep. 

"Good Heavens! have I been lying here in the street 
dreaming?" he exclaimed. "Yes, this is East Street, sure 
enough! how splendidly bright and gay! It is terrible 
what an effect that one glass of punch must have had on 

Two minutes afterward he was sitting in a fly, which 
drove him out to Christian's Haven. He thought of the 
terror and anxiety he had undergone, and praised from his 
heart the happy present, our own time, which, with all its 
shortcomings, was far better than the period in which he 
had been placed a short time before. 



"On my word, yonder lies a pair of goloshes!" said the 
watchman. "They must certainly belong to the lieutenant 
who lives upstairs. They are lying close to the door." 

The honest would gladly have rung the bell and de- 
livered them, for upstairs there was a light still burning; 





ST. LOUS t-y.o. 


but he did not wish to disturb the other people in the House, 
and so he let it alone. 

"It must be very warm to have a pair of such things on," 
said he. "How nice and soft the leather is!" They fitted 
his feet very well. "How droll it is in the world! Now, he 
might lie down in his warm bed, and yet he does not! There 
he is pacing up and down the room. He is a happy man! 
He has neither wife nor children, and every evening he is 
at a party. Oh, I wish I were he, then I should be a happy 

As he uttered this wish, the goloshes he had put on pro- 
duced their effect, and the watchman v/as transported into 
the body and being of the lieutenant. Then he stood up in 
the room, and held a little pink paper in his fingers, on 
which was a poem, a poem written by the lieutenant him- 
self. For who is there who has not once in his life had a 
poetic moment? and at such a moment, if one writes down 
one's thoughts, there is poetry. 

Yes, people write poetr}'- when they are in love; but a 
prudent man does not print such poems. The lieutenant 
was in love — and poor — that's a triangle, or, so to speak, the 
half of a broken square of happiness. The lieutenant felt 
that very keenly, and so he laid his head against the win- 
dow-frame and sighed a deep sigh. 

"The poor watchman in the street yonder is far happier 
than I. He does not know what I call want. He has a 
home, a wife, and children, who weep at his sorrow and re- 
joice at his joy. Oh! I should be happier than I am, could 
I change my being for his, and pass through life with his 
humble desires and hopes. Yes, he is happier than I !" 

In that same moment the watchman became a watchman 
again; for through the power of the goloshes of Fortune he 
had assumed the personality of the lieutenant; but then we 
know he felt far less content, and preferred to be just what 
he had despised a short time before. So the watchman be- 
came a watchman again. 

"That was an ugly dream," said he, "but droll enough. 
It seemed to me that I was the lieutenant up yonder, and 
that it was not pleasant at all. I w^as without the wife, and 
the boys, who are now ready to half stifle me with kisses." 

He sat down again and nodded. The dream would not 


go quite out of his thoughts. He had the goloshes still on 
his feet. A falling star glided down along the horizon. 

"There went one," said he, "but for all that, there are 
enough left. I should like to look at those things a little 
nearer, especially the moon, for that won't vanish under 
one's hands. The student for whom my wife washes says 
that when we die we fly from one star to another. That's 
not true, but it would be very nice. If I could only make a 
little spring up there, then my body might lie here on the 
stairs for all I care." 

Now there are certain assertions we should be very cau- 
tious of making in this world, but doubly careful when we 
have goloshes of Fortune on our feet. Just hear what hap- 
pened to the watchman. 

So far as we are concerned, we all understand the rapidity 
of dispatch by steam ; we have tried it either in railways, or 
in steamers across the sea. But this speed is as the crawling 
of the sloth or the march of the snail in comparison with the 
swiftness with which light travels. That flies nineteen million 
times quicker. Death is an electric shock we receive in our 
hearts, and on the wings of electricity the liberated soul flies 
away. The sunlight requires eight minutes and a few sec- 
onds for a journey of more than ninety-five millions of miles; 
on the wings of electric power the soul requires only a few 
moments to accomplish the same flight. The space between 
the orbs of the universe is, for her, not greater than, for us, 
the distances between the houses of our friends dwelling in 
the same town, and even living close together. Yet this 
electric shock costs us the life of the body here below, un- 
less, like the watchman, we have the magic goloshes on. 

In a few seconds the watchman had traversed the distance 
of two hundred and sixty thousand miles to the moon, which 
body, as we know, consists of a much lighter material than 
that of our earth, and is, as we should say, soft as new-fallen 
snow. He found himself on one of the many ring moun- 
tains with which we are familiar through Dr. Madler's 
great map of the moon. Within the ring a great bowl- 
shaped hollow went down to the depth of a couple of miles. 
At the base of the hollow lay a town, of whose appearance 
we can only form an idea by pouring the white of an egg 
into a glass of water; the substance here was just as soft as 
the white of an egg, and formed similar towers, and cupolas, 


and terraces like sails, transparent and floating in the thin 
air. Our earth hung- over his head like a great dark, red 

He immediately became aware of a number of beings, 
who were certainly what we call "men," but their appear- 
ance was ver}^ different from ours. If they had been put 
up in a row and painted, one would have said, "that's a beau- 
tiful arabesque!" They had also a language; but no one 
could expect that the soul of the watchman should under- 
stand it. But the watchman's soul did understand it, for 
our souls have far greater abilities than we suppose. Does 
not its wonderful dramatic talents show itself in our dreams? 
Then every one of our acquaintances appears speaking in 
his own character, and with his own voice, in a way that no 
one of us could imitate in our waking hours. How does 
our soul bring back to us people of whom we have not 
thought for many years? Suddenly they come into our 
souls with their smallest peculiarities about them. In fact, 
it is a fearful thing, that memory which our souls possess; 
it can reproduce every sin, every bad thought. And then, . 
it may be asked, shall we be able to give an account of 
every idle word that has been in our hearts and on our 

Thus the watchman's soul understood the language of the 
people in the moon very well. They disputed about this 
earth, and doubted if it could be inhabited; the air, they as- 
serted, must be too thick for a sensible moon-man to live 
there. They considered that the moon alone was peopled; 
for that, they said, was the real body in which the old-world 
people dwelt. They also talked of politics. 

But let us go down to the East Street, and see how it fared 
with the body of the 

He sat lifeless upon the stairs. His pipe had fallen out of 
his hand, and his eyes stared up at the moon, which his 
honest body was wondering about. 

"What's o'clock, watchman?" asked a passer-by. But 
the man who didn't answer was the watchman. Then the 
passengers tweaked him quite gently by the nose, and then 
he lost his balance. There lay the body stretched out at full 
length — the man was dead. All his comrades were very 
much frightened; dead he waSj and dead he remained. It 


was reported, and it was discussed, and in the morning the 
body was carried out to the hospital. 

That would be a pretty jest for the soul if it should chance 
to come back, and probably seek its body in the East Street, 
and not find it! Most likely it would go first to the police 
and afterward to the address office, that inquiries might be 
made from thence respecting the missing goods ; and then it 
would wander out to the hospital. But we may console 
ourselves with the idea that the soul is most clever when 
it acts upon its own account; it is the body that makes it 

As we have said, the watchman's body was taken to the 
hospital, and brought into the washing-room; and naturally 
enough the first thing they did there was to pull off the gol- 
oshes; and then the soul had to come back. It took its way 
directly toward the body, and in a few seconds there was life 
in the man. He declared that this had been the most terri- 
ble night of his life ; he would not have such feelings again, 
not for a shilling; but now it was past and over. 

The same day he was allowed to leave; but the goloshes 
remained at the hospital. 



Everyone who belongs to Copenhagen knows the look of 
the entrance to the Frederick's Hospital in Copenhagen; 
but, as perhaps a few will read this story who do not be- 
long to Copenhagen, it becomes necessary to give a short 
description of it. 

The hospital is separated from the street by a tolerably 
high railing, in which the thick iron rails stand so far apart, 
that certain very thin inmates are said to have squeezed be- 
tween them, and thus paid their little visits outside the 
premises. The part of the body most difficult to get through 
was the head; and here, as it often happens in the world, 
small heads were the most fortunate. This will be sufficient 
as an introduction. 

One of the young volunteers, of whom one could only say 
in one sense that he had a great head, had the watch that 


evening. The rain was pouring down; but in spite of this 
obstacle he wanted to go out, only for a quarter of an hour. 
It was needless, he thought, to tell the porter of his wish, 
especially if he could slip through between the rails. There 
lay the goloshes which the watchman had forgotten. It 
never occurred to him in the least that they were gol- 
oshes of Fortune. They would do him very good service in 
this rainy weather, and he pulled them on. Now the ques- 
tion was whether he could squeeze through the bars; till now 
he had never tried it. There he stood. 

"I wish to goodness I had my head outside!" cried he. 
And immediately, though his head was very thick and big, 
it glided easily and quickly through. The goloshes must 
have understood it well; but now the body was to slip 
through also, and that could not be done. "I am too fat. 
I thought my head was the thickest. I shan't get through." 

Now he wanted to pull his head back quickly, but he 
could not manage it; he could move his neck, but that was 
all. His first feeling was one of anger, and then his spirits 
sank down to zero. The goloshes of Fortune had placed 
him in this terrible condition, and, unfortunately, it never 
occurred to him to wish himself free. No ; instead of wish- 
ing, he only strove, and could not stir from the spot. The 
rain poured down; not a creature was to be seen in the 
street ; he could not reach the gate bell, and how was he to 
get loose? He foresaw that he would have to remain here 
vmtil morning, and then they would have to send for a 
blacksmith to file through the iron bars. But such a busi- 
ness is not to be done quickly. The whole charity school 
would be upon its legs; the whole sailors' quarter close by 
would come up and see him standing in the pillory; and a 
fine crowd there would be. 

"Hu!" he cried, "the blood's rising to my head, and I 
shall go mad! Yes, I'm going mad! If I were free, most 
likely it would pass over." 

That is what he ought to have said at first. The very 
moment he had uttered the thought his head was free; and 
now he rushed in, quite dazed with the fright the goloshes of 
Fortune had given him. But we must not think the whole 
affair was over; there was much worse to come yet. 

The night passed away, and the following day too, and 
nobody sent for the goloshes. In the evening a display of 


oratory was to take place in an amateur theater in a distant 
street. The house was crammed, and among the audience 
was the volunteer from the hospital, who appeared to have 
forgotten his adventure of the previous evening. He had 
the goloshes on, for they had not been sent for; and as it 
was dirty in the streets, they might do him good service. A 
new piece was recited; it was called "My Aunt's Spectacles." 
These were spectacles which, when anyone put them on in a 
great assembly of people, made all present look like cards, 
so that one could prophesy from them all that would happen 
in the coming year. 

The idea struck him ; he would have liked to possess such 
a pair of spectacles. If they were used rightly, they would 
perhaps enable the wearer to look into people's hearts ; and 
that, he thought, would be more interesting than to see 
what was going to happen in the next year; for future events 
would be known in time, but the people's thoughts never. 

"Now I'll look at the row of ladies and gentlemen on the 
first bench ; if one could look directly into their hearts ! yes, 
that must be a hollow, a sort of shop. How my eyes would 
wander about in that shop! In every lady's, yonder, I 
should doubtless find a great milliner's warehouse ; with this 
one here the shop is empty, but it would do no harm to have 
it cleaned out. But would there really be such shops? Ah, 
yes!" he continued, sighing, "I know one in which all the 
goods are first-rate, but there's a servant in it already; that's 
the only drawback in the whole shop! From one and an- 
other the word would be 'Please to step in!' Oh, that I 
might only step in, like a neat little thought, and slip 
through their hearts!" 

That was the word of command for the goloshes. The 
volunteer shriveled up, and began to take a very remarkable 
journey through the hearts of the first row of spectators. 
The first heart through which he passed was that of a lady, 
but he immediately fancied himself in the Orthopaedic In- 
stitute, in the room where the plaster casts of deformed limbs 
are kept hanging against the walls; the only difference was, 
that these casts were formed in the institute when the pa- 
tients came in, but here in the heart they were formed and 
preserved after the good persons had gone away. For they 
were casts of female friends, whose bodily and mental faults 
were preserved here. 


Quickly he had passed into another female heart. But this 
seemed to him. like a great holy church; the white dove of 
innocence fluttered over the high altar. Gladly would he 
have sunk down on his knees; but he was obliged to go 
away into the next heart. Still, however, he heard the 
tones of the organ, and it seemed to him that he himiself had 
become another and a better man. He felt himself not un- 
worthy to enter into the next sanctuary, which showed itself 
in the form of a poor garret, containing a sick mother. But 
through the window the warm sun streamed in, and two 
sky-blue birds sang full of childlike joy, while the sick 
mother prayed for a blessing on her daughter. 

Now he crept on his hands and knees through an over- 
filled butcher's shop. There was meat, and nothing but 
meat, wherever he went. It was the heart of a rich, re- 
spectable man, whose name is certainly to be found in the 
address book. 

Now he was in the heart of this man's wife ; this heart was 
an old dilapidated pigeon-house. The husband's portrait 
was used as a mere weathercock; it stood in connection with 
the doors, and these doors opened and shut according as 
the husband turned. 

Then he came into a cabinet of mirrors, such as w^e find in 
the Castle of Rosenburg; but the mirrors magnified in a 
great degree. In the middle of the floor sat, like a Grand 
Lama, the insignificant I of the proprietor, astonished in 
the contemplation of his own greatness. 

Then he fancied himself transported into a narrow needle- 
case full of pointed needles; and he thought, "This must de- 
cidedly be the heart of an old maid!" But that was not the 
case. It was the heart of a young officer, wearing several 
orders, and of whom one said, "He's a man of intellect and 

Quite confused was the poor volunteer when he emerged 
from the heart of the last person in the first row. He could 
not arrange his thoughts, and fancied it must be his power- 
ful imagination which had run away with him. 

"Gracious powers!" he sighed. "I must certainly have a 
great tendency to go mad. It is also unconscionably hot in 
here; the blood is rising to my head!" 

And now he remembered the great event of the last even- 


ing; how his head had been caught between the iron rails of 
the hospital. 

"That's where I must have caught it," thought he. "I 
must do something at once. A Russian bath might be very 
good. I wish I were lying on the highest board in the bath- 

And there he lay on the highest board in the vapor bath; 
but he was lying there in all his clothes, in boots and gol- 
oshes, and the hot drops from the ceiling were falling on his 

"Hi!" he cried, and jumped down to take a plunge bath. 

The attendant uttered a loud cry on seeing a person there 
with all his clothes on. The volunteer had, however, 
enough presence of mind to whisper to him, "It's for a 
wager!" But the first thing he did when he got into his 
own room was to put a big blister on the nape of his neck, 
and another on his back, that they might draw out his mad- 

Next morning he had a very sore back ; and that was all 
he had got by the goloshes of Fortune. 



The watchman, whom we surely have not yet forgotten, 
in the meantime thought of the goloshes, which he had 
found and brought to the hospital. He took them away; 
but as neither the lieutenant nor anyone in the street would 
own them, they were taken to the police office. 

"They look exactly like my own goloshes," said one of the 
copying gentlemen, as he looked at the unowned articles 
and put them beside his own. "More than a shoemaker's 
eye is required to distinguish them from one another."' 

"Mr. Copying Clerk," said a servant, coming in with 
some papers. 

The copying clerk turned and spoke to the man; when he 
had done this, he turned to look at the goloshes again; he 
was in great doubt if the right-hand or the left-hand pair be- 
longed to him. 

"It must be those that are wet," he thought. Now here 



he thought wrong, for these were the goloshes of Fortune; 
but why should not the police be sometimes mistaken? He 
put them on, thrust his papers into his pocket, and put a 
few manuscripts under his arm, for they were to be read at 
home, and abstracts to be made from them. And now it 
was Sunday morning, and the weather was fine. "A walk 
to Fredericksburg would do me good," said he; and he went 
out accordingly. 

There could not be a quieter, steadier person than this 
young man. We grant him his little walk with all our 
hearts; it will certainly do him good after so much sitting. 
At first he only walked like a vegetating creature, so the 
goloshes had no opportunity of displaying their magic 

In the avenue he met an acquaintance, one of our 
younger poets, who told him he was going to start next day 
on a summer trip. 

"Are you going away again already?" asked the copying 
clerk. "What a happy, free man you are! You can fly 
wherever you like ; we others have a chain to our foot." 

"But it is fastened to the bread tree!" replied the poet. 
"You need not be anxious for the morrow; and when you 
grow old you get a pension." 

"But you are better off, after all," said the copying clerk. 
"It must be a pleasure to sit and write poetry. Everybody 
says agreeable things to you, and then you are your own 
master. Ah, yon should just try it, poring over the frivol- 
ous affairs in the court." 

The poet shook his head; the copying clerk shook his 
head also; each retained his own opinion; and thus they 

"They are a strange race, these poets !" thought the copy- 
ing clerk. "I should like to try and enter into such a nature 
— to become a poet myself. I am certain I should not write 
such complaining verses as the rest. What a splendid 
spring day for a poet! The air is so remarkably clear, the 
clouds are so beautiful, and the green smells so sweet. For 
many years I have not felt as I feel at this moment." 

We already notice that he has become a poet. To point 
this out would, in most cases, be what the Germans call 
"mawkish." It is a foolish fancy to imagine a poet different 
from other people, for among the latter there may be na- 


tures more poetical than those of many an acknowledged 
poet. The difference is only that the poet has a better spir- 
itual memory; his ears hold fast the feeling and the idea 
until they are embodied clearly and firmly in words; and 
the others cannot do that. But the transition from an every- 
day nature to that of a poet is always a transition, and as 
such it must be noticed in the copying clerk. 

"What glorious fragrance!'' he cried. "How it reminds 
me of the violets at Aunt Laura's! Yes, that was when I 
was a little boy. I have not thought of that for a long time. 
Tlie good old lady! She lies yonder, by the canal. She 
always had a twig or a couple of green shoots in the water, 
let the winter be as severe as it might. The violets bloomed, 
while I had to put warm farthings against the frozen win- 
dow-panes to make peep-holes. That was a pretty view. 
Out in the canal the ships were frozen in, and deserted by 
the whole crew ; a screaming crow was the only living crea- 
ture left. Then, when the spring breezes blew, it all became 
lively; the ice was sawn asunder amid shouting and cheers, 
the ships were tarred and rigged, and then they sailed away 
to strange lands. I remained here, and must always remain, 
and sit at the police ofhce, and let others take passports for 
abroad. That's my fate. Oh, yes!" and he sighed deeply. 
Suddenly he paused. "Good Heaven! what is come to me? 
I never thought or felt as I do now. It must be the spring 
air; it is just as dizzying as it is charming!" He felt in his 
pockets for his papers. 

"These will give me something else to think of," said he, 
and let his eyes wander over the first leaf. There he read: 
" 'Dame Sigbirth; an original tragedy in five acts.' What is 
that? And it is my own hand. Have I written this tragedy? 
'The Intrigue on the Promenade ; or, the Day of Penance — 
Vaudeville.' But where did I get that from? It must have 
been put into my pocket. Here is a letter. Yes, it was 
from the manager of the theater; the pieces were rejected, 
and the letter is not at all politely worded. H'm! H'm!'' said 
the copying clerk, and he sat down upon a bench; his 
thoughts were elastic; his head was quite soft. Involun- 
tarily he grasped one of the nearest flowers; it was a common 
little daisy. What the botanists required several lectures to 
explain to us, this flower told in a minute. It told the glory 
of its birth; it told of the strength of the sunlight, which 


Spread out the delicate leaves and made them give out fra- 
grance. Then he thought of the battles of life, which like- 
wise awaken feelings in our breasts. Air and light are the 
lovers of the flower, but light is the favored one. Toward 
the light it turned, and only when the light vanished the 
flower rolled her leaves together and slept in the embrace of 
the air. 

"It is light that adorns me!" said the Flower. 

"But the air allows you to breathe," whispered the poet's 

Just by him stood a boy, knocking with his stick upon the 
marshy ground. The drops of water spurted up among the 
green twigs, and the copying clerk thought of the millions 
of infusoria which were cast up on high with the drops, 
which were the same to them, in proportion to their size, as 
it would be to us if we were hurled high over the region of 
clouds. And the copying clerk thought of this, and of the 
great change which had taken place within him ; he smiled. 
"I sleep and dream! it is wonderful, though, how naturally 
one can dream and yet know all the tim.e that it is a dream. 
I should like to be able to remember it all clearly to-morrow 
when I wake. I seem to myself quite unusually excited. 
What a clear appreciation I have of everything, and how 
free I feel! But I am certain that if I remember anything 
of it to-morrow, it will be nonsense. That has often been 
so with me before. It is with all the clever, famous things 
one says and hears in dreams, as with the money of the elves 
under the earth ; when one receives it, it is rich and beautiful, 
but, looked at by daylight, it is nothing but stones and dried 
leaves. Ah!" he sighed, quite plaintivel}^ and gazed at the 
chirping birds, as they sprang merrily from bough to bough, 
"they are much better off than I. Flying is a noble art. 
Happy he who is born with wings. Yes, if I could change 
myself into anything, it should be into a lark." 

In a moment his coat-tails and sleeves grew together and 
formed wings; his clothes became feathers, and his goloshes 
claws. He noticed it quite plainly, and laughed inwardly. 
"Well, now I can see that I am dreaming, but so wildly I 
have never dreamed before." And he flew up into the green 
boughs and sang; but there was no poetry in the song, for 
the poetic nature was gone. The goloshes, like everyone 
who wishes to do any business thoroughly, could only do 


one thing at a time. He wished to be a poet, and he became 
one. Then he wished to be a Httle bird, and, in changing 
thus, the former pecuHarity was lost, 

"That is charming!" he said. "In the day-time I sit in 
the pohce office among the driest of law papers; at night I 
can dream that I am flying about as a lark in the Freder- 
icksburg Garden. One could really write quite a popular 
comedy upon it." 

Now he flew down into the grass, turned his head in every 
direction, and beat with his beak upon the bending stalks of 
grass, which, in proportion to his size, seemed to him as 
long as palm branches of Northern Africa. 

It was only for a moment, and then all around him be- 
came as the blackest night. It seemed to him that some im- 
mense substance was cast over him; it was a great cap, 
which a sailor-boy threw over the bird. A hand came in 
and seized the copying clerk by the back and wings in a way 
that made him whistle. In his first terror he cried aloud, 
"The impudent rascal! I am copying clerk at the police 
office!" But that sounded to the boy only like "piep! piep!" 
and he tapped the bird on the beak and wandered on with 

In the alley the boy met with two other boys, who be- 
longed to the educated classes, socially speaking; but, ac- 
cording to abilities, they ranked in the lowest class in the 
school. These bought the bird for a few Danish shillings; 
and so the copying clerk was carried back to Copenhagen. 

"It's a good thing that I am dreaming," he said, "or I 
should become really angry. First I was a poet, and now 
Fm a lark ! Yes, it must have been the poetic nature which 
transformed me into that little creature. It is a miserable 
state of things, especially when one falls into the hands of 
boys. I should like to know what the end of it will be." 

The boys carried him into a very elegant room. A stout 
and smiling lady received them. But she was not at all 
gratified to see the common field bird, as she called the lark, 
coming in, too. Only for one day she would consent to it; 
but they must put the bird in the empty cage which stood by 
the window. 

"Perhaps that will please Polly," she added, and laughed 
at a great Parrot swinging himself proudly in his ring in 


the handsome brass cage. "It's Polly's birthday," she said, 
simply, "so the little field bird shall congratulate him." 

Polly did not answer a single word; he only swnng 
proudly to and fro. But a pretty Canary bird, who had 
been brought here last summer out of his warm, fragrant 
fatherland, began to sing loudly. 

"Screamer!" said the lady; and she threw a white hand- 
kerchief over the cage. 

"Piep! piep!" sighed he; "here's a terrible snowstorm." 
And thus sighing, he was silent. 

The copying clerk, or, as the lady called him, the field 
bird, was placed in a little cage close to the Canary, and not 
far from the Parrot. The only human words which Polly 
could say, and which often sounded very comically, were 
"Come, let's be men now!" Everything else that he 
screamed out was just as unintelligible as the song of the 
Canary bird, except for the copying clerk, who was now 
also a bird, and who understood his comrades very well. 

"I flew under the green palm tree and the blossoming 
almond tree!" sang the Canary. "I flew with m}^ brothers 
and sisters over the beautiful flowers and over the bright 
sea, where the plants waved in the depths. I also saw 
many beautiful parrots, who told the merriest stories.'' 

"Those were wild birds," replied the Parrot. "They had 
no education. Let us be men now! Why don't you laugh? 
If the lady and all the strangers could laugh at it, so can 
you. It is a great fault to have no taste for what is pleas- 
ant. No, let us be men now." 

"Do you remember the pretty girls who danced under the 
tents spread out beneath the blooming trees? Do you re- 
member the sweet fruits and the cooling juice in the Avild 

"Oh, yes!" replied the Parrot; "but here I am far better 
off. I have good care and genteel treatment. I know I've 
a good head, and I don't ask for more. Let us be men now. 
You are what they call a poetic soul. I have thorough 
knowledge and wit. You have genius but no prudence. 
You mount up into those high natural notes of yours, and 
then you get covered up. This is never done to me; no, no, 
for I cost them a little more. I make an impression with 
my beak, and can cast wit round me. Now let us be men!" 

"Oh. my poor blooming fatherland!'' sang the Canary. 


"I will praise thy dark green trees and thy quiet bays, where 
the branches kiss the clear watery mirror; I'll sing of the 
joy of all my shining brothers and sisters, where the plants 
grow by the desert springs." 

"Now, pray leave off these dismal tones," cried the Par- 
rot. "Sing something at which one can laugh! Laughter 
is the sign of the highest mental development. Look if a 
dog or a horse can laugh! No; they can cry; but laughter 
— that is given to men alone. Ho! ho! ho!" screamed 
Polly, and finished the jest with: "Let us be men now." 

"You little gray northern bird," said the Canary ; "so you 
have also become a prisoner. It is certainly cold in your 
woods, but still liberty is there. Fly out ! they have forgot- 
ten to close your cage; the upper window is open. Fly! 

Instinctively the copying clerk obeyed, and flew forth 
from his prison. At the same moment the half-opened door 
of the next room creaked, and stealthily, with fierce, spark- 
ling eyes, the house cat crept in, and made chase upon him. 
The Canary fluttered in its cage, the Parrot flapped its 
wings, and cried "Let us be men now!" The copying clerk 
felt mortally afraid, and flew through the window, away 
over the houses and streets ; at last he was obliged to rest a 

The house opposite had a homelike look ; one of the win- 
dows stood open, and he flew in. It was his own room; he 
perched upon the table. 

"Let us be men now," he broke out, involuntarily imitat- 
ing the Parrot ; and in the same moment he was restored to 
the form of the copying clerk; but he was sitting on the 

"'Heaven preserve me!" he cried. "How could I have 
come here and fallen so soundly asleep? That was an un- 
quiet dream, too, that I had. The whole thing was great 




On the following day, quite early in the morning, as the 
clerk still lay in bed, there came a tapping at his door; it 
was his neighbor, who lodged on the same floor, a young 
theologian; and he came in. 

"Lend me your goloshes," said he. "It is very wet in the 
garden. But the sun shines gloriously, and I should like to 
smoke a pipe down there." 

He put On the goloshes, and was soon in the garden, 
which contained a plum tree and an apple tree. Even a 
little garden like this is highly prized in the midst of great 

The theologian wandered up and down the path; it was 
only six o'clock, and a post-horn sounded out in the street. 

"Oh, traveling! traveling!" he cried out, "that's the great- 
est happiness in all the world. That's the highest goal of 
my wishes. Then this disquietude that I feel would be 
stilled. But it would have to be far away. I should like to 
see beautiful Switzerland, to travel through Italy, to " 

Yes, it was a good thing that the goloshes took effect im- 
mediately, for he might have gone too far even for himself, 
and for us others, too. He was traveling; he was in the 
midst of Switzerland, packed tightly with eight others in the 
interior of a diligence. He had a headache and a weary 
feeling in his neck, and his feet had gone to sleep, for they 
were swollen by the heavy boots he had on. He was hov- 
ering in a condition between sleeping and waking. In the 
right-hand pocket he had his letters of credit, in his left- 
hand pocket his passport, and a few louis d'or were sewn 
into a little bag he wore on his breast. Whenever he dozed 
off, he dreamed he had lost one or other of these posses- 
sions ; and then he would start up in a feverish w^ay, and the 
first movement his hand made was to describe a triangle 
from left to right, and toward his breast, to feel whether he 
still possessed them or not. Umbrellas, hats, and walking- 
sticks swung in the net over him and almost took away the 


prospect, which was impressive enough; he glanced out at 
it, and his heart sang what one poet at least, whom we know, 
has sung in Switzerland, but has not yet printed: 

'Tis a prospect as fine as heart can desire, 

Before me Mont Blanc the rough; 
'Tis pleasant to tarry here and admire, 
If only you've money enough. 

Great, grave, and dark was all nature around him. The 
pine woods looked like little mosses upon the high rocks, 
vvhose summits were lost in cloudy mists ; and then it began 
to snow, and the wind blew cold. 

"Hu!" he sighed; '"if we were only on the other side of the 
Alps, then it would be summer, and I should have got 
money on my letter of credit; my anxiety about this pre- 
vents me from enjoying Switzerland. Oh, if I were only at 
the other side!" 

And then he was on the other side, in the mists of Italy, 
between Florence and Rome. The Lake Thrasymene lay 
spread out in the evening light, like flaming gold among the 
dark blue hills. Here, where Hannibal beat Flaminius, the 
grape vines held each other by their green fingers; pretty, 
half-naked children were keeping a herd of coal-black pigs 
under a clump of fragrant laurels by the wayside. If we 
could reproduce this scene accuratel}-, all would cry, "Glori- 
ous Italy!" But neither the theologian nor any of his 
traveling companions in the carriage of the vetturino 
thought this. 

Poisonous flies and gnats flew into the carriage by thou- 
sands. In vain they beat the air frantically v,^ith a myrtle 
branch— the flies stung them nevertheless. There was not 
one person in the carriage whose face was not swollen and 
covered with stings. The poor horses looked miserable the 
flies tormented them wofully, and it only mended the matter 
for a moment when the coachman dismounted and scraped 
them clean from the insects that sat upon them in .o-reat 
swarms. Now the sun sank down ; a short but icy coldness 
pervaded all nature; it was like the cold air of' a funeral 
vault after the sultry summer day; and all around the hills 
and clouds put on that rem.arkable green tone which we no- 
tice on some old pictures, and consider unnatural unless we 


have ourselves witnessed a similar play of color. It was a 
glorious spectacle; but the stomachs of all were empty and 
their bodies exhausted, and every wish of the heart turned 
toward a resting-place for the night; but how could that be 
won? To descry this resting place all eyes were turned 
more eagerly to the road than to the beauties of nature. 

The way now led through an olive wood; he could have 
fancied himself passing between knotty willow trunks at 
home. Here, by the solitary inn, a dozen crippled beggars 
had taken up their positions; the quickest among them 
looked, to quote an expression of Marryat's, like the eldest 
son of Famine, who had just come of age. The others were 
either blind or had withered legs, so that they crept about 
on their hands, or they had withered arms and fingerless 
hands. This was misery in rags indeed. ^'Ecccllcnza niis- 
erabillP' they sighed, and stretched forth their diseased 
limbs. The hostess herself, in untidy hair, and dressed in a 
dirty blouse, received her guests. The doors were tied up 
with string; the floor of the room was of brick, and half of 
it was grubbed up; bats flew about under the roof, and the 

smell within 

"Yes, lay the table down in the stable," said one of the 
travelers. "There, at least, one knows what one is breath- 

The windows were opened, so that a little fresh air might 
find i'ts way in; but quicker than the fresh air came the 
withered arms and the continual whining, ^^Miserabili, Ec- 
cellenza/" On the walls were many inscriptions; half of 
them were against "Labella Italia." 

The supper was served. It consisted of a watery soup, 
seasoned with pepper and rancid oil. This last dainty 
played a chief part in a salad; musty eggs and roasted 
cocks'-combs were the best dishes. Even the wine had a 
strange taste — it was a dreadful mixture. 

At night the boxes were placed against the doors. One 
of the travelers kept watch while the others slept. The 
theologian was the sentry. Oh, how close it was in there! 
The heat oppressed him, the gnats buzzed and stung, and 
the mtserabili outside moaned in their dreams. 

"Yes, traveling would be all very well," said the theo- 
logian, "if one had no body. If the body could rest and the 
mind fly ! Wherever I go, I find a want that oppresses my 


heart; it is something better than the present moment I de- 
sire. Yes, something better — the best; but what is that, 
and where is it? In my own heart I know very weh what 
I want; I want to attain to a happy goal, the happiest of 

And so soon as the word was spoken he found himself at 
home. The long white curtains hung down from the win- 
dows, and in the middle of the room stood a black coffin; in 
this he was lying in the quiet sleep of death; his wish was 
fulfilled — his body was at rest and his spirit roaming. "Es- 
teem no man happy who is not yet in his grave," were the 
words of Solon; here their force was proved anew. 

Every corpse is a sphinx of immortality; the sphinx here 
also in the black sarcophagus answered, what the living 
man had laid down two days before: 

"Thou strong, stern Death! Thy silence waketh fear; 
Thou leavest mold'ring gravestones for thy traces. 
Shall not the soul see Jacob's ladder here? 
No resurrection type, but churchyard grasses? 
The deepest woes escape the world's dull eye: 
Thou that alone on duty's path hath sped. 
Heavier those duties on thy heart Vv'ould lie 
Than lies the earth now on thy coffined head." 

Two forms were moving to and fro in the room. We 
know them both. They were the Fairy of Care and the 
Ambassadress of Happiness. They bent down over the 
dead man. 

"Do you see?" said Care. "What happiness have your 
goloshes brought to men?" 

"They have at least brought a permanent benefit to him 
who slumbers here," replied Happiness. 

"Oh, no!" said Care. "He went away of himself; he was 
not summoned. His spirit was not strong enough to lift 
the treasures w^hich he had been destined to lift. I will do 
him a favor." 

And she drew the goloshes from his feet; then the sleep of 
death was ended, and the awakened man raised himself up. 
Care vanished, and with her the goloshes disappeared too; 
doubtless she looked upon them as her property. 



There were once five-and-twenty tin soldiers; they were 
all brothers, for they had all been born of one old tin spoon. 
They shouldered their muskets, and looked straight before 
them; their uniform was red and blue, and very splendid. 
The first thing they had heard in the world, when the lid was 
taken ofif their box, had been the words "Tin soldiers!" 
These words were uttered by a little boy, clapping his 
hands; the soldiers had been given to him, for it was his 
birthday; and now he put them upon the table. Each sol- 
dier was exactly like the rest; but one of them had been cast 
last of all, and there had not been enough tin to finish him; 
but he stood as firmly upon his one leg as the others on 
their two; and it was just this Soldier who became remark- 

On the table on which they had been placed stood many 
other playthings, but the toy that attracted most attention 
was a neat castle of cardboard. Through the little windov/s 
one could see straight into the hall. Before the castle some 
little trees were placed round a little looking glass, which 
was to represent a clear lake. Waxen swans swam on this 
lake, and were mirrored in it. This was all very pretty ; but 
the prettiest of all was a little lady, who stood at the open 
door of the castle; she was also cut out in paper, but she 
had a dress of the clearest gauze, and a little narrow blue 
ribbon over her shoulders, that looked like a scarf; and in 
the middle of this ribbon was a shining tinsel rose as big as 
her whole face. The little lady stretched out both her arms, 
for she was a dancer; and then she lifted one leg so high 
that the Tin Soldier could not see it at all, and thought that, 
like himself, she had but one leg. 

"That would be the wife for me," thought he ; "but she is 
very grand. She lives in a castle, and I have only a box, 
and there are five-and-twenty of us in that. It is no place 
for her. But I must try to make acquaintance with her." 

And then he lay down at full length behind a snuff-box 
-which was on the table ; there he could easily watch the little 


dainty lady, who continued to stand upon one leg without 
losing her balance. 

When the evening came all the other tin soldiers were 
put into their box, and the people in the house went to bed. 
Now the toys began to play at "visiting," and at "war," and 
"giving balls." The tin soldiers rattled in their box, for 
they wanted to join, but could not lift the lid. The nut- 
cracker threw somersaults, and the pencil amused itself on 
the table; there was so much noise that the Canary woke up, 
and began to speak too, and even in verse. The only two 
who did not stir from their places were the Tin Soldier and 
the Dancing Lady; she stood straight up on the point of one 
of her toes, and stretched out both her arms; and he was just 
as enduring on his one leg; and he never turned his eyes 
away from her. 

Now the clock struck twelve — and, bounce! the lid flew 
o& the snuff-box; but there was no snuff in it, but a little 
black Goblin ; you see, it was a trick. 

"Tin Soldier!" said the Goblin, "don't stare at things that 
don't concern you." 

But the Tin Soldier pretended not to hear him. 

"Just you wait till to-morrow!" said the Goblin. 

But when the morning came, and the children got up, the 
Tin Soldier was placed in the window ; and whether it was 
the Goblin or the draught that did it, all at once the window 
flew open, and the Soldier fell head over heels out of the 
third story. That was a terrible passage! He put his leg- 
straight up, and stuck with downward and his bayo- 
net between the paving-stones. 

The servant-maid and the little boy came down directly to 
look for him, but though they almost trod upon himi, they 
could not see him. If the Soldier had cried out "Here I 
am!" they would have found him; but he did not think it fit- 
ting to call out loudly, because he was in uniform. 

Now it began to rain; the drops soon fell thicker, and at 
last it came down into a complete stream. ¥/hen the rain 
was past, two street boys came by. 

"Just look!" said one of them, "there lies a Tin Soldier. 
He must come out and ride in the boat.'' 

And they made a boat out of a newspaper, and put the 
Tin Soldier in the middle of it, and so he sailed down the 
gutter, and the two boys ran beside him and clapped their 


hands. Goodness preserve us! how the waves rose in that 
gutter, and how fast the stream ran ! But then it had been 
a heavy rain. The paper boat rocked up and down, and 
sometimes turned round so rapidly that the Tin Soldier 
trembled ; but he remained firm, and never changed counte- 
nance, and looked straight before him, and shouldered his 

All at once the boat went into a long drain, and it be- 
came as dark as if he had been in his box. 

"Where am I going now?" he thought. "Yes, yes, that's 
the Goblin's fault. Ah ! if the little lady only sat here with 
me in the boat, it might be twice as dark for what I should 

Suddenly there came a great Water Rat, which lived un- 
der the drain. 

"Have you a passport?" said the Rat. "Give me your 

But the Tin Soldier kept silence, and held his musket 
tighter than ever. 

The boat went on, but the Rat came after it. Hu! how 
he gnashed his teeth, and called out to the bits of straw and 

"Hold him! hold him! He hasn't paid toll — he hasn't 
shown his passport!" 

But the stream became stronger and stronger. The Tin 
Soldier could see the bright daylight where the arch ended; 
but he heard a roaring noise, which might well frighten a 
bolder man. Only think — just where the tunnel ended, the 
drain ran into a great canal; and for him that would have 
been as dangerous as for us to be carried down a great 

Now he was already so near it that he could not stop. The 
boat was carried out, the poor Tin Soldier stiffening himself 
as much as he could, and no one could say that he moved an 
eyelid. The boat whirled round three or four times, and 
was full of water to the very edge — it must sink. The Tin 
Soldier stood up to his neck in water, and the boat sank 
deeper and deeper, and the paper was loosened more and 
more; and now the water closed over the soldier's head. 
Then he thought of the pretty little Dancer, and how he 


should never see her again; and it sounded in the soldier's 
ears : 

Farewell, farewell, thou warrior brave. 
For this day thou must die! 

And now the paper parted, and the Tin Soldier fell out; 
but at that moment he was snapped up by a great fish. 

Oh, how dark it was in that fish's body ! It was darker 
yet than in the drain tunnel; and then it was very narrow 
too. But the Tin Soldier remained unmoved, and lay at 
full length shouldering his musket. 

The fish swam to and fro; he made the most wonderful 
movements, and then became quite still. At last something 
flashed through him like lightning. The daylight shone 
quite clear, and a voice said aloud, "The Tin Soldier!" The 
fish had been caught, carried to market, bought, and taken 
mto the kitchen, where the cook cut him open with a large 
knife. She seized the Soldier round the body with both 
her hands, and carried him into the room, where all were 
anxious to see the remarkable man who had traveled about 
in the inside of a fish; but the Tin Soldier was not at all 
proud. They placed him on the table, and there — no! 
What curious things may happen in the world. The Tin 
Soldier was in the very room in which he had been before ! 
he saw the same children, and the same toys stood on the 
table; and there was the pretty castle, with the graceful little 
Dancer. She was still balancing herself on one leg, and 
held the other extended in the air. She was hardy too. 
That moved the Tin Soldier; he was very nearly weeping 
tin tears, but that would not have been proper. He looked 
at her, but they said nothing to each other. 

_ Then one of the little boys took the Tin Soldier and flung 
him into the stove. He gave no reason for doing this. It 
must have been the fault of the Goblin in the snuff-box. 

The Tin Soldier stood there quite illuminated, and felt a 
heat that was terrible; but whether this heat proceeded from 
the real fire or from love he did not know. The colors had 
quite gone off from him; but whether that had happened on 
the journey, or had been caused by grief, no one could say. 
He looked at the little lady, she looked at him, and he felt 
that he was melting; but he still stood firm, shouldering 
his musket. Then suddenly the door flew open, and the 


draught of air caught the Dancer, and she flew Hke a sylph 
just into the stove to the Tin Soldier, and flashed up in a 
flame, and she was gone. Then the Tin Soldier melted 
down into a lump; and when the servant-maid took the 
ashes out next day, she found him in the shape of a little tin 
heart. But of the Dancer nothing remained but the tinsel 
rose, and that was burned as black as a coal. 


A Mother sat by her little child; she was very sorrowful, 
and feared that it would die. Tcs little face was pale, and its 
eyes were closed. The child drew its breath with difficulty, 
and sometimes so deepl}' as if it were sighing; and then the 
mother looked more sorrowfully than before on the little 

Then there was a knock at the door, and a poor old man 
came in, wrapped up in something that looked like a great 
horse-cloth, for that keeps warm; and he required it, for it 
was cold winter. Without everything was covered with 
ice and snow, and the wind blew so sharply that it cut one's 

And as the old man trembled with cold, and the child was 
quiet for a mom.ent, the mother v^'cnt and put some beer on 
the stove in a little pot, to warm_ it for him. The old man 
sat dov/n and rocked the cradle, and the mother seated her- 
self on an old chair by him, looked at her sick child that 
drew its breath so painfully, and seized the little hand. 

"You think I shall keep it, do you not?" she asked. ''The 
good God will not take it from me !" 

And the old man — he was Death — nodded in such a 
strange way, that it might just as well mean yes as no. And 
the mother cast down her eyes, and tears rolled down her 
cheeks. Her head became heavy; for three davs and three 
nights she had not closed her e^^es; and now she slept, but 
onlv for a minute; then she started up and shivered with 

"What is that?" she asked, and looked round on all sides; 
but the old man was eone, and her little child v/as gone; he 
had taken it with him. And there in the corner the old 


clock was humming and whirring; the heavy leaden weight 
ran down to the lioor — plump ! — and the clock stopped. 

But the poor mother rushed out of the house crying for 
her child. 

Out in the snow sat a woman in long black garments, and 
she said, "Death has been with you in your room; I saw him 
hasten away with your child; he strides faster than the wind, 
and never brings back what he has taken away." 

"Only tell me which way he has gone," said the mother. 
"Tell me the way, and I will find him." 

"I know him," said the woman in the black garments; 
"but before I tell you, you must sing me all the songs that 
3'ou have sung to your child. I love those songs; I have 
heard them before. I am Night, and I saw your tears when 
you sang them." 

"I will sing them all, all!" said the mother. "But do not 
detain me, that I may overtake him, and find my child." 

But Night sat dumb and still. Then the mother wrung 
her hands, and sang and wept. And there were many 
songs, but yet more tears, and then Night said, "Go to the 
right into the dark fir wood; for I saw Death take that path 
with your little child." 

Deep in the forest there was a cross road, and she did not 
know which way to take. There stood a Blackthorn Bush, 
with not a leaf nor a blossom upon it; for it was in the cold 
winter-time, and icicles hung from the twigs. 

"Have you not seen Death go by, with my little child?" 

"Yes," replied the Bush; "but I shall not tell you which 
way he went unless you warm me on your bosom. I'm 
freezing to death here. I'm turning to ice." 

And she pressed the Blackthorn Bush to her bosom, quite 
close, that it might be well warmed. And the thorns 
pierced into her flesh, and her blood oozed out in great 
drops. But the Blackthorn shot out fresh green leaves, and 
blossomed in the dark winter night, so warm is the heart of 
a sorrowing mother! And the Blackthorn Bush told her 
the way that she should go. 

Then she came to a great Lake, on which there was 
neither ships nor boat. The Lake was not frozen enough to 
carry her, nor sufficiently open to allow her to wade 
through, and yet she must cross it if she was to find her 
child. Then she laid herself down to drink the Lake; and 



that was impossible for anyone to do. But the sorrowing 
mother thought that perhaps a miracle might be wrought. 

"No, that can never succeed," said the Lake. "Let us 
rather see how we can agree. I'm fond of collecting pearls, 
and your eyes are the two clearest I have ever seen; if you 
will weep them out into me I will carry you over into the 
great greenhouse, where Death lives and cultivates flowers 
and trees; each of these is a human life." 

"Oh, what would I not give to get my child!" said the 
afflicted mother; and she wept yet more, and her eyes fell 
into the depths of the Lake, and became two costly pearls. 
But the Lake lifted her up, as if she sat in a swing, and she 
was wafted to the opposite shore, where stood a wonderful 
house, miles in length. One could not tell if it was a moun- 
tain containing forests and caves, or a place that had been 
built. But the poor mother could not see it, for she had 
wept her eyes out. 

"Where shall I find Death, who went away with my little 
child?" she asked. 

"He has not arrived here yet," said an old gray-haired 
woman, who was going about and watching the hothouse of 
Death. "How have you found your way here, and who 
helped you?" 

"The good God has helped me," she replied. "He is 
merciful, and you will be merciful, too. Where — where shall 
I find my little child?" 

"I do not know it," said the old woman, "and you cannot 
see. Many flowers and trees have faded this night, and 
Death will soon come and transplant them. You knov/ 
very well that every human being has his tree of life, or 
his flower of life, just as each is arranged. They look like 
other plants, but their hearts beat. Children's hearts can 
beat too. Think of this. Perhaps you may recognize the 
beating of your child's heart. But what will you give me 
if I tell you what more you must do?" 

"I have nothing more to give," said the afflicted mother. 
"But I will go for you to the ends of the earth.'' 

"I have nothing for you to do there." said the old woman, 
"but you can give me your long black hair. You must 
know yourself that it is beautiful, and it pleases me. You 


can take my white hair for it, and that is always some- 

"Do you ask for nothing more?" asked she. "I will give 
you that gladly." And she gave her beautiful hair, and re- 
ceived in exchange the old woman's white hair. 

And then they went into the great hothouse of Death 
where flowers and trees were growing marvelously inter- 
twined. There stood the fine hyacinths under glass bells, 
some quite fresh, others somewhat sickly; water snakes 
were twining about them, and black crabs clung tightly to 
the stalks. There stood gallant palm trees, oaks, and 
plantains, and parsley and blooming thyme. Each tree and 
flower had its name; each was a human life; the people were 
still alive, one in China, another in Greenland, scattered 
about in the world. There were great trees thrust into little 
pots, so that they stood quite crowded, and were nearly 
bursting the pots ; there was also many a little weakly flower 
in rich earth, with moss round about it, cared for and tended. 
But the sorrowful mother bent down over all the smallest 
plants, and heard the human heart beating in each, and out 
of millions she recognized that of her child. 

"That is it!" she cried, and stretched out her hands over 
a little crocus flower, which hung down quite sick and 

"Do not touch the flower," said the old dame; "but place 
yourself here; and when Death comes — I expect him every 
minute — then don't let him pull up the plant, but threaten 
him that you will do the same to the other plants ; then he'll 
be frightened. He has to account for them all; not one 
may be pulled up till he receives commission from Heaven." 

And all at once there was an icy cold rush through the 
hall, and the blind mother felt that Death was arriving. 

"How did you find your way hither?'" said he. "How 
have you been able to comiC quicker than I?" 

"I am a mother," she answered. 

And Death stretched out his long hands toward the little 
delicate flower; but she kept her hands tight about it, and 
held it fast; and yet she was full of anxious care lest he 
should touch one of the leaves. Then Death breathed upon 
her hands, and she felt that his breath was colder than the 
icy wind; and her hands sank down powerless. 

"You can do nothing against me," said Death. 


"But the merciful God can," she repHed, 

''I only do what He commands/' said Death, "I am His 
gardener. 1 take all His trees and flowers, and transplant 
them into the great Paradise gardens, in the unknown land. 
But how they will flourish there, and how it is there, I may 
not tell you." 

"Give me back my child," said the mother; and she im- 
plored and wept. All at once she grasped two pretty flow- 
ers with her two hands, and called to Death, "I'll tear off all 
your flowers, for I am in despair." 

"Do not touch them," said Death. "You say you are so 
unhappy, and now you would make another mother just as 
unhappy !" 

"Another mother?" said the poor woman; and she let the 
flowers go. 

"There are your eyes for you," said Death. "I have 
fished them out of the lake ; they gleamed up quite brightly. 
I did not know that they were yours. Take them back — 
they are clearer now than before — and then look down into 
the deep well close by. I will tell you the names of the two 
flowers you wanted to pull up, and you will see what you 
were about to frustrate and destroy." 

And she looked down into the well, and it was a happiness 
to see how one of them became a blessing to the world, how 
much joy and gladness she diffused around her. And the 
woman looked at the life of the other, and it was made up of 
care and poverty, misery and woe. 

"Both are the will of God," said Death. 

"Which of them is the flower of misfortune, and which the 
blessed one?" she asked. 

"That I may not tell you," answered Death, "but this 
much you shall hear; that one of these two flowers is that of 
your child. It was the fate of your child that you saw — the 
future of your own child." 

Then the mother screamed aloud for terror. 

"Which of them belongs to my child? Tell me that! 
Release the innocent child! Let mv child free from all that 
misery! Rather carry it away! Carry it into God's king- 
dom ! Forget my tears, forget my entreaties, and all that I 
have done!" 

"I do not understand you,'' said Death. "Will you have 


your child back, or shall I carry it to that place that you 
know not?" 

Then the mother wrung her hands, and fell on her knees, 
and prayed to the good God. 

"Hear me not when I pray against Thy will, which is at 
all times the best! Hear me not! hear me not!" And she 
let her head sink down on her bosom. 

And Death went away with her child to the unknown 


Now you shall hear! 

Out in the country, close by the roadside, there was a 
country house; you yourself have certainly once seen it. 
Before it is a little garden with flowers, and a paling which 
is painted. Close by it, by the ditch, in the midst of the 
most beautiful green grass, grew a little Daisy. The sun 
shone as warmly and as brightly upon it as on the great 
splendid garden flowers, and so it grew from hour to hour. 
One morning it stood in full bloom, vv^ith its little shining 
white leaves spreading like rays round the little yellow sun 
in the center. It never thought that no man would notice 
it down in the grass, and that it was a poor despised flow- 
eret; no, it was very merry, and turned to the warm sun, 
looked up at it, and listened to the Lark caroling high in 
the air. 

The little Daisy was as happy as if it were a great holi- 
day, and yet it was only Monday. All the children were 
at school; and while they sat on their benches learning, it 
sat on its little green stalk, and learned also from the warm 
sun, and from all around, how good God is. And the 
Daisy was very glad that everything it silently felt was sung 
so loudly and charmingly by the Lark. And the Daisy 
looked up with a kind of respect to the happy bird who 
could sing and fly ; but it was not at all sorrowful because it 
could not fly and sing also. 

"I can see and hear," it thought; "the sun shines on me, 
and the forest kisses me. Oh, how richly have I been 

Within the palings stood many stiff, aristocratic flowers — 


the less scent they had the more they flaunted. The peonies 
blew themselves out to be greater than the roses, but size 
will not do it; the tulips had the most splendid colors, and 
they knew that, and held themselves bolt upright, that they 
might be seen more plainly. They did not notice the little 
Daisy outside there, but the Daisy looked at them the more, 
and thought, "How rich and beautiful they are! Yes, the 
pretty birds fly across to them, and visit them. I am glad 
that I stand so near them, for at any rate I can enjoy the 
sight of their splendor!" And just as she thought that — ■ 
"keevit!" — down came flying the Lark, but not down to 
the peonies and tulips — no, down into the grass to the lowly 
Daisy, which started so with joy that it did not know what 
to think. 

The little bird danced round about it, and sang: 

"Oh, how soft the grass is! and see what a lovely little 
flower, with gold in its heart and silver on its dress!" 

For the yellow point in the Daisy looked like gold, and 
the little leaves around it shone silvery white. 

How happy was the little Daisy — no one can conceive 
how happy! The bird kissed it with his beak, sang to it, 
and then flew up again into the blue air. A quarter of an 
hour passed, at least, before the Daisy could recover itself. 
Half ashamed, and yet inwardly rejoiced, it looked at the 
other flowers in the garden; for they had seen the honor 
and happiness it had gained, and mvist understand what a 
joy it was. But the tulips stood up twice as stifY as before, 
and they looked quite peaky in the face and quite red, for 
they had been vexed. The peonies were quite wrong- 
headed; it was well they could not speak, or the Daisy 
would have received a good scolding. The poor little 
flower could see very well that they were not in a good 
humor, and that hurt it sensibly. At this moment there 
came into the garden a girl with a great, sharp, shining 
knife; she went straight up to the tulips, and cut ofif one 
after another of them. 

"Oh!" sighed the little Daisy, "this is dreadful; now it is 
all over with them." 

Then the girl went away with the tulips. The Daisy was 
glad to stand out in the grass, and to be only a poor little 
flower. It felt very grateful; and when the sun went down 


it folded its leaves and went to sleep, and dreamed all 
night long about the sun and the pretty little bird. 

Next morning, when the flower again happily stretched 
out all its white leaves, like little arms, toward the air and 
the light, it recognized the voice of the bird, but the song he 
was singing sounded mournfully. Yes, the poor Lark had 
good reason to be sad; he was caught and now sat in a cage 
close by the open window. He sang of free and happy 
roaming, sang of the young green corn in the fields, and of 
the glorious journey he might make on his wings high 
through the air. The poor Lark was not in good spirits, for 
there he sat a prisoner in a cage. 

The little Daisy wished very much to help him. But 
what was it to do? Yes, that was difficult to make out. It 
quite- forgot how everything v^^as beautiful around, how- 
warm the sun shone, and how splendidly white its own 
leaves were. Ah! it could think only of the imprisoned 
bird, and how it was powerless to do anything for him. 

Just then two little boys came out of the garden. One 
of them carried in his hand the knife which the girl had 
used to cut oflf the tulips. They went straight up to the 
little Daisy, which could not at all make out what they 

"Here we may cut a capital piece of turf for the Lark," 
said one of the boys; and he began to cut ofif a square 
patch round about the Daisy, so that the flower remained 
standing in its piece of grass. 

"Tear ofif the flower!" said the other boy. 

And the Daisy trembled with fear, for to be torn ofif would 
be to lose its life; and now it v^/anted particularly to live, as 
it was to be given with the piece of turf to the captive Lark. 

"No, let it stay," said the other boy; "it makes such a 
nice ornament." 

And so it remained, and was put into the Lark's cage. 
But the poor bird complained aloud of his lost liberty, and 
beat his wings against the wires of his prison; and the little 
Daisy could not speak — could say no consoling word to 
him, gladly as it would have done so. And thus the whole 
morning passed. 

"Here is no water," said the captive Lark. "They are all 
gone out, and have forgotten to give me anything to drink. 
My throat is dry and burning. It is like fire and ice within 


me, and the air is close. Oh, I must die! I must leave the 
warm sunshine, the fresh green, and all the splendor that 
God has created!" 

And then he thrust his beak into the cool turf to refresh 
himself a little with it. Then the bird's eye fell upon the 
Daisy, and he nodded to it, and kissed it with his beak, and 

"You also must wither in here, you poor little fellow. 
They have given you to me with a little patch of green 
grass on which you grow, instead of the whole world which 
was mine out there! Every little blade of grass shall be a 
great tree for me, and every one of your fragrant leaves a 
great flower. Ah, you only tell m^e how much I have lost!" 

"If I could only comfort him!" thought the little Daisy. 

It could not stir a leaf; but the scent which streamed 
forth from its delicate leaves was far stronger than is gen- 
erally found in these flowers; the bird also noticed that, and 
though he was fainting with thirst, and in his pain plucked 
up the green blades of grass, he did not touch the flower. 

The evening came, and yet nobody appeared to bring the 
poor bird a drop of water. Then he stretched out his 
pretty wings and beat the air frantically with them; his 
song changed to a mournful piping, his little head sank 
down toward the flower, and the bird's heart broke with 
want and yearning. Then the flower could not fold its 
leaves, as it had done on the previous evening, and sleep; 
it drooped, sorrowful and sick, toward the earth. 

Not till the next morning did the boys come; and when 
they found the bird dead they wept — wept many tears — and 
dug him a neat grave, which they adorned v/ith leaves of 
flowers. The bird's corpse was put in a pretty red box, for 
he was to be royally buried — the poor bird! While he was 
alive and sang they forgot him, and let him sit in his cage 
and suffer want; but now that he was dead he had adorn- 
ment and many tears. 

But the patch of turf with the Daisy on it was thrown out 
into the high road; no one thought of the flower that had 
felt the most for the little bird, and would have been so glad 
to console him. 



This story really consists of two parts; the first part 
might be left out, but it gives us a few particulars, and these 
are useful. 

We were staying in the country at a gentleman's seat, 
where it happened that the master was absent for a few days. 
In the meantime there arrived from the next town a lady; 
she had a pug dog with her, and came, she said, to dis- 
pose of shares in her tanyard. She had her papers with her, 
and we advised her to put them in an envelope, and to write 
thereon the address of the proprietor of the estate, "General 
War-Commissary Knight," etc. 

She listened to us attentively, seized the pen, paused, 
and begged us to repeat the direction slowly. We complied, 
and she wrote; but in the midst of the "General War 

" she stuck fast, sighed deeply, and said, "I am 

only a woman !" Her Puggie had seated itself on the ground 
while she vv^rote, and growled; for the dog had come with 
her for amusement and for the sake of its health; and then 
the bare floor ought not to be offered to a visitor. His out- 
ward appearance was characterized by a snub nose and a 
very fat back. 

"He doesn't bite,'' said the lady; "he has no teeth. He 
is like one of the family, faithful and grumpy; but the lat- 
ter is my grandchildren's fault, for they have teased him; 
they play at wedding, and want to give him the part of the 
bridesmaid, and that's too much for him, poor old fellow." 

And she delivered her papers, and took Puggie upon her 
arm. And this is the first part of the story, which might 
have been left out. 

Puggie died ! That's the second part. 

It was about a week afterward we arrived in the town, 
and put up at the inn. Our windows looked into the tan- 
yard, which was divided into tv/o parts by a partition of 
planks; in one-half v/ere many skins and hides, raw and 
tanned. Here was all the apparatus necessary to carry on 
a tannery, and it belonged to the widow. Puggie had died 
in the morning, and was to be buried in this part of the 


yard; the grandchildren of the widow (that is, of the tan- 
ner's widow, for Puggie himself had never been married) 
filled up the grave, and it was a beautiful grave — it must 
have been quite pleasant to lie there. 

The grave was bordered with pieces of flower-pots and 
strewn over with sand; quite at the top they had stuck up 
half a beer bottle, with the neck upward, and that was not 
at all allegorical. 

The children danced round the grave, and the eldest of 
the boys among them, a practical youngster of seven years, 
made a proposition that there should be an exhibition of 
Puggie's burial-place for all who lived in the lane ; the price 
of admission was to be a trouser button, for every boy 
would be sure to have one, and each might also give one 
for a little girl. This proposal was adopted by acclamation. 

And all the children out of the lane — yes, even out of the 
little lane at the back — flocked to the place, and each gave 
a button. Many were noticed to go about on that afternoon 
with only one brace, but then they had seen Puggie's grave, 
and the sight was worth much more. 

But in front of the tanyard, close to the entrance, stood a 
little girl clothed in rags, very pretty to look at, with curly 
hair, and eyes so blue and clear that it was a pleasure to 
look into them. The child said not a word, nor did she cry; 
but each time the little door was opened she gave a long, 
long look into the yard. She had not a button — that she 
knew right well, and therefore she remained standing sor- 
rowfully outside, till all the others had seen the grave and 
had gone away; then she sat down, held her little brown 
hands before her eyes and burst into tears; this girl alone 
had not seen Puggie's grave. It was a grief as great to her 
as any grown person can experience. 

We saw this from above; and, looked at from above, how 
many a grief of our own and of others can make us smile! 
That is the story, and whoever does not understand it may 
go and purchase a share in the tanyard from the widow. 



There was once a rich cavaHer whose whole effects con- 
sisted of a Bootjack and a Hairbrush, but he had the finest 
'Shirt Collar in the world, and about this Shirt Collar we will 
tell a story. 

The Collar was now old enough to think of marrying, and 
it happened that he v/as sent to the wash together with a 

"My word!" exclaimed the Shirt Collar. 'T have never 
seen anything so slender and delicate, so charming and 
genteel. May I ask your name?" 

'T shall not tell you that," said the Garter. 

"Where is your home?" asked the Shirt Collar. 

But the Garter was of rather a retiring nature, and it 
seemed such a strange question to answer. 

"I presume you are a girdle?" said the Shirt Collar — "a 
sort of under-girdle? I see that you are useful as well as 
ornamental, my little lady." 

"You are not to speak to me," said the Garter. "I have 
not, I think, given you any occasion to do so." 

"Oh ! when one is as beautiful as you are," cried the Shirt 
Collar, "I fancy that is occasion enough." 

"Go!" said the Garter; "don't come so near me, you look 
to me quite like a man." 

"I am a fine cavalier, too," said the Shirt Collar. "I pos- 
sess a bootjack and a hairbrush." 

And that was not true at all, for it was his master who 
owned these things, but he was boasting. 

"Don't come too near me," said the Garter; "I am not 
used to that." 

"Affectation!" cried the Shirt Collar. 

And then they were taken out of the wash, and starched, 
and hung over a chair in the sunshine, and then laid on 
the ironing-board; and now came the hot Iron. 

"Mrs. Widow!" said the Shirt Collar, "little Mrs. Widow, 
I'm getting quite warm; I'm being quite changed; I'm 
losing all my creases; you're burning a hole in me! Ugh! 
I propose to you." 


"You old rag!" said the Iron, and rode proudly over the 
Shirt Collar, for it imagined that it was a steam boiler, and 
that it ought to be out on the railway dragging carriages. 
"You old rag!" said the Iron. 

The Shirt Collar was a little frayed at the edges, there- 
fore the Paper Scissors came to smooth away the frayed 

"Ho, ho!" said the Shirt Collar; "I presume you are a 
first-rate dancer. How you can point your toes! no one in 
the world can do that like you." 

"I know that," said the Scissors. 

"You deserve to be a countess," said the Shirt Collar. 
"All that I possess consists of a genteel cavalier, a bootjack, 
and a comb. If I had only an estate!" 

"What! do you want to marry?" cried the Scissors; and 
they were angry, and gave such a deep cut that the Collar 
had to be cashiered. 

"I shall have to propose to the Hairbrush," thought the 
Shirt Collar. "It is wonderful what beautiful hair you have, 
my little ladv. Have you never thought of engaging your- 

"Yes; you can easily imagine that," replied the Hair- 
brush. "I am engaged to the Bootjack." 

"Engaged!" cried the Shirt Collar. 

Now there was no one left to whom he could offer him- 
self, and so he despised love-making. 

A long time passed, and the Shirt Collar was put into the 
sack of a paper dealer. There was a terribly ragged com- 
pany, and the fine ones kept to themselves, and the coarse 
ones to them.selves, as is right. They all had much to tell, 
but the Shirt Collar had most of all, for he was a terrible 
Jack Brag. 

"I have had a tremendous number of love affairs," said 
the Shirt Collar. "They would not leave me alone; but I 
was a fine cavalier, a starched one. I had a bootjack and 
a hairbrush that I never used; you should only have seen 
me then, when I was turned down. I shall never forget my 
first love; it was a girdle; and how delicate, how charming, 
how genteel it was! And my first love threw herself into a 
wash-tub, and all for me! There was also a widow des- 
perately fond of me, but I let her stand alone till she turned 
quite black. Then there was a dancer, who gave me the 


wound from which I still suffer — she was very hot tempered. 
My own hairbrush was in love with me, and lost all her hair 
from neglected love. Yes, I've had many experiences of 
this kind; but I am most sorry for the Garter — I mean for 
the girdle, that jumped into the wash-tub for love of me. 
I've a great deal on my conscience. It's time I was turned 
into white paper." 

And to that the Shirt Collar came. All the rags were 
turned into white paper, but the Shirt Collar became the 
very piece of paper we see here, and upon which this story 
has been printed, and that was done because he boasted so 
dreadfully about things that were not at all true. And this 
we must remember, so that we may on no account do the 
same, for we cannot know at all whether we shall not be 
put into the rag bag and manufactured into white paper, 
on which our whole histor}^, even the most secret, shall be 
printed, so that we shall be obliged to run about and tell it, 
as the Shirt Collar did. 


There's nobody in the whole world who knows so many 
stories as Ole-Luk-Oie. He can tell capital histories. To- 
ward evening, when the children still sit nicely at table, 
or upon their stools, Ole-Luk-Oie comes. He comes up 
the stairs quite softly, for he walks in his socks; he opens 
the door noiselessly, and whisk! he squirts sweet miilk in 
the children's eyes, a small, small stream, but enough to 
prevent them from keeping their eyes open; and thus they 
cannot see him. He creeps just among them, and blows 
softly upon their necks, and this makes their heads heavy. 
Yes, but it doesn't hurt them, for Ole-Luk-Oie is very fond 
of the children; he only wants them to be quiet, and that 
they are not until they are taken to bed; they are to be quiet 
in order that he may tell them stories. 

When the children sleep, Ole-Luk-Oie sits down upon 
their bed. He is well dressed; his coat is of silk, but it is 
impossible to say of what color, for it shines red, green, and 
blue, according as he turns. Under each arm he carries 
an umbrella; the one with pictures on it he spreads over 


the good children, and then they dream all night the most 
glorious stories; but on his other umbrella nothing at all 
is painted; this he spreads over the naughty children, and 
these sleep in a dull way, and when they awake in the morn- 
ing they have not dreamed of anything. 

Now we shall hear how Ole-Luk-Oie, every evening 
through one whole week, came to a little boy named Hjal- 
mar, and what he told him. There are seven stories, for 
there are seven days in the week. 


"Listen," said Ole-Luk-Oie in the evening, when he had 
put Hjalmar to bed; "now I'll clear up." 

And all the flowers in the flower-pots became great trees, 
stretching out their long branches under the ceiling of the 
room and along the walls, so that the whole room looked 
just like a beauteous bower; and all the twigs w^ere cov- 
ered with flowers, and each flower was more beautiful than 
a rose, and smelt so sweet that one wanted to eat it — it was 
sweeter than jam. The fruit gleamed like gold, and there 
were cakes bursting with raisins. It was incomparably 
beautiful. But at the same time a terrible wail sounded 
from the table drawer, where Hjalmar s school-book lay. 

"Whatever can that be?" said Ole-Luk-Oie; and he went 
to the table, and opened the drawer. It v^^as the slate, which 
was sulTering from convulsions, for a wrong number had 
got into the sum, so that it was nearly falling in pieces ; the 
slate pencil tugged and jumped at its string, as if it had been 
a little dog who wanted to help the sum ; but he could not. 
And thus there was great lamentation in Hjalmar's copy- 
book; it was quite terrible to hear. On each page the great 
letters stood in a row, one beneath the other, and each with 
a little one at its side; that was the copy; and next to these 
were a few more letters which thought they looked just like 
the first; and these Hjalmar had written; but they lay 
down just as if they had tumbled over the pencil-lines on 
which they were to stand. 

"See, this is how you should hold yourself," said the 
Copy. "Look, sloping in this way, with a powerful swing!" 

"Oh, we shall be very glad to do that," replied Hjalmar's 
Letters, "but we cannot ; we are too weakly." 


"Then you must take medicine," said Ole-Luk-Oie. 

"Oh, no," cried they; and they immediately stood up so 
gracefully that it was beautiful to behold. 

"Yes, now we cannot tell any stories," said Ole-Luk-Oie; 
"now I must exercise them. One, two! one, two!'' and 
thus he exercised the Letters; and they stood quite slen- 
der, and as beautiful as any copy can be. But when Ole- 
Luk-Oie went away, and Hjalmar looked at them next 
morning, they were as weak and miserable as ever. 


As soon as Hjalmar was in bed, Ole-Luk-Oie touched all 
the furniture in the bedroom with his little magic squirt, 
and they immediately began to converse together, and each 
one spoke of itself, with the exception of the spittoon, 
which stood silent, and was vexed that they should be so 
vain as to speak only of themselves, and think only of them- 
selves, without any regard for him who stood so modesdy 
in the corner for everyone's use. 

Over the chest of drawers hung a great picture in a gilt 
frame — it was a landscape. One saw therein large old trees, 
flowers in the grass, and a broad river which flowed round 
about a forest, past many castles, and far out into the wide 

Ole-Luk-Oie touched the painting with his magic squirt, 
arid the birds in it began to sing, the branches of the trees 
stirred, and the clouds began to move across it; one could 
see their shadows ghde over the landscape. 

Now Ole-Luk-Oie lifted little Hjalmar up to the frame, 
and put the boy's feet into the picture, just in the high 
grass; and there he stood; and the sun shone upon him 
through the branches of the trees. He ran to the water, 
and seated himself in a little boat which lay there; it was 
painted red and white; the sails gleamed like silver, and six 
swans, each with a gold circlet round its neck and a bright 
blue star on its forehead, drew the boat past the great wood, 
where the trees tell of robbers and witches, and the flowers 
tell of the graceful little elves, and of what the butterflies 
have told them. 

Gorgeous fishes, with scales like silver and gold, swam 
after their boat; sometimes they gave a spring, so that it 


splashed in the water; and birds, blue and red, little and 
great, flew after them in two long rows; the gnats danced, 
and the cockchafers said, "Boom! boom!" They all wanted 
to follow Hjalmar, and each one had a story to tell. 

That was a pleasure voyage. Sometimes the forest was 
thick and dark, sometimes like a glorious garden full of 
sunlight and flowers; and there were great palaces of glass 
and of marble; on the balconies stood Princesses, and 
these were all little girls whom Hjalmar knew well — he had 
already played with them. Each one stretched forth her 
hand, and held out the prettiest sugar heart which ever a 
cake-woman could sell; and Hjalmar took hold of each 
sugar heart as he passed by, and the Princess held fast, so 
that each of them got a piece — she the smaller share, and 
Hjalmar the larger. At each palace little Princes stood 
sentry. They shouldered golden swords, and caused rais- 
ins and tin soldiers to shower down; one could see that 
they were real Princes. Sometimes Hjalmar sailed through 
forests, sometimes through halls or through the midst of a 
town. He also camiC to the town where his nurse lived, who 
had always been so kind to him; and she nodded and 
beckoned, and sang the pretty verse she had made herself 
and had sent to Hjalmar: 

"I've loved thee, and kissed thee, Hjalmar, dear boy; 
I've watched thee waking and sleeping: 
May the good Lord guard thee in sorrow, in joy, 
And have thee in His keeping." 

And all the birds sang too, the flowers danced on their 
stalks, and the old trees nodded, just as if Ole-Luk-Oie had 
been telling stories to them. 


How the rain was streaming down without! Hjalmar 
could hear it in his sleep ; and when Ole-Luk-Oie opened a 
window, the water stood quite up to the window-sill ; there 
was quite a lake outside, and a noble ship lay close by the 

'Tf thou wilt sail with me, little Hjalmar," said Ole-Luk- 
Oie, "thou canst voyage to-night to foreign climes, and be 
back again to-morrow." 


And Hjalmar suddenly stood in his Sunday clothes upon 
the glorious ship, and immediately the weather became fine, 
and they sailed through the streets, and steered round by 
the church; and now everything was one great, wild ocean. 
They sailed on until the land was no longer to be seen, and 
they saw a number of storks, who also came from their 
home, and were traveling toward the hot countries; these 
storks flew in a row, one behind the other, and they had 
already flown far — far! One of them was so weary that 
his wings would scarcely carry him farther; he was the 
very last in the row, and soon remained a great way behind 
the rest ; at last he sank, with out-spread wings, deeper and 
deeper; he gave a few more strokes with his pinions, but 
it was of no use; now he touched the rigging of the ship 
with his feet, then he glided down from the sail, and — 
bump! — he stood upon the deck. 

Now the cabin-boy took him and put him into the hen- 
coop with the Fowls, Ducks, and Turkeys; the poor Stork 
stood among them quite embarrassed. 

"Just look at the fellov/ !" said all the Fowls. 

And the Turkey-cock swelled himself up as much as ever 
he could, and asked the Stork who he was ; and the Ducks 
walked backward and quacked to each other, "Quackery! 

And the Stork told them of hot Africa, of the Pyramids, 
and of the ostrich which runs like a wild horse through the 
desert; but the ducks did not understand what he said, and 
they said to one another: 

"We're all of the same opinion, namely, that he's stupid.'' 

"Yes, certainly he's stupid," said the Turkey-cock; and 
he gobbled. 

Then the Stork was quite silent, and thought of his 

"Those are wonderful thin legs of yours," said the Tur- 
key-cock. "Pray, how much do tliey cost a yard?" 
. "Quack! quack! qua-a-ck!" grinned all the Ducks; but 
the Stork pretended not to hear it at all. 

"You may just as well laugh, too," said the Turkey-cock 
to him, "for that was very wittily said. Or was it, perhaps, 
too high for you? Yes, yes, he isn't very penetrating. Let 
us continue to be interesting among ourselves.'' 

And then he gobbled, and the Ducks quacked, "Gick! 


gack! gick! gack!" It was terrible how they made fun 
among themselves. 

But Hjalmar went to the hen-coop, opened the back 
door, and called to the Stork ; and the Stork hopped out to 
him on to the deck. Now he was quite rested, and it seemed 
as if he nodded at Hjalmar, to thank him. Then he spread 
his wings, and flew away to the warm countries; but the 
Fowls clucked, and the Ducks quacked, and the Turkey- 
cock became fiery red in the face. 

"To-morrow we shall make songs of you," said Hjalmar; 
and so saying he awoke, and was lying in his linen bed. It 
was a wonderful journey that Ole-Luk-Oie had caused him 
to take that night. 


"I tell you what," said Ole-Luk-Oie, "you must not be 
frightened. Here you shall see a. little Mouse," and he held 
out his hand with the pretty little creature in it. "It has 
come to invite you to a wedding. There are two little Mice 
here who are going to enter into the marriage state to-night. 
They live under the floor of your mother's store-closet; that 
is said to be a charming dwelling place!" 

"But how can I get through the little mouse-hole in the 
floor?" asked Hjalmar. 

"Let me manage that,'' said Ole-Luk-Oie. "I will make 
you small." 

• And he touched Hjalmar with his magic squirt, and the 
boy began to shrink and shrink and shrink, until he was not 
so long as a finger. 

"Now 3^ou may borrow the uniform of a tin soldier. I 
think it would fit you, and it looks well to wear a uniform 
when one is in society." 

"Yes, certainly," said Hjalmar. 

And in a moment he was dressed like the spiciest of tin 

"Will your honor not be kind enough to take a seat in 
your mamma's thimble?" asked the Mouse. "Then I shall 
have the pleasure of drawing you." 

"Will the young lady really take so much trouble?" cried 

And thus thev drove to the Mouse's wedding. First thev 


came into a long passage beneath the boards, which was 
only just so high that they could drive through it in the 
thimble, and the whole passage was lit up with rotten wood. 

"Is there not a delicious smell here?'' observed the 
Mouse. "The entire road has been greased with bacon- 
rinds, and there can be nothing more exquisite." 

Now they came into the festive hall. On the right hand 
stood all the little lady mice; and they whispered and gig- 
gled as if they were making fun of each other; on the left 
stood all the gentlemen mice, stroking their whiskers with 
their forepaws ; and in the center of the hall the bridegroom 
and bride might be seen standing in a hollow cheese-rind, 
and kissing each other terribly before all the guests; for 
this was the betrothal, and the marriage was to follow im- 

More and more strangers kept flocking in. One mouse 
was nearly treading another to death ; and the happy couple 
' had stationed themselves just in the little door-way, so 
that one could neither come in nor go out. Like the 
passage, the room had been greased with bacon-rinds, and 
that was the entire banquet; but for the dessert a pea was 
produced, in which a mouse belonging to the famil}^ had bit- 
ten the name of the betrothed pair — that is to say, the first 
letter of the name; that was something quite out of the 
common way. 

All the mice said it was a beautiful wedding, and that the 
entertainment had been very agreeable. And then Hjalmar 
drove home again; he had really been in grand company; 
but he had been obliged to crawl through a mouse-hole, to 
make himself little, and to put on a tin soldier's uniform. 


"It is wonderful how many grown-up people there are 
who would be very glad to have me!" said Ole-Luk-Oie; 
"especially those who have done something wrong. 'Good 
little Ole,' they say to me, 'we cannot close our eyes, and so 
we lie all night and see our evil deeds, which sit upon the 
bedstead like ugly little goblins, and throw hot water over 
us; will you not come and drive them away, so that we 
may have a good sleep?' — and then they sigh deeply — 'We 
would really be glad to pay for it. Good-night, Ole; the 


money lies on the window-sill' But I do nothing for 
money," says Ole-Luk-Oie. 

"What shall we do this evening?" asked Hjalmar. 

"I don't know if you care to go to another wedding to- 
night. It is a different kind from that of yesterday. Your 
sister's great doll, that looks like a man, and is called Her- 
mann, is going to marry the doll Bertha. Moreover, it is 
the doll's birthday, and therefore they will receive very many 

''Yes, I know that," replied Hjalmar. "Whenever the 
dolls want new clothes, my sister lets them either keep their 
birthday or celebrate a wedding; that has certainly hap- 
pened a hundred times already." 

"Yes, but to-night is the hundred and first wedding; and 
when number one hundred and one is past, it is all over; 
and that is why it will be so splendid. Only look!" 

And Hjalmar looked at the table. There stood the little 
cardboard house with the windows illuminated, and in 
front of it all the tin soldiers were presenting arms. The 
bride and bridegroom sat quite thoughtful, and with good 
reason, on the floor, leaning against a leg of the table. And 
Ole-Luk-Oie, dressed up in the grandmother's black gown, 
married them to each other. When the ceremony was over, 
all the pieces of furniture struck up the following beautiful 
song, which the pencil had written for them. It was sung 
to the melody of the soldiers' tattoo: 

"Let the song swell like the rushing wind, 
In honor of those who this day are joined, 
Although they stand here so stiff and blind, 
Because they are both of a leathery kind. 
Hurrah! hurrah! though they're deaf and blind, 
Let the song swell like the rushing wind." 

And now they received presents — but they had declined 
to accept provisions of any kind, for they intended to live on 

"Shall we now go into a big summer lodging, or start 
on a journey?" asked the bridegroom. 

And the Swallow, who was a great traveler, and the old 
yard Hen, who had brought up five broods of chickens, 
were consulted on the subject. And the Swallow told of the 
beautiful warm climes, where the grapes hung in ripe. 


heavy clusters, where the air is mild, and the mountains 
glow with colors unknown here. 

"But you have not our brown cole there!" objected the 
Hen. "I was once in the country, with my children, in one 
summer that lasted five weeks. There was a sand pit, in 
which we could walk about and scratch; and we had the 
entree to a garden where brown cole grew; it was so hot 
there that one could scarcely breathe. And then we have 
not all the poisonous animals that infest these warm coun- 
tries of yours, and we are free from robbers. He is a vil- 
lain who does not consider our country the most beautiful — 
he certainly does not deserve to be here!" And then the 
Hen wept, and went on: "I have also traveled. I rode in 
a coop about twelve miles; and there is no pleasure at all 
in traveling!'' 

"Yes, the Hen is a sensible woman!" said the doll 
Bertha. 'T don't think anything of traveling among moun- 
tains, for you only have to go up and then down again. No, 
we will go into the sand-pit beyond the gate, and walk about 
in the cabbage garden." 

And so it was settled. 


"Am I to hear some stories now?" asked little Hjalmar, 
as soon as Ole-Luk-Oie had sent him to sleep. 

"This evening we have no time for that," replied Ole- 
Luk-Oie; and he spread his finest umbrella over the lad. 
"Only look at these Chinamen!" 

And the whole umbrella looked like a great China dish, 
with blue trees and pointed bridges with little Chinamen 
upon them, who stood there nodding their heads. 

"We must have the whole world prettily decked out for 
to-morrow morning," said Ole-Luk-Oie, "for that will be a 
holiday — it will be Sunday. I will go to the church steeples 
to see that the little church goblins are polishing the bells, 
that they may sound sweetly. I will go out into the field, 
and see if the breezes are blowing the dust from the grass 
and leaves; and, what is the greatest work of all, I will 
bring down all the stars, to polish them. I take them in my 
apron; but first each one must be numbered, and the holes 
in which they are to be placed up there must be numbered 


likewise, so that they may be placed in the same grooves 
again; otherwise they would not sit fast, and we should 
have too many shooting stars, for one after another would 
fall down.'' 

"Hark ye! Do you know, Mr. Ole-Luk-Oie," remarked 
an old Portrait which hung upon the wall of the bedroom, 
where Hjalmar slept. "I am Hjalmar's great-grandfather! 
I thank you for telling the boy stories; but you must not 
confuse his ideas. The stars cannot come down and be pol- 
ished! The stars are world-orbs, just like our own earth, and 
that is just the good thing about them." 

"I thank you, old great-grandfather," said Ole-Luk-Oie, 
"I thank you ! You are the head of the family ; you are the 
ancestral head. But I am older than you! I am an old 
heathen; the Romans and Greeks called me the Dream 
God. I have been in the noblest houses, and am admitted 
there still! I know how to act with great people and with 
small ! Now you may tell your own story !" And Ole-Luk- 
Oie took his umbrella, and went away. 

"Well, well! May one not even give an opinion now- 
adays?" grumbled the old Portrait. And Hjalmar awoke. 


"Good-evening!" said Ole-Luk-Oie; and Hjalmar nod- 
ded, and then ran and turned his great-grandfather's Por- 
trait against the wall, that it might not interrupt them, as it 
had done yesterday. 

"Now you must tell me stories — about the five green peas 
that lived in one shell, and about the cock's foot that paid 
court to the hen's foot, and of the darning-needle who gave 
herself such airs because she thought herself a working- 

"There may be too much of a good thing!" said Ole-Luk- 
Oie. "You know that I prefer showing you something. I 
will show you my own brother. His name, like mine, is 
Ole-Luk-Oie, but he never comes to anyone more than 
once; and he takes him to whom he comes upon his horse, 
and tells him stories. He only knows two. One of these 
is so exceedingly beautiful that no one in the world can im- 
agine it, and the other so horrible and dreadful that it cannot 
be described." 


