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STORIES FOR THE HOUSEHOLD
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
H. W. DULCKEN, PH.D.
WITH TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY ILLUSTRATIONS BY A. W. BAYES
ENGRAVED BY DALZIEL BROTHERS
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
GLASGOW AND NEW YORK
UNIFORM WITH THIS VOL UME.
GRIMM'S HOUSEHOLD STORIES.
With 240 Illustrations by E. H. WEHNERT.
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
With i50 Illustrations by THOMAS 1]. DALZIEL.
PRE FAAC E.
THE literary activity of HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN has
now extended over a period if more than forty years. Daring
this time his varied genius has produced many and excellent
works, novels, poems, dramas, &c. His "Improvisatore" first
made his name known beyond the narrow confines of his
own country; but it is upon his Stories and Tales that his
fame rests, and will continue to rest. ANDERSEN himself was
unconscious of his own power when he wrote the first of these
wonderful histories; and has told us how, when he published
the first collection, he was careful to entitle the little volume,
" Stories told to the Children." But a short time sufficed to
show that very many children of a larger growth" could
find amusement and instruction in ANDERSEN'S stories. In
fact, our Author had solved about the most difficult problem
that can present itself to the writer of fiction-that of attracting
all ages alike. Accordingly, in subsequent editions, the words
"told to the children" were omitted; for it was found that,
when HANs CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN bad a story to tell, all were
willing to be children," and to listen.
And here the Publishers offer to the Public the most
complete collection that has yet been made of these stories.
The success of the two volumes, Stories and Tales and
" What the Moon saw," has appeared to them a sufficient
proof that such a work would be welcomed; and they have
bestowed every pains upon the book, with respect alike to
pictorial illustration and typographical details.
The Life of ANDERSEN, written by himself, has been included
in this book, because it is in itself, as the writer says, "A
true story upon the motto, 'Try and trust.'" The tale, as
told by ANDERSEN, has been slightly abridged, as references
are made here and there to persons and places possessing little
interest for the general English reader. ANDERSEN tells the
story of his life to the Public as simply and frankly as he
might tell it to a chosen circle round a winter fire. He
relates his various experiences just as they occurred, and in
one part says, I tell these happy events because they are
facts in my life. I tell them as I have told of the poverty,
the difficulties, the trials that beset me. And if I have told
this just as the remembrance arises in my heart, let it not
be ascribed to vanity or ostentation, for that is certainly not
its right name."
With these few words, the Publishers commend this volume
to the kind consideration of the English admirers of HANS
H. W. D.
The Silver Shilling...................... 1 The Loveliest Rose in the World ... 163
The Old Church Bell................... 5 Hlolger Danske ........................... 165
The Snail and the Rose Tree ........ 9 The Puppet Showman ................. 169
Little Ida's Flowers .................... 12 The Pigs .................................. 173
The Tinder-Box .......................... 18 A Picture from the Fortress Wall ... 175
Great Claus and Little Claus ........ 24 In the Duck-yard ....................... 176
The Princess on the Pea ............. 33 The Red Shoes ......................... 181
Thumbelina................ ............... 35 Soup on a Sausage-Peg ................. 186
The Naughty Boy ....................... 43 The Wicked Prince ................... 198
The Travelling Companion ........... 45 The Shepherdess and the Chimney-
The Emperor's New Clothes.......... 60 Sweeper ............................. 200
The Goloshes of Fortune ............. 64 Two Brothers ............................. 204
The Hardy Tin Soldier ................. 85 The Old Street Lamp ................. 206
The Story of a Mother .......... ........ 88 By the Almshouse Window .......... 212
The Daisy................................. 93 The Lovers ............................... 214
A Great Grief ............................ 96 The Bell .................................. 216
The Jumper................................ 98 Little Tuk ................................ 221
The Shirt Collar......................... 100 The Flax ................... ............... 24
Old Luk-Oie ............................ 103 The Girl who Trod on the Loaf ...... 228
Jack the Dullard. An Old Story told The Money-Pig .......................... 235
anew.................................. 111 The Darning-Needle .................... 237
The Beetle ................................ 115 The Fir Tree ............................. 240
What the Old Man does is always The Swineherd ......................... 247
Right ............................... 122 Something .............................. 251
Ole the Tower-Keeper .................. 126 A Leaf from the Sky..................... 256
Good Humour............................. 135 The Drop of Water..................... 259
"It's Quite True" ....................... 138 The Dumb Book ....................... 261
Children's Prattle ....................... 140 The Jewish Girl .......................... 263
The Flying Trunk ....................... 142 The Elder-Tree Mother.................. 267
The Last Pearl .......................... 147 Two Maidens ............................. 274
The Storks ................................ 149 TheFarm-yardCock andthe Weather-
Grandmother ............................. 153 cock ................................... 275
The Ugly Duckling........................ 155 The Old Gravestone .................... 278
The Old Bachelor's Nightcap ......... 281 The Bell-Deep .......................... 540
A Rose from the Grave of Homer ... 291 The Little Sea Maid .................... 543
The Wind tells about Waldemar Daa The Wild Swans .......................... 560
and his Daughters................. 293 The Marsh King's Daughter........... 573
Five out of One Shell ................. 303 The Pen and Inkstand ................ 608
The Metal Pig............................. 306 A Story from the Sand-Dunes......... 610
The Snow Queen.......................... 315 The Phoenix Bird ....................... 37
The Nightingale.......................... 341 The Garden of Paradise................. 39
The Neighbouring Families............ 349 The Ice Maiden .......................... 650
The Little Match Girl ................ 357 The Swan's Nest.......................... 691
The Elf-Hill ............................. 359 The Stone of the Wise Men ............ 692
The Buckwheat ......................... 365 The Psyche ............................... 705
The Old House ......................... 367 The Story of My Life ................. 716
The Happy Family....................... 373 "The Will-o'-the-Wisp is in the
The Rose-Elf ............................. 376 Town," says the Moor-Woman... 788
The Shadow................................ 380 The Windmill ............................. 799
The Angel ............................... 389 In the Nursery ......................... 802
Twelve by the Mail .................. 391 The Golden Treasure ................... 805
What the Moon Saw ................... 396 The Storm shakes the Shield ......... 814
The Story of the Year ................. 429 The Bird of Popular Song ............ 818
The Racers ................................ 436 The Legend of Niirnberg Castle ...... 821
She was Good for Nothing ............ 439 A Night in the Apennines ........... 823
In a Thousand Years .................... 445 The Carnival in Rome ................. 826
"There is a Difference ............... 447 Mahomet's Birthday. A Scene in
Everything in its Right Place......... 450 Constantinople .................... 830
The Goblin and the Huckster ......... 457 Days in the Mediterranean ............ 836
The Bond of Friendship .............. 460 The Graveyard at Scutari ............ 840
The Bottle-neck .......................... 468 The Bosphorus.......................... 841
Ib and Christine ................ ....... 476 Athens ...................................... 848
The Snow Man .......................... 485 The Toad ................................... 853
The Thorny Road of Honour ......... 489 The Porter's Son.......................... 859
The Child in the Grave.................. 493 Put off is not Done with ............. 875
In the Uttermost Parts of the Sea .. 497 The Snowdrop............................. 879
Under the Willow Tree................... 499 Our Aunt ................................... 883
Charm ing .................................... 512 The Dryad ................................ 888
Bishop of B6rglum and his Warriors 517 The Thistle's Experiences............... 906
the Butterfly ............................. 523 Poultry Meg's Family ................. 909
Anne Lisbeth ............................. 525 What one can Invent ................ 920
The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree. 535 In Sweden ................................ 923
THE OLD WOMAN HANGS THE SHILLING ROUND THE CHILD'S NECK.
THE SILVER SHILLING.
TIIErE 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
2 Stories for the Household.
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 travelling master. The gentleman was himself 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 travelled 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 opening, 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 journey, while the Shilling
remained behind. The coin was found, and was required to go into ser-
vice 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 himself.
"'Away with him, he's bad-no use.' These words went through
ind 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.' 'I 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 day-time. Bad-no good' was the cry: 'we
must make haste and get rid of him.'
And I trembled iu the fingers of the holder each time I was to be
secretly 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
The Silver Shilling. o
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 some one 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
THE MOTHER TIIES THE CHILLING.
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
correctness of my mintage. I became as miserable as a poor shilling
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 any one with thee. I will bore a hole through
thee, that every one 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 neighbour'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 in-
tention is good. A thread was passed through the hole, and I became
4 Stories for the Household.
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,
"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
"' A lucky shilling she said. 'Well, we shall soon see that.'
And she laid me in vinegar, so that I turned quite green. Then she
plugged up the hole, and carried me, in the evening 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 de-
ceive 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 unwelcome; no one trusted me;
and I lost confidence in the world and in myself. It was a heavy time.
At last, one day a traveller, a strange gentleman, 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
"'I 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 ex-
pression 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 call
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 every
one 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.
"Iwas wrapped up in clean white paper, so that I should not be con-
founded 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
The Old Church Bell. 5
back to me, for I was of good silver, and had the right stamp, and I had
no more disagreeables to endure, 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.
THE OLD BELL OF MARBACH.
THE OLD CHURCH BELL.
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
It was late in autumn. The leaves still clung to the grape-vine, 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
6 Stories for the Household.
open air, in the little old-fashioned houses it was darker still. One of
these houses was built with its gable end towards the street, and stood
there, with its small narrow windows, humble and poor enough in appear-
ance; the family 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 towards the Almighty, and in the same hour
she gave birth to a son. Then she was filled with a great joy, and the
bell in the tower opposite seemed to be ringing to spread the news of
her happiness 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 IOth of November, 1759, God gave us a son;" and soon
afterwards 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 vas that mother and son one day arose
and drove over to Marbach on a visit. The lad was only six years old,
but he already 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 Mes-
siah" 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 eternally.
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 departure, with their pointed gables, pro-
jecting walls, the higher storeys leaning over th6 lower, and their tiny
windows; 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 useful bell, and had rung at christenings, at weddings, and at
burials ; how it had spoken at one time to tell of feasts and of rejoicings,
at another to spread the alarm of fire; and how it had, in fact, sung the
The Old Church Bell. 7
whole life of man. And the boy never forgot what his mother told him
that day. It resounded and echoed at intervals 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 devotion, 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 nettles.