And then Ole-Liik-Oie lifted little Hjalmar up to the win- 
dow, and said: 

"There you will see my brother, the other Ole-Luk-Oie. 
They also call him Death! Do you see? He does not look 
so terrible as they make him in the picture-books, where 
he is only a skeleton. No, that is silver embroidery that he 
has on his coat; that is a splendid hussar's uniform; a 
mantle of black velvet flies behind him over the horse. 
See how he gallops along!"' 

And Hjalmar saw how this Ole-Luk-Oie rode away, and 
took young people as well as old upon his horse. Some of 
'them he put before him, and some behind; but he always 
asked first — "How stands it with the mark-book?" "Well," 
they all replied. "Yes, let me see it myself,'' he said. And 
then each one had to show him the book; and those who 
had "very well" and "remarkably well" written in their 
books, were placed in front of his horse, and a lovely story 
was told to them; while those who had "middling" or "tol- 
erably well," had to sit up behind, and hear a very terrible 
story indeed. They trembled and wept, and wanted to jump 
off the horse, but this they could not do, for they had all, 
as it were, grown fast to it. 

"But Death is a most splendid Ole-Luk-Oie," said Hjal- 
mar. "I am not afraid of him!" 

"Nor need you be," replied Ole-Luk-Oie; "but see that 
you have a good mark-book!" 

"Yes, that is improving!" muttered the great-grand- 
father's Picture. 'Tt is of some use giving one's opinion." 
And now he was satisfied. 

You see, that is the story of Ole-Luk-Oie; and now he 
may tell you more himself, this evening! 


The Emperor's favorite horse was shod with gold. It had 
a golden shoe on each of its feet. 

And why was this? 

He was a beautiful creature, with delicate legs, bright, in- 
telligent eyes, and a mane that hung down over his neck 
like a veil. He had carried his master through the fire and 


smoke of battle, and heard the bullets whistling around 
him, had kicked, bitten, and taken part in the fight when 
the enemy advanced, and had sprung with his master on his 
back over the fallen foe, and had saved the crown of red 
gold, and the life of the Emperor, which was even more val- 
uable than the red gold; and that is why the Emperor's 
horse had golden shoes. 

And a Beetle came creeping forth. 

"First the great ones," said he, "and then the little ones ; 
but greatness is not the only thing that does it." And so 
saying, he stretched out his thin legs. 

"And pray what do you want?" asked the smith. 

"Golden shoes, to be sure," replied the Beetle. 

"Why, you must be out of your senses!" cried the smith. 
"Do you want to have golden shoes, too?" 

"Golden shoes? Certainly," replied the Beetle. "Am I 
not just as good as that big creature yonder, that is waited 
on, and brushed, and has meat and drink put before him? 
Don't I belong to the imperial stable?" 

"But why is the horse to have golden shoes? Don't you 
understand that?" asked the smith. 

"Understand? I understand that it is a personal slight 
offered to m.yself," cried the Beetle. "It is done to annoy 
me, and therefore I am going into the world to seek my 

"Go along!" said the smith. 

"You're a rude fellow!" cried the Beetle; and then he 
went out of the stable, flew a little way, and soon afterward 
found himself in a beautiful flower garden, all fragrant with 
roses and lavender. 

"Is it not beautiful here?" asked one of the little Ladv- 
Birds that flew about, with their delicate wings and their 
red and black shields on their backs. "How sweet it is 
here — hovv^ beautiful it is !" 

"I'm accustomed to better things," said the Beetle. "Do 
you call this beautiful? Why, there is not so much as a 

Then he went on, under the shadow of a great stack, and 
found a Caterpillar crawling along. 

"How beautiful the world is!" said the Caterpillar; "the 
sun is so warm, and everything so enjoyable! And when I 
go to sleep, and die, as they call it, I shall wake up as a 
butterfly, with beautiful wings to fly with." 


■'How conceited you are!" exclaimed the Beetle. "You 
fly about as a butterfly, indeed! I've come out of the stable 
of the Emperor, and no one there — not even the Emperor's 
favorite horse, that, by the way, wears my cast-off golden 
shoes — has any such idea. To have wings to fly! Why, we 
can fly now." And he spread his wings and flew away. "I 
don't want to be annoyed, and yet I am annoyed," he said, 
as he flew ofif. 

Soon afterward he fell down upon a great lawn. For 
awhile he lay there and feigned slumber; at last he really fell 
asleep in earnest. 

Suddenly a heavy shower of rain came falling from the 
clouds. The Beetle woke up at the noise, and wanted to 
escape into the earth, but could not. He was tumbled over 
and over; sometimes he was swimming on his stomach, 
sometimes on his back, and as for flying, that was out of the 
question; he doubted whether he should escape from the 
place with his life. He therefore remained lying where he 

When the weather had moderated a little, and the Beetle 
had rubbed the water out of his eyes, he saw something 
gleaming. It was linen that had been placed there to 
bleach. He managed to make his way up to it, and crept 
into a fold of the damp linen. Certainly the place was not 
so comfortable to lie in as the warm stable ; but there was 
no better to be had, and therefore he remained lying there 
for a whole day and a whole night, and the rain kept on 
during all the time. Toward morning he crept forth; he 
was very much out of temper about the climate. 

On the linen two Frogs were sitting. Their bright eyes 
absolutely gleamed with pleasure. 

"Wonderful weather this!" one of them cried. "How 
refreshing! And the linen keeps the water together so 
beautifully. My hind legs seem to quiver as if I were going 
to swim.'' 

"I should like to know," said the second, "if the swallow, 
who flies so far round, in her many journeys in foreign 
lands, ever meets with a better climate than this. What de- 
licious dampness! It is really as if one were lying in a wet 
ditch. Whoever does not rejoice in this, certainly does not 
love his fatherland." 

"Have you been in the Emperor's stable?" asked the 


Beetle; "there the dampness is warm and refreshing. 
That's the chmate for me; but I cannot take it with me on 
my journey. Is there never a muck-heap, here in the gar- 
den, where a person of rank, like myself, can feel himself 
at home, and take up his quarters?" 

But the Frogs either did not or would not understand 

"I never ask a question twice!" said the Beetle, after he 
had already asked this one three times without receiving 
any answer. 

Then he went a little farther, and stumbled against a 
fragment of pottery, that certainly ought not to have been 
lying there ; but as it was once there, it gave a good shelter 
against wind and weather. Here dwelt several families of 
Earwigs; and these did not require much, only sociality. 
The female members of the community were full of the pur- 
est maternal aiTection, and, accordingly, each one consid- 
ered her own child the most beautiful and cleverest of all. 

"Our son has engaged himself," said one mother. "Dear, 
innocent boy! His greatest hope is that he may creep one 
day into a clergyman's ear. It's very artless and lovable, 
that; and being engaged will keep him steady. What joy 
for a mother!" 

"Our son," said another mother, "had scarcely crept out 
of the egg, when he was alread)^ ofif on his travels. He's all 
life and spirits; he'll run his horns oIt! What joy that is 
for a mother! Is it not so, Mr. Beetle?'' for she knew the 
stranger by his horny coat. 

"You are both quite right," said he; so they begged him 
to walk in; that is to say, to come as far as he could under 
the bit of pottery. 

"Now you also see my little earwig," observed a third 
mother and a fourth; "they are lovely little things, and 
highl}^ amusing. They are never ill-behaved, except when 
they are uncomfortable in their inside; but, unfortunately, 
one is very subject to that at their age." 

Thus each mother spoke of her baby; and the babies 
talked among themselves, and made use of the little nippers 
they have in their tails to nip the beard of the Beetle. 

"Yes, they are always busy about something, the little 
rogues!" said the mothers; and they quite beamed with 


maternal .pride; but the Beetle felt bored by that, and there- 
fore he inquired how far it was to the nearest muck-heap. 

"That is quite out in the big world, on the other side of 
the ditch," answered an Earwig. "I hope none of my chil- 
dren will go so far, for it would be the death of me." 

"But I shall try to get so far," said the Beetle; and he 
went off without taking formal leave; for that is considered 
the polite thing to do. And by the ditch he met several 
friends; Beetles, all of them. 

"Here we live," they said. "We are very comfortable 
here. Might we ask you to step down into this rich mud? 
You must be fatigued after your journey." 

"Certainly," replied the Beetle. "I have been exposed 
to the rain, and have had to lie upon linen, and cleanliness 
is a thing that greatly exhavists me. I have also pains in 
one of my wings, from standing in a draught under a frag- 
ment of pottery. It is really quite refreshing to be among 
one's companions once more." 

"Perhaps you come from a muck-heap?" observed the 
oldest of them. 

"Indeed, I come from a much higher place," replied the 
Beetle. "I come from the Emperor's stable, where I was 
born with golden shoes on my feet. I am traveling on a 
secret embassy. You must not ask me any questions, for I 
can't betray my secret." 

With this the little Beetle stepped down into the rich 
mud. There sat three young maiden Beetles; and they tit- 
tered, because they did not know what to say. 

"Not one of them is engaged yet," said their mother; and 
the Beetle maidens tittered again, this time from embarrass- 

"I have never seen greater beauties in the royal stables," 
exclaimed the Beetle, who was now resting himself. 

"Don't spoil my girls," said the mother; "and don't talk 
to them, please, unless you have serious intentions. But of 
course your intentions are serious, and therefore I give you 
my blessing." 

"Hurrah!'' cried all the other Beetles together; and our 
friend was engaged. Immediately after the betrothal came 
the marriage, for there was no reason for delay. 

The following day passed very pleasantly, and the next in 


tolerable comfort; but on the third it was time to think of 
food for the wife, and perhaps also for children. 

"I have allowed myself to be taken in," said our Beetle to 
himself. "And now there's nothing for it but to take them 
in, in turn." 

So said, so done. Away he went, and he stayed away all 
day, and stayed away all night; and his wife sat there, a for- 
saken widow. 

"Oh," said the other Beetles, "this fellow whom we re- 
ceived into our family is nothing more than a thorough 
vagabond. He is gone away, and has left his wife a burden 
upon our hands." 

"Well, then, she shall be unmarried again, and sit here 
among my daughters," said the mother. "Fie on the villain 
who forsook her!" 

In the meantime the Beetle had been journeying on, and 
had sailed across the ditch on a cabbage-leaf. In the morn- 
ing two persons came to the ditch. When they saw him, 
they took him up, and turned him over and over, and 
looked ver}^ learned, especially one of them — a boy. 

"Allah sees the black beetle in the black stone and in the 
black rock. Is not that written in the Koran?'' Then he 
translated the Beetle's name into Latin, and enlarged upon 
the creature's nature and history. The second person, an 
older scholar, voted for carrying him home. He said they 
wanted just such good specimens; and this seemed an im- 
civil speech to our Beetle, and in consequence he flew sud- 
denly out of the speaker's hand. As he had now dry wings, 
he flew a tolerable distance, and reached a hotbed, where a 
sash of the glass roof was partly open, so he quietly slipped 
in and buried himself in the warm earth. 

"Very comfortable it is here," said he. 

Soon after he went to sleep, and dreamed that the Em- 
peror's favorite horse had fallen, and had given him his 
golden shoes, with the promise that he should have two 

That was all very charming. When the Beetle woke up, 
he crept forth and looked around him. What splendor was 
in the hothouse! In the background great palm trees grow- 
ing up on high; the sun m.ade them look transparent; and 
beneath them what a luxuriance of green, and of beaming 


flowers, red as fire, yellow as amber, or white as fresh- 
fallen snow! 

"This is an incomparable plenty of plants," cried the 
Beetle. "How good they will taste when they are decayed! 
A capital storeroom this ! There must certainly be relations 
of mine living here. I will just see if I can find anyone 
with whom I may associate. I'm proud, certainly, and I'm 
proud of being so." 

And so he prowled about in the earth, and thought what a 
pleasant dream that was about the dying horse, and the 
golden shoes he had inherited. 

Suddenly a hand seized the Beetle, and pressed him, and 
turned him round and round. 

The gardener's little son and a companion had come to 
the hotbed, and espied the Beetle, and wanted to have their 
fun with him. First he was wrapped in a vine-leaf, and 
then put into a warm trousers pocket. He cribbled and 
Grabbled about there with all his might; but he got a good 
pressing from the boy's hand for this, which served as a 
hint to him to keep quiet. Then the boy went rapidly to- 
ward the great lake that lay at the end of the garden. Here 
the Beetle was put in an old broken wooden shoe, on which 
a little stick was placed upright for a mast, and to this mast 
the Beetle was bound with a v\^oolen thread. Now he was a 
sailor, and had to sail away. 

The lake was not very large, but to the Beetle it seemed 
an ocean ; and he was so astonished at its extent, that he fell 
over on his back and kicked out with his legs. 

The little ship sailed away. The current of the water 
seized it; but whenever he went too far from the shore, 
one of the boys turned up his trousers and went in after it, 
and brought it back to the land. But at length, just as it 
went merrily out again, the two boys were called away, and 
very harshly, so that they hurried to obey the summons, 
ran away from the lake, and left the little ship to its fate. 
Thus it drove away from the shore, farther and farther into 
the open sea; it was terrible work for the Beetle, for he 
could not get away in consequence of being bound to the 

Then a Fly came and paid him a visit. 

"What beautiful weather!" said the Fly. "I'll rest here, 
and sun myself. You have an agreeable time of it." 


"You speak without knowing the facts," repHed the 
Beetle. "Don't you see that I'm a prisoner?" 

"Ah! but I'm not a prisoner," observed the Fly; and he 
flew away accordingly. 

"Well, now I know the world," said the Beetle to him- 
self. "It is an abominable world. I'm the only honest per- 
son in it. First, they refuse me my golden shoes; then I 
have to lie on v/et linen, and to stand in the draught; and, 
to crown all, they fasten a wife upon me. Then, when I've 
taken a quick step out into the world, and found out how 
one can have it there, and how I wished to have it, one of 
those human boys comes and ties me up, and leaves me to 
the mercy of the wild waves, while the Emperor's horse 
prances about proudly in golden shoes. That is what an- 
noys me more than all. But one must not look for sympa- 
thy in this world! My career has been very interesting; but 
what's the use of that, if nobody knows it? The world does 
not deserve to be made acquainted with my history, for it 
ought to have given me golden shoes, when the Emperor's 
horse was shod, and I stretched out my feet to be shod, too. 
If I had received golden shoes, I should have been an 
ornament to the stable. Now the stable has lost me, and 
the world has lost me. It is all over!" 

But all was not over yet. A boat, in which there were a 
few young girls, came rowing up. 

"Look, yonder is an old wooden shoe sailing along," 
said one of the girls. 

"There's a little creature bound fast to it," said another. 

The boat came quite close to the Beetle's ship, and the 
young girls fished him out of the water. One of them drew 
a small pair of scissors from her pocket, and cut the woolen 
thread, without hurting the Beetle; and when she stepped 
on shore, she put him down on the grass. 

"Creep, creep — y, fly — if thou canst," she said. "Liberty 
is a splendid thing." 

And the Beetle flew up, and straight through the open 
window of a great building; there he sank down, tired and 
exhausted, exactly on the mane of the Emperor's favorite 
horse, who stood in the stable when he was at home, and 
the Beetle also. The Beetle clung fast to the mane, and sat 
there a short time to recover himself. 

"Here I'm sitting on the Emperor's favorite horse — sit- 


ting on him just like the Emperor himself!" he cried. "But 
what was I saying? Yes, now I remember. That's a good 
thought, and quite correct. The smith asked me why the 
golden shoes were given to the horse. Now I'm quite clear 
about the answer. They were given to the horse on my ac- 

And now the Beetle was in a good temper again. 

"Traveling expands the mind rarely," said he. 

The sun's rays came streaming into the stable, and shone 
upon him, and made the place lively and bright. 

"The world is not so bad upon the whole," said the 
Beetle; "but one must know how to take things as they 


I will tell you the story which was told to me when I was 
a little boy. Every time I thought of the story, it seemed to 
me to become more and more charming; for it is with 
stories as it is with many people — they become better as 
they grow older. 

I take it for granted that you have been in the country, 
and seen a very old farmhouse with a thatched roof, and 
mosses and small plants growing wild upon the thatch. 
There is a stork's nest on the summit of the gable; for we 
can't do without the stork. The walls of the house are 
sloping, and the windows are low, and only one of the latter 
is made so that it will open. The baking-oven sticks out 
of the wall like a little fat body. The elder tree hangs over 
the paling, and beneath its branches, at the foot of the pal- 
ing, is a pool of water in which a few ducks are disporting 
themselves. There is a yard dog, too, who barks at all 

Just such a farmhouse stood out in the country; and in 
this house dwelt an old couple — a peasant and his wife. 
Small as was their property, there was one article among it 
that they could do without — a horse, which made a living 
out of the grass it found by the side of the high road. The 
old peasant rode into the town on this horse; and often his 
neighbors borrowed it of him, and rendered the old couple 
some service in return for the loan of it. But they thought 


it would be best if they sold the horse, or exchanged it for 
something that might be more useful to them. But what 
might this something be? 

"You'll know that best, old man," said the wife. "It is 
fair day to-day, so ride into town, and get rid of the horse 
for money, or make a good exchange; whichever you do 
will be right to me. Ride off to the fair." 

And she fastened his neckerchief for him, for she could 
do that better than he could; and she tied it in a double 
bow, for she could do that very prettily. Then she brushed 
his hat round and round with the palm of her hand, and 
gave him a kiss. So he rode away upon the horse that was 
to be sold or to be bartered for something else. Yes, the 
old man knew what he was about. 

The sun shone hotly down, and not a cloud was to be 
seen in the sky. The road was very dusty, for many people, 
who were all bound for the fair, were driving or riding, or 
walking upon it. There was no shelter anywhere from the 

Among the rest, a man was trudging along, and driving a 
cow to the fair. The cow was as beautiful a creature as any 
cow can be. 

"She gives good milk, I'm sure," said the peasant. "That 
would be a very good exchange — the cow for the horse." 

"Hallo, you there with the cow!" he said; "I tell you 
what — I fancy a horse costs more than a cow, but I don't 
care for that; a cow would be more useful to me. If you 
like, we'll exchange." 

"To be sure I will," returned the man; and they ex- 
changed accordingly. 

So that was settled, and the peasant might have turned 
back, for he had done the business he came to do ; but as he 
had once made up his mind to go to the fair, he determined 
to proceed, merely to have a look at it; and so he went on 
to the town with his cov/. 

Leading the animal, he strode sturdily on; and after a 
short time, he overtook a man who was driving a sheep. It 
was a good fat sheep, with a fine fleece on its back. 

"I should like to have that fellow," said our peasant to 
himself. "He would find plenty of grass by our palings, 
and in the winter we could keep him in the room with us. 


Perhaps it would be more practical to have a sheep instead 
of a cow. Shall we exchange?" 

The man with the sheep was quite ready, and the bar- 
gain was struck. So our peasant went on in the high road 
with his sheep. 

Soon he overtook another man, who came into the road 
from a field, carrying a great goose under his arm. 

"That's a heavy thing you have there. It has plenty of 
feathers and plenty of fat, and would look well tied to a 
string, and paddling in the water at our place. That would 
be something for my old woman; she could make all kinds 
of profit out of it. How often she has said, 'If we only had 
a goose!' Now, perhaps, she can have one; and, if possible, 
it shall be hers. Shall we exchange? I'll give you my sheep 
for your goose, and thank you into the bargain." 

The other man had not the least objection; and accord- 
ingly they exchanged, and our peasant became proprietor 
of the goose. 

By this time he was very near the town. Tlie crowd on 
the high road became greater and greater; there was quite 
a crush of men and cattle. They walked in the road, and 
close by the paling; and at the barrier they even walked 
into the tollman's potato field, where his own fowl was 
strutting about with a string to its legs, lest it should take 
fright at the crowd, and stray away, and so be lost. This 
fowl had short tail-feathers, and winked with both its eyes, 
and looked very cunning. "Cluck, cluck!" said the fowl. 
What it thought when it said this I cannot tell you; but 
directly our good man saw it, he thought, "That's the finest 
fowl I've ever seen in my life ! Why, it's finer than our par- 
son's brood hen. On my word, I should like to have that 
fowl. A fowl can always find a grain or two, and can almost 
keep itself. I think it would be a good exchange if I could 
get that for my goose. Shall we exchange?" he asked the 

"Exchange!'' repeated the man; "well, that would not 
be a bad thing." 

And so they exchanged; the toll-taker at the barrier kept 
the goose, and the peasant carried away the fowl. 

Now, he had done a good deal of business on his way to 
the fair, and he was hot and tired. He wanted something to 
eat, and a glass of brandy to drink ; and soon he was in front 


of the inn. He was just about to step in, when the hostler 
came out; so they met at the door. The hostler was carry- 
ing a sack. 

"What have you in that sack?" asked the peasant. 
"Rotten apples," answered the hostler; "a whole sackful 
of them — enough to feed the pigs with." 

"Why, that's terrible waste! I should like to take them 
to my old woman at home. Last year the old tree by the 
turf-hole only bore a single apple, and we kept it in the cup- 
board till it was quite rotten and spoiled. 'It was always 
property,' my old woman said; but here she could see a 
quantity of property — a whole sackful. Yes, I shall be glad 
to show them to her." 

"What will you give me for the sackful?" asked the 

"What will I give? I will give my fowl in exchange." 

And he gave the fowl accordingly, and received the ap- 
ples, which he carried into the guest-room. He leaned the 
sack carefully by the stove, and then went to the table. But 
the stove was hot; he had not thought of that. Many 
guests were present — horse dealers, ox-herds, and two Eng- 
lishmen — and the two Englishmen were so rich that their 
pockets bulged out with gold coins, and almost burst; and 
they could bet, too, as you shall hear. 

Hiss-s-s! hiss-s-s! What was that by the stove? The 
apples were beginning to roast. 

"What is that?" 

"Why, do you know '' said our peasant. 

And he told the whole story of the horse that he had ex- 
changed for a cow, and all the rest of it down to the ap- 

"Well, your old woman will give it you well when you 
get home," said one of the Englishmen. "There will be a 

"WHiat? — give me what?" said the peasant. "She will 
kiss me, and say, 'What the old man does is always right.' " 

"Shall we wager?" said the Englishman. "We'll wager 
coined gold by the ton — a hundred pounds to the hundred- 
weight !" 

"A bushel will be enough,'' replied the peasant. "I can 
only set the bushel of apples against it; and I'll throw my- 


self and my old woman into the bargain — and I fancy that's 
piling up the measure !" 

"Done — taken!" 

And the bet was made. The host's carriage came up, and 
the Englishmen got in, and the peasant got in; away they 
went, and soon they stopped before the peasant's hut, 

"Good-evening, old woman." 

"Good-evening, old man." 

"I've made exchange." 

"Yes, you understand what you're about," said the wo- 

And she embraced him and paid no attention to the 
stranger guests, nor did she notice the sack. 

"I got a cow in exchange for the horse,'' said he. 

"Heaven be thanked!" said she. "What glorious milk 
we shall now have, and butter and cheese upon the table! 
That was a most capital exchange!" 

"Yes, but I changed the cow for a sheep." 

"Ah, that's better still!" cried the wife. "You aUvays 
think of everything; we have just pasture enough for a 
sheep. Ewe's milk and cheese, and woolen jackets and 
stockings! The cow cannot give those, and her hairs will 
only come off. How you think of everything!" 

"But I changed away the sheep for a goose." 

"Then this year we shall really have roast goose to eat, 
my dear old mian. You are always thinking of something 
to give me pleasure. How charming that is! We can let 
the goose walk about with a string to her leg, and she'll 
grow fatter still before we roast her." 

"But I gave away the goose for a fowl," said the man. 

"A fowl? That was a good exchange!" replied the wo- 
man. "The fowl will lay eggs and hatch them, and we shall 
soon have chickens; we shall have a whole poultry yard! Oh, 
that's just what I was wishing for." 

"Yes, but I exchanged the fowl for a sack of shriveled 

"What! — I must positively kiss you for that," exclaimed 
the wife. "My dear, good husband! Now I'll tell you 
something. Do you know, you had hardly left me this 
morning before I began thinking how I could give you 
something very nice this evening. I thought it should be 
pancakes with savory herbs. I had eggs, and bacon, too; 


but I wanted herbs. So I went over to the schoolmaster's — 
they have herbs there, I know — but the schoolmistress is a 
mean woman, though she looks so sweet. I begged her to 
lend me a handful of herbs. 'Lend!' she answered me; 
'nothing at all grows in our garden, not even a shriveled ap- 
ple. I could not even lend you a shriveled apple, my dear 
woman.' But now I can lend her twenty, or a whole sack- 
ful. That I'm very glad of; that makes me laugh!" And 
with that she gave him a sounding kiss. 

"I like that!" exclaimed both the Englishmen together. 
"Always going down-hill, and always merry; that's worth 
the money." 

So they paid a hundredweight of gold to the peasant, who 
was not scolded, but kissed. 

Yes, it always pays, when the wife sees and always as- 
serts that her husband knows best, and that whatever he 
does is right. 

You see, that is my story. I heard it when I was a child; 
and now you have heard it, too, and know that "What the 
old man does is always right." 


My father left me the best inheritance, to wit — good 
humor. And who was my father? Why, that has noth- 
ing to do with the humor. He was lively and stout, round 
and fat; and his outer and inner man was in direct contra- 
diction to his calling. And pray what was he by profession 
and calling in civil society? Yes, if this were to be written 
down and printed in the very beginning of a book, it is 
probable that many when they read it would lay the book 
aside and say, "It looks so uncomfortable; I don't like any- 
thing of that sort." And yet my father was neither a horse 
slaughterer nor an executioner; on the contrary, his office 
placed him at the head of the most respectable gentry of the 
town; and he held his place by right, for it was his right 
place. He had to go first before the bishop even, and be- 
fore the Princess of the Blood. He always went first — for 
he was the driver of the hearse. 

There, now it's out! And I will confess that when people 


saw my father sitting perched up on the omnibus of death, 
dressed in his long, wide, black coat, and with his black- 
bordered, three-cornered hat on his head — and then his face, 
exactly as the sun is drawn, round and jocund — it was diffi- 
cult for them to think of the grave and of sorrow. The face 
said, "It doesn't matter; it doesn't matter; it will be better 
than one thinks." 

You see I have inherited my good-humor from him, and 
also the habit of going often to the churchyard, which is a 
good thing to do if it be done in the right spirit; and then I 
take in the Intelligencer, just as he used to do. 

I am not quite young. I have neither wife, nor children, 
nor a library; but, as aforesaid, I take in the Intelligencer, 
and that's my favorite newspaper, as it was also my father's. 
It is very useful, and contains everything that a man needs to 
know — such as who preaches in the church and the new 
books. And then what a lot of charity, and what a number 
of innocent, harmless verses are found in it! Advertise- 
ments for husbands and wives, and requests for interviews — • 
all quite simple and natural. Certainly, one may live mer- 
rily and be contentedly buried if one takes in the Intelli- 
gencer. And as a concluding advantage, by the end of his 
life a man will have such a capital store of paper, that he 
may use it as a soft bed, unless he prefers to rest upon wood 

The newspaper and m.y walk to the churchyard were al- 
ways my most exciting occupations — they were like bathing 
places for my good humor. 

The newspaper everyone can read for himself. But please 
come with me to the churchyard ; let us wander there, where 
the sun shines and the trees grow green. Each of the nar- 
row houses is like a closed book, with the back placed up- 
permost, so that one can only read the title and judge what 
the book contains, but can tell nothing about it; but I know 
something about them. I heard it from my father, or found 
it out myself. I have it all down in my record that I wrote 
out for my own use and pleasure ; all that lie here, and a few 
more, too, are chronicled in it. 

Now we are in the churchyard. 

Here, behind the white railing, where once a rose tree 
grew — it is gone now, but a little evergreen from the next 
grave stretches out its green fingers to make a show — there 


rests a very unhappy man; and yet, when he Hvecl, he was in 
what they cah a good position. He had enough to live 
upon, and something over; but worldly cares, or, to speak 
more correctly, his great artistic taste, weighed heavily upon 
him. If in the evening he sat in the theater to enjoy him- 
self thoroughly, he would be quite put out if the machinist 
had put too strong a light into one side of the moon, or if 
the sky-pieces hung down over the scenes when they ought 
to have hung behind them, or when a palm tree was intro- 
duced into a scene representing the Berlin Zoological Gar- 
dens, or a cactus in a view of the Tyrol, or a beech tree in 
the far north of Norway. As if that was of any consequence. 
Is it not quite immaterial? Who would fidget about such a 
trifle? It's only make-believe, after all, and everyone is ex- 
pected to be amused. Then sometimes the public applaud- 
ed too much to suit his taste, and sometimes too little, 
"They're like wet wood this evening," he would say; "they 
won't kindle at all !" And then he would look around to see 
what kind of people they were ; and sometimes he would find 
them laughing at the wrong time, when they ought not to 
have laughed, and that vexed him and he fretted and was an 
unhappy man, and at last fretted himself into his grave. 

Here rests a very happy man. That is to say, a very 
grand man. He was of high birth, and that was lucky for 
him, for otherwise he would never have been anything worth 
speaking of; and nature orders all that very wisely, so that 
it's quite charming when we think of it. He used to go 
about in a coat embroidered back and front, and appeared in 
the saloons of society just like one of those costly, pearl- 
embroidered bell-pulls, which have always a good, thick, 
serviceable cord behind them to do the work. He likewise 
had a good stout cord behind him in the shape of a substi- 
tute, who did his duty, and who still continues to do it be- 
hind another embroidered bell-pull. Everything is so nice- 
ly managed, it's enough to put one into a good humor. 

Here rests — well it's a very mournful reflection — here 
rests a man who spent sixty-seven years considering how he 
should get a good idea. The sole object of his life was to 
say a good thing, and at last he felt convinced in his own 
mind that he had got one, was so glad of it that he died of 
pure joy at having caught an idea at last. Nobody derived 
any benefit from it, and nobody even heard what the good 


thing was. Now, I can fancy that this same good thing 
won't let him he quiet in his grave ; for let us suppose that it 
is a good thing which can only be brought out at breakfast 
if it is to make an effect, and that he, according to the re- 
ceived opinion concerning ghosts, can only rise and walk at 
midnight. Why, then the good thing would not suit the 
time, and the man must carry his good idea down with him 
again. What an unhappy man he must be ! 

Here rests a remarkably stingy woman. During her life- 
time she used to get up at night and mew, so that the neigh- 
bors might think she kept a cat — she was so remarkably 

Here is a maiden of another kind. When the canary bird 
of the heart begins to chirp, reason puts her fingers in her 
ears. The maiden was going to be married, but — well, it's 
an everyday story, and we will let the dead rest. 

Here sleeps a widow, who carried melody in her mouth 
and gall in her heart. She used to go out for prey in the 
families round about; and the prey she hunted was her 
neighbors' faults, and she was an indefatigable hunter. 

Here's a family sepulcher. Every member of this family 
held so firmly to the opinions of the rest, that if all the world, 
and the newspapers into the bargain, said of a certain thing 
it is so and so, and the little boy came home from school, 
and said, "I've learned it thus and thus," they declared his 
opinion to be the only true one, because he belonged to the 
family. And it is an acknowledged fact, that if the yard 
cock of the family crowed at midnight, they would declare it 
was morning, though the watchman and all the clocks in the 
city were crying out that it was twelve o'clock at night. 

The great poet Goethe concludes his "Faust" with the 
words "May be continued"; and our wanderings in the 
churchyard may be continued, too. If any of my friends, or 
my non-friends, go on too fast for me, I go out to my favor- 
ite spot, and select a mound, and bury him or her there — 
bury that person who is yet alive; and there those I bury 
must stay till they come back as new and improved charac- 
ters. I inscribe their life and their deeds, looked at in my 
fashion, in my record; and that's what all people ought to 
do. They ought not to be vexed when anyone goes on 
ridiculously, but bury him directly, and maintain their good 


humor; and keep to the InteUigencer, which is often a book 
written by the people with its hand guided. 

When the time comes for me to be bound with my history 
in the boards of the grave, I hope they will put up as my 
epitaph, "A good-humored one." And that's my story. 


At the rich merchant's there was a children's party; rich 
people's children and grand people's children were there. 
The merchant was a learned man ; he had once gone through 
the college examination, for his honest father had kept him 
to this, his father who had at first only been a cattle dealer, 
but always an honest and industrious man. The trade liad 
brought money, and the merchant had managed to increase 
the store. Clever he was, and he had also a heart, but there 
was less said of his heart than of his money. At the mer- 
chant's, grand people went in and out — people of blood, as 
it is called, and people of intellect, and people who had both 
of these, and people who had neither. Now there was a 
children's party there, and children's prattle, and children 
speak frankly from the heart. Among the rest there v/as a 
beautiful little girl, but the little one was terribly proud; but 
the servants had taught her that, not her parents, w^ho were 
far too sensible people. Her father was a Groom of the 
Bedchamber, and that is a very grand ofhce, and she 
knew it. 

'T am the child of the bedchamber," she said. 

Now she might just as well have been a child of the cellar, 
for nobody can help his birth; and then she told the other 
children that she was "well born," and said that no one who 
was not well born could get on far in the world ; it was of no 
use to read and to be industrious; if one was not well born 
one could not achieve anything. 

"And those whose names end with 'sen,' " said she, "they 
cannot be anything at all. One must put one's arms akim- 
bo and make the elbows quite pointed, and keep them at a 
great distance, these 'sen'!" 

And she stuck out her pretty little arm.s, and made her 
elbows quite pointed, to show how it was to be done, and 


her little arms were very pretty. She was a sweet little 


But the little daughter of the merchant became very angry 
at this speech, for her father's name was Petersen, and she 
knew that the name ended in "sen"; and therefore she said, 
as proudly as ever she could: 

"But my papa can buy a hundred dollars' worth of bon- 
bons, and throw them to the children! Can your papa do 

"Yes, but my papa," said an author's little daughter, "my 
papa can put your papa and everybody's papa into the news- 
paper. All people are afraid of him, my mamma says, for it 
is my father who rules in the paper." 

And the little maiden looked exceedingly proud, as 
though she had been a real Princess, who is expected to 
look proud. 

But outside the door, which was ajar, stood a poor boy, 
peeping through the crack of the door. He was of such 
lowly station that he was not even allowed to enter the 
room. He had turned the spit for the cook, and she had 
allowed him to stand behind the door, and to look at the 
well-dressed children who were making a merry day within, 
and for him that was a great deal. 

"Oh, to be one of them!" thought he; and then he heard 
what was said, which was certainly calculated to make him 
very unhappy. His parents at home had not a penny to 
spare to buy a newspaper, much less could they write one; 
and, what was worst of all, his father's name, and conse- 
quently his own, ended completely in "sen,'' and so he could 
not turn out well. That was terrible. But, after all, he 
had been born, and very well born as it seemed to him; that 
could not be otherwise. 

And that is what was done on that evening. 

Many years have elapsed since then, and in the course of 
years children became grown-up persons. 

In the town stood a splendid house; it was filled with all 
kinds of beautiful objects and treasures, and all people 
wished to see it ; even people who dwelt out of town came to 
see it. Which of the children of whom we have told might 
call this house his own? To know that is very easy. No, 
no; it is not so very easy. The house belonged to the poor 
little boy who had stood on that night behind the door, and 


he had become something great, ahhough his name ended 
in "sen" — Thorwaldsen. 

And the three other children? the children of blood and of 
money, and of spiritual pride? Well, they had nothing 
wherewith to reproach each other — they turned out well 
enough, for they had been well dowered by bountiful na- 
ture; and what they had thought and spoken on that even- 
ing long ago was mere children's prattle. 


There was once a merchant, who was so rich that he could 
pave the whole street with gold, and almost have enough left 
for a little lane. But he did not do that; he knew how to 
employ his money differently. When he spent a shilling he 
got back a crown, such a clever merchant was he; and this 
continued till he died. 

His son now got all this money; and he lived merrily, go- 
ing to the masquerade every evening, making kites out of 
dollar notes, and playing at ducks and drakes on the sea- 
coast with gold pieces instead of pebbles. In this way the 
money might soon be spent, and indeed it was so. At last 
he had no more than four shillings left, and no clothes to 
wear but a pair of slippers and an old dressing-gown. Now 
his friends did not trouble themselves any more about him, 
as they could not walk with him in the street, but one of 
them, who was good-natured, sent him an old trunk, with 
the remark, "Pack up!" Yes, that was all very well, but he 
had nothing to pack, therefore he seated himself in the 

That was a wonderful trunk. So soon as anyone pressed 
the lock, the trunk could fly. He pressed it, and whirr! 
away flew the trunk with him through the chimney and over 
the clouds, farther and farther away. But as often as the 
bottom of the trunk cracked a little he was in great fear lest 
it might go to pieces, and then he would have flung a fine 
somersault! In that way he came to the land of the Turks. 
He hid the trunk in a wood under some dry leaves, and then 
went into the town. He could do that very well, for among 
the Turks all the people went dressed like himself in dress- 


ing-gown and slippers. Then he met a nurse with a Httle 

"Here, you Turkish nurse," he began, "what kind of a 
great castle is that close by the town, in which the windows 
are so high up?" 

"There dwells the Sultan's daughter," replied she. 'Tt is 
prophesied that she will be very unhappy respecting a lover; 
and therefore nobody may go to her, unless the Sultan and 
Sultana are there too." 

"Thank you!'' said the merchant's son; and he went out 
into the forest, seated himself in his trunk, flew on the roof, 
and crept through the window into the Princess's room. 

She was lying asleep on the sofa, and she was so beautiful 
that the merchant's son was compelled to kiss her. Then 
she awoke, and was very much startled; but he said he was 
a Turkish angel, who had come down to her through the 
air, and that pleased her. 

They sat down side by side, and he told her stories about 
her eyes; he told her they were the most glorious dark lakes, 
and that thoughts were swimming about in them like mer- 
maids. And he told her about her forehead; that it was a 
snowy mountain, with the most splendid halls full of pic- 
tures. And he told her about the stork who brings the 
lovely little children. 

Yes, those were fine histories ! Then he asked the Prin- 
cess if she would marry him, and she said "Yes," directly. 

"But you must come here on Saturday," said she. "Then 
the Sultan and the Sultana will be here to tea. They will be 
very proud that I am to marry a Turkish angel. But take 
care that you know a very pretty story, for both my parents 
are very fond indeed of stories. My mother likes them 
high-flown and moral, but my father likes them merry, so 
that one can laugh." 

"Yes, I shall bring no marriage gift but a story," said he; 
and so they parted. But the Princess gave him a saber, the 
sheath embroidered with gold pieces, and that was very 
useful to him. 

Now he flew away, bought a new dressing-gown, and sat 
in the forest and made up a story; it was to be ready by 
Saturday, and that was not an easy thing. 

By the time he had finished it Saturday had come. The 


Sultan and his wife and all the Court were at the Princess's 
to tea. He was received very graciously. 

"Will you relate us a story?" said the Sultana; "one that 
is deep and edifying." 

"Yes, but one that we can laugh at," said the Sultan. 

"Certainly," he replied ; and began. And now listen well. 

"There was once a bundle of Matches, and these Matches 
were particularly proud of their high descent. Their genea- 
logical tree, that is to say, the great fir tree of which each of 
them was a little splinter, had been a great old tree out in 
the forest. The Matches now lay between a Tinder Box 
and an old Iron Pot; and they were telling about the days of 
their youth. 'Yes, when we were upon the green boughs,' 
they said, 'then we really were upon the green boughs! 
Every morning and evening there was diamond tea for us 
(meaning dew) ; we had sunshine all day long whenever the 
sun shone, and all the little birds had to tell stories. We 
could see very well that we were rich, for the other trees 
v\'ere only dressed out in summer, while our family had the 
means to wear green dresses in the winter as well. But 
then the woodcutter came, like a great revolution, and our 
family was broken up. The head of the family got an ap- 
pointment as mainmast in a first-rate ship, which could sail 
round the world if necessary; the other branches went to 
other places, and now we have the office of kindling a light 
for the vulgar herd. That's how we grand people came to 
be in the kitchen.' 

" 'My fate was of a different kind,' said the Iron Pot, 
which stood next to the Matches. 'From the beginning, 
ever since I came into the v^^orld, there has been a great deal 
of scouring and cooking done in me. I look after the prac- 
tical part, and am the first here in the house. My onl}' 
pleasure is to sit in miy place after dinner, very clean and 
neat, and to carry on a sensible conversation with my com- 
rades. But except the Water Pot, which sometimes is taken 
down into the courtyard, we always live within our four 
walls. Our only news-monger is the Market Basket; but 
he speaks very uneasily about the government and the peo- 
ple. Yes, the other day, there was an old pot that fell down 
from fright, and burst. He's liberal, I can tell you!' 'Now 
you're talking too much,' the Tinder Box interrupted, and 


the steel struck against the flints, so that sparks flew out. 
'Shall we not have a merry evening?' 

" 'Yes, let us talk about who is the grandest,' said the 

" 'No, I don't like to talk about myself,' retorted the Pot. 
'Let us get up an evening entertainment. I will begin. I 
will tell a story from real life, something that everyone has 
experienced, so that we can easily imagine the situation, 
and take pleasure in it. On the Baltic, by the Danish 
shore ' 

"'That's a pretty beginning!' cried all the Plates. 'That 
will be a story we shall like.' 

" 'Yes, it happened to me in my youth, when I lived in a 
quiet family where the furniture was polished, and the floors 
scoured, and new curtains were put up every fortnight.' 

" 'What an interesting way you have of telling a story !' 
said the Carpet Broom. 'One can tell directly that a man is 
speaking who has been in woman's society. There's some- 
thing pure runs through it.' 

"And the Pot went on telling his story, and the end was 
as good as the beginning. 

"All the Plates rattled with joy, and the Carpet Broom 
brought some green parsley out of the dust-hole, and put it 
like a wreath on the Pot, for he knew that it v/ould vex the 
others. 'If I crown him to-day,' it thought, 'he will crown 
me to-morrow.' 

" 'Now I'll dance,' said the Fire Tongs, and they danced. 
Preserve us! how that implement could lift up one leg! 
The old Chair Cushion burst to see it. 'Shall I be crowned, 
too?' thought the Tongs; and indeed a wreath was 

" 'They're only common people, after all !' thought the 

"Now the Tea-Urn was to sing; but she said she had 
taken cold, and could not sing unless she felt boiling within. 
But that was only affectation ; she did not want to sing, ex- 
cept when she was in the parlor with the grand people. 

"In the window sat an old Quill Pen, with which the maid 
generally wrote; there was nothing remarkable about this 
pen, except that it had been dipped too deep into the ink, 
but she was proud of that. 'If the Tea-Urn won't sing,' she 
said, 'she may leave it alone. Outside hangs a nightingale 


in a cage, and he can sing. He hasn't had any education, 
but this evening we'll say nothing about that.' 

" 'I think it very wrong,' said the Tea-Kettle — he was the 
kitchen singer, and half-brother to the Tea-Urn — 'that that 
rich and foreign bird should be listened to. Is that patri- 
otic? Let the Market Basket decide." 

'' 'I am vexed,' said the Market Basket. 'No one can 
imagine how much I am secretly vexed. Is that a proper 
way of spending the evening? Would it not be more sensi- 
ble to put the house in order? Let each one go to his own 
place, and I would arrange the whole game. That would 
be quite another thing.' 

" 'Yes, let us make a disturbance,' cried they all. Then 
the door opened and the maid came in, and they all stood 
still; not one stirred. But there was not one pot among 
them who did not know what he could do, and how grand 
he was. 'Yes, if I had liked,' each one thought, 'it might 
have been a very merry evening.' 

"The servant girl took the Matches and lighted the lire 
with them. Mercy! how they sputtered and burst out into 
flame! 'Now everyone can see,' thought they, 'that we are 
the first. How we shine! what a light!' — and they burned 

"That was a capital story," said the Sultana. "I feel my- 
self quite carried away to the kitchen, to the Matches. Yes, 
now thou shalt marry our daughter." 

"Yes, certainly," said the Sultan, "thou shalt marry our 
daughter on Monday." 

And they called him thou because he was to belong to the 

The wedding was decided on, and on the evening before 
it the whole city was illuminated. Biscuits and cakes were 
thrown among the people; the street boys stood upon their 
toes, called out "Hurrah!" and whistled on their fingers. It 
was uncommonly splendid. 

"Yes, I shall have to ■ give something as a treat," thought 
the merchant's son. So he bought rockets and crackers 
and every imaginable sort of firework, put them all into his 
trunk, and flew up into the air. 

"Crack!" how they went, and how they went ofif! All 
the Turks hopped up with such a start that their slippers 
flew about their ears; such a meteor they had never yet seen. 


Now they could understand that it must be a Turkish angel 
who was going to marry the Princess. 

What stories people tell! Everyone whom he asked 
iabout it had seen it in a different way; but one and all 
thought it fine. 

"I saw the Turkish angel himself," said one. "He had 
eyes like glowing stars, and a beard like foaming water." 

"He flew in a fiery mantle,'' said another; "the most love- 
ly little cherub peeped forth from among the folds." 

Yes, they were wonderful things that he heard; and on 
the following day he was to be married. 

Now he went back to the forest to rest himself in his 
trunk. But what had become of that? A spark from the 
fireworks had set fire to it, and the trunk was burned to 
ashes. He could not fly any more, and could not get to his 

She stood all day on the roof waiting; and most likely she 
is waiting still. But he wanders through the world telling 
fairy tales; but they are not so merry as that one he told 
about the matches. 


We are in a rich, a happy house; all are cheerful and full 
of joy, master, servants, and friends of the family; for on 
this day an heir, a son had been born, and mother and child 
were doing exceedingly well. 

The burning lamp in the bedchamber had been partly 
shaded, and the windows were guarded by heavy curtains of 
some costly silken fabric. The carpet was thick and soft as 
a mossy lawn, and everything invited to slumber — was 
charmingly suggestive of repose; and the nurse found that, 
for she slept; and here she might sleep, for everything was 
good and blessed. The guardian spirit of the house leaned 
against the head of the bed; over the child at the mother's 
breast there spread, as it were, a net of shining stars in end- 
less number, and each star was a pearl of happiness. All 
the good stars of life had brought their gifts to the new- 
born one; here sparkled health, wealth, fortune, and love — 
in short, everything that man can wish for on earth. 


"Everything has been presented here," said the guardian 

"No, not everything," said a voice near him, the voice of 
the child's good angel. "One fairy has not yet brought her 
gift; but she will do so some day; even if years should 
elapse first, she will bring her gift. The last pearl is yet 

"Wanting! here nothing may be wanting; and if it should 
be the case, let me go and seek the powerful fairy; let us be- 
take ourselves to her." 

"She comes! she will come some day unsought! Her 
pearl may not be wanting; it must be there, so that the com- 
plete crown may be won.'' 

"Where is she to be found. Where does she dwell? Tell 
it me, and I will procure the pearl." 

"You will do that?" said the good angel of the child. "I 
will lead you to her directly, wherever she may be. She has 
no abiding place — sometimes she rules in the Emperor's 
palace, sometimes you will find her in the peasant's humble 
cot; she goes by no person without leaving a trace; she 
brings two gifts to all, be it a world or a trifie. To this child 
also she must come. You think the time is equally long, but 
not equally profitable. Come, let us go for this pearl, the 
last pearl in ail this wealth." 

And hand in hand they floated toward the spot where the 
fairy was now lingering. 

It was a great house, with dark windows and empty 
room-S, and a peculiar stillness reigned therein; a whole row 
of windows had been opened, so that the rough air could 
penetrate at its pleasure; the long, white hanging curtains 
moved to and fro in the current of wind. 

In the middle of the room was placed an open coffin, and 
in this coffin lay the corpse of a woman, still in the bloom of 
youth, and very beautiful. Fresh roses were scattered over 
her, so that only the delicate folded hands and the noble 
face, glorified in death by the solemn look of consecration 
and entrance to the better world, were visible. 

Around the coffln stood the husband and the children, a 
whole troop; the youngest child rested on the father's arm, 
and all bade their mother their last farewell; the husband 
kissed her hand, the hand which now was as a withered leaf, 
but v/hich, a short time ago, had been working and striving 


in diligent love for them all. Tears of sorrow rolled over 
their cheeks, and fell in heavy drops to the floor; but not a 
word was spoken. The silence which reigned here ex- 
pressed a w^orld of grief. With silent footsteps, and with 
many a sob, they quitted the room. 

A burning light stands in the room, and the long red wick 
peers out high above the flame that flickers in the current of 
air. Strange men come in, and lay the lid on the coffin over 
the dead one, and drive the nails firmly in, and the blows of 
the hammer resound through the house, and echo in the 
hearts that are bleeding. 

"Whither art thou leading me?" asked the guardian 
spirit. "Here dwells no fairy whose pearl might be counted 
amongst the best gifts of life!'' 

"Here she lingers; here in this sacred hour," said the 
angel, and pointed to a corner of the room ; and there, where 
in her lifetime the mother had taken her seat amid flowers 
and pictures ; there from whence, like the beneficent fairy of 
the house, she had greeted husband, children, and friends; 
from whence, like the sunbeams, she had spread joy and 
cheerfulness, and been the center and the heart of all — there 
sat a strange woman, clad in long garments. It was "the 
Chastened Heart," now mistress and mother here in the 
dead lady's place. A hot tear rolled down into her lap, and 
formed itself into a pearl glowing with all the colors of the 
rainbow. The angel seized it, and the pearl shone like a 
star of sevenfold radiance. 

The pearl of Chastening, the last, which must not be 
wanting! it heightens the luster and the meaning of the 
other pearls. Do you see the sheen of the rainbow — of the 
bow that unites heaven and earth? A bridge has been built 
between this world and the heaven beyond. Through the 
earthly night we gaze upward to the stars, looking for per- 
fection. Contemplate it, the pearl of Chastening, for it 
hides within itself the wings that shall carry us to the better 



In the last house in a little village stood a Stork's nest. 
The Mother-Stork sat in it with her four young ones, who 
stretched out their heads with the pointed black beaks, for 
their beaks had not yet turned red. A little way off stood 
the Father-Stork, all alone on the ridge of the roof, quite 
upright and stiff; he had drawn up one of his legs, so as not 
to be quite idle while he stood sentry. One would have 
thought he had been carved out of wood, so still did he 
stand. He thought, "It must look very grand, that my 
wife has a sentry standing by her nest. They can't tell that 
it is her husband. They certainly think I have been com- 
manded to stand here. That looks so aristocratic!" And 
he went on standing on one leg. 

Below in the street a whole crowd of children were play- 
ing; and when they caught sight of the Storks, one of the 
boldest of the boys, and afterward all of them, sang the old 
verse about the storks. But they only sang it just as he 
could remember it: 

"Stork, stork, fly away! 
Stand not on one leg to-day. 
Thy dear wife is in the nest, 
Where she rocks her young to rest. 

The first he will be hanged, 

The second will be hit, 
The third, he will be shot, 

And the fourth put on the spit." 

"Just hear what those boys are saying!" said the little 
Stork-children. "They say we are to be hanged and killed !" 

"You're not to care for that!" said the Mother-Stork. 
"Don't listen to it, and then it won't matter." 

But the boys went on singing, and pointed at the Storks 
mockingly with their fingers ; only one boy, whose name was 
Peter, declared that it was a sin to make a jest of animals, 
and he would not join in it at all. 

The Mother-Stork comforted her children, "Don't you 


mind it at all," she said; "see how quiet your father stands, 
though it's only on one leg." 

"We are very much afraid," said the young Storks; and 
they drew their heads far back into the nest. 

Now to-day, when the children came out again to play, 
and saw the Storks, they sang their song: 

"The first, he will be hanged, 
The second will be hit " 

"Shall we be hanged and beaten?" asked the young 

"No, certainly not," replied the mother. "You shall learn 
to £[y; I'll exercise you; then we shall fly out into the mead- 
ows and pay a visit to the frogs; they will bow before us in 
the water, and sing 'Coax! coax!' and then we shall eat 
them up. That will be a real pleasure." 

"And What then?" asked the young Storks. 

"Then all the Storks will assemble, all that are here in 
the whole country, and the autumn exercises begin; then 
one must fly well, for that is highly important, for whoever 
cannot fly properly will be thrust dead by the general's 
beak; so take care and learn well when the exercising be- 

"But then we shall be killed, as the boy says — and only 
listen, now they're singing again." 

"Listen to me and not to them," replied the Mother- 
Stork. "After the great review we shall fly away to the 
warm countries, far away from here, over mountains and 
forests. We shall fly to Egypt, Where there are three cov- 
ered houses of stone, which curl in a point and tower above 
the clouds; they are called pyramids, and are older than a 
stork can imagine. There is a river in that country, which 
runs out of its bed, and then all the land is turned to mud. 
One walks about in the mud, and eats frogs." 

"Oh-h!" cried the young ones. 

"Yes! It is glorious there! One does nothing all day 
long but eat; and while we are so comfortable over there, 
here there is not a green leaf on the trees; here it is so cold 
that the clouds freeze to pieces, and fall down in little white 
rags 1" 

It was snow that she meant, but she could not explain it 
in any other way. 


"And do the naughty boys freeze to pieces?" asked the 
young Storks. 

"No, they do not freeze to pieces; but they are not far 
from it, and must sit in a dark room and cower. You, on 
the other hand, can fly about in foreign lands, where there 
are flowers, and the sun shines warm," 

Now some time had elapsed, and the nestlings had grown 
so large that they could stand upright in the nest and look 
far around; and the Father-Stork came every day with de- 
licious frogs, little snakes, and all kinds of stork-dainties as 
he found them. Oh! it looked funny when he performed 
feats before them! He laid his head quite back upon his 
tail, and clapped with his beak as if he had been a Httle 
clapper; and then he told them stories, all about the 

"Listen! now you must learn to fly," said the Mother- 
Stork, one day; and all the four young ones had to go out 
on the ridge of the roof. Oh, how they tottered! how they 
balanced themselves with their wings, and yet they were 
nearly falling down. 

"Only look at me," said the Mother. "Thus you must 
hold your heads! Thus you must pitch your feet! One, 
two! one, two! That's what will help you on in the world." 

Then she flew a little way, and the young ones made a 
little clumsy leap. Bump! — there they lay, for their bodies 
were too heavy. 

"I will not fly!" said one of the young Storks, and crept 
back into the nest; "I don't care about getting to the warm 

"Do you want to freeze to death here when the winter 
comes? Are the boys to come and hang you, and singe 
you, and roast you? Now I'll call them." 

"Oh, no!" cried the young Stork, and hopped out on to 
the roof again like the rest. 

On the third day they could actually fly a little, and then 
they thought they could also soar and hover in the air. 
They tried it, but — bump! — down they tumbled, and they 
had to flap their wings again quickly enough. Now the 
boys came into the street again, and sang their song: 

"Stork, stork, fly away!" 


"Shall we fly down and pick their eyes out?" asked the 
young Storks. 

"No," replied the mother, "let them alone. Only listen 
to me, that's far more important. One, two, three! — now 
we fly round to the right. One, two, three! — now to the 
left round the chimney. See, that was very good! the last 
kick with the feet was so neat and correct that you shall 
have permission to-morrow to fly with me to the marsh! 
Several nice stork families go there with their young; sliov/ 
them that mine are the nicest, and that you can start proud- 
ly; that looks well, and will get you consideration." 

"But are we not to take revenge on the rude boys?" asked 
the young Storks. 

"Let them scream as much as they like. You will fly up 
to the clouds, and get to the land of the pyramids, when 
they will have to shiver, and not have a green leaf or a 
sweet apple." 

"Yes, but we will revenge ourselves!" they whispered to 
one another; and then the exercising went on. 

Among all the boys down in the street, the one most bent 
upon singing the teasing song was he who had begun it, 
and he was quite a little boy. He could hardly be more 
than six years old. The young Storks certainly thought he 
was a hundred, for he was much bigger than their mother 
and father; and how should they know how old children 
and grown-up people can be? Their revenge was to come 
upon this boy, for it was he who had begun, and he always 
kept on. The young Storks were very angry; and as they 
grew bigger they were less inclined to bear it; at last their 
mother had to promise them that they should be revenged, 
but not till the last day of their stay. 

"We must first see how you behave at the grand review. 
If you get through badly, so that the general stabs you 
through the chest with his beak, the boys will be right, at 
least, in one way. Let us see." 

"Yes, you shall see!" cried the young Storks; and then 
they took all imaginable pains. They practiced every day, 
and flew so neatly and so lightly that it was a pleasure to see 

Now the autumn came on; all the Storks began to as- 
semble, to fly away to the warm countries while it is winter 
here. That was a review. They had to fly over forests 


and villages, to show how well they could soar, for it was a 
long journey they had before them. The young Storks did 
their part so well that they got as a mark, "Remarkably 
well, with frogs and snakes." That was the highest mark; 
and they might eat the frogs and snakes; and that is what 
they did. 

"Now we will be revenged!" they said. 

"Yes, certainly!" said the Mother-Stork. "What I have 
thought of will be the best. I know the pond in which all 
the little mortals lie till the stork comes and brings them to 
their parents. The pretty little babies lie there and dream 
so sweetly as they never dream afterward. All parents are 
glad to have such a child, and all children want to have a 
sister or a brother. Now we will fly to the pond, and bring 
one for each of the children who have not sung the naughty 
song and laughed at the storks." 

"But he who began to sing — ^that naughty, ugly boy!" 
screamed the young Storks; "what shall we do with him?" 

"There is a little dead child in the pond, one that has 
dreamed itself to death; we will bring that for him.. Then 
he will cry because we have brought him a little dead broth- 
er. But that good boy — you have not forgotten him, the 
one who said, Tt is wrong to laugh at animals!' for him we 
will bring a brother and a sister too. And as his name is 
Peter, all of you shall be called Peter, too." 

And it was done as she said; all the storks were named 
Peter, and so they are all called even now. 


Grandmother is very old; she has many wrinkles, and 
her hair is quite white; but her eyes, which are like two 
stars, and even more beautiful, look at you mildly and pleas- 
antly, and it does you good to look into them. And then 
she can tell the most wonderful stories; and she has a 
gown with great flowers Avorked in it, and it is of heavy silk, 
and it rustles. Grandmother knows a great deal, for she 
was alive before father and mother, that's quite certain! 
Grandmother has a hymn book with great silver clasps, and 
she often reads in that book; in the middle of the book 


lies a rose, quite flat and dry; it is not as pretty as the roses 
she has standing in the glass, and yet she smiles at it most 
pleasantly of all, and tears even come into her eyes. I 
wonder why Grandmother looks at the withered flower in 
the old book in that way? Do you know? Why, each time 
that Grandmother's tears fall upon the rose, its colors be- 
come fresh again; the rose swells and fills the whole room 
with its fragrance; the walls sink as if they were but mist, 
and all around her is the glorious green wood, where in 
summer the sunlight streams through the leaves of the trees; 
and Grandmother — why, she is young again, a charming 
maid with light curls and full blooming cheeks, pretty and 
graceful, fresh as any rose; but the eyes, the mild blessed 
eyes, they have been left to Grandmother. At her side sits 
a young man, tall and strong; he gives the rose to her, and 
she smiles ; Grandmother cannot smile thus now ! — yes, now 
she smiles! But now he has passed away, and many thoughts 
and many forms of the past ; and the handsome young man 
is gone, and the rose lies in the hymn book, and Grandmoth- 
er sits there again, an old woman, and glances down at the 
withered rose that lies in the book. 

Now Grandmother is dead. She had been sitting in her 
armchair, and telling a long, long, capital tale; and she 
said the tale was told now, and she was tired; and she leaned 
her head back to sleep awhile. One could hear her breath- 
ing as she slept; but it became quieter and more quiet, 
and her countenance was full of happiness and peace; it 
seemed as if a sunshine spread over her features; and she 
smiled again, and then the people said she was dead. 

She was laid in the black coflin; and there she lay 
shrouded in the white linen folds, looking beautiful and 
mild, though her eyes were closed; but every wrinkle had 
vanished, and there was a smile around her mouth; her 
hair was silver-white and venerable ; and we did not feel at 
all afraid to look at the corpse of her who had been the 
dear good Grandmother. And the hymn book was placed 
under her head, for she had wished it so, and the rose was 
still in the old book; and then they buried Grandmother. 

On the grave, close by the churchyard wall, they planted 
a rose tree; and it was full of roses; and the nightingale 
flew singing over the flowers and over the grave. In the 
church the finest psalms sounded from the organ — the 


psalms that were written in the old book under the dead 
one's head. The moon shone down upon the grave, but 
the dead one was not there. Every child could go safely, 
even at night, and pluck a rose there by the churchyard 
wall. A dead person knows more than all we living ones. 
The dead know what a terror would come upon us, if the 
strange thing were to happen that they appeared among us; 
the dead are better than we all; the dead return no more. 
The earth has been heaped over the coffin, and it is earth 
that lies in the coffin ; and the leaves of the hymn book are 
dust, and the rose, with all its recollections, has returned to 
dust likewise. But above there bloom fresh roses ; the night- 
ingale sings and the organ sounds, and the remembrance 
lives of the old Grandmother with the mild eyes that always 
looked young. Eyes can never die! Ours will once be- 
hold Grandmother again, young and beautiful, as when for 
the first time she kissed the fresh red rose that is now dust 
in the grave. 


It was glorious out in the country. It was summer, and 
the cornfields were yellow, and the oats were green; the hay 
had been put up in stacks in the green meadows, and the 
stork went about on his long red legs, and chattered 
Egyptian, for this was the language he had learned from 
his good mother. All around the fields and meadows were 
great forests, and in the midst of these forests lay deep lakes. 
Yes, it was really glorious out in the country. In the midst 
of the sunshine there lay an old farm, surrounded by deep 
canals, and from the wall down to the water grew great 
burdocks, so high that little children could stand upright 
under the loftiest of them. It was just as wild there as in 
the deepest wood. Here sat a Duck upon her nest, for she 
had to hatch her young ones; but she was almost tired out 
before the little ones came; and then she so seldom had 
visitors. The other ducks liked better to swim about in the 
canals than to run up to sit down under a burdock, and 
cackle with her. 

At last one eggshell after another burst open. "Piep! 


piep!" it cried, and in all the eggs there were little creatures 
tnai stuck out their heads. 

"Rap! rap!" they said; and they all came rapping out 
as fast as they could, looking all round them under the green 
leaves; and the mother let them look as much as they chose, 
for green is good for the eyes. 

"How wide the world is!" said the young ones, for they 
certainly had much more room now than when they were in 
the eggs. 

"Do you think this is all the world!" asked the mother. 
"That extends far across the other side of the garden, quite 
into the parson's field, but I have never been there yet. I 
hope you are all together," she continued, and stood up. 
"No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies there. How 
long is that to last? I am really tired of it." And she sat 
down again. 

"Well, how goes it?" asked an old Duck who had come 
to pay her a visit. 

"It lasts a long time with that one egg," said the Duck who 
sat there. "It will not burst. Now, only look at the others ; 
are they not the prettiest ducks one could possibly see? 
They are all like their father; the bad fellow never comes to 
see me." 

"Let me see the egg which will not burst," said the old 
visitor. "Believe me, it is a turkey's egg. I was once 
cheated in that way, and had much anxiety and trouble with 
the young ones, for they are afraid of the water. I could 
not get them to venture in. I quacked and clucked, but it 
was of no use. Let me see the egg. Yes, that's a turkey's 
egg\ Let it lie there, and you teach the other children to 

"I think I will sit on it a little longer," said the Duck. 
"I've sat so long now that I can sit a few days more." 

"Just as you please," said the old Duck; and she went 

At last the great egg burst. "Piep! Piep!" said the little 
one, and crept forth. It was very large and very ugly. The 
Duck looked at it. 

"It's a very large duckling," said she ; "none of the others 
look like that; can it really be a turkey chick? Now we 
shall soon find it out. It must go into the water, even if I 
have to thrust it in myself." 


The next day the weather was splendidly bright, and the 
sun shone on all the green trees. The Mother-Duck went 
down to the water with all her little ones. Splash! she 
jumped into the water. "Quack! quack!" she said, and 
then one duckling after another plunged in. The water 
closed over their heads, but they came up in an instant, and 
swam capitally; their legs went of themselves, and there 
they were, all in the water. The ugly gray Duckling swam 
with them. 

"No, it's not a turkey," said she; "look how well it can 
use its legs, and how upright it holds itself. It is my own 
child ! On the whole it's quite pretty, if one looks at it right- 
ly. Quack! quack! come with me, and I'll lead you out 
into the great world, and present you in the poultry-yard; 
but keep close to me, so that no one may tread on you; and 
take care of the cats!" 

And so they came into the poultry-yard. There was a 
terrible riot going on in there, for two families were quarrel- 
ing about an eel's head, and the cat got it after all. 

"See, that's how it goes in the world!" said the Alother- 
Duck; and she whetted her beak, for she, too, wanted the 
eel's head. "Only use your legs," she said. "See that you 
bustle about, and bow your heads before the old Duck 
yonder. She's the grandest of all here; she's of Spanish 
blood — that's why she's so fat; and do you see, she has a 
red rag round her leg; that's something particularly fine, 
and the greatest distinction a duck can enjoy; it signifies 
that one does not want to lose her, and that she's to be 
recognized by man and beast. Shake yourselves — don't 
turn in your toes; a well-brought-up Duck turns its toes 
quite out, just like father and mother, so! Now bend your 
necks and say 'Rap !' " 

And they did so; but the other Ducks round about looked 
at them, and said quite boldly: 

"Look there! now we're to have these hanging on, as if 
there were not enough of us already! And — fie — ! how that 
Duckling yonder looks; we won't stand that!" And one 
duck flew up immediately, and bit it in the neck. 

"Let it alone," said the mother; "it does no harm to any- 

"Yes, but it's too large and peculiar," said the Duck who 
had bitten it; "and therefore it must be bufifeted." 


"Those are pretty children that the mother has there," said 
the old Duck with the rag round her leg. "They're all pretty 
but that one; that was a failure. I wish she could alter 

"That cannot be done, my lady," replied the Mother- 
Duck. "It is not pretty, but it has a really good disposition, 
and swims as well as any other; I may even say it swims 
better. I think it will grow up pretty, and become smaller 
in time ; it has lain too long in the egg, and therefore is not 
properly shaped." And then she pinched it in the neck, 
and smoothed its feathers. "Moreover, it is a drake," she 
said, "and therefore it is not of so much consequence. I 
think he will be very strong; he makes his way alread}-." 

"The other ducklings are graceful enough," said the old 
Duck. "Make yourself at home; and if you find an eel's 
head, you may bring it me." 

And now they were at home. But the poor Duckling 
which had crept last out of the egg, and looked so ugly, 
was bitten and pushed and jeered, as much by the ducks as 
by the chickens. 

"It is too big!" they all said. And the turkey-cock, who 
had been born with spurs, and therefore thought himself an 
Emperor blew himself up like a ship in full sail, and bore 
straight down upon it; then he gobbled, and grew quite red 
in the face. The poor Duckling did not know where it 
should stand or walk; it was quite melancholy, because it 
looked ugly and was scofifed at by the whole yard. 

So it went on the first day; and afterward it became worse 
and worse. The poor Duckling was hunted about by every- 
one; even its brothers and sisters were quite angry with it, 
and said, "If the cat would only catch you, you ugly 
creature!" And the mother said, "If you were only far 
away!" And the ducks bit it, and the chickens beat it, 
and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at it with 
her foot. 

Then it ran and flew over the fence, and the little birds 
in the bushes flew up in fear. 

"That is because I am so ugly!" thought the Duckling; 
and it shut its eyes, but flew no further; thus it came out 
into the great moor, where the Wild Ducks lived. Here it 
lay the whole night long; and it was weary and downcast. 


Toward morning the Wild Ducks flew up, and looked at 
their new companion. 

"What sort of a one are you?" they asked; and the Duck- 
ling turned in every direction, and bowed as well as it could. 
"You are remarkably ugly!" said the Wild Ducks. "But 
that is very indifferent to us, so long as you do not marry 
into our family." 

Poor thing! It certainly did not think of marrying, and 
only hoped to obtain leave to lie among the reeds and drink 
some of the swamp-water. 

Thus it lay two whole days; then came thither two Wild 
Geese, or, properly speaking, two wild ganders. It was 
not long since each had crept out of an egg, and that's why 
they were so saucy. 

"Listen comrade," said one of them. "You're so ugly 
that I like you. Will you go with us, and become a bird of 
passage? Near here, in another moor, there are a few 
sweet lovely wild geese, all unmarried, and all able to say 
'Rap!' You've a chance of making your fortune, ugly as 
you are!" 

"Piff! paff!" resounded through the air; and the two 
ganders fell down dead in the swamp, and the water be- 
came blood-red. "Piff! paf¥!" it sounded again, and whole 
flocks of wild geese rose up from the reeds. And then 
there was another report. A great hunt was going on. The 
hunters were lying in wait all round the moor, and some 
were even sitting up in the branches of the trees which spread 
far over the reeds. The blue smoke rose up like clouds among 
the dark trees, and was wafted far away across the water; 
and the hunting dogs came — splash, splash! — into the 
swamp, and the rushes and the reeds bent down on every 
side. That was a fright for the poor Duckling! It turned 
its head, and put it under its wing; but at that moment a 
frightful great dog stood close by the Duckling! His tongue 
hung far out of his mouth and his eyes gleamed horrible 
and ugly; he thrust out his nose close against the Duckling, 
showed his sharp teeth, and — splash, splash! — on he went 
without seizing it. 

"Oh, Heaven be thanked!" sighed the Duckling. "I am 
so ugly, that even the dog does not like to bite me!'' 

And so it lay quite quiet, while the shots rattled through 
the reeds and gun after gun was fired. At last, late in the 


day, silence was restored; but the poor Duckling did not 
dare to rise up; it waited several hours before it looked 
round, and then hastened away out of the moor as fast as 
it could. It ran on over field and meadow; there was such a 
storm raging that it was difficult to get from one place to 

Toward evening the Duck came to a little miserable peas- 
ant's hut. This hut was so dilapidated that it did not know 
on which side it should fall; and that's why it remained 
standing. The storm whistled round the Duckling in such 
a way that the poor creature was obliged to sit down, to 
stand against it; and the tempest grew worse and worse. 
Then the Duckling noticed that one of the hinges of the 
door had given way, and the door hung so slanting that the 
Duckling could slip through the crack into the room; and 
it did so. 

Here lived a woman, with her Tom Cat and her Hen. 
And the Tom Cat, whom she called Sonnie, could arch his 
back and purr, he could even give out sparks; but for that 
one had to stroke his fur the wrong way. The Hen had 
quite little short legs, and therefore she was called Chicka- 
biddy-shortshanks ; she laid good eggs^ and the woman 
loved her as her own child. 

In the morning the strange Duckling was at once no- 
ticed, and the Tom Cat began to purr, and the Hen to 

"What's this?" said the woman, and looked all round; but 
she could not see well, and therefore she thought the Duck- 
ling was a fat duck that had strayed. "This is a rare prize," 
she said. "Now I shall have duck's eggs. I hope it is not a 
drake. We must try that." 

And so the Duckling was admitted on trial for three 
weeks; but no eggs came. And the Tom Cat was master of 
the house, and the Hen was the lady, and they always said 
"We and the world!" for they thought they were half the 
world, and by far the better half. The Duckling thought 
one might have a different opinion, but the Hen would not 
allow it. 

"Can you lay eggs?" she asked. 


"Then you'll have the goodness to hold your tongue." 


And the Tom Cat said, "Can you curve your back, and 
purr, and give out sparks?" 


"Then you cannot have any opinion of your own when 
sensible people are speaking." 

And the Duckling sat in a corner and was melancholy; 
then the fresh air and the sunshine streamed in; and it was 
seized with such a strange longing to swim on the water, 
that it could not help telling the Hen of it. 

"What are you thinking of?" cried the Hen. "You have 
nothing to do, that's why you have these fancies. Purr or 
lay eggs, and they will pass over." 

"But it is so charming to swim on the v/ater!" said the 
Duckling, "so refreshing to let it close above one's head, 
and to dive down to the bottom." 

"Yes, that must be a mighty pleasure, truly," quoth the 
Hen. "I fancy you must have gone crazy. Ask the Cat 
about it — he's the cleverest animal I know — ask him if he 
likes to swim on the water, or to dive down : I won't speak 
about myself. Ask our mistress, the old woman; no one 
in the world is cleverer than she. Do you think she has any 
desire to swim, and to let the water close above her head?" 

"You don't understand me," said the Duckling. 

"We don't understand you? Then pray who is to under- 
stand you? You surely don't pretend to be cleverer than 
the Tom Cat and the old woman — I won't say anything of 
myself. Don't be conceited, child, and be grateful for all 
the kindness you have received. Did you not get into a warm 
room, and have you not fallen into company from which 
you may learn something? But you are a chatterer, and it 
is not pleasant to associate with you. You may believe me, 
I speak for your good. I tell you disagreeable things, and 
by that one may always know one's true friends. Only take 
care that you learn to lay eggs, or to purr and give out 

"I think I will go out into the wide world," said the Duck- 

"Yes, do go," replied the Hen. 

And the Duckling went away. It swam on the water, 
and dived, but it was slighted by every creature because of 
its ugliness. 

Now came the autumn. The leaves in the forest turned 


yellow and brown; the wind caught them so that they 
danced about, and up in the air it was very cold. The clouds 
hung low, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, and on the fence 
stood the raven, crying, "Croak! croak!" for mere cold- 
yes, It was enough to make one feel cold to think of this' 
Ihe poor little Duckling certainly had not a good time 
One evenmg— the sun was just setting in his beauty- 
there came a whole flock of great handsome birds out of the 
bushes; they were dazzhngiy white, with long flexible necks- 
they were swans. They uttered a very peculiar cry, spread 
forth their glorious great wings, and flew away from that 
cold region to warmer lands, to fair open lakes They 
mounted so high, so high! and the ugly httle Duckling felt 
quite strangely as it watched them. It turned round and 
round m the water like a wheel, stretched out its neck 
toward them, and uttered such a strange loud cry as frio-ht- 
ened itself. Oh! it could not forget those beautiful, happy 
birds; and so soon as it could see them no longer, it dived 
down to the very bottom, and when it came up 'again it 
was quite beside itself. It knew not the name of those birds 
and knew not whither they were flying; but it loved them' 
more than it had ever loved anyone. It was not at all 
envious of them. How could it think of wishing to possess 
such loveliness as they had? It would have been glad if 
only the ducks would have endured its company— the ooor 
ugly creature! 

And the winter grew cold, very cold! The Duckling was 
forced to swim about in the water, to prevent the surface 
•from freezing entirely; but every night the hole in which it 
swam about became smaller and smaller. It froze so hard 
that the icy covering crackled again; and the Duckling was 
obliged to use its legs continually to prevent the hole from 
freezing up. At last it became exhausted, and lay quite still 
and thus froze fast into the ice. 

Early in the morning a peasant came by, and when he 
saw what had happened, he took his wooden shoe, broke the 
ice-crust to pieces, and carried the Duckling home to his 
wife. Then it came to itself again. The children wanted to 
play with It; but the Duckling thought they would do it 
an injury, and in its terror fluttered up into the milk-par 
so that the milk spurted down into the room. The wom-^n 
clasped her hands, at which the Duckling flew down into the 


butter-tub, and then into the meal-barrel and out again. 
How it looked then! The woman screamed, and struck at 
it with the fire-tongs; the children tumbled over one another, 
in their efforts to catch the Duckling; and they laughed and 
screamed finely! Happily the door stood open, and the poor 
creature was able to slip out between the shrubs into the 
newly-fallen snow; and there it lay quite exhausted. 

But it would be too melancholy if I were to tell all the 
misery and care which the Duckling had to endure in the 
hard winter. It lay out on the moor among the reeds, when 
the sun began to shine again and the larks to sing; it was a 
beautiful spring. 

Then all at once the Duckling could flap its wings; they 
beat the air m.ore strongh^ than before, and bore it strongly 
away; and before it well knew how all this had happened, 
it found itself in a great garden, where the elder trees smelt 
sweet, and bent their long green branches down to the 
canal that wound through the region. Oh, here it was so 
beautiful, such a gladness of spring! and from the thicket 
came three glorious white swans; they rustled their wings, 
and swam lightly on the water. The Duckling knew the 
splendid creatures, and felt oppressed by a peculiar sad- 

*T will fly away to them, to the royal birds! and they will 
kill me, because I, that am so ugly, dare to approach them. 
But it is of no consequence! Better to be killed by them 
than to be pursued by ducks, and beaten by fowls, and 
pushed about by the girl who takes care of the poultry- 
yard, and to suffer hunger in winter!" And it flew out into 
the water, and swam toward the beautiful swans: these 
looked at it, and came sailing down upon it with outspread 
wings. "Kill me!" said the poor creature, and bent its 
head down upon the water, expecting nothing but death. 
But what was this that it saw in the clear water? It be- 
held its own image — and, lo! it was no longer a clumsy dark- 
gray bird, ugly and hateful to look at, but — a swan. 

It matters nothing if one was born in a duck-yard, if one 
has only lain in a swan's &gg. 

It felt quite glad at all the need and misfortune it had 
suffered, now it realized its happiness in all the splendor 
that surrounded it. And the great swans swam round it, 
and stroked it with their beaks. 


Into the garden came little children, who threw bread and 
corn into the water; the youngest cried, "There is a new 
one!" and the other children shouted joyously, "Yes, a new 
one has arrived!" And they clapped their hands and danced 
about, and ran to their father and mother; and bread and 
cake were thrown into the water; and they all said, "The 
new one is the most beautiful of all! so young and hand- 
some!" and the old swans bowed their heads before him. 

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his 
wing, for he did not know what to do; he was so happy, 
and yet not at all proud. He thought how he had been per- 
secuted and despised; and now he heard them saying that he 
was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder 
tree bent its branches straight down into the water before 
him, and the sun shone warm and mild. Then his wings 
rustled, he lifted his slender neck, and cried rejoicingly 
from the depths of his heart: 

"I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was still 
the Ugly Duckling!" 


Once there reigned a Queen, in whose garden were found 
the most glorious flowers at all seasons, and from all the 
lands in the world; but especially she loved roses, and 
therefore she possessed the most various kinds of this 
flower, from the wild dog-rose, with the apple-scented green 
leaves, to the most splendid Provence rose. They grew 
against the earth walls, wound themselves round pillars and 
window frames, into the passages, and all along the ceiling 
in all the halls. And the roses were various in fragrance, 
form, and color. 

But care and sorrow dwelt in these halls: the Queen lay 
upon a sick-bed, and the doctors declared that she must die. 

"There is still one thing that can serve her," said the 
W'isest of them. "Bring her the loveliest rose in the world, 
the one which is the expression of the brightest and purest 
love; for if that is brought before her eyes ere they close, 
she will not die." 

And the young and old came from every side with roses, 



the loveliest that bloomed in each garden; but they were 
not the right sort. The flower was to be brought out of the 
garden of Love; but what rose was it there that expressed 
the highest and purest love? 

And the poets sang of the loveliest rose in the world, 
and each one named his own; and intelligence was sent far 
round the land to every heart that beat with love, to every 
class and condition, and to every age. 

"No one has till now named the flower," said the wise 
man. "No one has yet pointed out the place where it 
bloomed in its splendor. They are not the roses from the 
coffin of Romeo and Juliet, or from the Walburg's grave, 
though these roses will be ever fragrant in song. They are 
not the roses that sprouted from Winkelried's blood-stained 
lances, from the blood that flows in a sacred cause from the 
breast of the hero who dies for his country; though no death 
is sweeter than this, and no rose redder than the blood that 
flows then. Nor is it that wondrous flower, to cherish which devotes, in a quiet chamber, many a sleepless night, 
and much of his fresh life — the magic flower of science." 

"I know where it blooms," said a happy mother, who 
came with her pretty child to the bedside of the Queen. 'T 
know where the loveliest rose of the world is found! The 
rose that is the expression of the highest and purest love 
springs from the blooming cheeks of my sweet child when, 
strengthened by sleep, it opens its eyes and smiles at me 
with all its afifection." 

"Lovely is this rose; but there is still a lovelier," said the 
wise man. 

"Yes, a far lovelier one," said one of the women. "I have 
seen it, and a loftier, purer rose does not bloom. I saw it on 
the cheeks of the Queen. She had taken of¥ her golden 
crown, and in the long, dreary night she was carrying her 
sick child in her arms; she wept, kissed it, and prayed for 
her child as a mother prays in the hour of her anguish." 

"Holy and wonderful in its might is the white rose of 
Grief; but it is not the one we seek." 

"No, the loveliest rose of the world I saw at the altar of 
the Lord," said the good old Bishop. "I saw it shine as 
if an angel's face had appeared. The young maidens went 
to the Lord's Table, and renev/ed the promise made at their 
baptism, and roses were blushing and pale roses shining 


on their fresh cheeks. A young girl stood there; she 
looked with all the purity and love of her young spirit up to 
heaven: that was the expression of the highest and the 
purest love." 

"May she be blessed!" said the wise man; "but not one 
of you has yet named to me tlie loveliest rose of the world." 

Then there came into the room a child, the Queen's little 
son. Tears stood in his eyes and glistened on his cheeks; 
he carried a great open book, and the binding of it was 
velvet, with great silver clasps. 

"Mother!" cried the httle boy, "only hear what I have 

And the child sat by the bedside, and read from the book 
of Him who suffered death on the cross to save men, and 
even those who were not yet born. 

"Greater love there is not " 

And a roseate hue spread over the cheeks of the Queen, 
and her eyes gleamed, for she saw that from the leaves of 
the book there bloomed the loveliest rose, that sprang from 
the blood of Christ shed on the Cross. 

"I see it!" she said: "he who beholds this, the loveliest 
rose on earth, shall never die." 


"In Denmark there Hes a castle named Kronenburgh. 
It lies close by the Oer Sound, where the ships pass through 
by hundreds every day — Enghsh, Russian, and likewise 
Prussian ships. And they salute the old castle with can- 
nons — 'Boom!' And the castle answers with a 'Boom!' for 
that's what the cannons say instead of 'Good-day' and 
'Thank you!' In winter no ships sail there, for the whole 
sea is covered with ice quite across to the Swedish coast; 
but it has quite the look of a high road. There wave the 
Danish flag and the Swedish flag, and Danes and Swedes 
say 'Good-day' and 'Thank you!' to each other, not with 
cannons, but with a friendly grasp of the hand; and one gets 
white bread and biscuits from the other — for strange fare 
tastes best. But the most beautiful of all is the old Kron- 


enburgh ; and here it is that Holger Danske sits in the deep 
dark cellar, where nobody goes. He is clad in iron and 
steel, and leans his head on his strong arms; his long beard 
hangs down over the marble table, and has grown into it. 
He sleeps and dreams, but in his dreams he sees every- 
thing that happens up here in Denmark. Every Christmas 
Eve comes an angel, and tells him that what he has 
dreamed is right, and that he may go to sleep in quiet, for 
that Denmark is not yet in any real danger; but when 
once such a danger comes, then old Holger Danske will 
rouse himself, so that the table shall burst when he draws 
out his beard! Then he will come forth and strike, so 
that it shall be heard in all the countries in the world." 