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 fortune had he ? Why, good fortune, envi-
able 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 honour and fortune enough ? And they educated him
to the words of command, Halt! march! front!" and on such a system
much might be expected.
Meanwhile the old church bell had been almost completely 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 Mar-
bach; 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 they had given him a presentation 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
understand 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 towards the heavens in streams of fire. The splendour 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 compelled 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 off than he, for the bell would remain peace-
ably 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
8 Stories for the Household.
blown cold in thle forest of a neighboring land, where he had sunk
down, exhausted by fatigue, with his whole 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 themselves 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 suffer 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 P The bell was carried far away, farther than its sound
could have been heard from the lofty tower in which it had once hung.
And the youth ? The bell in his heart sounded further than his eye
should ever see or his foot should ever wander; it is sounding and
sounding on, over the ocean, round the whole earth. But let us first
speak of the belfry bell. It was carried away from Marbach, was sold
for old metal, and destined 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 manufacture of a memorial in honour
of one of the great ones of the German land. And behold how suit-
able this was-how strangely and wonderfully things happened in the
world! In Denmark, on one of those green islands where the beech
woods rustle, and the many Hun's Graves are to be seen, quite a poor
The Snail and the Rose Tree. 9
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 figure-heads on the ship-builder's 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 honourable 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 mould. The old belfry bell-
of whose home and of whose vanished sounds no one thought-this
very old bell flowed into the mould, and formed the head and bust of
the figure that was soon to be unveiled, which now stands in Stuttgard,
before the old palace-a representation of him who once walked to and
fro there, striving and suffering, harassed by the world without-he,
the boy .of Marbach, the pupil of the Karlschule," the fugitive, Ger-
many's great immortal poet, who sang of the liberator 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 Stuttgard; the bells rang for joy and.fes-
tivity; 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 honour. 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 afterwards to become the rich man, whose
treasures enriched the world, the poet who sang of the noble virtues of
woman, who sang of all that was great and glorious-Johann Christoph
THE SNAIL AND THE ROSE TREE.
AnoUND 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 something 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 suspense."
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
10 Stories for the Household.
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
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
THE MAIDEN AND TlE ROSE.
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 in 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
lived, 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 obliged to bloom over and over again;
that was my life; I could not do otherwise."
You have led a very pleasant life," 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 Snail and the Rose Tree. 11
"The world is nothing to me. What have I to do with the world ? I
have enough of myself and in myself."
But must we not all, here on earth, give to others the best that we
have, and offer what lies in our power ? Certainly 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. Continue 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."
TnE TOuNG CIrILD'S KISS.
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 blessing.
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.
12 Stories for the Household.
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.
LITTLE IDA'S FLOWERS.
"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 was a
merry student. Why do the flowers look so faded to-day ? she asked
again, and showed him a nosegay, which was quite withered.
"Do you know what's the matter with them ?" said the student.
"The flowers have been at a ball last night, and that's why they hang
"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 ? Theit are capital balls there,
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," replied 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 beautiful roses seat themselves on the throne, and then
they are king and queen; all the red coxcombs range themselves on either
side, and stand and bow; they are the chamberlains. Then all the pretty
flowers come, and there is a great ball. The blue violets represent
little naval cadets: they dance with hyacinths and crocuses, which they
call young ladies; the tulips and the great tiger-lilies are old ladies
who keep watch that the dancing is well done, and that everything goes
on with propriety."
THE STUDENT TELLING LITTLE IDA THE STORY OF THE FLOWERS.
"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, 'I smell that there are flowers here,' but he cannot see
"That is famous!" cried little Ida, clapping her hands. But should
not I 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 lying on the sofa and stretching
herself. She was a court lady."
14 Stories for the Household.
"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 butterflies, red, yellow, and white ?
They almost look like flowers; and that is what they have been. They
have flown off 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 because they behaved themselves well, 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 became 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 some-
thing: he will be very much surprised, the botanical 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 in the castle. Then that flower will tell it to all the rest,
and then they will 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
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.
"HIow can any one put such notions into a child's head ? said the
tiresome privy councillor, who had come to pay a visit, and was sitting
on the sofa. He did not like the student, 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 carrying
her husband on her nose. The councillor could not bear this, and then
he said, just as he did now, How can any one put such notions into a
child's head ? Those are stupid fancies!"
But to little Ida, what the student told 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 cer-
tainly ill. Then she went with then to her other toys, which stood.on
Little Ida's Flowers. 15
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; per-
haps they will then get well again."
And she at once took the doll out; but the doll looked cross, and did
not say a single word; for she was cross because she could not keep her
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
evening 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 before the windows where her
mother's beautiful flowers stood-hyacinths as well as tulips; then she
whispered, "I 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 awoke again: she had dreamed of the flowers,
and of the student with whom the councillor found fault. It was quite
quiet in the bed-room where Ida lay; the night-lamp burned on the
table, and father and mother were asleep.