An old grandfather sat and told his little grandson all this 
about Holger Danske; and the little boy knew that what his 
grandfather told him was true. And while the old man sat 
and told his story, he carved an image which was to repre- 
sent Holger Danske, and to be fastened to the prow of a 
ship; for the old grandfather was a carver of figure-heads, 
that is, one who cuts out the figures fastened to the front 
of ships, and from which every ship is named. And here 
he had cut out Holger Danske, who stood there proudly 
with his long beard, and held the broad battle-sword in one 
hand, while with the other he leaned upon the Danish arms. 

And the old grandfather told him so much about distin- 
guished men and women, that it appeared at last to the lit- 
tle grandson as if he knew as much as Hoiger Danske him- 
self, who, after all, could only dream: and when the little 
fellow was in his bed, he thought so much of it, that he 
actually pressed his chin against the coverlet, and fancied 
he had a long beard that had grown fast to it. 

But the old grandfather remained sitting at his work, and 
carved away at the last part of it; and this was the Danish 
coat of arms. When he had finished, he looked at the 
M^hole, and thought of all he had read and heard, and that 
he had told this evening to the little boy; and he nodded, 
and wiped his spectacles, and put them on again, and said: 

"Yes, in my time Holger Danske will probably not come; 
but the boy in the bed yonder may get to see him, and be 
there when the push really comes." 

And the good old grandfather nodded again; and the 


more he looked at Holger Danske the more plain did it be- 
come to him that it was a good image he had carved. It 
seemed really to gain color, and the armor appeared to 
gleam like iron and steel; the hearts in the Danish arms 
became redder and redder, and the lions with the golden 
crowns on their heads leaped up.* 

"That's the most beautiful coat of arms there is in the 
world!" said the old man. "The lions are strength, and 
the heart is gentleness and love!" 

And he looked at the uppermost lion, and thought of 
King Canute, who bound great England to the throne of 
Denmark; and he looked at the second lion, and thought 
of Waldemar, who united Denmark and conquered the 
Wendish lands; and he glanced at the third lion, and re- 
membered Margaret, who united Denmark, Sweden, and 
Norway. But while he looked at the red hearts, they 
gleamed more brightly than before; they became flames, 
and his heart followed each of them. 

The first heart led him into a dark narrow prison: there 
sat a prisoner, a beautiful woman, the daughter of King 
Christian IV., Eleanor Ulfeld ; f and the flame, which was 
shaped like a rose, attached itself to her bosom and blos- 
somed, so that it became one with the heart of her, the no- 
blest and best of all Danish women. 

And his spirit followed the second flame, which led him 
out upon the sea, where the cannons thundered and the 
ships lay shrouded in smoke; and the flame fastened itself 
in the shape of a ribbon of honor on the breast of Hvitfeld, 
as he blew himself and his ship into the air, that he might 
save the fleet.J 

And the third flame led him to the wretched huts of 

* The Danish arms consist of three lions between nine hearts. 

t This highly gifted Princess was the wife of Corfitz Ulfeld, who 
was accused of high treason. Her only crime was the most faith- 
ful love to her unhappy consort; but she was compelled to pass 
twenty-two years in a horrible dungeon, until her persecutor, 
Queen Sophia Amelia, was dead. 

t In the naval battle in Kjoge Bay between the Danes and the 
Swedes, in 1710, Hvitfeld's ship, the Danebrog, took fire. To save 
the town of Kjoge, and the Danish fleet, which was being driven 
by the wind toward his vessel, he blew himself and his whole 
crew into the air. 


Greenland, where the preacher Hans Egede f wrought, with 
love in every word and deed: the flame was a star on his 
breast, another heart in the Danish arms. 

And the spirit of the old grandfather flew on before the 
waving flames, for his spirit knew whither the flames de- 
sired to go. In the humble room of the peasant woman 
stood Frederick VI., writing his name with chalk on the 
beam4 The flame trembled on his breast, and trembled in 
his heart; in the peasant's lowly room his heart too became 
a heart in the Danish arms. And the old grandfather 
dried his eyes, for he had known King Frederick with the 
silvery locks and honest blue eyes, and had lived for him: 
he folded his hands, and looked in silence straight before 
him. Then came the daughter-in-law of the old grandfather, 
and said it was late, he ought now to rest; and the supper 
table was spread. 

"But it is beautiful, what you have done, grandfather!'' 
said she. "Holger Danske, and all our old coat of arms! 
It seems to me just as if I had seen that face before!" 

"No, that can scarcely be," replied the old grandfather; 
"but I have seen it, and I have tried to carve it in wood as I 
have kept it in my memory. It was when the English lay 
in front of the wharf, on the Danish 2d of April,§ when we 
showed that we were old Danes. In the Denmark, on 
board which I was, in Steen Bille's squadron, I had a man at 
my side — it seemed as if the bullets were afraid of him! 
Merrily he sang old songs, and shot and fought as if he 
were something more than a man. I remember his face 

t Hans Egede went to Greenland in 1721, and toiled there dur- 
ing fifteen years among incredible hardships and privations. Not 
only did he spread Christianity, but exhibited in himself a re- 
markable example of a Christian man. 

I On a journey on the west coast of Jutland, the King visited 
an old woman. When he had already quitted her house, the wom- 
an ran after him, and begged him, as a remembrance, to write his 
name upon a beam; the King turned back, and complied. Dur- 
ing his whole lifetime he felt and worked for the peasant class; 
therefore the Danish peasants begged to be allowed to carry his 
coffin to the royal vault at Roeskilde, four Danish miles from Co- 

§ On the 2d of April, 1801, occurred the sanguinary naval battle 
between the Danes and the English, under Sir Hyde Parker and 


yet; but whence he came, and whither he went, I know not 
■ — nobody knows. I have often thought he might have been 
old Holger Danske himself, who had swum down from the 
Kronenburgh, and aided us in the hour of danger; that was 
my idea, and there stands his picture." 

And the statue threw its great shadow up against the 
wall, and even over part of the ceiling; it looked as though 
the real Holger Danske were standing behind it, for the 
shadow moved, but this might have been because the flame 
of the candle did not burn steadily. And the daughter-in- 
law kissed the old grandfather, and led him to the great 
armchair by the table; and she and her husband, who was 
the son of the old man, and father of the little boy in bed, 
sat and ate their supper; and the grandfather spoke of the 
Danish lions and of the Danish hearts, of strength and of 
gentleness; and quite clearly did he explain that there was 
another strength besides the power that lies in the sword; 
and he pointed to the shelf on which were the old books, 
where stood the plays of Holberg, which had been read so 
often, for they were very amusing; one could almost fancy 
one recognized the people of by-gone days in them. 

"See, he knew how to strike, too," said the grandfather; 
"he scourged the foolishness and prejudice of the people 
so long as he could" — and the grandfather nodded at the 
mirror, above which stood the calendar, with the "Round 
Tower" * on it, and said "Tycho Brahe was also one who 
used the sword, not to cut into flesh and bone, but to build 
up a plainer way among all the stars of heaven. And then he 
whose father belonged to my calling, the son of the figure- 
head carver, he whom we have ourselves seen with his silver 
hairs and his broad shoulders, he whose name is spoken 
of in all lands! Yes, he was a sculptor; I am only a carver. 
Yes, Holger Danske may come in many forms, so that one 
hears in every country in the world of Denmark's strength. 
Shall we now drink the health of Bertel!"t 

But the little lad in the bed saw plainly the old Kronen- 
burgh with the Oer Sound, the real Holger Danske, who 
sat deep below, with his beard grown through the marble 
table, dreaming of all that happens up here. Holger 

* The astronomical observatory at Copenhagen. 
tBertel Thorwaldsen. 


Danske also dreamed of the little, humble room where the 
carver sat; he heard all that passed, and nodded in his 
sleep, and said: 

"Yes, remember me, ye Danish folk; remember me. I 
shall come in the hour of need." 

And without, by the Kronenburgh, shone the bright day, 
and the wind carried the note of the hunting horn over from 
the neighboring land; the ship sailed past, and saluted, 
"Boom! boom!" and from the Kronenburgh came the reply, 
"Boom! boom!" But Holger Danske did not awake, how- 
ever loudly they shot, for it was only "Good-day" and 
"Thank you!" There must be another kind of shooting be- 
fore he awakes; but he will awake, for there is faith in Hol- 
ger Danske. 


On board the steamer was an elderly man with such a 
merry face that, if it did not behe him, he must have been 
the happiest fellow in creation. And, indeed, he declared 
he was the happiest man; I heard it out of his own mouth. 
He was a Dane, a traveling theater director. He had all 
his company with him in a large box, for he was proprietor 
of a puppet-show. His inborn cheerfulness, he said, had 
been purified by a Polytechnic candidate, and the experi- 
ment had made him completely happy. I did not at first 
understand all this, but afterward he explained the whole 
story to me, and here it is. He told me: 

"It was in the little town of Slaglese I gave a representa- 
tion in the hall of the posting house^ and had a brilliant 
audience, entirely a juvenile one, with the exception of two 
respectable matrons. All at once a person in black, of 
student-like appearance, came into the room and sat down; 
he laughed aloud at the telling parts, and applauded quite 
appropriately. That was quite an unusual spectator for me! 
I felt anxious to know who he was, and I heard he was 
a candidate from the Polytechnic Institution in Copen- 
hagen, who had been sent out to instruct the folks in the 
provinces. Punctually at eight o'clock my performance 
closed; for children must go early to bed, and a manager 


must consult the convenience of his public. At nine o'clock 
the candidate commenced his lecture, with experiments, and 
now I formed part of his audience. It was wonderful to 
hear and to see. The greater part of it was beyond my 
scope; but still it made me think that if we men can find 
out so much, we must be surely intended to last longer 
than the little span until we are hidden away in the earth. 
They were quite miracles in a small way that he showed, 
and yet everything flowed as naturally as water! At the 
time of Moses and the prophets such a man would have been 
received among the sages of the land; in the middle ages 
they would have burned him at the stake. All night long 
I could not go to sleep. And the next evening, when I 
gave another performance, and the candidate was again 
present, I felt fairly overflowing with humor. I once heard 
from a player that when he acted a lover he always thought 
of one particular the audience; he only played for 
her, and forgot all the rest of the house; and now the Poly- 
technic candidate was my 'she/ my only auditor, for whom 
alone I played. And when the performance was over, all the 
puppets were called before the curtain, and the Polytechnic 
candidate invited me into his room to take a glass of wine; 
and he spoke of my comedies, and I of his science; and 
I believe we were both equally pleased. But I had the best 
of it, for there was much in what he did of which he could 
not always give me an explanation. For instance, that a piece 
of iron that falls through a spiral should become magnetic. 
Now, how does that happen? The spirit comes upon it; 
but whence does it come? It is as with people in this 
world; they are made to tumble through the spiral of this 
world, and the spirit comes upon them, and there stands a 
Napoleon, or a Luther, or a person of that kind. 'The 
whole world is a series of miracles,' said the candidate; 
'but we are so accustomed to them that we call them every- 
day matters.' And he went on explaining things to me 
until my skull seemed lifted up over my brain, and I de- 
clared that if I were not an old fellow I would at once 
visit the Polytechnic Institution, that I might learn to look 
at the sunny side of the world, though I am one of the hap- 
piest of men. 'One of the happiest!' said the candidate, 
and he seemed to take real pleasure in it. 'Are you happy?' 


'Yes,' I replied, 'and they welcome me in all the towns 
where I come with my company; but I certainly have one 
wish, which sometimes lies like lead, like an Alp, upon my 
good humor; I should like to become a real theatrical 
manager, the director of a real troupe of men and women!' 
'I see," he said; 'you would like to have life breathed into 
your puppets, so that they might be real actors, and you 
their director; and would you then be quite happy?' He 
did not believe it; but I believed it, and we talked it over 
all manner of ways without coming any nearer to an agree- 
ment; but we clanked our glasses together, and the wine 
was excellent. There was some magic in it, or I certainly 
should have become tipsy. But that did not happen; I re- 
tained my clear view of things, and somehow there was sun- 
shine in the room, and sunshine beamed out of the eyes of 
the Polytechnic candidate. It made me think of the old 
stories of the gods, in their eternal youth, when they still 
wandered upon earth and paid visits to tl^e mortals; and I 
said so to him, and he smiled, and I could have sworn he 
w^as one of the ancient gods in disguise, or that, at any 
rate, he belonged to the fam'ly! and certainly he mu-t have 
been something of the k"nd, for my highest w sh was to have 
been fulfilled, the puppets were to be gifted with life, and 1 
was to be director of a real company. We drank to my 
success and clinked our glasses. He packed all my dolls 
into a box, bound the box on mv b^ck, and then let me fall 
through a spiral. I h-^ard mye'f trmb'in?, and t^^en I was 
lying on the floor — I know that qui^e we'l — and the whole 
company sprang out of the box. The sp'rit had come upon 
all of us: all the puppets had become distinguished art sts, 
so they said themselves, and I was the director. All was 
ready for the first representation; the whole company wanted 
to speak to me, and the public also. The dancing lady 
said the house would fall down if she did not keep it up by 
standing on one leg; for she was the great genius, and 
begged to be treated as such. The lady who acted the 
Queen wished to be treated off the stage as a Queen, or else 
she should sr^t out of oractice. The man who was only em- 
ployed to deliver a letter gave himself just as manv airs 
as the first lover, for he declared the little ones were just as 
important as the great ones, and all were of equal conse- 
quence, considered as an artistic whole. The hero would 


only play parts composed of nothing but points; for those 
brought him down the applause. The prima donna would 
only play in a red light; for she declared that a blue one 
did not suit her complexion. It was like a company of 
flies in a bottle; and I was in the bottle with them, for I 
was the director. My breath stopped and my head whixled 
round; I was as miserable as a man can be. It was quite 
a novel kind of men among whom I now found myself. I 
only wished I had them all in the box again, and that I had 
never been a director at all; so I told them roundly that 
after all they were nothing but puppets; and then they 
killed me. I found myself lying on my bed in the room; 
and how I got there, and how I got away at all from the 
Polytechnic candidate, he may perhaps know, for I don't. 
The moon shone upon the floor where the box lay open, 
and the dolls all in a confusion together — great and small, 
all scattered about; but I was not idle. Out of bed I 
jumped, and into the box they had all to go, some on their 
heads, some on their feet, and I shut down the lid and 
seated myself upon the box. 'Now you'll just have to stay 
there,' said I, 'and I shall beware how I wish you flesh and 
blood again.' I felt quite light; my good humor had come 
back, and I was the happiest of mortals. The Polytechnic 
student had fully purified me. I sat as happy as a King, 
and went to sleep on the box. The next morning — strictly 
speaking it was noon, for I slept wonderfully late that day 
— I was still sitting there, happy, and conscious that my 
former wish had been a foolish one. I inquired for the 
Polytechnic candidate, but he was gone, like the Greek 
and Roman gods; and from that time I've been the happiest 
of men. I am a happy director: none of my company ever 
grumble, nor my public either, for they are always merry. 
I can put my pieces together just as I please. I take out 
of every comedy what pleases me best, and no one is angry 
at it. Pieces that are neglected nowadays by the great pub- 
lic, but which it used to run after thirty years ago, and at 
which it used to cry till the tears ran down its cheeks, 
these pieces I now take up. I put them before the little 
ones, and the little ones cry just as papa and mamma used 
to cry thirty years ago; but I shorten them, for the young- 
sters don't like a long palaver; what they want is some- 
thing mournful, but quick." 



It is autumn: we stand on the fortress wall, and look out 
over the sea; we look at the numerous ships, and at the 
Swedish coast on the other side of the Sound, which rises 
far above the mirror of waters in the evening glow; behind 
us the woods stand sharply out; mighty trees surround us; 
the yellow leaves flutter down from the branches. Below, 
at the foot of the wall, stand gloomy houses fenced in with 
palisades; in these it is very narrow and dismal, but still 
more dismal is it behind the grated loopholes in the wall, 
for there sit the prisoners, the worst criminals. 

A ray of the sinking sun shines into the bare cell of one 
of the captives. The sun shines upon the good and the 
evil. The dark, stubborn criminal throws an impatient look 
at the cold ray. A little bird flies toward the grating. The 
bird twitters to the wicked as to the just. He only utters 
his short "tweet! tweet!" but he perches upon the grating, 
claps his wings, pecks a feather from one of them, puffs him- 
self out, and sets his feathers on end on his neck and breast; 
and the bad chained man looks at him; a milder expression 
comes into the criminal's hard face; in his breast there 
swells up a thought — a thought he himself cannot rightly 
analyze; but the thought has to do with the sunbeam, 
with the scent of violets which grow luxuriantly in spring 
at the foot of the wall. Noav the horns of the chasseur 
soldiers sound merry and full. The little bird starts and flies 
away; the sunbeam gradually vanishes, and again it is dark 
in the room, and dark in the heart of the bad man; but 
still the sun shone into that heart, and the twittering of the 
bird has touched it! 

Sound on, ye glorious strains of the hunting horns! Con- 
tinue to sound, for the evening is mild, and the surface of the 
sea, smooth as a mirror, heaves slowly and gently. 



A Duck arrived from Portugal. Some said she came from 
Spain, but that's all the same. At any rate she was called 
the Portuguese, and laid eggs, and was killed and cooked, 
and that was her career. But the Ducklings which crept 
forth from her eggs were afterward also called Portuguese, 
and there is something in that. Now, of the whole family 
there was only one left in the duck yard, a yard to which the 
Chickens had access likewise, and where the Cock strutted 
about in a very aggressive manner. 

"He annoys me with his loud crowing!" observed the 
Portuguese Duck. "But he's a handsome bird, there's no 
denying that, though he is not a drake. He ought to 
moderate his voice, but that's an art inseparable from polite 
education, like that possessed by the little singing birds 
over in the lime trees in the neighbor's garden. How 
charmingly they sing! There's something quite pretty in 
their warbling. I call it Portugal. If I had only such a lit- 
tle singing bird, I'd be a mother to him, kind and good, for 
that's in my blood, my Portuguese blood!" 

And while she was still speaking, a little Singing Bird 
came head over heels from the roof into the yard. The cat 
was behind him, but the Bird escaped with a broken wing, 
and that's how he came tumbling into the yard. 

"That's just like the cat; she's a villain!" said the Por- 
tuguese Duck. "I remember her ways when I had children 
of my own. That such a creature should be allowed to live, 
and to wander about upon the roofs! I don't think they do 
such things in Portugal." 

And she pitied the little Singing Bird, and the other 
Ducks, who were not of Portuguese descent, pitied him too. 

"Poor little creature!" they said, as one after another 
came up. "We certainly can't sing," they said, "but we have 
a sounding board, or something of the kind, within us; we 
can feel that, though we don't talk of it." 

"But I can talk of it," said the Portuguese Duck; "and I'll 
do something for the little fellow, for that's my duty." And 
she stepped into the water-trough, and beat her wings upon 





U N t V E R - P Y 


the water so heartily, that the Httle Singing Bird was almost 
drowned by the bath he got, but the Duck meant it kindly. 
"That's a good deed," she said: "the others may take ex- 
ample by it." 

"Piep!" said the little Bird: one of his wings was broken, 
and he found it difficult to shake himself; but he quite un- 
derstood that the bath was kindly meant. "You are very 
kind hearted, madam," he said; but he did not wish for a 
second bath. 

"I have never thought about my heart," continued the 
Portuguese Duck, "but I know this much, that I love all my 
fellow-creatures except the cat; but nobody can expect me 
to love her, for she ate up two of my ducklings. But pray 
make yourself at home, for one can make one's self comfort- 
able. I myself am from a strange country, as you may see 
from my bearing and from my feathery dress. My drake is 
a native of these parts, he's not of my race; but for all that 
I'm not proud. If anyone here in the yard can understand 
you, I may assert that I am that person." 

"She's quite full of Portulak," said a little common Duck, 
who was witty; and all the other common Ducks con- 
sidered the word Portulak quite a good joke, for it sounded 
like Portugal; and they nudged each other and said "Rap!" 
It was too witty! And all the other Ducks now began to 
notice the little Singing Bird. 

"The Portuguese has certainly a greater command of lan- 
guage," they said. "For our part, we don't care to fill our 
beaks with such long words, but our sympathy is just as 
great. If we don't do anything for you, we march about 
with you everywhere; and we think that the best thing we 
can do." 

"You have a lovely voice," said one of the oldest. "It 
must be a great satisfaction to be able to give so much 
pleasure as you are able to impart. I certainly am no great 
judge of your song, and consequently I keep my beak shut; 
and even that is better than talking nonsense to you, as 
others do." 

"Don't plague him so," interposed the Portuguese Duck; 
"he requires rest and nursing. My little Singing Bird, do 
you wish me to prepare another bath for you?" 

"Oh, no! pray let me be dry!" was the little Bird's peti- 


"The water cure is the only remedy for me when I am 
unwell," quoth the Portuguese. "Amusement is beneficial 
too. The neighboring fowls will soon come to pay their 
visit. There are two Cochin Chinese among them. They 
wear feathers on their legs, are well educated, and have been 
brought from afar; consequently they stand higher than the 
others in my regard." 

And the Fowls came, and the Cock came; to-day he was 
polite enough to abstain from being rude. 

"You are a true Singing Bird," he said, "and you do as 
much with your little voice as can possibly be done with it. 
But one requires a little more shrillness, that every 
hearer may hear that one is a male." 

The two Chinese stood quite enchanted with the appear- 
ance of the Singing Bird. He looked very much rumpled 
after his bath, so that he seemed to them to have quite the 
appearance of a little Cochin China fowl. 

"He's charming," they cried, and began a conversation 
with him, speaking in whispers, and using the most aristo- 
cratic Chinese dialect. 

"We are of your race," they continued. "The Ducks, 
even the Portuguese, are swimming birds, as you cannot fail 
to have noticed. You do not know us yet; very few know 
us, or give themselves the trouble to make our acquaint- 
ance — not even any of the fowls, though we are born to 
occupy a higher grade on the ladder than most of the rest. 
But that does not disturb us: we quietly pursue our path 
amid the others, whose principles are certainly not ours; 
for we look at things on the favorable side, and only speak 
of what is good, though it is difificult sometimes to find 
something when nothing exists. Except us two and the 
Cock, there's no one in the whole poultry yard who is at 
once talented and polite. It cannot even be said of the in- 
habitants of the duck yard. We warn you, little Singing 
Bird: don't trust that one yonder with the short tail-feathers, 
for she's cunning. The pied one there, with the crooked 
stripes on her wings, is a strife-seeker, and lets nobody have 
the last word, though she's always in the wrong. The fat 
duck yonder speaks evil of everyone, and that's against our 
principles: if we have nothing good to tell, we should hold 
our beaks. The Portuguese is the only one who has any 


education, and with whom one can associate, but she is 
passionate, and talks too much about Portugal." 

"I wonder what those two Chinese are always whispering 
to one another about?" whispered one Duck to her friend. 
"They annoy me — we have never spoken to them." 

Now the Drake came up. He thought the little Singing 
Bird was a sparrow. 

"Well, I don't understand the difference," he said; "and, 
indeed, it's all the same thing. He's only a plaything, and if 
one has them, why, one has them." 

"Don't you attach any value to what he says," the Portu- 
guese whispered. "He's very respectable in business mat- 
ters ; and with him business takes precedence of everything. 
But now I shall lie down for a rest. One owes that to 
one's self, that one may be nice and fat when one is to be 
embalmed with apples and plums." 

And accordingly she lay dov\^n in the sun, and winked 
with one eye; and she lay comfortably, and she felt very 
comfortable, and she slept very comfortably. 

The little Singing Bird busied himself with his broken 
wing. At last he lay down, too, and pressed close to his pro- 
tectress ; the sun shone warm and bright, and he had found 
a very good place. 

But the neighbor's fowls were awake, and went about 
scratching up the earth ; and, to tell the truth, they had paid 
the visit simph^ and solely to find food for themselves. The 
Chinese were the first to leave the diick yard, and the other 
fowls soon followed them. The witty little Duck said of the 
Portuguese that the old lady was becoming a ducky dotard. 
At this the other ducks laughed and cackled aloud. "Ducky 
dotard," they whispered; "that's too witty!" and then 
they repeated the former joke about Portulak, and de- 
clared that it was vastly amusing. And then they lay down. 

They had been lying asleep for some time, when suddenly 
something was thrown into the yard for them to eat. It 
came down with such a thwack! that the whole company 
started up from sleep and clapped their wings. The Portu- 
guese awoke too, and threw herself over on the other side, 
pressing the little Singing Bird very hard as she did so. 

"Piep!" he cried; "you trod very hard upon me, madam." 

"Well, why do you lie in my way?" the Duck retorted. 


"You must not be so touchy. I have nerves of my own, 
but yet, I never called out 'PiepF " 

"Don't be angry," said the little Bird; "the 'piep' came 
out of my beak unawares." 

The Portuguese did not listen to him, but began eating as 
fast as she could, and made a good meal. When this was 
ended, and she lay down again, the little Bird came up, and 
wanted to be amiable, and sang: 

"Tillee-lilly lee. 
Of the good spring-time 
I'll sing so fine 
As far away I flee." 

"Nov/ 1 want to rest after my dinner," said the Portuguese. 
"You must conform to the rules of the house while you're 
here. I want to sleep now." 

The httle Singing Bird was quite taken aback, for he had 
meant it kindly. When Madam afterward awoke, he stood 
before her again with a little corn that he had found, and 
laid it at her feet; but as she had not slept well, she was 
naturally in a very bad humor. 

"Give that to a chicken!" she said, "and don't be always 
standing in my way." 

"Why are you angry with me?" replied the little Singing 
Bird. "What have I done?" 

"Done!" repeated the Portuguese Duck; "your mode of 
expression is not exactly genteel; a fact to which I must 
call your attention." 

"Yesterday it was sunshine here," said the little Bird, 
"but to-day it's cloudy and the air is close." 

"You don't know much about the weather, I fancy," re- 
torted the Portuguese. "The day is not done yet. Don't 
stand looking so stupid." 

"But you are looking at me just as the wicked eyes 
looked when I fell into the yard yesterday." 

"Impertinent creature!" exclaimed the Portuguese Duck, 
"would you compare me with the cat, that beast of prey? 
There's not a drop of malicious blood in me. I've taken your 
part, and will teach you good manners." 

And so saying she bit off the Singing Bird's head, and he 
lay dead on the ground. 

"Now, what's the meaning of this?" she said, "could he 


not bear even that? Then certainly he was not made for this 
world. I've been like a mother to him, I know that, for 
I've a good heart." 

Then the neighbor's Cock stuck his head into the yard, 
and crowed with steam-engine power. 

"You'll kill me with your crowing!" she cried. "It's all 
your fault. He's lost his head, and I am very near losing 

"There's not much lying where he fell!" observed the 

"Speak of him with respect," retorted the Portuguese 
Duck, "for he had song, manners, and education. He was 
afifectionate and soft, and that's as good in animals as in 
your so-called human beings." 

And all the Ducks came crowding round the little dead 
Singing Bird. Ducks have strong passions, whether they 
feel envy or pity; and as there was nothing here to envy, 
pity manifested itself, even in the two Chinese, 

"We shall never get such a singing bird again; he was al- 
most a Chinese," they whispered; and they wept with a 
mighty clucking sound, and all the fowls clucked too, but 
the Ducks went about with the redder eyes. 

"We've hearts of our own," they said; "nobody can deny 

"Hearts!" repeated the Portuguese, "yes, that Ave ha-^^, 
almost as much as in Portugal." 

"Let us think of getting something to satisfy our hunger," 
said the Drake, "for that's the most important point. If 
one of our toys is broken, why, we have plenty more !" 


There once was a little girl; a very nice pretty little girl. 
But in summer she had tO' go barefoot, because she was 
poor, and in winter she wore thick wooden shoes, so that 
her little instep became quite red, altogether red. 

In the middle of the village lived an old shoem.aker's wife; 
she sat and sewed, as well as she could, a pair of little shoes, 
of old strips of red cloth ; they were clumsy enough, but well 


meant, and the little girl was to have them. The little girl's 
name was Karen. 

On the day when her mother was buried she received the 
red shoes and wore them for the first time. They were cer- 
tainly not suited for mourning; but she had no others, and 
therefore thrust her little bare feet into them and walked 
behind the plain deal coffin. 

Suddenly a great carriage came by, and in the carriage 
sat an old lady; she looked at the little girl and felt pity for 
her and said to the clergyman: 

"Give me the little girl and I will provide for her." 

Karen thought this was for the sake of the shoes; but the 
old lady declared they were hideous ; and they were burned. 
But Karen herself was clothed neatly and properly: she was 
taught to read and to sew, and the people said she was 
agreeable. But her mirror said, "You are much more than 
agreeable; you are beautiful." 

Once the Queen traveled through the country, and had 
her little daughter with her; and the daughter was a 
Princess. And the people flocked toward the castle, and 
Karen too was among them ; and the little Princess stood in 
a fine white dress at a window, and let herself be gazed at. 
She had neither train nor golden crown, but she wore 
splendid red morocco shoes; they were certainly far hand- 
somer than those the shoemaker's wife had made for little 
Karen. Nothing in the world can compare with red shoes! 

Now Karen was old enough to be confirmed : new clothes 
were made for her, and she was to have new shoes. The 
rich shoemaker in the town took the measure of her little 
feet; this was done in his own house, in his little room, and 
there stood great glass cases with neat shoes and shining 
boots. It had quite a charming appearance, but the old lady 
could not see well, and therefore took no pleasure in it. 
Among the shoes stood a red pair, just like those which the 
princess had worn. How beautiful they were! The shoe- 
maker also said they had been made for a Count's child, 
but they had not fitted. 

"That must be patent leather," observed the old lady, 
"the shoes shine so!" 

"Yes, they shine!" replied Karen; and they fitted her, 
and were bought. But the old lady did not know that they 


were red; for she would never have allowed Karen to go to 
her confirmation in red shoes; and that is what Karen d'd. 

Everyone was looking at her shoes. And when she went 
across the church porch, toward the door of the choir, it 
seemed to her as if the old pictures on the tombstones, the 
portraits of clergymen and clergymen's wives, in their stifif 
collars and long black garments, fixed their eyes upon her 
red shoes. And she thought of her shoes only, when the 
priest laid his hand upon her head and spoke holy words. 
And the organ pealed solemnly, the children sang with their 
fresh sweet voices, and the old preceptor sang too; but 
Karen thought only of her red shoes. 

In the afternoon the old lady was informed by everyone 
that the shoes were red; and she said it was naughty and un- 
suitable, and that when Karen went to church in future, 
she should always go in black shoes, even if they were old. 

Next Sunday was Sacrament Sunday. And Karen looked 
at the black shoes, and looked at the red ones — looked at 
them again — and put on the red ones. 

The sun shone gloriously; Karen and the old lady went 
along the footpath through the fields, and it was rather 

By the church door stood an old invalid soldier with a 
crutch and a long beard; the beard was rather red than 
white, for it was red altogether; and he bowed down almost 
to the ground, and asked the old lady if he might dust her 
shoes. And Karen also stretched out her little foot. 

"Look, what pretty dancing shoes!" said the old soldier. 
"Fit so tightly when you dance!" 

And he tapped the soles with his hand. And the old lady 
gave the soldier an alms, and went into the church with 

And everyone in the church looked at Karen's red shoes, 
and all the pictures looked at them. And while Karen knelt 
in the church she only thought of her red shoes; and she 
forgot to sing her psalm, and forgot to say her prayer. 

Now all the people went out of church, and the old lady 
stepped into her carriage. Karen lifted up her foot to step 
in too; then the old soldier said: 

"Look, what beautiful dancing shoes!" 

And Karen could not resist: she was obliged to dance a 
few steps; and when she once began, her legs u-ent on danc- 


ing. It was just as though the shoes had obtained power 
over her. She danced round the corner of the church — 
she could not help it; the coachman was obliged to run be- 
hind her and seize her; he lifted her into the carriage, but 
her feet went on dancing so that she kicked the good old 
lady violently. At last they took off her shoes, and her legs 
became quiet. 

At home the shoes were put away in a cupboard; but 
Karen could not resist looking at them. 

Now the old lady became very ill, and it was said she 
would not recover. She had to be nursed and waited on: 
and this was no one's duty so much as Karen's. But there 
was to be a great ball in the town, and Karen was invited. 
She looked at the old lady who could not recover; she 
looked at the red shoes, and thought there would be no 
harm in it. She put on the shoes, and that she might very 
well do; but they went to the ball and began to dance. 

But when she wished to go to the right hand, the shoes 
danced to the left, and when she wanted to go upstairs the 
shoes danced downward, down into the street and out at the 
town gate. She danced, and was obliged to dance, till she 
danced straight out into the dark wood. 

There was something glistening up among the trees, and 
she thought it was the moon, for she saw a face. But it was 
the old soldier with the red beard: he sat and nodded, and 

"Look, what beautiful dancing shoes!" 

Then she was frightened, and wanted to throw away the 
red shoes; but they clung fast to her. And she tore off her 
stockings; but the shoes had grown fast to her feet. And 
she danced and was compelled to go dancing over field and 
meadow, in rain and sunshine, by night and by day; but it 
was most dreadful at night. 

She danced out into the open churchyard; but the dead 
there do not dance; they have far better things to do. She 
wished to sit down on the poor man's grave, where the bit- 
ter fern grows; but there was no peace nor rest for her. 
And when she danced toward the open church door, she 
saw there an angel in long white garments, with wings that 
reached from his shoulders to his feet; his countenance was 
serious and stern, and in his hand he held a sword that was 
broad and gleaming. 


"Thou shalt dance!" he said — "dance on thy red shoes, 
till thou art pale and cold, and till thy body shrivels to a 
skeleton. Thou shalt dance from door to door, and where 
proud, haughty children dwell, shalt thou knock, that they 
may hear thee, and be afraid of thee! Thou shalt dance, 

"Mercy!" cried Karen. 

But she did not hear what the angel answered, for the 
shoes carried her away — carried her through the door on to 
the field, over stock and stone, and she was always obliged 
to dance. 

One morning she danced past a door which she knew 
well. There was a sound of psalm-singing within, and a 
coffin was carried out, adorned with flowers. Then she 
knew that the old lady was dead, and she felt that she was 
deserted by all, and condemned by the angel of heaven. 

She danced and was compelled to dance — to dance in the 
dark night. The shoes carried her on over thorn and brier; 
she scratched herself till she bled; she danced away across 
the heath to a little lonely house. Here she knew the ex- 
ecutioner dwelt; and she tapped with her fingers on the 
panes, and called: 

"Come out, come out! I cannot come in for I must 

And the executioner said: 

"You probably don't know who I am? I cut ofT the bad 
people's heads with my ax, and mark how my ax rings!" 

"Do not strike off my head," said Karen, "for if you do I 
cannot repent of my sin. But strike off my feet with the 
red shoes!" 

And then she confessed all her sin, and the executioner 
cut off her feet with the red shoes; but the shoes danced 
away with the little feet over the fields and into the deep 

And he cut her a pair of wooden feet, with crutches, and 
taught her a psalm, which the criminals always sing; and 
she kissed the hand that had held the ax, and went away 
across the heath. 

"Now I have suffered pain enough for the red shoes," 
said she. "Now I will go into the cliurch, that they maV see 

And she went quickly toward the church door, but when 


she came there the red shoes danced before her, so that she 
was frightened, and turned back. 

The whole week through she was sorrowful, and wept 
many bitter tears; but when Sunday came she said: 

"Now I have suffered and striven enough! I think that 
I am just as good as many of those who sit in the church 
and carry their heads high." 

And she went boldly on; but she did not get farther 
than the churchyard gate before she saw the red shoes danc- 
ing along before her; then she was seized with terror, and 
turned back, and repented of her sin right heartily. 

And she went to the parsonage, and begged to be taken 
there as a servant. She promised to be industrious, and to 
do all she could; she did not care for wages, and only wished 
to be Under a roof and with good people. The clergyman's 
wife pitied her, and took her into her service. And she was 
industrious and thoughtful. Silently she sat and listened 
when in the evening the pastor read the Bible aloud. All 
the little ones were very fond of her; but when they spoke of 
dress and splendor and beauty, she would shake her head. 

Next Sunday they all went to church, and she was asked 
if she wished to go too, but she looked sadly, with tears in 
her eyes, at her crutches. And then the others went to 
hear God's word; but she went alone into her little room, 
which was only large enough to contain her bed and a 
chair. And here she sat with her hymn book; and as she 
read it with a pious mind, the wind bore the notes of the 
organ over to her from the church; and she lifted up her 
face, wet with tears, and said: 

"O Lord, help me!" 

Then the sun shone so brightly; and before her stood the 
angel in the white garments, the same as she had seen that 
night at the church door. But he no longer grasped the sharp 
sword; he held a green branch covered with roses; and he 
touched the ceiling, and it rose up high, and wherever he 
touched it a golden star gleamed forth; and he touched the 
walls, and they spread forth widely, and she saw the organ 
which was pealing its rich sounds; and she saw the old pic- 
tures of clergymen and their wives; and the congregation 
sat in the decorated seats, and sang from their hymn books. 
The church had come to the poor girl in her narrow room, 
or her chamber had become a church. She sat in the chair 


with the rest of the clergyman's people; and when they had 
finished the psalm, and looked up, they nodded and said: 

"That was right that you came here, Karen." 

"It was mercy!" said she. 

And the organ sounded its glorious notes; and the chil- 
dren's voices singing in the chorus sounded sweet and love- 
ly; the clear sunshine streamed so warm through the win- 
clow upon the chair in which Karen sat; and her heart be- 
came so filled with sunshine, peace, and joy, that it broke. 
Her soul flew on the sunbeams to heaven; and there was 
nobody who asked after the Red Shoes! 



"That was a remarkably fine dinner yesterday," observed 
an old Mouse of the female sex to another who had not-been 
at the festive gathering. "I sat number twent5--one from the 
old Mouse King, so that I was not badly placed. Should 
you like to hear the order oi the banquet? The courses 
were very well arranged — moldy bread, bacon-rind, tallow 
candle, and sausage — and then the same dishes over again 
from the beginning: it was just as good as having two ban- 
quets in succession. There was as much joviality and agree- 
able jesting as in the family circle. Nothing was left but the 
pegs at the ends of the sausages. And the discourse turned 
upon these; and at last the expression, 'Soup on sausage- 
rinds,' or, as they have the proverb in the neighboring coun- 
try, 'Soup on a sausage-peg,' was mentioned. Everyone 
had heard the proverb, but no one had ever tasted the 
sausage-peg soup, much less prepared it. A capital toast 
was drunk to the inventor of the soup, and it was said he 
deserved to be a relieving officer. Was not that witty? And 
the old Mouse King stood up, and promised that the young 
female mouse who could best prepare that soup should be 
his Queen; and a year was allowed for the trial." 

"That was not at all bad," said the other Mouse; "but how 
'does one prepare this soup?" 

"Ah, how is it prepared? That is just what all the young 


female mice, and the old ones too, are asking. They would 
all very much like to be Queen; but they don't want to take 
the trouble to go out into the world to learn how to prepare 
the soup, and that they would certainly have to do. But 
everyone has not the gift of leaving the family circle and 
the chimney corner. In foreign parts one can't get cheese 
rinds and bacon every day. No, one must bear hunger, and 
perhaps be eaten up alive by a cat." 

Such were probably the considerations by which the ma- 
jority were deterred from going out into the wide world and 
gaining information. Only four Mice announced them- 
selves ready to depart. They were young and brisk, but poor. 
Each of them wished to proceed to one of the four quarters 
of the globe, and then it would become manifest which 'of 
them was favored by fortune. Everyone took a sausage- 
peg, so as to keep in mind the object of the journey. The 
stiff sausage-peg was to be to them as a pilgrim's staff. 

It was at the beginning of May that they set out, and they 
did not return till the May of the following year; and then 
only three of them appeared. The fourth did not report 
herself, nor was there any intelligence of her, though the 
day of trial was close at hand. 

"Yes, there's always some drawback in even the pleasant- 
est affair," said the Mouse King. 

And then he gave orders that all mice within a circuit of 
many miles should be invited. They were to assemble in the 
kitchen, where the three traveled Mice would stand up in a 
row, while a sausage-peg, shrouded in crape, was set up 
as a m.emento of the fourth, who was missing. No one was 
to proclaim his opinion till the Mouse King had settled 
what was to be said. And now let us hear. 



"When I went out into the wide world," said the little 
Mouse, "I thought, as many think at my age, that I had al- 
ready learned everything; but that was not the case. Years 
must pass before one gets so far. I went to sea at once. I 


went in a ship that steered toward the north. They had told 
me that the ship's cook must know how to manage things at 
sea; but it is easy enough to manage things when one has 
plenty of sides of bacon, and whole tubs of salt pork, and 
moldy flour. One has delicate living on board; but one 
does not learn to prepare soup on a sausage-peg. We sailed 
along for many days and nights; the ship rocked fearfully, 
and we did not get off without a wetting. When we at last 
reached the port to which we were bound, I left the ship; 
and it was high up in the far north. 

"It is a wonderful thing to go out of one's own corner at 
home, and sail in a ship, where one has a sort of corner too, 
and then suddenly to find one's self hundreds of miles away 
in a strange land. I saw great pathless forests of pine and 
birch, which smelt so strong that I sneezed, and thought of 
sausage. There were great lakes there too. When I came 
close to them the waters were quite clear, but from a dis- 
tance they looked black as ink. Great swans floated upon 
them: I thought at first they were spots of foam, they lay 
so still; but then I saw them walk and fly, and I recognized 
them. They belong to the goose family — one can see that 
by their walk; for no one can deny his parentage. I kept 
with my own kind. I associated with the forest and field 
mice, who, by the w^ay, know very little, especially as re- 
gards cookery, though this was the very subject that had 
brought me abroad. The thought that soup might be boiled 
on a sausage-peg was such a startling statement to them, 
that it flew at once from mouth to mouth through the whole 
forest. They declared the problem could never be solved: 
and little did I think that there, on the very first night, I 
should be initiated into the method of its preparation. It 
was in the height of summer, and that, the mice said, was the 
reason why the wood smelt so strongly, and why the herbs 
were so fragrant, and the lakes so transparent and yet so 
dark, with their white swimming swans. 

"On the margin of the wood, among three or four houses, 
a pole as tall as the mainmast of a ship had been erected, 
and from its summit hung wreaths of fluttering ribbons; 
this was called a maypole. Men and maids danced round 
the tree, and sang as loudly as they could, to the violin of 
the fiddler. There were merry doings at sundown and in 
the moonlight, but I took no part in them — what has a little 


mouse to do with a May dance? I sat in the soft moss and 
held my sausage-peg fast. The moon threw its beams es- 
pecially upon one spot, where a tree stood, covered with 
moss so exceedingly fine, I may almost venture to say it 
was as fine as the skin of the Mouse King; but it was of a 
green color, and that is a great relief to the eye, 

"All at once, the most charming little people came march- 
ing forth. They were only tall enough to reach to my knee. 
They looked like men, but were better proportioned: they 
called themselves elves, and had delicate clothes on, of flow- 
er-leaves trimmed with the wings of flies and gnats, which 
had a very good appearance. Directly they appeared, they 
seemed to seek for something — I knew not what, but at 
last some of them came toward me, and the chief pointed to 
my sausage-peg, and said, 'That is just such a one as we 
want — it is pointed — it is capital!' and the longer he looked 
at my pilgrim's staff the more delighted he became. 

" T will lend it,' I said, 'but not to keep.' 

"'Not to keep!' they all repeated; and they seized the 
sausage-peg, which I gave up to them, and danced av/ay to 
the spot where the fine moss grew ; and here they set up the 
peg in the midst of the green. They wanted to have a may- 
pole of their own, and the one they now had seemed cut out 
for them; and they decorated it so that it was beautiful to 

"First, little spiders spun it round with gold thread, and 
hung it all over with fluttering veils and flags, so finely 
woven, bleached so snowy white in the moonshine, that they 
dazzled my eyes. They took colors from the butterfly's 
wing, and strewed these over the white linen, and flowers 
and diamonds gleamed upon it, so that I did not know my 
sausage-peg again : there is not in all the world such a may- 
pole as they had made of it. And now came the real great 
party of elves. They were quite without clothes, and looked 
as genteel as possible: and they invited me to be present at 
the feast; but I was to keep at a certain distance, for I was 
too large for them. 

"And now began such music! It sounded like thousands 
oi glass bells, so full, so rich, that I thought the swans were 
singing. I fancied also that I heard the voice of the cuckoo 
and the blackbird, and at last the whole forest seemed to 
join in. I heard children's voices, the sound of bells, and 


the song of birds; the most glorious melodies — and all 
came from the elves' rnaypole, namely, my sausage-peg. 
I should never have believed that so much could come out 
of it; but that depends very much upon the hands into which 
it falls. I was quite touched. I wept, as a little mouse may 
weep, with pure pleasure. 

"The night was far too short; but it is not longer up 
yonder at that season. In the morning dawn the breeze be- 
gan to blow, the mirror of the forest lake was covered with 
ripples, and all the delicate veils and flags fluttered away 
in the air. The waving garlands of spider's web, the hang- 
ing bridges and balustrades, and whatever else they are 
called, flew away as if they were nothing at all. Six elves 
brought me back my sausage-peg, and asked me at the same 
time if I had any wish that they could gratify; so I asked 
them if they could tell me how soup was made on a sausage- 

" 'How we do it?' asked the chief of the elves, with a 
smile. 'Why, you have just seen it. I fancy you hardly 
know your sausage-peg again?' 

" 'You only mean that as a joke,' I replied. And then I 
told them in so many words why I had undertaken a jour- 
ney, and what great hopes were founded on^ the operation 
at home. 'What advantage,' I asked, 'can accrue to our 
Mouse King, and to our whole powerful state, from the fact 
of my having witnessed all this festivity? I cannot shake it 
out of the sausage-peg, and say, "Look, here is the peg, now 
the soup will come." That would be a dish that could only 
be put on the table when the guests had dined.' 

"Then the elf dipped his little finger into the cup of a blue 
violet, and said to me, 

" 'See here! I will anoint your pilgrim's stafif; and when 
you go back to your country, and come to the castle of the 
Mouse King, you have but to touch him with the staff, and 
violets will spring forth and cover its whole surface, even in 
the coldest winter-time. And so I think I've given you 
something to carry home, and a little more than some- 

But before the little Mouse said what this "something 
more" was. she stretched her staff out toward the King, and 
in very truth the most beautiful bunch of violets burst forth; 
and the scent was so powerful that the Mouse King incon- 


tinently ordered the mice that stood nearest the chimney 
to thrust their tails into the fire and create a smell of burn- 
ing, for the odor of the violets was not to be borne, and was 
not of the kind he liked. 

"But what was the 'something more/ of which you 
spoke?'' asked the Mouse King. 

"Why," the Httle Mouse answered, "I think it is what they 
call effect!" and herewith she turned the staff round, and lo! 
there was not a single flower to be seen upon it; she only 
held the naked skewer, and lifted this up, as a musical con- 
ductor lifts his baton. " 'Violets,' the elf said to me, " 'are 
for sight, and smell, and touch. Therefore it yet remains 
to provide for hearing and taste !' " 

And now the little Mouse began to beat time; and music 
was heard, not such as sounded in the forest among the 
elves, but such as is heard in the kitchen. There was a 
bubbling sound of boiling and roasting; and all at once it 
seemed as if the sound were rushing through every chimney, 
and pots and kettles were boiling over. The fire-shovel 
hammered upon the brass kettle, and then, on a sudden, all 
was quiet again. They heard the quiet subdued song of the 
tea-kettle, and it was wonderful to hear — they could not 
quite tell if the kettle were beginning to sing or leaving 
off; and the little pot simmered, and the big pot simmered, 
and neither cared for the other: there seemed to be no 
reason at all in the pots. And the little Mouse flourished 
her baton more and more wildly; the pot foamed, threw 
up large bubbles, boiled over, and the wind roared and 
whistled through the chimney. Oh! It became so terrible 
that the little Mouse lost her stick at last. 

"That was a heavy soup!" said the Mouse King. "Shall 
we not soon hear about the preparation?" 

"That was all," said the little Mouse, with a bow. 

"That all ! Then we should be glad to hear what the next 
has to relate," said the Mouse King. 



"I was born in the palace library," said the second Mouse. 
"I and several members of our family never knew the hapi)i- 


ness of getting into the dining room, much less into the 
store-room; on my journey, and here to-day, are the only 
times I have seen a kitchen. We have indeed often been 
compelled to suffer hunger in the library, but we get a good 
deal of knowledge. The rumor penetrated even to us, of 
the royal prize offered to those who could cook soup upon a 
sausage-peg; and it was my old grandmother who there- 
upon ferreted out a manuscript, which she certainly could 
not read, but which she had heard read out, and in which 
it was written — Those who are poets can boil soup upon 
a sausage-peg.' She asked me if I were a poet. I felt 
quite innocent on the subject, and then she told me I must 
go out, and manage to become one. I again asked what 
was requisite in that particular — for it was as difficult for me 
to find that out as to prepare the soup; but grandmother 
had heard a good deal of reading, and she said that three 
things were especially necessary: 'Understanding, imagina- 
tion, feeling. If you can manage to obtain these three, 
you are a poet, and the sausage-peg affair will be quite easy 
to you.' 

"And I went forth, and marched toward the west, away 
into the wide world, to become a poet. 

"Understanding is the most important thing in every af- 
fair. I knew that, for the two other things are not held in half 
such respect, and consequently I went out first to seek 
understanding. Yes, where does he dwell? 'Go to the ant 
and be wise,' said the great King of the Jews; I knew that 
from my library experience; and I never stopped till I came 
to the first great ant-hill, and there I placed myself on the 
watch, to become wise. 

"The ants are a respectable people. They are under- 
standing itself. Everything with them is like a well-worked 
sum, that comes right. To work and to lay eggs, they say, 
is to live while you live, and to provide for posterity; and 
accordingly that is what they do. They were divided into 
the clean and the dirty ants. The rank of each is indicated 
by a number, and the Ant Queen is number one; and her 
view is the only correct one, she is the receptacle of all wis- 
dom; and that was important for me to know. She spoke 
so much, and it was all so clever, that it sounded to me like 
nonsense. She declared her ant-hill was the loftiest thing 
in the world; though close by it grew a tree, which was 


certainly loftier, much loftier, that could not be denied, and 
therefore it was never mentioned. One evening an ant had 
lost herself upon the tree; she had crept up the stem — 
not up to the crown, but higher than any ant had chmbed 
until then; and when she turned and came back home, 
she talked of something far higher than the ant-hill that she 
had found in her travels; but the other ants considered that 
an insult to the whole community, and consequently she was 
condemned to wear a muzzle, and to continual solitary con- 
finement. But a short time afterward another ant got on 
the tree, and made the same journey and the same dis- 
covery: and this one spoke with emphasis, and distinctly 
as they said; and as, moreover, she was one of the pure 
ants and very much respected, they believed her; and when 
she died they erected an egg-shell as a memorial of her, 
for they had a great respect for the sciences. I saw," con- 
tinued the little Mouse, "that the ants are always running to 
and fro with their eggs on their backs. One of them 
once dropped her egg; she exerted herself greatly to pick 
it up again, but she could not succeed. The two others 
came up, and helped her with all their might, insomuch 
that they nearly dropped their own eggs over it; but then 
they certainly at once relaxed their exertions, for each 
should think of himself first — the Ant Queen had declared 
that by so doing they exhibited at once heart and under- 

" 'These two qualities,' she said, 'place us ants on the high- 
est step among all reasoning beings. Understanding is 
seen among us all in predominant measure, and I have 
the greatest share of understanding.' And so saying, she 
raised herself on her hind legs, so that she was easily to 
be recognized. I could not be mistaken, and I ate her up. 
We were to go to the ants to learn wisdom — and I had got 
the Queen! 

"I now proceeded nearer to the before-mentioned lofty 
tree. It was an oak, and had a great trunk and a far-spread- 
ing top, and was very old. I knew that a living being dwelt 
here, a Dryad, as it is called, who is born with the tree, 
and dies with it. I had heard about this in the library; 
and now I saw an oak tree and an oak girl. She uttered 
a piercing cry when she saw me so near. Like all females, 
she was very much afraid of mice; and she had more 


ground for fear than others, for I might have gnawn 
through the stem of the. tree on which her Hfe depended. 
I accosted the maiden in a friendly and honest way, and 
bade her take courage. And she took me up in her dehcate 
hand; and when I had told her my reason for coming out 
into the wide world, she promised me that perhaps on that 
every evening I should have one of the two treasures of 
which I was still in quest. She told me that Phantasus, the 
genius of imagination, was her very good friend, that he 
was beautiful as the god of love, and that he rested many 
an hour under the leafy boughs of the tree, which then 
rustled more strongly than ever over the pair of them. He 
called her his Dryad, she said, and the tree his tree, for the 
grand gnarled oak was just to his taste, with its root burrow- 
ing so deep in the earth, and the stem and crown rising 
so high out in the fresh air, and knowing the beating snow, 
and the sharp wind, and the warm sunshine as they deserve 
to be known. 'Yes,' the Dryad continued, 'the birds sing 
aloft there in the branches, and tell each other of strange 
countries they have visited; and on the only dead bough 
the stork has built a nest which is highly ornamental, and, 
moreover, one gets to hear something of the land of the 
Pyramids. All that is very pleasing to Phantasus; but it 
is not enough for him: I myself must talk to him, and tell 
him of life in the woods, and must revert to my childhood, 
Vv^hen I was little, and the tree such a delicate thing that 
a stinging nettle overshadowed it— and I have to tell every- 
thing, till now that the tree is great and strong. Sit you 
down under the green thyme, and pay attention; and when 
Phantasus comes, I shall find an opportunity ^o pinch his 
wings, and to pull out a little feather. Take the pen — no 
better is given to any poet — and it will be enough for 
you !' 

"And when Phantasus came the feather was plucked, and 
I seized it," said the little Mouse. "I put it in water, and 
held it there till it grew soft. It was very hard to digest, 
but I nibbled it up at last. It is not very easy to gnaw one's 
self into being a poet, though there are many things one 
must do. Now I had these two things, imagination and 
understanding, and through these I knew that the third was 
to be found in the library; for a great man has said and 
written that there are romances whose sole and single use 


is that they reHeve people of their superfluous tears, and 
that they are, in fact, a sort of sponges sucking up human 
emotion. I remember a few of these old books, which had 
always looked especially palatable, and were much thumbed 
and very greasy, having evidently absorbed a great deal of 
feeling into themselves. 

"I betook myself back to the library, and, so to speak, de- 
voured a whole novel — that is, the essence of it, the interior 
part, for I left the crust or binding. When I had digested 
this, and a second one in addition, I felt a stirring within me, 
and I ate a bit of a third romance, and now I was a poet. 
I said so to myself, and told the others also. I had head- 
ache, and chestache, and I can't tell what aches besides. 
I began thinking what kind of stories could be made to 
refer to a sausage-peg; and many pegs, and sticks, and 
staves, and splinters came into my mind— the Ant Queen 
must have had a particularly fine understanding. I re- 
membered the man who took a white stick in his mouth, 
by which means he could render himself and the stick in- 
visible; I thought of stick hobby horse, of 'stock rhymes,' 
of 'breaking the staff over an offender,' and goodness 
knows how many phrases more concerning sticks, stocks, 
staves, and pegs. All my thoughts ran upon sticks, 
staves, and pegs; and when one is a poet (and I am a poet, 
for I have worked most terribly hard to become one) a 
person can make poetry on these subjects. I shall there- 
fore be able to wait upon you every day with a poem or a 
history — and that's the soup I have to offer." 

"Let us hear what the third has to say," was now the 
Mouse King's command. 

"Peep! peep!" cried a small voice at the kitchen door, 
and a little Mouse — it was the fourth of the ]\lice who had 
contended for the prize, the one whom they looked upon as 
dead — shot in like an arrow. She toppled the sausage-peg 
with the crape covering over in a moment. She had been 
running day and night, and had traveled on the railway, in 
the goods train, having watched her opportunity, and yet 
she had almost come too late. She pressed forward, look- 
ing very much rumpled, and she had lost her sausage-peg, 
but not her voice, for she at once took up the word, as if 
they had been waiting for her, and wanted to hear none but 



her, and as if everything else in the world were of no conse- 
quence. She spoke at once, and spoke fully: she had ap- 
peared so suddenly that no one found time to object to her 
speech or to her, while she was speaking. And now let us 
hear what she said: 



"I betook myself immediately to the largest town," she 
said ; "the name has escaped me — I have a bad memory for 
names. From the railway I was carried, with some confis- 
cated goods, to the council house, and when I arrived there, 
I ran into the dwelling of the jailer. The jailer was talk- 
ing of his prisoners, and especially of one who had spoken 
unconsidered words. These words had given rise to others, 
and these latter had been written down and recorded. 

" 'The whole thing is soup on a sausage-peg.' said the 
jailer; 'but the soup may cost him his neck.' 

"Now, this gave me an interest in the prisoner," continued 
the Mouse, "and I watched my opportunity and slipped 
into his prison — for there's a mouse hole to be found be- 
hind every locked door. The prisoner looked pale, and had 
a great beard and bright, sparkling eyes. The lamp flicker- 
ed and smoked, but the walls were so accustomed to that, 
that they grew none the blacker for it. The prisoner 
scratched pictures and verses in white upon the black 
ground, but I did not read them. I think he found it 
tedious, and I was a welcome guest. He lured me with 
bread-crumbs, with whistling, and with friendly words; he 
was glad to see me, and gradually I got to trust him. and 
we became good friends. He let me run over his hand, his 
arm, and into his sleeve; he let me creep about in his 
beard, and called me his little friend. I really got to love 
him, for these things are reciprocal. I forgot my mission 
in the wide world, forgot my sausage-peg; that I had placed 
in a crack in the floor — it's lying there still. I wished to 
stay where I was, for if I went away the poor prisoner would 
have no one at all, and that's having too little in this world. 


I stayed, but he did not stay. He spoke to me very mourn- 
fully the last time, gave me twice as much bread and cheese 
as usual, and kissed his hand to me; then he went away, 
and never came back. I don't know his history. 

"'Soup on a sausage-peg!' said the jailer, to whom I 
now went; but I should not have trusted him. He took me 
in his hand, certainly, but he popped me into a cage, a 
treadmill. That's a horrible engine, in which you go round 
and round without getting any farther; and people laugh at 
you into the bargain. 

"The jailers granddaughter was a charming little thing, 
with a mass of curly hair that shone like gold, and such 
merry eyes, and such a smiling mouth! 

" 'You poor little mouse,' she said, as she peeped into 
my ugly cage; and she drew out the iron rod, and forth I 
jumped to the window board, and from thence to the roof 
spout. Free! free! I thought only of that, and not of the 
goal of my journey. 

"It was dark, and night was coming on. I took up my 
quarters in an old tower, where dwelt a watchman and an 
owl. That is a creature like a cat, who has the great fail- 
ing that she eats mice. But one may be mistaken, and so 
was I, for this was a very respectable, well-educated old 
owl: she knew more than the watchman, and as much as 
I. The young owls were always making a racket; but 'Go 
and make soup on a sausage-peg' were the hardest words 
she could prevail on herself to utter, she was so fondly 
attached to her family. Her conduct inspired me with so 
much confidence, that from the crack in which I was crouch- 
ing I called out 'peep!' to her. This confidence of mine 
pleased her hugely, and she assured me I should be under 
her protection, and that no creature should be allowed to 
do me wrong; she would reserve me for herself, for the 
winter, when there would be short commons. 

"She was in every respect a clever woman, and explained 
to me how the watchman could only 'whoop' with the horn 
that hung at his side, adding, 'He is terribly conceited about 
it, and imagines he's an owl in the tower. Wants to do 
great things, but is very small — soup on a sausage-peg!' 

"I begged the owl to give me a recipe for this soup, and 
then she explained the matter to me. 

"'Soup on a sausage-peg,' she said, 'was only a human 


proverb, and was to be understood thus: Each thinks his 
own way best, but the whole signifies nothing.' 

"'Nothing!' I exclaimed. I was quite struck. Truth is 
not always agreeable, but truth is above everything; and 
that's what the old owl said. I now thought about it, and 
readily perceived that if I bought what was above every- 
thing I bought something far beyond soup on a sausage- 
peg. So I hastened away, that I might get home in time, 
and bring the highest and best, that is above everything — 
namely the truth. The mice are an enlightened people, and 
the King is above them all He is capable of making me 
Queen, for the sake of truth." 

"Your truth is a falsehood," said the Mouse who had not 
yet spoken. "I can prepare the soup, and I mean to pre- 
pare it." 



"I did not travel," the third mouse said. 'T remained in 
my country — that's the right thing to do. There's no neces- 
sity for traveling; one can get everything as good here. I 
stayed at home. I've not learned what I know from super- 
natural beings, or gobbled it up, or held converse with 
owls. I have what I know through my own reflections. 
Will you make haste and put that kettle upon the fire? So 
— now water must be poured in — quite full — up to the 
brim ! So — now more fuel — make up the fire, that the water 
may boil — it must boil over and over! So — I now throw 
the peg in. Will the King now be pleased to dip his tail 
in the boiling water, and to stir it round with the said tail? 
The longer the King stirs it, the more powerful will the 
soup become. It costs nothing at all — no further materials 
are necessary, only stir it round!" 

"Cannot anyone else do that?" asked the Mouse King. 

"No," replied the Mouse. "The power is contained only 
in the tail of the Mouse King." 

And the water boiled and bubbled, and the Mouse King 
stood close beside the kettle — there was almost danger in 
it — and he put forth his tail, as the mice do in the dairy 
when tliey skim the cream, from a pan of milk afterward 


licking their creamy tails; but his tail only penetrated into 
the hot steam, and then he sprang hastily down from the 

"Of course — certainly you are my Queen," he said. "We'll 
adjourn the soup question till our golden wedding in fifty 
years' time, so that the poor of my subjects, who will then 
be fed, may have something to which they can look for- 
ward with pleasure for a long time." 

■And soon the wedding was held. But many of the mice 
said, as they were returning home, that it could not be 
really called soup on a sausage-peg, but rather soup on 
a mouse's tail. They said that some of the stories had been 
very cleverly told. But the whole thing might have been 

"I should have told it so — and so — and so !" 

Thus said the critics, who are always wise — after the 

And this story went out into the wide world, everywhere; 
and opinions varied concerning it, but the story remained 
as it was. And that is the best in great things and in small, 
so also with regard to soup on a sausage-peg — not to expect 
any thanks for it. 


Have you ever seen a very old wooden cupboard, quite 
black with age, and ornamented with carved foliage and 
arabesques? Just such a cupboard stood in a parlor: it had 
been a legacy from the great-grandmother, and was covered 
from top to bottom with carved roses and tulips. There 
were the quaintest flourishes upon it, and from among 
these peered forth little stags' heads with antlers. In the 
middle of the cupboard door an entire figure of a man had 
been cut out: he was certainly ridiculous to look at, and 
he grinned, for you could not call it laughing; he had 
goat's legs, little horns on his head, and a long beard. The 
children in the room always called him the Billygoat-legs- 
Major-and-Lieutenant - General - War - Commander - Ser- 
geant; that was a difficult name to pronounce, and there 


are not many who obtain this title; but it was something to 
have cut him out. And there he was ! He was always look- 
ing at the table under the mirror, for on this table stood 
a lovely little Shepherdess made of china. Her shoes were 
gilt, her dress was adorned with a red rose, and besides 
this she had a golden hat and a shepherd's crook: she was 
very lovely. Close by her stood a little Chimney-sweeper, 
black as a coal, and also made of porcelain: he was as clean 
and neat as any other man, for it was only make-be- 
lieve that he was a sweep; the china-workers might just 
as well have made a prince of him, if they had been so 

There he stood very nattily with his ladder, and with a 
face as white and pink as a girl's ; and that was really a fault, 
for he ought to have been a little black. He stood quite 
close to the Shepherdess; they had both been placed where 
they stood; but as they had been placed there, they had 
become engaged to each other. They suited each other 
well. Both were young people, both made of the same kind 
of china, and both were brittle. 

Close to them stood another figure, three times greater 
than they. This was an old Chinaman, who could nod. He 
was also of porcelain, and declared himself to be the grand- 
father of the little Shepherdess; but he could not prove his 
relationship. He declared he had authority over her, and 
that therefore he had nodded to Mr. Billygoat-legs-Lieuten- 
ant-and-Major-General-War-Commxander-Sergeant who was 
wooing her for his wife. 

"Then you will get a husband!" said the old China- 
man, "a man who I verily believe is made of mahogany. 
He can make you Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant-and-Major- 
General- War-Commander-Sergeant's lady: he has the 
whole cupboard full of silver plate, which he hoards up in 
secret drawers." 

"I won't go into that dark cupboard!" said the little 
Shepherdess. "I have heard tell that he has eleven porce- 
lain wives in there." 

"Then you may become the twelfth," cried the China- 
man. "This night, so soon as it rattles in the old cupboard, 
you shall be married, as true as I am an old Chinaman!'' 

And with that he nodded his head and fell asleep. But 


the little Shepherdess wept and looked at her heart's be- 
loved, the porcelain Chimney-Sweeper. 

"I should like to beg of you," said she, "to go out with 
me into the wide world, for we cannot remain here." 

"I'll do whatever you like," rephed the Chimney-Sweep. 
"Let us start directly! I think I can keep you by exercising 
my profession." 

"If we were only safely down from the table!" said she. 
"I shall not be happy until we are out in the wide world." 

And he comforted her, and showed her how she must 
place her little foot upon the carved corners and the gilded 
toliage at the foot of the table; he brought his ladder, too, 
to help her, and they were soon together upon the floor. 
But when they looked up at the old cupboard there was 
a great commotion within: all the carved stags were stretch- 
ing out their heads, rearing up their antlers, and turning 
their necks; and the Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant-and-Major- 
General-War-Commander-Sergeant sprang high in the air, 
and called across to the old Chinaman: 

"Now they're running away! now they're running away!" 

Then they were a little frightened, and jumped quickly 
into the drawer of the window-seat. Here were three or 
four packs of cards which were not complete, and a little 
puppet-show, which had been built up as well as it could be 
done. There plays were acted, and all the ladies, diamonds, 
clubs, hearts, and spades, sat in the first row, fanning them- 
selves; and behind them stood all the knaves, showing that 
they had a head above and below, as is usual in playing- 
cards. The play was about two people who were not to be 
married to each other, and the Shepherdess wept, because 
it was just like her own history. 

"I cannot possibly bear this!" said she. "I must go out 
of the drawer." 

But when they arrived on the floor, and looked up at the 
drawer, the old Chinaman was awake, and was shaking over 
his whole body — for below he was all one lump. 

"Now the old Chinaman's coming!" cried the little Shep- 
herdess; and she fell down upon her porcelain knee, so 
startled was she. 

"I have an idea," said the Chimney-Sweeper. "Shall we 
creep into the great pot-pourri vase which stands in the cor- 


ner? Then we can lie on roses and lavender, and throw 
salt in his eyes if he comes.'' 

"That will be of no use," she replied. "Besides, I know 
that the old Chinaman and the pot-pourri vase were once 
engaged to each other, and a kind of liking always remains 
when people have stood in such a relation to each other. 
No, there's nothing left for us but to go out into the wide 

"Have you really courage to go into the wide world 
with me?" asked the Chimney-Svv^eeper. "Have you con- 
sidered how wide the world is, and that we can never come 
back here again?" 

"I have," replied she. 

And the Chimney-Sweeper looked fondly at her, and 

"My way is through the chimney. If you have really 
courage to creep with me through the stove — through the 
iron fire-box as well as up the pipe, then we can get out 
into the chimney, and I know how to find my way through 
there. We'll mount so high that they can't catch us, 
and quite at the top there's a hole that leads out into the 
wide world." 

And he led her to the door of the stove. 

"It looks very black there," said she; but still she went 
with him, through the box and through the pipe, where it 
was pitch-dark night. 

"Now we are in the chimney," said he; "and look, look! 
up yonder a beautiful star is shining." 

And it was a real star in the sky, which shone straight 
down upon them, as if it would show them the way. And 
they clambered and crept: it was a frightful way, and ter- 
rible steep; but he supported her and helped her up; he 
held her, and showed her the best places where she could 
place her little porcelain feet; and thus they reached the 
edge of the chimney, and upon that they sat down, for 
they were desperately tired, as they well might be. 

The sky wdth all its stars was high above, and all the 
roofs of the town deep below them. They looked far 
around — far, far out into the world. The poor Shepherdess 
had never thought of it as it really was: she leaned her 
little head against the Chimney-Sweeper, then she wept so 
bitterly that the gold ran down ofif her girdle. 


"That is too much," she said. "I cannot bear that. The 
world is too large! If I were only back upon the table be- 
low the mirror! I shall never be happy until I am there 
again. Now I have followed you out into the wide world, 
you may accompany me back again if you really love 

And the Chimney-Sweeper spoke sensibly to her — spoke 
ol the old Chinaman and the Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant- 
and-Major-General-War-Commander- Sergeant; but she 
sobbed bitterly and kissed her little Chimney-Sweeper, so 
that he could not help giving way to her, though it was 

And so with much labor they climbed down the chimney 
again. And they crept through the pipe and the fire-box. 
That was not pleasant at all. And there they stood in the 
dark stove; there they listened behind the door, to find out 
what was going on in the room. Then it was quite quiet: 
they looked in — ah! there lay the old Chinaman in the mid- 
dle of the floor! He had fallen down from the table as he 
was pursuing them, and now he lay broken into three pieces; 
his back had come off all in one piece, and his head had 
rolled into a corner. The Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant-and- 
Major-General-War-Commander-Sergeant stood where he 
had always stood, considering. 

"That is terrible!" said the little Shepherdess. "The old 
grandfather has fallen to pieces, and it is our fault. I shall 
never survive it!" and then she wrung her little hands. 

"He can be mended! he can be mended!" said the Chim- 
ney-sweeper. "Don't be so violent. If they glue his back 
together and give him a good rivet in his neck, he will be as 
good as new, and may say many a disagreeable thing to us 

"Do you think so?" cried she. 

So they climbed back upon the table where they used to 

"You see, we have come to this," said the Chimney-Sweep- 
er: "we might have saved ourselves all the trouble we have 

"If the old grandfather was only riveted!" said the Shep- 
herdess. "I wonder if that is dear?" 

And he was really riveted. The family had his back ce- 


mented, and a great rivet was passed through his neck; he 
was as good as new, only he could no longer nod. 

"It seems you have become proud since you fell to 
pieces," said the Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant-and-Major-Gen- 
eral-War-Commander-Sergeant. "I don't think you have 
any reason to give yourself such airs. Am I to have her, 
or am I not?" 

And the Chimney-Sweeper and the little Shepherdess 
looked at the old Chinaman most piteously, for they were 
afraid he might nod. But he could not do that, and it 
was irksome to him to tell a stranger that he always had 
a rivet in his neck. And so the porcelain people remained 
together, and loved one another until they broke. 


Did you ever hear the story of the old Street Lamp? It 
is not very remarkable, but it may be listened to for once 
in a way. 

It was a very honest old Lamp, that had done its work for 
many, many years, but which was now to be pensioned off. 
It hung for the last time to its post, and gave light to the 
street. It felt as an old dancer at the theater, who is danc- 
ing for the last time, and who to-morrow will sit forgotten 
in her garret. The Lamp was in great fear about the mor- 
row, for it knew that it was to appear in the council house, 
and to be inspected by the mayor and the council, to see if it 
were fit for further service or not. 

And then it was to be decided whether it was to show its 
light in future for the inhabitants of some suburb, or in the 
country in some manufactory; perhaps it would have to go 
at once into an iron foundry to be melted down. In this last 
case anything might be made of it; but the question whether 
it would remember, in its new state, that it had been a Street 
Lamp, troubled it terribly. Whatever might happen, this 
much was certain, that it would be separated from the 
watchman and his wife, whom it had got to look upon as 
quite belonging to its family. When the lamp had been hung 
up for the first time the watchman was a young, sturdy 
man; it happened to be the very evening on which he en- 


tered on his office. Yes, that was certainly a long time ago, 
when it first became a Lamp and he a watchman. The 
wife was a little proud in those days. Only in the evening, 
when she went by, she deigned to glance at the Lamp; in 
the daytime never. But now, in these later years, when all 
three, the watchman, his wife, and the Lamp, had grown 
old, the wife had also tended it^ cleaned it, and provided it 
with oil. The two people were thoroughly honest; never 
had they cheated the Lamp O'f a single drop of the oil pro- 
vided for it. 

It was the Lamp's last night in the street, and to-morrow 
it was to go to the council house — those were two dark 
thoughts! No wonder that it did not burn brightly. But 
many other thoughts passed through its brain. On what a 
number of events had it shone — how much it had seen ! Per- 
haps as much as the mayor and the whole council had 
beheld. But it did not give utterance to these thoughts, 
for it was a good, honest old Lamp, that would not will- 
ingly hurt anyone, and least of all those in authority. Many 
things passed through its mind, and at times its light flashed 
up. In such moments it had a feeling that it, too, would be 

"There was that handsome young man — it is certainly a 
long while ago — he had a letter on pink paper with a gilt 
edge. It was so prettily written, as if by a lady's hand. 
Twice he read it, and kissed it, and looked up to me with 
eyes which said plainly, T am the happiest of men!' Only 
he and I know what was written in this first letter from his 
true love. Yes, I remember another pair of eyes. It is won- 
derful how our thoughts fly about! There was a funeral 
procession in the street; the young, beautiful lady lay in 
the decorated hearse, in a coffin adorned with flowers and 
wreaths; and a number of torches quite darkened my light. 
The people stood in crowds by the houses, and all followed 
the procession. But when the torches had passed from be- 
fore my face, and I looked round, a single person stood 
leaning against my post, weeping. I shall never forget 
the mournful eyes that looked up to me!" 

This and similar thoughts occupied the old Street Lan- 
tern, which shone to-night for the last time. 

The sentry, relieved from his post, at least knows who is 
to succeed him, and may whisper a few words to him; but 


the Lamp did not know its successor; and yet it might have 
given a few useful hints with respect to rain and fog, and 
some information as to how far the rays of the moon lit up 
the pavement, from what direction the wind usually came, 
and much more of the same kind. 

On the bridge of the gutter stood three persons who 
wished to introduce themselves to the Lamp, for they 
thought the Lamp itself could appoint its successor. The 
first was a herring's head, that could gleam with light in the 
darkness. He thought it would be a great saving of oil 
if they put him upon the post. Number Two was a piece 
of rotten wood, which also glimmers in the dark. He con- 
ceived himself descended from an old stem, once the pride 
of the forest. The third person was a glowworm. Where 
this one had come from the Lamp could not imagine; but 
there it was, and it could give light. But the rotten wood 
and the herring's head swore by all that was good that it 
only gave light at certain times, and could not be brought 
into competition with themselves. 

The old Lamp declared that not one of them gave suffi- 
cient light to fill the office of a street lamp; but not one of 
them would believe this. When they heard that the Lamp 
had not the office to give away, they were very glad of it, 
and declared that the Lamp was too decrepit to make a 
good choice. 

At the same moment the Wind came careering from the 
corner of the street, and blew through the air-holes of the 
old Lamp. 

"What's this I hear?" he asked. "Are you to go away 
to-morrow? Do I see you for the last time? Then I must 
make you a present at parting. I will blow into your brain- 
box in such way that you shall be able in future not only to 
remember everything you have seen and heard, but that 
you shall have such light within 3^ou as shall enable you to 
see all that is read of or spoken of you in your presence." 

"Yes, that is really much, very much !" said the old Lamp. 
"I thank you heartily. I only hope I shall not be melted 

"That is not likely to happen at once," said the Wind. 
"Now I will blow a memory into you : if you receive several 
presents of this kind, you may pass your old days very 


"If I am only not melted down!" said the Lamp again. 
"Or should I retain my memory even in that case?" 

"Be sensible, old Lamp/' said the Wind. And he blew, 
and at that moment the Moon stepped fortli from behind 
the clouds. 

"What will you give the old Lamp?" asked the Wind. 

"I'll give nothing," replied the Moon. "I am on the wane, 
and the lamps never lighted me; but on the contrary, I've 
often given light for the lamps." 

And with these words the Moon hid herself again behind 
the clouds, to be safe from further importunity. 

A Drop now fell upon the Lamp, as if from the roof; but 
the Drop explained that it came from the clouds, and was a 
present — perhaps the best present possible. 

"I shall penetrate you so completely that you shall re- 
ceive the faculty, if you wish it, to turn into rust in one 
night, and to crumble into dust." 

The Lamp considered this a bad present, and the Wind 
thought so too. 

"Does no one give more? Does no one give more?" it 
blew as loud as it could. 

Then a bright shooting star fell down, forming a long, 
bright stripe. 

"What was that?" cried the Herring's Head. "Did not a 
star fall? I really think it went into the Lamp! Certainly 
if such high-born personages try for this office, we may say 
good-night and betake ourselves home." 

And so they did, all three. But the old Lamp shed a mar- 
velous strong light around. 

"That was a glorious present," it said. "The bright stars 
which I have always admired, and which shine as I could 
never shine, though I shone with all my might, have no- 
ticed me, a poor old Lamp, and have sent me a present, by 
giving me the faculty that all I remember and see as clearly 
as if it stood before me, shall also be seen by all whom I 
love. And in this lies the true pleasure; for joy that we can 
not share with others is only half enjoyed.'' 

"That sentiment does honor to your heart," said the Wind. 
"But for that wax hghts are necessary. If these are not lit 
up in you, your rare faculties will be of no use to others. 
Look you, the stars did not think of that; they take you 


and every other light for wax. But I will go down." And 
he went down. 

"Good heavens! wax lights!" exclaimed the Lamp. "I 
never had those till now, nor am I likely to get them! — If 
I am only not melted down!'' 

The next day — yes, it will be best that we pass over the 
next day. The next evening the Lamp was resting in a 
grandfather's chair. And guess where! In the watchman's 
dwelling. He had begged as a favor of the mayor and coun- 
cil that he might keep the Street Lamp, in consideration of 
his long and faithful service, for he himself had put up and 
lit the lantern for the first time on the first day of entering on 
his duties four and twenty years ago. He looked upon it as 
his child, for he had no other. And the Lamp was given to 

Now it lay in the great armchair by the warm stove. It 
seemed as if the Lamp had grow bigger, now that it occu- 
pied the chair all alone. 

The old people sat at supper, and looked kindly at the old 
Lamp, to whom they would willingly have granted a place 
at their table. 

Their dwelling was certainly only a cellar two yards be- 
low the footway, and one had to cross a stone passage to get 
into the room. But within it was very comfortable and 
warm, and strips of list had been nailed to the door. Every- 
thing looked clean and neat, and there were curtains round 
the bed and the little windows. On the window-sill stood 
two curious flower-pots, which sailor Christian had brought 
home from the East, or West Indies. They were only of 
clay, and represented two elephants. The backs of these 
creatures had been cut off; and instead of them bloomed 
from within the earth with which one elephant was filled, 
some very excellent chives, and that was the kitchen-gar- 
den; out of the other grew a great geranium, and that was 
the flower-garden. On the wall hung a great colored print 
representing the Congress of Vienna. There you had all 
the Kings and Emperors at once. A clock with heavy 
weights went "tick! tick!" and in fact it always went too 
fast: but the old people declared this was far better than if 
it went too slow. They ate their supper, and the Street 
Lamp lay, as I have said, in the armchair close beside the 
Stove. It seemed to the Lamp as if the whole world had 


been turned round. But when the old watchman looked at 
it, and spoke of all that they two had gone through in rain 
and in fog, in the bright short nights of summer and in the 
long winter nights, when the snow beat down, and one 
longed to be at home in the cellar, then the old Lamp found 
its wits again. It saw everything as clearly as if it was hap- 
pening then; yes, the Wind has kindled a capital light for it. 

The old people were very active and industrious; not a 
single hour was wasted in idleness. On Sunday afternoon 
some book or other was brought out; generally a book of 
travels. And the old man read aloud about Africa, about 
the great woods, with elephants running about wild; and 
the woman listened intently, and looked furtively at the clay 
elephants which served for flower-pots. 

"I can almost imagine it to myself!" said she. 

And the Lamp wished particularly that a wax candle had 
been there, and could be lighted up in it; for then the old 
woman would be able to see everything to the smallest de- 
tail, just as the Lamp saw it — ^the tall trees with great 
branches all entwined, the naked black men on horseback, 
and whole droves of elephants crashing through the reeds 
with their broad clumsy feet. 

"Of what use are all my faculties if I can't obtain a wax 
light?" sighed the Lamp. "They have only oil and tallow 
candles, and that's not enough." 

One day a great number of wax candle-ends came down 
into the cellar: the larger pieces were burned, and the 
smaller ones the old woman used for waxing her thread. 
So there were wax candles enough; but no one thought of 
putting a little piece into the Lamp. 

"Here I stand with my rare faculties!" thought the 
Lamp. "I carry everything with me, and cannot let them 
partake of it ; they don't know that I am able to cover these 
white walls with the most gorgeous tapestry, to change 
them into noble forests, and all that they can possibly 

The Lamp, however, was kept neat and clean, and stood 
all shining in a corner, where it caught the eyes of all. 
Strangers considered it a bit of old rubbish; but the old peo- 
ple did not care for that; they loved the Lamp. 

One day — it was the old watchman's birthday — the old 



woman approached the Lantern, smihng to herself, and 

"I'll make an illumination to-day in honor of my old 

And the Lamp rattled its metal cover, for it thought. 
"Well, at last there will be a light within me." But only oil 
was produced, and no wax light appeared. The Lamp 
burned throughout the whole evening, but nov>? understood, 
only too well, that the gift of the stars v^^ould be a hidden 
treasure for all its life. Then it had a dream: for one pos- 
sessing its rare faculties to dream was not difficult. It seemed 
as if the old people were dead, and itself had been taken to 
the ironfoundry to be melted down. It felt as m.uch alarmed 
as on that day when it was to appear in the council-house 
to be inspected by the mayor and council. But though the 
power had been given to it to fall into rust and dust at will, 
it did not use this power. It was put in the furnace, and 
turned into an iron candlestick, as fair a candlestick as you 
would desire — one on which wax lights were to be burned. 
It had received the form of an angel holding a great nose- 
gay; and the vv^ax light was to be placed in the miiddle of the 

The candlestick had a place assigned to it on a green 
writing table. The room was very comfortable; many books 
stood round about the walls, which were hung with beauti- 
ful pictures; it belonged to a poet. Everything that he 
wrote or composed showed itself round about him. Nature 
appears sometimes in thick dark forescs, sometimes in beau- 
tiful meadows, where the storks strutted about, sometimes 
again in a ship sailing on the foaming ocean, or in the blue 
sky with all its stars. 

"What faculties lie hidden in me!" said the old Lamp, 
when it awoke. 'T could almost wish to be melted down! 
But no! that cannot be so long as the old people live. They 
love me for myself; they have cleaned me and brought me 
oil. I am as well off now as the whole Congress, in look- 
ing at which they also take pleasure." 

And from that time it enjoyed more inward peace; and 
the honest old Street Lamp had well deserved to enjoy it. 



A Whip-Top and a little Ball were together in a drawer 
among some other toys; and the Top said to the Ball, 
"Shall we not be bridegroom and bride, as we live together 
in the same box?" 

But the Ball, which had a coat of morocco leather, and 
was just as conceited as any fine lady, would make no an- 
swer to such a proposal. 

Next day the little boy came to whom the toys belonged; 
he painted the Top red and yellow, and hammered a brass 
nail into it; and it looked splendid when the Top turned 
round ! 

"Look at me!" he cried to the Ball. "What do you say 
now? Shall v^^e not be engaged to each other? We suit one 
another so well! You jump and I dance! No one could 
be happier than we two should be." 

"Indeed! Do you think so?" replied the little Ball. "Per- 
haps you do not know my papa and mamma were morocco 
slippers, and that I have a Spanish cork inside me?" 

"Yes, but I am made of mahogany," said the Top; "and 
the mayor himself turned me. He has a turning lathe of his 
own, ana it amuses him greatly." 

"Can I depend upon that?" asked the little Ball. 

"May I never be whipped again if it is not true!" replied 
the Top. 

"You can speak well for yourself," observed the Ball, "but 
I cannot grant your request. I am as good as engaged to 
a swallow; every time I leap up into the air she puts her 
head out of her nest and says, 'Will you?' And now I have 
silently said 'Yes,' and that is as good as half engaged; but 
I prom.ise I will never forget you." 

"Yes, that will be much good!" said the Top. 

And they spoke no more to each other. 

The next day the Ball was taken out by the boy. The 
Top saw how it flew high into the air, like a bird ; at last one 
could no longer see it. Each time it came back again, but 
gave a high leap when it touched the earth, and that was 
done either from its longing to mount up again, or because 


it had a Spanish cork in its body. But the ninth time the 
httle Ball remained absent, and did not come back again; 
and the boy sought and sought, but it was gone. 

"I know very well where it is!" sighed the Top. "It is in 
the swallow's nest, and has married the swallow." 

The more the Top thought of this, the more it longed for 
the Ball. Just because it could not get the Ball, its love in- 
creased; and the fact that the Ball had chosen another 
formed a peculiar feature in the case. So the Top danced 
round and hummed, but always thought of the little Ball, 
which became more and more beautiful in his fancy. Thus 
several years went by, and now it was an old love. 

And the Top was no longer young! But one day he was 
gilt all over; never had he looked so handsome; he was now 
a golden Top, and sprang till he hummed again. Yes, that 
was something worth seeing! But all at once he sprang up 
too high, and — he was gone. 

They looked and looked, even in the cellar^ but he was 
not to be found. Where could he be? 

He had jumped into the dustbox, where all kinds of 
things were lying: cabbage stalks, sweepings, and dust 
that had fallen down from the roof. 

"Here's a nice place to lie in! The gilding will soon leave 
me here. Among what a rabble have I alighted." 

And then he looked sideways at a long, leafless cabbage- 
stump, and at a curious round thing that looked like an old 
apple; but it was not an apple — it was an old Ball, which 
had lain for years in the gutter on the roof, and was quite 
saturated with water. 

"Thank goodness, here comes one of us, with whom one 
can talk!" said the little Ball, and looked at the gilt Top. 
"I am really morocco, worked by maiden's hands, and have 
a Spanish cork Avithin me; but no one would think it, to 
look at me. I was very nearly marrying a swallow, but I fell 
into the gutter on the roof, and have lain there full five 
years, and become quite wet through. You may believe me; 
that's a long time for a young girl. 

But the Top said nothing. He thought of his old love; 
and the more he heard, the clearer it became to him that 
this was she. 

Then came the servant girl, and wanted to turn out the 




"Aha! there's a gilt Top!" she cried. 

And so the Top was brought again to notice and honor, 
but nothing was heard of the Httle Ball. And the Top spoke 
no more of his old love; for that dies away when the be- 
loved object has lain for five years in a roof gutter and got 
wet through; yes, one does not know her again when one 
meets her in the dustbox. 


Yes, that was little Tuk. His name was not really Tuk; 
but when he could not speak plainly, he used to call himself 
so. It was to mean "Charley," and it does very well if one 
only knows it. Now, he was to take care of his little sister 
Gustava, who was much smaller that he, and at the same 
time he was to learn his lesson; but these two things would 
not suit well together. The poor boy sat there with his lit- 
tle sister on his lap, and sang her all kinds of songs that he 
knew, and every now and then he gave a glance at the 
geography book that lay open before him: by to-morrow 
morning he was to know all the towns in Zealand by heart, 
and to know everything about them that one can well know. 

Now his mother came home, for she had been out, and 
took little Gustava in her arms. Tuk ran quickly to the 
window, and read so zealously that he had almost read his 
eyes out, for it became darker and darker; but his mother 
had no money to buy candles. 

"There goes the old washerwoman out of the lane yon- 
der," said his mother, as she looked out of the window. 
"The poor woman can hardly drag herself along, and now 
she has to carry the pail of water from the well. Be a good 
boy, Tuk, and run across, and help the old woman. Won't 



And Tuk ran across quickly, and helped her; but when 
he came back into the room it had become quite dark. There 
was nothing said about a candle, and now he had to go to 
bed, and his bed was an old settle. There he lay, and 
thought of his geography lesson, and of Zealand, and of all 
the master had said. He ought certainly to have read it 
again, but he could not do that. So he put the geography 


book under his pillow^ because he had heard that this is a 
very good way to learn one's lesson; but one cannot depend 
upon it. There he lay, and thought and thought; and all 
at once he fancied someone kissed him upon his eyes and 
mouth. He slept, and yet he did not sleep; it was just as if 
the old washerwoman were looking at him with her kind 
eyes, and saying: 

"It would be a great pity if you did not know your les- 
son to-morrow. You have helped me, therefore now I will 
help you ; and Providence will help us both.'' 

a\ll at once the book began to crawl, crawl about under 
Tuk's pillow. 

"Kikeliki! Put! put!" It was a Hen that came crawling 
up, and she came from Kjoge. "I'm a Kjoge hen!" *she 
said very proudly. 

And then she told him how many inhabitants were in the 
town, and about the battle that had been fought there, 
though that was really hardly worth mentioning. 

"Kribli, kribli, plumps!" Something fell down: it was a 
wooden bird, the parrot from the shooting match at Pras- 
toe. He said that there were just as many inhabitants yon- 
der as he had nails in his body; and he was very proud. 
"Thorwaldsen lived close to me.f Plumps ! Plere I lie very 

But now little Tuk no longer lay in bed; on a sudden he 
was on horseback. Gallop, gallop! hop, hop! and so he 
went on. A splendidly attired knight, with flowing plume, 
held him on the front of the saddle, and so they went rid- 
ing on through the wood of the old town of Wordinborg, 
and that was a great and very busy town. On the King's 
castle rose high towers, and the radiance of lights streamed 
from every window; within was song and dancing, and King 
Waldemar and the young, gayly dressed maids of honor 
danced together. Now the morning came on, and so soon 
as the sun appeared the whole city and the King's castle 

* Kjoge, a little town on K.ioge Bay. Lifting up children bs' 
putting the two hsnds to the side of their heads is called "show- 
ing them Kjoge hens." 

t Prastoe, a still smaller town. A few hundred paces from it 
lies the estate of Nysoe, where Thorwaldsen usually lived when 
he was in Denmark, and where he executed manj'' immortal 


suddenly sank down, one tower falling after another; and 
at last only one remained standing on the hill where the cas- 
tle had formerly been;* and the town was very small and 
poor, and the schoolboys came with their books under their 
arms, and said, "Two thousand inhabitants," but that was 
not true, for the town had not so many. 

And little Tuk lay in his bed, as if he dreamed, and yet 
as if he did not dream; but someone stood close beside 

"Little Tuk! little Tuk!" said the voice. It was a sea- 
man, quite a little personage, as small as if he had been a 
cadet; but he was not a cadet. "I'm to bring you a oreeting 
from Corsor; f that is a town which is just in good progress 
— a lively town that has steamers and mail coaches. In 
times past they used always to call it ugly, but that is now 
no longer true. 

" T lie by the seashore,' said Corsor. 'I have high roads 
and pleasure gardens; and I gave birth to a poet who was 
witty and entertaining, and that cannot be said of all of 
them. I wanted once to fit out a ship that was to sail round 
the world ; but I did not do that, though I might have done 
it. But I smell deliciously, for close to my gates the loveliest 
roses bloom.' " 

Little Tuk looked, and it seemed red and green before his 
eyes; but when the confusion of color had a little passed by, 
it changed all at once into a wooden declivity close by a bay, 
and high above it stood a glorious old church with two high 
pointed towers. Out of this hill flowed springs of water in 
thick columns, so that there was a continual splashing, and 
close by sat an old King with a golden crown upon his white 
head : that was King Hroar of the springs, close by the town 
of Roeskilde, as it is now called. And up the hill into the 
old church went all the Kings and Queens of Denmark, 
hand in hand, all with golden crowns; and the organ played, 
and the springs plashed. Little Tuk saw all and heard all. 

* Wordinborg, in King Waldemar's time a considerable town, 
now a place of no importance. Only a lonely tower and a few re- 
mains of a wall show where the castle once stood. 

t Corsor, on the Great Belt, used to be called the most tire- 
some of Danish towns before the establishment of steamers; for 
in those days travelers had often to wait there for a favorable 
wind. The poet Baggesen was born there. 


"Don't forget the towns,"t said King Hroar. 

At once everything had vanished, and whither? It seemed 
to him hke turning a leaf in a book. And novv^ stood there 
an old peasant woman, who came from Soroe, where grass 
grows in the market-place; she had an apron of gray cotton 
thrown over her head and shoulders, and the apron was 
very wet; it must have been raining. 

"Yes, that it has!" said she; and she knew many pretty 
things out of Holberg's plays, and about Waldemar and 
Absalom. But all at once she cowered down, and wagged 
her head as if she were about to spring. "Koax!" said she, 
"it is wet! it is wet! There is a very agreeable death- 
silence in Soroe!"* Now she changed all at once into a 
frog — "Koax!" — and then she became an old woman again. 
"One must dress according to the weather," she said. "It 
is wet! it is wet! My town is just like a bottle: one goes in 
at the cork, and must come out again at the rock. In old 
times I had capital fish, and now I've fresh red cheeked boys 
in the bottom of the bottle, and they learn wisdom — He- 
brew, Greek. — Koax!" 

That sounded just like the croak of the frogs, or the sound 
of someone marching across the moor in great boots; al- 
ways the same note, so monotonous and wearisome that lit- 
tle Tuk fairly fell asleep, and that could not hurt him at 

But even in this sleep came a dream, or whatever it was. 
His little sister Gustava with the blue eyes and the fair 
curly hair was all at once a tall slender maiden, and with- 
out having wings she could fly; and now they flew over 
Zealand, over the green forests and the blue lakes. 

"Do you hear the cock crow, little Tuk? Kikeliki! The 
fowls are flying up out of Kjoge! You shall have a poultry 

$ Roeskilde (Roesquelle, Rose-spring, falsely called Rothschild), 
once the capital of Denmark. The town took its name from 
King Hroar and from the many springs in the vicinitj'. In the 
beautiful cathedral most of the Kings and Queens of Denmark 
are buried. In Roeskilde the Danish Estates used to assemble. 

* Soroe, a very quiet little town, in a fine situation, surrounded 
by forests and lakes. Holberg, the Moliere of Denmark, here 
founded a noble academy. The poets Hanch and Ingman were 
professors here. 


yard — a great, great poultry yard! You shall not suffer 
hunger nor need; and you shall hit the bu'd, as the saying 
is; you shall become a rich and happy man. Your house 
shall rise up like King Waldemar's tower, and shah be 
richly adorned with marble statues, like those of Prastoe. 
You understand me well. Your name shall travel with fame 
round the whole world, like the ship that was to sail from 

"Don't forget the town," said King Hroar. "You will 
speak well and sensibly, little Tuk; and when at last you 
descend to your grave, you shall sleep peacefully " 

"As if I lay in Soroe," said Tuk, and he awoke. It was 
bright morning, and he could not remember his dream. 
But that was not necessary, for one must not know what is 
to happen. 

Now he sprang quickly out of his bed, and read his book, 
and all at once he knew his whole lesson. The old washer- 
woman, too, put her head in at the door, nodded to him in 
a friendly way, and said : 

"Thank you, you good child, for your help. May your 
beautiful dreams come true." 

Little Tuk did not know all what he had dreamed, but 
there was One above who knew it. 


The Flax stood in blossom; it had pretty little blue 
flowers, delicate as a moth's wings, and even more delicate. 
The sun shone on the Flax, and the rain-clouds moistened 
it, and this was just as good for it as it is for little children 
when they are washed, and afterward get a kiss from their 
mother; they become much prettier, and so did the Flax. 

"The people say that I stand uncommonly well," said the 
Flax, "and that I'm fine and long, and shall make a capital 
piece of linen. How happy I am! I'm certainly the happiest 
of beings. How well I am ofif! And I may come to some- 
thing! How the sunshine gladdens, and the rain tastes good 
and refreshes me! I'm the happiest of beings." 

"Yes, yes, yes !" said the Hedge-stake, "You don't know 


the world, but we do, for we have knots in us;" and then it 
creaked out mournfully: 

The song is done." 

"No, it is not done," said the Flax. "To-morrow the sun 
will shine, or the rain will refresh us. I feel that I'm grow- 
ing, I feel that I'm in blossom! I'm the happiest of be- 

But one day the people came and took the Flax by the 
head and pulled it up by the root. That hurt; and it was 
laid in water as if they were going to drown it, and then put 
on the fire as if it was going to be roasted. It was quite 
fearful ! 

"One can't always have good times,'' said the Flax. "One 
must make one's own experiences^ and so one gets to know 

Bad times certainly came. The Flax was moistened and 
roasted, and broken and hackled. Yes, it did not even 
know what the operations were called that they did with it. 
It was put on the spinning-wheel — whirr! whirr! whirr — it 
was not possible to collect one's thoughts. 

"I have been uncommonly happy!" it thought in all its 
pain. "One must be content with the good one has en- 
joyed! Contented! contented! Oh!" And it continued to 
say that when it was put into the loom, and until it became 
a large beautiful piece of linen. All the Flax, to the last 
stalk, was used in making one piece. 

"But this is quite remarkable! I should never have be- 
lieved it! How favorable fortune is to me! The Hedge- 
stake was well informed, truly, with it: 


The song is not done by any means. Now it's beginning in 
earnest. That's quite remarkable! If I've suflfered some- 
thing, I've been made into something! I'm the happiest 
of all! How strong and fine I am, and how white and long! 
That's something dififerent from being a mere plant: even 
if one b?ars flowers, one is not attended to, and only gets 


watered when it rains. Now I'm attended to and cherished: 
the maid turns me over every morning, and I get a shower 
bath from the watering-pot every evening. Yes, the clergy- 
man's wife has even made a speech about me, and says i'm 
the best piece in the whole parish. I cannot be happier!" 

Now the linen was taken into the house, and put under 
the scissors: how they cut and tore it and then pricked it 
with needles! That was not pleasant; but twelve pieces 
of body linen, of a kind not often mentioned by name, but 
indispensable to all people, were made of it — a whole dozen! 

Just look! Now something has really been made of me! 
So that was my destiny. That's a real blessing. Now I 
shall be of some use in the world, and that's right, that's 
a true pleasure! We've been made into twelve things, but 
yet we're all one and the same; we're just a dozen: how re- 
markably charming that is!" 

Years rolled on, and now they would hold together no 

'Tt must be over one day," said each piece. 'T would 
gladly have held together a little longer, but one must not 
expect impossibilities." 

They were now torn into pieces and fragments. They 
thought it was all over now, for they were hacked to shreds, 
and softened and boiled; yes, they themselves did not know 
all that was done to them; and then they became beautiful 
white Paper. 

"Now, that is a surprise, and a glorious surprise!" said 
the Paper. "Now, I'm finer than before, and I shall be writ- 
ten on: that is remarkable good fortune." 

And really the most beautiful stories and verses were 
written upon it, and only once there came a blot; that was 
certainly remarkable good fortune. And the people heard 
what was upon it; it was sensible and good, and made peo- 
ple much more sensible and better: there was a great bless- 
ing in the words that were on this Paper. 

"That is more than I ever imagined when I was a little 
blue flower in the fields. How could I fancy that I should 
ever spread joy and knowledge among men? I can't yet 
understand it myself, but it is really so. I have done noth- 
ing but what I was obliged with my weak pov/ers to do for 
my own preservation, and yet I have been promoted from 
one joy and honor to another. Each time when I think 'the 


song is done,' it begins again in a higher and better way. 
Now I shall certainly be sent about to journey through the 
world, so that all people may read me. That cannot be oth- 
erwise; it's the only probable thing. I've splendid thoughts, 
as many as I had pretty flowers in the old times. I'm the 
happiest of beings." 

But the Paper was not sent on its travels ; it was sent to 
the printer, and everything that was written upon it was set 
up in type for a book, or rather for many hundreds of books, 
for in this way a very far greater number could derive pleas- 
ure and profit from the book than if the one paper on which 
it was written had run about the world, to be worn out be- 
fore it had got half-way. 

"Yes, that is certainly the wisest way," thought the 
Written Paper. "I really did not think of that. I shall stay 
at home, and be held in honor, just like an old grandfather; 
and I am really the grandfather of all these books. Now 
something can be effected: I could not have wandered 
about thus. He who wrote all this looked at me; every' word 
flowed from his pen right into me. I am the happiest of 

Then the Paper was tied together in a bundle, and thrown 
into a tub that stood in the wash-house. 

"It's good resting after work," said the Paper. "It is very 
right that one should collect one's thoughts. Now I'm able 
for the first time to think of what is in me, and to know one- 
self is true progress. What will be done with me now? At 
any rate I shall go forward again; I'm always going for- 
ward. I've found that out." 

Now, one day all the Paper was taken out and laid by on 
the hearth ; it was to be burned, for it might not be sold to 
hucksters to be used for covering for butter and sugar, they 
said. And all the children in the house stood round about, 
for they wanted to see the Paper burn, that flamed up so 
prettily, and afterward one could see many red sparks among 
the ashes, careering here and there. One after another faded 
out quick as the wind, and that they called "seeing the chil- 
dren come out of school," and the last spark was the school- 
master; one of them thought he had already gone, but at 
the next moment there came another spark. "There goes 
the schoolmaster!'' they said. Yes, they all knew about it; 
they should have known who it was that went there: we 


shall get to know it, but they did not. All the old Paper, 
the whole bundle, was laid upon the fire, and it was soon 
alight. "Ugh!" it said, and burst out into bright flame. 
Ugh ! that was not very agreeable, but when the whole was 
wrapped in bright flames these mounted up higher than the 
Flax had ever been able to lift its little blue flowers, and 
glittered as the white Linen had never been able to glitter. 
AH the written letters turned for a moment quite red, and 
all the words and thoughts turned to flame. 

"Now I'm mounting straight up to the sun," said a voice 
in the flame; and it was as if a thousand voices said this in 
unison; and the flames mounted up through the chimney 
and out at the top, and, more delicate than the flames, in- 
visible to human eyes, little tiny beings floated there, as 
many as there had been blossoms on the Flax. They were 
lighter even than the flames from which they were born; 
and when the flame was extinguished, and nothing remained 
of the Paper but black ashes, they danced over it once more, 
and where they touched the black mass the little red sparks 
appeared. The children came out of school, and the school- 
master was the last of all. That was fun ! and the children 
sang over the dead ashes: 

The song is done." 

But the little invisible beings all said: 

"The song is never done, that is the best of all. I know 
it, and therefore Fm the happiest of all." 

But the children could neither hear that nor understand 
it, nor ought they, for children must not know everything. 


The story of the girl who trod on the loaf to avoid soiling 
her shoes, and of the misfortune that befell this girl, is well 
known. It has been written, and even printed. 

The girl's name was Inge: she was a poor child, but proud 
and presumptuous; there was a bad foundation in her, as 


the saying is. When she was quite a little child, it was her 
delight to catch flies, and tear off their wings, so as to con- 
vert them into creeping things. Grown older, she would 
take cockchafers and beetles, and spit them on pins. Then 
she pushed a green leaf or a little scrap of paper toward 
their feet, and the poor creatures seized it, and held it fast, 
and turned it over and over, struggling to get free from the 

"The cockchafer is reading," Inge would say. "See how 
he turns the leaf round and round!" 

With years she grew worse rather than better; but she was 
pretty, and that was her misfortune; otherwise she would 
have been more sharply reproved than she was. 

"Your headstrong will requires something strong to 
break it!" her own mother often said. "As a little child, 
you used to trample on my apron; but I fear you will one 
day trample on my heart." 

And that is what she really did. 

She was sent into the country, in service in the house of 
rich people, who kept her as their own child, and dressed 
her in corresponding style. She looked well, and her pre- 
sumption increased. 

When she had been there about a year, her mistress said 
to her, "You ought once to visit your parents, Inge." 

And Inge set out to visit her parents, but it was only to 
show herself in her native place, and that the people there 
might see how grand she had become; but when she came 
to the entrance of the village, and the young husbandmen 
and maids stood there chatting, and her own mother ap- 
peared among them, sitting on a stone to rest, and with a 
faggot of sticks before her that she had picked up in the 
wood, then Inge turned back, for she felt ashamed that she, 
who was so finely dressed, should have for a mother a ragged 
woman who picked up wood in the forest. She did not turn 
back out of pity for her mother's poverty; she was only 

And another half-year went by, and her mistress said 
again, "You ought to go to your home, and visit your old 
parents, Inge. I'll make you a present of a great wheaten 
loaf that you may give to them : they will certainly be glad 
to see you again." 

And Inge put on her best clothes, and her new shoes, and 


drew her skirts around her, and set out, stepping very care- 
fully, that she might be clean and neat about the feet; and 
there was no harm in that. But when she came to the place 
where the footway led across the moor, and where there was 
mud and puddles, she threw the loaf into the mud, and trod 
upon it to pass over without wetting her feet. But as she 
stood there, with one foot upon the loaf and the other up- 
lifted to step farther, the loaf sank with her, deeper and 
deeper, till she disappeared altogether, and only a great 
puddle, from which the bubbles rose, remained where she 
had been. 

And that's the story. 

But whither did Inge go? She sank into the moor ground, 
and went down to the Moor Woman, who is always brewing 
there. The Moor Woman is cousin to the Elf Maidens, 
who are well known, of whom songs are sung, and whose 
pictures are orinted; but concerning the Moor Woman it 
is only known that when the meadows steam in summer- 
time, it is because she is brewing. Into the Moor Woman's 
brewery did Inge sink down; and no one can endure that 
place long. A box of mud is a place compared with the 
Moor Woman's brewery. Every barrel there has an odor 
that almost takes away one's senses; and the barrels stand 
close to each other; and wherever there is a little opening 
among them, through which one might push one's way, 
the passage becomes impracticable from the number of 
damp toads and fat snakes who sit out their time there. 
Among this company did Inge fall; and all the horrible mass 
of living, creeping things was so icy cold, that she shud- 
dered in all her Hmbs, and became stark and stifif. She con- 
tinued fastened to the loaf, and the loaf drew her down as 
an amber button draws a fragment of straw. 

The Moor Woman was at home, and on that day there 
were visitors in the brewery. These visitors were Old Boge)^ 
and his grandmother, who came to inspect it; and Bogey's 
grandmother is a venomous old woman, who is never idle; 
she never rides out to pay a visit without taking her work 
with her; and accordingly she had brought it on the day in 
q'jestion. She sewed biting leather to be worked into men's 
shoes, and which makes them wander about, unable to set- 
tle anyv/here. She wove webs of lies, and strung together' 
hastily-spoken words that had fallen to the ground; and all 


this was done for the injury and ruin of mankind. Yes, she 
knew how to sew, to weave, and to string, this old grand- 

Catching sight of Inge, she put up her double eyeglass, 
and took another look at the girl. 

"That's a girl who has ability!" she observed, "and I beg 
you will give me the little one as a memento of my visit 
here. She'll make a capital statue to stand in my grandson's 

And Inge was given up to her, and this is how Inge 
came into Bogey's domain. People don't always go there 
by the direct path, but they can get there by roundabout 
routes if they have a tendency in that direction. 

That v/as a never-ending ante-chamber. The visitor be- 
came giddy who looked forward, and doubly giddy when 
he looked back, and saw a whole crowd of people, almost 
utterly exhausted, waiting till the gate of mercy should be 
opened to them — they had to wait a long time! Great fat, 
waddling spiders spun webs of a thousand years over their 
feet, and these webs cut like wire, and bound them 
like bronze fetters; and, moreover, there was an eternal 
unrest working in every heart — a miserable unrest. The 
'miser stood there, and had forgotten the key of his strong 
box, and he knew the key was sticking in the lock. It would 
take too long to describe the various sorts of torture that 
Avere found there together. Inge felt a terrible pain while 
she had to stand there as a statue, for she was tied fast to the 

"That's the fruit of wishing to keep one's feet neat 
and tidy," she said to herself. "Just look how they're all 
staring at me!" 

Yes, certainly, the eyes of all were fixed upon her, and 
their evil thoughts gleamed forth from their eyes, and they 
spoke to one another, moving their lips, from which no 
sound whatever came forth : they were very horrible to be- 

"It must be a great pleasure to look at me!" thought Inge, 
"and indeed I have a pretty face and fine clothes." And 
she turned her eyes, for she could not turn her head, her 
neck was too stifif for that. But she had not considered how 
her clothes had been soiled in the Moor Woman's brew- 
house. Her garments were covered with mud: a snake had 


fastened in her hair, and dangling down her back; and out 
of each fold of her frock a great toad looked forth, croak- 
ing like an asthmatic poodle. That was very disconcerting. 
"But all the rest of them down here look horrible," she ob- 
served to herself, and derived consolation from the thought 
The worst of all was the terrible hunger that tormented 
her. But could she not stoop and break off a piece of the 
loaf on which she stood? No, her back was so stiff her 
hands and arms were benumbed, and her whole body was 
like a pillar of stone; only she was able to turn her eyes in 
her head to turn them quite round, so that she could see 
backward: it was an ugly sight. And then the flies came up, 
and crept to and fro over her eyes, and she blinked her eyes 
but the flies would not go away, for they could not fly' 
their wmgs had been pulled out, so that they were con- 
verted into creeping insects: it was horrible torment added 
to^the hunger, for she felt empty, quite, entirely empty 

If this lasts much longer," she said, 'T shall not be able 
to bear it. 

But she had to bear it, and it lasted on and on. 
Ihen a hot tear fell down upon her head, rolled over her 
tace and neck, down on to the loaf on which she stood- and 
then another tear rolled down, followed by many more 
Who might be weeping for Inge? Had she not still a 
mother m the world? The tears of sorrow which a mother 
weeps for her child always make their way to the child; but 
they do not relieve it; they only increase its torment. And 
now to bear this unendurable hunger, and yet not be 
u UA ^'^^^the. ^oaf on which she stood! She felt as if 
she had been feeding on herself, and had become like a thin, 
hollow reed that takes m every sound, for she heard every^ 
thing that was said of her up in the world, and all that she 
heard was hard and evil. Her mother, indeed, wept much 
and sorrowed for her, but for all that she said, "A haughty 
spirit goes be ore a fall. That was thy ruin, Inge. Thou 
hast sorely grieved thy mother." ^ 

Her mother and all on earth knew of the sin she had 
commmed; knew that she had trodden upon the loaf and 

frnrn T vul ?PP;^''^' ^°" ^^^ ^°^herd had seen it 
irom the hill beside the moor. 

rr^^f^^'^^Hy ^^'^ *^°" grieved 'thy mother, Inge," said the 
mother; "yes, yes, I thought it would be thus " 


"Oh, that I never had been born!" thought Inge: "it 
would have been far better. But what use is my mother's 
weeping now?" 

And she heard how her master and mistress, who had kept 
and cherished her like kind parents, now said she was a 
sinful child, and did not value the gifts of God, but trampled 
them under her feet, and that the gates of mercy would only 
open slowly to her. 

"They should have punished me," thought Inge, "and 
have driven out the whims I had in my head." 

She heard how a complete song was made about her, a 
song of the proud girl who trod upon the loaf to keep her 
shoes clean, and she heard how the song was sung every- 

"That I should have to bear so much evil for that!" 
thought Inge; "the others ought to be punished, too, for 
their sins. Yes, then there would be plenty of punishing 
to do. Ah, how I'm being tortured!" 

And her heart became harder than her outward form. 

"Here in this company one can't even become better," 
she said, "and I don't want to become better! Look how 
they're all staring at me !" And her heart was full of anger 
and malice against all men. "Now they've something to 
talk about at last up yonder. Ah, how I am being tor- 

And then she heard how her story was told to the little 
children, and the little ones called her the godless Inge, and 
said that she was so naughty and ugly that she must be well 

Thus even the children's mouths spoke hard words of her. 

But one day, while grief and hunger gnawed her hollow 
frame, and she heard her name mentioned and her story told 
to an innocent child, a little girl, she became aware that the 
little one burst into tears at the tale of the haughty, vain 

"But will Inge never come up here again?" asked the 
little girl. 

And the reply was, "She will never come up again." 

"But if she were to say she was sorrv, and to beg pardon, 
and say she would never do so again?'' 

"Yes, then she might come; but she vdll not beg pardon," 
was the reply. 


'■'I should be so glad if she would," said the little girl; and 
she appeared to be quite inconsolable. "I'll give my doll 
and all my playthings if she may only come up. It's too 
dreadful — poor Inge!" 

And these words penetrated to Inge's inmost heart, and 
seemed to do her good. It was the first time anyone had 
said "Poor Inge," without adding anything about her faults: 
a little innocent child was weeping and praying for mercy 
for her. It made her feel quite strangely, and she herself 
would gladly have wept, but she could not weep, and that 
was a torment in itself. 

While years were passing above her, for where she was 
there was no change, she heard herself spoken of more and 
more seldom. At last one day a sigh struck on her ear: 
"Inge, Inge, how you have grieved me! I said how it 
would be!" It was the last sigh of her dying mother. 

Occasionally she heard her name spoken by her former 
employers, and they were pleasant words when the woman 
said, "Shall I ever see thee again, Inge? One knows not 
what may happen?" 

But Inge knew right well that her good mistress would 
never come to the place where she was. 

And again time went on — a long, bitter time. Then 
Inge heard her name pronounced once more, and saw two 
bright stars that seemed gleaming above her. They were 
two gentle eyes closing upon earth. So many years had 
gone by since the little girl had been inconsolable and wept 
about "poor Inge," that the child had become an old wo- 
man, and was now to be called home to heaven; and in the 
last hour of existence, when the events of the whole life 
stand at once before us, the old woman remembered how as 
a child she had cried heartily at the story of Inge. 

And the eyes of the old woman closed, and the eye of her 
soul was opened to look upon the hidden things. She, in 
whose last thoughts Inge had been present so vividly, saw 
how deeply the poor girl had sunk, and burst into tears at 
the sight; in heaven she stood like a child, and wept for 
poor Inge. And her tears and prayers sounded like an 
echo in the dark empty space that surrounded the tor- 
mented, captive soul, and the unhoped-for love from above 
conquered her, for an angel was weeping for her. Why 
was this vouchsafed to her? The tormented soul seemed 



to gather in her thoughts every deed she had done on earth, 
and she, Inge, trembled and wept such tears as she had 
never yet wept. She was filled with sorrow about herself: 
it seemed as though the gate of mercy could never open to 
her; and while in deep penitence she acknowledged this, a 
beam of light shot radiantly down into the depths to her, 
with a greater force than that of the sunbeam which melts 
the snow man the boys have built up ; and quicker than the 
snowflake melts and becomes a drop of water that falls on 
the warm lips of a child, the stony form of Inge was changed 
to mist, and a little bird soared with the speed of lightning 
upward into the world of men. But the bird was timid and 
shy toward all things around; he was ashamed of himself, 
ashamed to encounter any living thing, and hurriedly sought 
to conceal himself in a dark hole in an old crumbling wall; 
there he sat cowering, trembling through his whole frame, 
and unable to utter a sound, for he had no voice. Long he 
sat there before he could rightly see all the beauty around 
him; for it was beautiful. The air was fresh and mild, the 
moon cast its mild radiance over the earth; trees and bushes 
exhaled fragrance, and it was right pleasant where he sat, 
and his coat of feathers was clean and pure. How all 
creation seemed to speak of beneficence and love! The 
bird wanted to sing of the thoughts that stirred in his breast, 
but he could not; gladly would he have sung as the cuckoo 
and the nightingale sang in the springtime. But Heaven, 
that hears the mute song of praise of the worm, could hear 
the notes of praise which now trembled in the breast of 
the bird, as David's psalms were heard before they had fash- 
ioned themselves into words and song. 

For weeks these toneless songs stirred within the bird; at 
last the holy Christmas time approached. Tlie peasant who 
dwelt near set up a pole by the old wall, with some ears of 
corn bound to the top, that the birds of heaven might have 
a good meal, and rejoice in the happy, blessed time. 

And on Christmas morning the sun arose and shone upon 
the ears of corn, which were surrounded by a number of 
twittering birds. Then out of the hole in the wall streamed 
forth the voice of another bird, and the bird soared forth 
from his hiding place; and in heaven it was well known 
what bird this was. 

It was a hard winter. The ponds were covered with ice, 


and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air were 
stinted for food. Our Httle bird soared away over the high 
road, and in the ruts of the sledges he found here and there 
a grain of corn, and at the halting places some crumbs. Of 
these he ate only a few, but he called all the other hungry 
sparrows around him^ that they, too, might have some food. 
He flew into the towns, and looked round about; and wher- 
ever a kind hand had strewn bread on the window sill for 
the birds, he only ate a single crumb himself, and gave all 
the rest to the other birds. 

In the course of the winter, the bird had collected so 
many bread crumbs, and given them to the other birds, 
that they equaled the weight of the loaf on which Inge had 
trod to keep her shoes clean; and when the last bread crumb 
had been found and given, the gray wings of the bird be- 
came white, and spread far out. 

"Yonder is a sea swallow, flying away across the water," 
said the children, when they saw the white bird. Now it 
dived into the sea, and now it rose again into the clear sun- 
light. It gleamed white; but no one could tell whither it 
went, though some asserted that it flew straight into the 


In the nursery a number of toys lay strewn about; high 
up, on the wardrobe, stood the money box, made of clay and 
purchased of the potter, and it was in the shape of a little 
pig; of course the pig had a slit in his back, and this slit 
had been so enlarged with a knife that whole dollar pieces 
could slip through; and, indeed, two such had slipped into 
the box, besides a number of pence. The Money Pig was 
stuffed so full that it could no longer rattle, and that is the 
highest point of perfection a money pig can attain. There it 
stood upon the cupboard, high and lofty, looking down 
upon everything else in the room. It knew very well that 
what it had in its stomach would have bought all the toys, 
and that is what we call having self-respect. 

The others thought of that too, even if they did not ex- 
actly express it, for there were many other things to speak 
of. One of the drawers was half pulled out, and there lay 


a great, handsome Doll, though she was somewhat old, and 
her neck had been mended. She looked out and said:' 

"Now we'll play at men and women, for that is always 
something!" ^ 

And now there was a general uproar, and even the 
framed prints on the walls turned round and showed that 
there was a wrong side to them; but they did not do it to 
protest against the proposal. 

It was late at night; the moon shone through the window 
frames and afforded the cheapest light. The game was 
now to begin, and all even the children's Go-Cart which 
certamly belonged to the coarser playthings, were 'invited 
to take part in the sport. 

^^ "Each one has his own peculiar value," said the Go-Cart • 
we cannot all be noblemen. There must be some who do 
the work, as the saying is." 

_ The Money Pig was the only one who received a written 
mvitation, for he was of high standing, and they were 
afraid he would not accept a verbal message. Indeed, he 
did not_ answer to say whether he would come, nor did he 
come: if he was to take a part, he must enjoy the sport from 
his own home; they were to arrange accordingly, and so 
they did. 

The little toy theater was now put up in such a way that 
the Money Pig could look directly in. They wanted to be- 
gin with a comedy, and afterward there was to be a tea party 
and a discussion for mental improvement, and with this 
latter part they began immediately. The Rocking Horse 
spoke of training and races, the Go-Cart of railwavs and 
steam power, for all this belonged to their profession 'and it 
was quite right they should talk of it. The Clock talked 
politics— ticks— sticks— and knew what was the time of day, 
though it was whispered he did not go correctly the 
Bamboo Cane stood there, stiff and proud, for he was con- 
ceited about his brass ferrule and his silver top, for beino- 
thus bound above and below; and on the sofa lay two 
worked Cushions, pretty and stupid, and now the plav be- 

All sat and looked on. and it was requested that the audi- 
ence should applaud and crack and stamp according as they 
were gratified. But the Riding Whip said he never cracked 


for old people, only for young ones who were not yet mar- 

"I crack for everything," said the Cracker. 

All these were the thoughts they had while the play went 
on. The piece was worthless, but it was well played; all 
the characters turned their painted side to the audience, for 
they were so made that they should only be looked at from 
that side, and not from the other; and all played wonder- 
fully well, coming out quite beyond the lamps, because the 
wires were a little too long, but that only made them come 
out the more. The darned Doll was quite exhausted with 
excitement — so thoroughly exhausted that she burst at the 
darned place in her neck, and the Money Pig was so en- 
chanted in his way that he formed the resolution to do 
something for one of the players, and to remember him in 
his will as the one who should be buried with him in the 
family vault, when matters were so far advanced. 

It was true enjoyment, such true enjoyment that they 
quite gave up the thoughts of tea, and only carried out the 
idea of mental recreation. That's what they called playing 
at men and women ; and there was nothing wrong in it, for 
they were only playing; and each one thought of himself 
and of what the Money Pig might think; and the Money 
Pig thought farthest of all, for he thought of making his 
will and of his burial. And when might this come to pass? 
Certainly far sooner than was expected. Crack! it fell 
down from the cupboard — fell on the ground, and was 
broken to pieces; and the pennies hopped and danced in 
comical style: the little ones turned round like tops, and 
the bigger ones rolled away, particularly the one great 
silver dollar who wanted to go out into the world. And he 
came out into the world, and they all succeeded in doing 
so. And the pieces of the Money Pig were put into the 
dust bin; but the next day a new Money Pig was standing 
on the cupboard: it had not yet a farthing in its stomach, 
and therefore could not rattle, and in this it was like the 
other. And that was a beginning — and with that we will 
make an end. 



There was once a Darning-Needle, who thought herself 
so fine, she imagined she was an embroidering needle. 

'Take care, and mind you hold me tight!" she said to 
the Fingers which took her out. "Don't let me fall! If I 
fall on the ground I shall certainly never be found again, for 
I am so fine!" 

"That's as it may be," said the Fingers; and they grasped 
her round the body. 

"See, I'm coming with a train !" said the Darning-Needle, 
and she drew a long thread ?fter her, but there was no knot 
in the thread. 

The Fingers pointed the needle just at the cook's slipper, 
in which the upper leather had burst, and was to be sewn 

"That's vulgar work," said the Darning-Needle. "I shall 
never get through. I'm breaking! I'm breaking!" And 
she really broke. ''Did I not say so?" said the Darning- 
Needle; "I'm too fine." 

"Now it's quite useless," said the Fingers; but they were 
obliged to hold her fast, all the same; for the cook dropped 
some sealing wax upon the needle, and pinned her handker- 
chief together with it in front. 

"So now I'm a breastpin!" said the Darning-Needle. "I 
knew very well that I should come to honor: when one is 
something, one comes to something." 

And she laughed quietly to 'nerself — and one can never see 
when a Darning-Needle laughs. There she sat, as proud as 
if sTie was in a state coach, and looked all about her. 

May I be permitted to ask if you are of gold?" she in- 
quired of the pin, her neighbor. "You have a very pretty 
appearance, and a peculiar head, but it is only little. You 
must take pains to grow, for it's not everyone that has seal- 
ing wax dropped upon him." 

And the Darning-Needle drew herself up so proudly that 
she fell out of the handkerchief right into the sink, which 
the cook was rinsing out. 

"Now we're going on a journey," said the Darning- 
Needle. "If I only don't get lost." 


But she really was lost. 

"I'm too fine for this world," she observed, as she lay in 
the gutter. "But I know who I am, and there's always 
something in that." 

So the Darning-Needle kept her proud behavior, and did 
not lose her good humor. And things of many kinds swam 
over her, chips and straws and pieces of old newspapers, 

"Only look how they sail!" said the Darning-Needle. 
"They don't know what is under them! I'm here; I remain 
firmly here. See, there goes a chip thinking of nothing in 
the world but of himself — of a chip ! There's a straw going 
by now. How he turns! How he twirls about! Don't 
think only of yourself; you might easily run up against a 
stone. There swims a bit of newspaper. What's written 
upon it has long been forgotten, and yet it gives itself airs. 
I sit quietly and patiently here. I know who I am, and I 
shall remain what I am." 

One day something lay close beside her that glittered 
splendidly; then the Darning-Needle believed that it was 
a diamond; but it was a Bit of broken Bottle; and because it 
shone, the Darning-Needle spoke to it, introducing herself 
as a breastpin. 

"I suppose you are a diamond?" she observed. 

"Why, yes, something of that kind." 

And then each believed the other to be a very valuable 
thing; and they began speaking about the world, and how 
very conceited it was. 

"I have been in a lady's box, said the Darning-Needle^ 
"and this lady was a cook. She had five fingers on each 
hand, and I never saw anything so conceited as those five 
fingers. And yet they were only there that they might take 
me out of the box, and put me back into it." 

"Were they of good birth?" asked the Bit of Bottle. 

"No, indeed," replied the Darning-Needle, "but very 
haughty. There were five brothers, all of the Finger family. 
They kept very proudly together, though they were of dif- 
ferent lengths: the outermost, the thumbling, was short 
and fat; he walked out in front of the ranks, and only had 
one joint in his back, and could only make a single bow; but 
he said if he were hacked off from a man, that man was use- 
less from service in war. Dainty-mouth, the second finger, 
thrust himself into sweet and sour, pointed to the sun and 


moon, and gave the impression when they wrote. Long- 
man, the third, looked at all the others over his shoulder. 
Goldborder, the fourth, went about with a golden belt round 
his waist; and little Playman did nothing at all, and was 
proud of it. There was nothing but bragging among them, 
and therefore I went away." 

"And now we sit here and glitter!" said the Bit of Bot- 

At that moment more water came into the gutter, so that 
it overflowed, and the Bit of Bottle was carried away. 

"So, he is disposed of," observed the Darning-Needle. 
"I remain here, I am too fine. But that's my pride, and my 
pride is honorable." And proudly she sat there, and had 
many great thoughts. "I could almost believe I had been 
born of a sunbeam, I'm so fine. It really appears to me as 
if the sunbeam.s were ahvays seeking for me under the water. 
Ah! I'm so fine that my mother cannot find me. If I had 
my old eye, which broke off, I think I should cry; but, no, 
I should not do that; it's not genteel to cry." 

One day a couple of street boys lay grubbing in the 
gutter, where they sometimes found old nails, farthings, and 
similar treasures. It was dirty work, but they took great 
delight in it. 

"Oh!" cried one, who had pricked himself with the Darn- 
ing-Needle. "There's a fellow for you." 

"I'm not a fellow, I'm a young lady," said the Darning- 

But nobody listened to her. The sealing wax had come 
off, and she had turned black; but black makes one look 
slender, and she thought herself finer even than before. 

"Here comes an egg-shell sailing along," said the boys; 
and they stuck the Darning-Needle fast into the egg-shell. 

"White walls, and black myself! that looks well," re- 
remarked the Darning Needle. "Now one can see me. I 
only hope I shall not be seasick!" But she was not seasick 
at all. "It is good against seasickness, if one has a steel 
stomach, and does not forget that one is a little more than 
an ordinar}' person! Now my seasickness is over. The finer 
one is, the more one can bear." 

"Crack!" went the egg-shell, for a handbarrow went over 


"Good Heavens, how it crushes one!" said the Darning- 
Needle. "I'm getting seasick now — I'm quite sick." 

But she was not really sick, though the handbarrow went 
over her; she lay there at full length, and there she may 


Out in the forest stood a pretty little Fir Tree. It had a 
good place; it could have sunlight, air there was in plenty, 
and all around grew many larger comrades — pines as well 
as firs. But the little Fir Tree wished ardently to become 
greater. It did not care for the warm sun and the fresh air; 
it took no notice of the peasant children, who went about 
talking together, when they had come out to look for straw- 
berries and raspberries. Often they came with a whole pot- 
full, or had strung berries on a straw; then they would sit 
down by the little Fir Tree and say, "How pretty and small 
that one is!" and the Fir Tree did not like to hear that at 

Next year he had grown a great joint, and the following 
year he was longer still, for in fir trees one can always tell 
by the number of rings they have how many years they 
have been growing. 

"Oh, if I were only as great a tree as the other!" sighed 
the little Fir, "then I would spread my branches far around, 
and look out from my crown into the wide world. The birds 
would then build nests in my boughs, and when the wind 
blew I could nod just as grandly as the others yonder." 

It took no pleasure in the sunshine, in the birds, and in 
the red clouds that went sailing over him morning and even- 

When it was winter, and the snow lay all around, white 
and sparkling, a hare v*'ould often come jumping along, and 
spring right over the little Fir Tree. Oh! this made him so 
angry. But two winters went by, and when the third came 
the little Tree had grown so tall that the hare was obliged 
to run round it. 

"Oh! to grow, to grow, and become old; that's the only 
fine thing in the world," thought the Tree. 

In the autumn woodcutters always came and felled a few 


of the largest trees; that was done this year too, and the lit- 
tle Fir tree, that was now quite well grown, shuddered with 
fear, for the great stately trees fell to the ground with a 
crash, and their branches were cut off, so that the trees 
looked quite naked, long, and slender — they could hardly be 
recognized. But then they were laid upon wagons, and 
horses dragged them away out of the wood. Where were 
they going? What destiny awaited them? 

In the spring, when the Swallows and the Stork came, 
the Tree asked them, "Do you know where they were taken 
Did you not meet them?" 

The Swallows knew nothing about it, but the Stork looked 
thoughtful, nodded his head, and said: 

"Yes, I think so. I met many new ships when I flew out 
of Egypt; on the ships were stately masts; I fancy these 
were the trees. They smelt like fir. I can assure you they're 
stately — very stately." 

"Oh that I were only big enough to go over the sea! 
What kind of thing is this sea, and how does it look?" 

"It would take too long to explain all that," said the 
Stork, and he went away. 

"Rejoice in thy youth," said the Sunbeams; "rejoice in thy 
fresh growth, and in the young life that is within thee." 

And the wind kissed the Tree, and the dew wept tears 
upon it; but the Fir Tree did not understand that. 

When Christmas-time approached, quite young trees were 
felled, sometimes trees which were neither so old nor so 
large as this Fir Tree, that never rested, but always wanted 
to go away. These young trees, which were always the most 
beautiful, kept all their branches; they were put upon 
wagons, and horses dragged them away out of the wood. 

'Where are they all going?" asked the Fir Tree. "They 
are not greater than I — indeed, one of them was much 
smaller. Why do they keep all their branches? Whither 
are they taken?" 

''We know that! We know that!" chirped the Sparrows. 
"Yonder in the town we looked in at the windows. We 
know where they go. Oh! they are dressed up in the great- 
est pomp and splendor that can be imagined. We have 
looked in at the windows, and have perceived that they are 
planted in the middle of a warm room, and adorned with the 


most beautiful things — gilt apples, honey-cakes, playthings, 
and many hundreds of candles." 

"And then?" asked the Fir Tree, and trembled through 
all its branches. "And then? What happens then?" 

"Why, we have not seen anything more. But it was 

"Perhaps I may be destined to tread this glorious path 
one day!" cried the Fir Tree, rejoicingly. "That is even bet- 
ter than traveling across the sea. How painfully I long for 
it! If it were only Christmas now! Now I am great and 
grown up, like the rest who were led away last year. Oh, 
if I were only on the carriage! If I were only in the warm 
room, among all the pomp and splendor! And then? Yes, 
then something even better will come, something far more 
charming, or else why should they adorn me so? There 
must be something grander, something greater still to come; 
but what? Oh! I'm sufifering, I'm longing! I don't know 
myself what is the matter with me!" 

"Rejoice in us," said Air and Sunshine. "Rejoice in thy 
fresh youth here in the woodland." 

But the Fir Tree did not rejoice at all, but it grew and 
grew; winter and summer it stood there, green, dark green. 
The people who saw it said, "That's a handsome tree!" and 
at Christmas-time it was felled before anyone of the others. 
The ax cut deep into its marrow, and the tree fell to the 
ground with a sigh ; it felt a pain, a sensation of faintness, and 
could not think at all of happiness, for it was sad at parting 
from it home, from the place where it had grown up; it 
knew that it should never again see the dear old compan- 
ions, the little bushes and flowers all round — perhaps not 
even the birds. The parting was not at all agreeable. 

The Tree only came to itself when it was vmloaded in a 
yard, with other trees, and heard a man say: 

"This one is famous ; we only want this one !" 

Now two servants came in gay liveries, and carried the 
Fir Tree into a large, beautiful saloon. All around the walls 
hung pictures, and by the great stove stood large Chinese 
vases with lions on the covers; there were rocking-chairs, 
silken sofas, great tables covered with picture books, and 
toys worth a hundred times a hundred dollars, at least the 
children said so. And the Fir Tree was put into a great tub, 
filled with sand; but no one could see that it was a tub, 


for it was hung round with green cloth, and stood on a large, 
many-colored carpet. O'h, how the Tree trembled! 
What was to happen now? The servants, and the young 
ladies also, decked it out. On one branch they hung lit- 
tle nets, cut out of colored paper; every net was filled with 
sweetmeats; golden apples and walnuts hung down, as if 
red, v/hite, and blue, were fastened to the different boughs, 
they grew there, and more than a hundred little candles, 
Dolls that looked exactly like real people — the Tree had 
never seen such before — swung among the foliage, and high 
on the summit of the Tree was fixed a tinsel star. It was 
splendid, particularly splend'd. 

"This evening," said all, "this evening it will shine." 

"Oh," thought the Tree, "that it were evening already! 
Oh, that the lights may be soon lit up! When may that be 
done? I wonder if trees will come out of the forest to look 
at me? Will the Sparrows fly against the panes? Shall I 
grow fast here, and stand adorned in summer and winter?" 

Yes, he did not guess badly. But he had a complete 
backache from m.ere longing, and the backache is just as 
bad for a tree as the headache for a person. 

At last the candles were lighted. What a brilliance, what 
splendor! The Tree trembled so in all its branches that one 
of the candles set fire to a green twig, and it was scorched. 

"Heaven preserve us!" cried the young ladies; and they 
hastily put the fire out. 

Now the Tree might not even tremble. Oh, that was ter- 
rible! It was so afraid of setting fire to some of its orna- 
ments, and it was quite bewildered with all the brilliance. 
A-nd now the folding doors were thrown open, and a number 
of children rushed in as if they would have overturned the 
whole Tree; the older people followed more deliberately. 
The little ones stood quite silent, but only for a minute; 
then they shouted till the room rang: they danced gleefully 
round the Tree, and one present after another was plucked 
from it. 

"What are they about?" thought the Tree. "What's go- 
ing to be done?" 

And the candles burned down to the twigs, and as they 
burned down they were extinguished, and then the chil- 
dren received permission to plunder the Tree. Oh! they 
rushed in upon it, so that every branch cracked again: if 


it had not been fastened by the top and by the golden star 
to the ceiHng, it would have fallen down. 

The children danced about with their pretty toys. No 
one looked at the Tree except one old man, who came up 
and peeped among the branches, but only to see if a fig or 
an apple had not been forgotten. 

"A story! A story!" shouted the children; and they drew 
a little fat man toward the tree; and he sat down just be- 
neath it — "for then we shall be in the green wood," said he, 
"and the Tree may have the advantage of listening to my 
tale. But I can only tell one. Will you hear the story of 
Ivede- Avede, or of Klumpey-Dumpey, who fell downstairs, 
and still was raised up to honor and married the Princess?" 

"Ivede-Avede!" cried some, "Klumpey-Dumpey!" cried 
others, and there was a great crying and shouting. Only 
the Fir Tree v/as quite silent, and thought, "Shall T not be in 
it? Shall I have nothing to do in it?" But he had been in 
the evening's amusement, and had done what was required 
of him. 

And the fat man told about Klumpey-Dumpey who fell 
downstairs, and yet was raised to honor and married the 
Princess. And the children clapped their hands, and cried, 
"Tell another! tell another!" for they wanted to hear about 
Ivere- Avede; but they only got the story of Klumpey- 
Dumpey. The Fir Tree stood quite silent and thoughtful; 
never had the birds in the wood told such a story as that. 
Klumpey-Dumpey fell downstairs, and yet came to honor 
and married the Princess! 

"Yes, so it happens in the world !" thought the Fir Tree, 
and believed it must be true, because that was such a nice 
man who told it. "Well, who can know? Perhaps I shall 
fall downstairs, too, and marry a Princess!" And it looked 
forward vv^ith pleasure to being adorned again, the next 
evening, with candles and toys, gold and fruit. "To-mor- 
row I shall not tremble," it thought. 

"I will rejoice in all my splendor. To-morrow I shall hear 
the story of Klumpey-Dumpey again, and perhaps that of 
Ivede-Avede, too." 

And the Tree stood all night quiet and thoughtful. 

In the morning the servants and the chambermaid came 

^'Now my splendor will begin afresh," thought the Tree. 


But they dragged him out of tTie room, and upstairs to the 
garret, and here they put him in a dark corner where no 
dayhght shone. 

"What's the meaning of this?" thought the Tree. "What 
am I to do here? What is to happen?" 

And he leaned against the wall and thought, and thought. 
And he had time enough, for days and nights went by, and 
nobody came up; and when at length someone came, it 
was only to put some great boxes in a corner. Now the Tree 
stood quite hidden away, and the supposition is that it was 
quite forgotten. 

"Now it's winter outside," thought the Tree. "The earth 
is hard and covered with snow, and people cannot plant me; 
therefore I suppose I'm to be sheltered here until spring 
comes. How considerate that is! How good people are! 
If it were only not so dark here, and so terribly solitary! — • 
not even a little hare? That was pretty out there in the 
wood, when the snow lay thick and the hare sprang past; 
yes, even when he jumped over me; but then I did not like 
it. It is terribly lonely up here!" 

"Piep! piep!" said a little Mouse, and crept forward, and 
then came another little one.' They smelt at the Fir Tree, 
and then slipped among the branches. 

"It's horrible cold," said the two little Mice, "or else it 
would be comfortable here. Don't you think so, you old 
Fir Tree?" 

"I'm not old at all," said the Fir Tree. "There are many 
much older than I." 

"Where do you come from?" asked the Mice. "And 
what do you know?" They were dreadfully inquisitive. 
"Tell us about the most beautiful spot on earth. Have you 
been there ^ Have you been in the store room, where cheeses 
lie on the shelves, and hams hang from the ceiling, where 
one dances on tallow candles, and goes in thin and comes 
out fat?" 

"I don't know that," replied the Tree; "but I know the 
wood, where the sun shines and the birds sing." 

And then it told all about its youth. 

And the little Mice had never heard anything of the kind; 
and they listened and said: 

"What a number of things you have seen! How happy 
you must have been !" 


"I?" replied the Fir Tree; and it thought about what it 
had told. "Yes, those were really quite happy times." But 
then he told of the Christmas Eve, when he had been hung 
with sweetmeats and candles. 

"Oh!" said the little Mice, "how happy you have been, 
you old Fir Tree!" 

"I'm not old at all," said the Tree. "I only came out of 
the wood this winter. I'm only rather backward in my 

"What splendid stories you can tell!" said the little Mice. 

And next night they came with four other little Mice, to 
hear what the Tree had to relate; and the more it said, the 
more clearly did it remember everything, and thought, 
"Those were quite merry days. But they may come again. 
Klumpey-Dumpey fell downstairs, and yet he married the 
Princess. Perhaps I may marry a Princess too?" And then 
the Fir Tree thought of a pretty little Birch Tree that grew 
out in the forest: for the Fir Tree, that Birch was a real 

"Who's Klumpey-Dumpey?" asked the little Mice. 

And then the Fir Tree told the whole story. It could re- 
member every single word; and the little Mice were ready 
to leap to the very top of the tree with pleasure. Next night 
a great many more Mice came, and on Sunday two Rats 
even appeared; but these thought the story was not pretty, 
and the little Mice were sorry for that^ for now they also did 
not like it so much as before. 

"Do you only know one story?" asked the Rats. 

"Only that one," replied the Tree. "I heard that on the 
happiest evening of my Hfe; I did not think then how hap- 
py I was." 

"That's a very miserable story. Don't you know any 
about bacon and tallow candies — a store-room story?" 

"No," said the Tree. 

"Then we'd rather not hear you," said the Rats. 

And they went back to their own people. The little Mice 
at last stayed away also; and then the Tree sighed and said: 

"It was very nice when they sat round me, the merry lit- 
tle Mice, and listened when I spoke to them. Now that's 
past too. But I shall remember to be pleased when they 
take me out." 

But when did that happen? Why, it was one morning 


that people came and rummaged in the garret: the boxes 
were put away, and the Tree brought out; they certainly 
threw him rather roughly on the floor, but a servant 
dragged him away at once to the stairs, where the daylight 

"Now life is beginning again!" thought the Tree. 

It felt the fresh air and the first sunbeams, and now it was 
out in the courtyard. Everything passed so quickly that the 
Tree quite forgot to look at itself, there was so much to look 
at all round. The courtvard was close to a garden, and here 
everything was blooming; the roses hung fresh and fragrant 
over the little paling, the linden trees were in blossom, and 
the Swallows cried, "Quinze-wit! quinze-wit! my husband's 
come!" But it was not the Fir Tree that they meant. 

"Now I shall live!" said the Tree, rejoicingly, and spread 
its branches far out; but, alas! they were all withered and 
yellow; and it lay in the corner among nettles and weeds. 
The tinsel star was still upon it, and shone in the bright sun- 

In the courtyard a couple of the merry children were play- 
ing who had danced round the Tree at Christmas time, and 
had rejoiced over it. One of the youngest ran up and tore 
ofif the golden star. 

"Look what is sticking to the ugly old Fir Tree!" said 
the child, and he trod upon the branches till they cracked 
again under his boots. 

And the Tree looked at all the blooming flowers and the 
splendor of the garden, and then looked at itself, and wished 
it had remained in the dark corner of the garret; it thought 
of its fresh youth in the wood, of the merry Christmas Eve, 
and of the little Mice which had listened so pleasantly to the 
story of Klumpey-Dumpey. 

"Past! past!" said the old Tree. "Had I but rejoiced 
when I could have done so! Past! past!" 

And the servant came and chopped the Tree into little 
pieces; a whole bundle lay there; it blazed brightly under 
the great brewing copper, and it sighed deeply, and each 
sigh was like a little shot; and the children who were at play 
there ran up and seated themselves at the fire, looked into 
it, and cried "Pufif! pufif!" But at each explosion, which 
was a deep sigh, the Tree thought of a summer day in the 
woods, or of a winter night there, when the stars beamed; 


he thought of Christmas Eve and of Klumpey-Dumpey, the 
only story he had ever heard or knew how to tell; and then 
the Tree was burned. 

The boys played in the garden, and the youngest had on 
his breast a golden star, which the Tree had worn on its 
happiest evening. Now that was past, and the Tree's life 
was past, and the story is past too: past! past! — and that's 
the way with all stories. 


"I want to be something!" said the eldest of five brothers. 
"I want to do something in the world. I don't care how 
humble my position may be in society, if I only effect some 
good, for that will really be something. I'll make bricks, for 
they are quite indispensable things, and then I shall truly 
have done something." 

"But that something will not be enough!" quoth the sec- 
ond brother. "What you intend doing is just as much as 
nothing at all. It is journeymen's work, and can be done by 
a machine. No, I would rather be a bricklayer at once, for 
that is something real; and thafs what I will be. That 
brings rank: as a bricklayer one belongs to a guild, and is 
a citizen, and has one's own flag and one's own house of 
call. Yes, and if all goes well, I will keep journeymen. I 
shall become a master bricklayer, and my wife will be a mas- 
ter's wife — that is what I call something." 

"That's nothing at all!" said the third. "That is beyond 
the pale of the guild, and there are many of those in a 
town that stand far above the mere master artisan. You 
may be an honest man; but as a 'master' you will after all 
only belong to those who are ranked among common men. 
I know som.ething better than that. I will be an architect, 
and will thus enter into the territory of art and speculation. 
I shall be reckoned among those who stand high in point of 
intellect. I shall certainly have to serve up from the pick- 
ax, so to speak; so I must begin as a carpenter's apprentice, 
and must go about as an assistant, in a cap, though I am ac- 
customed to wear a silk hat. I shall have to fetch beer and 
spirits for the common journeymen, and they will call me 



'thou,' and that is insulting! But I shall imagine to myself 
that the whole thing is only acting, and a kind of mas- 
querade. To-morrow — that is to say, when I have served 
my time — I shall go my own way, and the others will be 
nothing to me. I shall go to the academy, and get instruc- 
tions in drawing, and shall be called an architect. That's 
something! I may get to be called 'sir,' and even 'worship- 
ful sir,' or even get a handle at the front or at the back of 
my name, and shall go on building and building, just as 
those before me have built. That will always be a thing to 
remember, and that's what I call something!" 

"But I don't care at all for that something," said the 
fourth. "I won't sail in the wake of others, and be a copyist. 
I will be a genius, and will stand up greater than all the rest 
of you together. I shall be creator of a new style, and 
will give the plan of a building suitable to the climate and 
material of the country, for the nationality of the people, for 
the development of the age — and an additional story for my 
own genius." 

"But supposing the climate and the material are bad," said 
the fifth, "that would be a disastrous circumstance, for these 
two exert a great influence. Nationality, moreover, may 
expand itself until it becomes aflfectation, and the develop- 
ment of the century may run wild with your work, as youth 
often runs wild. I quite realize the fact that none of you will 
be anything real, however much you may believe in your- 
selves. But^ do what you like, I will not resemble you: I 
shall keep on the outside of things, and criticise whatever 
you produce. To every work there is attached something 
that is not right — something that has gone wrong, and I will 
ferret that out and find fault with it; and that will be doing 

And he kept his word; and everybody said concerning 
this fifth brother: "There is certainly something in him; he 
has a good head, but he does nothing." And by that very 
means they thought something of him! 

Now, you see, this is only a little story; but it will never 
end as long as the world lasts. 

But what became of the five brothers? Why, this is 
nothing and not something. 

Listen, it is a capital story. 

The eldest brother, he who manufactured bricks, soon be- 


came aware of the fact that every brick, however small it 
might be, produced for him a httle coin, though this coin 
was only copper; and many copper pennies laid one upon 
the other can be changed into a shining dollar; and wher- 
ever one knocks with such a dollar in one's hand, whether at 
the bakers, or the butcher's, or the tailor's — wherever it 
may be, the door flies open, and the visitor is welcomed, and 
gets what he wants. You see that is what comes of bricks. 
Some of these belonging to the eldest brother certainly 
crumbled away, or broke in two, but there was a use even 
for these. 

On the high rampart, the wall that kept out the sea, Mar- 
garet, the poor woman, wished to build herself a little house. 
All the faulty bricks were given to her, and a few perfect 
ones into the bargain, for the eldest brother was a good- 
natured man, though he certainly did not achieve anything 
beyond the manufacture of bricks. The poor woman put 
together the house for herself. It was little and narrow, and 
the single window was quite crooked. The door was too 
low, and the thatched roof might have shown better work- 
manship. But after all it was a shelter; and from the little 
house you could look far across the sea, whose waves broke 
plainly against the protecting rampart on which it was built. 
The salt billows spurted their spray over the whole house, 
which was still standing when he who had given the bricks 
for its erection had long been dead and buried. 

The second brother knew better how to build a wall, for 
he had served an apprenticeship to it. When he had served 
his time and passed his examination, he packed his knap- 
sack and sang the journeyman's song: 

"While I am young I'll wander, from place to place I'll roam, 
And everywhere build houses, until I come back home; 
And youth will give me courage, and my true love won't forget; 
Hurrah, then, for a workman's life! I'll be a master yet!" 

And he carried his idea into effect. When he had come 
home and become a master, he built one house after another 
in the town. He built a whole street; and when the street 
was finished and become an ornament to the place, the 
houses built a house for him in return, that was to be his 
own. But how can houses build a house? If you ask them 


they will not answer you, but people will understand what is 
meant by the expression, and say, "Certainly, it was the 
street that built his house for him." It was little, and the 
floor was covered with clay; but when he danced with his 
bride upon this clay floor, it seemed to become poHshed oak; 
and from every stone in the wall sprang- forth a flower, and 
the room was gay, as if with the costliest paperhanger's 
work. It was a pretty house, and in it lived a happy pair. 
The flag of the guild fluttered before the house, and the 
journeymen and apprentices shouted hurrah! Yes, he cer- 
tainly was something! And at last he died; and that was 
something too. 

Now came the architect, the third brother, who had been 
at first a carpenter's apprentice, had worn a cap, and served 
as an errand boy, but had afterward gone to the academy, 
and risen to become an architect, and to be called "honored 
sir." Yes, if the houses of the street had built a house for 
the brother who had become a bricklayer the street now re- 
ceived its name from the architect, and the handsomest 
house in it became his property. That was something, and 
he was something; and he had a long title before and after 
his name. His children were called genteel children, and 
when he died his widow was "a widow of rank," and that is 
something! and his name always remained at the corner of 
the street, and lived on in the mouth of everyone as the 
street's name — and that was something! 

Now came the genius of the family, the fourth brother, 
who wanted to invent something new and original, and an 
additional story on the top of it for himself. But the top 
story tumbled down, and he came tumbling down with it, 
and broke his neck. Nevertheless, he had a splendid fun- 
eral, with guild flags and music, poems in the papers, and 
flowers strewn on the paving stones in the street: and three 
funeral orations were held over him, each one longer than 
the last, which would have rejoiced him greatly, for he al- 
w'ays liked it when people talked about him, a monument 
also was erected over his grave. It was only one story high, 
but still it was something. 

Now he was dead, like the three other brothers; but the 
last, the one who was a critic, outlived them all; and that 
was quite right, for by this means he got the last word, and it 
was of great importance to him to have the last word. The 


people always said he had a good head of his own. At last 
his hour came, and he died, and came to the gates of Para- 
dise. There souls always enter two and two, and he came up 
v/ith another soul that wanted to get into Paradise too; 
and who should this be but old Dame Margaret from the 
house upon the sea wall. 

"I suppose this is done for the sake of contrast, that I and 
this wretched soul should arrive here at exactly the same 
time," said the critic. 'Tray who are you, my good woman?" 
he asked. "Do you want to get in here too?" 

And the old woman courtesied as well as she could; she 
thought it must be St. Peter himself talking to her. 

"Fm a poor old woman of a very humble family," she re- 
plied. "I'm old Margaret that lived in the house on the sea 

"Well, and what have you done? What have you ac- 
complished down there?" 

"I have really accomplished nothing at all in the world: 
nothing that I can plead to have the doors here opened to 
me. It would be a real mercy to allow me to slip in through 
the gate." 

"In what manner did you leave the world?" asked he, 
just for the sake of saying something; for it was wearisome 
work standing there and saying nothing. 

"Why, I really don't know how I left it. I was sick and 
miserable during my last years, and could not well bear 
creeping out of bed, and going out suddenly into the frost 
and cold. It was a hard winter, but I have got out of it all 
now. For a few days the weather was quite calm, but very 
cold, as your honor m.ust very well know. The sea was cov- 
ered with ice as far as one could look. All the people from 
the town walked out upon the ice, and I think they said 
there was a dance there and skating. There was beautiful 
music and a great feast there too; the sound came into my 
poor little room, where I lay ill. And it was toward the 
evening; the moon had risen beautifully, but was not yet 
in its full splendor. I looked from my bed out over the wide 
sea, and far off, just where the sea and sky join, a strange 
white cloud came up. I lay looking at the cloud, and I saw 
a little black spot in the middle of it, that grew larger and 
larger; and now I knew what it meant, for I am old and ex- 
perienced, though this token is not often seen. I knew it, 


and a shuddering came upon me. Twice in my life I have 
seen the same thing; and I knew there would be an awful 
tempest, and a spring flood, which would overwhelm the 
poor people who were drinking and dancing and rejoicing — 
young and old, the Avhole city had issued forth ; who was to 
warn them, if no one saw what was coming yonder, or 
knew, as I did, what it meant. I was dreadfully alarmed, 
and felt more lively than I had done for a long time. I 
crept out of bed, and got to the window, but could not 
crawl any further, I was so exhausted. But I managed to 
open the window. I saw the people outside running and 
jumping about on the ice; I could see the beautiful flags 
that waved in the wind. I heard the boys shouting 'Hurrah!' 
and the servant men and maids singing. There w^ere all 
kinds of merriment going on. But the white cloud with 
the black spot! I cried as loud as I could, but no one heard 
me; I was too far from the people. Soon the storm would 
burst, and the ice would break, and all who were upon it 
would be lost without remedy. They could not hear me, 
and I could not come out to them. Oh, if I could only bring 
them ashore! Then kind Heaven inspired me with the 
thought of setting fire to my bed, and rather to let the house 
burn down, than that all those people should perish miser- 
ably. I succeeded in lightmg up a beacon for them. The red 
flame blazed up on high, and I escaped out of the door, but 
fell down exhausted on the threshold, and could get no 
farther. The flames rushed out toward me, flickered through 
the window, and rose high above the roof. All the people 
on the ice yonder beheld it and ran as fast as they could to 
give aid to a poor old woman who, they thought, was being 
burned to death. Not one remained behind. I heard them 
coming; but I also became aware of a rushing sound in the 
air; I heard a rumbling like the sound of heavy artillery; 
the spring flood was lifting the covering of ice, which pres- 
ently burst and cracked into a thousand fragments. But the 
people succeeded in reaching the sea wall — I saved them all! 
But I fancy I could not bear the cold and the fright, and so 
I came up here to the gates of Paradise. I am told they are 
opened to poor creatures like me — and now I have no house 
left down upon the rampart: not that I think this will give 
me admission here." 
Then the gates of heaven were opened, and the angel led 


the old woman in. She left a straw behind her, a straw that 
had been in her bed when she set it on fire to save the lives 
of many; and this straw had been changed into the purest 
gold — into gold that grew and grew, and spread out into 
beauteous leaves and flowers. 

"Look, this what the poor woman brought," said the angel 
to the critic. "What dost thou bring? I know that thou 
hast accomplished nothing— thou hast not made so much 
as a single brick. Ah, if thou couldst only return, and efifect 
at least as much as that! Probably the brick, when thou 
hadst made it, would not be worth much; but if it were made 
with a good will, it would at least be something. But thou 
canst not go back, and I can do nothing for thee!" 

Then the poor soul, the old dame who had lived on the 
dyke, put in a petition for him. She said: 

"His brother gave me the bricks and the pieces out which 
I built up my house, and that was a great deal for a poor 
woman like me. Could not all those bricks and pieces be 
counted as a single brick in his favor? It was an act of 
mercy. He wants it now ; and is not this a very fountain of 

Then the angel said: 

"Thy brother, him whom thou hast regarded as the least 
among you all, he whose honest industry seemed to thee as 
the most humble, hath given thee this heavenly gift. Thou 
shalt not be turned away. It shall be vouchsafed to thee to 
stand here without the gate, and to reflect, and repent of 
thy hfe down yonder; but thou shalt not be admitted until 
thou hast in earnest accomplished something." 

"I could have said that in better words!" thought the 
critic, but he did not find fault aloud; and for him, after all 
that was "something !" 


High up yonder, in the thin clear air, flew an angel with a 
flower from the heavenly garden. As she was kissing the 
flower, a very little leaf fell down into the soft soil in the 
midst of the wood, and immediately took root, and sprouted, 
and sent forth shoots among the other plants, 


"A funny kind of slip that," said the Plants. 

And neither Thistle nor Stinging Nettle would recognize 
the stranger. 

"That must be a kind of garden plant," said they. 

And they sneered; and the plant was despised by them as 
being a thing out of the garden. 

"Where are you coming?" cried the lofty Thistles, whose 
leaves are all armed with thorns. "You give yourself a good 
deal of space. That's all nonsense — we are not here to sup- 
port you !" they grumbled. 

And winter came, and snow covered the plant; but the 
plant imparted to the snowy covering a luster as if the sun 
was shining upon it from below as from above. When 
spring came, the plant appeared as a blooming object, more 
beautiful than any production of the forest. 

And now appeared on the scene the botanical professor, 
who could show what he was in black and white. He in- 
spected the plant and tested it, but found it was not included 
in his botanical system; and he could not possibly find out 
to what class it belonged. 

"That must be some subordinate species," he said. "I 
don't know it. It's not included in any system." 

"Not included in any S3^stem!" repeated the Thistles and 
the Nettles. 

The great trees that stood round about saw and heard 
it; but they said not a word, good or bad, which is the 
wisest thing to do for people who are stupid. 

There came through the forest a poor, innocent girl. Her 
heart was pure, and her understanding was enlarged by 
faith Her w^hole inheritance was an old Bible; but out of 
its pages a voice said to her, "If people wish to do us evil, 
remember how it was said of Joseph. They imagined evil 
in their hearts, but God turned it to good. If we suffer 
wrong — if we are misunderstood and despised — then we 
may recall the words of Him who was purity and goodness 
itself, and who forgave and prayed for those who buffeted 
and nailed Him to the cross." 

The girl stood still in front of the wonderful plant, whose 
great leaves exhaled a sweet and refreshing fragrance, and 
whose flowers glittered like a colored flame in the sun; and 
from each flower there came a sound as though it concealed 
within itself a deep fount of melody that thousands of years 


could not exhaust. With pious gratitude the girl looked 
upon this beautiful work of the Creator, and bent down one 
of the branches toward itself to breathe in its sweetness; and 
a light arose in her soul. It seemed to do her heart good; 
and gladly would she have plucked a flower, but she could 
not make up her mind to break one off, for it would soon 
fade if she did so. Therefore the girl only took a single leaf, 
and laid it in her Bible at home; and it lay there quite fresh, 
always green, and never fading. 

Among the pages of the Bible it was kept; and with the 
Bible it was laid under the young girl's head, when, a few 
weeks afterward, she lay in her coffin, with the solemn calm 
of death on her gentle face, as if the earthly remains bore 
the impress of the truth that she now stood before her 

But the wonderful plant still bloomed without in the 
forest. It was almost like a tree to look upon; and all the 
birds of passage bowed before it. 

"That's giving itself foreign airs now," said the Thistles 
ancl the Burdocks; "we never behave like that here." 

And the black snails actually spat at the flower. 

Then came the swineherd. He was collecting thistles and 
shrubs, to burn them for the ashes. The wonderful plant 
was placed bodily in his bundle. 

"It shall be made useful," he said; and so said, so done. 

But soon afterward the King of the country was troubled 
with a terrible depression of spirits. He was busy and in- 
dustrious, but that did him no good. They read him deep 
and learned books, and then they read from the lightest and 
most superficial that they could find; but it was of no use. 
Then one of the wise men of the world, to whom they had 
applied, sent a messenger to tell the King that there was 
one remedy to give him relief and to cure him. He said: 

"In the King's own country there grows in a forest a 
plant of heavenly origin. Its appearance is thus and thus. 
It cannot be mistaken." 

"I fancy it was taken up in my bundle, and burned to 
ashes long ago," said the swineherd; "but I did not know 
any better." 

"You did not know any better! Ignorance of ignor- 
ances !" 


And those words the swineherd might well take to him- 
self, for they were meant for him, and for no one else. 

Not another leaf was to be found; the only one lay in 
the coffin of the dead girl, and no one knew anything about 

And the King himself, in his melancholy, wandered out 
to the spot in the wood. 

"Here is where the plant stood," he said; "it is a sacred 

And the place was surrounded with a golden railing, and 
a sentry was posted there. 

The botanical professor wrote a long treatise upon the 
heavenly plant. For this he was gilded all over, and this 
gilding suited him and his family very well. And indeed 
that was the most agreeable part of the whole story. But 
the King remained as low-spirited as before; but that he 
had always been, at least so the sentry said. 


Among the children in a charity school sat a little Jewish 
girl. She was a good, intelligent child, the quickest in all 
the school; but she had to be excluded from one lesson, for 
she was not allowed to take part in the Scriptural lesson, for 
it was a Christian school. 

In that hour the girl was allowed to open the geography 
book, or to do her sum for the next day; but that was soon 
done; and when she had mastered her lesson in geography, 
the book indeed remained open before her, but the little one 
read no more in it: she listened silently to the words of the 
Christian teacher, who soon became aware that she was 
listening more intently than almost any of the other chil- 

"Read your book, Sara," the teacher said, in mild reproof; 
but her dark beaming eye remained fixed upon him; and 
once when he addressed a question to her, she knew how to 
answer better than any of the others could have done. She 
had heard and understood, and had kept his words in her 

When her father, a poor, honest man, first brought the 



girl to the school, he had stipulated that she should be ex- 
cluded from the lessons on the Christian faith. But it would 
have caused disturbance, and perhaps might have awakened 
discontent in the mind of the others, if she had been sent 
from the room during the hours in question, and conse- 
quently she stayed ; but this could not go on any longer. 

The teacher betook himself to her father, and exhorted 
him either to remove his daughter from the school, or to 
consent that Sara should become a Christian. 

"I can no longer be a silent spectator of the gleaming 
eyes of the child, and of her deep and earnest longing for 
the words of the Gospel," said the teacher. 

Then the father burst into tears. 

"I know but little of the commandment given to my 
fathers," he said, "but Sara's mother was steadfast in the 
faith, a true daughter of Israel, and I vowed to her as she 
lay dying that our child should never be baptized. I must 
keep my vow, for it is even as a covenant with God Him- 

And accordingly the little Jewish maiden quitted the 
Christian school. 

Years have rolled on. 

In one of the smallest provincial towns there dwelt, as a 
servant in a humble household, a maiden who held the 
Mosaic faith. Her hair was black as ebony, her eyes dark 
as night, and yet full of splendor and light, as is usual with 
the daughters of Israel. It was Sara. The expression in 
the countenance of the now grown-up maiden was still that 
of the child sitting on the school-room bench, and listening 
with thoughtful eyes to the words of the Christian teacher. 

Every Sunday there pealed from the church the sounds of 
the organ and the song of the congregation. The strain 
penetrated into the house where the Jewish girl, industrious 
and faithful in all things, stood at her work. 

"Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath day,'' said a voice 
within her, the voice of the Law; but her Sabbath day was 
a working day among the Christians, and that seemed un- 
fortunate to her. But then the thought arose in her soul: 
"Doth God reckon by days and hours?" And when this 
thought grew strong within her, it seemed a comfort that on 
the Sunday of the Christians the hour of prayer remainec' 
undisturbed; and then the sound of the organ and the songs 


of the congregation sounded across to her as she stood In 
the kitchen at her work, and even that place seemed to be- 
come a sacred one to her. Then she would read in the Old 
Testament, the treasure and comfort of her people, and it 
was only in this one she could read; for she kept faithfully 
in the depths of her heart the words the teacher had spoken 
when s'he left the school, and the promise her father had 
given to her dying mother, that she should never receive 
Christian baptism, or deny the faith of her ancestors. The 
New Testament was to be a sealed book to her; and yet 
she knev^^ much of it, and the Gospel echoed faintly among 
the recollections of her youth. 

One evening she was sitting in a corner of the living room. 
Her master was reading aloud ; and she might listen to him, 
for it was not the Gospel that he read, but an old stor}^ book", 
therefore she might stay. The book told of a Hungarian 
knight who was taken prisoner by a Turkish pasha, who 
caused him to be yoked with his oxen to the plow, and 
driven with blows of the whip till blood came, and he al- 
most sank under the pain and ignominy he endured. The 
faithful wife of the knight at hom.e parted with all her jewels, 
and pledged castle and land. The knight's friends amassed 
large sums, for the ransom demanded was almost unattain- 
ably high; but it was collected at last, and the good knight 
was freed from servitude and misery. But soon another 
summons came to war against the foes of Christianity; the 
knight heard the cry, and he could stay no longer, for he 
had neither peace nor rest. He caused himself to be lifted 
on his war-horse; and the blood came back to his cheek, 
his strength appeared to return, and he went forth to battle 
and to victory. The very same pasha who had yoked him 
to the plow became his prisoner, and was dragged to his 
castle. But not an hour had passed when the knight stood 
before the captive pasha and said to him: 
"What dost thou suppose awaitest thee?" 
"I know it," replied the Turk. "Retribution." 
"Yes, the retribution of the Christian!" resumed the 
knight. "The doctrine of Christ commands us to forgive our 
enemies, and to love our fellow-man, for it teaches us that 
God is love. Depart in peace, depart to thy home: I will 
restore thee to thy dear ones; but in future be mild and 
merciful to all who are unfortunate." 


Then the prisoner broke out into tears, and exclaimed: 

"How could I believe in the possibility of such mercy? 
Misery and torment seemed to await me, they seemed 
inevitable; therefore I took poison, which I secretly carried 
about me, and in a few hours its effects will slay me. I 
must die — there is no remedy! But before I die, do thou 
expound to me the teaching which includes so great a meas- 
ure of love and mercy, for it is great and godlike! Grant 
me to hear this teaching, and to die a Christian." And his 
prayer was fulfilled. 

That was the legend which the master read out of the old 
story book. All the audience listened with sympathy and 
pleasure; but Sara, the Jewish girl, sitting alone in her 
corner, listened with a burning heart; great tears came into 
her gleaming black eyes, and she sat there with a gentle 
and lowly spirit as she had once sat on the school bench, 
and felt the grandeur of the Gospel; and the tears rolled 
down over her cheeks. 

But again the dying words of her mother rose up within 
her: "Let not my daughter become a Christian," the voice 
cried; "and together with it arose the words of the Law: 
"Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother." 

"I am not admitted into the community of the Christians," 
she said; "they abuse me for being a Jew girl — our neigh- 
bor's boys hooted me last Sunday when I stood at the open 
church door, and looked in at the flaming candles on the 
altar, and listened to the song of the congregation. Ever 
since I sat upon the school bench I have felt the force of 
Christianity, a force like that of a sunbeam, which streams 
into my soul, however firmly I may shut my eyes against it. 
But I will not pain thee in thy grave, oh, my mother; I 
will not be unfaithful to the oath of my father; I will not 
read the Bible of the Christians. I have the religion of my 
people, and to that will I hold!" 

And years rolled on again. 

The master died. His widow fell into poverty, and the 
servant girl was to be dismissed. But Sara refused to leave 
the house; she became the staff in time of trouble, and kept 
the household together, working till late in the night to 
earn the daily bread through the labor of her hands, for no 
relative came forward to assist the family; and the widow 
became weaker every day, and lay for months together on 


the bed of sickness. Sara worked hard, and in the intervals 
sat kindly ministering by the sick bed: she was gentle and 
pious, an angel of blessing in the poverty-stricken house. 