"I 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 beautifully; 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
th- 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 swang round. But at the piano
16 Stories for the Household.
sat a great yellow lily, which little Ida had certainly 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 bending 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 was 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 jumping 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
councillor 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 mazourka; and the other flowers could not manage that
dance, because they were too light, and unable to stamp like that.
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 councillor 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 councillor 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
Little Ida's Flowers. 17
noise. The flowers now all came running 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
flowers 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 drawer.
But the flowers said, We thank you heartily, but in any way we
cannot live 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 summer, and be far more beautiful."
"No, you must not die," said Sophy; and she kissed the flowers.
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 all together; the blue violets and the pink
primroses, daisies and the lilies of the valley. And all the flowers
kissed one another. It was beautiful to look at!
At last the flowers wished one another goodnight; then little Ida,
too, crept to bed, where she dreamed of all she had seen.
When she rose next morning, she went quickly to the little table, to
see if the little flowers were still there. She drew aside the curtains of
the little bed; there were they all, but 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 looked quite stupid, and did not say a single word.
"You are not good at all! said Ida. "And yet they all danced
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 coffin," said she, "and when my cousins
come to visit me by and bye, 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 which had died, and then they got leave to bury them.
The two boys went first, with their crossbows on their shoulders, and
little Ida followed with the dead flowers in the pretty box. Out in the
18 Stories for the Household.
garden a little grave was dug. Ida first kissed the flowers, 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 sabre by his side, for he
had been in the wars, and now he wanted to go home. And on the way
he met wilh 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 witch. "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 hundred lamps are burning there. Then
you will see three doors; these 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 '1 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,
you old witch ? for you will not do it for nothing, I fancy."
"No," replied the witch, not a single shilling will I have. You shall
only bring me an old tinder-box which my grandmother forgot when she
was down there last."
"Then tie the rope round my body," cried the soldier.
THE WITCH INDUCES THE SOLDIER TO CLIMB THE TREE.
"Here it is," said the witch, "and here's my blue-checked apron."
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 set 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 pockets and his knapsack with silver only.
Then he went into the third chamber. Oh, but that was horrid! The
20 Stories for the Household.
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 rocking-
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 witch."
"Have you the tinder-box ?" asked the witch.
"Plague on it!" exclaimed the soldier, "I had clean forgotten 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'11 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 towards the town.
That was a splendid town! And he put up at the very best inn, and
asked for the finest rooms, and ordered his favourite 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 gen-
tleman; 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 theatre, 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 shilling. Now he was rich, had fine clothes, and gained many
,a1' ll I 1 l L1'
rA -NU -n
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 mend them
with a darning-needle. None of his friends came to see him, for there
were too many stairs to climb.
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
What i " this said the soldier. "LThat 's a famous tinder-box, if
22 Stories for the Household.
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
,gain, 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 moment."
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 every one 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 prin-
cess 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's 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.
"No, my dear husband, it is there!" said the Queen, who described
another door which also showed a cross. But there is one, and there
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
The Tinder-Box. 23
silk into pieces, and made a neat little bag; this bag she filled with fine
wheat flour, and tied it on the princess's back; and when that was done,
she cut a little hole in the bag, so that the flour would be scattered
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, who 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
windows of the soldier's house, where he ran up the wall with the prin-
cess. In the morning the King and the Queen saw well enough where
their daughter had been, and they 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 people
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 shoemaker's boy with leather apron and slippers,
and he gallopped 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 shil-
lings; 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 round it stood
the soldiers and many hundred thousand people. The king and queen
sat on a splendid throne, opposite 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, and 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
24 Stories for the Household.
their fingers, and the soldiers presented 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.
GREAT CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS.
THEur 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 plough 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 were as
good as his own on that one day. The sun shone gaily, 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 clergyman preach, and they saw Little Claus ploughing 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
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 afterwards, and nodded "good day"
to him, he became very glad, and thought it looked very well, after all,
that he had five horses to plough 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
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.
He had a very long way to go, and was obliged to pass through a great
dark wood, and the weather became dreadfully bad. He went quite
LITTLE CLAUS DEPLORING THE DEATH O HIS 1ORSE.
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 shutters were dosed
outside the windows, but the light could still be seen shining out over
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 lie
wanted she told him to go away, declaring that her husband was not at
home, and she would not receive strangers.
"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 .[ can lie," said Little Claus, when he looked up at the
26 Stories for the Household.
roof; "that is a capital bed. I suppose the stork won't fly 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 comfortably. 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 favourite dish.
"If one could only get some too!" thought Little Claus, as he
stretched out his head towards the window. Heavens! what a glorious
cake he saw standing there Yes, certainly, that was a feast.
Now he heard some one 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 before his eyes he became quite wild. And
that was the reason 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 before 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
"Ah, yes!" sighed Little Claus, up in his shed, when he saw all the
good fare put away.
Is there any one up there ?" asked the farmer; and he looked up at
Little Claus. ""Who are you lying there ? Better come with me into
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 could not relish the porridge, so he trod upon
the sack, and the dry skin inside 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,
"Wonderful !" cried the farmer; and he opened the oven in a hurry,
Great Claus and Little Claus. 27
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 Claus 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 bottles 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 conjuror as Little Claus had there in
"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 anything that I
ask of him.-Can you not ?" lie 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
was very much afraid. The farmer opened the lid a little way and
peeped in underneath it.