"Yonder on the table lies the Bible," said the sick woman 
to Sara. "Read me something from it; for the night ap- 
pears to be long — oh, so long! — and my soul thirsts for the 
word of the Lord." 

And Sara bowed her head. She took the book, and fold- 
ed her hands over the Bible of the Christians, and opened 
it, and read to the sick woman. Tears stood in her eyes, 
which gleamed and shone with ecstasy, and light shone in 
her heart. 

''O'h my mother," she whispered to herself, "thy child may 
not receive the baptism of the Christians, or be admitted 
into the congregation — thou hast willed it so, and I shall 
respect thy command: we will remain in union together here 
on earth; but beyond this earth there is a higher union, 
even union in God! He will be at our side, and lead us 
through the valley of death. It is He that descendeth upon 
the earth when it is athirst, and covers it with fruitfulness. 
I understand it — I know not how I came to learn the truth; 
but it is through Him, through Christ!" 

And she started as she pronounced the sacred name, and 
there came upon her a baptism as of flames of fire, and her 
frame shook, and her limbs tottered so that she sank down 
fainting, weaker even than the sick woman by whose couch 
she had watched. 

"Poor Sara!" said the people: "she is overcome with 
night watching and toil!" 

They carried her out into the hospital for the sick poor. 
There she died; and from thence they carried her to the 
grave, but not to the churchyard of the Christians, for yon- 
der was no room for the Jewish girl; outside, by the wall, 
her grave was dug. 

But God's sun, that shines upon the graves of the Chris- 
tians, throws its beams also upon the grave of the Jewish 
girl beyond the wall : and when the psalms are sung in the 
churchyard of the Christians, thev echo likewise over her 
lonely resting place; and she who sleeps beneath is included 
in the call to the resurrection, in the name of Him who spake 
to His disciples: 

"John baptized you with water, but I will baptize you 
with the Holy Ghost!" 



There was once a little boy who had caught cold ; he had 
gone out and got wet feet; no one could imagine how it 
had happened, for it was quite dry weather. Now his 
mother undressed him, put to bed, and had the tea urn 
brought in to make a good cup of elder tea, for that warms 
well. At the same time there also came in at the door the 
friendly old man who lived all alone at the top of the house, 
and was very solitary. He had neither v/ife nor children, 
but he was very fond of little people, and knew so many 
stories that it was quite dehghtful. 

"Now you are to drink your tea," said the mother, "and 
then perhaps you will hear a story." 

"Ah! if one only could tell a new one!'' said the old man, 
with a friendly nod. "But where did the little man get his 
feet wet?" he asked. 

"Yes," replied the mother, "no one can tell how that came 

"Shall I have a story?" asked the boy. 

"Yes, if you can tell me at all accurately — for I must 
know that first — how deep the gutter is in the little street 
through which you go to school." 

"Just half-way up to my knee," answered the boy, "that 
is, if I put my feet in the deep hole." 

"You see, that's how we get our feet wet," said the old- 
gentleman. "Now I ought certainly to tell you a story; 
but I don't know any more." 

"You can make up one directly," answered the little boy. 
"Mother says that everything you look at can be turned 
into a story, and that you can make a tale of everything you 

"Yes, but those stories and tales are worth nothing! No, 
the real ones come of themselves. They knock at my fore- 
head and say, 'Here I am!'" 

"Will there soon be a knock?" asked the little boy, and 
the mother laughed, and put elder tea in the pot, and poured 
hot water upon it. 

"A story! a story!" 

"Yes, if a story would come of itself; but that kind of thing 
is very grand; it only comes when it's in the humor. "Wait!" 


he cried all at once; "here we have it. Look you; there's 
one in the tea pot now." 

And the little boy looked across at the tea pot. The lid 
raised itself more and more, and the elder flowers came 
forth from it, white and fresh; they shot forth long, fresh 
branches even out of the spout, they spread abroad in all 
directions, and became larger and larger; there was the 
most glorious elder bush — in fact, quite a great tree. It 
penetrated even to the bed, and thrust the curtains aside; 
how fragrant it was, and how it bloomed I And in the 
midst of the tree sat an old, pleasant looking woman in a 
strange dress. It was quite green, like the leaves of the 
elder tree, and bordered with great white elder blossoms: 
one could not at once discern whether this border was of 
stufif or of living green and real flowers. 

"What is the woman's name?'' the little boy asked. 

"The Romans and Greeks," replied the old man, "used to 
call her a Dryad; but we don't understand that: out in the 
sailors' suburb we have a better name for her; there she's 
called Elder Tree Mother, and it is to her you must pay at- 
tention: only listen, and look at that glorious elder tree. 

"Just such a great blooming tree stands outside; it grew 
there in the corner of a poor little yard, and under this tree 
two old people sat one afternoon in the brightest sunshine. 
It was an old, old sailor, and his old, old wife; they had 
great-grandchildren, and were soon to celebrate their gold- 
en wedding;* but they could not quite make out the date, 
and the Elder Tree Mother sat in the tree and looked pleas- 
ed, just as she does here. T know vers'- well when the 
golden wedding is to be," said she; but they did not hear it 
— they were talking of old times. 

" 'Yes, do you remember,' said the old seaman, 'when we 
v^^ere quite little, and ran about and played together? It 
Avas in the very same yard where we are sitting now, and we 
planted little twigs in the yard, and made a garden.' 

"'Yes,' replied the old woman, 'I remember it ver\' well: 
we watered the twigs, and one of them was an elder twig; 
that struck root, shot out other green twigs, and has be- 
come a great tree, under which we old people sit.' 

"'Surely,' said he; 'and yonder in the corner stood a butt 

*Tbe golden wedrlinf!: is celebrated in several countries of the 
Continent, by the wedded pairs who survive to see the fiftieth 
anniversary of their marriage day. 


of water; there I swam my boat: I had cut it out myself. 
How it could sail! But I certainly soon had to sail else- 
where myself.' 

" 'But first we went to school and learned something,' said 
she, 'and then we were confirmed; we both cried, but in the 
afternoon we went hand in hand to the round tower, and 
looked out into the wide world, over Copenhagen and 
across the water; then we went out to Fredericksburg, 
where the King and Queen were sailing in their splendid 
boats upon the canals.' 

" 'But I was obliged to sail elsewhere, and that for many 
yearS; far away on long voyages.' 

" 'Yes, I often cried about you,' she said. 'I thought you 
were dead and gone, and lying down in the deep waters, 
rocked by the waves. Many a night I got up to look if the 
weathercock was turning. Yes, it turned indeed; but you 
did not come. I remember so clearly how the rain streamed 
down from the sky. The man with the cart^ who fetched 
a way the dust came to the place where I was in service. I 
went down with him to the dust-bin, and remained standing 
in the doorway. What wretched weather it was! And just 
as I stood there the postman came up and gave me a letter. 
It was from you! How that letter had traveled about! I 
tore it open and read; I laughed and wept at once; I was so 
glad. There it stood written that you were in the warm 
countries where the coffee-beans grow. You told me so 
much, and I read it all while the rain was streaming down, 
and I stood by the dust-bin. Then somebody came and 
clasped me round the waist.' 

" 'And you gave him a terrible box on the ear — one that 

" 'I did not know that it was you. You had arrived just 
as quickly as your letter. And you were so handsome; but 
that you are still. You had a large yellow silk handker- 
chief in your pocket, and a hat on your head. You were 
so handsome! And, gracious! what weather it was, and 
how the streets looked!' 

"'Then we were married,' said he; 'do you remember? 
And then when our first little boy came, and then Marie, 
and Neils, and Peter, and Jack, and Christian?' 

" 'Yes ; and how all of these have grown up to be re- 
spectable people, and everyone likes them.' 



" 'And their children have had Httle ones in their turn,' 
said the old sailor. 'Yes, those are children's children! 
They're of the right sort. It was, if I don't mistake, at this 
very season of the year that we were married?' 

" 'Yes; this is the day of your golden wedding,' said the 
Elder Tree Mother, putting out her head just between the 
two old people; and they thought it was a neighbor nod- 
ding to them, and they looked at each other, and took hold 
of one another's hands. 

"Soon afterward came their children and grandchildren — 
these knew very well that it was the golden wedding day; 
they had already brought their congratulations in the morn- 
ing, but the old people had forgotten it, while they remem- 
bered everything right well that had happened years and 
years ago. 

"And the elder tree smelt so sweet, and the sun that was 
just setting shone just in the faces of the old couple, so that 
their cheeks looked quite red; and the youngest of their 
grandchildren danced about them, and cried out quite glee- 
fully that there was to be a feast this evening, for they were 
to have hot potatoes; and the Elder Mother nodded in the 
tree, and called out 'Hurrah!' with all the rest." 

"But that was not a story," said the little boy, who had 
heard it told. 

"Yes, so you understand it," replied the old man; "but 
let us ask the Elder Mother about it." 

"That was not a story," said the Elder Mother; but now 
it comes; but of truth the strangest stories are formed, 
otherwise my beautiful elder tree could not have sprouted 
forth out of the tea pot." 

And then she took the little boy out of bed, and laid him 
upon her bosom, and the blossoming elder branches wound 
round them, so they sat as it were in the thickest arbor, and 
this arbor f^ew with them through the air. It was indescrib- 
ably beautiful. Elder Mother all at once became a pretty 
young girl; but her dress was still of the green stuf? with 
the white blossoms that Elder Mother had worn; in her 
bosom she had a real elder blossom, and on her head a 
wreath of elder flowers; her eyes were so large and blue, 
they were beautiful to look at! She and the boy were of 
the same age, and they kissed each other and felt similar 


Hand in hand they went forth out of the arbor, and now 
they stood in the beauteous flower garden of home. The 
father's stafT was tied up near the grass plot, and for the 
little boy there was life in that staff. As soon as they seated 
themselves upon it, the polished head turned into a 
noble, neighing horse's head, with a flowing mane, and four 
slender legs shot forth ; the creature was strong and spirited, 
and they rode at a gallop round the grass plot — hurrah ! 

"Now we're going to ride many miles away," said the 
boy; "we'll ride to the nobleman's estate, where we went 
last year." 

And they rode round and round the grass plot, and the 
little girl, who, as we know, was no one else but Elder 
Mother, kept crying out: 

"Now we're in the country! Do you see the farm house, 
with the great baking oven standing out of the wall like an 
enormous egg by the way side? The elder tree spreads its 
branches over it^ and the cock Avalks about, scratching for 
its hens; look how he struts! Now we are near the church; 
it lies up on the hill, under the great oak trees, one of which 
is half dead. Now we are at the forge, where the fire burns, 
and the half-clad men beat witli their hammers, so that the 
sparks fly far around. Away, away, to the splendid noble- 
man's seat!" 

And everything that the little maiden mentioned, as she 
sat on the stick behind him, flew past them, and the little 
boy saw it all, though they were only riding round and 
round the grass "plot. Then they played in the sidewalk, 
and scratched up the earth to make a little garden; and she 
took elder flowers out of her hair and planted them, and they 
grew just like those that the old people had planted when 
they were little, as has been already told. They went hand 
in hand just as the old people had done in their childhood; 
but not to the high tower, or to the Fredericksburg Garden. 
No, the little girl took hold of the boy round the body, and 
then flew far away into the country. 

And it was spring, and summer came, and autumn, and 
winter, and thousands of pictures were mirrored in the boy's 
eyes and heart, and the little maiden was always singing 
to him. 

He will never forget that; and throughout their whole 
journey the elder tree smelt so sweet, so fragrant; he 


noticed the roses and the fresh beech trees; but the elder 
tree smelt stronger than all, for its flowers hung round the 
little girl's heart, and he often leaned against them as they 
flew onward. 

"Here it is beautiful in spring!" said the little girl. 

And they stood in the green beech wood, where the 
thyme lay spread in fragrance at their feet, and the pale pink 
anemones looked glorious among the vivid green. 

"Oh, that it were always spring in the merr}' green 

"Here it is beautiful in summer!" said she. 

And they passed by old c«.stles of knightly days, castles 
whose high walls and pointed turrets were mirrored in the 
canals, where swans swam about, and looked down the old 
shady avenues. In the fields the corn waved like a sea, in 
the ditches yellow and red flov>'ers were growing, and in 
the hedges wild hops and blooming convolvulus. In the 
evening the moon rose round and large, and the haystacks 
in the meadows smelt sweet. 

"Here it is beautiful in autumn!" said the little girl. 

And the sky seemed twice as lofty and twice as blue as be- 
fore, and the forest was decked in the most gorgeous tints of 
red, yellow, and green. The hunting dogs raced about; 
whole flocks of wild ducks flev/ screaming over the Huns' 
Graves, on which bramble bushes twined over the old 
stones. The sea was dark blue, and covered with ships with 
white sails; and in the barns sat old women, girls, and chil- 
dren, picking hops into a large tub; the young people sang 
songs, and the older ones told tales of magicians and gob- 
lins. It could not be finer anywhere. 

"Here it is beautiful in winter!" said the little girl. 

And all the trees were covered with hoar frost, so that 
they looked like white trees of coral. The snow crumbled 
beneath one's feet, as if everyone had new boots on; and one 
shooting star after another fell from the sky. In the room 
the Christmas tree was lighted up, and there were presents, 
and there was happiness. In the country people's farm- 
houses the violin sounded, and there were many games for 
apples; and even the poorest child said, "It is beautiful in 

Yes, it was beautiful; and the little girl showed the boy 
everything; and still the blossoming tree smelt sweet, and 


Still waved the red flag with the white cross, the flag under 
which the old seaman had sailed. The boy became a youth, 
and was to go out into the wide world, far away to the hot 
countries where the coffee grows. But when they were to 
part, the little girl took an elder blossom from her breast, 
and gave it to him to keep. It was laid in his hymn book, 
and in the foreign land, when he opened the book, it was al- 
ways at the place where the flower of remembrance lay; and 
the more he looked at the flower the fresher it became, so 
that he seemed, as it were, to breathe the forest air of home ; 
then he plainly saw the little girl looking out with her clear 
blue eyes from between the petals of the flower, and then 
she whispered, "Here it is beautiful in spring, summer, au- 
tumn, and winter!" and hundreds of pictures glided through 
his thoughts. 

Thus many years went by, and now he was an old man, 
and sat with his old wife under the blossoming elder tree; 
they were holding each other by the hand, just as the great- 
grandmother and great-grandfather had done outside; and, 
like these, they spoke of old times and of the golden wed- 
ding. The little maiden with the blue eyes and with the 
elder blossoms in her hair sat up in the tree, and nodded to 
both of them, and said, 'To-day is our golden wedding day!'' 
and then she took two flowers out of her hair and kissed 
them, and they gleamed first like silver and then like gold, 
and when she laid them on the heads of the old people each 
changed into a golden crown. There they both sat, like a 
King and a Queen, under the fragrant tree which looked 
quite like an elder bush, and he told his old wife of the story 
of the Elder Tree Mother, as it had been told to him when he 
was quite a little boy, and they both thought that the story 
in many points resembled their own, and those parts they 
liked the best of all. 

"Yes, thus it is!" said the little girl in the tree. "Some 
call me Elder Tree Mother, others the Dryad, but my real 
name is Remembrance; it is I who sit in the tree that grows 
on and on, and I can think back and tell stories. Let me 
see if you have still your flower." 

And the old man opened his hymn book; there lay the 
elder blossom as fresh as if it had only just been placed 
there; and Remembrance nodded, and the two old people 
with the golden crowns on their heads sat in the red evening 


sunlight, and they closed their eyes, and — and — the story 
was finished. 

The little boy lay in his bed and did not know whether he 
had been dreaming or had heard a tale told; the tea pot 
stood on the table, but no elder bush was growing out of it, 
and the old man who had told about it was just going out 
of the door, and indeed he went. 

"How beautiful that was!" said the little boy. "Mother, 
I have been in the hot countries." 

"Yes, I can imagine that!" replied his mother. "When 
one drinks two cups of hot elder tea one very often gets into 
the hot countries!" And she covered him up well, that he 
might not take cold. "You have slept well while I disputed 
with him as to whether it was a story or a fairy tale." 

"And where is the Elder Tree Mother?" asked the little 

"She's in the tea pot," replied his mother; "and there she 
may stay." 



There were two Cocks — one on the dunghill, the other on 
the roof. Both were conceited; but which of the two ef- 
fected most? Tell us your opinion; but we shall keep our 
own nevertheless. 

The poultry yard was divided by a partition of boards 
from another yard, in which lay a manure heap, whereon lay 
and grew a great Cucumber, which was fully conscious of 
being a forcing bed plant. 

"That's a privilege of birth," the Cucumber said to herself. 
"Not all can be born cucumbers; there must be other kinds, 
too. The fowls, the ducks, and all the cattle in the neigh- 
boring yard are creatures, too. I now look up to the Yard 
Cock on the partition. He certainly is of much greater 
consequence than the Weather Cock, who is so highly- 
placed, and who can't even creak, much less crow; and he 
has neither hens nor chickens, and thinks only of himself, 
and perspires verdigris. But the Yard Cock — he's some- 
thing like a cock! His gait is like a dance, his crowing is 


music ; and wherever he comes, it is known directly. What 
a trumpeter he is! If he would only come in here! Even 
if he were to eat me up, stalk and all, it would be quite a 
blissful death," said the Cucumber. 

In the night the weather became very bad. Hens, chick- 
ens, and even the Cock himself sought shelter. The wind 
blew down the partition between the two yards with a 
crash ; the tiles came tumbling down, but the Weather Cock 
sat firm. He did not even turn round; he could not turn 
round, and yet he was young and newly cast, but steady and 
sedate. He had been "born old," and did not at all resemble 
the birds that fly beneath the vault of heaven, such as the 
sparrows and the swallows. He despised those, consider- 
ing them piping birds of trifling stature — ordinary song 
birds. The pigeons, he allowed, were big and shining, and 
gleamed like mother-o'-pearl, and looked like a kind of 
weather cocks; but then they were fat and stupid, and their 
whole endeavor was to fill themselves with food. 

''Moreover, they are tedious things to converse with,'' 
said the Weather Cock. 

The birds of passage had also paid a visit to the Weather 
Cock, and told him tales of foreign lands, of airy caravans, 
and exciting robber stories; of encounters with birds of 
prey; and that was interesting enough for the first time, but 
the Weather Cock knew that afterward they always re- 
peated themselves, and that was tedious. , 

"They are tedious, and all is tedious," he said. "No one 
is fit to associate with, and one and all of them are weari- 
some and stupid. The world is worth nothing," he cried. 
"The whole thing is a stupidity." 

The Weather Cock was what is called "used up" ; and that 
quality would certainly have made him interesting in the 
eyes of the Cucumber if she had known it; but she had only 
eyes for the Yard Cock, who had now actually come into 
her own yard. 

The wind had blown down the plank, but the storm had 
passed over. 

"What do you think of that crowing?" the Yard Cock in- 
quired of his hens and chickens. "It was a little rough — 
the elegance was wanting." 

And hens and chickens stepped upon the muck heap, and 
the Cock strutted to and fro on it like a knight. 


"Garden plant!" he cried out to the Cucumber; and in 
this one word she understood his deep feeHng, and forgot 
that he was pecking at her and eating her up — a happy 
death ! 

And the hens came, and the chickens came, and when one 
of them runs the rest run also; and they clucked and chirped, 
and looked at the Cock, and were proud that he was of their 

"Cock-a-doodle-doo!" he crowed. "The chickens will 
grow up large fowls if I make a noise in the poultry yard of 
the world!" 

And hens and chickens clucked and chirped, and the Cock 
told them a great piece of news: 

"A cock can lay an egg I and do you know what there is in 
that egg? In that egg lies a basilisk. No one can stand the 
sight of a basilisk. Men know that, and now you know it 
too — you know what is in me, and what a Cock of the world 
I am." 

And with this the Yard Cock flapped his wings, and made 
his comb swell up, and crowed again; and all of them shud- 
dered — all the hens and the chickens; but they were proud 
that one of their people should be such a cock of the world. 
They clucked and chirped, so that the Weather Cock heard 
it; and he heard it, but he never stirred. 

"It's all stupid stufif!" said a voice within the Weather 
Cock. "The Yard Cock does not lay eggs, and I am too 
lazy to lay any. If I liked, I could lay a wind egg; but the 
world is not worth a wind egg. And now I don't like even 
to sit here any longer." 

And with this the Weather Cock broke off; but he did not 
kill the Yard Cock, though he intended to do so, as the hens 
declared. And what does the moral say? — "Better to crow 
than to be 'used up' and break off." 


In a little provincial town, in the time of the year when 
the people say "the evenings are drawing in," there was one 
evening quite a social gathering in the home of a father of a 
family. The weather was still mild and warm. The lamp 


gleamed on the table; the long curtains hung down in folds 
before the open windows, by which stood many flower pots; 
and outside, beneath the dark blue sky, was the most beauti- 
ful moonshine. But they were not talking about this. They 
were talking about the old great stone which lay below in 
the courtyard, close by the kitchen door, and on which the 
maids often laid the clean copper kitchen utensils that they 
might dry in the sun, and where the children were fond of 
playing. It was, in fact, an old gravestone. 

"Yes," said the master of the house, "I believe the stone 
comes from the old convent churchyard; for from the 
church yonder, the pulpit, the memorial boards, and the 
gravestones were sold. My father bought the latter, and 
they were cut in two to be used as paving stones; but that 
old stone was kept back, and has been lying in the court- 
yard ever since." 

"One can very well see that it is a gravestone," observed 
the eldest of the children; "we can still decipher on it an 
hour-glass and a piece of an angel ; but the inscription which 
stood below is quite effaced, except that you may read the 
name Preben, and a great S close behind it, and a little far- 
ther down the name of Martha. But nothing more can be 
distinguished, and even that is only plain when it has been 
raining, or when we have washed the stone." 

''On my word, that must be the gravestone of Preben 
Schwane and his wife !" 

These words were spoken by a man; so old that he might 
well have been the grandfather of all who were present in 
the room. 

"Yes, they were one of the last pairs who were buried in 
the old churchyard of the convent. They were an honest 
old couple. I can remember them from the days of my boy- 
hood. Everyone knew them, everyone esteemed them. 
They were the oldest pair here in the town. The people de- 
clared th"ey had more than a tubful of gold; and yet they 
went about very plainly dressed, in the coarsest stuffs, but 
always with splendidly clean linen. They were a fine old 
pair, Preben and Martha! When both of them sat on the 
bench at the top of the steep stone stairs in front of the 
house, with the old linden tree spreading its branches above 
them, and nodded at one in their kind, gentle way, it seemed 
quite to do one good. They were very kind to the poor; 


they fed them and clothed them; and there was judgment 
in their benevolence and true Christianity. The old wo- 
man died first; that day is still quite clear before my mind. 
I was a little boy, and had accompanied my father over 
there, and we were just there when she fell asleep. The 
old man was very much moved and wept like a child. The 
corpse lay in the room next to the one where we sat; and 
he spoke to my father and to a few neighbors who were 
there, and said how lonely it would be now in his house, and 
how good and faithful she (his dead wife) had been, how 
many years they had wandered together through life, and 
how it came about that they came to know each other and 
to fall in love. I was, as I have told you, a boy, and only 
stood by and listened to what the others said; but it filled 
me with quite a strange emotion to listen to the old man, 
and to watch how his cheeks gradually flushed red when he 
spoke of the days of their courtship, and how beautiful she 
was, how many little innocent pretexts he had invented to 
meet her. And then he talked of the wedding day and his 
eyes gleamed; he seemed to talk himself back into that time 
of joy. And yet she was lying in the next room — dead — 
an old woman; and he was an old man, speaking of the past 
days of hope! Yes, yes, thus it is! Then I was but a child, 
and now I am old — as old as Preben Schwane was then. 
Time passes away, and all things change. I can very well 
remember the day when she was buried, and how Preben 
Schwane walked close behind the cofiin. A few years be- 
fore, the couple had caused their gravestone to be prepared, 
and their names to be engraved on it, with the inscription, 
all but the date. In the evening the stone was taken to the 
churchyard, and laid over the grave; and the year afterward 
it was taken up, that old Preben Schwane might be laid to 
rest beside his wife. They did not leave behind them any- 
thing like the wealth people had attributed to them; what 
there was went to families distantly related to them — to 
people of whom, until then, one had known nothing. The 
old wooden house, with the seat at the top of the steps, be- 
neath the lime tree, was taken down by the corporation; It 
was too old and rotten to be left standing. Afterward, 
when the same fate befell the convent church, and the 
graveyard was leveled, Preben and Martha's tombstone was 
sold, like everything else, to anyone who would buy it, and 


that is how it has happened that this stone was not hewn in 
two, as many another has been, but that it still lies below in 
the yard as a scouring bench for the maids and a plaything 
for the children. The high road now goes over the resting 
place of old Preben and his wife. No one thinks of them 
any more." 

And the old man, who had told all this, shook his head 

"Forgotten! Everything will be forgotten!'' he said. 

And then they spoke in the room of other things ; but the 
youngest child, a boy with great serious eyes, mounted up 
on a chair behind the window-curtains, and looked out into 
the yard, where the moon was pouring its radiance over the 
old stone — the old stone that had always appeared to him 
so tame and flat, but which lay there now Hke a great leaf of 
a book of chronicles. All that the boy had heard about old 
Preben and his wife seemed concentrated in the stone; and 
he gazed at it, and looked at the pure, bright moon and up 
into the clear air, and it seemed as though the countenance 
of the Creator was beaming over His world. 

"Forgotten! Everything will be forgotten!" was repeated 
in the room. 

But in that moment an invisible angel kissed the boy's 
forehead, and whispered to him: 

"Preserve the seed corn that has been entrusted to thee, 
that it may bear fruit. Guard it well! Through thee, my 
child, the obliterated inscription on the old tombstone shall 
be chronicled in golden letters to future generations! The 
old pair shall wander again arm in arm through the street, 
and smile, and sit with their fresh, healthy faces under the 
lime tree on the bench by the steep stairs, and nod at rich 
and poor. The seed corn of this hour shall ripen in the 
course of time to a blooming poem. The beautiful and the 
good shall not be forgotten; it shall live on in legend and in 


There is a street in Copenhagen that has this strange name 
— "Hysken Strade." Whence comes this name and what is 
its meaning? It is said to be German; but injustice has 


been done to the Germans in this matter, for it would have 
had to be "Hauschen," and not "Hysken." For here stood, 
once upon a time, and indeed for a great many years, a few 
httle houses, which were principally nothing more than 
mere wooden booths, just as we see now in the market 
places at fair time. They were, perhaps, a little larger, and 
had windows; but the panes consisted of horn or bladder, 
for glass was then too expensive to be used in every house. 
But then we are speaking of a long time ago — so long since, 
that grandfather and great-grandfather, when they talked 
about them, used to speak of them as "the old times" — in 
fact, it is several centuries ago. 

The rich merchants in Bremen and Lubeck carried on 
trade with Copenhagen. They did not reside in the town 
themselves, but sent their clerks, who lived in the wooden 
booths in the Hauschen Street, and sold beer and spices. 
The German beer was good, and there were many kinds of 
it, as there were, for instance, Bremen, and Prussinger, and 
Sous beer, and even Brunswick mumm; and quantities 
of spices were sold — saffron, and aniseed, and ginger, and 
especially pepper. Yes, pepper was the chief article here; 
and so it happened that the German clerks got the nickname 
"pepper gentry"; and there was a condition made with them 
in Lubeck and in Bremen, that they would not marry at 
Copenhagen, and man}^ of them became very old. They 
had to care for themselves, and to look after their own com- 
forts, and to put out their own fires — when they had any; 
and some of them became very solitary old boys, with ec- 
centric ideas and eccentric habits. From them all unmar- 
ried men, who have attained a certain age, are called in 
Denmark "pepper gentry"; and this must be understood by 
all who wish to comprehend this history. 

"The "pepper gentleman" becomes a butt for ridicule, and 
is continually told that he ought to put on his nightcap, and 
draw it down over his eyes, and do nothing but sleep. The 
boys sing: 

Cut, cut wood, 

Poor bachelor so good. 

Go, take your nightcap, go to rest, 

For 'tis the nightcap suits you best! 


Yes, that's what they sing about the "pepperer" — thus they 
make game of the poor bachelor and his nightcap, and turn 
it into ridicule, just because they know very little about 
either. Ah, that kind of nightcap no one should wish to 
earn! And why not? We shall hear. 

In the old times the "Housekin Street" was not paved, 
and the people stumbled out of one hole into another, as in 
a neglected byway; and it was narrow, too. The booths 
leaned side by side, and stood so close together that in the 
summer time a sail was often stretched from one booth to its 
opposite neighbor, on which occasion the fragrance of pep- 
per, saffron, and ginger became doubly powerful. Behind 
the counters young men were seldom seen. The clerks 
were generally old boys ; but they did not look like what we 
should fancy them, namely, with wig, and nightcap, and 
plush small clothes, and with waistcoat and coat buttoned 
up to the chin. No, grandfather's great-grandfather may 
look like that, and has been thus portrayed, but the "pepper 
gentry" had no superfluous means, and accordingly did not 
have their portraits taken ; though, indeed, it would be inter- 
esting now to have a picture of one of them, as he stood be- 
hind the counter or went to church on holy days. His hat 
was high-crowned and broad-brimmed, and sometimes one 
of the youngest clerks would mount a feather. The woolen 
shirt was hidden behind a broad, clean collar, the close 
jacket was buttoned up to the chin, and the cloak hung 
loose over it; and the trousers were tucked into the broad- 
toed shoes, for the clerks did not wear stockings. In their 
girdles they sported a dinner knife and spoon, and a larger 
knife was placed there also for the defense of the owner; 
and this weapon was often very necessary. Just so was An- 
thony, one of the oldest of the clerks, clad on high days and 
holy days, except that, instead of a high-crowned hat, he 
wore a low bonnet, and under it a knitted cap (a regular 
nightcap), to which he had grown so accustomed that it 
was always on his head; and he had two of them — night- 
caps, of course. The old fellow was a subject for a painter. 
He was as thin as a lath, had wrinkles clustering round his 
eyes and mouth, and long, bony fingers, and bushy gray 
eyebrows; over the left eye hung quite a tuft of hair, and 
that did not look very handsome, though it made him very 
noticeable. People knew that he came from Bremen; but 


that was not his native place, though his master lived there. 
His own native place was in Thiiringia, the town of Eise- 
nach, close by the Wartburg. Old Anthony did not speak 
much of this, but he thought of it all the more. 

The old clerks of the Hauschen Street did not often come 
together. Each one remained in his booth, which was 
closed early in the evening; and then it looked dark enough 
in the street; only a faint glimmer of light forced its way 
through the little horn pane in the roof; and in the booth 
sat, generally on his bed, the old bachelor, his German hymn 
book in his hand, singing an evening psalm in a low voice ; 
or he went about in the booth till late into the night, and 
busied himself about all sorts of things. It was certainly 
not an amusing life. To be a stranger in a strange land is 
a bitter lot; nobody cares for you, unless you happen to get 
in anybody's way. 

Often when it was dark night outside, with snow and rain, 
the place looked very gloomy and lonely. No lamps were 
to be seen, with the exception of one solitary light hanging 
before the picture of the Virgin that was fastened against 
the wall. The plash of the water against the neighboring 
rampart at the castle wharf could be plainly heard. Such 
evenings are long and dreary, unless people devise some 
employment for themselves. There is not always packing 
or unpacking to do, nor can the scales be polished or paper 
bags be made continually; and, failing these, people should 
devise other employment for themselves. And that is just 
what old Anthony did; for he used to mend his clothes and 
put pieces on his boots. When he at last sought his couch, 
he used from habit to keep his nightcap on. He drew it 
down a little closer; but soon he would push it up again, 
to see if the light had been properly extinguished. He 
would touch it, press the wick together, and then lie down 
on the other side, and draw his nightcap down again; but 
then a doubt would come upon him, if every coal in the little 
fire-pan below had been properly deadened and put out — 
a tiny spark might have been left burning, and might set 
fire to something and cause damage. And therefore he 
rose from his bed, and crept down the ladder, for it could 
scarcely be called a stair. And when he came to the fire- 
pan, not a spark was to be discovered, and he might just go 
back again. But often, when he had gone half of the way 


back, it would occur to him that the shutters might not be 
securely fastened; yes, then his thin legs must carry him 
downstairs once more. He was cold, and his teeth chat- 
tered in his mouth when he crept back again to bed; for the 
cold seems to become doubly severe when it knows it can- 
not stay much longer. He drew up his coverlet closer 
around him, and pulled down the nightcap lower over his 
brows, and turned his thoughts away from trade and from 
the labors of the day. But that did not procure him agree- 
able entertainment; for now old thoughts came and put up 
their curtains, and these curtains have sometimes pins in 
them, with which one pricks one's self, and one cries out 
"Oh!" and they prick into one's flesh and burn so, that the 
tears sometimes come into one's eyes; and that often hap- 
pened to old Anthon}^ — hot tears. The largest pearls 
streamed forth, and fell on the coverlet or on the floor, and 
then they sounded as if one of his heart strings had broken. 
Sometimes again they seemed to rise up in flame, illuminat- 
ing a picture of life that never faded out of his heart. If he 
then dried his eyes in his nightcap, the tear and the picture 
were indeed crushed, but the source of the tears remained, 
and welled up afresh from his heart. The pictures did not 
comiC up in the order in which the scenes had occurred in 
reality, for very often the most painful would come to- 
gether; then again the most joyful would come, but these 
had the deepest shadows of all. 

The beech woods of Denmark are acknowledged to be 
fine, but the woods of Thviringia arose far more beautiful 
in the eyes of Anthony. More mighty and more venerable 
seemed to him the old oaks around the proud knightly cas- 
tle, where the creeping plants hung down over the stony 
blocks of the rock; sweeter there bloomed the flowers of 
the apple tree than in the Danish land. This he remem- ^ 
bered very vividly. A glittering tear rolled down over his 
cheek; and in this tear he could plainly see two children 
playing — a boy and a girl. The boy had red cheeks, and 
yellow, curling hair, and honest blue eyes. He was the son 
of the merchant Anthony — it was himself. The little girl 
had brown eyes and black hair, and had a bright, clever 
look. She was the burgomaster's daughter Molly. The 
two were playing with an apple. They shook the apple, 
and heard the pips rattling in it. Then they cut the apple 


in two, and each of them took a half; they divided even 
the pips, and ate them all but one, which the little girl pro- 
posed that they should lay in the earth. 

"Then you shall see," she said, "what will come out. It 
will be something- you don't at all expect. A whole apple 
tree will come out, but not directly." 

And she put the pip in a flower pot, and both were very 
busy and eager about it. The boy made a hole in the earth 
with his finger, and the little girl dropped the pip in it, and 
they both covered it with earth. 

"Now, you must not take it out to-morrow to see if it has 
struck root," said Molly. "That won't do at all. I did it 
with my flowers; but only twice. I wanted to see if they 
were growing — and I didn't know any better then — and 
the plants withered." 

Anthony took away the flower pot, and every morning, 
the whole winter through, he looked at it; but nothing was 
to be seen but the black earth. At length, however, the 
spring came, and the sun shone warm again; and the two 
little green leaves came up out of the pot. 

"Those are for me and IMolly," said the boy. "That's 
beautiful — that's marvelously beautiful !" 

Soon a third leaf made its appearance. Whom did that 
represent? Yes, and there came another, and yet another. 
Day by day and week by week they grew larger, and the 
plant began to take the form of a real tree. And all this 
was now mirrored in a single tear, which was wiped away 
and disappeared; but it might come again from its source 
in the heart of old Anthony. 

In the neig-hborhood of Eisenach a row of stony moun- 
tains rises up. One of these mountains is round in outline, 
and lifts itself above the rest, naked and without tree, bush, 
or grass. It is called the V^enus-Mount. In this mountain 
dwells Lady Venus, one of the deities of the heathen times. 
She is also called Lady Holle; and every child in and 
around Eisenach has heard about her. She it was who 
lured Tannhauser, the noble knight and minstrel, from the 
circle of the singers of the Wartburg into her mountain. 

Little Mollv and Anthony often stood by this mountain; 
and once Molly said: 

"You may knock and say, 'Lady Holle, open the door — 
Tannhauser is here!'" 


But Anthony did not dare. Molly, however, did it, 
though she only said the words "Lady Holle, Lady Holle!" 
aloud and distinctly; the rest she muttered so indistinctly 
that Anthony felt convinced she had not really said any- 
thing; and yet she looked as bold and saucy as possible — 
as saucy as when she sometimes came round him with other 
little girls in the garden, and all wanted to kiss him because 
he did not like to be kissed and tried to keep them off; and 
she was the only one who dared to kiss him in spite of his 

"I may kiss him!" she would say proudly. 

That was her vanity; and Anthony submitted, and 
thought no more about it. 

How charming and how teasing Molly was. It was said 
that Lady Holle in the mountain was beautiful also, but that 
her beauty was like that of a tempting fiend. The greatest 
beauty and grace was possessed by Saint Elizabeth, the 
patron of the country, the pious Princess of Thuringia, 
whose good actions have been immortalized in many places 
in legends and stories. In the chapel her picture hung, sur- 
rounded by silver lamps; but it was not in the least like 

The apple tree which the two children had planted grew 
year by year, and became taller and taller — so tall, that it 
had to be transplanted into the garden, into the fresh air, 
where the dew fell and the sun shone warm. And the tree 
developed itself strongly so that it could resist the winter. 
And it seemed as if, after the rigor of the cold season was 
past, it put forth blossoms in spring for very joy. In the 
autumn it brought two apples — one for Molly and one for 
Anthony. It could not well have produced less. 

The tree had grown apace, and Molly grew like the tree. 
She was as fresh as an apple blossom; but x^nthony was 
not long to behold this flower. All things change! Molly's 
father left his old home, and Alolly went with him, far 
away. Yes, in our time steam has made the journey they 
took a matter of a few hours, but then more than a day and 
a night were necessary to go so far eastward from Eisenach 
to the farthest border of Thuringia, to the city which is still 
called Weimar. 

And Molly wept, and Anthony wept; but all their tears 
melted into one, and this tear had the rosy, ch^rvfmf^JuuA 




UNlVER-l 5 V 
ST. LOUIS ^'>&: 


of joy. For Molly told him she loved him — loved him more 
than all the splendors of Weimar. 

One, two, three years went by, and during this period 
two letters were received. One came by a carrier, and a 
traveler brought the other. The way was long and diffi- 
cult, and passed through many windings by towns and vil- 

Often had Molly and Anthony heard of Tristram and 
Iseult, and often had the boy applied the story to himself 
and Molly, though the name Tristram was said to mean 
"born in tribulation;" and that did not apply to Anthony, 
nor would he ever be able to think, like Tristram, "She has 
forgotten me." But, indeed, Iseult did not forget her faith- 
ful knight; and when both were laid to rest in the earth, 
one on each side of the church, the linden trees grew from 
their graves over the church roof, and there encountered 
each other in bloom; Anthony thought that was beautiful 
but mournful; but it could not become mournful be- 
tween him and Molly; and he whistled a song of the old 
minnesinger, Walter of the Vogelvede: 

Under the lindens 
Upon the heath. 

And especially that passage appeared charming to him: 

From the forest, down in the vale, 
Sang her sweet song the nightingale. 

This song was often in his mouth, and he sang and 
whistled it in the moonlight night, when he rode along the 
deep hollow way on horseback to get to Weimar and visit 
Molly. He wished to come unexpectedly, and he came un- 

He was made welcome with full goblets of wine, with 
jovial company, fine company, and a pretty room and a 
good bed were provided for him; and yet his reception v-as 
not what he had dreamed and fancied it would be. He 
could not understand himself — he could not understand the 
others; but we can understand it. One may be admitted 
into a house and associate with a family without becoming 
one of them. One may converse together as one would 


converse in a post-carriage, and know one another as peo- 
ple know each other on a journey, each incommoding the 
other and wishing that either one's self or the good neigh- 
bor were away. Yes, that was the kind of thing Anthony 

"I am an honest girl," said Molly, "and I myself will tell 
you what it is. Much has changed since we were children 
together — changed inwardly and outwardly. Habit and 
will have no power over our hearts. Anthony, I should not 
like to have an enemy in you, now that I shall soon be far 
away from here. Believe me, I entertain the best wishes for 
you; but to feel for you what I know now one may feel for 
a man, has never been the case with me. You must recon- 
cile yourself to this. Farewell, Anthony." 

And Anthony bade her farewell. No tear came into his 
eye, but he felt that he was no longer Molly's friend. Hot 
iron and cold iron alike take the skin from our lips, and 
we have the same feeling when we kiss it; and he kissed 
himself into hatred as into love. 

Within twenty-four hours Anthony was back in Eisenach, 
though certainly the horse on which he rode was ruined. 

"What matter!" he said; "I am ruined, too; and I will 
destroy everything that can remind me of her, or of Lady 
Holle, or Venus, the heathen woman! I will break down 
the apple tree and tear it up by the roots, so that it shall 
never bear flower or fruit more!" 

But the apple tree was not broken down, though he 
himself was broken down, and bound on a couch by fever. 
What was it that raised him up again? A medicine was 
presented to him which had strength to do this — the bitter- 
est of medicines, that shakes up body and spirit together. 
Anthony's father ceased to be the richest of merchants. 
Heavy days — days of trial — were at the door; misfortune 
came rolling into the house like great waves of the sea. 
The father became a poor man. Sorrow and sufifering took 
away his strength. Then Anthony had to think of some- 
thing else besides nursing his love sorrows and his anger 
against Molly. He had to take his father's place — to give 
orders, to help, to act energetically, and at last to go out 
into the world and earn his bread. 

Anthony went to Bremen. There he learned what pov- 


erty and hard living meant; and these sometimes make the 
heart hard, and sometimes soften it, even too much. 

How different the world was, and how different the peo- 
ple were from what he had supposed them to be in his 
childhood! What were the minnesinger's songs to him 
now? — an echo, a vanishing sound! Yes, that is what he 
thought sometimes; but again the songs would sound in 
his soul, and his heart became gentle. 

"God's will is best!" he would say then, "It was well 
that I was not permitted to keep Molly's heart — that she did 
not remain true to me. What would it have led to now, 
when fortune has turned away from me? She quitted me 
before she knew of this loss of prosperity, or had any no- 
tion of what awaited me. That was a mercy of Providence 
toward me. Everything has happened for the best. It was 
not her fault — and I have been so bitter, and have shown 
so much rancor toward her." 

And years went by. Anthony's father was dead, and 
strangers lived in the old house. But Anthony was destined 
to see it again. His rich employer sent him on commercial 
journeys and his duty led him into his native town of 
Eisenach. The old Wartburg stood unchanged on the 
mountain, with "the monk and the nun" hewn out in stone. 
The great oaks gave to the scene the outlines it had pos- 
sessed in his childish days. The Venus Mount glimmered 
gray and naked over the valley. He would have been glad 
to cry, "Lady Holle, Lady Holle, unlock the door, and I 
shall enter and remain in m}- native earth!" 

That was a sinful thought, and he blessed himself to drive 
it away. Then a little bird out of the thicket sang clearly, 
and the old minne-song came into his mind: 

From the forest down in the vale. 
Sang her sweet song the nightingale. 

And here in the town of his childhood, which he thus saw 
again through tears, much came back into his remem- 
brance. The paternal house stood as in the old times; but 
the garden was altered, and a field-path led over a portion 
of the old ground, and the apple tree that he had not broken 
down stood there, but outside the garden, on the farther side 
cf the path. But the sun threw its rays on the apple tree as 


in old days, the dew descended gently upon it as then, and 
it bore such a burden of fruit that the branches were bent 
down toward the earth. 

"That flourishes!" he said. "The tree can grow!" 

■Nevertheless, one of the branches of the tree was broken. 
Mischievous hands had torn it down toward the ground; 
fo-r now the tree stood by the public way. 

"They break its blossoms off without a feeling of thank- 
fulness — they steal its fruit and break the branches. One 
might say of the tree, as has been said of some men — 'It 
was not sung at his cradle that it should come thus.' How 
brightly its history began, and what has it come to? For- 
saken and forgotten — a garden tree by the hedge, in the 
field, and on the public way! There it stands unprotected, 
plundered, and broken! It has certainly not died, but in the 
course of years the number of blossoms will diminish; at 
last the fruit will cease altogether; and at last — at last all 
will be over!" 

Such were Anthony's thoughts under the tree; such were 
his thoughts during many a night in the lonely chamber 
of the wooden house in the distant land — in the Hauschen 
Street in Copenhagen, whither his rich employer, the Bre- 
men merchant, had sent him, first making it a condition 
that he should not marry. 

"Marry! Ha, ha!'' he laughed bitterly to himself. 

Winter had set in early; it v^^as freezing hard. Without, 
a snowstorm was raging, so that everyone who could do 
so remained at home; thus, too, it happened that those who 
lived opposite to Anthony did not notice that for two days 
his house had not been unlocked, and that he did not show 
himself; for who would go out unnecessarily in such 

They were gray, gloomy days; and in the house, whose 
windows were not of glass, twilight only alternated with 
dark night. Old Anthony had not left his bed during the 
two days, for he had not the strength to rise; he had for a 
long time felt in his limbs the hardness of the weather. For- 
saken by all, lay the old bachelor, unable to help himself. 
He could scarcely reach the water jug that he had placed 
by his bedside, and the last drop it contained had been con- 
sumed. It was not fever, nor sickness, but old age that had 
struck him down. Up yonder, where his couch was placed, 


he was overshadowed, as it were, by continual night. A lit- 
tle spider, which, however, he could not see, busily and 
cheerfully spun its web around him, as if it were weaving a 
little crape banner that should wave when the old man 
closed his eyes. 

The time was very slow, and long, and dreary. Tears he 
had none to shed, nor did he feel pain. The thought of 
Molly never came into his mind. He felt as if the world and 
its noise concerned him no longer — as if he were lying out- 
side the world, and no one were thinking of him. For a 
moment he felt a sensation of hunger — of thirst. Yes, he 
felt them both. But nobody came to tend him — nobody. 
He thought of those who had once suffered want; of Saint 
Elizabeth, as she had once wandered on earth; of her, the 
saint of his home and of his childhood, the noble Duchess 
of Thuringia, the benevolent lady who had been accustomed 
to visit the lowliest cottages, bringing to the inmates re- 
freshment and comfort. Her pious deeds shone bright 
upon his soul. He thought of her as she had come to dis- 
tribute words of comfort, binding up the wounds of the 
afflicted and giving meat to the hungry, though her stern 
husband had chidden her for it. He thought of the legend 
told of her, how she had been carrying the full basket 
containing food and wine, when her husband, who watched 
her footsteps, came forth and asked angrily what she was 
carrying, whereupon she answered, in fear and trembling, 
that the basket contained roses which she had plucked in 
the garden ; how he had torn away the white cloth from the 
basket, and a miracle had been performed for the pious 
lady; for bread and wine, and everything in the basket, had 
been transformed into roses! 

Thus the saint's memory dwelt in Anthony's quiet mind; 
thus she stood bodily before his downcast face, before his 
warehouse in the simple booth in the Danish land. He un- 
covered his head, and looked into her gentle eyes, and 
everything around him was beautiful and roseate. Yes, the 
roses seemed to unfold themselves in fragrance. There 
came to him a sweet, peculiar odor of apples, and lie saw 
a blooming apple tree, which spread its branches above him 
— it was the tree which Molly and he had planted together. 

And the tree strewed down its fragrant leaves upon him, 
cooling his burning brow. The leaves fell upon his parched 


lips, and were like strengthening bread and wine; and they 
fell upon his breast, and he felt reassured and calm, and in- 
clined to sleep peacefully. 

"Now I shall sleep," he whispered to himself, "Sleep is 
refreshing. To.-morrow I shall be upon my feet again, and 
strong and well — glorious, wonderful! That apple tree, 
planted in true affection, now stands before me in heavenly 
radiance " 

And he slept. 

The day afterward — it was the third day that his shop had 
remained closed— the snowstorm had ceased, and a neigh- 
bor from the opposite house came over toward the booth 
where dwelt old Anthony, who had not yet shown himself. 
Anthony lay stretched upon his bed — dead — with his old 
cap clutched tightly in his two hands! They did not put 
that cap on his head in his coffin, for he had a new white 

Where were now the tears that he had wept? What had 
become of the pearls? They remained in the nightcap — 
and the true ones do not come out in the wash — they were 
preserved in the nightcap, and in time forgotten; but the 
old thoughts and the old dreams still remained in the 
"bachelor's nightcap." Don't wish for such a cap for your- 
selves. It would make your forehead very hot, would make 
your pulse beat feverishly, and conjure up dreams which 
appear like reality. The first who wore that identical cap 
afterward felt all at once, though it was half a century after- 
ward; and that man was the burgomaster himself, who, 
with his wife and eleven children, was well and firmly estab- 
lished, and had amassed a very tolerable amount of wealth. 
He was immediately seized with dreams of unfortunate love, 
of bankruptcy, and of heavy times. 

"Hallo! how the nightcap burns!" he cried, and tore it 
from his head. 

And a pearl rolled out, and another, and they sounded 
and glittered. 

"This must be gout," said the burgomaster. "Something 
dazzles my eyes!" 

They were tears, shed half a century before by old An- 
thony from Eisenach. 

Everyone who afterward put that nightcap upon his head 
had visions and dreams which excited him not a little. His 


own history was changed into that of Anthony, and became 
a story; in fact, many stories. But someone else may tell 
them. We have told the first. And our last word is — don't 
wish for "the Old Bachelor's Nightcap." 


All the songs of the East tell of the love of the nightin- 
gale to the rose; in the silent, starlit nights the winged 
songster serenades his fragrant flower. 

Not far from Smyrna, under the lofty plantains, where the 
merchant drives his loaded camels, that proudly lift their 
long necks and tramp over the holy ground, I saw a hedge 
of roses. Wild pigeons flew among the branches of the 
high trees, and their wings glistened, while a sunbeam 
glided over them, as if they were mother-o'-pearl. 

The rose hedge bore a flower which was the most beauti- 
ful among all, and the nightingale sang to her of his woes; 
but the Rose was silent — not a dewdrop lay, like a tear of 
sympathy, upon her leaves; she bent down over a few great 

"Here rests the greatest singer of the world!" said the 
Rose; "over his tomb will I pour out my fragrance, and on 
it I will let fall my leaves when the storm tears them off. 
He who sang of Troy became earth, and from that earth I 
have sprung. I, a rose from the grave of Homer, am too 
lofty to bloom for a poor nightingale!" 

And the nightingale sang himself to death. 

The camel driver came with his loaded camels and his 
black slaves; his little son found the dead bird, and buried 
the little songster in the grave of the great Homer. And 
the rose trembled in the wind. The evening came, and the 
Rose wrapped her leaves more closely together, and 
dreamed thus: 

"It was a fair sunshiny day; a crowd of strangers drew 
near, for they had undertaken a pilgrimage to the grave of 
'Homer. Among the strangers was a singer from the North, 
the home of clouds and of the Northern Light. He plucked 
the Rose, placed it in a book, and carried it away into an- 
other part of the world, to his distant fatherland. The Rose 


faded with grief, and lay in the narrow book, which he 
opened in his home, saying, 'Here is a rose from the grave 
of Homer.' " 

This the flower dreamed; and she awoke and trembled 
in the wind. A drop of dew fell from the leaves upon the 
singer's grave. The sun rose, and the Rose glowed more 
beauteous than before ; it was a hot day, and she was in her 
own warm Asia. Then footsteps were heard, and Prankish 
strangers came, such as the Rose had seen in her dream; 
and among the strangers was a poet from the North; he 
plucked the Rose, pressed a kiss upon her fresh mouth, and 
carried her away to the home of the clouds and of the 
Northern Light, 

Like a mummy the flower corpse now rests in his "Iliad," 
and, as in a dream, she hears him open a book and say, 
"Here is a rose from the grave of Homer." 


When the wind sweeps across the grass, the field has a 
ripple like a pond, and when it sweeps across the corn the 
field waves to and fro like a high sea. That is called the 
wind's dance; but the wind does not dance only; he also 
tells stories; and how loudly he can sing out of his deep 
chest, and how different it sounds in the treetops in the for- 
est, and through the loopholes and clefts and cracks in 
walls! Do you see how the wind drives the clouds up yon- 
der, like a frightened flock of sheep? Do you hear how the 
wind howls down here through the open valley, like a 
watchman blowing his horn? With wonderful tones he 
whistles and screams down the chimney and into the fire- 
place. The fire crackles and flares up, and shines far into 
the room, and the little place is warm and snug, and it is 
pleasant to sit there listening to the sounds. Let the Wind 
speak, for he knows plenty of stories and fairy tales, many 
more than are known to any of us. Just hear what the 
Wind can tell. 


"Huh — uh — ush! roar along!" That is the burden of the 

"By the shores of the Great Belt, one of the straits that 
unite the Cattegat with the Baltic, lies an old mansion with 
thick red walls," says the Wind. "I know every stone in it; 
I saw it when it still belonged to the castle of Marsk Stig 
on the promontory. But it had to be pulled down, and the 
stone was used again for the walls of a new mansion in an- 
other place, the baronial mansion of Borreby, which still 
stands by the coast. 

"I knew them, the noble lords and ladies, the changing 
races that dwelt there, and now I'm going to tell about 
Waldemar Daa and his daughters. How proudly he car- 
ried himself — he was of royal blood! He could do more 
than micrely hunt the stag and empty the wine-can. 'It 
shall be done,' he was accustomed to say. 

"His wife walked proudly in gold embroidered garments 
over the polished marble floors. The tapestries were gor- 
geous, the furniture was expensive and artistically carved. 
She had brought gold and silver plate with her into the 
house, and there was German beer in the cellar. Black; 
fiery horses neighed in the stables. There was a wealthy 
look about the house of Borreby at that time, when wealth 
was still at home there. 

"Four children dwelt there also; three delicate maidens, 
Ida, Joanna, and Anna Dorothea. I have never forgotten 
their names. 

"They were rich people, noble people, born in affluence, 
nurtured in af^uence. 

"Hush — sh! roar along!" sang the Wind; then he con- 

"I did not see here, as in other great noble houses, the 
high-born lady sitting among her women in the great hall 
turning the spinning-wheel; here she swept the sounding 
chords of the cithern, and sang to the sound, but not always 
the old Danish melodies, but songs of a strange land. It 
was 'live and let live' here; stranger guests came from far 
and near, the music sounded, the goblets clashed, and I 
was not able to drown the noise,'' said the Wind. "Osten- 
tation, and haughtiness, and splendor, and display, and 
rule were there, but the fear of the Lord was not there. 

"And it was just on the evening of the first day of May," 


the Wind continued. "I came from the west, and had seen 
how the ships were being crushed by the waves, with all on 
board, and flung on the west coast of Jutland. I had hur- 
ried across the heath, and over Jutland's wood-girt eastern 
coast, and over the Island of Fiinen, and now I drove over 
the Great Belt, groaning and sighing. 

"Then I lay down to rest on the shore of Seeland in the 
neighborhood of the great house of Borreby, where the for- 
est, the splendid oak forest, still rose. 

"The young men-servants of the neighborhood were col- 
lecting branches and brushwood under the oak trees; the 
largest and driest they could find they carried into the vil- 
lage, and piled them up in a heap, and set them on fire; 
the men and maids danced, singing in a circle round the 
blazing pile. 

"I lay quite quiet," continued the Wind; "but I silently 
touched a branch which had been brought by the handsom- 
est of the men-servants, and the wood blazed up brightly, 
blazed up higher than all the rest; and now he was the 
chosen one, and bore the name of Street-goat, and might 
choose his Street-lamp first from among the maids; and 
there was mirth and rejoicing, greater than I had ever heard 
before in the halls of the rich baronial mansion. 

"And the noble lady drove toward the baronial mansion, 
with her three daughters, in a gilded carriage drawn by six 
horses. The daughters were young and fair — three charm- 
ing blossoms, rose, lily, and pale hyacinth. The mother 
was a proud tulip, and never acknowledged the salutation of 
one of the men or maids who paused in their sport to do her 
honor; the gracious lady seemed a flower that was rather 
stiff in the stalk. 

"Rose, lily, and pale hyacinth; yes, I saw them all three! 
Whose lambkins will they one day become? thought I; 
their Street-goat will be a gallant knight, perhaps a prince. 
Huh — sh! hurry along! hurry along! 

"Yes, the carriage rolled on with them, and the peasant 
people resumed their dancing. They rode that summer 
through all the villages round about. But in the night, 
when I rose again," said the Wind, "the very noble lady lay 
down, to rise again no more; that thing came upon her 
which comes upon all — there is nothing new in that. 

"Waldemar Daa stood for a space silent and thoughtful. 


'The proudest tree can be bowed without being broken,' 
said a voice within him. His daughters wept, and all the 
people in the mansion wiped their eyes; but Lady Daa had 
driven away — and I drove away, too, and rushed along — 
huh--sh!" said the Wind. 

"I returned again; I often returned again over the Island 
of Fiinen and the shores of the Belt, and I sat down by 
Borreby, by the splendid oak wood; there the heron made 
his nest, and wood pigeons haunted the place, and blue 
ravens, and even the black stork. It was still spring ; some 
of them were 3^et sitting on their eggs, others had already 
hatched their young. But how the}^ fiew up, how they 
cried! The ax sounded, blow upon blow, the v/ood was to 
be felled. Waldemar Daa wanted to build a noble ship, a 
man-of-war, a three-decker, which the King would be sure 
to buy; and therefore the wood must be felled, the land- 
mark of the seamen, the refuge of the birds. The hawk 
started up and flew away, for its nest was destroyed; the 
heron and all the birds of the forest became homeless, and 
flew about in fear and in anger; I could well understand 
how they felt. Crows and ravens croaked aloud as if in 
scorn. 'Crack! crack! the nest cracks, cracks, cracks!' 

"Far in the interior of the wood, where the noisy laborers 
were working, stood Waldemar Daa and his three daugh- 
ters; and all laughed at the wild cries of the birds; only 
one, the youngest, Anna Dorothea, felt grieved in her 
heart; and when they made preparations to fell a tree that 
was almost dead, and on whose naked branches the black 
stork had built his nest, whence the little storks were 
stretching out their heads, she begged for mercy for the lit- 
tle things, and the tears came into her eyes. Therefore the 
tree with the black stork's nest was left standing. The tree 
was not worth speaking of. 

"There was a great hewing and sawing, and a three- 
decker was built. The architect was of low origin, but of 
great pride; his eyes and forehead told how clever he was, 
and Waldemar Daa was fond of listening to him, and so 
was Waldemar's daughter Ida, the eldest, who was now 
fifteen years old; and while he built a ship for the father, 
he was building for himself an airy castle into which he and 
Ida were to go as a married couple — which might indeed 


have happened, if the castle with stone walls, and ramparts, 
and moats had remained. But in spite of his wise head, the 
architect remained but a poor bird; and, indeed, what busi- 
ness has a sparrow to take part in a dance of peacocks? 
Huh — sh! I careered away, and he careered away, too, for 
he was not allowed to stay; and little Ida very soon got 
over it, because she was obliged to get over it. 

"The proud black horses were neighing in the stable; 
they were worth looking at, and accordingly they were 
looked at. The Admiral, who had been sent by the King 
himself to inspect the new ship and take measures for its 
purchase, spoke loudly in admiration of the beautiful 

'T heard all that," said the Wind. "I accompanied the 
gentlemen through the open door, and strewed blades of 
straw like bars of gold before their feet. Waldemar Daa 
wanted to have gold, and the Admiral wished for the proud 
black horses, and that is why he praised them so much ; but 
the hint was not taken, and consequently the ship was not 
bought. It remained on the shore covered over with 
boards, a Noah's ark that never got to the water — Huh — sh ! 
rush away ! away ! — and that was a pity. 

"In the winter, when the fields were covered with snow, 
and the water with large blocks of ice that I blew up to the 
coast," continued the Wind, "crows and ravens came, all as 
black as might be, great flocks of them, and alighted on the 
dead, deserted, lonely ship by the shore, and croaked in 
hoarse accents of the wood that was no more, of the many 
pretty birds' nests destroyed, and the little ones left without 
a home ; and all for the sake of that great bit of lumber, that 
proud ship that never sailed forth. 

"I made the snowflakes whirl, and the snow lay like a 
great lake high around the ship, and drifted over it. I let 
it hear my voice, that it might know what a storm has to 
say. Certainly I did my part toward teaching it seaman- 
ship. Huh — sh! push along! 

"And the winter passed away; winter and summer, both 
passed away, and they are still passing away, even as I pass 
away; as the snow whirls along, and the apple blossom 
whirls along, and the leaves fall — away! away! — and men 
are passing away, too! 

"But the daughters were still young, and little Ida was a 


rose, as fair to look upon as on the day when the architect 
saw her. I often seized her long brown hair, when she 
stood in the garden by the apple tree, musing, and not heed- 
ing how I strewed blossoms on her hair, and loosened it, 
while she was gazing at the red sun and the golden sky, 
through the dark underwood and the trees of the garden. 

"Her sister was bright and slender as a lily. Joanna had 
height and deportment, but was like her mother, rather 
stiff in the stalk. She was very fond of walking through the 
great hall, where hung the portraits of her ancestors. The 
women were painted in dresses of silk and velvet, with a 
tiny little hat embroidered with pearls, on their plaited hair. 
They were handsome women. The gentlemen were repre- 
sented clad in steel, or in costly cloaks lined with squirrels' 
skins; they wore little ruffs, and swords at their sides, but 
not buckled to their hips. Where would Joanna's picture 
find a place on that wall some day? and how would he look, 
her noble lord and husband? This is what she thought of, 
and of this she spoke softly to herself. I heard it, as I swept 
into the long hall, and turned round to come out again. 

"Anna Dorothea, the pale hyacinth, a child of fourteen, 
was quiet and thoughtful; her great, deep blue eyes had a 
musing look, but the childlike smile still played around her 
lips; I was not able to blow it away, nor did I wish to do so. 

"We met in the garden, in the hollow lane, in the field and 
meadow; she gathered herbs and flowers which she knew 
would be useful to her father in concocting the drinks and 
drops he distilled. Waldemar Daa was arrogant and proud, 
but he was also a learned man, and knew a great deal. That 
was no secret, and many opinions were expressed concern- 
ing it. In his chimney there was a fire even in summ^er 
time. He would lock the door of his room, and for days the 
fire would be poked and raked; but of this he did not talk 
much — the forces of nature must be conquered in silence; 
and soon he would discover the art of making the best 
thing of all — the red gold. 

"That is why the chimney was always smoking, therefore 
the flames crackled so frequently. Yes, I was there, too," 
said the Wind. " 'Let it go,' I sang down through the 
chimney; 'it will end in smoke, air, coals, and ashes! You 
will burn yourself! Hu-uh-ush ! drive away! drive away!' 
But Waldemar Daa did not drive it away. 


"The splendid black horses in the stable — what became of 
them? What became of the old gold and silver vessels in 
cupboards and chests, the cows in the fields, and the house 
and home itself? Yes, they may melt, may melt in the 
golden crucible, and yet yield no gold. 

"Empty grew the barns and store rooms, the cellars and 
magazines. The servants decreased in number, and the 
mice multiplied. Then a window broke, and then another, 
and I could get in elsewhere besides at the door," said the 
Wind. " 'Where the chimney smokes the meal is being 
cooked,' the proverb says. But here the chimney smoked 
that devoured all the meals, for the sake of the red gold, 

"1 blew through the courtyard gate like a watchman 
blowing his horn," the Wind went on, "but no watchman 
was there, I twirled the weather cock round on the summit 
of the tower, and it creaked like the snoring of the warder, 
but no warder was there; only mice and rats were there. 
Poverty laid the table cloth; poverty sat in the wardrobe 
and in the larder; the door fell off its hinges, cracks and 
fissures made their appearance, and I went in and out at 
pleasure ; and that is how I know all about it. 

"Amid smoke and ashes, amid sorrow and sleepless 
nights, the hair and beard of the master turned gray, and 
deep furrows showed themselves around his temples; his 
skin turned pale and yellow, as his eyes looked greedily for 
the gold, the desired gold. 

"I blew the smoke and ashes into his face and beard; the 
result of his labor was debt instead of pelf. I sung through 
the burst window panes and the yawning clefts in the walls. 
I blew into the chests of drawers belonging to the daugh- 
ters, wherein lay the clothes that had become faded and 
threadbare from being worn over and over again. That 
was not the song that had been sung at the children's cra- 
dle. Thelordlylife had changed to a life of penury. I was the 
only one who rejoiced aloud in that castle," said the Wind, 
"I snowed them up, and they say snow keeps people warm. 
They had no wood, and the forest from which they might 
have brought it was cut down. It was a biting frost. I 
rushed in through loopholes and passages, over gables and 
roofs, that I might be brisk. They were lying in bed be- 
cause of the cold, three high-born daughters, and their 
father was crouching under his leathern coverlet. Nothing 


to bite, nothing to break, no fire on the hearth — there was 
a hfe for high-born people! Hush-sh! Let it go! But this 
is what my Lord Daa could not do — he could not let it go. 

" 'After winter comes spring,' he said. 'After want, good 
times will come; one must not lose patience; one must 
learn to wait! Now my house and lands are mortgaged, it 
is indeed high time; and the gold will soon come. At 

"I heard how he spoke thus, looking at a spider's web. 
'Thou cunning little weaver, thou dost teach me perse- 
verance. Let them tear thy web, and thou wilt begin it 
again, and complete it. Let them destroy it again, and thou 
wilt resolutely begin to work again — again! That is what 
we must do, and that will repay itself at last.' 

"It was the morning of Easter day. The bells sounded 
from the neighboring church, and the sun seemed to rejoice 
in the sky. The master had watched through the night in 
feverish excitement, and had been melting and cooling, dis- 
tilling and mixing. I 'heard him sighing like a soul in de- 
spair; I heard him praying, and Lnoticed how he held his 
breath. The lamp was burned out, but he did not notice 
it. I blew fiercely at the fire of coals, and it threw its red 
glow upon his ghastly white face, lighting it up with a glare, 
and his sunken eyes looked forth wildly out of their deep 
sockets — but they became larger and larger, as though they 
would burst. 

"Look at the alchymic glass! It glows in the crucible red, 
hot, and pure and heavy! He lifted it with a trembling 
hand, and cried with a trembling voice, 'Gold! gold!' 

"He was quite dizzy — I could have blown him down," 
said the Wind; "but I only fanned the glowing coals, and 
accompanied him through the door to where his daughters 
sat shivering. His coat was powdered with ashes, and 
there were ashes in his beard and in his tangled hair. He 
stood straight up, and held his costly treasure on high, in 
the brittle glass. 'Found, found! — Gold, gold!' he shouted, 
and again held aloft the glass to let it flash in the sunshine; 
but his hand trembled, and the alchymic glass fell clattering 
to the ground, and broke into a thousand pieces; and the 
last bubble of his happiness had burst! Hu — uh-sh! rush- 
ing away! — and I rushed away from the gold-maker's 


"Late in the autumn, when the days are short, and the 
mist comes and strews cold drops upon the berries and leaf- 
less branches, I came back in fresh spirits, rushed through 
the air, swept the sky clear, and snapped the dry twigs — 
which is certainly no great labor, but yet it must be done. 
Then there was another kind of sweeping clean at Walde- 
mar Daa's in the mansion of Borreby. His enemy. Owe 
Rainel, of Basnas, was there with the mortgage of the 
house and everything it contained in his pocket. I 
drummed against the broken window panes, beat against 
the old rotten doors, and whistled through cracks and rifts 
■ — huh-sh ! Mr. Owe Rainel did not like staying there. Ida 
•and Anna Dorothea wept bitterly; Joanna stood pale and 
proud, and bit her thumb till it bled — but what could that 
avail? Owe Rainel oflfered to allow Waldemar Daa to re- 
main in the mansion till the end of his life, but no thanks 
were given him for his offer. I listened to hear what oc- 
curred. I saw the ruined gentleman lift his head and throw 
it back prouder than ever, and I rushed against the house 
and the old lime trees with such force, that one of the thick- 
est branches broke, one that was not decayed; and the 
branch remained lying at the entrance as a broom when 
anyone wanted to sweep the place out; and a grand sweep- 
ing out there was — I thought it would be so. 

"It was hard on that day to preserve one's composure; 
but their will was as hard as their fortune. 

"There was nothing they could call their own except the 
clothes they wore; yes, there was one thing more — the 
alchymist's glass, a new one that had lately been bought, 
and filled with what had been gathered up from the ground 
of the treasure which promised so much, but never kept its 
promise. Waldemar Daa hid the glass in his bosom, and 
taking his stick in his hand, the once rich gentleman passed 
with his daughters out of the house of Borreby. I blew 
cold upon his heated cheeks, I stroked his gray beard and 
his long white hair, and I sang as well as I could, — 
'Huh-sh! gone away! gone away!' And that was the end 
of the wealth and splendor. 

"Ida walked on one side of the old man, and Anna Doro- 
thea on the other. Joanna turned round at the entrance- 
why? Fortune would not turn because she did so. She 



looked at the old walls of what had once been the castle of 
Marsk Stig, and perhaps she thought of his daughters: 

The eldest gave the youngest her hand, 
And forth they went to the far-off land. 

Was she thinking of this old song? Here were three of 
them, and their father was with them, too. They walked 
along the road on which they had once driven in their 
splendid carriage — they walked forth as beggars, with their 
father, and wandered out into the open field, and into a mud 
hut, which they rented for a dollar and a half a year — into 
their new house with the empty rooms and empty vessels. 
Crows and magpies fluttered above them, and cried, as if 
in contempt, 'Craw! craw! out of the nest! craw! craw!' 
as they had done in the wood at Borreby when the trees 
were felled. 

"Daa and his daughters could not help hearing it. I 
blew about their ears, for what use would it be that they 
should listen? 

"And they went to live in the mud hut on the open field, 
and I wandered away over moor and field, through bare 
bushes and leafless forests, to the open waters, the free 
shores, to other lands — huh-uh-ush! away, away! — year 
after year!" 

And how did Waldemar Daa and his daughters prosper? 
The Wind tells us: 

"The one I saw last, yes, for the last time, was Anna 
Dorothea, the pale hyacinth; then she was old and bent, 
for it was fifty years afterward. She lived longer than the 
rest; she knew all. 

"Yonder on the heath, by the Jutland town of Wiborg, 
stood the fine new house of the cannon, built of red bricks 
with projecting gables; the smoke came up thickly from 
the chimney. The cannon's gentle lady and her beautiful 
daughters sat in the bay windov/, and looked over the haw- 
thorn hedge of the garden toward the brown heath. What 
were they looking at? Their glances rested upon the stork's 
nest without, and on the hut, which was almost falling in; 
the roof consisted of moss and houseleek, in so far as a 
roof existed there at all — the stork's nest covered the 


greater part of it, and that alone was in proper condition, 
for it was kept in order by the stork himself. 

"That is a house to be looked at, but not to be touched; 
I must deal gently with it," said the Wind, "For the sake of 
the stork's nest the hut has been allowed to stand, though 
it has been a blot upon the landscape. They did not like to 
drive the stork away, therefore the old shed was left stand- 
ing, and the poor woman who dwelt in it was allowed to 
stay; she had the Egyptian bird to thank for that; or was 
it perchance her reward, because she had once interceded 
for the nest of its black brother in the forest of Borreby? 
At that time she, the poor woman, was a young child, a 
pale hyacinth in the rich garden. She remembered all that 
right well, did Anna Dorothea. 

"'Oh! oh!' Yes, people can sigh like the wind moaning 
in the rushes and reeds. 'Oh! oh!' she sighed, 'no bells 
sounded at thy burial, Waldemar Daa! The poor school- 
boys did not even sing a psalm when the former Lord of 
Borreby was laid in the earth to rest! Oh, everything has 
an end, even misery. Sister Ida became the wife of a peas- 
ant. That was the hardest trial that befell our father, that 
the husband of a daughter of his should be a miserable serf, 
whom the proprietor could mount upon the wooden horse 
for punishment! I suppose he is under the ground now. 
And thou, Ida! Alas, alas! it is not ended yet, wretch that 
I am! Grant me that I may die, kind Heaven!' 

"That was Anna Dorothea's prayer in the wretched hut 
which was left standing for the sake of the stork. 

"I took pity on the fairest of the sisters," said the Wind. 
"Her courage was like that of a man, and in man's clothes 
she took service as a sailor on board a ship. She was spar- 
ing of words, and of a dark countenance, but willing at her 
work. But she did not know how to climb; so I blew her 
overboard before anybody found out that she was a woman, 
and, according to my thinking, that was well done!" said 
the Wind. 

"On such an Easter morning as that on which Waldemar 
Daa had fancied that he had found the red gold, I heard the 
tones of a psalm under the stork's nest, among the crum- 
bling walls-r-it was Anna Dorothea's last song. 

"There was no window, only a hole in the wall. The sun 
rose up like a mass of gold, and looked through. What a 


splendor he diffused! Her eyes and her heart were break- 
ing — but that they would have done, even if the sun had 
not shone that morning on Anna Dorothea. 

"The stork covered her hut till her death. I sang at her 
grave!" said the Wind. "I sang at her father's grave; I 
know where his grave is, and where hers is, and nobody else 
knows it. 

"New times, changed times! The old high road runs 
through cultivated fields; the new road winds among the 
trim ditches, and soon the railway will come with its train of 
carriages, and rush over the graves which are forgotten like 
the names — hu-ush! — passed away! passed away! 

"That is the story of Waldemar Daa and his daughters. 
Tell it better, any of you, if you know how," said the Wind, 
and turned away — and he was gone. 


There were five peas in one shell; they were green, and 
the pod was green, and so they thought all the world was 
green; and that was just as it should be. The shell grew 
and the peas grew; they accommodated themselves to cir- 
cumstances, sitting all in a row. The sun shone without, 
and warmed the husk, and the rain made it clear and trans- 
parent; it was mild and agreeable in the bright day and in 
the dark night, just as it should be, and the peas as they sat 
there became bigger and bigger, and more and more 
thoughtful, for something they must do. 

"Are we to sit here everlastingly?" asked one. "I'm 
afraid we shall become hard by long sitting. It seems to 
me there must be something outside — I have a kind of ink- 
ling of it." 

And weeks went by. The peas became yellow, and the 
pod also. 

"All the world's turning yellow," said they; and they 
had a right to say it. 

Suddenly they felt a tug at the shell. The shell was torn 
off, passed through human hands, and glided down into the 
pocket of a jacket, in company with other full pods. 


"Now we shall soon be opened!" they said; and that is 
just what they were waiting for. 

"I should like to know who of us will get farthest!" 
said the smallest of the five. "Yes, now it will soon show 

"What is to be will be," said the biggest. 

"Crack!" the pod burst, and all the five peas rolled out 
into the bright sunshine. There they lay in a child's hand. 
A little boy was clutching them, and said they were fine peas 
for his pea-shooter; and he put one in directly and shot it 

"Now I'm flying out into the wide world, catch me if you 
can!" And he was gone. 

"I," said the second, "I shall fly straight into the sun. 
That's a shell worth looking at, and one that exactly suits 
me." And away he went. 

"We'll go to sleep wherever we arrive," said the two next, 
"but we shall roll on all the same." And they certainly 
rolled and tumbled down on the ground before they got 
into the pea-shooter; but they were put in for all that. 
"We shall go farthest," said they. 

"What is to happen will happen," said the last, as he was 
shot forth out of the pea-shooter; and he flew up against 
the old board under the garret window, just into a crack 
which was filled up with moss and soft mold; and the moss 
closed round him; there he lay, a prisoner indeed, but not 
forgotten by provident nature. 

"What is to happen will happen," said he. 

Within, in the little garret, lived a poor woman, who went 
out in the day to clean stoves, chop wood small, and to do 
other hard work of the same kind, for she was strong and 
industrious, too. But she always remained poor; and at 
home in the garret lay her half-grown only daughter, who 
was very delicate and weak; for a whole year she had kept 
her bed, and it seemed as if she could neither live nor die. 

"She is going to her little sister," the woman said. "I had 
only the two children, and it was not an easy thing to pro- 
vide for both, but the good God provided for one of them 
by taking her home to himself; now I should be glad to 
keep the other that was left me; but I suppose they are not 
to remain separated, and my sick girl will go to her sister 
in heaven." 


But the sick girl remained where she was. She lay quiet 
and patient all day long, while her mother went to earn 
money out of doors. It was spring, and early in the morn- 
ing, just as the mother was about to go out to work, the 
sun shone mildly and pleasantly through the little window, 
and threw its rays across the floor; and the sick girl fixed 
her eyes on the lowest pane in the window. 

"What may that green thing be that looks in at the win- 
dow? It is moving in the wind." 

And the mother stepped to the window, and half opened 
it. "Oh!" said she, "on my word, that is a little pea which 
has taken root here, and is putting out its little leaves. How 
can it have got into the crack? That is a little garden with 
which you can amuse yourself." 

And the sick girl's bed was moved nearer to the window, 
so that she could always see the growing pea; and the 
mother went forth to her work. 

"Mother, I think I shall get well," said the sick child in 
the evening. "The sun shone in upon me to-day delight- 
fully warm. The little pea is prospering famously, and I 
shall prosper, too, and get up, and go out into the warm 

"God grant it," said the mother, but she did not believe 
it would be so ; but she took care to prop with a little stick 
the green plant which had given her daughter the pleasant 
thoughts of life, so that it might not be broken by the wind; 
she tied a piece of string to the window sill and to the upper 
part of the frame, so that the pea might have something 
round which it could twine, when it shot up; and it did 
shoot up, indeed — one could see how it grew every day. 

"Really, here is a flower coming!" said the v/oman one 
day; and now she began to cherish the hope that her sick 
daughter would recover. She remembered that lately the 
child had spoken much more cheerfully than before, that in 
the last few days she had risen up in bed of her own accord, 
and had sat upright, looking with delighted eyes at the lit- 
tle garden in which only one plant grew. A week afterward 
the invalid for the first time sat up for a whole hour. Quite 
happy, she sat there in the warm sunshine ; the window was 
opened, and outside before it stood a pink pea blossom, 
fullv blown. The sick girl bent down and gently kissed the 
delicate leaves. This day was like a festival. 


"The Heavenly Father himself has planted that pea, and 
caused it to prosper, to be a joy to you, and to me also, my 
blessed child!" said the glad mother; and she smiled at the 
flower, as if it had been a good angel. 

But about the other peas? Why, the one who flew out 
into the wide world, and said, "Catch me if you can," fell 
into the gutter on the roof, and found a home in a pigeon's 
crop; the two lazy ones got just as far, for they, too, were 
eaten up by pigeons, and thus, at any rate, they were of 
some real use; but the fourth, who wanted to go up into the 
sun, fell into the sink, and there he lay in the dirty water 
for weeks and weeks, and swelled prodigiousl;^. 

"How beautifully fat I'm growing!" said the Pea. "I 
shall burst at last; and I don't think any pea can do more 
than that. I'm the most remarkable of all the five that were 
in the shell." 

And the Sink said he was right. 

But the young girl at the garret window stood there with 
gleaming eyes, with the roseate hue of health on her cheeks, 
and folded her thin hands over the pea blossom, and 
thanked Heaven for it. 

"I," said the Sink, "stand up for my own pea." 


In the city of Florence, not far from the Piazza del Gran- 
duca, there runs a little cross street, I think it is called Porta 
Rosa. In this street, in front of a kind of market hall where 
vegetables are sold, there lies a Pig artistically fashioned of 
metal. The fresh, clear water pours from the jaws of the 
creature, which has become a blackish-green from age; 
only the snout shines as if it had been polished, and indeed 
it has been, by many hundreds of children and lazzaroni, 
who seize it with their hands, and place their mouths close 
to the mouth of the animal, to drink. It is a perfect picture 
to see the well-shaped creature clasped by a half-naked boy, 
who lays his red lips against its jaw. 

Everyone who comes to Florence can easily find the 
place; he need only ask the first beggar he meets for the 
Metal Pig, and he will find it. 


It was late on a winter evening. The mountains were 
covered with snow; but the moon shone, and moonhght in 
Italy is just as good as the light of a murky Northern win- 
ter's day; nay, it is better, for the air shines and lifts us up, 
while in the North the cold, gray, leaden covering seems to 
press us downward to the earth — the cold damp earth, 
which will once press down our coffin. 

In the Grand Duke's palace garden, under a penthouse 
roof, where a thousand roses bloom in winter, a little ragged 
boy had been sitting all day long, a boy who might serve 
as a type of Italy, pretty and smiling, and yet suffering. He 
was hungry and thirsty, but no one gave him anything; 
and when it became dark, and the garden was to be closed, 
the porter turned him out. Long he stood musing on the 
bridge that spans the Arno, and looked at the stars, whose 
light glittered in the water between him and the splendid 
marble bridge of Delia Trinita. 

He took his way toward the Metal Pig, half-knelt down, 
clasped his arms round it, put his mouth against its shining 
snout, and drank the fresh water in deep draughts. Close 
by lay a few leaves of salad and one or two chestnuts ; these 
were his supper. No one was in the street but himself — it 
belonged to him alone ; and he boldly sat down on the Pig's 
back, bent forward, so that his curly head rested on the head 
of the animal, and, before he was aware, fell asleep. 

It was midnight. The ]\Ietal Pig stirred, and he heard it 
say quite distinctly, "You little boy, hold tight, for now I am 
going to run,'' and away it ran with him. This was a won- 
derful ride. First they got to the Piazza del Granduca, and 
the metal horse, which carries the Duke's statue, neighed 
aloud, the painted coat of arms on the old covmcil house 
looked like transparent pictures, and Michael Angelo's 
"David" swung his sling; there was a strange life stirring 
among them. The metal groups representin'g persons, and 
the rape of the Sabines, stood there as if they were alive ; a 
cry of mortal fear escaped them, and resounded over the 
splendid square. 

By the Palazzo Degli Uffizi, in the arcade, where the no- 
bility assembled for the Carnival amusements, the ]\Ietal 
Pig stopped. "Hold tight," said the creature, "for now we 
are going upstairs." The little boy spoke not a word, for 
he was half frightened, half delighted. 


They came into a long gallery where the boy had already 
been. The walls shone with pictures; here stood statues 
and busts, all in the most charming light, as if it had been 
broad day; but the most beautiful of all was when the door 
of a side room opened; the little boy could remember the 
splendor that was there, but on this night everything shone 
in the most glorious colors. 

Here stood a beautiful woman, as radiant in beauty as 
nature and the greatest master of sculpture could make her; 
she moved her graceful limbs, dolphins sprang at her feet, 
and immortality shone out of her eyes. The world calls her 
the Venus de Medici. By her side are statues in which the 
spirit of life has been breathed into the stone; they are 
handsome, unclothed men. One was sharpening a sword, 
and was called the Grinder; the Wrestling Gladiators 
formed another group; and the sword was sharpened, and 
they strove for the Goddess of Beauty. 

The boy was dazzled by all this pomp; the walls gleamed 
with bright colors, and everything was life and movement. 

What splendor, what beauty shone from hall to hall! and 
the little boy saw everything plainly, for the Metal Pig went 
step by step from one picture to another through all this 
scene of magnificence. Each fresh glor}^ efifaced the last. 
One picture only fixed itself firmly in his soul especially, 
through the very happy children introduced into it, for these 
the little boy fancied he had greeted in the daylight. 

Many persons pass by this picture with indifference, and 
yet it contains a treasure of poetry. It represents the Savior 
descending into hell. But these are not the damned whom 
the spectator sees around him ; they are heathen. The Flor- 
entine Agniolo Bronzino painted this picture. 'Most beauti- 
ful is the expression on the faces of the children — the full 
confidence that they will get to heaven. Two little beings 
are already embracing, and one little one stretches out his 
hand toward another who stands below him, and points to 
himself as if he were saymg, 'T am going to heaven!" The 
older people stand uncertain, hoping, but bowing in humble 
adoration before the Lord Jesus. The boy's eyes rested 
longer on this picture than on any other. The Metal Pig 
stood still before it. A low sigh was heard; did it come 
from the picture or from the animal? The boy lifted up his 


hands toward the smihng children; then the Pig ran away 
with him, away through the open vestibule. 

"Thanks and blessings to yourself," replied the Metal Pig. 
"I have helped you, and you have helped me, for with only 
an innocent child on my back do I receive power to run! 
Yes, you see, I may even step into the rays of the lamp in 
front of the picture of the Madonna, only I may not go into 
the church. But from without, when you are with me, I 
may look in through the open door. Do not get down from 
my back ; if you do so, I shall lie dead as you see me in the 
daytime at the Porta Rosa." 

"I will stay with you then, you dear creature!" cried the 
little boy. 

So they went in hot haste through the streets of Florence, 
out into the place before the church of Santa Croce. The 
folding doors flew open, and lights gleamed out from the 
altar through the church into the deserted square. 

A wonderful blaze of light streamed forth from a monu- 
ment in the left aisle, and a thousand moving stars seemed 
to form a glory round it. A coat of arms shone upon the 
grave, a red letter in a blue field seemed to glow like fire. 
It was the grave of Galileo. The monument is unadorned, 
but the red ladder is a significant emblem, as if it were that 
of art, for in art the way always leads up a burning ladder, 
toward heaven. The prophets of mind soar vipward toward 
heaven, like Elias of old. 

To the right, in the aisle of the church, every statue on the 
richly carved sarcophagi seemed endowed with life. Here 
stood Michael Angelo, there Dante with the laurel wreath 
round his brow, Alfieri and Machiavelli; for here the great 
men, the pride of Italy, rest side by side.* It is a glorious 
church, far more beautiful than the marble cathedral of 
Florence, though not so large. 

* Opposite to the grave of Galileo is the tomb of Michael An- 
gelo. On the monument his bust is displayed, with three figures, 
representing Sculpture, Painting, and Architecture. Close by is 
a monument to Dante, whose corpse is interred at Ravenna; on 
this monument Italy is represented pointing to a colossal statue 
of the poet, while Poetry weeps over his loss. A few paces far- 
ther on is Alfieri's monument, adorned with laurel, the lyre, and 
dramatic masks. Italy weeps at his grave. Machiavelli here 
closes the series of celebrated men. 


It seemed as if the marble vestments stirred, as if the 
great forms raised their heads higher and looked up, amid 
song and music, to the brighter altar glowing with color, 
where the white-clad boys swing the golden censors; and 
the strong fragrance streamed out of the church into the 
open square. 

The boy stretched forth his hand toward the gleaming 
light, and in a moment the Metal Pig resumed its headlong 
career; he was obliged to cling tightly; and the wind 
whistled about his ears; he heard the church door creak on 
its hinges as it closed; but at the same moment his senses 
seemed to desert him, he felt a cold shudder pass over him, 
and awoke. 

It was morning, and he was still sitting on the Metal Pig, 
which stood where it always stood on the Porta Rosa, and 
he had slipped half ofif its back. 

Fear and trembling filled the soul of the boy at the 
thought of her whom he called mother, and who had yester- 
day sent him forth to bring money; for he had none, and 
was hungry and thirsty. Once more he clasped his arms 
round the neck of his metal horse, kissed its lips, and nod- 
ded farewell to it. Then he wandered away into one of the 
narrowest streets, where there is scarcely room for a laden 
ass. A great iron-clamped door stood ajar; he passed 
through it, and climbed up a brick stair, with dirty walls and 
a rope for a balustrade, till he came to an open gallery hung 
with rags; from here a flight of stairs led down into the 
court, where there was a fountain, and great iron wires led 
up to the different stories, and many water buckets hung 
side by side, and at times the roller creaked, and one of the 
buckets would dance into the air, swaying so that the water 
splashed out of it down into the courtyard. A second ruin- 
ous brick staircase here led upward. Two Russian sailors 
were running briskly down, and almost overturned the poor 
boy; they were going home from their nightly carouse. A 
large woman, no longer young, followed them. 

"What do you bring home?" she asked the boy. 

"Don't be angry," he pleaded. "I received nothing — 
nothing at all." And he seized the mother's dress, and 
would have kissed it. 

They went into the little room. I will not describe it, but 
only say that there stood in it an earthen pot with handles, 


made for holding fire, and called marito. This pot she took 
in her arms, warmed her fingers, and pushed the boy with 
her elbow. 

"Certainly you must have brought some money?" said 

The boy wept, and she struck him with her foot, so that 
he cried aloud. 

"Will you be silent, or I'll break your screaming head!" 

And she brandished the fire pot which she held in her 
hand. The boy crouched down to the earth with a scream 
of terror. Then a neighbor stepped in, also with a marito in 
her arms. 

"Felicita," she said, "what are you doing to the child?" 

"The child is mine," retorted Felicita. "I can murder 
him if I like, and you, too, Giannina." 

And she swung her fire pot. The other lifted up hers in 
self-defense, and the two pots clashed together with such 
fury that fragments, fire, and ashes flew about the room; 
but at the same moment the boy rushed out at the door, 
sped across the courtyard, and fied from the house. The 
poor child ran till he was quite out of breath. He stopped 
by the church, whose great doors had opened to him the 
previous night, and went in. Everything was radiant. The 
boy knelt down at the first grave on the right hand, the 
grave of Michael Angelo, and soon he sobbed aloud. Peo- 
ple came and went, and mass Avas performed; but no one 
noticed the boy, only an elderly citizen stood still, looked at 
him, and then went awa}^ like the rest. 

Hunger and thirst tormented the child; he was quite faint 
and ill, and he crept into a corner between the marble monu- 
ments, and went to sleep. Toward evening he was awak- 
ened by a tug at his sleeve ; he started up, and the same citi- 
zen stood before him. 

"Are you ill? Where do you live? Have you been here 
all day?" were three of the many questions the old man 
asked of him. 

He answered, and the old man took him into his little 
house, close by, in a back street. They came into a glover's 
workshop, where a woman sat sewing busily. A little white 
Spitz dog, so closely shaven that his pink skin could be seen, 
frisked about on the table and gamboled before the boy. 


**Innocent souls soon make acquaintance," said the wo- 

And she caressed the boy and the dog. The good people 
gave the child food and drink, and said he should be per- 
mitted to stay the night with them; and next day Father 
Guiseppe would speak to his mother. A little single bed 
was assigned to him, but for him who had often slept on the 
hard stones it was a royal couch; and he slept sweetly, and 
dreamed of the splendid pictures and of the Metal Pig. 

Father Guiseppe went out next morning; the poor child 
was not glad of this, for he knew that the object of the er- 
rand was to send him back to his mother. He wept, and 
kissed the merry little dog, and the woman nodded approv- 
ingly at both. 

What news did Father Guiseppe bring home? He spoke 
a great deal with his wife, and she nodded and stroked the 
boy's cheek. 

"He is a capital lad!" said she. "He may become an 
accomplished glove maker, like you; and look what deli- 
cate fingers he has! Madonna intended him for a glove 

And the boy stayed in the house, and the woman herself 
taught him to sew; he ate well, slept well, and became mer- 
ry, and began to tease Bellissima, as the little dog was 
called; but the woman grew angry at this, and scolded and 
threatened him with her finger. This touched the boy's 
heart, and he sat thoughtful in his little chamber. This 
chamber looked upon the street in which skins were dried; 
there were thick bars of iron before his window. He could 
not sleep, for the Metal Pig was always present in his 
thoughts, and suddenly he heard outside a pit-pat. That 
must be the Pig! He sprang to the window, but nothing 
was to be seen — it had passed by already. 

"Help the gentleman to carry his box of colors," said the 
woman next morning to the boy, when their young neigh- 
bor, the artist, passed by, carrying a paint box and a large, 
rolled canvas. 

The boy took the box and followed the painter; they be- 
took themselves to the gallery, and mounted the same stair- 
case which he remembered well from the night when he had 
ridden on the Metal Pig. He recognized the statues and 
pictures, the beautiful marble Venus, and the Venus that 


lived in the picture; and again he saw the Madonna, and the 
Savior, and St, John. 

They stood still before the picture by Bronzino, in which 
Christ is descending into hell, and the children smiling 
around Him in the sweet expectation of heaven. The poor 
child smiled too, for he felt as if his heaven were here. 

"Go home now," said the painter, when the boy had stood 
until the other had set up his easel. 

"May I see you paint?" asked the boy. '^May I see you 
put the picture upon this white canvas?" 

"I am not going to paint yet," replied the man; and he 
brought out a piece of white chalk. His hand moved 
quickly; his eye measured the great picture, and though 
nothing appeared but a thin line, the figure of the Savior 
stood there, as in the colored picture. 

"Why don't you go?" said the painter. 

And the boy wandered home silently, and seated himself 
on the table and learned to sew gloves. 

But all day long his thoughts were in the picture gallery; 
and so it came that he pricked his fingers, and was awk- 
ward; but he did not tease Bellissima. When the evening 
came, and when the house door stood open, he crept out; 
it was cold, but starlight; a bright, beautiful evening. Away 
he went through the already deserted streets, and soon came 
to the Metal Pig. He bent down on it, kissed its shining 
mouth, and seated himself on its back. 

"You happy creature!" he said; "how I have longed for 
you! You must take a ride to-night." 

The Metal Pig lay motionless, and the fresh stream 
gushed forth from its mouth. The little boy sat astride on its 
back; then something tugged at his clothes. He looked 
down, and there was Bellissima — little smooth-shaven Bel- 
lissima — barking as if she would have said, "Here am I, too; 
why are you sitting there!" A fiery dragon could not have 
terrified the boy so much as did the little dog in this place. 
Bellissima in the street, and not dressed, as the old lady 
called it! What would be the end of it? The dog never 
came out in winter, except attired in a little lamb-skin, 
which had been cut out and made into a coat for him; it was 
made to fasten with a red ribbon round the little dog's neck 
and body, and adorned with bows and with bells. The dog 
looked almost like a little kid, when in winter he got per- 


mission to patter out with his mistress. Bellissima was out- 
side and not dressed! what would be the end of it? All his 
fancies were put to flight; yet the boy kissed the Metal Pig 
once more, and then took Bellissima on his arm; the little 
thing trembled with cold, therefore the boy ran as fast as he 

"What are you running away with there?" asked two 
police soldiers whom he met, and at whom Bellissima 
barked. "Where have you stolen that pretty dog?" they 
asked, and they took it away from him. 

"Oh, give it back to me !" cried the boy despairingly. 

"If you have not stolen him, you may say at home that 
the dog may be sent for from the watch house." And they 
told him where the watch house was, and went away with 

Here was a terrible calamity! The boy did not know 
whether he should jump into the Arno, or go home and con- 
fess everything; they would certainly kill him, he thought. 

"But I will gladly be killed; then I shall die and go to 
heaven," he reasoned. And he went home, principally v/ith 
the idea of being killed. 

The door was locked, and he could not reach the knocker; 
no one was in the street, but a stone lay there and with this 
he thundered at the door. 

"Who is there?" cried somebody from within. 

"It is I," said he. "The dog is gone. Open the door and 
then kin me!" 

There was quite a panic. Madame was especially con- 
cerned for poor Bellissima. She immediately looked at the 
wall, where the dog's dress usually hung, and there was the 
little lamb-skin. 

"Bellissima in the watch house!" she cried aloud. "You 
bad boy! How did you entice her out? She'll be frozen, 
the poor, delicate little thing! among those rough sol- 

The father was at once dispatched — the woman lamented 
and the boy wept. All the inhabitants of the house came to- 
gether, and among the rest the painter; he took the boy be- 
tween his knees and questioned him; and in broken sen- 
tences he heard the whole story about the Metal Pig and 
the gallery, which was certainly rather incomprehensible. 

The painter consoled the little fellow, and tried to calm 


the old lady's anger; but she would not be pacified until 
the father came in with Bellissima, who had been among 
the soldiers; then there was great rejoicing; and the painter 
caressed the boy, and gave him a handful of pictures. 

Oh, those were capital pieces — such funny heads! — and 
truly the Metal Pig was there among them, bodily. Oh, 
nothing could be more superb ! By means of a few strokes 
it was made to stand there on the paper, and even the house 
that stood behind it was sketched in. 

Oh, for the ability to draw and paint! He who could do 
this could conjure up the whole v^^orld around him! 

On the first leisure moment of the following day, the little 
fellow seized the pencil, and on the back of one of the pic- 
tures he attempted to copy the drawing of the Metal Pig, 
and he succeeded! — it was certainly rather crooked, rather 
up and down, one leg thick and another thin ; but still it was 
to be recognized, and he rejoiced himself at it. The pencil 
would not quite work as it should do, that he could well ob- 
serve; but on the next day a second Metal Pig was drawni 
by the side of the first, and this looked a hundred times bet- 
ter; and the third was already so good that everyone could 
tell what it was meant for. 

But the glove making prospered little, and the orders 
given in the town were executed but slowly; for the Metal 
Pig had taught him that all pictures may be drawn on paper; 
and Florence is a picture book for anyone who chooses to 
turn over its pages. On the Piazza del Trinita stands a 
slender pillar, and upon it the Goddess of Justice, blind- 
folded and with her scales in her hand. Soon she was placed 
upon the paper, and it was the little glove maker's boy who 
placed her there. The collection of pictures increased, but 
as yet it only contained representations of lifeless objects, 
when one day Bellissima came gamboling before him. 

"Stand still!" said he. "then you shall be made beautiful 
and put into my collection." 

But Bellissima w'ould not stand still, so she had to be 
bound fast; her head and tail were tied, and she barked and 
jumped, and the string had to be pulled tight; and then the 
signora came in. 

"You wicked boy! — The poor creature!" was all she 
could utter. 

And she put the boy aside, thrust him away with her foot, 


forbade him to enter her house again, and called him a most 
ungrateful good-for-nothing and a wicked boy; and then, 
weeping, she kissed her little half-strangled Bellissima. 

At this very moment the painter came downstairs, and 
here is the turning-point of the story. 

In the year 1834 there was an exhibition in the Academy 
of Arts at Florence. Two pictures, placed side by side, col- 
lected a number of spectators. The smaller of the two rep- 
resented a merry little boy who sat drawing, with a little 
white Spitz dog, curiously shorn, for his model ; but the ani- 
mal would not stand still, and was therefore bound by a 
string fastened to its head and its tail. There was a truth 
and life in this picture that interested everyone. The painter 
was said to be a young Florentine, who had been found in 
the streets in his childhood, had been brought up by an old 
glove maker, and had taught himself to draw. It was fur- 
ther said that a painter, now become famous, had discov- 
ered this talent just as the boy was to be sent away for 
tying up the favorite little dog of Madame, and using it as 
a model. 

The glove maker's boy had become a great painter; the 
picture proved this, and still more the larger picture that 
stood beside it. Here was represented onl}^ one figure, a 
handsome boy, clad in rags, asleep in the street, and leaning 
against the Metal Pig in the Porta Rosa street. All the 
spectators knew the spot. The child's arms rested upon the 
head of the Pig; the little fellow was fast asleep, and the 
lamp before the picture of the Madonna threw a strong 
effective light on the pale, delicate face of the child — it was 
a beautiful picture! A great gilt frame surrounded it, and 
on one corner of the frame a laurel wreath had been hung; 
but a black band wound unseen among the green leaves, 
and a streamer of crape hung down from it. For within 
the last few days the young artist had — died! 






Look you, now we're going to begin. When we are at the 
end of the story we shall know more than we do now, for he 
was a bad goblin. He was one of the very worst, for he 
was a demon. One day he was in very good spirits, for he 
had made a mirror which had this peculiarity, that every- 
thing good and beautiful that was reflected in it shrank to- 
gether into almost nothing, but that whatever was worthless 
and looked ugly became prominent and looked worse than 
ever. The most lovely landscapes seen in this mirror looked 
like boiled spinach, and the best people became hideous, or 
stood on their heads and had no bodies; their faces were so 
distorted as to be unrecognizable, and a single freckle was 
shown spread out over nose and mouth. That was very 
amusing, the demon said. When a good, pious thought 
passed through any person's mind, these were again shown 
in the mirror, so that the demon chuckled at his artistic in- 
vention. Those who visited the goblin school — for he kept 
a goblin school — declared everywhere that a wonder had 
been wrought. For now, they asserted, one could see, for 
the first time, how the world and the people in it really 
looked. Now they wanted to i\y up to heaven, to sneer and 
scoff at the angels themselves. The higher they flew with 
the mirror, the more it grinned; they could scarcely hold it 
fast. They flew higher and higher, and then the mirror 
trembled so terribly amid its grinning that it fell down out of 
their hands to the earth, where it was shattered into a hun- 
dred million and more fragments. And now this mirror 
occasioned much more unhappiness than before; for some 
of the fragments were scarcely so large as a barleycorn, and 
these flew about in the world, and whenever thev flew into 


anyone's eye they stuck there, and those people saw every- 
thing wrongly, or had only eyes for the bad side of a thing, 
for every little fragment of the mirror had retained the 
power which the whole glass possessed. A few persons 
even got a fragment of the mirror into their hearts, and that 
was terrible indeed, for such a heart became a block of ice. 
A few fragments of the mirror were so large that they were 
used as window panes, but it was a bad thing to look at one's 
friends through these panes; other pieces were made into 
spectacles, and then it went badly when people put on these 
spectacles to see rightly, and to be just; and then the demon 
laughed till his paunch shook, for it tickled him so. But 
without, some little fragments of glass still floated about in 
the air— and now we shall hear 


In the great town, where there are many houses, and so 
many people that there is not room enough for everyone to 
have a little garden, and where consequently most persons 
are compelled to be content with some flowers in flower 
pots, were two poor children who possessed a garden some- 
what larger than a flower pot. They were not brother and 
sister, but they loved each other quite as much as if they had 
been. Their parents lived just opposite each other in two 
garrets, there where the roof of one neighbor's house joined 
that of another; and where the water-pipe ran between the 
two houses was a little window; one had only to step across 
the pipe to get from one window to the other. 

The parents of each child had a great box, in which grew 
kitchen herbs that they used, and a little rose bush; there 
was one in each box, and they grew famously. Now, it oc- 
curred to the parents to place the boxes across the pipe, so 
that they reached from one window to another, and looked 
quite like two embankments of flowers. Pea plants hung 
down over the boxes, and the rose bushes shot forth long 
twigs, which clustered round the windows and bent down 
toward each other; it was aimost like a triumphal arch of 
flowers and leaves. A§ the boj^es were very highj and the 


children knew that they might not creep upon them, they 
often obtained permission to step out upon the roof behind 
the boxes, and to sit upon their Httle stools under the roses, 
and there they could play capitally. 

In the winter time there was an end of this amusement. 
The windows were sometimes quite frozen all over. But 
then they warmed copper shillings on the stove, and held 
the warm coins against the frozen pane; and this made a 
capital peep-hole, so round! so round! and behind it gleamed 
a pretty mild eye at each window; and these eyes belonged 
to the little boy and the little girl. His name was Kay and 
the little girl's was Gerda. 

In the summer they could get to one another at one 
bound; but in the winter they had to go down and up the 
long staircase, while the snow was pelting without. 

"Those are the white bees swarming," said the old grand- 

"Have they a Queen bee?" asked the little boy. For he 
knew that there is one among the real bees. 

"Yes, they have one," replied grandmamma. "She al- 
ways flies where they swarm thickest. She is the largest of 
them all, and never rem.ains quiet upon the earth; she flies 
up again into the black cloud. Many a midnight she is fly- 
ing through the streets of the town, and looks in at the win- 
dows, and then they freeze in such a strange way, and look 
like fiowers." 

"Yes, I've seen that!" cried both the children; and now 
they knew that it was true. 

"Can the Snow Queen come in here?" asked the little 

"Only let her come," cried the boy; "I'll set her upon the 
warm stove, and then she'll melt." 

But grandmother smoothed his hair, and told some other 
tales. In the evening, when little Kay was at home and half 
undressed, he clambered upon the chair by the window, and 
looked through the little hole. A few flakes of snow were 
falling outside, and one of them, the largest of them all, re- 
mained lying on the edge of one of the flower boxes. The 
snowflakes grew larger and larger, and at last became a 
maiden clothed in the finest white gauze, put together of 
millions of starry flakes. She was beautiful and delicate, 
but of ice — of shining glittering ice. Yet she was alive; 


her eyes flashed hke two cleas stars, but there was no peace 
or rest in them. She nodded toward the window, and beck- 
oned with her hand. The httle boy was frightened, and 
sprang down h'om the chair; then it seemed as if a great bird 
flew by outside, in front of the window. 

Next day there was a clear frost, and then the spring 
came; the sun shone, the green sprouted forth, the swal- 
lows built nests, the windows were opened, and the little 
children again sat in their garden high up in the roof, over 
all the floors. 

How splendidly the roses bloomed this summer! The 
little girl had learned a psalm, in which mention was made of 
roses, and, in speaking of roses, she thought of her own; 
and she sang it to the little boy, and he sang, too : 

"The roses will fade and pass away. 
But we the Christ-child shall see one day." 

And the little ones held each other by the hand, kissed the 
roses, looked at God's bright sunshine, and spoke to it, as if 
the Christ-child were there. What splendid summer days 
those were! How beautiful it was without, among the 
fresh rose bushes, which seemed as if they would never 
leave off blooming! 

Kay and Gerda sat and looked at the picture-book of 
beasts and birds. Then it was, while the clock was just 
striking twelve on the church tower, that Kay said: 

'"Oh! something struck my heart and pricked me in the 
eye." The little girl fell upon his neck; he blinked his eyes. 
No, there was nothing at all to be seen. 

"I think it is gone," said he; but it was not gone. It was 
just one of those glass fragments which sprang from the mir- 
ror — the magic mirror that we remember well, the ugly 
glass that made everything great and good which was mir- 
rored in it to seem small and mean, but in which the mean 
and the wicked things were brought out in relief, and every 
fault was noticeable at once. Poor little Kay had also re- 
ceived a splinter just in his heart, and that will now soon be- 
come like a lump of ice. It did not hurt him now, but the 
splinter was still there. 

"Why do you cry?" he asked. "You look ugly like that. 
There's nothing the matter with me. Oh, fie!" he suddenly 


exclaimed, "that rose is worm-eaten, and this one is quite 
crooked. After all, they're ugly roses. They're like the 
box in which they stand. 

And then he kicked the box with his foot, and tore both 
the roses off. 

"Kay, what are you about?" cried the little girl. 

And when he noticed her fright he tore off another rose, 
and then sprang in at his own window, away from pretty 
little Gerda. 

When she afterward came with her picture-book, he said 
it was only fit for babies in arms ; and when his grandmother 
told stories he always came in with a but; and when he could 
manage it, he would get behind her, put on a pair of spec- 
tacles, and talk just as she did; he could do that very clev- 
erly, and the people laughed at him. Soon he could mimic 
the speech and gait of everybody in the street. Every- 
thing that was peculiar or ugly about him, Kay would imi- 
tate; and people said: "That boy must certainly have a re- 
markable genius." But it was the glass that struck deep in 
his heart; so it happened that he even teased little Gerda, 
who loved him with all her heart. 

His games now became quite dififerent from what they 
were before; they became quite sensible. One winter's day 
when it snowed he came out with a great burning-glass, 
held up the blue tail of his coat, and let the snowflakes fall 
upon it. 

"Now look at the glass, Gerda," said he. 

And every flake of snow was magnified, and looked like a 
splendid iiower, or a star with ten points; it was beautiful to 

"See how clever that is," said Kay. "That's much more 
interesting than real flowers; and there's not a single fault 
in it — they're quite regular until they begin to melt." 

Soon after Kay came in thick gloves, and with his sledge 
upon his back. He called up to Gerda, "I've got leave to go 
into the great square, where the other boys play," and he 
was gone. 

In the great square the boldest among the boys often tied 
their sledges to the country people's carts, and thus rode 
with them a good way. They went capitally. When they 
were in the midst of their playing there came a great sledge. 
It was painted quite white, and in it sat somebody wrapped 


in a rough white fur, and with a white, rough cap on his 
head. The sledge drove twice round the square, and Kay 
bound his httle sledge to it, and so he drove on with it. It 
went faster and faster, straight into the next street. The 
man who drove turned round and nodded in a familiar way 
to Kay; it was as if they knew one another; each time when 
Kay wanted to cast loose his little sledge, the stranger nod- 
ded again, and then Kay remained where he was, and thus 
they drove out at the town gate. Then the snow began to 
fall so rapidly that the boy could not see a hand's breadth 
before him, but still he drove on. Now he hastily dropped 
the cord, so as to get loose from the great sledge, but that 
was no use, for his sledge was fast bound to the other, and 
they went on like the wind. Then he called out quite loud- 
ly, but nobody heard him; and the snow beat down, and the 
sledge flew onward; every now and then it gave a jump, and 
they seemed to be flying over hedges and ditches. The boy 
was quite frightened. He wanted to say his prayer, but 
could remember nothing but the multiplication table. 

The snowflakes became larger and larger; at last they 
looked like white fowls. All at once they sprang aside and 
the great sledge stopped, and the person who had driven it 
rose up. The fur and the cap were made altogether of ice. 
It was a lady, tall and slender, and brilliantly white; it was 
the Snow Queen. 

"We have driven well!'' said she. "But why do you 
tremble with cold? Creep into my fur." 

And she seated him beside her in her own sledge, and 
wrapped the fur round him, and he felt as if he sank into a 

"Are you still cold?" asked she, and then she kissed him 
on the forehead. 

Oh, that was colder than ice ; it went quite through to his 
heart, half of which was already a lump of ice; he felt as if 
he were going to die; but only for a moment; for then he 
seemed quite well, and he did not notice the cold all about 

"My sledge! don't forget my sledge." 

That was the first thing he thought of; and it was bound 
fast to one of the white chickens, and this chicken flew be- 
hind him with the sledge upon its back. The Snow Queen 


kissed Kay again, and then he had forgotten httle Gerda, 
his grandmother, and all at home. 

"Now you shall have no more kisses," said she, "for if you 
did I should kiss you to death." 

Kay looked at her. She was so beautiful, he could not 
imagine a more sensible or lovely face; she did not appear to 
him to be made of ice now as before, when she sat at the 
window and beckoned to him. In his eyes she was perfect; 
he did not feel at all afraid. He told her that he could do 
mental arithmetic as far as fractions ; that he knew the num- 
ber of square miles and the number of inhabitants in the 
country. And she always smiled, and then it seemed to him 
that what he knew was not enough, and he looked up into 
the wide sky, and she flew with him high up upon the black 
cloud, and the storm blew and whistled ; it seemed as though 
the wind sang old songs. They flew over woods and lakes, 
over sea and land; below them roared the cold wind, the 
wolves howled, the snow crackled; over them flew the black, 
screaming crows; but above all the moon shone bright and 
clear, and Kay looked at the long, long winter night; by day 
he slept at the feet of the Queen. 



But how did it fare with little Gerda when Kay did not 
return? What could have become of him? No one knew, 
no one could give information. The boys only told that 
thev had seen him bind his sledge to another very large one, 
which had driven along the street and out at the town gate. 
Nobody knew what had become of him; many tears were 
shed, and little Gerda especially wept long and bitterly; 
then she said he was dead — he had been drowned in the 
river, which flowed close by their school. Oh, those were 
very dark, long wintry days! But now spring came, with 
warmer sunshine. 

"Kay is dead and gone," said little Gerda. 

"I don't believe it," said the Sunshine. 

"He is dead and gone," said she to the Sparrows. 


"We don't believe it," they replied; and at last little Gerda 
did not believe it herself. 

"I will put on my new red shoes," she said one morning, 
"those that Kay has never seen; and then I will go down to 
the river, and ask for him." 

It w-as still very early; she kissed the old grandmother, 
who was still asleep, put on her red shoes, and went quite 
alone out of the town gate toward the river. 

"Is it true that you have taken my little playmate from 
me? I will give you my red shoes if you will give him back 
to me!" 

And it seemed to her as if the waves nodded quite strange- 
ly; and then she took her red shoes, that she liked best of 
anything she possessed, and threw them both into the river; 
but they fell close to the shore, and the little wavelets carried 
them back to her, to the land. It seemed as if the river 
would not take from her the dearest things she possessed 
because he had not her little Kay ; but she thought she had 
not thrown the shoes far enough out; so she crept into a 
boat that lay among the reeds, she went to the other end of 
the boat, and threw the shoes from thence into the water; 
but the boat was not bound fast, and at the movement she 
made it glided away from the shore. She noticed it, and 
hurried to get back, but before she reached the other end the 
boat was a yard from the bank, and it drifted away faster 
than before. 

Then little Gerda was very much frightened, and began to 
cry; but no one heard her except the Sparrows, and they 
could not carry her to land ; but they flew along by the shore, 
and sang, as if to console her, "Here we are! here we are!" 
The boat drove on with the stream, and little Gerda sat quite 
still, with only her stockings on her feet; her little red shoes 
floated along behind her, but they could not come up to the 
boat, for that made more way. 

It was very pretty on both shores. There were beautiful 
flowers, old trees, and slopes with sheep and cows; but not 
one person was to be seen. 

"Perhaps the river will carry me to little Kay,'' thought 

And then she became more cheerful, and rose up ; and for 
many hours she watched the charming green banks; then 
she came to a great cherry orchard, in which stood a little 


house with remarkable blue and red windows; it had a 
thatched roof, and without stood two wooden soldiers, who 
presented arms to those who sailed past. 

Gerda called to them, for she thought they were alive, but 
of course they did not answer. She came quite close to 
them. The river carried the boat toward the shore. 

Gerda called still louder, and then there came out of the 
house an old woman leaning on a crutch ; she had on a great 
velvet hat, painted over with the finest flowers. 

"You poor little child !" said the old woman, "how did you 
manage to come on the great rolling river, and to float thus 
far out into the world?" 

And then the old woman went quite into the water, seized 
the boat with her crutch stick, drew it to land, and lifted 
little Gerda out. And Gerda was glad to be on dry land 
again, though she felt a little afraid of the strange old wo- 

"Come and tell me who you are, and how you came here," 
said the old lady. And Gerda told her everything; and the 
old woman shook her head, and said, "Hem! hem!" And 
when Gerda had told everything, and asked if she had not 
seen little Kay, the woman said that he had not yet come by, 
but that he probably would soon come. Gerda was not to 
be sorrowful, but to look at the flowers and taste the cher- 
ries, for they were better than any picture-book, for each 
one of them could tell a story. Then she took Gerda by the 
hand and led her into the little house, and the old woman 
locked the door. 

The windows were very high, and the panes were red, 
blue, and yellow; the daylight shone in a remarkable way, 
with different colors. On the table stood the finest cherries, 
and Gerda ate as many of them as she liked, for she had 
leave to do so. While she was eating them, the old lady 
combed her hair with a golden comb, and the hair hung 
in ringlets of pretty yellow round the friendly little face, 
which looked as blooming as a rose. 

"I have long wished for such a dear little girl as you," 
said the old lady. "Now you shall see how well we shall 
live with one another." 

And as the ancient dame combed her hair, Gerda forgot 
her adopted brother Kay more and more; for this old wo- 
man could conjure, but she was not a wicked witch. She 


only practiced a little magic for her own amusement, and 
wanted to keep little Gerda. Therefore she went into the 
garden, stretched out her crutch toward all the rose bushes, 
and, beautiful as they were, they all sank into the earth, and 
one could not tell where they had stood. The old woman 
was afraid that, if the little girl saw roses, she would think 
of her own, and remember little Kay, and run away. 

Now Gerda was led out into the flower garden. What 
fragrance was there, and what loveliness! Every conceiv- 
able flower was there in full bloom; there were some for 
every season; no picture book could be gayer and pret- 
tier. Gerda jumped high for joy, and played till the sun 
went down behind the high cherry trees; then she was put 
into a lovely bed, with red silk pillows stuffed with blue 
violets, and she slept there, and dreamed as glorious as a 
Queen on her wedding day. 

One day she played again with the flowers in the warm 
sunshine; and thus many days went by. Gerda knew 
every flower; but, as many as there were of them, it still 
seemed to her as if one were wanting, but which one she 
did not know. One day she sat looking at the old lady's hat 
with the painted flowers, and the prettiest of them all was 
a rose. The old lady had forgotten to efface it from her hat 
when she caused the others to disappear. But so it always 
is when one does not keep one's wits about one. 

"What, are there no roses here?" cried Gerda. 

And she went among the beds, and searched and 
searched, but there was not one to be found. Then she sat 
down and wept; her tears fell just upon a spot where a rose- 
bud lay buried, and when the warm tears moistened the 
earth, the tree at once sprouted up as blooming as when it 
had sunk; and Gerda embraced it, and kissed the Roses, 
and thought of the beautiful roses at home, and also of 
little Kay. 

"Oh, how I have been detained!" said the little girl. 'T 
wanted to seek for little Kay! Do you not know where he 
is?" she asked the Roses. "Do you think he is dead?" 

"He is not dead,'' the Roses answered. "We have been in 
the ground. All the dead people are there, but Kay is not 

"Thank you," said little Gerda, and she went to the other 


flowers, looked into their cups, and asked, "Do you know 
where Httle Kay is?" 

But every flower stood in the sun thinking only of her 
own story or fancy tale. Gerda heard many, many of 
them; but not one knew anything of Kay, 

And what did the Tiger-lily say? 

"Do you hear the drum *Rub-dub'? There are only two 
notes, always 'rub-dub!' Hear the mourning song of the 
women; hear the call of the priests. The Hindoo widow 
stands in her long red mantel on the funeral pile ; the flames 
rise up around her and her dead husband; but the Hindoo 
woman is thinking of the living one here in the circle, of 
him whose eyes burn hotter than flames, whose fiery glances 
have burned in her soul more ardently than the flames them- 
selves, which are soon to burn her body to ashes. Can the 
flame of heart die in the flame of the funeral pile?" 

'T don't understand that at all !" said little Gerda. 

''That's my story," said the lily. 

What says the Convolvulus? 

"Over the narrow road looms an old knightly castle; 
thickly the ivy grows over the crumbling red walls, leaf 
by leaf up to the balcony, and there stands a beautiful girl; 
she bends over the balustrade and glances up the road. No 
rose on its branch is fresher than she; no apple blossoms 
wafted onward by the wind floats more lightly along. How 
her costly silks rustle! 'Comes he not yet?' " 

'Ts it Kay whom you mean?" asked little Gerda. 

"I'm only speaking of a story— my dream," replied the 

What said the little Snowdrop? 

"Between the trees a long board hangs by ropes; that is a 
swing. Two pretty little girls, with clothes white as snow 
and long green silk ribbons on their hats, are sitting upon 
it, swinging; their brother, who is greater than they, stands 
in the swing, and has slung his arm rovmd the rope to hold 
himself, for in one hand he has a little saucer, and in the 
other a clay pipe; he is blowing bubbles. The swing flies, 
and the bubbles rise with beautiful, changing colors; the 
last still hangs from the pipe bowl, swaying in the wind. 
The swing flies on; the little black dog, light as the bubbles, 
stands up on his hind legs, and wants to be taken into the 
swing; it flies on, and the dog falls, barks, and grows angry, 


for he is teased, and the bubble bursts. A swinging board 
and a bursting bubble — that is my song." 

"It may be very pretty, what you're telling, but you speak 
it so mournfully, and you don't mention little Kay at all." 

What do the Hyacinths say? 

"There were three beautiful sisters, transparent and deli- 
cate. The dress of one was red, that of the second blue, 
and that of the third quite white ; hand in hand they danced 
by the calm lake in the bright moonlight. They were not 
elves; they were human beings. It was so sweet and fra- 
grant there! The girls disappeared in the forest, and the 
sweet fragrance became stronger; three cofhns, with three 
beautiful maidens lying in them, glided from the wood- 
thicket across the lake; the glow-worms flew gleaming 
about them like little hovering lights. Are the dancing 
girls sleeping, or are they dead? The flower scent says they 
are dead, and the evening bell tolls their knell." 

"You make me quite sorrowful," said little Gerda. "You 
scent so strongly, I cannot help thinking of the dead maid- 
ens. Ah! is little Kay really dead? The Roses have been 
down in the earth, and they say no." 

"Kling! klang!" tolled the Hyacinth Bells. "We are 
not tolling for little Kay — -we don't know him ; we only sing 
our song, the only one we know." 

And Gerda went to the Buttercup, gleaming forth from 
the green leaves. 

"You are a little bright sun," said Gerda. "Tell me, if 
you know, where I may find my companion.'' 

And the Buttercup shone so gayly, and looked back at 
Gerda. What song might the Buttercup sing? It was not 
about Kay. 

"In a little courtyard the clear sun shone warm on the 
first day of spring. The sunbeams glided down the white 
wall of the neighboring house; close by grew the first yel- 
low flower, glancing like gold in the bright sun's ray. The 
old grandmother sat out of doors in her chair; her grand- 
daughter, a poor, handsome maidservant, was coming home 
for a short visit; she kissed her grandmother. There was 
gold, heart's gold, in that blessed kiss, gold in the mouth, 
gold in the south, gold in the morning hour. See, that's my 
little story," said the Buttercup. 

"My poor old grandmother!" sighed Gerda. "Yes, she 


is surely longing for me and grieving for me, just as she 
did for little Kay. But I shall soon go home and take Kay 
with me. There is no use of my asking the flowers, they 
only know their own song, and give me no information." 
And then she tied her little frock round her, that she might 
run the faster; but the Jonquil struck against her leg as 
she sprang over it, and she stopped to look at the tall yellow 
flower, and asked, "Do you, perhaps, know anything of lit- 
tle Kay?" 

And she bent quite down to the flower, and what did it 

"I can see myself! I can see myself!" said the Jonquil. 
"Oh! oh! how I smell! Up in the little room in the gable 
stands a little dancing girl; she stands sometimes on one 
foot, sometimes on both; she seems to tread on all the 
world. She's nothing but an ocular delusion; she pours 
water out of a tea pot on a bit of stuff — it is her bodice. 
'Cleanliness is a fine thing,' she says; her white frock hangs 
on a hook; it has been washed in the tea pot, too, and dried 
on the roof; she puts it on and ties her safifron handkerchief 
round her neck, and the dress looks all the whiter. Point 
your toes! look how she seems to stand on a stalk. I can 
see myself! I can see myself!" 

"I don't care at all about that," said Gerda. "You need 
not tell me that." 

And then she ran to the end of the garden. The door 
was locked, but she pressed against the rusty lock, and it 
broke off, the door sprang open, and little Gerda ran with 
naked feet out into the wide world. She looked back three 
times, but no one was there to pursue her; at last she could 
run no longer, and seated herself on a great stone, and 
when she looked round the summer was over — it was late 
in autumn; one could not notice that in the beautiful garden, 
where there was always sunshine, and the flowers of every 
season always bloomed. 

"Alas! how I have loitered!" said little Gerda. "Autumn 
has come. I may not rest again." 

And she rose up to go on. Oh! how sore and tired her 
little feet were. All around it looked cold and bleak; the 
long Vi^illow leaves were quite yellow, and the dew fell down 
like water; one leaf after another dropped; only the sole- 
thorn still bore fruit, but the §loes were sour, and set the 


teeth on edge. Oh! how gray and gloomy it looked, the 
wide world! 


Gerda was compelled to rest again; then there came hop- 
ping across the snow, just opposite the spot where she was 
sitting, a great Crow. This Crow stopped a long time to 
look at her, nodding its head — now it said, "Krah! krah! 
Good-day! good-day!" It could not pronounce better, but 
it felt friendly toward the little girl, and asked where she was 
going all alone in the wide world. The word "alone'' 
Gerda understood very well, and felt how much it ex- 
pressed; and she told the Crow the story of her whole life 
and fortunes, and asked if it had not seen Kay. 

And the Crow nodded very gravely, and said: 

"That may be! that may be!" 

"What? do you think so?" cried the little girl, and nearly 
pressed the Crow to death, she kissed it so. 

"Gently, gently!" said the Crow. "I think I know. I 
believe it may be little Kay; but he has certainly forgotten 
you, with the Princess." 

"Does he live with a Princess?" asked Gerda. 

"Yes; listen," said the Crow. "But it's so difficult for 
me to speak your language. If you know the crows' lan- 
guage, I can tell it much better." 

"No, I never learned it," said Gerda; "but my grand- 
mother understood it, and could speak the language, too. 
I only wish I had learned it." 

"That doesn't matter," said the Crow. "But it will go 

And then the Crow told what it knew. 

"In the country in which we now are lives a Princess who 
is quite wonderfully clever, but then she has read all the 
newspapers in the world, and has forgotten them again, she 
is so clever. Lately she was sitting on the throne — and 
that's not so pleasant as is generally supposed — and she be- 
gan to sing a song, and it was just this: 'Why should I 
not marry yet?' You see, there was something in that," 
said the Crow. "And so she wanted to marry, but she 


wished for a husband who could answer when he was 
spoken to, not one who only stood and looked handsome, 
for that was wearisome. And so she had all her maids of 
honor summoned, and when they heard her intention they 
were very glad. 'I like that,' said they; 'I thought the very 
same thing the other day.' You may be sure that every 
word I am telling you is true," added the Crow. "I have a 
tame sweetheart who goes about freely in the castle, and she 
told me everything." 

Of course the sweetheart was a crow, for one crow always 
finds out another, and birds of a feather flock together. 

"Newspapers were published directly, with a border of 
hearts and the Princess' initials. One could read in them 
that every young man who was good-looking might come 
to the castle and speak with the Princess, and him who 
spoke so that one could hear he was at home there, and who 
spoke best, the Princess would choose for her husband. 
Yes, yes," said the Crow, ''you may believe me. It's as true 
as I sit here. Young men came flockine: in; there was a 
great crowding and much running to and fro, but no one 
succeeded the first or second day. They could all speak well 
when they were out in the streets, but when they entered 
at the palace gates, and saw the guards standing in their 
silver lace, and went up the staircase, and saw the lackeys 
in their golden liveries, and the great lighted halls, they 
became confused. And when they stood before the throne 
itself, on which the Princess sat, they could do nothing but 
repeat the last word she had spoken, and she did not care 
to hear her own words again. It was just as if the people 
in there had taken some narcotic and fallen asleep, till they 
got into the street again, for not till then were they able to 
speak. There stood a whole row of them, from the town 
gate to the palace gate. I went out myself to see it," said 
the Crow. "They were hungry and thirsty, but in the palace 
they did not receive so much as a glass of lukewarm water. 
A few of the vv'isest had brought bread and butter with them, 
but they would not share with their neighbors, for they 
thought, 'Let him look hungry, and the Princess won't have 
him.' " 

"But Kay, little Kay?" asked Gerda. "When did he 
come? Was he among the crowd?" 

"Wait! wait! We're just coming to him. It was on the 


third day that there came a Uttle personage, without horse 
or carriage, walking quite merrily up to the castle ; his eyes 
sparkled like yours; he had fine long hair, but his clothes 
were shabby." 

"That was Kay!" cried Gerda, rejoicing. "Oh, then 1 
have found him !" And she clapped her hands. 

"He had a little knapsack on his back," observed the 

"No, that must certainly have been his sledge," said 
•Gerda, "for he went away with a sledge." 

"That may well be,'' said the Crow, "for I did not look to 
it very closely. But this much I know from, my tame sweet- 
heart, that when he passed under the palace gate and saw 
the Life Guards in silver, and mounted the staircase and 
saw the lackeys in gold, he was not in the least embarrassed. 
He nodded and said to them, Tt must be tedious work 
standing on the stairs — I'd rather go in.' The halls shone 
full of light; privy councilors and Excellencies walked 
about with bare feet, and carried golden vessels; anyone 
might have become solemn; and his boots creaked most 
noisily, but he was not embarrassed," 

"That is certainly Kay!" cried Gerda. "He had new 
boots on; I've heard them creak in grandmothers room." 

"Yes, certainly they creaked," resumed the Crow. "And 
he went boldly in to the Princess herself, who sat on a pearl 
that was as big as a spinning-wheel, and all the maids of 
honor with their attendants, and all the cavaliers with their 
followers, and the followers of their followers, who them- 
selves kept a page apiece, were standing round; and the 
nearer they stood to the door, the prouder they looked. 
The followers' followers' pages, who always went in slip- 
pers, could hardly be looked at, so proudly did they stand 
in the doorway!" 

"That must be terrible!" faltered little Gerda. "And yet 
Kay won the Princess?" 

"If I had not been a crow, I would have married her my- 
self, notwithstanding that I am engaged. They say he 
spoke as well as I can when I speak the crows' language; I 
heard that from my tame sweetheart. He was merry and 
agreeable ; he had not come to marry, only to hear the wis- 
dom of the Princess; and he approved of her, and she of 

"Yes, certainly that was Kay !" said Gerda. "He was so 


clever; he could do mental arithmetic up to fractions. Oh! 
won't you lead me to the castle, too?" 

"That's easily said," replied the Crow. "But how are we 
to manage it? I'll talk it over with my tame sweetheart; 
she can probably advise us; for this I must tell you — a little 
girl like yourself will never get leave to go completely in." 

"Yes, I shall get leave," said Gerda. "When Kay hears 
that I'm there he'll come out directly, and bring me in." 

"Wait for me yonder at the grating," said Crow; and 
it wagged its head and flew away. 

It was already late in the evening when the Crow came 

"Rax! rax!" it said. "I'm to greet you kindly from my 
sweetheart, and here's a little loaf for you. She took it from 
the kitchen. There's plenty of bread there, and you must 
be hungr}^ You can't possibly get into the palace, for you 
are barefooted, and the guards in silver and the lackeys in 
gold would not allow it. But don't cry; you shall go up. 
My sweetheart knows a little back staircase that leads up 
to the bedroom, and she knows where she can get the key." 

And they went into the garden into the great avenue, 
where one leaf was falling down after another; and when 
the lights were extinguished in the palace one after the 
other, the Crow led Gerda to a back door, which stood ajar. 

Oh, how Gerda's heart beat with fear and longing! It 
was just as if she had been going to do something wicked; 
and yet she only wanted to know if it was little Kay. Yes, 
it must be he. She thought so deeply of his clear eyes and 
his long hair; she could fancy she saw how he smiled as 
he had smiled at home when they sat among the roses. He 
would certainly be glad to see her; to hear what a long dis- 
tance she had come for his sake; to know how sorry the}' 
had all been at home when he did not come back. Oh, what 
a fear and what a joy that was! 

Now they were on the staircase. A little lamp was burn- 
ing upon a cupboard, and in the middle of the floor stood 
the tame Crow turning her head on every side and looking 
at Gerda, who courtesied as her grandmother had taught 
her to do. 

"My betrothed has spoken to me very favorably of you, 
my little lady," said the tame Crow. "Your history, as it 
may be called, is very moving. Will you take the lamp? 


then I will precede you. We will go the straight way, and 
then we shall meet nobody." 

"I feel as if someone were coming after us," said Gerda, 
as something rushed by her; it seemed like a shadow on 
the wall; horses with flying manes and thin legs, hunters, 
and ladies and gentlemen on horseback. 

"These are only dreams," said the Crow; "they are com- 
ing to carry the high masters' thoughts out hunting. That's 
all the better, for you may look at them the more closely, 
in bed. But I hope, when you are taken into favor and get 
promotion, you will show a grateful heart." 

"Of that we may be sure!" observed the Crow from the 

Now they came into the first hall; it was hung with rose- 
colored satin, and artificial flowers were worked on the 
walls; and here the dream already came flitting by them, 
but they moved so quickly that Gerda could not see the 
high-born lords and ladies. Each hall was more splendid 
than the last; yes, one could almost become bewildered! 
Now they were in the bedchamber. Here the ceiling was 
like a great palm tree with leaves of glass, of costly glass, 
and in the middle of the floor two beds hung on a thick 
stalk of gold, and each of them looked like a lily. One of 
them was white, and in that lay the Princess ; the other was 
red, and in that Gerda was to seek little Kay. She bent one 
of the red leaves aside, and then she saw a little brown neck. 
Oh, that was Kay! She called out his name quite loud, 
and held the lamp toward him. The dreams rushed into 
the room again on horseback — he awoke, turned his head, 
and — it was not little Kay! 

The Prince was only like him in the neck, but he was 
young and good looking, and the Princess looked up, blink- 
ing, from the white lily, and asked who was there. Then 
little Gerda wept, and told her whole history, and all that 
the Crows had done for her. 

"You poor child!" said the Prince and Princess. 

And they praised the Crows, and said that they were not 
angry with them at all, but the Crows were not to do it 
again. However, they should be rewarded. 

"Will you fly out free?" asked the Princess, "or will you 
have fixed positions as Court Crows, with the right to every- 
thing that is left in the kitchen?" 


And the two Crows bowed, and begged for fixed posi- 
tions, for they thought of their old age, and said, "It is so 
good to have some provisions for one's old days," as they 
called them. 

And the Prince got up out of his bed, and let Gerda sleep 
in it, and he could not do m.ore than that. She folded her 
little hands, and thought, "How good men and animals 
are !" and then she shut her eyes and went quietly to sleep. 
All the dreams came flying in again, looking like angels, 
and they drew a little sledge, on which Kay sat nodding; 
but all this was only a dream, and therefore it was gone 
again as soon as she awoke. 

The next day she was clothed from head to foot in velvet ; 
and an offer was made to her that she should stay in the 
castle and enjoy pleasant times, but she only begged for a 
little carriage, with a horse to draw it, and a pair of little 
boots; then she would drive out into the world and seek 
for Kay. 

And she received not only boots, but a muff likewise, and 
was neatly dressed; and when she was ready to depart, a 
coach, made of pure gold, stopped before the door. Upon it 
shone like a star the coat of arms of the Prince and Princess; 
coachmen, footmen, and outriders — for there were outrid- 
ers, too — sat on horseback, with gold crowns on their heads. 
The Prince and Princess themselves helped her into the 
carriage, and wished her all good fortune. The forest Crow, 
who was now married, accompanied her the first three 
miles; he sat by Gerda's side, for he could not bear riding 
backward; the other Crow stood in the doorway, flapping 
her wings ; she did not go with them, for she suffered from 
headache, that had come on since she had obtained a fixed 
position and was allowed to eat too much. The coach was 
lined with sugar biscuits, and in the seat there were ginger- 
bread, nuts, and fruit. 

"Farewell, farewell!" cried the Prince and Princess; and 
little Gerda wept, and the Crow wept. So they went on for 
the first three miles, and then the Crow said good-bye, and 
that was the heaviest parting of all. The Crow flew up on a 
tree, and beat his black wings as long as he could see the 
coach, which glittered like the bright sunshine. 



They drove on through the thick forest, but the coach 
gleamed Hke a torch, that dazzled the robbers' eyes, and 
they could not bear it. 

"That is gold! that is gold!" cried they, and rushed for- 
ward, and seized the horses, killed the postilions, the coach- 
man, and the footmen, and then pulled little Gerda out of 
the carriage. 

"She is fat — she is pretty — she is fed with nut kernels!" 
said the old robber woman, who had a very long matted 
beard, and shaggy eyebrows that hung down over her 
eves. "She's as good as a little pet lamb ; how I shall relish 

And she drew out her shining knife, that gleamed in a 
horrible way. 

"Oh!" screamed the old woman at the same moment; for 
her own daughter, who hung at her back, bit her ear in a 
very naughty and spiteful manner "You ugly brat!" 
screamed the old woman; and she had not time to kill 

"She shall play with me !" said the little robber girl. "She 
shall give me her muff and her pretty dress, and sleep with 
me in my bed!'' 

And then the girl gave another bite, so that the woman 
jumped high up, and turned right round, and all the robbers 
laughed, and said: 

"Look how she dances with her calf." 

"I want to go into the carriage," said the little robber 

And she would have her own way, for she was spoiled and 
very obstinate; and she and Gerda sat in the carriage, and 
drove over stock and stone deep into the forest. The little 
robber girl was as big as Gerda, but stronger and more 
broad shouldered, and she had a brown skin; her eyes were 
quite black, and they looked almost mournful. She clasped 
little Gerda round the waist, and said: 

"They shall not kill you as long as I am not angry with 
you. I suppose you are a Princess?" 


"No," replied Gerda. And she told all that had happened 
to her, and how fond she was of little Kay. 

The robber girl looked at her seriously, nodded slightly, 
and said: 

"They shall not kill you, even if I do get angry with you, 
for then I will do it myself." 

And then she dried Gerda's eyes, and put her two hands 
into the beautiful mufT that was so soft and w-arm. 

Now the coach stopped, and they were in the courtyard of 
a robber castle. It had burst from the top to the ground; 
ravens and crows flew out of the great holes, and big bull- 
dogs — each of which looked as if he could devour a man — 
jumped high up, but they did not bark, for that was forbid- 

In the great old, smoky hall, a bright fire burned upon 
the stone floor; the smoke passed along under the ceiling, 
and had to seek an exit for itself. A great cauldron of soup 
was boiling, and hares and rabbits were roasting on the 

"You shall sleep to-night with me and all my little ani- 
mals," said the robber girl. 

They got something to eat and drink, and then went to a 
corner, where straw and carpets were spread out. Above 
these sat on laths and perches more than a hundred pigeons, 
and all seemed asleep, but they turned a little when the two 
little girls came. 

"All these belong to me,'' said the little robber girl; and 
she quickly seized one of the nearest, held it by the feet, and 
shook it so that it flapped its wings. "Kiss it!" she cried, 
and beat it in Gerda's face. "There sit the wood rascals," 
she continued, pointing to a number of laths that had been 
nailed in front of a hole in the wall. "Those are wood ras- 
cals, those two; they fly away directly if one does not keep 
them well locked up. And here's my old sweetheart 'Ba.' " 
And she pulled out b}^ the horn a Reindeer, that was tied up, 
and had a polished copper ring round its neck. "We're 
obliged to keep him tight, too, or he'd run aw^ay from us. 
Every evening I tickle his neck with a sharp knife, and he's 
very frightened at that." 

And the little girl drew a long knife from a cleft in the 
wall, and let it glide over the Reindeer's neck; the poor 


creature kicked out its legs, and the little robber girl 
laughed, and drew Gerda into bed with her. 

"Do you keep the knife while you're asleep?" asked 
Gerda, and looked at it in rather a frightened way. 

"I always sleep with my knife," replied the robber girl. 
"One does not know what may happen. But now tell me 
again what you told me just now about little Kay, and why 
you came out into the wide world," 

And Gerda told it again from the beginning; and the 
Wood Pigeons cooed above them in their cage, and the 
other pigeons slept. The little robber girl put her arm 
round Gerda's neck, held her knife in the other hand, and 
slept so that one could hear her; but Gerda could not close 
her eyes at all — she did not know whether she was to live or 

The robbers sat round the fire, sang and drank, and the 
old robber woman tumbled about. It was quite terrible for 
a little girl to behold. 

Then the Wood Pigeons said: "Coo! coo! we have seen 
little Kay. A white owl was carrying his sledge; he sat in 
the Snow Queen's carriage, which drove close by the forest 
as we lay in our nests. She blew upon us young pigeons 
and all died except us two. Coo! coo!" 

"What are you saying there?" asked Gerda. "Whither 
was the Snow Queen traveling? Do you know anything 
about it?" 

"She was probably journeying to Lapland, for there they 
have always ice and snow. Ask the reindeer that is tied to 
the cord." 

"There is ice and snow yonder, and it is glorious and fine," 
said the Reindeer. "There one may run about free in great 
glittering plains. There the Snow Queen has her summer 
tent; but her strong castle is up toward the North Pole, on 
the island that's called Spitzbergen." 

"O Kay, little Kay!" cried Gerda. 

"You must lie still," exclaimed the robber girl, "or I shall 
thrust my knife into your body." 

In the morning Gerda told her all that the Wood Pigeons 
had said, and the robber girl looked quite serious, and nod- 
ded her head and said, "That's all the same, that's all the 
same !'' 


"Do you know where Lapland is?" she asked the Rein- 

"Who should know better than I?" the creature replied, 
and its eyes sparkled in its head. "I was born and bred 
there; I ran about there in the snow fields." 

"Listen!" said the robber girl to Gerda. "You see all 
our men have gone away. Only mother is here still, and 
she'll stay; but toward noon she drinks out of the big bot- 
tle, and then she sleeps for a little while; then I'll do some- 
thing for you." 

Then she sprang out of bed, and clasped her mother 
round the neck and pulled her beard, crying: 

"Good-morning, my own old nanny-goat." And her 
mother filliped her nose till it was red and blue; and it was 
all done for pure love. 

When the mother had drunk out of her bottle and had 
gone to sleep upon it, the robber girl went to the Reindeer, 
and said: 

"I should like very much to tickle you a few times more 
with the knife, for you are very funny then ; but it's all the 
same. I'll loosen your cord and help you out, so that you 
may run to Lapland; but you must use your legs well, and 
carry this little girl to the palace of the Snow Queen, where 
her playfellow is. You've heard what she told me, for she 
spoke loud enough, and you were listening." 

The Reindeer sprang up high for joy. The robber girl 
lifted little Gerda on its back, and had the forethought to 
tie her fast, and even to give her own little cushion as a sad- 

"There are your fur boots for you," she said, "for it's 
growing cold; but I shall keep the muff, for that's so very 
pretty. Still, you shall not be cold, for all that; here's my 
mother's big muffles — they'll just reach up to your elbows. 
Now you look just like my ugly mother." 

And Gerda wept for joy. 

"I can't bear to see you whimper," said the little robber 
girl. "No, you just ought to look very glad. And here are 
two loaves and a ham for you ; now you won't be hungry." 

These were tied on the Reindeer's back. The little rob- 
ber girl opened the door, coaxed in all the big dogs, and 
then cut the rope with her sharp knife, and said to the Rein- 


"Now run, but take good care of the little girl." 

And Gerda stretched out her hands with the big muffles 
toward the little robber girl, and said, "Farewell." 

And the Reindeer ran over stock and stone, away 
through the great forest, over marshes and steppes, as quick 
as it could go. The wolves howled and the ravens croaked. 
"Hiss! hiss!" it went in the air. It seemed as if the sky 
were flashing fire. 

"Those are my old Northern Lights," said the Reindeer. 
"Look how they glow!" And then it ran on faster than 
ever, day and night. 


At a little hut they stopped. It was very humble; the 
roof sloped down almost to the ground, and the door was 
so low that the family had to creep on their stomachs when 
they wanted to go in or out. No one was in the house but 
an old Lapland woman, cooking fish by the light of a train- 
oil lamp; and the Reindeer told Gerda's whole history, but 
it related its own first, for this seemed to the Reindeer the 
more important of the two. Gerda was so exhausted by 
the cold that she could not speak. 

"Oh, you poor things," said the Lapland woman, "you've 
a long way to run yet ! You must go more than a hundred 
miles into Finmark, for the Snow Queen is there, staying 
in the country, and burning Bengal Lights every evening. 
I'll write a few words on a dried cod, for I have no paper, 
and I'll give you that as a letter to the Finland woman; she 
can give you better information than I." 

And when Gerda had been warmed and refreshed with 
food and drink, the Lapland woman wrote a few words on 
a dried codfish, and telling Gerda to take care of these, tied 
her again on the Reindeer, and the Reindeer sprang away. 
Flash! flash! it went high in the air; the whole night long 
the most beautiful blue Northern Lights were burning. 

And then they got to Finm^ark, and knocked at the chim- 
ney of the Finland woman, for she had not even a hut. 

There was such a heat in the chimney that the woman 


herself went about almost naked. She at once loosened 
little Gerda's dress and took off the child's muffles and 
boots; otherwise it would have been too hot for her to bear. 
Then she laid a piece of ice on the Reindeer's head, and 
read what was written on the codfish; she read it three 
times, and when she knew it by heart, she popped the fish 
into the soup-cauldron, for it was eatable, and she never 
wasted anything. 

Now the Reindeer first told his own story, and then little 
Gerda's; and the Finland woman blinked with her clever 
eyes, but said nothing. 

"You are very clever," said the Reindeer. "I know you 
can tie all the winds of the world together with a bit of 
twine; if the seaman unties one knot, he has a good wind; 
if he loosens the second, it blows hard; but if he unties the 
third and fourth, there comes such a tempest that the for- 
ests are thrown down. Won't you give the little girl a 
draught, so that she may get twelve men's power, and over- 
come the Snow Queen?'' 

"Twelve men's power!" repeated the Finland woman. 
"Great use that would be!" 

And she went to a bed and brought out a great rolled-up 
fur, and unrolled it; wonderful characters were written 
upon it, and the Finland woman read until the perspiration 
ran down over her forehead. 

But the Reindeer again begged so hard for little Gerda, 
and Gerda looked at the Finland woman with such be- 
seeching eyes, full of tears, that she began to blink again 
with her own, and drew the Reindeer into a corner, and 
whispered to him, while she laid fresh ice upon his head. 

"Little Kay is certainly at the Snow Queen's, and finds 
everything there to his taste and liking, and thinks it is the 
best place in the world ; but that is because he has a splinter 
of glass in his eye, and a little fragment in his heart: but 
these must be got out, or he will never be a human being 
again, and the Snow Queen will keep her power over him." 

"But cannot you give something to little Gerda, so as to 
give her power over all this?" 

"I can give her no greater power than she possesses al- 
ready; don't you see how great that is? Don't you see how 
men and animals are obliged to serve her, and how she gets 
on so well in the world, with her naked feet? She cannot 


receive her power from us; it consists in this, that she is a 
dear, innocent child. If she herself cannot penetrate to the 
iSnow Queen and get the glass out of little Kay, we can be of 
no use ! Two miles from here the Snow Queen's garden be- 
gins; you can carry the little girl thither; set her down by 
the great bush that stands with its red berries in the snow. 
Don't stand gossiping, but make haste, and get back here!" 

And then the Finland woman lifted little Gerda on the 
Reindeer, which ran as fast as it could. 

"Oh, I haven't my boots! I haven't my muffles!" cried 

She soon noticed that in the cutting cold; but the Rein- 
deer dare not stop; it ran till it came to the bush with the 
red berries; there it set Gerda down, and kissed her on the 
mouth, and great big tears ran down the creature's cheeks; 
and then it ran back, as fast as it could. There stood poor 
Gerda without shoes, without gloves, in the midst of the 
terrible cold Finmark. 

She ran forward as fast as possible; then came a whole 
regiment of snow flakes; but they did not fall down from 
the sky, for that was quite bright, and shone with the 
Northern Light; the snow flakes ran along the ground, 
and the nearer they came the larger they grew. Gerda still 
remembered how large and beautiful the snow flakes had 
appeared when she had looked at them through the burn- 
ing-glass. But here they were certainly far longer and 
much more terrible — they were alive. They were advanced 
posts of the Snow Queen, and had the strangest shapes. A 
few looked like ugly great porcupines; others like knots 
formed of snakes, which stretched forth their heads; and 
others like little fat bears, whose hair stood up on end; all 
were brilliantly white, all were living snow flakes. 

Then little Gerda said her prayer; and the cold was so 
great that she could see her own breath, which went forth 
out of her mouth like smoke. The breath became thicker 
and thicker, and formicd itself into little angels, who grew 
and grew whenever they touched the earth; and all had 
helmets on their heads and shields and spears in their hands; 
their number increased more and more, and when Gerda 
had finished her prayer a whole legion stood round about 
her, and struck with their spears at the terrible snow flakes, 
so that these were shattered into a thousand pieces; and 


little Gerda could go forward afresh, with good courage. 
The angels stroked her hands and feet, and then she felt 
less how cold it was, and hastened on to see the Snow 
Queen's palace. 

But now we must see what Kay is doing. He certainly 
was not thinking of little Gerda, and least of all that she was 
standing in front of the palace. 



The walls of the palace were formed of the drifting snow, 
and the windows and doors of the cutting winds. There 
were more than a hundred halls, all blovv^n together by the 
snow; the greatest of these extended for several miles; the 
strong Northern Light illumined them all, and how great 
and empty, how icily cold and shining they all were ! Never 
was merriment there, not even a little bears ball, at which 
the storm could have played the music, while the bears 
walked about on their hind legs and showed off their pretty 
manners; never any little sport of mouth-slapping or bars- 
touch; never any little coffee gossip among the young lady 
white foxes. Empty, vast, and cold were the halls of the 
Snow Queen. The Northern Lights flamed so brightly 
that one could count them where they stood highest and 
lowest. In the midst of this immense empty snow hall was 
a frozen lake, which had burst into a thousand pieces; but 
each piece was like the rest, so that it was a perfect work of 
art; and in the middle of the lake sat the Snow Queen, 
when she was at home, and then she said that she sat in the 
Mirror of Reason, and that this was the only one, and the 
best in the world. 

Little Kay was quite blue with cold — indeed, almost 
black! but he did not notice it, for she had kissed the cold 
shudderings away from him, and his heart was like a lump 
of ice. He dragged a few sharp, flat pieces of ice to and fro, 
joining them together in all kinds of ways, for he v/anted 
to achieve something with them. It was just like when we 
have little tablets of wood, and lay them together to form 


figures — what we call the Chinese game. Kay also went 
and laid figures, and, indeed, very artistic ones. That was 
the icy game of Reason, In his eyes these figures were very 
remarkable and of the highest importance; that was be- 
cause of the fragment of glass sticking in his eye. He laid 
out the figures so that they formed a word — but he could 
never manage to lay down the word as he wished to have it 
— the word "Eternity." And the Snow Queen had said: 

"If you can find out this figure, you shall be your own 
master, and I will give you the whole world and a new pair 
of skates." 

But he could not. 

"Now I'll hasten away to the warm lands," said the Snow 
Queen. "I will go and look into the black spots;" these 
were the volcanoes, Etna and Vesuvius, as they are called. 
"I shall make them a little white! That's necessary; that 
will do the grapes and lemons good." 

And the Snow Queen flew away, and Kay sat quite alone 
in the great icy hall that was miles in extent, and looked 
at his pieces of ice, and thought so deeply that cracks were 
heard inside him; one would have thought that he was 

Then it happened that little Gerda stepped through the 
great gate into the wide hall. Here reigned cutting winds, 
but she prayed a prayer, and the winds lay down as if they 
would have gone to sleep; and she stepped into the great 
empty cold halls, and beheld Kay; she knew him, and flew 
to him, and embraced him, and held him fast, and called 
out: ■ - ■ H":; 

"Kay, dear little Kay! at last I have found you!" 

But he sat quite still, stiff and cold. Then little Gerda 
wept hot tears, that fell upon his breast; they penetrated 
into his heart, they thawed the lump of ice, and consumed 
the little piece of glass in it. He looked at her, and she 

"Roses bloom and roses decay, 
But we the Christ-child shall see one day." 

Then Kay burst into tears; he wept so that the splinter of 
glass came out of his eye. Now he recognized her, and 
cried rejoicingly: 


"Gerda, dear Gerda! where have you been all this time? 
And where have I been?" And he looked all around him. 
"How cold it is here! How large and void!" 

And he clung to Gerda, and she laughed and wept for 
joy. It was so glorious that even the pieces of ice round 
about danced for joy; and when they were tired and lay 
down, they formed themselves just into the letters of which 
the Snow Queen had said that if he found them out he 
should be his own master, and she would give him the 
whole world and a new pair of skates. 

And Gerda kissed his cheeks, and they became blooming; 
she kissed his eyes, and they shone like her own; she 
kissed his hands and feet, and he then became well and 
merry. The Snov/ Queen might now come home; his letter 
of release stood written in shining characters of ice. 

And they took one another by the hand, and wandered 
forth from the great palace of ice. They spoke of the grand- 
mother and of the roses on the roof; and where they went 
the winds rested and the sun burst forth; and when they 
came to the bush with the red berries, the Reindeer was 
standing there waiting; it had brought another young Rein- 
deer, which gave the children warm milk, and kissed them 
on the mouth. Then they carried Kay and Gerda. first to 
the Finnish woman, where they warmed themselves thor- 
oughly in the hot room, and received instructions for their 
journey home, and then to the Lapland woman, who had 
made their new clothes and put their sledge in order. 

The Reindeer and the young one sprang at their side, and 
followed them as far as the boundary of the country. There 
the first green sprouted forth, and there they took leave of 
the two Reindeers and the Lapland woman. "Farewell!" 
said all. And the first little birds began to twitter, the for- 
est was decked with green buds, and out of it, on a beautiful 
horse (which Gerda knew, for it w^as the same that had 
drawn her golden coach), a young girl came riding, with a 
shining red cap on her head and a pair of pistols in the 
holsters. This was the little robber girl, who had grown 
tired of staying at home, and wished to go first to the 
north, and if that did not suit her, to some other region. 
She knew Gerda at once, and Gerda knew her, too; and 
it was a right merry meeting. 

"You are a fine fellow to gad about!" she said to little 


Kay, "I should like to know if you deserve that one should 
run to the end of the world after you?" 

But Gerda patted her cheeks, and asked after the Prince 
and Princess. 

"They've gone to foreign countries," said the robber girl. 

"But the Crow?" said Gerda. 

"The Crow is dead," answered the other. "The tame one 
has become a widow, and goes about with an end of black 
worsted thread round her leg. She complains most lament- 
ably, but it's all talk. But now tell me how you have fared, 
and how you caught him." 

And Gerda and Kay told their story. 

"Snipp-snapp-snurre-purre-basellurre!" said the robber 

And she took them both by the hand, and promised that if 
she ever came through their town, she would come up and 
pay them a visit. And then she rode away into the wide 
world. But Gerda and Kay went hand in hand, and as they 
went it became beautiful spring, with green and with flow- 
ers. The church bells sounded, and they recognized the 
high steeples and the great town; it was the one in which 
they lived, and they went to the grandmother's door, and 
up the stairs, and into the room, where everything remained 
in its usual place. The big clock was going "Tick! tack!" 
and the hands were turning; but as they went through the 
rooms they noticed that they had become grown-up people. 
The roses out on the roof gutter were blooming in at the 
open window, and there stood the children's chairs, and 
Kay and Gerda sat each upon their own, and held each 
other by the hand. They had forgotten the cold, empty 
splendor at the Snow Queen's like a heavy dream. The 
grandmother was sitting in God's bright sunshine, and 
read aloud out of the Bible, "Except ye become as little 
children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of 

And Kay and Gerda looked into each other's eyes, and 
all at once they understood the old song: 

"Roses bloom and roses decay, 
But we the Christ-child shall see one day." 


There they both sat, grown up, and yet children — chil- 
dren in heart — and it was summer; warm, dehghtful sum- 


In China, you must know, the Emperor is a Chinaman, 
and all whom he has about him are Chinamen, too. It hap- 
pened a good many years ago, but that's just why it's worth 
while to hear the story, before it is forgotten. The Em- 
peror's palace was the most splendid in the world; it was 
made entirely of porcelain, very costly, but so delicate and 
brittle that one had to take care how one touched it. In 
the garden were to be seen the most wonderful flowers, and 
to the costliest of them silver bells were tied, which 
sounded, so that nobody should pass by without noticing 
the flowers. Yes, everything in the Emperor's garden was 
admirably arranged. And it extended so far that the gar- 
dener himself did not know where the end was. If a man 
went on and on, he came into a glorious forest with high 
trees and deep lakes. The wood extended straight down to 
the sea, which was blue and deep; great ships could sail"; 
too, beneath the branches of the trees; and in the trees 
lived a Nightingale, which sang so splendidly that even the 
poor fisherman, who had many other things to do, stopped 
still and listened, when he had gone out at night to throw 
out his nets, and heard the Nightingale. 

"How beautiful that is!'' he said; but he was obliged to 
attend to his property, and thus forgot the bird. But when 
the next night the bird sang again, and the fisherman heard 
it, he exclaimed again, "How beautiful that is!" 

From all the countries of the world travelers came to the 
city of the Emperor, and admired it, and the palace and the 
garden, but when they heard the Nightingale, they said, 
"That is the best of all!" 

And the travelers told of it when they came home; and 
the learned men wrote many books about the town, the pal- 
ace, and the garden. But they did not forget the Nightin- 
gale; that was placed highest of all; and those who were 
poets wrote most magnificent poems about the Nightingale 
in the wood by the deep lake. 


The books went through all the world, and a few of them 
once came to the Emperor, He sat in his golden chair, and 
read, and read; every moment he nodded his head, for it 
pleased him to peruse the masterly descriptions of the city, 
the palace, and the garden. "But the Nightingale is the 
best of all," it stood written there. 

"What's that?" exclaimed the Emperor. "I don't know 
the Nightingale at all! Is there such a bird in my empire, 
and even in my garden? I've never heard of that. To 
think that I should have to learn such a thing for the first 
time from books!" 

And hereupon he called his cavalier. This cavalier was 
so grand that if anyone lower in rank than himself dared to 
speak to him, or to ask him any question, he answered 
nothing but "P!" — and that meant nothing. 

"There is said to be a wonderful bird here called a Night- 
ingale," said the Emperor. "They say it is the best thing in 
all my great empire. Why have I never heard anything 

"I have never heard him named," replied the cavalier. 
"He has never been introduced at Court." 

"I command that he shall appear this evening, and sing 
before me," said the Emperor. "All the world knows what 
I possess, and I do not know it myself!" 

"I have never heard him mentioned," said the cavalier. 
"I will seek for him. I will find him." 

But where was he to be found? The cavalier ran up and 
down all the staircases, through halls and passages, but no 
one among all those whom he met had heard talk of the 
Nightingale. And the cavalier ran back to the Emperor, 
and said that it must be a fable invented by the writers of 

"Your Imperial Majesty cannot believe how much is 
written that is fiction, besides something that they call the 
black art." ; 

"But the book in which I read this," said the Emperor, 
"was sent to me by the high and mighty Emperor of Japan, 
and therefore cannot be a falsehood. I will hear the Night- 
ingale! It must be here this evening! It has my imperial 
favor; and if it does not come, all the Court shall be tram- 
pled upon after the Court has supped !" 

"Tsing-pe!" said the cavalier; and again he ran up and 



down all the staircases, and through all the halls and corri- 
dors; and half the Court ran with him, for the courtiers did 
not like being trampled upon. 

Then there was a great inquir)^ after the wonderful Night- 
ingale, which all the world knew excepting the people at 

At last they met with a poor little girl in the kitchen, who 

"The Nightingale? I know it well; yes, it can sing glori- 
ously. Every evening I get leave to carry my poor sick 
mother the scraps from the table. She lives down by the 
strand; and when I get back and am tired, and rest in the 
wood, then I hear the Nightingale sing. And then the 
water comes into my eyes, and it is just as if my mother 
kissed me." 

"Little kitchen girl," said the cavalier, "I will get you a 
place in the kitchen, with permission to see the Emperor 
dine, if you will but lead us to the Nightingale, for it is an- 
nouncecl for this evening." 

So they all went out into the wood where the Nightingale 
was accustomed to sing; half the Court went forth. When 
they were in the midst of their journey a cow began to low. 

"Oh!'' cried the Court pages, "now we have it! That 
shows a wonderful power in so small a creature! I have 
certainly heard it before." 

"No, those are cows lowing," said the little kitchen girl. 
"We are a long way from the place yet." 

Now the frogs began to croak in the marsh. 

"Glorious!" said the Chinese Court preacher. "Now I 
hear it — it sounds just like little church bells." 

"No, those are frogs," said the little kitchen maid. "But 
now I think we shall soon hear it." 

And then the Nightingale began to sing. 

"That is it!" exclaimed the little girl. "Listen, listen! 
and yonder it sits." 

And she pointed to a little gray bird in the boughs. 

"Is it possible?" cried the cavalier. "I should never have 
thought it looked like that! How simple it looks! It must 
certainly have lost its color at seeing such grand people 

"Little Nightingale!" called the little kitchen maid, quite 


loudly, "our gracious Emperor wishes you to sing before 

"With the greatest pleasure!" replied the Nightingale, 
and began to sing most delightfully. 

"It sounds just like glass bells!" said the cavalier. "And 
look at its little throat, how it's, working! It's wonderful 
that we should never have heard it before. That bird will be 
a great success at Court." 

"Shall I sing once more before the Emperor?" inquired 
the Nightingale, for it thought the Emperor was present. 

"My excellent little Nightingale," said the cavalier, "I 
have great pleasure in inviting you to a Court festival this 
evening, when you shall charm his Imperial Majesty with 
your beautiful singing." 

"My song sounds best in the green wood," replied the 
Nightingale ; still it came willingly when it heard what the 
Emperor wished. 

The palace was festively adorned. The walls and the 
flooring, which were of porcelain, gleamed in the rays of 
thousands of golden lamps. The most glorious flowers, 
which could ring clearly, had been placed in the passages. 
There was a running to and fro, and a thorough draught, 
and all the bells rang so loudly that one could not hear one's 
self speak. 

In the midst of the great hall, where the Emperor sat, a 
golden perch had been placed, on which the Nightingale 
was to sit. The whole Court was there, and the little cook- 
maid had got leave to stand behind the door, as she had 
now received the title of a real Court cook. All were in full 
dress, and all looked at the little gray bird, to which the 
Emperor nodded. 

And the Nightingale sang so gloriously that the tears 
came into the Emperor's eyes, and the tears ran down over 
his cheeks; then the Nightingale sang still more sweetly, 
that went straight to the heart. The Emperor was so much 
pleased that he said the Nightingale should have his golden 
slipper to wear round its neck. But the Nightingale de- 
clined this with thanks, saying it had already received a 
sufficient reward. 

"I have seen tears in the Emperor's eyes — that is the real 
treasure to me. An Emperor's tears have a peculiar power, 


I am rewarded enough!" And then it sang again with a 
sweet, glorious voice. 

"That's the most amiable coquetry I ever saw!" said the 
ladies who stood round about, and then they took water in 
their mouths to gurgle when anyone spoke to them. They 
thought they should be nightingales, too. And the lackeys 
and chambermaids reported that they were satisfied also; 
and that was saying a good deal, for they are the most 
difficult to please. In short, the Nightingale achieved a 
real success. 

It was now to remain at Court, to have its own cage, with 
liberty to go out twice every day and once at night. Twelve 
servants were appointed when the Nightingale went out, 
each of whom had a silken string fastened to the bird's legs, 
which they held very tight. There was really no pleasure in 
an excursion of that kind. 

The whole city spoke of the wonderful bird, and whenever 
two people met, one said nothing but "Nightin," and the 
other said "gale;" and then the}^ both sighed, and under- 
stood one another. Eleven pedlars' children were named 
after the bird, but not one of them could sing a note. 

One day the Emperor received a large parcel, on which 
was written "The Nightingale." 

"There we have a new book about this celebrated bird." 
said the Emperor. 

But it was not a book, but a little work of art, contained 
in a box, an artificial nightingale, which was to sing like a 
natural one, and was brilliantly ornamented with diamonds, 
sapphires, and rubies. So soon as the artificial bird was 
wound up, he could sing one of the pieces that he really 
sang, and then his tail moved up and down, and shone with 
silver and gold. Round his neck hung a little ribbon, and 
on that was written, "The Em.peror of China's nightingale 
is poor compared to that of the Emperor of Japan." 

"That is capital!" said they all, and he who had brought 
the artificial bird immediately received the title. Imperial 

"Now they must sing together; what a duet that will be!" 
cried the courtiers. 

And so they had to sing together; but it did not sound 
very well, for the real Nightingale sang its own way, and the 
artificial bird sang waltzes. 


"That's not his fault," said the playmaster; "he's quite 
perfect, and very much in my style." 

Now the artificial bird was to sing alone. He had just as 
much success as the real one, and then it was much hand- 
somer to look at — it shone like bracelets and breastpins. 

Three and thirty times over did it sing the same piece, 
and yet was not tired. The people would gladly have heard 
it again, but the Emperor said that the living Nightingale 
ought to sing something now. But where was it? No one 
had noticed that it had flown away out of the open window, 
back to the green wood. 

"But what has become of that?" asked the Emperor. 

And all the courtiers abused the Nightingale, and de- 
clared that it was a very ungrateful creature. 

"We have the best bird after all," said they. 

And so the artificial bird had to sing again, and that was 
the thirty-fourth time that they listened to the same piece. 
For all that they did not know it quite by heart, for it was 
so very difficult. And the playmaster praised the bird par- 
ticularly; yes, he declared that it was better than a nightin- 
gale, not only with regard to its plumage and the many 
beautiful diamonds, but inside as well. 

"For you see, ladies and gentlemen, and above all, your 
Imperial Majesty, with a real nightingale one can never 
calculate what is coming, but in this artificial bird, every- 
thing is settled. One can explain it; one can open it and 
make people understand where the waltzes come from, how 
they go, and how one follows up another." 

"Those are quite our own ideas," they all said. 

And the speaker received permission to show the bird to 
the people on the next Sunday. The people were to hear it 
sing, too, the Emperor commanded; and they did hear it, 
and were as much pleased as if they had all got tipsy upon 
tea, for that's quite the Chinese fashion, and they all said, 
"Oh!" and held up their forefingers and nodded. But the 
poor fisherman, who had heard the real Nightingale, said: 

"It sounds pretty enough, and the melodies resemble each 
other, but there's something wanting, though I know not 

The real Nightingale was banished from the country and 
empire. The artificial bird had its place on a silken cushion 
close to the Emperor's bed; all the presents it had received, 


gold and precious stones, were ranged about it; in title it had 
advanced to be the High Imperial After-Dinner Singer, and 
in rank to Number One on the left hand ; for the Emperor 
considered that side the most important on which the heart 
is placed, and even in an Emperor the heart is on the left 
side; and the playmaster wrote a work of five and twenty- 
volumes about the artificial bird; it was very learned and 
very long, full of the most difficult Chinese words; but yet 
all the people declared that they had read it and understood 
it, for fear of being considered stupid, and having their 
bodies trampled on. 

So a whole year went by. The Emperor, the Court, and 
all the other Chinese knew every little twitter in the arti- 
ficial bird's song by heart. But just for that reason it 
pleased them best — they could sing with it themselves, and 
they did so. The street boys sang, "Tsi-tsi-tsi-glug-glug!" 
and the Emperor himself sang it, too. Yes, that was cer- 
tainly famous. 

But one evening, when the artificial bird was singing its 
•best, and the Emperor lay in bed listening to it, something 
inside the bird said, "Whizz!" Something cracked. 
"Whirr-r!" All the wheels ran round, and then the music 

The Emperor immediately sprang out of bed, and caused 
his body physician to be called; but what could he do? 
Then they sent for a watchmaker, and after a good deal of 
talking and investigation, the bird was put into something 
like order, but the watchmaker said that the bird must be 
carefully treated, for the barrels were worn, and it would be 
impossible to put new ones in in such a manner that the music 
would go. There was a great lamentation; only once in the 
year was it permitted to let the bird sing, and that was al- 
most too much. But then the playmaster made a little 
speech, full of heavy words, and said this was just as good as 
before — and so of course it was as good as before. 