"lHu!" 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
"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 con-
juror 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
28 Stories for the Household.
chest yonder away with vou. 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 off 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 sitting.
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
centre 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'11
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
"Hu!" exclaimed Little Claus, pretending to be frightened, "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 bushel-full
of money if you'll let me go."
Why, that's another thing !" said Little Claus; and he opened the
The clerk crept quickly out, pushed the empty chest into the water,
and went to his house, where Little Claus received a whole bushel-full
of money. He had already received 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 himself when he
had got home, to his own room, and was emptying 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 outright."
So he sent a boy to Great Claus to ask for a bushel measure.
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 re-
ceived the measure back, there were three new eight-shilling pieces
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 evening."
That 's really being well paid," said Great Claus. And he ran home
in a hurry, took an axe, 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.
-- ._ I_ ~ ~ .
GREAT CLAUS BEATEN BY THE SHOEMAKERS AND TANNERS.
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 money."
"He wants to make fools of us," they all exclaimed. And the shoe-
makers took their straps, and the tanners their aprons, and they began
to beat Great Claus.
"Hides! hides!" they called after him, jeeringly. "Yes, we '11 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'11 kill him for it."
30 Stories for the Household.
Now, at Little Claus's 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 axe. He knew where Little Claus's
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, "you 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 grandmother that she was dead
already. He would have taken her life."
And he dressed his grandmother in her Sunday clothes, borrowed a
horse of his neighbour, 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 refresh-
The host had very, very much money; he was also a very good man,
but exceedingly hot, as if he had pepper and tobacco 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 well."
"Yes, that I'11 do," said the host. And he poured out a great glass
of mead, and went out with it to the dead grandmother, who had been
placed upright in the carriage.
Here's a glass of mead from your son," quoth mine host. But the
dead woman 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
Once more he called out the same thing, but as she persisted 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 backwards
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 grandmother 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'11 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
So Little Claus again received a whole bushel of money, and the host
Great Claus and Little Claus. 31
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 borrow 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 well paid," said Great Claus; and he hastened
home, took an axe, and killed his own grandmother 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 apothecary.
"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 raving! 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!" said Great Claus, when he was out upon
the high road: "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
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 playing, and the people were singing so beauti-
fully! 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 with 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'm so young yet, and am to go to
32 Stories for the Household.
And I, poor fellow," said the drover, "am so old already, and cau't
get there yet!"
"Open the sack," cried Little Claus; "creep into it instead 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 afterwards 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
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
Then he went home; but when he came to a place where there was a
cross road, he met little Claus driving all his beasts.
"What's this ?" cried great Claus. "Have I not drowned you? "
Yes," replied 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
"These beasts are sea-cattle," replied Little Claus. "I '11 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 immediately; but I did not knock myself, for the most splen-
did soft grass grows down there. Upon that I fell; and immediately
the sack was opened, and the loveliest maiden, with snow-white gar-
ments 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 beautifully 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 beautiful 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 sh can't go any-
The Princess on the Pea. 33
where else-' there is a whole herd of cattle for you.' But I know what
bends the stream makes-sometimes this way, sometimes that; there's
a long way to go round: no, the thing can be managed in a shorter way
by coming here totthe land, and driving across the fields towards the
river again. In this manner I save myself almost half a mile, and get
all the quicker to my sea-cattle !"
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," replied 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 sure !"
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
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!
There lay Great Claus in 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.
THE PRINCESS ON THE PEA.
THERE was once a Prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she
was to be a real princess. So he travelled about, all through the world,
to find a sal one, but everywhere there was something in the way.
There were princesses enough, but whether they were real princesses
he could not quite make out: there was always something that did not
seem quite right. So he came home again, and was quite sad; for he
wished so much. to have a real princess.
One evening a terrible storm came on. It lightened and thundered,
the rain streamed down; it was quite fearful! Then there was a knock-
ing at the town gate, and the old King went out to open it.
It was a Princess who stood outside the gate. But, mercy! how she
looked, from the rain and the rough weather! The water ran down
TILE PBINCESS COMPLAINING. OF T3E PEA IN HEB BED.
from her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the points of her shoes, and
out at the heels; and yet she declared that she was a real princess.
Yes, we will soon find that out," thought the old Queen. But she
said nothing, only went into the bed-chamber, took all the bedding off,
and put a pea on the flooring of the bedstead; then she took twenty
mattresses and laid them upon the pea, and then twenty eider-down
beds upon the mattresses. On this the Princess had to lie all night.
In the morning she was asked how she had slept.
Oh, miserably! said the Princess. "I scarcely closed my eyes all
night long. Goodness knows what was in my bed. I lay upon some-
thing hard, so that I am black and blue all over. It is quite dreadful!"
Now they saw that she was a real princess, for through the twenty
mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds she had felt the pea. No
one but a real princess could be so delicate.
So the Prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a
true princess; and the pea was put in the museum, and it is there now,
unless somebody has carried it off.
Look you, this is a true story.