Now five years had gone by, and a real grief came upon 
the whole nation. The Chinese were really fond of their 
Emperor, and now he was ill, and could not, it was said, 
live much longer. Already a new Emperor had been chosen, 
and the people stood out in the street and asked the cavalier 
how the Emperor did. 

"P!" said he, and shook his head. 


Cold and pale lay the Emperor in his great, gorgeous bed ; 

the whole court thought him dead, and each one ran to pay 
homage to the new ruler. The chamberlains ran out to talk 
it over, and the ladies' maids had a great coffee party. All 
about, in all the halls and passages, cloth had been laid down 
so that no footstep could be heard, and therefore it was quiet 
there, quite quiet. But the Emperor was not dead yet; stiff 
and pale he lay on the gorgeous bed, with the long velvet 
curtains and the heavy gold tassels ; high up, a window stood 
open, and the moon shone in upon the Emperor and the 
artificial bird. 

The poor Emperor could scarcely breathe; it was just as 
if something lay upon his chest; he opened his eyes, and then 
he saw that it was Death who sat upon his chest, and had 
put on his golden crown, and held in one hand the Emper- 
or's sword, in the other his beautiful banner. And all 
around, from among the folds of the splendid velvet curtains, 
strange heads peered forth; a few very ugly, the rest quite 
lovely and mild. These were all the Emperor's bad and 
good deeds, that stood before him now that Death sat upon 
his heart. 

"Do you remember this?" whispered one to the other. 
"Do you remember that?" and then they told him so much 
that the perspiration ran from his forehead. 

"I did not know that!" said the Emperor. "Music! mu- 
sic! the great Chinese drum!" he cried, "so that I need not 
hear all they say!" 

And they continued speaking, and Death nodded like a 
Chinaman to all they said. 

"Music! music!" cried the Emperor. "You little precious 
golden bird, sing, sing! I have given you gold and costly 
presents; I have even hung my golden slipper around your 
neck — sing now, sing!" 

But the bird stood still; no one was there to wind him up, 
and he could not sing without that; but Death continued to 
stare at the Emperor with his great, hollow eyes, and it was 
quiet, fearfully quiet. 

Then there sounded from the window, suddenly, the most 
lovely song. It was the little live Nightingale, that sat out- 
side on a spray. It had heard of the Emperor's sad plight, 
and had come to sing to him of comfort and hope. As it 
sang the specters grew paler and paler; the blood ran quicker 


and more quickly through the Emperor's weak Hmbs; and 
even Death hstened, and said: 

"Go on, Httle Nightingale, go on!" 

"But will you give me that splendid golden sword? Will 
you give me that rich banner? Will you give me the Em- 
peror's, crown?" 

And Death gave up each of these treasures for a song. 
And the Nightingale sang on and on; and it sang of the 
quiet churchyard where the white roses grow, where the 
elder blossoms smell sweet, and where the fresh grass is 
moistened by the tears of survivors. Then Death felt a 
longing to see his garden, and floated out at the window in 
the form of a cold white mist. 

"Thanks! thanks!" said the Emperor. "You heavenly lit- 
tle bird; I know you well. I banished you from my country 
and empire, and yet you have charmed away the evil faces 
from my couch, and banished Death from my heart ! How 
can I reward you?" 

"You have rewarded me!" replied the Nightingale. "I 
have drawn tears from your eyes, when I sang the first time 
— I shall never forget that. Those are the jewels that re- 
joice a singer's heart. But now sleep, and grow fresh and 
strong again. I will sing you something." 

And it sang, and the Emperor fell into a sweet slumber. 
Ah! how mild and refreshing that sleep was! The sun 
shone upon him through the windows, when he awoke re- 
freshed and restored; not one of his servants had yet re- 
turned, for they all thought he was dead; only the Nightin- 
gale still sat beside him and sang. 

"You must always stay with me," said the Emperor. 
"You shall sing as you please; and Fll break the artificial 
bird into a thousand pieces." 

"Not so," replied the Nightingale. "It did well as long 
as it could; keep it as you have done till now. I cannot 
build my nest in the palace to dwell in it, but let me come 
when I feel the wish; then I will sit in the evening on the 
spray yonder by the window, and sing you something, so 
that you may be glad and thoughtful at once. I will sing of 
those who are happy and of those who suffer. I will sing of 
good and of evil that remains hidden round about you. The 
little singing bird flies far around, to the poor fisherman, to 
the peasant's roof, to everyone who dwells far away from 


you and from your Court. I love your heart more than 
your crown, and yet the crown has an air of sanctity about 
it. I will come and sing to you — but one thing you must 
promise me." 

"Everything!" said the Emperor; and he stood there in 
his imperial robes, which he had put on himself, and pressed 
the sword which was heavy with gold to his heart. 

"One thing I beg of you; tell no one that you have a little 
bird who tells you everything. Then it will go all the bet- 

And the Nightingale flew away. 

The servants came in to look at their dead Emperor, and 
— yes, there he stood, and the Emperor said "Good-morn- 


One would really have thought that something important 
was going on by the duck pond ; but nothing was going on. 
All the ducks lying quietly on the water, or standing on their 
heads in it — for they could do that — swam suddenly to the 
shore. One could see the traces of their feet on the wet 
earth, and their quacking sounded far and wide. The water, 
lately clear and bright as a mirror, was quite in a commo- 
tion. Before, every tree, every neighboring bush, the old 
farmhouse with the holes in the roof and the swallow's nest, 
and especially the great rose bush covered with flowers, had 
been mirrored in it. This rose bush covered the w^all and 
hung over the water, in which everything appeared as in a 
picture, only that everything stood on its head; but when the 
water was set in motion, everything swam away, and the 
picture was gone. Two feathers, which the fluttering ducks 
had lost, floated to and fro, and all at once they took a start, 
as if the wind were coming; but the wind did not come, so 
they had to be still, and the water became quiet and smooth 
again. The roses mirrored themselves in it again; they 
were beautiful, but they did not know it, for no one had told 
them. The sun shone among the delicate leaves; every- 
thing breathed in the sweet fragrance, and all felt as we 
feel when we are filled with the thought of our greatest hap- 


"How beautiful is life!" said each Rose, "Only one 
thing I wish, that I were able to kiss the sun, because it is so 
bright and so warm. The roses, too, in the water yonder, 
our images, I should like to kiss, and the pretty birds in the 
nests. There are some up yonder, too; they thrust out their 
heads and pipe quite feebly; they have no feathers like their 
father and mother. They are good neighbors, below and 
above. How beautiful is life!" 

The young ones above and below; those below are cer- 
tainly only shadows in the water — mere Sparrows; their 
parents were Sparrows, too; they had taken possession of 
the empty swallow's nest of last year, and kept house in it as 
if it had been their own. 

"Are those ducks' children swimming yonder?" asked the 
young Sparrows, when they noticed the ducks' feathers upon 
the water. 

"If you must ask questions, ask sensible ones," replied 
their mother. "Don't you see that they are feathers? living 
clothes, stufif like I wear and like you will wear; but ours is 
finer. I wish, by the way, we had those up here in our own 
nest, for they keep one warm. I wonder what the ducks 
were so frightened at. Not at us, certainly, though I said 
'piep' to you rather loudly. The thick-headed roses ought 
to know it, but they know nothing; they only look at one an- 
other and smell. I'm very tired of those neighbors." 

"Just listen to those darling birds up there," said the 
Roses. "They begin to want to sing, but are not able yet. 
But it will be managed in time. What a pleasure that must 
be! It's nice to have such merry neighbors." 

Suddenly two horses came galloping up to water. A 
peasant boy rode on one, and he had taken ofif all his clothes, 
except his big, broad straw hat. The boy whistled like a 
bird, and rode into the pond where it was deepest, and when 
he came past the rose bush he plucked a rose, and put it 
upon his hat. And now he thought he looked very fine, 
and rode on. The other Roses looked after their sister, and 
said to each other: "Whither may she be journeying?" but 
they did not know. 

"I should like to go out into the world," said one; "but it's 
beautiful, too, here at home among the green leaves. All 
day the sun shines warm and bright, and in the night-time 


the sky is more beautiful still; we can see that through all 
the little holes in it." 

They meant the stars, but they knew no better. 

"We make it lively about a house," said the Mother Spar- 
row; "and 'the swallow's nest brings luck,' people say, so 
they're glad to see us. But the neighbors! Such a rose 
bush climbing up the wall causes damp. It will most likely 
be taken away; and then, at least, corn will perhaps grow 
here. The Roses are fit for nothing but to be looked at, or 
at most one may be stuck on a hat. Every year, I know 
from my mother, they fall off. The farmer's wife preserves 
them, and puts salt among them; then they get a French 
name that I neither can nor will pronounce, and are put 
upon the fire to make a good smell. You see, that's their 
life. They're only for the eye and the nose. Now you 
know it." 

When the evening came, and the gnats played in the 
warm air and the red clouds, the Nightingale came and sang 
to the Roses, saying that the beautiful was like sunshine to 
the world, and that the beautiful lived forever. But the 
Roses thought the Nightingale was singing of itself, and in- 
deed one might easily have thought so; they never imagined 
that the song was about them. But they rejoiced greatly in 
it, and wondered whether all the little Sparrows might be- 
come Nightingales. 

'T understood the song of that bird very well," said the 
young Sparrows, "only one word was not clear. What is 
the beautiful?" 

"That's nothing at all," replied the Mother Sparrow; 
that's only an outside affair. Yonder, at the nobleman's 
seat, where the pigeons have their own house, and have 
corn and peas strewn before them every day, — Tve been 
there myself and dined with them; for tell me what com- 
pany you keep and I'll tell you who you are, — yonder at the 
nobleman's seat there are two birds, with green necks and a 
crest upon their head; they can spread out their tails like a 
great shell, and then it plays with various colors, so that the 
sight makes one's eyes ache. These birds are called pea- 
cocks, and that's the beautiful. They should only be 
plucked a little, then they would look no better than all the 
rest of us. I should have plucked them myself if they had 
not been so large," 


"I'll pluck them," piped the little Sparrow, who had no 
feathers yet. 

In the farmhouse dwelt two young married people; they 
loved each other well, were industrious and active, and 
everything in their home looked very pretty. On Sunday 
morning the young wife came out, plucked a handful of the 
most beautiful roses, and put them into a glass of water, 
which she put upon the cupboard. 

"Now I see that it is Sunday," said the husband, and he 
kissed his little Vvife. 

They sat down, read their hymn book, and held each 
other by the hand; and the sun shone on the fresh roses and 
the young couple. 

"This sight is really too wearisome," said the Mother 
Sparrow, who could look from the nest into the room; and 
she flew away. 

The same thing happened the next Sunday, for every Sun- 
day fresh roses were placed in the glass; but the rose bush 
bloomed as beautiful as ever. 

The young Sparrows had feathers now, and wanted to flly 
out too, but the mother would not allow it, and they were 
obliged to stay at home. She flew alone; but, however it 
may have happened, before she was aware of it, she was en- 
tangled in a noose of horse-hair, which some boys had fas- 
tened to the branches. The horse-hair wound itself fast 
round her legs, as fast as if it would cut the leg through. 
What pain ! what a fright she was in ! 

The boys came running up, and seized the bird; and in- 
deed, roughly enough. 

"It's only a Sparrow," said they; but they did not let her 
go, but took her home with them. And whenever she cried, 
they tapped her on the beak. 

In the farmhouse stood an old man, who understood mak- 
ing soap for shaving and washing, in cakes as well as in 
balls. He was a merry, wandering old man. When he saw 
the Sparrow, which the boys had brought, and for which 
they said they did not care, he said: 

"Shall we make it very beautiful?" 

The Mother Sparrow felt an icy shudder pass through 

Out of a box, in which were the most brilliant colors, the 
old man took a quantity of shining gold leaf, and the boys 


were sent for some white of eggs, with which the Sparrow 
was completely smeared; the gold leaf was stuck upon that, 
and there was the Mother Sparrow gilded all over. She did 
not think of the adornment, but trembled all over. And the 
soap man tore off a fragment from the red lining of his old 
jacket, cut notches in it, so that it looked like a cock's comb, 
and stuck it on the bird's head. 

"Now you shall see the gold-jacket fly," said the old man; 
and he released the Sparrow, which flew away in deadly fear, 
with the sunlight shining upon her. 

How it glittered! All the Sparrows, and even a crow, a 
knowing old boy, were startled at the sight; but still they 
flew after her, to know what kind of strange bird this 
might be. 

Driven by fear and horror, she flew homeward; she was 
nearly sinking powerless to the earth; the flock of pursuing 
birds increased, and some even tried to peck at her. 

"Look at her! look at her!" they all cried. 

"Look at her! look at her!" cried the young ones, when 
the Mother Sparrow approached the nest. "That must be a 
young peacock. He glitters with all colors. It quite hurts 
one's eyes, as Mother told us. Piep! that's the beautiful." 

And now they pecked at the bird with their little beaks, so 
that she could not possibly get into the nest; she was so 
much exhausted that she could not even say "Piep!" much 
less "I am your mother!" 

The other birds also fell upon the Sparrow, and plucked 
off feather after feather, until she fell bleeding into the rose 

"You poor creature!" said all the Roses; "be quiet, and 
we will hide you. Lean your head against us.'' 

The Sparrow spread out her wings once more, then drew 
them tight to her body, and lay dead by the neighboring 
family, the beautiful fresh Roses. 

"Piep!" sounded from the nest. "Where can our mother 
be? It's quite inexplicable. It cannot be a trick of hers, 
and mean that we're to shift for ourselves; she has left us 
the house as an inheritance, but to which of us shall it be- 
long when we have families of our own?" 

"Yes, it won't do for you to stay with me when I enlarge 
my establishment with a wife and children;" observed the 


"I shall have more wives and children than you!" cried 
the second. 

"But I am the oldest!" said the third. 

Now they all became excited. They struck out with their 
wings, hacked with their beaks, and flump! one after an- 
other was thrust out of the nest. There they lay with their 
anger, holding their heads on one side, and blinking with 
the eye that looked upward. That was their way to look 

They could fly a little; by practice they improved, and at 
last they fixed upon a sign by which they should know each 
other when they met later in the world. This sign was to be 
the cry of "Piep!'' with a scratching of the left foot three 
times against the ground. 

The Sparrow that had remained behind in the nest made 
itself as broad as it possibly could, for it was the proprietor. 
But the proprietorship did not last long. In the night the 
red fire burst through the window, the fl.ames seized upon 
the roof, the dry straw blazed brightly up, and the whole 
house was burned, and the young Sparrow too; but the two 
others, who wanted to marry, managed to escape with their 

When the sun rose again, and everything looked as much 
refreshed as if nature had had a quiet sleep, there rem.ained 
of the farmhouse nothing but a few charred beams, leaning 
against the chimney that was now its own master. Thick 
smoke still rose from among the fragments, but without 
stood the rose bush quite unharmed, and every flower, every 
twig immersed in the clear water. 

"How beautiful those roses bloom before the ruined 
house!" cried a passer-by. "I cannot imagine a more agree- 
able picture. I must have that." 

And the traveler took out of his portfolio a little book with 
white leaves; he was a painter, and with his pencil he drew 
the smoking house, the charred beams, and the overhanging 
chimney, which bent more and more; quite in the fore- 
ground appeared the blooming rose bush, which presented a 
charming sight, and indeed for its sake the whole picture 
had been made. 

Later in the day, the two Sparrows that had been born 
here came by. 

''Where is the house?" asked they. "Where is the nest? 


Piep! All is burned, and our strong brother is burned too. 
That's what he has got by keeping the nest to himself. The 
Roses have escaped well enough — there they stand yet, with 
their red cheeks. They certainly don't mourn at their 
neighbor's misfortune. I won't speak to them, it's so ugly 
here, that's my opinion." And they flew up and away. 

On a beautiful sunny autumn day, when one could almost 
have believed it was the middle of summer, there hopped 
about in the clean, dry courtyard of the nobleman's seat, in 
front of the great steps, a number of Pigeons, black, white, 
and variegated, all shining in the sunlight. The old Mother 
Pigeons said to their young ones: 

"Stand in groups, stand in groups, for that looks much 

"What are those little gray creatures, that run about be- 
hind us?" asked an old Pigeon, with red and green in her 
eyes. "Little gray ones, little gray ones!" she cried. . 

"They are Sparrows, good creatures. We have always 
had the reputation of being kind, so we will allow them to 
pick up the corn with us. They don't interrupt conversa- 
tion, and they make such very pretty courtesies.'' 

Yes they courtesied three times, each with the left leg, 
and said "Piep." By that they recognized each other as the 
Sparrows from the nest by the burned house. 

"Here's very good eating," said the Sparrow. 

The Pigeons strutted round one another, bulged out their 
chests mightily, and had their own secret views and opinions 
on things in general. 

"Do you see that pouter Pigeon?'' said one speaking to 
the others. "Do you see that one swallowing the peas? 
She takes too many, and the best, moreover. Curoo! 
curoo! How she lifts up her crest, the ugly, spiteful thing! 
Curoo! curoo!" 

And all their eyes sparkled with spite. 

"Stand in groups! stand in groups! Little gray ones! 
little gray ones! Curoo! curoo!" 

So their beaks went on and on, and so they will go on 
when a thousand years are gone. 

The Sparrows feasted bravely. They listened attentively, 
and even stood in the ranks of the Pigeons, but it did not 
suit them well. They were satisfied, and so they quitted the 
Pigeons, exchanged opinion concerning them, slipped un- 


der the garden railings, and when they found the door of 
the garden open, one of them, who was over-fed, and conse- 
quently valorous, hopped on the threshold. 

"Piep!" said he, "I may venture that." 

"Piep!" said the other, "so can I, and something more 

And he hopped right into the room. No one was pres- 
ent; the third Sparrow saw that, and hopped still far- 
ther into the room, and said, "Everything or nothing! By 
the way, this is a funny man's nest; and what have they put 
up there? What's that?" 

Just in front of the Sparrows the roses were blooming; 
they were mirrored in the water, and the charred beams 
leaned against the toppling chimney. 

"Why, what is that? How came this in the room of a 
nobleman's seat?" 

And then these Sparrows wanted to fly over the chimney 
and roses, but flew against a flat wall. It was all a picture, 
a great beautiful picture, that the painter had completed 
from a sketch. 

"Piep!" said the Sparrow,"it's nothing, it only looks like 
something. Piep! that's the beautiful. Can you under- 
stand it? I can't." 

And they flew away, for some people came into the room. 

Days and years went by. The Pigeons had often cooed, 
not to say growled, the spiteful things; the Sparrows had 
suffered cold in winter, and lived riotously in summer ; they 
were all betrothed or married, or whatever you like to call it. 
They had little ones, and of course each thought his own the 
handsomest and the cleverest; one flew this way, another that, 
and when they met they knew each other by their "Piep!" 
and the three courtesies with the left leg. The eldest had 
remained a maiden Sparrow, with no nest and no young 
ones. Her great idea was to see a town, and therefore she 
flew to Copenhagen. 

There was to be seen a great house painted with many 
colors, close by the castle and by the canal, in which latter 
swam many ships laden with apples and pottery. The 
windows were broader below than at the top, and when the 
Sparrows looked through, every room appeared to them li'ke 
a tulip with the most beautiful colors and shades. But 
in the middle of the tulip were white people, made of mar- 


ble; a few certainly were made of plaster, but in the eyes of 
a sparrow that's all the same. Upon the roof stood a metal 
carriage, with metal horses harnessed to it, and the God- 
dess of Victory, also of bronze, driving. It was Thorwald- 
sen's Museum. 

"How it shines! how it shines!" said the little maiden 
Sparrow. "I suppose that's "what they call the beautiful. 
Piep! But this is greater than the peacock!" 

It still remembered what, in its days of childhood, the 
Mother Sparrow had declared to be the greatest among the 
beautiful. The Sparrow flew down into the courtyard. 
There everything was very splendid; upon the walls palms 
and branches were painted; in the midst of the court stood a 
great blooming rose tree, spreading out its fresh branches, 
covered with many roses, over a grave. Thither the maiden 
Sparrow flew, for there she saw many of her own kind. 
"Piep!" and three courtesies with the left leg — that saluta- 
tion it had often made throughout the summer, and nobody 
had replied, for friends who are once parted don't meet every 
day; and now this form of greeting had become quite a 
habit with it. But to-day two old Sparrows and a young 
one replied "Piep!" and courtesied three times, each with 
the left leg. 

"Ah! good-day! good-day!" They were two old ones 
from the nest, and a little one belonging to the family. "Do 
we meet here again? It's a grand place, but there's not 
much to eat. This is the beautiful! Piep!" 

And many people came out of the side chambers, where 
the glorious marble statues stood, and approached the grave 
where slept the great master who had formed these marble 
images. All stood with radiant faces by Thorwaldsen's 
grave, and some gathered up the fallen rose leaves and kept 
them. They had come from afar; one from mighty Eng- 
land, others from Germany and France. The most beauti- 
ful among the ladies plucked one of the roses and hid it in 
her bosom. Then the Sparrows thought that the roses ruled 
here, and that the whole house had been built for their sake ; 
that appeared to them to be too much; but as all the people 
showed their love for the roses, they would not be behind- 
hand. "Piep!'' they said, and swept the ground with their 
tails, and glanced with one eye at the Roses; and they had 
not looked long at the flowers before they recognized them 



as old neighbors. And so the Roses really were. The 
painter, who had sketched the rose bush by the ruined 
house, had afterward received permission to dig it up, and 
had given it to the architect, for nowhere could more beau- 
tiful roses be found. And the architect had planted it upon 
Thorwaldsen's grave, where it bloomed, an image of the 
beautiful, and gave its red, fragrant leaves to be carried into 
distant lands as mementoes. 

"Have you found a situation here in the town?" asked the 

And the Roses nodded; they recognized their brown 
neighbors, and were glad to see them again. "How glori-> 
ous it is to live, and bloom, to see old faces again, and cheer- 
ful faces every day!" 

"Piep!" said the Sparrows. "Yes, these are truly our old 
neighbors; we remember their origin by the pond. Piep! 
how they've got on! Yes, some people succeed while they're 
asleep. Why, yonder is a withered leaf — I see it quite 

And they picked at it till the leaf fell. But the tree 
stood there greener and fresher than ever; the sweet Roses 
bloomed in the sunshine by Thorwaldsen's grave, and were 
associated with his immortal name. 


It was terribly cold; it snov/ed and was already almost 
dark, and evening came on, the last evening of the year. In 
the cold and gloom a poor little girl, bareheaded and bare- 
foot, was walking through the streets. When she left her 
own house she certainly had had slippers on; but of what 
use were they? They were big slippers, and her mother 
had used them till then, so big were they. The little maid 
lost them as she slipped across the road, where two carriages 
were rattling by terribly fast. One slipper was not to be 
found again, and a boy had seized the other, and run away 
with it. He thought he could use it very well as a cradle, 
some day when he had children of his own. So now the lit- 
tle girl went with her little naked feet, which were quite red 
and blue with the cold. In an old apron she carried a num- 


ber of matches, and a bundle of them in her hand. No 
one had bought of her all day, and no one had given her a 


Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along, a pic- 
ture of misery, poor little girl! The snowflakes covered 
her long fair hair, which fell in pretty curls over her neck; 
but she did not think of that now. In all the windows 
lights were shining, and there was a glorious smell of roast 
goose, for it was New Year's Eve. Yes, she thought of 

In a corner formed by two houses, one of which projected 
beyond the other, she sat down, cowering. She had drawn 
up her little feet, but she was still colder, and she did not 
dare to go home, for she had sold no matches, and did not 
bring a farthing of money. From her father she would cer- 
tainly receive a beating, and besides it was cold at home, for 
they had nothing over them but a roof through which the 
wind whistled, though the largest rents had been stopped 
with straw and rags. 

Her little hands were almost benumbed with the cold! 
Ah! a match might do her good, if she could only draw one 
from the bundle, and rub it against the wall, and warm her 
hands at it. She drew one out. R-r-atch ! how it sputtered 
and burned! It was a warm, bright flame, like a little can- 
dle, when she held her hands over it; it was a wonderful lit- 
tle light! It really seemed to the little girl as if she sat be- 
fore a great polished stove, with bright brass feet and a 
brass cover. How the fire burned! how comfortable it was! 
But the little flame went out, and the stove vanished, and 
she had only the remains of the burned match in her hand. 

A second was rubbed against the wall. It burned up, 
and when the light fell upon the wall it became transparent, 
like a thin veil, and she could see through it into the room. 
On the table a snow-white cloth was spread; upon it stood 
a shining dinner service; the roast goose smoked gloriously, 
stufifed with apples and dried plums. And what was still 
more splendid to behold, the goose hopped down from the 
dish, and waddled along the floor, with a knife and fork in 
its breast, to the little girl. Then the match went out, and 
only the thick, damp, cold wall was before her. She lighted 
another match. Then she was sitting under a beautiful 
Christmas tree; it was greater and more ornamental than the 


one she had seen through the glass door at the rich mer- 
chant's. Thousands of candles burned upon the green 
branches, and colored pictures like those in the. print shops 
looked down upon them. The little girl stretched forth her 
hand toward them; then the match went out. The Christ- 
mas lights mounted higher. She saw them now as stars in 
the sky; one of them fell down, forming a long line of fire. 

"Now someone is dying," thought the little girl, for her 
old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and 
who was now dead, had told her when a star fell down a 
soul mounted up to God. She rubbed another match 
against the wall; it became bright again, and in the bright- 
ness the old grandmother stood clear and shining, mild and 

"Grandmother!" cried the child, "oh! take me with you! 
I know you will go when the match is burned out. You will 
vanish like the warm fire, the warm food, and the great glori- 
ous Christmas tree!" 

And she hastily rubbed the v/hole bundle of matches, for 
she wished to hold her grandmother fast. And the matches 
burned with such a glow that it became brighter than in the 
middle of the day; grandmother had never been so large or 
so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and both 
flew with brightness and joy above the earth, very, very 
high, and up there was neither cold, nor hunger, nor care — 
they were with God! 

But in the corner, leaning against the wall, sat the poor 
girl, with red cheeks and smiling mouth, frozen to death on 
the last evening of the Old Year. The New Year's sun rose 
upon a little corpse! The child sat there, stiff and cold, 
with the matches of which one bundle was burned. "She 
wanted to warm herself," the people said. No one imag- 
ined what a beautiful thing she had seen, and in what glory 
she had gone in with her grandmother to the New Year's 


A few great Lizards raced nimbly about in the clefts of an 
old tree; they could understand each other very well, for 
they spoke the Lizards' language. 


"How it grumbles and growls in the old elf hill!" said one 
Lizard. "I've not been able to close my eyes for two nights, 
because of the noise; I might just as well lie and have the 
toothache, for then I can't sleep either." 

"There's something wrong in there," said the other Liz- 
ard. "They let the hill stand on four red posts till the cock 
crows at morn. It is regularly aired, and the elf girls have 
learned new dances. There's something going on." 

"Yes, I have spoken with an Earthworm of my acquaint- 
ance," said the third Lizard. "The Earthworm came straight 
out of the hill, where he had been grubbing in the ground 
night and day; he had heard much. He can't see, the mis- 
erable creature, but he understands how to toss about and 
listen. They expect some friends in the elf hill — grand 
strangers; but who they are the Earthworm would not tell, 
and perhaps, indeed, he did not know. All the Will-o'-the- 
wisps are ordered to hold a torch dance, as it is called; and 
silver and gold, of which there is enough in the elf hill, is 
being polished and put out in the moonshine." 

"Who may these strangers be?" asked all the Lizards. 
"What can be going on there? Hark, how it hums! Hark, 
how it murmurs !" 

At the same moment the elf hill opened, and an old elf 
maid,* hollow behind, came tripping out. She was the old 
Elf King's housekeeper. She .was a distant relative of the 
royal family, and wore an amber heart on her forehead. Her 
legs moved so rapidly — trip, trip ! Gracious ! how she could 
trip ! straight down to the sea, to the Night Raven. 

"You are invited to the elf hill for this evening," said she; 
"but will you do me a great service and undertake the invi- 
tations? You must do something, as you don't keep any 
house yourself. We shall have some very distinguished 
friends, magicians who have something to say; and so the 
old Elf King wants to make a display." 

"Who's to be invited?" asked the Night Raven. 

"To the great ball the world m.ay come, even men, if they 
can talk in their sleep, or do something that falls in our line. 
But at the first feast there's to be a strict selection; we will 

* A prevailing superstition regarding the elf maid, or elle maid, 
is, that she is fair to look at in front, but behind she is hollow, 
like a mask. 


have only the most distinguished. I have had a dispute with 
the Elf King, for I declared that we would not even admit 
ghosts. The merman and his daughters must be invited 
first. They may not be very well pleased to come on dry 
land, but they shall have a wet stone to sit upon, or some- 
thing still better, and then I think they won't refuse for this 
time. All the old demons of the first class, with tails, and 
the wood demon and his gnomes, we must have ; and then I 
think we may not leave out the grave pig, the death horse,* 
and the church twig; they certainly belong to the clergy, 
and are not reckoned among our people. But that's only 
their office; they are closely related to us, and visit us dili- 

"Croak!" said the Night Raven, and flew away to give 
the invitations. 

The elf girls were already dancing on the elf hill, and they 
danced with shawls, which were woven of mist and moon- 
shine; and that looks very pretty for those who like that sort 
of thing. In the mist, below the elf hill, the great hall was 
splendidly decorated; the floor had been washed with moon- 
shine, and the walls rubbed with witches' salve, so that they 
glowed like tulips in the light. In the kitchen, plenty of 
frogs were turning on the spit, snail skins with children's 
fingers in them, and salads of mushroom, spawn, damp 
mouse muzzles, and hemlock; beer brewed by the marsh 
witch, gleaming saltpeter wine from grave cellars, every- 
thing very grand; and rusty nails and church windowglass 
among the sweets. 

The old Elf King had one of his crowns polished with 
powdered slate pencil ; it was slate pencil from the first form, 
and it's very difficult for the Elf King to get first-form slate 
pencil! In the bedroom curtains were hung up, and fas- 
tened with snail slime. Yes, there was a grumbling and 
murmuring there ! 

"Now we must burn horse hair and pigs' bristles as in- 

* It is a popular superstition in Denmark, that under every 
church that is built, a living horse must be buried; the ghost of 
this horse is the death horse, that limps every night on three legs 
to the house where someone is to die. Under a few churches a 
living pig was buried, and the ghost of this was called the grave 


cense here," said the Elf King, "and then I think I shall have 
done my part." 

"Father, dear," said the youngest of the daughters, "shall 
I hear now who the distinguished strangers are?" 

"Well," said he, "I suppose I must tell it now. Two of 
my daughters must hold themselves prepared to be married; 
two will certainly be married. The old gnome from Nor- 
way yonder, he who lives in the Dovre mountains, and pos- 
sesses many rock castles of field stones, and a gold mine 
which is better than one thinks, is coming with his two sons, 
who want each to select a wife. The old gnome is a true 
old honest Norwegian veteran, merry and straightforward. 
I know him from old days, when we drank brotherhood with 
one another. He was down here to fetch his wife; now she 
is dead^ — she vv'as a daughter of the King of the Chalk-rocks 
of Moen. He took his wife upon chalk, as the saying is. 
Oh, how I long to see the old Norwegian gnome ! The lads, 
they say, are rather rude, forward lads ; but perhaps they are 
belied, and they'll be right enough when they grow older. 
Let me see that you can teach them manners." 

"And when will they come?" asked the daughters. 

"That depends on wind and weather," said the Elf King. 
"They travel economically; they come when there's a 
chance by a ship. I wanted them to go across Sweden, but 
the old one would not incline to that wish. He does not ad- 
vance with the times, and I don't like that." 

Then two Will-o'-the-wisps came hopping up, one quicker 
than the other, and so one of them arrived first. 

"They're coming! they're coming!" they cried. 

"Give me my crown, and let me stand in the moonshine," 
said the Elf King. 

And the daughters lifted up their shawls and bowed down 
to the earth. 

There stood the old gnome of Dovre, with the crown of 
hardened ice and polished fir cones; moreover, he wore a 
bear-skin and great warm boots. His sons, on the contrary, 
went bare-necked, and with trousers without braces, for they 
were strong men. 

"Is that an acclivity?" asked the youngest of the lads; 
and he pointed to the elf hill. "In Norway yonder we should 
call it a hole." 


"Boys!" said the old man, "holes go down, mounds go up. 
Have you no eyes in your heads?" 

The only thing they wondered at down here, they said, 
was that they could understand the language without dif- 

"Don't give yourselves airs," said the old man. "One 
would think you were home nurtured." 

And then they went into the elf hill, where the really grand 
company were assembled, and that in such haste that one 
might almost say they had been blow^n together. But 
for each it was nicely and prettily arranged. The sea folks 
sat at table in great washing tubs; they said it was just as if 
they were at home. All observed the ceremonies of the 
table except the two young Northern gnomes, and they put 
their legs up on the table; but they thought all that suited 
them well. 

"Your feet off the table cloth!" cried the old gnome. 

And they obeyed, but not immediately. The ladies they 
tickled with pine cones that they had brought with them, 
and then took off their boots for their own convenience, and 
gave them to the ladies to hold. But the father, the old 
Dovre gnome, was quite different from them; he told such 
line stories of the proud Norwegian rocks, and of the water- 
falls, which rushed down with white foam and with a noise 
like thunder and the sound of organs ; he told of the salmon 
that leaps up against the falling waters when the Reck plays 
upon the golden harp; he told of shining winter nights, 
when the sledge bells sound, and the lads run with burning 
torches over the ice, which is so transparent that they see 
the fishes start beneath their feet. Yes! he could tell It so 
finely that one saw what he described; it was just as if the 
sawmills were going, as if the servants and maids were sing- 
ing songs and dancing the kalling dance. Hurrah! all at 
once the old gnome gave the old elf girl a kiss; that was a 
kiss! and yet they were nothing to each other. 

Now the elf maidens had to dance nimbly, and also with 
stamping steps, and that suited them well; then came the 
artistic and solo dance. Wonderful how they could use 
their legs! one hardly knew where they began and where 
they ended, which were their arms and which their legs — 
they were all mingled together like wood shavings; and 


■ then they whirled round till the death horse and the grave 
pig turned giddy, and were obliged to leave the table. 

"Purr!" exclaimed the old gnome; "that's a strange fash- 
ion of using one's legs. But what can they do more than 
dance, stretch out their limbs, and make a whirlwind?" 

"You shall soon know!" said the Elf King. 

And then he called forth the youngest of his daughters. 
She was as light and graceful as moonshine; she was the 
most delicate of all the sisters. She took a white shaving 
in her mouth, and then she was quite gone; that was her 

But the old gnome said he should not like his wife to pos- 
sess this art, and he did not think that his boys cared for it. 

The other could walk under herself, just as if she had a 
shadow, and the gnome people had none. The third daugh- 
ter was of quite another kind; she had served in the brew- 
house of the moor witch, and knew how to stuff elder-tree 
knots with glow-worms. 

"She will make a good housewife," said the old gnome; 
and then he winked a health with his eyes, for he did not 
want to drink too much. 

Now came the fourth; she had a great harp to play upon, 
and when she struck the first chord all lifted up their left feet, 
for gnomes are left-legged; and when she struck the second 
chord all were compelled to do as she wished. 

"That's a dangerous woman!" said the old gnome; but 
both the sons went out of the hill, for they had had enough 
of it. 

"And what can the next daughter do?" asked the old 

"I have learned to love what is Norwegian," said she, 
"and I will never marry unless I can go to Norway." 

But the youngest sister whispered to the old King, 
"That's only because she has heard, in a Norwegian song, 
that when the world sinks down, the cliffs of Norway will 
remain standing like monuments, and so she wants to get 
up there, because she is afraid of sinking down." 

"Ho! ho!" said the old gnome, "was it meant in that way? 
But what can the seventh and last do?" 

"The sixth comes before the seventh!" said the Elf King, 
for he could count. But the sixth would not come out. 


"I can only tell people the truth!" said she. "Nobody 
cares for me, and I have enough to do to sew my shroud." 

Now came the seventh and last, and what could she do? 
Why, she could tell stories, as many as they wished. 

"Here are all my fingers," said the old gnome, "tell me one 
for each." 

And she took him by the wrist, and he laughed till it 
clucked within him; and when she came to the ring finger, 
which had a ring round its waist, just as if it knew there was 
to be a wedding, the old gnome said: 

"Hold fast what you have; the hand is yours; I'll have 
you for my own wife." 

And the elf girl said that the story of the ring finger and 
of little Peter Playman, the fifth, were still wanting. 

"We'll hear those in winter," said the gnome, "and we'll 
hear about the pine tree, and about the birch, and about the 
spirits' gifts, and about the biting frost. You shall tell your 
tales, for no one up there knows how to do that well; and 
then we'll sit in the stone chamber, where the pine logs burn, 
and drink mead out of the horns of the old Norwegian 
Kings — Reck has given me a couple; and when we sit there, 
and the Nix comes on a visit, she'll sing you all the songs of 
the shepherds in the mountains. That will be merry. The 
salmon will spring in the waterfall, and beat against the 
stone walls, but he shall not come in." 

"Yes, it's good living in Norway; but where are the 

Yes, where were they? They were running about in the 
fields, and blowing out the Will-o'-the-wisps, which had 
come so good-naturedly for the torch dance. 

"What romping about is this?" said the old gnome. "I 
have taken a mother for you, and now you may take one of 
the aunts." 

But the lads said they would rather make a speech and 
drink brotherhood — they did not care to marry; so they 
made speeches, and drank brotherhood, and tipped up their 
glasses on their nails, to show they had emptied them. 
Afterward they took their coats off and lay down on the 
table to sleep, for they made no ceremony. But the old 
gnome danced about the room with his young bride, and he 
changed boots with her, for that's more fashionable than 
exchanging rings. 


"Now the cock crows," said the old eh girl, who attended 
to the housekeeping. "Now we must shut the shutters, so 
that the sun may not burn us." 

And the hill shut itself up. But outside, the Lizards ran 
up and down in the cleft-tree, and one said to the other: 

"Oh, how I like that old Norwegian gnome!" 

"I like the lads better,'' said the ^^rthworm. But he 
could not see, the miserable creature. 


Often, after a thunderstorm, when one passes a field in 
which buckwheat is growing, it appears quite blackened and 
singed. It is just as if a flame of fire had passed across it; 
and then the countryman says, "It got that from lightning." 
But whence has it received that? I will tell you what the 
Sparrow told me about it, and the Sparrow heard it from 
an old Willow Tree which stood by a Buckwheat field, and 
still stands there. It is quite a great venerable Willow 
Tree, but crippled and old; it is burst in the middle, and 
grass and brambles grow out of the cleft; the tree bends 
forward, and the branches hang quite down to the ground, 
as if they were long green hair. 

On all the fields round about corn was growing, not only 
rye and barley, but also oats; yes, the most capital oats, 
which when ripe looks like a number of little yellow can- 
ary birds sitting upon a spray. The corn stood smiling, 
and the richer an ear was, the deeper did it bend in pious 

But there was also a field of Buckwheat, and this field was 
exactly opposite to the old Willow Tree. The Buckwheat 
did not bend at all, like the rest of the grain, but stood up 
proudly and stiffly. 

"I'm as rich as any corn-ear," said he. Moreover, I'm 
very much handsomer; my flowers are beautiful as the blos- 
soms of the apple tree; it's quite a delight to look upon me 
and mine. Do you know anything more splendid than we 
are, you old Willow Tree?" 

And the Willow Tree nodded his head, just as if he would 
have said, "Yes, that's true enough!" 


But the Buckwheat spread itself out in mere vainglory, 
and said: 

"The stupid tree! he's so old that the grass grows in his 

Now a terrible storm came on ; all the field flowers folded 
their leaves together or bowed their little heads while the 
storm passed over them, but the Buckwheat stood erect in 
its pride. 

"Bend your head like us,'' said the Flowers. 

"I've not the slightest cause to do so," replied the Buck- 

"Bend your head as we do," cried the various Crops. 
"Now the storm comes flying on. He has wings that reach 
from the clouds down to the earth, and he'll beat you in 
halves before you can cry for mercy." 

"Yes, but I won't bend," quoth the Buckwheat. 

"Shut up your flowers and bend your leaves,'' said the old 
Willow Tree. "Don't look up at the lightning, when the 
cloud bursts; even men do not do that, for in the lightning 
one may look into heaven, but the light dazzles even men: 
and what would happen to us, if we dared to do so — we. the 
plants of the field, that are much less worthy than they?" 

"Much less worthy!" cried the Buckwheat. "Now I'll 
just look straight up into heaven." 

And it did so, in its pride and vainglory. It was as if the 
whole world were on fire, so vivid was the lightning. 

When afterward the bad weather had passed by, the 
flowers and the crops stood in the still pure air, quite re- 
freshed by the rain; but the Buckwheat was burned coal- 
black by the lightning, and it was now like a dead weed 
upon the field. 

And the old Willow Tree waved its branches in the wind, 
and great drops of water fell down out of the green leaves 
just as if the tree wept. 

And the Sparrows asked, "Why do you weep? Here 
everything is so cheerful; see how the sun shines, see how 
the clouds sail on. Do you not breathe the scent of flowers 
and bushes? Why do you weep, Willow Tree?" 

And the Willow Tree told them of the pride of the Buck- 
wheat, of its vainglory, and of the punishment which always 
follows such sin. 


I, who tell you this tale, have heard it from the Sparrows. 
They told it me one evening when I begged them to give me 
a story. 


Down yonder, in the street, stood an old, old house. It 
was almost three hundred years old, for one could read as 
much on the beam, on which was carved the date of its 
erection, surrounded by tulips and trailing hops. There 
one could read entire verses in the characters of olden 
times, and over each window a face had been carved in the 
beam, and these faces made all kinds of grimaces. One 
story projected a long way above the other, and close under 
the roof was a leaden gutter with a dragon's head. The 
rainwater was to run out of the dragon's mouth, but it ran 
out of the creature's body instead, for there was a hole in 
the pipe. 

All the other houses in the street were still new and neat, 
with large window panes and smooth walls. One could 
easily see that they could have nothing to do with the old 
house. They thought, perhaps, "How long is that old rub- 
bish heap to stand there, a scandal to the whole street? The 
parapet stands so far forward that no one can see out of our 
windows what is going on in that direction. The staircase 
is as broad as a castle staircase, and as steep as if it led to a 
church tower. The iron railing looks like the gate of a fam- 
ily vault, and there are brass bosses upon it. It's too ridicu- 
lous !" 

Just opposite stood some more new, neat houses that 
thought exactly like the rest; but here at the window sat 
a little boy, with fresh, red cheeks, with clear, sparkling 
eyes, and he was particularly fond of the old house, in sun- 
shine as well as by moonlight. And when he looked down 
at the wall where the plaster had fallen off, then he could sit 
and fancy all kinds of pictures — how the street must have 
appeared in old times, with parapets, open staircases, and 
pointed gables; he could see soldiers with halberds, and 
roof-gutters running about in the form of dragons and 
griffins. That was just a good house to look at; and in it 
lived an old man, who went about in leather knee smalls, 


and wore a coat with great brass buttons, and a wig, which 
one could at once see was a real wig. Every morning an 
old man came to him to clean his rooms and run on his er- 
rands. With this exception the old man in the leather knee 
smalls was all alone in the old house. Sometimes he came 
to one of the windows and looked out, and the little boy 
nodded to him, and the old man nodded back, and thus 
they became acquainted and became friends, though they 
had never spoken to one another; but, indeed, that was not 
at all necessary. 

The little boy heard his parents say, 'The old man op- 
posite is very well off, but he is terribly lonely." 

Next Sunday the little boy wrapped something in a piece 
of paper, went with it to the house door, and said to the 
man who ran errands for the old gentleman: 

"Harkye; will you take this to the old gentleman oppo- 
site for me? I have two tin soldiers; this is one of them, 
and he shall have it, because I know that he is terribly 

And the old attendant looked quite pleased, and nodded, 
and carried the Tin Soldier into the old house. Afterward 
he was sent over, to ask if the little boy would not like to 
come himself and pay a visit. His parents gave him leave; 
and so it was that he came to the old house. 

The brass bosses on the staircase shone much more 
brightly than usual ; one would have thought they had been 
polished in honor of his visit. And it was just as if the 
carved trumpeters — for on the doors there were carved 
trumpeters, standing in tulips — were blowing with all their 
might; their cheeks looked much rounder than before. Yes, 
they blew "Tan-ta-ra-ra! the little boy's coming! tan-ta- 
ra-ra!" and then the door opened. The whole of the hall 
was hung with old portraits of knights in armor and ladies 
in silk gowns; and the armor rattled and the silk dresses 
rustled; and then came a staircase that went up a great way 
and down a little way, and then one came to a balcony 
which was certainly in a very rickety state, with long cracks 
and great holes; but out of all these grew grass and leaves, 
for the whole balcony, the courtyard, and the wall were 
overgrown with so much green that it looked like a gar- 
den, but it was only a balcony. Here stood old flower pots 
that had faces with asses' ears; but the flowers grew just 


as they chose. In one pot pinks were growing over on all 
sides; that is to say, the green stalks, sprout upon sprout, 
and they said quite plainly, "The air has caressed me and 
the sun has kissed me, and promised me a little flower for 
next Sunday, a little flower next Sunday !" 

And then they came to a room where the walls were 
covered with pig skin, and golden flowers had been stamped 
on the leather. 

"Flowers fade fast. 
But pig-skin will last," 

said the walls. And there stood chairs with quite high 
backs, with carved work and elbows on each side. 

"Sit down!'' said they. "Oh, how it cracks inside me! 
Now I shall be sure to have the gout, like the old cupboard. 
Gout in my back, ugh!" 

And then the little boy came to the room where the old 
man sat. 

"Thank you for the Tin Soldier, my little friend," said 
the old man, "and thank you for coming over to me." 

"Thanks! thanks!" or "Crick! crack!" said all the fur- 
niture; there were so many pieces that they almost stood 
in each other's way to see the little boy. 

And in the middle, on the wall, hung a picture, a beauti- 
ful lady, young and cheerful in appearance, but dressed just 
like people of the old times, with powder in her hair and 
skirts that stuck out stiffly. She said neither thanks nor 
crack, but looked down upon the little boy with her mild 
eyes; and he at once asked the old man: 

"Where did you get her from?" 

"From the dealer opposite,'' replied the old man. "Many 
pictures are always hanging there. No one knew them or 
troubled himself about them, for they are all buried. But 
many years ago I knew this lady, and now she's been dead 
and gone for half a century." 

And under the picture hung, behind glass, a nosegay of 
withered flowers; they were certainly also half a century old 
— at least they looked it; and the pendulum of the great 
clock went to and fro, and the hands turned round and 
everything in the room grew older still, but no one noticed 


"They say at home," said the Httle boy, "that you are al- 
ways terribly solitary." 

"Oh," answered the old man, "old thoughts come, with all 
that they bring, to visit me; and now you are coming, too, 
I'm very well off." 

And then he took from a shelf a book with pictures ; there 
were long processions of wonderful coaches, such as one 
never sees at the present day, soldiers like the knave of 
clubs, and citizens with waving flags. The tailors had a 
flag with shears on it held by two lions, and the shoemakers 
a flag without boots, but with an eagle that had two heads ; 
for among the shoemakers everything must be so arranged 
that they can say, "There's a pair." Yes, that was a picture 
book! And the old man went into the other room, to fetch 
preserves, and apples, and nuts. It was reall}^ glorious in 
that old house. 

'T can't stand it!" said the Tin Soldier, who stood upon 
the shelf. "It is terribly lonely and dull here. When a per- 
son has been accustomed to family life, one cannot get ac- 
customed to their existence here. I cannot stand it! The 
day is long enough, but the evening is longer still! Here 
it is not at all like in your house opposite, where your father 
and mother were always conversing cheerfully together, 
and you and all the other dear children made a famous 
noise. How solitary it is here at the old man's! Do you 
think he gets any kisses? Do you think he gets friendly 
looks, or a Christmas tree? He'll get nothing but a grave! 
I cannot stand it!" 

"You must not look at it from the sorrowful side," said 
the little boy. "To me all appears remarkably pretty, and all 
the old thoughts, with all they bring with them, come to 
visit here." 

"Yes, but I don't see them, and don't know them," ob- 
jected the Tin Soldier. "I can't bear it!" 

"You must bear it." said the little boy. 

And the old man came with the pleasantest face and with 
the best of preserved fruits and apples and nuts; and then 
the little boy thought no more of the Tin Soldier. Happy 
and delighted, the youngster went home; and days went 
by, weeks went by, and there was much nodding from the 
boy's home across to the old house and back; and then the 
little boy went over there again. 


And the carved trumpeters blew, "Tan-ta-ra-ra ! tan-ta-ra- 
ra! there's the Httle boy, tan-ta-ra-ra !" and the swords and 
armor on the old pictures rattled, and the silken dresses 
rustled, and the leather told tales, and the old chairs had the 
gout in their backs. Ugh! it was just like the first time, for 
over there one day or one hour was just like another. 

"I can't stand it!" said the Tin Soldier. "I've wept tears 
of tin. It's too dreamy here. I had rather go to war and 
lose my arms and legs; at any rate, that's a change. I can- 
not stand it ! Now I know what it means to have a visit from 
one's old thoughts, and all they bring with them. I've had 
visits from my own, and you may believe me, that's no 
pleasure in the long run. I was very nearly jumping down 
from the shelf. I could see you all in the house opposite as 
plainly as if you had been here. It was Sunday morning, 
and you children were all standing round the table singing 
the psalm you sing every morning. You were standing 
reverently, with folded hands, and your father and mother 
were just as piously disposed; then the door opened, and 
your little sister Maria, who is not two years old yet and 
v/ho always dances when she hears music or singing, of 
whatever description they may be, was brought in. She was 
not to do it, but she immediately began to dance, though 
she could not get into right time, for the music was too 
slow, so she first stood on one leg and bent her head quite 
over in front, but it was not long enough. You all stood 
very quietly, though that was rather difficult; but I laughed 
inwardly, and so I fell down from the table and got a bruise, 
which I have still ; for it was not right of one to laugh. But 
all this, and all the rest that I have experienced, now passes 
by my inward vision, and those must be the old thoughts 
with everything they bring with them. Tell me, do you 
still sing on Sunday? Tell me something about Httle Maria. 
And how is my comrade and brother Tin Soldier? Yes, he 
must be very happy. I can't stand it!" 

"You have been given away," said the little boy. "You 
must stay where you are. Don't you see that?" 

And the old man came with a box in which many things 
were to be seen; little rouge-pots and scent-boxes; and old 
cards so large and so richly gilt as one never sees them in 
these days; and many little boxes were opened; likewise 
the piano, and in this were painted landscapes, inside the 



lid. But the piano was quite hoarse when the old man 
played upon it; and then he nodded to the picture that he 
had bought at the dealer's, and then the old man's eyes 
shone quite brightly. 

"I'll go to the war! I'll go to the war!" cried the Tin 
Soldier as loud as he could; and he threw himself down on 
the floor. 

Where had he gone? The old man searched, the little 
boy searched, but he was gone, and could not be found. 

"I shall find him," said the old man. 

But he never fovmd him; the flooring was so open and full 
of holes, that the Tin Soldier had fallen through a crack, 
and there he lay, as in an open grave. 

And the day passed away, and the little boy went home; 
and the week passed by, and many weeks passed by. The 
windows were quite frozen up, and the little boy had to sit 
and breathe upon the panes, to make a peep-hole to look at 
the old house ; and snow had blown among all the carvings 
and the inscriptions, and covered the whole staircase, as if 
no one were in the house at all. And, indeed, there was no 
one in the house, for the old man had died! 

In the evening a carriage stopped at the door, and in that 
he was laid, in his coffin ; he was to rest in a family vault in 
the country. So he was carried away; but no one followed 
him on his last journey, for all his friends were dead. And 
the little boy kissed his hand after the coffin as it rolled 

A few days later, and there was an auction in the old 
house; and the little boy saw from his window how the old 
knights and ladies, the flower pots with the long ears, the 
chairs and the cupboards were carried away. One was 
taken here, and then there; her portrait, that had been 
bought by the dealer, went back into his shop, and there 
it was hung, for no one cared for the old picture. 

In the spring the house itself was pulled down, for the 
people said it was old rubbish. One could look from the 
street straight into the room with the leather wall-covering, 
which was taken down, ragged and torn; and the green of 
the balcony hung straggling over the beams, that threat- 
ened to fall in altogether. And now a clearance was made. 

"That does good !" said a neighbor. 

And a capital house was built, with large windows and 


smooth white walls; but in front of the place, where the old 
house had really stood, a little garden was planted, and by 
the neighbor's wall tall vine shoots clambered up. In front 
of the garden was placed a great iron railing with an iron 
door; and it had a stately look. The people stepped in 
front, and looked through. And the sparrows sat down in 
dozens upon the vine branches, and chattered all at once as 
loud as they could; but not about the old house, for they 
could not remember that, for many years had gone by — so 
many, that the little boy had grown to be a man, a thorough 
man, whose parents rejoiced in him. And he had just mar- 
ried, and was come with his wife to live in the house, in 
front of which was the garden; and here he stood next to 
her while she planted a field flower which she considered 
very pretty; she planted it with her little hand, pressing 
the earth close round it with her fingers. "Ah, what was 
that?" She pricked herself. Out of the soft earth some- 
thing pointed was sticking up. Only think! that was the 
Tin Soldier, the same that had been lost up in the old man's 
room, and had been hidden among old wood and rubbish 
for a long time, and had lain in the ground many a year. 
And the young wife first dried the Soldier in a green leaf, 
and then with her fine handkerchief, that smelt so deli- 
ciously. And the Tin Soldier felt as if he were waking from 
a fainting fit. 

"Let me see him," said the young man. And then he 
smiled and shook his head. "Yes, it can scarcely be the 
same; but it reminds me of an affair with a Tin 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 of the Tin Soldier he had sent across to the old 
man whom he had thought so lonely; and the tears came 
into the young wife's eyes for the old house and the old 

"It is possible, after all, that it may be the same Tin Sol- 
dier," said she. "I will take care of him, and remember 
what you have told me; but you must show me the old 
man's grave." 

"I don't know where that is," replied he, "and no one 
knows it. All his friends were dead; none tended his grave, 
and I was but a little boy." 

"Ah, how terribly lonely he must have been!" said she. 


''Yes, horribly lonely," said the Tin Soldier; "but it is 
glorious not to be forgotten." 

"Glorious!" repeated a voice close to them. 

But nobody except the Tin Soldier perceived that it came 
from a rag of the pig's leather hangings, which was now de- 
void of all gilding. It looked like wet earth, but yet it had 
an opinion, which it expressed thus: 

"Gilding fades fast, 
Pig-skin will last!" 

But the Tin Soldier did not believe that. 


The biggest leaf here in the country is certainly the bur- 
dock leaf. Put one in front of your waist and it's just like 
an apron, and if you lay it upon your head it is almost as 
good as an umbrella, for it is quite remarkably large. A 
burdock never grows alone; where there is one tree there 
are several more. It's splendid to behold! and all this 
splendor is snail's meat; the great white snails, which the 
grand people in old times used to have made into fricassees, 
and when they had eaten them they would say, "H'm, how 
good that is !" for they had the idea that it tasted delicious. 
These snails lived on burdock leaves, and that's why bur- 
docks were sown. 

Now, there was an old estate, on which people ate snails 
no longer. The snails had died out, but the burdocks had 
not. These latter grew and grew in all the walks and on all 
the beds — there was no stopping them; the place became a 
complete forest of burdocks. Here and there stood an apple 
or plum tree; but for this, nobody would have thought a 
garden had been there. Everything was burdock, and 
among the burdocks lived the two last ancient Snails. 

They did not know themselves how old they were, but 
they could very well remember that there had been a great 
many more of them, that they had descended from a foreign 
family, and that the whole forest had been planted for them 
and theirs. They had never been away from home, but it 


was known to them that something existed in the world 
called the ducal palace, and that there one was boiled, and 
one became black, and was laid upon a silver dish; but 
what was done afterward they did not know. Moreover, 
they could not imagine what that might be, being boiled 
and laid upon a silver dish; but it was stated to be fine, and 
particularly grand! Neither the cockchafer, nor the toad, 
nor the earthworm, whom they questioned about it, could 
give them any inform.ation, for none of their own kind had 
ever been boiled and laid on silver dishes. 

The old white Snails were the grandest in the world; they 
knev/ that! The forest was there for their sake, and the 
ducal palace, too, so that they might be boiled and laid on 
silver dishes. 

They led a very retired and happy life, and as they them- 
selves were childless, they had adopted a little common 
Snail, which they brought up as their own child. But the 
little thing would not grow, for it was only a common Snail, 
though the old people, and particularly the mother, declared 
one could easily see how he grew. And when_ the father 
could not see it, she requested him to feel the little Snail's 
shell, and he felt it, and acknowledged that she was right. 
One day it rained very hard. 

"Listen, how it's drumming on the burdock leaves, rum- 
dum-dum! rum-dum-dum!" said the Father Snail. 

"That's what I call drops," said the mother. "It's coming 
straight down the stalks. "You'll see it will be wet here 
directly. I'm only glad that we have our good houses, and 
that the little one has his own. There has been more done 
for us than for any other creature; one can see very plainly 
that we are the grand folks of the world! We have houses 
from our birth, and the burdock forest has been planted for 
us ; I should like to know how far it extends, and what lies 
beyond it." 

"There's nothing," said the Father Snail, "that can be 
better than here at home ; I have nothing at all to wish for." 

"Yes," said the mother, "I should like to be taken to the 
ducal palace, and be boiled and laid upon a silver dish; that 
has been done to all our ancestors, and you may be sure it's 
quite a distinguished honor." 

"The ducal palace has perhaps fallen in," said the Father 
Snail, "or the forest of burdocks may have grown over it, so 



ST. LOUiS • O 


that the people can't get out at all. You need not be in a 
hurry — but you always hurry so, and the little one is begin- 
ning just the same way. Has he not been creeping up that 
stalk these three days? My head quite aches when I look 
up at him." 

"You must not scold him," said the Mother Snail. "He 
crawls very deliberately. We shall have much joy in him; 
and we old people have nothing else to live for. But have 
you ever thought where we shall get a wife for him? Don't 
you think that farther in the wood there may be some more 
of our kind?" 

"There may be black snails there, I think," said the old 
man, "black snails without houses! but they're too vulgar. 
And they're conceited, for all that. But we can give the 
commission to the Ants ; they run to and fro, as if they had 
business ; they're sure to know of a wife for our young gen- 

"I certainly know the most beautiful of brides," said one 
of the Ants; "but I fear she would not do, for she is the 

"That does not matter," said the two old Snails. "Has she 
a house?" 

"She has a castle !" replied the Ant. "The most beautiful 
ant's castle, with seven hundred passages." 

"Thank you," said the Mother Snail; "our boy shall not 
go into an ant hill. If you know of nothing better, we'll 
give the commission to the white Gnats; they fly far about 
in rain and sunshine, and they know the burdock wood, in- 
side and outside." 

"We have a wife for him," said the Gnats. "A hundred 
man-steps from here a little Snail with a house is sitting on a 
gooseberry bush; she is quite alone, and old enough to 
marry. It's only a hundred man-steps from here." 

"Yes, let her come to him," said the old people. "He has 
a whole burdock forest, and she has only a bush." 

And so they brought the little maiden Snail. Eight days 
passed before she arrived, but that was the rare circumstance 
about it, for by this one could see that she was of the right 

And then they had a wedding. Six Glowworms lighted 
as well as they could ; with this exception it went very 
quietly, for the old Snail people could not bear feasting and 


dissipation. But a capital speech was made by the Mother 
Snail. The father could not speak, he was so much moved. 
Then they gave the young couple the whole burdock forest 
for an inheritance, and said, what they had always said, 
namely — that it was the best place in the world, and that 
the young people, if they lived honorably, and increased and 
multiplied, would some day be taken with their children to 
the ducal palace, and boiled black, and laid upon a silver 
dish. And when the speech was finished, the old people 
crept into their houses and never came out again, for they 

The young Snail pair now ruled in the forest, and had a 
numerous progeny. But as the young ones were never 
boiled and put into silver dishes, they concluded that the 
ducal palace had fallen in, and that all the people in the 
world had died out. And as nobody contradicted them, 
they must have been right. And the rain fell down upon the 
burdock leaves to play the drum for them, and the sun shone 
to color the burdock forest for them ; and they were happy, 
very happy — the whole family was happy, uncommonly 
happy ! 


In the midst of the garden grew a rose bush, which was 
quite covered with roses; and in one of them, the most 
beautiful of all, there dwelt an elf. He was so tiny that no 
human eye could see him. Behind every leaf in the rose he 
had a bedroom. He was as well formed and beautiful as 
any child could be, and had wings that reached from his 
shoulders to his feet. Oh, what a fragrance there was in his 
room! And how clear and bright were the walls! They 
were made of the pale pink rose leaves. 

The whole day he rejoiced in the warm sunshine, flew 
from flower to flower, danced on the wings of the flying but- 
terfly, and measured how many steps he would have to take 
to pass along all the roads and cross roads that are marked 
out on a single hidden leaf. What we call veins on the leaf 
were to him high and cross roads. Yes, those were long 
roads for him! Before he had finished his journey the sun 
went down, for he had begun his work too late! 


It became very cold, the dew fell, and the wind blew; now 
the best thing to be done was to come home. He made 
what haste he could, but the rose had shut itself up, and 
he could not get in; not a single rose stood open. The 
poor little elf was very much frightened. He had never 
been out at night before; he had always slumbered sweetly 
and comfortably behind the warm rose leaves. Oh, it cer- 
tainly would be the death of him. 

At the other end of the garden there was,, he knew, an 
arbor of fine honeysuckle. The flowers looked like great 
painted horns, and he wished to go down into one of them 
to sleep till the next day. 

He flew thither. Silence! Two people were in there — a 
handsome young man and a young girl. They sat side by 
side, and wished that they need never part. They loved 
each other better than a good child loves its father and 

"Yet we must part!" said the young man. "Your 
brother does not like us, therefore he sends me away on an 
errand so far over mountains and seas. Farewell, my sweet 
bride, for that you shall be !" 

And they kissed each other, and the young girl wept, and 
gave him a rose. But, before she gave it him, she impressed 
a kiss so firmly and closely upon it that the flower opened. 
Then the little elf flew into it, and leaned his head against 
the delicate, fragrant walls. Here he could plainly hear 
them say "Farewell! farewell!" and he felt that the rose was 
placed on the young man's heart. Oh. how that heart beat! 
The little elf could not go to sleep, it thumped so. 

But not long did the rose rest undisturbed on that breast. 
The man took it out, and as he went lonely through the 
wood, he kissed the flower so often and so fervently that the 
little elf was almost crushed. He could feel through the 
leaf how the man's lips burned, and the rose itself had 
opened, as if under the hottest noonday sun. 

Then came another man, gloomy and wicked; he was the 
bad brother of the pretty maiden. He drew out a sharp 
knife, and while the other kissed the rose the bad man 
stabbed him to death, and then, cutting ofif his head, buried 
both head and body in the soft earth under the linden tree, 

"Now he's forgotten and gone!" thought the wicked 
brother; "he will never come back again. He was to have 


taken a long journey over mountains and seas. One can 
easily lose one's life, and he has lost his. He cannot come 
back again, and my sister dare not ask news of him from 

Then with his feet he shuffled dry leaves over the loose 
earth, and went home in the dark night. But he did not go 
alone, as he thought; the little elf accompanied him. The 
elf sat in a dry rolled-up linden leaf that had fallen on the 
wicked man's hair as he dug. The hat was now placed over 
the leaf, and it was very dark in the hat, and the elf trembled 
with fear and with anger at the evil deed. 

In the morning hour the bad man got home; he took of¥ 
his hat, and went into his sister's bedroom. There lay the 
beautiful, blooming girl, dreaming of him whom she loved 
from her heart, and of whom she now believed that he was 
going across the mountains and through the forests. And 
the wicked brother bent over her, and laughed hideously, 
as only a fiend can laugh. Then the dry leaf fell out of his 
hair upon the coverlet; but he did not remark it, and he 
went out to sleep a little himself in the morning hour. But 
the elf slipped forth from the withered leaf, placed himself 
in the ear of the sleeping girl, and told her, as in a dream, 
the dreadful history of the murder; described to her the 
place where her brother had slain her lover and buried his 
corpse; told her of the blooming linden tree close by it, and 
said : 

"That you may not think it is only a dream that I have 
told you, you will find on your bed a withered leaf." 

And she found it when she awoke. Oh, what bitter tears 
she wept! The window stood open the whole day; the lit- 
tle elf could easily get out to the roses and all the other flow- 
ers, but he could not find it in his heart to quit the afflicted 
maiden. In the window stood a plant, a monthly rose bush; 
he seated himself in one of the flowers, and looked at the 
poor girl. Her brother often came into the room, and, in 
spite of his wicked deed, he always seemed cheerful, but she 
dared not say a word of the grief that was in her heart. 

As soon as the night came, she crept out of the house, 
went to the wood, to the place where the linden tree stood, 
removed the leaves from the ground, turned up the earth, 
and immediately found him who had been slain. Oh, how 
she wept, and prayed that she might die also! 


Gladly would she have taken the corpse home with her, 
but that she could not do so. Then she took the pale head, 
with the closed eyes, kissed the cold mouth, and shook the 
earth out of the beautiful hair. "That I will keep," she 
said. And when she had laid earth upon the dead body she 
took the head, and a little sprig- of the jasmine that bloomed 
in the wood where he was buried, home with her. 

As soon as she came into her room, she brought the 
greatest flower pot she could find ; in this she laid the dead 
man's head, strewed earth upon it, and then planted the 
jasmine twig in the pot. 

"Farewell! farewell!" whispered the little elf; he could 
endure it no longer to see all this pain, and therefore flew 
out to his rose in the garden. But the rose was faded; only 
a few pale leaves clung to the wild bush. 

"Alas! how soon everything good and beautiful passes 
away!" sighed the elf. 

At last he found another rose, and this became his house ; 
behind its delicate, fragrant leaves he could hide himself 
and dwell. 

Every morning he flew to the window of the poor girl, 
and she was always standing weeping by the flower pot. 
The bitter tears fell upon the jasmine spray, and every day, 
as the girl became paler and paler, the twig stood there 
fresher and greener, and one shoot after another sprouted 
forth, little white buds burst out, and these she kissed. But 
the bad brother scolded his sister, and asked if she had gone 
mad. He could not bear it, and could not imagine why she 
was always weeping over the flower-pot. He did not know 
what closed eyes were there, what red lips had there faded 
into earth. And she bowed her head upon the flower pot, 
and the little elf of the rose bush found her slumbering- 
there. Then he seated himself in her ear, told her of the 
evening in the arbor, of the fragrance of the rose, and the 
love of the elves. And she dreamed a marvelously sweet 
dream, and while she dreamed her life passed away. She 
had died a quiet death, and she was in heaven, with him 
whom she loved. 

And the jasmine opened its great white bells. They smelt 
quite peculiarly sweet; it could not weep in any other way 
over the dead one. 


But the wicked brother looked at the beautiful blooming 
plant, and took it for himself as an inheritance, and put it in 
his sleeping room, close by his bed, for it was glorious to 
look upon, and its fragrance was sweet and lovely. The 
little Rose-elf followed, and went from flower to flower — 
for in each dwelt a little soul — and told of the murdered 
young man, whose head was now earth beneath the earth, 
and told of the evil brother and of the poor sister, 

"We know it!" said each soul in the flowers, "we know 
it! have we not sprung from the eyes and lips of the mur- 
dered man? We know it! we know it!" 

And then they nodded in a strange fashion with their 

The Rose-elf could not at all understand how they could 
be so quiet, and he flew out to the bees that were gathering 
honey, and told them the story of the wicked brother. And 
the bees told it to their Queen, and the Queen commanded 
that they should all kill the murderer next nxorning. But 
in the night — it was the first night that followed upon the 
sister's death — when the brother was sleeping in his bed, 
close to the fragrant jasmine, each flower opened, and in- 
visible, but armed with poisonous spears, the flower-souls 
came out and seated themselves in his ear, and told him bad 
dreams, and then flew across his lips and pricked his tongue 
with the poisonous spears. 

"Now we have avenged the dead man!" they said, and 
flew back into the jasmine's white bells. 

When the morning came and the windows of the bed- 
chamber were opened, the Rose-elf and the Queen Bee and 
the whole swarm of bees rushed in to kill him. 

But he was dead already. People stood around his bed, 
and said, "The scent of the jasmine has killed him!" Then 
the Rose-elf understood the revenge of the flowers, and 
told it to the Queen and to the bees, and the Queen hummed 
with the whole swarm around the flower pot. The bees 
were not to be driven away. Then a man carried away the 
flower pot, and one of the bees stung him in the hand, so 
that he let the pot fall, and it broke in pieces. 

Then they beheld the whitened skull, and knew that the 
dead man on the bed was a murderer. 

And the Queen Bee hummed in the air, and sang of the 


revenge of the bees, and of the Rose-elf, and said that be- 
hind the smallest leaf there dwells One Avho can bring the 
evil to light, and repay it. 


In the hot countries the sun burns very strongly; there 
the people become quite mahogany brown, and in the very 
hottest countries they are even burned into negroes. But 
this time it was only to the hot countries that a learned man 
out of the cold regions had come. He thought he could 
roam about there just as he had been accustomed to do at 
home; but he soon altered his opinion. He and all sensible 
people had to remain at home, where the window shutters 
and doors were shut all day long, and it looked as if all the 
inmates were asleep or had gone out. The narrow street, 
with the high houses, in which he lived, was, however, built 
in such a way that the sun shone upon it from morning till 
evening; it was really quite unbearable! The learned man 
from the cold regions was a young man and a clever man; 
it seemed to him as if he was sitting in a glowing oven that 
exhausted him greatly, and he became quite thin; even his 
Shadow shriveled up and became much smaller than it had 
been at home; the sun even took the Shadow away, and it 
did not return till the evening when the sun went down. 
It was really a pleasure to see this. So soon as a light was 
brought into the room the Shadow stretched itself quite up 
the wall, farther even than the ceiling, so tall did it make 
itself; it was obliged to stretch to get strength again. The 
learned man went out into the balcony to stretch himself, 
and so soon as the stars came out in the beautiful blue sky, 
he felt himself reviving. On all the balconies in the streets 
— and in the hot countries there is a balcony to every vv'in- 
dow — young people now appeared, for one must breathe 
fresh air, even if one has got used to becoming mahogany 
brown; then it became lively above and below; the tink- 
ers and tailors — by which we mean all kinds of people — sat 
below in the street; then tables and chairs were brought 
out, and candles burned, yes, more than a thousand candles; 
one talked and then sang, and the people walked to and fro; 


carriages drove past, mules trotted, "Kling-ling-ling!" for 
they had bells on their harness; dead people were buried 
with solemn songs; the church bells rang, and it was in- 
deed very lively in the street. Only in one house, just op- 
posite to that in which the learned man dwelt, it was quite 
quiet, and yet somebody lived there, for there were flowers 
upon the balcony, blooming beautifully in the hot sun, and 
they could not have done this if they had not been watered, 
so that someone must have watered them; therefore, there 
must be people in that house. Toward evening the door 
was half opened, but it was dark, at least in the front room ; 
farther back, in the interior, music was heard. The strange 
learned man thought this music very lovely, but it was quite 
possible that he only imagined this, for out there in the hot 
countries he found everything exquisite, if only there had 
been no sun. The stranger's landlord said that he did not 
know who had taken the opposite house — one saw nobody 
there, and so far as the music was concerned, it seemed very 
monotonous to him. 

"It was just," he said, "as if someone sat there, always 
practicing a piece that he could not manage — always the 
same piece. He seemed to say, 'I shall manage it, after all!' 
but he did not manage it, however long he played." 

Will the stranger awake at night? He slept with the bal- 
cony door open; the wind lifted up the curtain before it, and 
he fancied that a wonderful radiance came from the balcony 
of the house opposite; all the flowers appeared like flames 
of the most gorgeous colors, and in the midst, among the 
flowers, stood a beavitiful slender maiden; it seemed as if a 
radiance came from her also. His eyes were quite dazzled; 
but he had only opened them too wide just when he awoke 
out of his sleep. With one leap he was out of bed; quite 
quietly he crept behind the curtain; but the maiden was 
gone, the splendor was gone, the flowers gleamed no longer, 
but stood there as beautiful as ever. The door was ajar, 
and from within sounded music, so lovely, so charming, 
that one fell into sweet thought at the sound. It was just 
like magic work. 

But who lived there? Where was the real entrance? for 
toward the street and toward the lane at the side the whole 
ground floor was shop by shop, and the people could not 
always run through there. 


One evening the stranger sat upon his balcony; in the 
room just behind him a Hght was burning, and so it was 
quite natural that his Shadow fell upon the wall of the op- 
posite house; yes, it sat just among the flowers on the 
balcony, and when the stranger moved his Shadow moved, 

"I think my Shadow is the only living thing we see yon- 
der," said the learned man. "Look how gracefully it sits 
among the flowers. The door is only ajar, but the Shadow 
ought to be sensible enough to walk in and look round, and 
then come back and tell me what it has seen." 

"Yes, you would thus make yourself very useful," said 
he, as if in sport. "Be so good as to slip in. Now, will 
you go?" And then he nodded at the Shadow, and the 
Shadow nodded back at him. "Now go, but don't stay away 

And the stranger stood up, and the Shadow on the bal- 
cony opposite stood up, too, and the stranger moved round, 
and if anyone had noticed closely he would have remarked 
how the Shadow went away in the same moment, straight 
through the half-opened door of the opposite house, as the 
stranger returned to his room and let the curtain fall. 

Next morning the learned man went out to drink cofifee 
and read the papers. 

"What is this?" said he, when he came out into the sun- 
shine. "I have no Shadow! So it really went away yester- 
day evening, and did not come back; that's very tiresome." 

And that fretted him, but not so much because the 
Shadow was gone as because he knew that there was a 
story of a man without a shadow. All the people in the 
house knew this story, and if the learned man came home 
and told his own history, they would say that it was only an 
imitation, and he did not choose them to say that of him. 
So he would not speak of it at all, and that was a very sensi- 
ble idea of his. 

In the evening he again went out on his balcony ; he had 
placed the light behind him, for he knew that a shadow 
always wants its master for a screen, but he could not coax 
it forth. He made himself little, he made himself long, but 
there was no shadow, and no shadow came. He said, 
"Here, here!" but that did no good. 

That was vexatious, but in the warm countries all things 


grow very quickly, and after the lapse of a week he re- 
marked to his great joy that a new shadow was growing 
out of his legs when he went into the sunshine, so that the 
root must have remained behind. After three weeks he had 
quite a respectable shadow, which, when he started on his 
return to the North, grew more and more, so that at last it 
was so long and great that lie could very well have parted 
with half of it. 

When the learned man got home he wrote books about 
what is true in the world, and what is good, and what is 
pretty; and days went by, and years went by, many years. 

He was one evening sitting in his room when there came 
a little quiet knock at the door. "Come in!" said he; but 
nobody came. Then he opened the door, and there stood 
before him such a remarkably thin man that he felt quite un- 
comfortable. This man was, however, very respectably 
dressed; he looked like a man of standing. 

"Whom have I the honor to address?" asked the profes- 

"Ah!" replied the genteel man, "I thought you would not 
know me; I have become so much a body that I have got 
real flesh and clothes. You never thought to see me in such 
a condition. Don't you know your old Shadow? You cer- 
tainly never thought I would come again. Things have 
gone remarkably well with me since I was with you last. 
I've become rich in every respect; if I want to buy myself 
free from servitude, I can do it !" 

And he rattled a number of valuable charm_s, which hung 
by his watch, and put his hand upon the thick gold chain 
which he wore round his neck; and how the diamond rings 
glittered on his fingers ! and everything was real ! 

"No, I cannot regain my self-possession at all!" said the 
learned man. "What's the meaning of all this?" 

"Nothing common," said the Shadow. "But you your- 
self don't belong to common folks; and I have, as you very 
well know, trodden in your footsteps from my childhood 
upward. So soon as I found that I was experienced enough 
to find my way through the world alone, I went away. I am 
in the most brilliant circumstances; but I was seized with a 
kind of longing to see you once more before you die, and I 
wanted to see these regions once more, for one always holds 
by one's fatherland. I know that you have got another 


shadow; have I anything to pay to it, or to you? You have 
only to tell me." 

"Is it really you?" said the learned man. "Why, this is 
wonderful! I should never have thought that I should 
ever meet my old shadow as a man!" 

"Only tell me what I have to pay," said the Shadow, "for 
I don't like to be in anyone's debt." 

"How can you talk in that way?" said the learned man. 
"Of what debt can there be a question here? You are as 
free as anyone. I am exceedingly pleased at your good 
fortune. Sit down, old friend, and tell me a little how it has 
happened, and what you saw in the warm countries, and in 
the house opposite ours." 

"Yes, that I will tell you," said the Shadow; and it sat 
down. "But then you must promise me never to tell anyone 
in this town, when you meet me, that I have been your 
shadow. I have the intention of engaging myself to be 
married; I can do more than support a fam.ily." 

"Be quite easy," replied the learned man; "I will tell no- 
body who you really are. Here's my hand. I promise it, 
and my word's as good as my bond." 

"A Shadow's word in return!" said the Shadow, for he 
was obliged to talk in that way. But, by the way, it was 
quite wonderful how complete a man he had become. He 
was dressed all in black, and wore the very finest black 
cloth, polished boots, and a hat that could be crushed to- 
gether till it was nothing but crov^m and rim, besides what 
we have already noticed of him, namely, the charms, the 
gold neck-chain, and the diamond rings. The Shadow was 
indeed wonderfully well clothed; and it was just this that 
made a complete man of him. 

"Now I will tell you," said the Shadow; and then he put 
dovvn his polished boots as firmly as he could on the arm of 
the learned man's new shadow, that lay like a poodle dog at 
his feet. This was done perhaps from pride, perhaps so 
that the new shadow might stick to his feet; but the pros- 
trate shadow remained quite quiet, so that it might listen 
well, for it wanted to know how one could get free and work 
up to be one's own master. 

"Do you know who lived in the house opposite to us?" 
asked the Shadow. "That was the most glorious of all; it 
was Poetry! I was there for three weeks, and that was just 


as if one had lived there a thousand years, and could read 
all that has been written and composed. For this I say, 
and it is truth, I have seen everything, and I know every- 

"Poetry!" cried the learned man. "Yes, she often lives 
as a hermit in great cities. Poetry? Yes, I myself saw her 
for one single brief mqment, but sleep was heavy on my 
eyes; she stood on the balcony, gleaming as the Northern 
Light gleams, flowers with living flames. Tell me! tell 
me! You were upon the balcony. You went through the 
door, and then " 

"Then I was in the anteroom," said the Shadow. "You 
sat opposite, and were always looking across at the ante- 
room. There was no light; a kind of semi-obscurity 
reigned there; but one door after another in a whole row 
of halls and rooms stood open, and there it was light; and 
the mass of light would have killed me if I had got as far 
as to where the maiden sat. But I was deliberate, I took 
my time; and that's what one must do." 

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

"I saw everything, and I will tell you what; but — it is 
really not pride on my part — as a free man, and with the 
acquirements I possess, besides my good position and my 
remarkable fortune, I wish you would say you to me." 

"I beg your pardon," said the learned man. "This thou is 
an old habit, and old habits are difficult to alter. You are 
perfectly right, and I will remember it. But now tell me 
everything you saw." 

"Everything," said the Shadow; "for I saw everything, 
and I know everything." 

"How did things look in the inner room?" asked the 
learned man. "Was it there as in a cool grave? Was it 
there like as in a holy temple? Were the chambers like the 
starry sky, when one stands on the high mountains?" 

"Everything was there," said the Shadow. "I was cer- 
tainly not quite inside ; I remained in the front room, in the 
half-darkness; but I stood there remarkably well. I saw 
everything and know everything. I have been in the ante- 
room at the Court of Poetry." 

"But what did you see? Did all the gods of antiquity 
march through the halls? Did the old heroes fight there? 
Did lovely children play there, and relate their dreams?" 



"I tell you that I have been there, and so you will easily 
understand that I saw everything that was to be seen. If 
you had got there you would not have remained a man ; but 
I became one, and at the same time I learned to understand 
my inner being and the relation in which T stood to Poetry. 
Yes, when I was with you I did not think of these things; 
but you know that whenever the sun rises or sets I am won- 
derfully great. In the moonshine I was almost more notice- 
able than you yourself. I did not then understand my in- 
ward being; in the anteroom it was revealed to me. I be- 
came a man ! I came out ripe. But you were no longer in 
the warm countries. I was ashamed to go about as a man 
in the state I was then in; I required boots, clothes, and all 
the human varnish by which a man is known. I hid my- 
self; yes, I can confide a secret to you — you will not put it 
into a book. I hid myself under the cake-woman's gown; 
the woman had no idea how much she concealed. Only in 
the evening did I go out; I ran about the streets by moon- 
light; I stretched myself quite long up the wall; that tickled 
my back quite agreeably. I ran up and down, looked 
through the highest windows into the halls and through the 
roof, where nobody could see, and I saw what nobody saw 
and what nobody ought to see. On the whole it is a bad 
world ; I should not like to be a man if I were not allowed to 
be of some consequence. I saw the most incomprehensible 
things going on among men, and women, and parents, and 
'dear incomparable children.' I saw what no one else knows, 
but what they all would be very glad to know, namely, bad 
goings-on at their neighbors'. If I had written a news- 
paper, how it would have been read! But I wrote directly 
to the persons interested, and there was terror in every town 
to which I came. They were so afraid of me that they were 
remarkably fond of me. The professor made me a profes- 
sor; the tailor gave me new clothes (I am well provided); 
the coining superintendent coined money for me; the wo- 
men declared I was handsome, and thus I became the man 
I am. And now, farewell! Here is my card; I live on the 
sunny side, and am always at home in rainy weather." 

And the shadow went away. 

"That was very remarkable,'' said the learned man. 

Years and days passed by and the shadow came again. 

"How goes it?" he asked. 


"Ah!" said the learned man, "I'm writing about the true, 
the good, and the beautiful; but nobody cares to hear of any- 
thing of the kind; I am quite in despair, for I take that to 

"That I do not," said the Shadow. "I'm becoming fat and 
hearty, and that's what one must try to become. You don't 
understand the world, and you're getting ill. You must 
travel. I'll make a journey this summer; will you go too? I 
should like to have a traveling companion ; will you go with 
me as my shadow? I shall be very happy to take you, and 
I'll pay the expenses." 

"I suppose you travel very far?" said the learned man. 

"As you take it," replied the Shadow. "A journey will do 
you a great deal of good. Will you be my shadow? — then 
you shall have everything on the journey for nothing." 

"That's too strong!" said the learned man. 

"But it's the way of the world," said the Shadow, "and so 
it will remain." And he went away. 