,. .,. -" .-- -- -. -- -
TIIUMBELINA AND THE TOADS.
THEi E was once a woman who wished for a very little child; but she
did not know where she should 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 of the kind which grows in the coun-
tryman'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 shil-
lings, for that is what it cost.
Then she went home and planted the barleycorn, and immediately
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 little maiden, deli-
cate and graceful to behold. She was scarcely half a thumb's length in
height, and therefore she was called Thumbelina.
A neat polished walnut-shell served Thumbelina for a cradle, blue
violet-leaves were her mattresses, with a rose-leaf for a coverlet. There
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!
36 Stories for the Household.
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 came 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 break 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 will be just like an island for her, she is so small and light. Then
she can't get away, while we put the state room under the marsh in
order, where you are to live and keep house together."
Out in the brook there grew many water-lilies 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 splen-
didly together in the marsh."
"Croak croak brek-kek-kex was all the son could say.
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 assem-
bled together in the water around the green stalk which held the leaf
on which the little maiden 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 with them, farther and farther; so Thumbelina travelled
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 imme-
diately clasped his claws round her slender waist, and flew with her up
into a tree. The green leaf went swimming down the brook, and the
butterfly with it; for he was fastened to the leaf, and could not get away
Mercy how frightened poor little Thumbelina was when the Cock-
chafer flew with her up into the tree But especially she was sorry for
the fine white butterfly whom she had bound fast to the leaf, for, it 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 declared that she was very
pretty, though she did not in the least resemble a cockchafer. After-
wards 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
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 Cockchafer 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 cock-
chafers 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; but 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 shrivelled
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
38 Stories for the Household.
so frail and delicate-poor little Thumbelina! she was nearly frozen.
It began to snow, and every snow-flake that fell upon her was like a
whole shovel-full thrown upon one of us, for we are tall, and she was
only an inch long. Then she wrapped herself in a dry leaf, and that
tore in the middle, and would not warm her-she shivered with cold.
Close to the wood into which she had now come lay a great corn-field,
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 whole room-full of corn-a glorious kitchen and larder. Poor
Thumbelina stood at the door just like a poor beggar girl, and begged
for a little bit of a barleycorn, for she had not had the smallest morsel
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
As she was pleased with Thumbelina, she said, If you like you may
stay with me through the winter, but you must keep my room clean and
neat, and tell me little stories, for I am very fond of those."
And Thumbelina 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
neighbour is in the habit of visiting me once a week. He is even better
off than I am, has great rooms, and a beautiful 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
neighbour, 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
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 wished. 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 a 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; and 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 middle
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 summer; 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
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 daylight shone
in, and accompanied the ladies home. But at night Thumbelina could
not sleep at all; so she got up out of her bed, and wove a large beau-
tiful 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 lantern.
"I thank you, you pretty little child," said the sick Swallow; "I
have been famously warmed. Soon I shall get my strength back again,
and I shall be able to fly about in the warm sunshine."
?0 stories for the Household.
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 had not been able to fly so fast as the other swal-
lows, 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
"Tweet-weet! tweet-weet !" sang the bird, 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
neighbour has proposed for you. What great fortune for a poor child
like you! Now you must work at your outfit, woollen and linen clothes
both; for you must lack nothing when you have become the Mole's
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 evening 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
"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
Nonsense," said the Field Mouse; don't be obstinate, or I will
bite you with my white teeth. He is a very fine 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 sunshine, 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.
THUMBELINA'S JOURNEY ON THE SWALLOW'S BACK.
"Farewell, thou bright sun!" she said, and stretched out her arms
towards 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. Farewell!" she repeated, twining her arms round a little
red flower which still bloomed there. Greet the little Swallow from
me, if you see her 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 going to
fly far away into the warm countries. Will you come with me ? You
42 Stories for the Household.
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 have 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 outspread wing, and bound her
girdle fast to one of his strongest 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 bal-
sams, and on the roads the loveliest children ran about, playing with the
gay butterflies. But the Swallow flew still farther, and it became more
and more beautiful. Under the most glorious green trees by the blue
lake stood a palace of dazzling white marble, from the olden time. Vines
clustered around the 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 between these pieces grew the
most beautiful great white flowers. The Swallow flew down with Thum-
belina, 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 little man or
woman, but this one was king over them all.
"Heavens! how beautiful he is!" whispered Thumbelina to the
The little prince was very much frightened at the Swallow; 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 upon her,
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 different 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
The Naughty Boy. 43
came a lady or a lord, so pretty to behold that it was a delight: each one
brought Thumbelina a present; but the best gift was a pair of beautiful
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 was much rejoicing; and the little Swallow sat above them in her
nest, and was to sing the marriage song, which she accordingly did as
well as she could; but yet in her heart she was sad, for she was so fond,
oh so fond of Thumbelina, and would have liked never to part from her.
You shall 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
Farewell, farewell!" said the little Swallow, with a heavy heart; and
she flew away again from the warm countries, far away back to Denmark.
There she had a little nest over the window of the man who can tell
fairy tales. Before him she sang, Tweet-weet tweet weet !" and from
him we have the whole story.
THE NAUGHTY BOY.
THEzu was once an old poet-a very good old poet. One evening, as
he sat at home, there was dreadfully bad weather without. The rain
streamed down: but the old poet sat comfortably by his stove, where the
fire was burning and the roasting apples were hissing.
There won't be a dry thread left on the poor people who are out in
this weather !" said he, for he was a good old poet.
Oh, open to me I am cold and quite wet," said a little child out-
side; and it cried, and knocked at the door, while the rain streamed
down, and the wind made all the casements rattle.
You poor little creature !" said the poet; and he went to open the
door. There stood a little boy; he was quite naked, and the water ran
in streams from his long fair curls. He was shivering with cold, and
had he not been let in, he would certainly have perished in the bad
"You little creature!" said the poet, and took him by the hand,
come to me, and I will warm you. You shall have wine and an apple,
for you are a capital boy."
And so he was. His eyes sparkled like two bright stars, and though
the water ran down from his fair curls, they fell in beautiful ringlets.
He looked like a little angel-child, but was white with cold and trembled
all over. In his hand he carried a famous bow, but it looked quite
spoiled by the wet; all the colours in the beautiful arrows had been
blurred together by the rain.
The old poet sat down by the stove, took the little boy on his knees,
pressed the water out of the long curls, warmed his hands in his own,
and made him some sweet whine-whey; then the boy recovered himself,
I i .
St If '
ii l I
my ow-I shoot with that, you may believe me See, now the weather
THE OLD POET SHOT THROUGH TIE HEART BY CUPID.
and his cheeks grew red, and he jumped to the floor nd danced round
the old poet.
You are a merry boy," said the old poet. "What is your name "
3My name is Cupid," he replied; don't you know me ? There lies
my bow-I shoot with that, you may believe me! See, now the weather
is clearing up outside, and the moon shines."
But your bow is spoiled," said the old poet.
That would be a pity," replied the little boy; and he took the bow
and looked at it. Oh, it is quite dry, and has suffered no damage; the
string is quite stiff-I will try it !" Then he bent it, and laid an arrow
across, aimed, and shot the good old poet straight through the heart.
" Do you see now that my bow was not spoiled ?" said he, and laughed
out loud and ran away. What a naughty boy to shoot at the old poet
in that way, who had admitted him into the warm room, and been so
kind to him, and given him the best wine and the best apple!
The Travelling Companion. 45
The good poet lay upon the floor and wept; he was really shot straight
into the heart. Fie !" he cried, what a naughty boy this Cupid is 1
I shall tell that to all good children, so that they may take care, and
never play with him, for he will do them a hurt !"
All good children, girls and boys, to whom he told this, took good
heed of this naughty Cupid; but still he tricked them, for he is very
cunning. When the students come out from the lectures, he runs at
their side with a book under his arm, and has a black coat on. They
cannot recognize him at all. And then they take his arm and fancy he
is a student too ; but he thrusts the arrow into their breasts. Yes, he
is always following people! He sits in the great chandelier in the
theatre and burns brightly, so that the people think he is a lamp; but
afterwards they see their error. He runs about in the palace garden and
on the promenades. Yes, he once shot your father and your mother
straight through the heart! Only ask them, and you will hear what
they say. Oh, he is a bad boy, this Cupid; you must never have any-
thing to do with him. He is after every one. Only think, once he shot
an arrow at old grandmamma; but that was a long time ago. The
wound has indeed healed long since, but she will never forget it. Fie
on that wicked Cupid! But now you know him, and what a naughty
boy he is.
THE TRAVELLING COMPANION.
PooR John was in great tribulation, for his father was very ill, and
could not get well again. Except these two, there was no one at all in
the little room: the lamp on the table was nearly extinguished, and it
was quite late in the evening.
You have been a good son, John," said the sick father. Providence
will help you through the world." And he looked at him with mild
earnest eyes, drew a deep breath, and died: it was just as if he slept.
But John wept; for now he had no one in the world, neither father nor
mother, neither sister nor brother. Poor John! He lay on his knees
before the bed, kissed his dead father's hand, and shed very many bitter
tears; but at last his eyes closed, and he went to sleep, lying with his
head against the hard bed-post.
Then he dreamed a strange dream: he saw the sun and moon shine
upon him, and he beheld his father again, fresh and well, and he heard
his father laugh as he had always laughed when he was very glad. A
beautiful girl, with a golden crown upon her long shining hair, gave h:m
her hand; and his father said, "Do you see what a bride you have
gained? She is the most beautiful in the whole world !" Then he
awoke, and all the splendour was gone. His father was lying dead and
cold in the bed, and there was no one at all with them. Poor John!
In the next week the dead man was buried. The son walked close
46 Stories for the Household.
behind the coffin, and could now no longer see the good father who had
loved him so much. He heard how they threw the earth down upon the
coffin, and stopped to see the last corner of it; but the next shovel-full
of earth hid even that; then he felt just as if his heart would burst into
pieces, so sorrowful was he. Around him they were singing a psalm;
those were sweet holy tones that arose, and the tears came into John's
eyes; he wept, and that did him good in his sorrow. The sun shone
magnificently on the green trees, just as it would have said, "You may
no longer be sorrowful, John! Do you see how beautiful the sky is ?