The learned man was not at all fortunate. Sorrow and 
care pursued him, and what he said of the true and the good 
and the beautiful was as little valued by most people as a 
nutmeg would be by a cow. At last he became quite ill. 

"You really look like a shadow!" people said; and a shud- 
der ran through him at these words, for he attached a pe- 
culiar meaning to them. 

"You must go to a watering-place!" said the Shadow, who 
came to pay him a visit. "There's no other help for you. 
I'll take you with me for the sake of old acquaintance. I'll 
pay the expenses of the journey, and you shall make a de- 
scription of it, and shorten time for me on the way. I want 
to visit a watering-place. My beard doesn't grow quite as it 
should, and that is a kind of illness; and a beard I must have. 
Now be reasonable and accept my proposal; we shall travel 
like comrades." 

And they traveled. The Shadow was master now, and 
the master was shadow; they drove together, they rode to- 
gether, and walked side by side, and before and behind each 
other just as the sun happened to stand. The Shadow al- 
ways knew when to take the place of honor. The learned 
man did not particularly notice this, for he had a very gooci 
heart, and was moreover particularly mild and friendly. 
Then one day the master said to the Shadow: 


"As we have in this way become travehng companions, 
and have also from childhood's days grown up with one an- 
other, shall we not drink brotherhood? That sounds more 

"You're saying a thing there," said the Shadow, who was 
now really the master, "that is said in a very kind and 
straightforward way. I will be just as kind and straightfor- 
ward. You who are a learned gentleman, know very well how 
wonderful nature is. There are some men who cannot bear 
to smell brown paper, they become sick at it; others shud- 
der to the marrow of the bones if one scratches wi,th a nail 
upon a pane of glass ; and I for my part have a similar feel- 
ing when anyone says 'thou' to me ; I feel myself, as I did in 
my first position with you, oppressed by it. You see that 
this is a feeling, not pride. I cannot let you say 'thou'* to 
me, but I will gladly say 'thou' to you; and thus your wish 
will be at any rate partly fulfilled." 

And now the Shadow addressed his former master as 

"That's rather strong," said the latter, ''that I am to say 
'you,' while he says 'thou.' " But he was obliged to submit 
to it. 

They came to a bathing-place, where many strangers 
were, and among them a beautiful young Princess, who had 
this disease, that she saw too sharply, which was very dis- 
quieting. She at once saw that the new arrival was a very 
different personage from all the rest. 

"They say he is here to get his beard to grow; but I see 
the real reason — he can't throw a shadow.'' 

She had now become inquisitive, and therefore she at once 
began a conversation with the strange gentleman on the 
promenade. As a Princess, she was not obliged to use 
much ceremony, therefore she said outright to him at once: 

"Your illness consists in this, that you can't throw a 

"Your Royal Highness must be much better," replied the 
Shadow. "I know your illness consists in this, that you see 
too sharply; but you have got the better of that. I have a 

*0n the Continent, people who have drunk "brotherhood" ad- 
dress each other as "thou," in preference to the more ceremoni- 
ous "you." 


very unusual shadow; don't you see the person who always 
accompanies me? Other people have a common shadow, 
but I don't love what is common. One often gives one's 
servants finer cloth for their liveries than one wears oneself, 
and so I have let my shadow deck himself out like a separate 
person ; yes, you see I have often given him a shadow of his 
own. That costs very much, but I like to have something 

"How!" said the Princess, "can I really have been cured? 
This is the best bathing-place in existence; water has won- 
derful power nowadays. But I'm not going away from 
here yet, for now it begins to be amusing. The foreign 
Prince — for he must be a Prince — pleases me remarkably 
well. I only hope his beard won't grow, for if it does he'll 
go away." 

That evening the Princess and the Shadow danced to- 
gether in the great ball-rooni. She was light, but he was 
still lighter; never had she se>> . such a dancer. She told him 
from what country she ca .^c, and he knew the country — he 
had been there, but just when she had been absent. He 
had looked through the windows of her castle, from below 
as well as from above; he had learned many circumstances, 
and could therefore make allusions, and give replies to the 
Princess, at which she marveled greatly. She thought he 
must be the cleverest man in all the world, and was inspired 
with great respect for all his knowledge. And when she 
danced with him again, she fell in love with him, and the 
Shadow noticed that particularly, for she looked him almost 
through and through with her eyes. They danced together 
once more, and she was nearly telling him, but she was dis- 
creet; she thought of her country, and her kingdom, and of 
the many people over whom she was to rule. 

"He is a clever man," she said to herself, "and that is 
well, and he dances capitally, and that is well, too; but has 
he well-grounded knowledge? That is just as important, 
and he must be examined." 

And she immediately put such a difificult question to him, 
that she could not have answered it herself; and the Shadow 
made a wry face. 

"You cannot answer me that," said the Princess. 

"I learned that in my childhood," replied the Shadow, 


"and I believe my very shadow, standing yonder by the 
door, could answer it." 

"Your shadow!'' cried the Princess; "that would be very 

"I do not assert as quite certain that he can do so," said 
the Shadow, "but I am almost inclined to believe it. But 
your Royal Highness will allow me to remind you that he is 
so proud of passing for a man, that, if he is in a good humor, 
and he should be able to answer rightly, he must be treated 
just like a man." 

"I like that," said the Princess. 

And now she went to the learned man at the door; and 
she spoke with him of sun and moon, of the green forests, 
and of people near and far ofif; and the learned man ans- 
wered very cleverly and very well. 

"What a man that must be, who has such a clever shad- 
ow!" she thought. "It would be a real blessing for my 
country and for my people if I chose him; and I'll do it!" 

And they soon struck a bargain — the Princess and the 
Shadow; but no one was to know anything of it till she had 
returned to her kingdom. 

"No one — not even my shadow,'' said the Shadow; and 
for this he had especial reasons. 

And they came to the country where the Princess ruled, 
and where was her home. 

"Listen, my friend," said the Shadow to the learned man. 
"Now I am as lucky and powerful as anyone can become. 
I'll do something particular for you. You shall live with me 
in my palace, drive with me in the royal carriage, and have a 
hundred thousand dollars a year; but you must let yourself 
be called a shadow by everyone, and may never say that you 
were once a man; and once a year, when I sit on the bal- 
cony and show myself, you must lie at my feet as it be- 
comes my shadow to do. For I tell you I'm going to 
marry the Princess, and this evening the wedding will be 

"Now, that's too strong!" said the learned man. "I won't 
do it; I won't have it. That would be cheating the whole 
country and the Princess too. I'll tell everything — that I'm 
the man and you are the Shadow, and that you only wear 
men's clothes." 


"No one would believe that," said the Shadow. "Be rea- 
sonable, or I'll call the watch." 

"I'll go straight to the Princess," said the learned man. 

"But I'll go lirst," said the Shadow; "and you shall go to 

And that was so; for the sentinels obeyed him of whom 
they knew that he was to marry the Princess. 

"You tremble," said the Princess, when the Shadow came 
to her. "Has anything happened? You must not be ill to- 
day, when we are to have a wedding." 

"I have experienced the most terrible thing that can hap- 
pen," said the Shadow. "Only think! — such a poor shallow 
brain cannot bear much — only think! — my shadow has gone 
mad; he fancies he has become a man, and — only think! — 
that I am his shadow." 

"This is terrible!" said the Princess. "He's locked up, I 

"Certainly. I'm afraid he will never recover." 

"Poor shadow!" cried the Princess, "he's very unfortu- 
nate. It would really be a good action to deliver him from 
his little bit of life. And when I think how prone the peo- 
ple are, nowadays, to take the part of the low against the 
high, it seems to me quite necessary to put him quietly out 
of the way." 

"That's certainly very hard, for he was a faithful servant," 
said the Shadow; and he pretended to sigh. 

"You're a noble character," said the Princess, and she 
bowed before him. 

In the evening the whole town was illuminated, and can- 
non were fired — bang! — and the soldiers presented arms. 
That was a wedding! The Princess and the Shadow stepped 
out on the balcony to show themselves and receive another 

The learned man heard nothing of all this festivity, for he 
had already been executed. 



Whenever a good child dies, an angel from heaven comes 
down to earth, and takes the dead child in his arms, spreads 
out his great white wings, and flies away over all the places 
the child has loved, and picks quite a hand-full of flowers, 
which he carries up to the Almighty, that they may bloom 
in heaven more brightly than on earth. And the Father 
presses all the flowers to His heart; but He kisses the flower 
that pleases Him best, and the flower is then endowed with 
a voice, and can join in the great chorus of praise! 

"See" — this is what an angel said, as he carried a dead 
child up to heaven, and the child heard, as if in a dream, and 
they went on over the regions of home where the little child 
had played, and they came through gardens with beautiful 
flowers — "which of these shall we take with us to plant in 
heaven?" asked the angel. 

Now there stood near them a slender, beautiful rose bush; 
but a wicked hand had broken the stem, so that all the 
branches, covered with half-opened buds, were hanging 
drooping around, quite withered. 

"The poor rose bush!" said the child. "Take it, that it 
may bloom up yonder." 

And the angel took it, and kissed the child, and the little 
one half opened his eyes. They plucked some of the rich 
flowers, but also took with them the despised buttercup and 
the wild pansy. 

"Now we have flowers," said the child. 

And the angel nodded, but he did not yet fly upward to 
heaven. It was night and quite silent. They remained in 
the great city; they floated about there in a small street, 
where lay whole heaps of straw, ashes, and sweepings, for it 
had been removal-day. There lay fragments of plates, bits 
of plaster, rags, and old hats, and all this did not look well. 
And the angel pointed amid all this confusion to a few 
fragments of a flower-pot, and to a lump of earth which had 
fallen out, and which was kept together by the roots of a 
great dried field flower, which was of no use, and had there- 
fore been thrown out into the street. 


"We will take that with us," said the angel. "I will tell 
you why, as we fly onward." 

"Down yonder in the narrow lane, in the low cellar, lived 
a poor sick boy; from his childhood he had been bedridden. 
When he was at his best he could go up and down the room 
a few times, leaning on crutches; that was the utmost he 
could do. For a few days in summer the sunbeams would 
penetrate for a few hours to the ground of the cellar, and 
when the poor boy sat there and the sun shone on him, and 
he looked at the red blood in his three fingers, as he held 
them up before his face, he would say, 'Yes, to-day he has 
been out.' He knew the forest with its beautiful vernal 
green only from the fact that the neighbor's son brought him 
the first green branch of a beech tree, and he held that up 
over his head, and dreamed he was in the beech wood where 
the sun shone and the birds sang. On a spring day the 
neighbor's boy also brought him field flowers, and among 
these was, by chance, one to which the root was hanging; 
and so it was planted in a flower-pot, and placed by the bed, 
close to the window. And the flower had been planted by a 
fortunate hand ; and it grew, threw out new shoots, and bore 
flowers every year. It became as a splendid flower garden to 
the sickly boy — his little treasure here on earth. He watered 
it, and tended it, and took care that it had the benefit of every 
ray of sunlight, down to the last that struggled in through 
the narrow window; and the flower itself was woven into his 
dreams, for it grew for him and gladdened his eyes, and 
spread its fragrance about him; and toward it he turned in 
death when the Father called him. He has now been with 
the Almighty for a year; for a year the flower has stood 
forgotten in the window, and is withered; and thus, at the 
removal, it has been thrown out into the dust of the street. 
And this is the flower, the poor withered flower, which we 
have taken into our nosegay; for this flower has given more 
joy than the richest flower in a Queen's garden." 

"But how do you know all this?" asked the child which 
the angel was carrying to heaven. 

"I know it," said the angel, "for I myself was that little 
boy who walked on crutches! I know my flower well!" 

And the child opened his eyes and looked into the glori- 
ous, happy face of the angel; and at the same moment'they 
entered the regions where there is peace and joy. And the 


Father pressed the dead child to His bosom, and then it re- 
ceived wings like the angel, and flew hand in hand with him. 
And the Almighty pressed all the flowers to His heart; but 
He kissed the dry withered field flower, and it received a 
voice and sang with all the angels hovering around — some 
near, and some in wider circles, and some in infinite distance, 
but all equally happy. And they all sang, little and great, 
the good, happy child, and the poor field flower that had 
lain there withered, thrown among the dust, in the rubbish 
of the removal-day, in the narrow dark lane. 


It was bitterly cold! the sky gleamed with stars, and not a 
breeze was stirring. 

Bump! an old pot was thrown at the neighbor's house 
door. Bang! bang went the gun, for they were welcoming 
the New Year. It was New Year's Eve ! The church clock 
was striking twelve. 

Tan-ta-ra-ra ! the mail came lumbering up. The great 
carriage stopped at the gate of the town. There were twelve 
persons in it; all the places were taken. 

"Hurrah! hurrah!" sang the people in the houses of the 
town, for the New Year was being welcomed, and as the 
clock struck they stood up with the filled glass in their hand, 
to drink success to the new comer. 

"Happy New Year!" was the cry. "A pretty wife, plenty 
of money, and no sorrow or care!" 

This wish was passed round, and then glasses were 
clashed together till they rang again, and in front of the 
town gate the post-carriage stopped with the strange guests, 
the twelve travelers. 

And who were these strangers? Each of them had his 
passport and his luggage with him ; they even brought pres- 
ents for me and for you, and for all the people of the little 
town. Who are they? What did they want? and what did 
they bring with them? 

"Good-morning!" they cried to the sentry at the .town 

"Good-morning!" replied the sentry, for the clock struck 


twelve. "Your name and profession?" the sentry inquired 
of the one who alighted first from the carriage. 

"See yourself, in the passport," replied the man. "I am 
myself!" And a capital fellow he looked, arrayed in a bear 
skin and fur boots. "I am the man on whom many persons 
fix their hopes. Come to me to-morrow, and I'll give you a 
New Year's present. I throw pence and dollars among the 
people, I even give balls, thirty-one balls; but I cannot de- 
vote more than thirty-one nights to this. My ships are frozen 
in, but in my office it is warm and comfortable. I'm a mer- 
chant. My name is January, and I only carry accounts 
with me." 

Now the second alighted. He was a merry companion; 
he was a theater director, manager of masque balls, and all 
the amusements one can imagine. His luggage consisted of 
a great tub. 

"We'll dance the cat out of the tub at carnival time," said 
he. "I'll prepare a merry tune for you and for myself, too. I 
have not a very long time to live — the shortest, in fact, of 
my whole family, for I only become twenty-eight days old. 
Sometimes they pop me in an extra day, but I trouble my- 
self very little about that. Hurrah !" 

"You must not shout so !" said the sentry. 

"Certainly, I may shout !" retorted the man. "I'm Prince 
Carnival, traveling under the name of February." 

The third now got out. He looked like Fasting itself, but 
carried his nose very high, for he was related to the "Forty 
Knights," and was a weather prophet. But that's not a pro- 
fitable office, and that's why he praised fasting. In his 
buttonhole he had a little bunch of violets, but they were 
very small. 

"March ! March !" the fourth called after him, and slapped 
him on the shoulder. "Do you smell nothing? Go quickly 
into the guard room; there they're drinking punch, your 
favorite drink! I can smell it already out here. Forward, 
Master March!" 

But it was not true; the speaker only wanted to let him 
feel the influence of his own name, and make an April fool of 
him; for with that the fourth began his career in the town. 
He looked very jovial, did little work, but had the more holi- 

"If it were only a little more steady in the world!" said 


he; "but sometimes one is in a good humor, sometimes in a 
bad one, according to circumstances; now rain, now sun- 
shine. I am a kind of house and ofhce-letting agent, also a 
manager of funerals. I can laugh or cry, according to cir- 
cumstances. Here in this box I have my summer wardrobe, 
but it would be very foolish to put it on. Here I am now ! 
On Sundays I go out walking in shoes and silk stockings, 
and with a muff!" 

After him a lady came out of the carriage. She called 
herself Miss May. She wore a summer costume and over- 
shoes, a light green dress, and anemones in her hair, and she 
was so scented with wild thyme that the sentry had to 

"God bless you! God bless you!" she said, and that was 
her salutation. 

How pretty she was! and she was a singer, not a theater 
singer nor a ballad singer, but a singer of the woods, as she 
roamed through the gay green forest, and sang there for her 
own amusement. 

"Now comes the young dame!" said those who were still 
in the carriage. 

And the young dame stepped out, delicate, proud, and 
pretty. It was easy to see that she was Mistress June, ac- 
customed to be served by drowsy marmots. She gave a 
great feast on the longest day of the year, that the guests 
might have time to partake of the many dishes at her table. 
She, indeed, kept her own carriage; but still she traveled in 
the mail with the rest, because she wanted to show that she 
was not high-minded. But she was not without protection; 
her elder brother July was with her. 

He was a plump young fellow, clad in summer garments, 
with a Panama hat. He had but little baggage with him, 
because it was cumbersome in the great heat; therefore he 
had only provided himself with swimming trousers, and 
those are not much. 

Then came the mother herself, Madam August, whole- 
sale dealer in fruit, proprietress of a large number of fish- 
ponds, and land cultivator, in a great crinoline ; she was fat 
and hot, could use her hands well, and would herself carry 
out beer to the workmen in the fields. 

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," she said; 
"that is written in the Book. Afterward come the excur- 


sions, dance and playing in the greenwood, and the harvest 
feasts r 

She was a thorough housewife. 

After her, a man came out of the coach, a painter, Mr. 
■Master-colorer September, The forest had to receive him; 
the leaves were to change their colors, but how beautifully! 
when he wished it; soon the wood gleamed with red, yellow, 
and brown. The master whistled like the black magpie, 
was a quick workman, and wound the brown-green hop 
plants round his beer-jug. That was an ornament for the 
jug, and he had a good idea of ornament. There he stood 
with his color-pot, and that was his whole luggage. 

A landed proprietor followed him, one who cared for the 
plowing and preparing of the land, and also for field sports. 
Squire October brought his dog and his gun with him, and 
had nuts in his game-bag. "Crack! crack!" He had 
much baggage, even an English plow; and he spoke of farm- 
ing, but one could scarcely hear what he said, for the cough- 
ing and gasping of his neighbor. 

It was November who coughed so violently as he got out. 
He was very much plagued by a cold; he was continually 
having recourse to his pocket-handkerchief, and yet, he said, 
he was obliged to accompany the servant-girls, and initiate 
them into their new winter service. He said he should get 
rid of his cold when he went out wood-cutting, and had to 
saw and split wood, for he was sawyer-master to the fire- 
wood guild. He spent his evenings cutting the wooden 
soles for skates, for he knew, he said, that in a few weeks 
there would be occasion to use these amusing shoes. 

At length appeared the last passenger, old Mother De- 
cember, with her fire-stool. The old lady was cold, but her 
eyes glistened like two bright stars. She carried on her arm 
a flower-pot, in which a little fir tree was growing. 

"This tree I will guard and cherish, that it may grow large 
by Christmas Eve, and may reach from the ground to the 
ceiling, and may rear itself upward with flaming candles, 
golden apples, and little carved figures. The fire-stool 
warms like a stove. I bring the story book out of my pocket 
and read aloud, so that all the children in the room become 
quite quiet; but the little figures on the trees become lively, 
and the little waxen angel on the top spreads out his wings 
of gold leaf, flies down from his green perch, and kisses 


great and small in the room, yes, even the poor children who 
stand out in the passage and in the street, singing the carol 
about the Star of Bethlehem." 

"Well, now the coach may drive away," said the sentry; 
"we have the whole twelve. Let the chaise drive up." 

"First let all the twelve come in to me," said the captain 
on duty, "one after the other. The passports I will keep 
here. Each of them is available for a month ; when that has 
passed, I shall write their behavior on each passport. Mr. 
January, have the goodness to come here." 

And Mr. January stepped forward. 

"When a year is passed I think I shall be able to tell you 
what the twelve have brought to me, and to you, and to all 
of us. Now I do not know it, and they don't know it them- 
selves, probably, for we live in strange times." 



It is a strange thing, that when I feel most fervently and 
most deeply, my hands and my tongue seem alike tired, so 
that I cannot rightly describe or accurately portray the 
thoughts that are rising within me; and yet I am a painter; 
my eye tells me as much as that, and all my friends who 
have seen my sketches and fancies say the same. 

I am a poor lad, and live in one of the narrowest of lanes; 
but I do not want for light, as my room is high up in the 
house, with an extensive prospect over the neighboring 
roofs. During the first few days I went to live in the town, 
I felt low spirited and solitary enough. Instead of the forest 
and the green hills of former days, I had here only a forest 
of chimney-pots to look out upon. And then I had not a 
single friend; not one familiar face greeted me. 

So one evening I sat at the window, in a desponding 
mood ; and presently I opened the casement and looked out. 
Oh, how my heart leaped up with joy! Here was a well- 
known face at last — a round, friendly countenance, the face 
of a good friend I had known at home. In fact, it was the 
Moon that looked in upon me. He was quite unchanged, 


the dear old Moon, and had the same face exactly that he 
used to show when he peered down upon me through the 
willow trees on the moor. I kissed my hand to him over 
and over again, as he shone far into my little room; and he, 
for his part, promised me that every evening, when he came 
abroad, he would look in upon me for a few moments. This 
promise he has faithfully kept. It is a pity that he can only 
stay such a short time when he comes. Whenever he ap- 
pears, he tells me of one thing or another that he has seen 
on the previous night or on that same evening. 

"Just paint the scenes I describe to you" — that is what 
he said to me — "and you will have a very pretty picture- 

I have followed his injunction for many evenings. I could 
make up a new "Thousand and One Nights" in my own way 
out of these pictures, but the number might be too great, 
after all. The pictures I have here given have not been 
chosen at random, but follow in their proper order, just as 
they were described to me. Some great gifted painter, or 
some poet or musician, may make something more of them 
if he likes; what I have given here are only hasty sketches, 
hurriedly put upon the paper, with some of my own 
thoughts interspersed; for the Moon did not come to me 
every evening — a cloud sometimes hid his face from me. 


"Last night" — I am quoting the Moon's own words — 
"last night I was gliding through the cloudless Indian sky. 
My face was mirrored in the waters of the Ganges, and my 
beams strove to pierce through the thick intertwining 
boughs of the bananas, arching beneath me like the tortoise's 
shell. Forth from the thicket tripped a Hindoo maid, light 
as a gazelle, beautiful as Eve. Airy and ethereal as a vision, 
and yet sharply defined amid the surrounding shadows, 
stood this daughter of Hindostan; I could read on her deli- 
cate brow the thought that had brought her thither. The 
thorny creeping plants tore her sandals, but for all that she 
came rapidly forward. The deer that had come down to the 
river to quench her thirst, sprang by with a startled bound, 
for in her hand the maiden bore a lighted lamp. I could see 


the blood in her dehcate finger-tips, as she spread them for a 
screen before the dancing flame. She came down to the 
stream, and set the lamp upon the water, and let it float 
away. The flame flickered to and fro, and seemed ready to| 
expire; but still the lamp burned on, and the girl's black 
sparkling eyes, half veiled behind their long silken lashes, 
followed it with a gaze of earnest intensity. She well knew 
that if the lamp continued to burn so long as she could keep 
it in sight, her betrothed was still alive ; but if the lamp was 
suddenly extinguished, he was dead. And the lamp burned 
bravely on, and she fell on her knees and prayed. Near her 
in the grass lay a speckled snake, but she heeded it not — she 
thought only of Bramah and of her betrothed. 

"'He lives!' she shouted joyfully, 'he lives!' And from 
the mountains the echo came back upon her, 'He lives!' " 


"Yesterday," said the Moon to me, "I looked down upon 
a small courtyard surrounded on all sides by houses. In the 
courtyard sat a clucking hen with eleven chickens; and a 
pretty little girl was running and jumping around them. 
The hen was frightened, and screamed, and spread out her 
wings over the little brood. Then the girl's father came out 
and scolded her; and I glided away and thought no more of 
the matter. 

"But this evening, only a few minutes ago, I looked down 
into the same courtyard. Everything was quiet. But pres- 
ently the little girl came forth again, crept quietly to the hen- 
house, pushed back the bolt, and slipped into the apartment 
of the hen and chickens. They cried out loudly, and came 
fluttering down from their perches, and ran about in dismay, 
and the little girl ran after them. I saw it quite plainly, for 
I looked through a hole in the hen-house wall. I was angry 
with the willful child, and felt glad when her father came out 
and scolded her more violently than yesterday, holding her 
roughly by the arm; she held down her head, and her blue 
eyes were full of large tears. 'What are you about here?' he 
asked. She wept and said, 'I wanted to kiss the hen and beg 
her pardon for frightening her yesterday; but I was afraid 
to tell vou.' 


"And the father kissed the innocent child's forehead, and I 
kissed her on the mouth and eyes.'' 


"In the narrow street round the corner yonder — it is so 
narrow that my beams can only glide for a minute along the 
walls of the house, but in that minute I see enough to learn 
what the world is made of — in that narrow street I saw a 
woman. Sixteen years ago that woman was a child, playing 
in the garden of the old parsonage in the country! The 
hedges of rose bushes were old, and the flowers were faded. 
They straggled wild over the paths, and the ragged branches 
grew up among the boughs of the apple trees; here and there 
were a few roses still in bloom — not so fair as the queen of 
flowers generally appears, but still they had color and scent, 
too. The clergyman's little daughter appeared to me a far 
lovelier rose, as she sat on her stool under the straggling 
hedge, hugging and caressing her doll with the battered 
pasteboard cheeks. 

"Ten years afterward I saw her again. I beheld her in a 
splendid ball-room ; she was the beautiful bride of a rich mer- 
chant. I rejoiced at her happiness, and sought her on calm, 
quiet evenings — ah, nobody thinks of my clear eye and silent 
glance! Alas! my rose ran wild, like the rose bushes in the 
garden of the parsonage. There are tragedies in everyday 
life, and to-night I saw the last act of one. 

"She was lying in bed in a house in that narrow street; 
she was sick unto death, and the cruel landlord came up, and 
tore away the thin coverlet, her only protection against the 
cold. 'Get up!' said he, 'your face is enough to frighten 
one. Get up and dress yourself. Give me money, or I'll 
turn you out into the street! Quick — get up!' She ans- 
wered, 'Alas! death is gnawing at my heart. Let me rest.' 
But he forced her to get up and bathe her face, and he put a 
wreath of roses in her hair; and he placed her in a chair at 
the window, with a candle burning beside her, and went 

"I looked at her, and she was sitting motionless, with her 
hands in her lap. The wind caught the open window and 
shut it with a crash, so that a pane came clattering down in 



fragments; but still she never moved. The curtain caught 
fire, and the flames played about her face; and then I saw 
that she was dead. There at the window sat the dead woman, 
preaching a sermon against sin — my poor faded rose out of 
the parsonage garden!" 


"This evening I saw a German play acted,'' said the 
Moon. "It was in a little town. A stable had been turned 
into a theater; that is to say, the stable had been left standing, 
and had been turned into private boxes, and all the timber 
work had been covered with colored paper. A little iron 
chandelier hung beneath the ceiling, and that it might be 
made to disappear into the ceiling, as it does in great thea- 
ters, when the ting-ting of the prompter's bell is heard, a 
great inverted tub had been placed just above it. 

"'Ting-ting!' and the little iron chandelier suddenly rose 
at least half a yard and disappeared in the tub ; and that was 
the sign that the play was going to begin. A young noble- 
man and his lady, who happened to be passing through the 
little town, were present at the performance, and conse- 
quently the house was crowded. But under the chandelier 
was a vacant space like a little crater; not a single soul sat 
there, for the tallow was dropping, drip, drip ! I saw every- 
thing, for it was so warm in there that every loophole had 
been opened. The male and female servants stood outside, 
peeping through the chinks, although a real policeman was 
inside, threatening them with a stick. Close by the orches- 
tra could be seen the noble young couple in two old arm- 
chairs, which were usually occupied by his worship, the may- 
or, and his lady; but these latter were obliged to-day to con- 
tent themselves with wooden forms, just as if they had been 
ordinary citizens; and the lady observed quietly to herself, 
'One sees, now, that there is rank above rank;' and this inci- 
dent gave an air of extra festivity to the whole proceedings. 
The chandelier gave little leaps, the crowd got their knuckles 
rapped, and I, the Moon, was present at the performance 
from beginning to end," 



"Yesterday," began the Moon, "I looked down upon the 
turmoil of Paris. My eye penetrated into an apartment of 
the Louvre. An old grandmother, poorly clad — she be- 
longed to the working class — was following one of the un- 
der-servants into the great empty throne room, for this was 
the apartment she wanted to see — that she was resolved to 
see; it had cost her many a little sacrifice and many a coax- 
ing word to penetrate thus far. She folded her thin hands, 
and looked round with an air of reverence, as if she had been 
in a church. 

'"Here it was!' she said, 'here!' And she approached 
the throne, from which hung the rich velvet, fringed with 
gold lace. 'There,' she exclaimed, 'there!' and she knelt 
and kissed the purple carpet. I think she was actually 

" 'But it was not this very velvet!' observed the footman, 
and a smile played about his mouth. 

" 'True, but it was this very place,' replied the woman, 
'and it must have looked just Hke this.' 

" 'It looked so, and yet it did not,' observed the man; 'the 
windows were beaten in, and the doors were off their hinges, 
and there Vv^as blood upon the floor.' 

" 'But for all that you can say, my grandson died upon the 
throne of France. Died!' mournfully rejDeated the old 

"I do not think another word was spoken, and they soon 
quitted the hall. The evening twilight faded, and my light 
shone vividly upon the rich velvet that covered the throne of 

"Now, who do you think this poor woman was? Listen, 
I will tell you a story. 

"It happened in the Revolution of July, on the evening of 
the most brilliantly victorious day, when every house was a 
fortress, every window a breastwork. The people stormed 
the Tuileries. Even women and children were found among 
the combatants. They penetrated into the apartments and 
halls of the palace. A poor half-grown boy in a ragged 
blouse fought among the older insurgents. Mortally wound- 
ed with several bayonet thrusts, he sank down. This hap- 


pened in the throne room. .They laid the bleeding youth 
upon the throne of France, wrapped the velvet round his 
wounds, and his blood streamed forth on the imperial pur- 
ple. There was a picture! — the splendid hall, the fighting 
groups! A torn flag lay upon the ground, the tricolor was 
waving above the bayonets, and on the throne lay the poor 
lad with the pale, glorified countenance, his eyes turned 
toward the sky, his limbs writhing in the death agony, his 
breast bare, and his poor tattered clothing half hidden by 
the rich velvet embroidered with silver lilies. At the boy's 
cradle a prophecy had been spoken: 'He will die on the 
throne of France!' The mother's heart had fondly imag- 
ined a second Napoleon. 

"'My beams have kissed the wreath of immortelles on his 
grave, and this night they kissed the forehead of the old 
grandame, while in a dream the picture floated before her 
which thou mayst draw — the poor boy on the throne of 


"I've been in Upsala," said the Moon; "I looked down 
upon the great plain covered with coarse grass, and upon 
the barren fi.elds. I mirrored my face in the Tyris river, 
while the steamboat drove the fish into the rushes. Be- 
neath me floated the waves, throwing long shadows on the 
so-called graves of Odin, Thor, and Friga. In the scanty 
turf that covers the hillside, names have been cut.* There 
is no monument here, no memorial on which the traveler 
can have his name carved, no rocky wall on whose surface 
he can get it painted; so visitors have the turf cut away for 
that purpose. The naked earth peers through in the form of 
great letters and names; these form a network over the 
whole hill. Here is an immortality, which lasts till the fresh 
turf grows ! 

"Up on the hill, stood a man, a poet. He emptied the 
mead horn with the broad silver rim, and murmured a name. 

^Travelers on the Continent have frequent opportunities of 
seeing how universally this custom prevails among travelers. In 
some places on the Rhine, pots of paint and brushes are offered 
by the natives to the traveler desirous of "immortallaing" him- 


He begged the winds not to betray him, but I heard the 
name. I knew it. A count's coronet sparkles above it, and 
therefore he did not speak it out. I smiled, for I knew that a 
poet's crown adorned his own name. The nobility of 
Eleanora d'Este is attached to the name of Tasso. And I also 
know where the Rose of Beauty blooms!" 

Thus spake the Moon, and a cloud came between us. 
May no cloud separate the poet from the rose ! 


"Along the margin of the shore stretches a forest of firs 
and beeches, and sweet, fresh, and fragrant is this wood; 
hundreds of nightingales visit it every spring. Close beside 
it is the sea, the ever-changing sea, and between the two is 
placed the broad high road. One carriage after another 
rolls over it; but I did not follow them, for my eyes love best 
to rest upon one point. A Hun's Grave* lies there, and the 
sloe and blackthorn grow luxuriantly among the stones. 
Here is true poetry in nature. 

"And how do you think men appreciate this poetry? I 
will tell you what I heard there last evening and during the 

"First, two rich landed proprietors came driving by. 
'Those are glorious trees!' said the first. 'Certainly; there 
are ten loads of firewood in each,' observed the other; 'it 
will be a hard winter, and last year we got fourteen dollars a 
load' — and they were gone. 'The road here is wretched,' 
observed another man who drove past. 'That's the fault of 
those horrible trees,' replied his neighbor; 'there is no free 
current of air; the wind can only come from the sea' — and 
they were gone. The stage coach went rattling past. All 
the passengers were asleep at this beautiful spot. The pos- 
tilion blew his horn, but he only thought, '1 can play capi- 
tally. It sounds well here. I wonder if those in there like 
it?' — and the stage coach vanished. Then two young fel- 
lows came galloping up on horseback. There's youth and 
spirit in the blood here! thought I; and, indeed, they 

*Large mounds, similar to the "barrows" found in Britain, are 
thus designated in Germany and the North. 


looked with a smile at the moss-grown hill and thick forest, 
'I should not dislike a walk here with the miller's Christine,' 
said one — and they flew past. The flowers scented the air; 
every breath was hushed; it seem.ed as if the sea was a part 
of the sky that stretched above the deep valley. A carriage 
rolled by. Six people were sitting in it. Four of them were 
asleep ; the fifth was thinking of his new summer coat, which 
would suit him admirably; the sixth turned to the coach- 
man and asked him if there were anything remarkable con- 
nected with yonder heap of stones. 'No,' replied the coach- 
man, 'it is only a heap of stones; but the trees are remark- 
able. 'How so?' 'Why, I'll tell you how they are very re- 
markable. You see, in winter, when the snow lies very deep, 
and has hidden the whole road so that nothing is to be seen, 
those trees serve me for a landmark. I steer by them, so 
as not to drive into the sea; and, you see, that is why the 
trees are remarkable.' 

"Now came a painter. He spoke not a word, but his eyes 
sparkled. He began to whistle. At this the nightingales 
sang louder than ever. 'Hold your tongues!' he cried, 
testily; and he made accurate notes of all the colors and 
transitions — blue, and lilac, and dark brown. 'That will 
make a beautiful picture,' he said. He took it in just as a 
mirror takes in a view; and as he Avorked he v/histled a 
march of Rossini. And last of all came a poor girl. She 
laid aside the burden she carried and sat down to rest upon 
the Hun's Grave. Her pale, handsome face was bent in a 
listening attitude toward the forest. Her eyes brightened, 
she gazed earnestly at the sea and the sky, her hands were 
folded, and I think she prayed, 'Our Father.' She herself 
could not understand the feeling that swept through her, 
but I know that this minute, and the beautiful natural scene, 
will live within her memory for years, far more vividly and 
more truly than the painter could portray it with his colors 
on paper. My rays followed her till the morning dawn 
kissed her brow." 


Heavy clouds obscured the sky, and the Moon did not 
make his appearance at all. I stood in my little room, more 
lonely than ever, and looked up at the sky where he ought 


to have shown himself. My thoughts flew far away, up to 
my great friend, who every evening told me such pretty 
tales, and showed me pictures. Yes, he has had an expe- 
rience indeed. He glided over the waters of the Deluge, 
and smiled on Noah's ark just as he lately glanced down 
upon me, and brought comfort and promise of a new world 
that was to spring forth from the old. When the Children 
of Israel sat weeping by the waters of Babylon, he glanced 
mournfully upon the willows where hung the silent harps. 
When Romeo climbed the balcony, and the promise of true 
love fluttered like a cherub toward heaven, the round Moon 
hung, half hidden among the dark cypresses, in the lucid 
air. Re saw the captive giant at St. Helena, looking from 
the lonely rock across the wide ocean, while great thoughts 
swept through his soul. Ah! what tales the Moon can tell. 
Human life is like a story to him. To-night I shall not see 
thee again, old friend. To-night I can draw no picture of 
the memories of thy visit. And, as I looked dreamily to- 
ward the clouds, the sky became bright. There was a glanc- 
ing light, and a beam from the Moon fell upon me. It van- 
ished again, and dark clouds flew past; but still it was a 
greeting, a friendly good-night offered to me by the Moon. 


rrhe air was clear again. Several evenings had passed, 
and the Moon was in the first quarter. Again he gave me 
an outline for a sketch. Listen to what he told me. 

"I have followed the polar bird and the swimming whale 
to the eastern coast of Greenland. Gaunt ice-covered rocks 
and dark clouds hung over a valley, where dwarf willows 
and barberry bushes stood clothed in green. The blooming 
lychnis exhaled sweet odors. My light was faint, my face 
pale as the water lily that, torn from its stem, had been drift- 
ing for weeks with the tide. The crown-shaped Northern 
Light burned fiercely in the sky. Its ring was broad, and 
from its circumference the rays shot like whirling shafts of 
fire across the whole sky, flashing in changing radiance 
from green to red. The inhabitants of that icy region were 
assembling for dance and festivity; but accustomed to this 
glorious spectacle, they scarcely deigned to glance at it. 


'Let us leave the souls of the dead to their ball play with the 
heads of the walruses,' they thought in their superstition, 
and they turned their whole attention to the song and 
dance. In the midst of the circle, and divested of his furry 
cloak, stood a Greenlander, with a small pipe, and he played 
and sang a song about catching the seal, and the chorus 
around chimed in with 'Eia, Eia, Ah.' And in their white 
furs they danced about in the circle, till you might fancy 
it was a polar bear's ball. 

"And now a Court of Judgment was opened. Those 
Greenlanders who had quarreled stepped forward, and the 
offended person chanted forth the faults of his adversary 
in an extempore song, turning them sharply into ridicule, 
to the sound of the pipe and the measure of the dance. The 
defendant replied with satire as keen, while the audience 
laughed and gave their verdict. 

"The rocks heaved, the glaciers melted, and great masses 
of ice and snov/ came crashinsf down, shiverinsf to frag- 
ments as they fell; it was a glorious Greenland summer 
night. A hundred paces away, under the open tent of hides, 
lay a sick man. Life still flowed through his warm blood, 
but still he was to die; he him.self felt it, and all who stood 
round him knew it also; therefore his wife was already 
sewing round him the shroud of furs, that she might not 
afterward be obliged to touch the dead body. And she 
asked, 'Wilt thou be buried on the rock, in the firm snow? 
I will deck the spot with thy kayak, and thy arrows, and the 
angekokk shall dance over it. Or wouldst thou rather be 
buried in the sea?' 'In the sea,' he whispered, and nodded 
with a mournful smile. 'Yes, it is a pleasant summer tent, 
the sea,' observed the wife. 'Thousands of seals sport there, 
the walrus shall lie at thy feet, and the hunt will be safe and 
merry !' And the yelling children tore the- outspread hide 
from the window hole, that the dead man might be carried 
to the ocean, the billowy ocean, that had given him food in 
life, and that now, in death, was to afford him a place of rest. 
For his monument he had the floating, ever-changing ice- 
bergs, whereon the seal sleeps, while the stormbird flies 
round their gleaming summits." 



"I knew an old maid," said the Moon. "Every winter she 
wore a wrapper of yellow satin, and it always remained new, 
and was the only fashion she followed. In summer she al- 
ways wore the same straw hat, and I verily believe the very 
same gray-blue dress. 

"She never went out, except across the street to an old 
female friend; and in later years she did not even take this 
walk, for the old friend was dead. In her solitude my old 
maid was always busy at the window, which was adorned in 
summer with pretty flowers, and in winter with cress, grown 
upon felt. During the last months I saw her no more at the 
window, but she was still alive. I knew that, for I had not 
yet seen her begin the 'long journey,' of which she often 
spoke with her friend. 'Yes, yes,' she was in the habit of 
saying, 'when I come to die, I shall take a longer journey 
than I have made my whole life long. Our family vault is 
six miles from here. I shall be carried there, and shall sleep 
there among my family and relatives.' Last night a van 
stopped at the house. A coffin was carried out, and then I 
knew that she was dead. They placed straw round the 
cofhn, and the van drove away. There slept the quiet old 
lady, who had not gone out of her house once for the last 
year. The van rolled out through the town gate as briskly 
as if it were going for a pleasant excursion. On the high 
road the pace was quicker yet. The coachman looked 
nervously round every now and then — I fancy he half ex- 
pected to see her sitting on the coffin, in her yellow satin 
wrapper. And because he was startled, he foolishly lashed 
his horses, while he held the reins so tightly that the poor 
beasts were in a foam; they were young and fiery. A little 
hare jumped across the road and startled them, and they 
fairly ran away. The old, sober maiden, who had for years 
and years moved quietly round and round in a dull circle, 
was now, in death, rattled over stock and stone on the public 
highway. The coffin, in its covering of straw, tumbled out 
of the van, and was left on the high road, while horses, 
coachman, and carriage flew past in wild career. The lark 
rose up caroling from the field, twittering her morning lay 
over the coffin, and presently perched upon it, picking with 


her beak at the straw covering, as though she would tear it 
up. The lark rose up again, singing gayly, and I withdrew 
behind the red morning clouds." 


"I will give you a picture of Pompeii," said the Moon. "I 
was in the suburb in the Street of Tombs, as they call it, 
where the fair monuments stand, in the spot where, ages 
ago, the merry youths, their temples bound with rosy 
wreathes, danced with the fair sisters of La'is. Now the 
stillness of death reigned around. German mercenaries, in 
the Neapolitan service, kept guard, and played cards and 
dice; and a troop of strangers from beyond the mountains 
came into the towm, accompanied by a sentry. They wanted 
to see the city that had risen from the grave illumined by my 
beams; and I showed them the wheel ruts in the streets 
paved with broad lava slabs; I showed them the names on 
the doors, and the signs that hung there yet; they saw in 
the little courtyard the basins of the fountains, ornamented 
with shells; bvit no jet of water gushed upward, no songs 
sounded forth from the richly painted chambers, \vhere the 
bronze dog kept the door. 

"It was the City of the Dead; only Vesuvius thundered 
forth his everlasting hymn, each separate verse of which is 
called by men an eruption. We went to the temple of 
Venus, built of snow-white marble, with its high altar in 
front of the broad steps, and the weeping willows sprouting 
freshly forth among the pillars. The air was transparent 
and blue, and black Vesuvius formed the background, with 
fire ever shooting forth from it, like the stem of the pine 
tree. Above it stretched the smoky cloud in the silence of 
the night, like the crown of the pine, but in a blood-red il- 
lumination. Among the company was a lady singer, a real 
and great singer. I have witnessed the homage paid to her 
in the greatest cities of Europe. When they came to the 
tragic theater, they all sat down on the amphitheater steps, 
and thus a small part of the house was occupied by an audi- 
ence, as it had been many centuries ago. The stage still 
stood unchanged, and its walled sidescenes, and the two 


arches in the background, through which the beholders saw 
the same scene that had been exhibited in the old times — a 
scene painted by Nature herself, namely, the mountains be- 
tween Sorrento and Amalfi. The singer gayly mounted the 
ancient stage, and sang. The place inspired her, and she 
reminded me of a wild Arab horse, that rushes headlong 
on with snorting nostrils and flying mane — her song was so 
light and yet so firm. Anon I thought of the mourning 
mother beneath the cross at Golgotha, so deep was the ex- 
pression of pain. And, just as it had done thousands of 
years ago, the sound of applause and delight now filled the 
theater. 'Happy, gifted creature!' all the hearers exclaimed. 
Five minutes more, and the stage was empty, the company 
had vanished, and not a sound more was heard — all were 
gone. But the ruins stood unchanged, as they will stand 
when centuries shall have gone by, and when none shall 
know of the momentary applause and of the triumph of the 
fair songstress; when all will be forgotten and gone, and 
even for me this hour will be but a dream of the past." 


"I looked through the windows of an editor's house," 
said the Moon. "It was somewhere in Germany. I saw 
handsome furniture, many books, and a chaos of newspa- 
pers. Several young men were present; the editor himself 
stood at his desk, and two little books, both by young 
authors, were to be noticed. 'This one has been sent to me,' 
said he. 'I have not read it yet; what think you of the con- 
tents?' 'Oh,' said the person addressed — he was a poet him- 
self — 'it is good enough; a little broad, certainly; but, you 
see the author is still young. The verses might be better, to 
be sure ; the thoughts are sound, though there is certainly a 
good deal of commonplace among them. But what will you 
have? You can't be always getting something new. That 
he'll turn out anything great I don't believe, but you may 
safely praise him. He is well read, a remarkable Oriental 
scholar, and has a good judgment. It was he v/ho wrote 
that nice review of my "Reflections on Domestic Life." We 
must be lenient toward the young man.' 


"'But he is a complete hack!' objected another of the 
gentlemen. 'Nothing is worse in poetry than mediocrity, 
and he certainly does not go beyond that.' 

" 'Poor fellow!' observed a third, 'and his aunt is so happy 
about him. It was she, Mr. Editor, who got together so 
many subscribers for your last translation.' 

" 'Ah, the good woman ! Well, I have noticed the book 
briefly. Undoubted talent — a welcome offering — a flower 
in the garden of poetry — prettily brought out, and so on. 
But this other book — I suppose the author expects me to 
purchase it? I hear it is praised. He has genius, certainly; 
don't you think so?' 

" 'Yes, all the world declares as much,' replied the poet, 
'but it has turned out rather wildly. The punctuation of the 
book, in particular, is ver}^ eccentric' 

" 'It will be good for him if we pull hinx to pieces, and 
anger him a little, otherwise he will get too good an opinion 
of himself.' 

" 'But that would be unfair,' objected the fourth. 'Let 
us not carp at little faults, but rejoice over the real and abun- 
dant good that we find here; he surpasses all the rest.' 

" 'Not so. If he be a true genius, he can bear the sharp 
voice of censure. There are people enough to praise him. 
Don't let us quite turn his head.' 

" 'Decided talent,' wrote the editor, 'with the usual care- 
lessness. That he can write incorrect verses may be seen 
in page 25, where there are two false quantities. We recom- 
mend him to study the ancients,' etc. 

"I went away," continued the Moon, "and looked through 
the window in the aunt's house. There sat the bepraised 
poet, the tame one ; all the guests paid homage to him, and 
he was happy. 

"I sought the other poet out, the wild one; him also I 
found in a great assembly at his patron's where the tame 
poet's book was being discussed. 

" 'I shall read yours also,' said Maecenas ; 'but to speak 
honestly — you know I never hide my opinions from you — I 
don't expect much from it, for you are much too wild, too 
fantastic. But it must assuredly be allowed that, as a 
man, you are highly respectable.' 


'"A young girl sat in a corner; and she read in a book 
these words: 

" 'In tlie dust lies genius and glory. 
But ev'ry-day talent will pay. 
It's only the old, old story, 
But the piece is repeated eacli day.' " 


The Moon said, "Beside the woodland path there are two 
small farm-houses. The doors are low, and some of the 
windows are placed quite high, and others close to the 
ground; and whitethorn and barberry bushes grow around 
them. The roof of each house is overgrown with moss and 
with yellow flowers and houseleek. Cabbage and potatoes 
are the only plants cultivated in the gardens, but out of the 
hedge there grows a willow tree, and under this willow tree 
sat a little girl, and she sat with her eyes fixed upon the old 
oak tree between the two huts. 

"It was an old withered stem. It had been sawn o& at the 
top, and a stork had built his nest upon it; and he stood in 
this nest clapping with his beak. A little boy came and 
stood by the girl's side; they were brother and sister. 

" 'What are you looking at?' he asked. 

" 'I'm watching the stork/ she replied ; 'our neighbor told 
me that he wovild bring us a little brother or sister to-day; 
let us watch to see it come!' 

" 'The stork brings no such things,' the boy declared, 'you 
may be sure of that. Our neighbor told me the same thing, 
but she laughed when she said it, and so I asked her if she 
could say "On my honor,'' and she could not; and I know- 
by that that the story about the storks is not true, and that 
they only tell it to us children for fun.' 

" 'But where do the babies come from, then?' asked the 

" 'Why, an angel from heaven brings them under his 
cloak, but no man can see him; and that's why we never 
know when he brings them.' 

"At that moment there was a rustling in the branches of 
the willow tree, and the children folded their hands and 
looked at one another; it was certainly the angel coming' 


with the baby. They took each other's hand, and at that 
moment the door of one of the houses opened, and the 
neighbor appeared. 

" 'Come in, you two,' she said. 'See what the stork has 
brought. It is a httle brother.' 

"And the children nodded gravely at one another, for they 
had felt quite sure already that the baby was come." 


"I was gliding over the Liineburg Heath," the Moon 
said. "A lonely hut stood by the wayside, a few scanty 
bushes grew near it, and a nightingale who had lost his way 
sang sweetly. He died in the coldness of the night; it was 
his farewell song that I heard. 

"The morning dawn came glimmering red. I saw a cara- 
van of emigrant peasant families who were bound to Ham- 
burgh, there to take ship for America, where fancied pros- 
perity would bloom for them. The mothers carried their 
little children at their backs, the elder ones trotted by their 
sides, and a poor starved horse tugged at a cart that bore 
their scanty effects. The cold wind whistled, and therefore 
the little girl nestled closer to the mother, who, looking up 
at my decreasing disk, thought of the bitter want at home, 
and spoke of the heavy taxes they had not been able to raise. 
The whole caravan thought of the same thing; therefore the 
rising dawn seemed to them a message from the sun, of 
fortune that was to gleam brightly upon them. They heard 
the dying nightingale sing; it was no false prophet, but a 
harbinger of fortune. The wind whistled, therefore they 
did not understand that the nightingale sang, 'Far away 
over the sea! Thou hast paid the long passage with all that 
was thine, and poor and helpless shalt thou enter Canaan. 
Thou must sell thyself, thy wife, and th}^ children. But 
your griefs shall not last long. Behind the broad fragrant 
leaves lurks the Goddess of Death, and her welcome kiss 
shall breathe fever into thy blood. Fare away, fare away, 
over the heaving billows.' And the caravan listened well 
pleased to the song of the nightingale, which seemed to 
promise good fortune. The day broke through the light 
clouds; country people went across the heath to the church; 


the black-gowned women with their white head-dresses 
looked like ghosts that had stepped forth from the church 
pictures. All around lay a wide dead plain, covered with 
faded brown heath, and black charred spaces between the 
white sand hills. The women carried hymn-books, and 
walked into the church. Oh, pray, pray for those who are 
wandering to find graves beyond the foaming billows." 


"I know a Pulcinella,"* the Moon told me. "The public 
applaud vociferously directly they see him. Everyone of his 
movements is comic, and is sure to throw the house into 
convulsions of laughter ; and yet there is no art in it at all — 
it is complete nature. When he was yet a little boy, play- 
ing with other boys, he was already Punch. Nature had in- 
tended him for it, and had provided him with a hump on his 
back, and another on his breast; but his inward man, his 
mind, on the contrary, was richly furnished. No one could 
surpass him in depth of feeling or in readiness of intellect. 
The theater was his ideal world. If he had possessed a slen- 
der, well-shaped figure, he might have been the first trage- 
dian on any stage; the heroic, the great, filled his soul; and 
yet he had become a Pulcinella. His very sorrow and 
melancholy did but increase the comic dryness of his sharp- 
ly-cut features, and increased the laughter of the audience, 
who showered plaudits on their favorite. The lovely Colum- 
bine was indeed kind and cordial to him; but she preferred 
to marry the Harlequin. It would have been too ridiculous 
if beauty and ugliness had in reality paired together. 

"When Pulcinella was in very bad spirits, she was the 
only one who could force a hearty burst of laughter, or even 
a smile from him; first she would be melancholy with him, 
then quieter, and at last quite cheerful and happy. T know 
very well what is the matter with you,' she said; 'yes, you're 
in love!' And he could not help laughing, T in love!' he 
cried, 'that would have an absurd look. How the public 
would shout!' 'Certainly, you are in love,' she continued; 

*The comic or grotesque character of the Italian ballet, from 
which the English "Punch" takes its origin. 


and added with a comic pathos, 'and I am the person you 
are in love with.' You see, such a thing may be said when 
it is quite out of the question — and, indeed, Pulcinella burst 
out laughing, and gave a leap into the air, and his melan- 
choly was forgotten. 

"And yet she had only spoken the truth. He did love her, 
love her adoringly, as he loved what was great and lofty in 
art. At her wedding he was the merriest among the guests, 
but in the stillness of night he wept; if the public had seen 
the distorted face, then, they would have applauded raptur- 

"And a few days ago Columbine died. On the day of the 
funeral. Harlequin was not required to show himself on the 
boards, for he was a disconsolate widower. The director 
had to give a very merry piece, that the public might not too 
painfully miss the pretty Columbine and the agile Harle- 
quin. Therefore Pulcinella had to be more boisterous and 
extravagant than ever; and he danced and capered, with 
despair in his heart; and the audience yelled, and shouted, 
'Bravo! bravissimo!' Pulcinella was actually called before 
the curtain. He was pronounced inimitable. 

"But last night the hideous little fellow went out of the 
town, quite alone, to the deserted churchyard. The wreath 
of flowers on Columbine's grave was already faded, and he 
sat down there. It was a study for a painter. As he sat 
with his chin on his hands, his eyes turned up toward me, 
he looked like a grotesque monument — a Punch on a grave 
— very peculiar and whimsical. If the people could have 
seen their favorite, they would have cried as usual, 'Bravo! 
Pulcinella! bravo, bravissimo!'" 


Hear what the Moon told me: "I have seen the cadet 
who had just been made an of^cer, put on his handsome 
uniform for the first time; I have seen the young bride in 
her wedding dress, and the Princess girl-wife happy in her 
gorgeous robes; but never have I seen a felicity equal to 
that of a little girl of four years old, whom I \vatched this 
evening. She had received a new blue dress and a new pink 
hat; the splendid attire had just been put on, and all were 


calling for a candle, for my rays, shining in through the 
windows of the room, were not bright enough for the occa- 
sion, and further illumination was required. There stood 
the little maid, stiff and upright as a doll, her arms stretched 
painfully straight out away from her dress, and her fingers 
apart; and, oh, what happiness beamed from her eyes and 
from her whole countenance! 'To-morrow you shall go 
out in your new clothes,' said her mother; and the little one 
looked up at her hat and down at her frock, and smiled 
brightly. 'Mother,' she cried, 'what will the little dogs think 
when they see me in these splendid new things?' " 


"I have spoken to you of Pompeii," said the Moon ; "that 
corpse of a city, exposed in the view of living towns; I 
know another sight still more strange, and this is not the 
corpse, but the specter of a city. Whenever the jetty foun- 
tains splash into the marble basins, they seem to me to be 
telling the story of the floating city. Yes, the sprouting 
water may tell of her, the waves of the sea may sing of her 
fame! On the surface of the ocean a mist often rests, and 
this is her widow's veil. TheBridegroom of the Sea is dead, 
his palace and his city are his mausoleum! Dost thou know 
this city? She has never heard the rolling of wheels or the 
hoof-tread of horses in her streets, through which the fish 
swim, while the black gondola glides spectrally over the 
green water. I will show you the place," continued the 
Moon, "the largest square in it, and you will fancy yourself 
transported into the city of a fairy tale. The grass grows 
rank among the broad flagstones, and in the morning twi- 
light thousands of tame pigeons flutter around the solitary, 
lofty tower. On three sides you find yourself surrounded 
by cloistered walks. In these the silent Turk sits smoking 
his long pipe; the handsome Greek leans against the pillar, 
and gazes at the upraised trophies and lofty masts, 
memorials of power that is gone. The flags hang down like 
morning scarves. A girl rests there; she has put down her 
heavy pails filled with water, the yoke with which she has 
carried them rests on one of her shoulders, and she leans 
against the mast of victory. This is not a fairy palace you 



see before you yonder, but a church; the gilded domes and 
shining orbs flash back my beams; the glorious bronze 
horses up yonder have made journeys, like the bronze 
horses in the fairy tale; they have come hither, and gone 
hence, and have returned again. Do you notice the varie- 
gated splendor of the walls and windows? It looks as if 
Genius had followed the caprices of a child, in the adorn- 
ment of these singular temples. Do you see the winged lion 
on the pillar? The gold glitters still, but his wings are tied 
— the lion is dead, for the King of the Sea is dead; the great 
halls stand desolate, and where gorgeous painting hung of 
yore, the naked wall now peers through. The lazzaroni 
sleep under the arcade, whose pavement in old times was to 
be trodden only by the feet of the high nobility. From the 
deep wells, and perhaps from the prisons by the Bridge of 
Sighs, rise the accents of woe, as at the time when the tam- 
bourine was heard in the gay gondolas, and the golden ring 
was cast from Bucentaur to Adria, the Queen of the Seas. 
Adria! shroud thyself in mists; let the veil of thy widow- 
hood shroud thy form, and clothe in the weeds of woe the 
mausoleum of thy bridegroom — the marble, spectral 


"I looked down upon a great theater," said the Moon. 
"The house was crowded, for a new actor was to make his 
first appearance that night. My rays glided over a little win- 
dow in the wall, and I saw a painted face with the forehead 
pressed against the panes. It was the hero of the evening. 
The knightly beard curled crisply about the chin ; but there 
were tears in the man's eyes, for he had been hissed off, and 
indeed with reason. The poor Incapable! But Incapables 
cannot be admitted into the empire of Art. He had deep 
feelings, and loved his art enthusiastically, but the art loved 
not him. The prompter's bell sounded; 'the hero enters 
with a determined air,' so ran the stage direction in his part, 
and he had to appear before an audience who turned him 
into ridicule. When the piece was over, I saw a form 
wrapped in a mantle creeping down the steps; it was the 
vanquished knight of the evening. The scene shifters 
whispered to one another, and I followed the poor fellow 


home to his room. To hang one's self is to die a mean 
death, and poison is not always at hand, I know; but he 
thought of both. I saw how he looked at his pale face in 
the glass, with eyes half closed, to see if he should look well 
as a corpse. A man may be very unhappy, and yet exceed- 
ingly affected. He thought of death, of suicide; I believe he 
pitied himself, for he wept bitterly; and when a man has had 
his cry out he doesn't kill himself. 

"Since that time a year had rolled by. Again a play was 
to be acted, but in a little theater, and by a poor strolling 
company. Again I saw the well remembered face, with the 
painted cheeks and the crisp beard. He looked up at me 
and smiled; and yet he had been hissed ofif only a minute 
before — hissed off from a wretched theater by a miserable 
audience. And to-night a shabby hearse rolled out of the 
town gate. It was a suicide — our painted, despised hero. 
The driver of the hearse was the only person present, for 
no one followed except my beams. In a corner of the 
churchyard the corpse of the suicide was shoveled into the 
earth, and nettles will soon be rankly growing over his 
grave, and the sexton will throw thorns and weeds from the 
other graves upon it." 


"I come from Rome," said the Moon. "In the midst of 
the city, upon one of the seven hills, lie the ruins of the im- 
perial palace. The wild fig tree grows in the clefts of the 
wall, and covers the nakedness thereof with its broad, gray- 
green leaves; trampling among heaps of rubbish, the ass 
treads upon green laurels, and rejoices over the rank this- 
tles. From this spot, whence the eagles of Rome once flew 
abroad, whence they 'came, saw and conquered,' one door 
leads into a little, mean house, built of clay between two 
pillars; the wild vine hangs like a mourning garland over 
the crooked window. An old woman and her little grand- 
daughter live there; they rule now in the palace of the 
Caesars, and show to strangers the remains of its past 
glories. Of the splendid throne-hall only a naked wall 
yet stands, and a black cypress throws it dark shadow on 
the spot where the throne once stood. The dust lies several 
feet deep on the broken pavement; and the little maiden, 


now the daughter of the imperial palace, often sits there on 
her stool when the evening bells ring. The keyhole of the 
door close by she calls her turret-window; through this 
she can see half Rome, as far as the mighty cupola of St. 

"On this evening, as usual, stillness reigned around; and 
in the full beam of my light came the little granddaughter. 
On her head she carried an earthen pitcher of antique shape 
filled with watef. Her feet v/ere bare, her short frock and 
her white sleeves were torn. I kissed her pretty, round 
shoulders, her dark eyes, and black, shining hair. She 
mounted the stairs; they were steep, having been made 
up of rough blocks of broken marble and the capital of a 
fallen pillar. The colored lizards slipped away, startled, 
from before her feet, but she was not frightened at them. 
Already she lifted her hand to pull the doorbell — a hare's 
foot fastened to a string formed the bellhandle of the im^- 
periai palace. She paused for a moment — of what might 
she be thinking? Perhaps of the beautiful Christ-child, 
dressed in gold and silver, which was down below in the 
chapel, where the silver candlesticks gleamed so bright, 
and where her little friends sang the hymns in which she 
also could join. I know not. Presently she moved again — 
she stuinbled; the earthen vessel fell from her head, and 
broke on the marble steps. She burst into tears. The 
beautiful daughter of the imperial palace wept over the 
worthless, broken pitcher; with her bare feet she stood 
there weeping, and dared not pull the string, the belkrope 
of the imperial palace." 


It was more than a fortnight since the Moon had shone. 
Now he stood once more, round and bright, above the 
clouds, moving slowly onward. Hear what the Moon told 

"From a town in Fezzan I followed a caravan. On the 
margin of the sandy desert, in a salt plain, that shone like a 
frozen lake, and was only covered in spots with light drift- 
ing sand, a halt was made. The eldest of the company — the 
water-gourd hung at his girdle, and on his head was a little 


bag of unleavened bread— drew a square in the sand with 
his staff, and wrote in it a few words out of the Koran, and 
then the whole caravan passed over the consecrated spot. A 
young merchant, a child of the East, as I could tell by his 
eye and his figure, rode pensively forward on his white, 
snorting steed. Was he thinking, perchance, of his fair 
young wife? It was only two days ago that the camel, 
adorned with furs and with costly shawls, had carried her, 
the beauteous bride, round the walls of the city, while drums 
and cymbals had sounded, the women sang, and festive 
shots, of which the bridegroom fired the greatest number, 
resounded round the camel; and now he was journeying 
with the caravan across the desert. 

"For many nights I followed the train. I saw them rest 
by the wellside among the stunted palms; they thrust the 
knife into the breast of the camel that had fallen, and 
roasted its flesh by the fire. 'My beams cooled the glowing 
sands, and showed them the black rocks, dead islands in the 
immense ocean of sand. No hostile tribes met them in 
their pathless route, no storms arose, no columns of sand 
whirled destruction over the journeying caravan. At home 
the beautiful wife prayed for her husband and her father. 
'Are they dead?' she asked of my golden crescent; 'Are 
they dead?' she cried to ray full disk. Now the desert lies 
behind them. This evening they sit beneath the lofty palm 
trees where the crane flutters round them with its long- 
wings, and the pelican watches them from the branches of 
the mimosa. The luxuriant herbage is trampled down, 
crushed by the feet of elephants. A troop of negroes are re- 
turning from a market in the interior of the land; the 
women, with copper buttons in their black train, and 
decked out in clothes dyed with indigo, drive the heavily- 
laden oxen, on whose backs slumber the naked black chil- 
dren. A negro leads a young lion, which he has bought, 
by a string. They approach the caravan; the young mer- 
chant sits pensive and motionless, thinking of his beauti- 
ful wife, dreaming, in the land of the blacks, of his white, 
fragrant lily beyond the desert. He raises his head, and — " 

■But at this moment a cloud passed before the Moon, and 
then another. I heard nothing more from him this even- 



"I looked down on Tyrol," said the Moon, "and my beams 
caused the dark pines to throw long shadows upon the 
rocks. I looked at the pictures of St. Christopher carrying 
the Infant Jesus that are painted there upon the walls of the 
houses, colossal figures reaching from the ground to the 
roof. St. Florian was represented pouring water on the 
burning house, and the Lord hung bleeding on the great 
cross by the wayside. To the present generation these are 
old pictures, but I saw when they were put up, and marked 
how one followed the other. On the brow of the mountain 
yonder is perched, like a swallow's nest, a lonely convent of 
nuns. Two of the sisters stood up in the tower tolling the 
bell; they were both young, and therefore their glances 
flew over the mountain out into the world. A traveling 
coach passed by below, the postilion wound his horn, and 
the poor nuns looked after the carriage for a moment with a 
mournful glance, and a tear gleamed in the eyes of the 
younger one. And the horn sounded faintly and more faint, 
and the convent bell drowned its expiring echoes." 


"I saw a little girl weeping," said the Moon; "she was 
weeping over the depravity of the world. She had received 
a most beautiful doll as a present. Oh, that was a glorious 
doll, so fair and delicate! She did not seem created for the 
sorrows of this world. But the brothers of the little girl, 
those great, naughty boys, had set the doll high up in the 
branches of a tree, and had run away. 

"The little girl could not reach up to the doll, and could 
not help her down, and that is why she was crying. The 
doll must certainly have been crsdng, too, for she stretched 
out her arms among the green branches, and looked quite 
mournful. Yes, these are the troubles of life of which the 
little girl had often heard tell. Alas, poor doll! it began to 
grow dark already; and suppose night were to come on 
completely! Was she to be left sitting there alone on the 
bough all night long? No, the little maid could not make 


Up her mind to that. 'I'll stay with you,' she said, although 
she felt anything but happy in her mind. She could almost 
fancy she distinctly saw little gnomes, with their high- 
crowned hats, sitting in the bushes; and farther back in the 
long walk, tall specters appeared to be dancing. They came 
nearer and nearer, and stretched out their hands toward the 
tree on which the doll sat; they laughed scornfully, and 
pointed at her with their fingers. Oh, how frightened the 
little maid was! 'But if one has not done anything wrong,' 
she thought, 'nothing evil can harm one. I wonder if I have 
done anything wrong?' And she considered. 'Oh, yes! I 
laughed at the poor duck with the red rag on her leg; she' 
limped along so funnily, I could not help laughing; but it's 
a sin to laugh at animals.' And she looked up at the doll. 
'Did you laugh at the duck, too?' she asked; and it seemed 
as if the doll shook her head." 


Hear what the Moon told me: "Some years ago, here in 
Copenhagen, I looked through the window of a mean little 
room. The father and mother slept, but the little son was 
not asleep. I saw the flowered cotton curtains of the bed 
move, and the child peep forth. At first I thought he was 
looking at the great clock, which was gayly painted in red 
and green. At the top sat a cuckoo, below hung the heavy 
leaden weights, and the pendulum with the polished disk 
of metal went to and fro, and said 'tick, tick.' But no, he 
was not looking at the clock, but at his mother's spinning 
wheel, that stood just underneath it. That was the boy's 
favorite piece of furniture, but he dared not touch it, for if 
he meddled with it he got a rap on the knuckles. For hours 
together, when his mother was spinning, he would sit quietly 
by her side, watching the murmuring spindle and the re- 
volving wheel, and as he sat he thought of many things. 
Oh, if he might only turn the wheel himself. Father and 
mother were asleep; he looked at them, and looked at the 
spinning wheel, and presently a little naked foot peered out 
of the bed, and then a second foot, and then two little 
white legs. ITiere he stood. He looked round once more, 
to see if father and mother were still asleep — yes, they slept; 


and now he crept softly, softly, in his short little nightgown, 
to the spinning wheel, and began to spin. The thread flew 
from the wheel, and the wheel whirled faster and faster. I 
kissed his fair hair and his blue eyes. It was such a pretty 

"At that moment the mother awoke. The curtain shook; 
she looked forth, and fancied she saw a gnome or some 
other kind of little specter. Tn Heaven's name!' she cried, 
and aroused her husband in a frightened way. He opened 
his eyes, rubbed them with his hands, and looked at the 
brisk little lad. 'Why, that is Bertel,' said he. And my eyes 
quitted the poor room, for I have so much to see. At the 
same moment I looked at the halls of the Vatican, where 
the marble gods are enthroned. I shone upon the group of 
the Lacoon; the stone seemed to sigh. I pressed a silent 
kiss on the lips of the Muses, and they seemed to stir and 
move. But my rays lingered longest about the Nile group, 
with the colossal god. Leaning against the Sphinx, he lies 
there thoughtful and meditative, as if he were thinking on 
the rolling centuries; and little love-gods sport with him 
and with the crocodiles. In the horn of plenty sits with 
folded arms a little, tiny love-god contemplating the great 
solemn river-god, a true picture of the boy at the spinning 
wheel — the features were exactly the same. Charming and 
lifelike stood the little marble form, and yet the wheel of 
the years had turned more than a thousand times since the 
time when it sprang from the stone. Just as often as the boy 
in the little room turned the spinning wheel had the great 
wheel murmured, before the age could again call forth 
marble gods equal to those he afterward formed. 

"Years have passed since all this happened," the Moon 
went on to say. "Yesterday I looked upon a bay on the 
eastern coast of Denmark. Glorious woods are there, and 
high trees, an old knightly castle with red walls, swans 
floating in the ponds, and in the background appears, 
among orchards, a little town with a church. Many boats, 
the crews all furnished with torches, glided over the silent 
expanse — but these fires had not been kindled for catching 
fish, for everything had a festive look. Music sounded, a 
song was sung, and in one of the boats a man stood erect, to 
whom homage was paid by the rest, a tall, sturdy man, 
wrapped in a cloak. He had blue eyes and long white hair. 


I knew him, and thought of the Vatican, and of the group 
of the Nile, and the old marble gods. I thought of the sim- 
ple little room where little Bertel sat in his nightshirt by the 
spinning wheel. The wheel of time has turned, and new 
gods have come forth from the stone. From the boats there 
arose a shout: 'Hurrah! hurrah for Bertel Thorwaldsen!'" 


"I will now give you a picture from Frankfort," said the 
Moon. "I especially noticed one building there. It was not 
the house in which Goethe was born, nor the old council 
house, through whose grated windows peered the horns of 
the oxen that were roasted and given to the people when the 
Emperors were crowned. No, it was a private house, plain 
in appearance, and painted green. It stood near the old 
Jews' Street. It was Rothschild's house. 

"I looked through the open door. The staircase was 
brilliantly lighted; servants carrying wax candles in mas- 
sive silver candlesticks stood there, and bowed low before 
an aged woman, who was being brought downstairs in a 
litter. The proprietor of the house stood bareheaded, and 
respectfully imprinted a kiss on the hand of the old woman. 
She was his mother. She nodded in a friendly manner to 
him and to the servants, and they carried her into the dark, 
narrow street, into a little house, that was her dwelling. 
Here her children had been born, from hence the fortune 
of the family had arisen. If she deserted the despised street 
and the little house, fortune would also desert her children. 
That was her firm belief." 

The Moon told me no more; his visit this evening was 
far too short. But I thought of the old woman in the nar- 
row, despised street. It would have cost her but a word, 
and a brilliant house would have arisen for her on the banks 
of the Thames — a word, and a villa would have been pre- 
pared in the Bay of Naples. 

"If I deserted the lowly house, where the fortunes of my 
sons first began to bloom, fortune would desert them!" It 
was a superstition, but a superstition of such a class, that he 
who knows the story and has seen this picture, need have 


only two words placed under the picture to make him un- 
derstand it; and these two words are: "A mother.'' 


"It was yesterday, in the morning twilight" — these are the 
words the Moon told me — "in the great city no chimney 
was yet smoking — and it was just at the chimneys that I was 
looking. Suddenly a little head emerged from one of them, 
and then half a body, the arms resting on the rim of the 
chimneypot. 'Ya-hip!' cried a voice. It was the little 
chimney sweeper, who had for the first time in his life crept 
through a chimney and stuck out his head at the top. 'Ya- 
hip! ya-hip!' Yes, certainly that was a very different thing 
from creeping about in the dark, narrow chimneys! the air 
blows so fresh, and he could look over the whole city toward 
the green wood. The sun was just rising. It shone round 
and great, just in his face, that beamed with triumph, 
though it was very prettily blacked with soot. 

" 'The whole town can see me now,' he exclaimed, 'and 
the moon can see me now, and the sun, too. Ya-hip! 
ya-hip!' And he flourished his broom in triumph." 


"Last night I looked down upon a town in China," said 
the Moon. "My beams irradiated the naked walls that form 
the streets there. Now and then, certainly, a door is seen, 
but it is locked, for what does the Chinaman care about the 
outer world? Close wooden shutters covered the windows 
behind the walls of the houses; but through the windows 
of the temple a faint light glimmered. I looked in, and saw 
the quaint decorations within. From the floor to the ceiling 
pictures are painted in the most glaring colors and richly 
gilt — pictures representing the deeds of the gods here on 
earth. In each nine statues are placed, but they are almost 
entirely hidden by the colored drapery and the banners 
that hang down. Before each idol (and they are all made of 
tin) stood a little altar of holy water, with flowers and burn- 
ing wax lights on it. Above all the rest stood Fo, the chief 


deity, clad in a garment of yellow silk, for yellow is here the 
sacred color. At the foot of the altar sat a living being, a 
young priest. He appeared to be praying, but in the midst 
of his prayer he seemed to fall into deep thought, and this 
must have been wrong, for his cheeks glowed and he held 
down his head. Poor Soui-hong ! Was he, perhaps, dream- 
ing of working in the little flower garden behind the high 
street wall? And did that occupation seem more agreeable 
to him than watching the wax lights in the temple? Or did 
he wish to sit at the rich feast, wiping his mouth with silver 
paper between each course? Or was his sin so great that, 
if he dared to utter it, the Celestial Empire would punish it 
with death? Had his thoughts ventured to fly with the ships 
of the barbarians, to their homes in far-distant England? 
No, his thoughts did not fly so far, and yet they were sinful, 
sinful, as thoughts born of young hearts, sinful here in the 
temple, in the presence of Fo and the other holy gods. 

"I know whither his thoughts had strayed. At the farther 
end of the city, on the flat roof paved with porcelain, on 
which stood the handsome vases covered with painted flow- 
ers, sat the beauteous Pu, of the little roguish eyes, of the 
full lips, and of the tiny feet. The tight shoe pained her, but 
her heart pained her still more. She lifted her graceful, 
round arm, and her satin dress rustled. Before her stood 
a glass bowl containing four goldfish. She stirred the bowl 
carefully with a slender lacquered stick, very slowly, for she, 
too, was lost in thought. Was she thinking, perchance, how 
the fishes were richly clothed in gold, how they lived calmly 
and peacefully in their crystal world, how they were regu- 
larly fed, and yet how much happier they might be if they 
were free? Yes, that she could well understand, the beauti- 
ful Pu. Her thoughts wandered away from her home, wan- 
dered to the temple, but not for the sake of holy things. 
Poor Pu! Poor Soui-hong! 

"Their earthly thoughts met, but my cold beam lay be- 
tween the two like the sword of the cherub." 


"The air was calm," said the Moon; "the water was as 
transparent as the pure ether through which I was gHding, 


and deep below the surface I could see the strange plants 
that stretched up their long arms toward me like the gigan- 
tic trees of the forests. The fishes swam to and fro above 
their tops. High in the air a flight of wild swans were wing- 
ing their way, one of which sank lower and lower, with 
wearied pinions, his eyes following the airy caravan, that 
mdted farther and farther into the distance. With outspread 
wings he sank slowly as a soap bubble sinks in the still air, 
till he touched the water. At length his head lay back be- 
tween his wings, and silently he lay there, like a white lotus 
flower upon the quiet lake. And a gentle wind arose, and 
crisped the quiet surface which gleamed like the clouds that 
poured along in great, broad waves; and the swan raised 
his head, and the glowing water splashed like blue fire over 
his breast and back. The morning dawn illuminated the 
red clouds, the swan rose strengthened, and flew toward the 
rising sun, toward the bluish coast whither the caravan had 
gone; but he flew all alone, with a longing in his breast. 
Lonely he flew over the blue, swelling billows.'' 


"I will give you another picture of Sweden," said the 
Moon. "Among dark pine woods, near the melancholy 
banks of the Stoxen, lies the old convent church of Wreta. 
My rays glided through the grating into the roomy vaults, 
where Kings sleep tranquilly in great stone coffins. On the 
wall, above the grave of each, is placed the emblem of earth- 
ly grandeur, a kingly crown ; but it is made only of wood, 
painted and gilt, and is hung on a wooden peg driven into 
the wall. The worms have gnawn the gilded wood, the 
spider has spun her web from the crown down to the sand, 
like a mourning banner, frail and transient as the grief of 
mortals. ^ How quietly they sleep! I can remember them 
quite plainly. I still see the bold smile on their lips, that so 
strongly and plainly expressed joy or grief. When the 
steamboat winds along like a magic snail^over the lakes, a 
stranger often comes to the church, and visits the burial 
vault; he asks the names of the Kings, and they have a 
dead and forgotten sound. He glances with a smile at the 
worm-eaten crowns, and if he happens to be a pious, 


thoughtful man, something of melancholy mingles with the 
smile. Slumber on, ye dead ones! The Moon thinks of 
you, the Moon at night sends down her rays into your silent 
kingdom, over which hangs the crown of pine wood." 


"Close by the high road," said the Moon, "is an inn, and 
opposite to it is a great wagon shed, whose straw roof was 
just being re-thatched. I looked down between the bare 
rafters and through the open loft into the comfortless space 
below. The turkey-cock slept on the beam, and the saddle 
rested in the empty crib. In the middle of the shed stood 
a traveling carriage; the proprietor was inside, fast asleep, 
while the horses were being watered. The coachman 
stretched himself, though I am very sure that he had been 
most comfortably asleep half the last stage. The door of the 
servants' room stood open, and the bed looked as if it had 
been turned over and over; the candle stood on the floor, 
and had been burned deep dov/n into the socket. The wind 
blew cold through the shed ; it was nearer to the dawn than 
to midnight. In the wooden frame on the ground slept a 
wonderful family of musicians. The father and mother 
seemed to be dreaming of the burning liquor that remained 
in the bottle. The little pale daughter was dreaming, too, 
for her eyes were wet with tears. The harp stood at their 
heads, and the dog lay stretched at their feet," 


"It was in a little provincial town," the Moon said; "it 
certainly happened last year, but that has nothing to do with 
the matter. I saw it quite plainly. To-day I read about it 
in the papers, but there it is not half so clearly expressed. 
In the tap-room of the little inn sat the bear leader, eating 
his supper; the bear was tied up outside, behind the wood 
pile — poor Bruin, who did nobody any harm, though he 
looked grim enough. Up in the garret three little children 
were playing by the light of my beams; the eldest was per- 
haps six years old, the youngest certainly not more than 


two. Tramp ! tramp ! — somebody was coming upstairs ; who 
might it be? The door was thrust open — it was Bruin, the 
great, shaggy Bruin! He had got tired of waiting down in 
the courtyard, and had found his way to the stairs. I saw 
it all," said the Moon. "The children were very much 
frightened at first at the great, shaggy animal; each of 
them crept into a corner, and he found them all out, and 
smelt at them, but did them no harm. 'This must be a great 
dog,' they said, and began to stroke him. He lay down 
upon the ground, the youngest boy clambered on his back, 
and, bending down a little head of golden curls, played at 
hiding in the beast's shaggy skin. Presently the eldest boy 
took his drum, and beat it till it rattled again; the bear 
rose up on its hind legs and began to dance. It was a 
charming sight to behold. Each boy now took his gun, 
and the bear was obliged to have one, too, and he held it up 
quite properly. Here was a capital playmate they had 
found! and they began marching — one, two; one, two. 

"Suddenly someone came to the door, which opened, 
and the mother of the children appeared. You should have 
seen her in her dumb terror, with her face as white as chalk, 
her mouth half open, and her eyes fixed in a horrified stare. 
But the youngest boy nodded to her in great glee, and 
called out in his infantile prattle, 'We're playing at sol- 
diers.' And then the bear leader came running up." 


The wind blew stormy and cold, the clouds flew hurriedly 
past; only for a moment now and then did the Moon be- 
come visible. He said, "I looked down from the silent sky 
upon the driving clouds, and saw the great shadows chas- 
ing each other across the earth. I looked upon a prison. 
A closed carriage stood before it; a prisoner was to be 
carried away. My rays pierced through the grated window 
toward the wall; the prisoner was scratching a few lines 
upon it, as a parting token ; but he did not write words, but 
a melody, the outpouring of his heart. The door was 
opened, and he was led forth, and fixed his eyes upon my 
round disk. Clouds passed between us, as if he were not to 
see my face, nor I his. He stepped into the carriage, the 


door was closed, the whip cracked, and the horses galloped 
off into the thick forest, whither my rays were not able to 
follow him; but as I glanced through the grated window, 
my rays glided over the notes, his last farewell engraved on 
the prison wall — where words fail, sounds can often speak. 
My rays could only light up isolated notes, so the greater 
part of what was written there will ever remain dark to me. 
Was it the death hymn he wrote there? Were these the glad 
notes of joy? Did he drive away to meet his death, or 
hasten to the embraces of his beloved? The rays of the 
Moon do not read all that is written by mortals." 


"1 love the children," said the Moon, "especially the quite 
little ones — they are so droll. Sometimes I peep into the 
room, between the curtain and the window frame, when 
they are not thinking of me. It gives me pleasure to see 
them dressing and undressing. First, the little round, 
naked shoulder comes creeping out of the frock, then the 
arm; or I see how the stocking is drawn off, and a plump 
little white leg makes it appearance, and a little white foot 
that is fit to be kissed, and I kiss it, too. 

"But about what I was going to tell you. This evening 
I looked through a window, before which no curtain was 
drawn, for nobody lives opposite. I saw a whole troop of 
little ones, all of one family, and among them was a little 
sister. She is only four years old, but can say her prayers 
as well as any of the rest. The mother sits by her bed every 
evening, and hears her say her prayers; and then she has a 
kiss, and the mother sits by the bed till the little one has 
gone to sleep, which generally happens as soon as ever she 
can close her eyes. 

"This evening the two elder children v\^ere a little boister- 
ous. One of them hopped about on one leg in his long 
night-gown, and the other stood on a chair surrounded by 
the clothes of all the children, and declared he was acting 
Grecian statues. The third and fourth laid the clean linen 
carefully in the box, for that is a thing that has to be done; 
and the mother sat by the bed of the youngest, and an- 


nounced to all the rest that they were to be quiet, for little 
sister was going to say her prayers. 

"I looked in, over the lamp, into the little maiden's bed, 
where she lay under the neat white coverlet, her hands 
folded demurely and her little face quite grave and serious. 
She was praying the Lord's Prayer aloud. But her mother 
interrupted in the middle of her prayer. 'How is it,' she 
asked, 'that when you have prayed for daily bread, you al- 
ways add something I cannot understand? You must tell 
me what that is.' The little one lay silent, and looked at her 
mother in embarrassment. 'What is it you say after our 
daily bread?' 'Dear mother, don't be angry; I only said, 
and ;plenty of hutter on it.' " 


taWfr^ ii 

Date 0ue 


"m it 

-'^ *.: . .^ 

. JUL 

- IMS 

Library Bureau Cat no. 1137 


-f^roDerty or 

ST. LOUIS scHnni of rmf m^