Your father is up there, and prays to the Father of all that it may be
always well with you."
I will always do right, too," said John, then I shall go to heaven
to my father; and what joy that will be when we see each other again!
How much I shall then have to tell him and he will show me so many
things, and explain to me the glories of heaven, just as he taught me
I will always do right, too," said John,, then I shall go to heaven
here on earth. Oh, how joyful that will be!"
He pictured that to himself so plainly, that he smiled, while the tears
were still rolling down his cheeks. The little birds sat up in the
chestnut trees, and twittered, Tweet-weet! tweet-weet They were
joyful and merry, though they had been at the burying, t they seemed
to know that the dead man was now in heaven; that lie had wings, far
larger and more beautiful than theirs; that he was now happy, because
he had been a good man upon earth, and they were glad at it. John saw
how they flew from the green tree out into the world, and he felt inclined
to fly too. But first he cut out a great cross of wood to put on his
The Travelling Companion. 47
father's grave; and when he brought it there in the evening the grave
was decked with sand and flowers; strangers had done this, for they were
all very fond of the good father who was now dead.
Early next morning John packed his little bundle, and put in his belt
his whole inheritance, which consisted of fifty dollars and a few silver
shillings; with this he intended to wander out into the world. But
first he went to the churchyard, to his father's grave, to say a prayer
and to bid him farewell.
Out in the field where he was walking all the flowers stood fresh and
beautiful in the warm sunshine; and they nodded in the wind, just as if
they would have said, Welcome to the green wood Is it not fine
here ?" But John turned back once more to look at the old church, in
which he had been christened when he was a little child, and where he
had been every Sunday with his father at the service, and had sung his
psalm; then, high up in one of the openings of the tower, he saw the
ringer standing in his little pointed red cap, shading his face with his
bent arm, to keep the sun from shining in his eyes. John nodded a
farewell to him, and the little ringer waved his red cap, laid his hand on
his heart, and kissed his hand to John a great many times, to show that
he wished the traveller well and hoped he would have a prosperous
John thought what a number of fine things he would get to see in the
great splendid world; and he went on farther-farther than he had ever
been before. He did not know the places at all through which he came,
nor the people whom he met. Now he was far away in a strange region.
The first night he was obliged to lie down on a haystack in the field
to sleep, for he had no other bed. But that was very nice, he thought;
the king could not be better off. There was the whole field, with the
brook, the haystack, and the blue sky above it; that was certainly a
beautiful sleeping-room. The green grass with the little red and white
flowers was the carpet; the elder bushes and the wild rose hedges were
garlands of flowers; and for a wash-hand basin he had the whole brook
with the clear fresh water; and the rushes bowed before him and wished
him good evening and good morning." The moon was certainly a
great night-lamp, high up under the blue ceiling, and that lamp would
never set fire to the curtains with its light. John could sleep quite
safely, and he did so, and never woke until the sun rose and all the little
birds were singing around, Good morning good morning Are you
not up yet ?"
The bells were ringing for church; it was Sunday. The people went
to hear the preacher, and John followed them, and sang a psalm and
heard God's word. It seemed to him just as if he was in his own
church, where he had been christened and had sung psalms with his
Out in the churchyard were many graves, and on some of them the
grass grew high. Then he thought of his father's grave, which would at
last look like these, as he could not weed it and adorn it. So he sat
down and plucked up the long grass, set up the wooden crosses which
48 Stories for the Household.
bhad fallen down, and put back in their places the wreaths which the
wind had blown away from the graves; for he thought, Perhaps some
one will do the same to my father's grave, as I cannot do it."
Outside the churchyard gate stood an old beggar, leaning upon his
crutch. John gave him the silver shillings which he had, and then went
away, happy and cheerful, into the wide world. Towards evening the
weather became terribly bad. He made haste to get under shelter, but
dark night soon came on; then at last he came to a little church, which
lay quite solitary on a small hill.
Here I will sit down in a corner," said he, and went in; "I am quite
tired and require a little rest." Then he sat down, folded his hands,
and said his evening prayer; and before he was aware of it he was asleep
and dreaming, while it thundered and lightened without.
When he woke it was midnight; but the bad weather had passed by,
and the moon shone in upon him through the windows. In the midst
of the church stood an open coffn with a dead man in it who had not
yet been buried. John was not at all timid, for he had a good con-
science; and he knew very well that the dead do not harm any one.
The living, who do evil, are bad men. Two such living bad men stood
close by the dead man, who had been placed here in the church till he
should be buried. They had an evil design against him, and would not
let him rest quietly in his coffin, but were going to throw him out before
the church door-the poor dead man !
Why will you do that ? asked John; that is bad and wicked.
Let him rest, for mercy's sake."
Nonsense !" replied the bad men; he has cheated us. He owed
us money and could not pay it, and now he's dead into the bargain, and
we shall not get a penny So we mean to revenge ourselves famously:
he shall lie like a dog outside the church door !"
I have not more than fifty dollars," cried John, that is my whole
inheritance; but I will gladly give it you, if you will honestly promise
me to leave the poor dead man in peace. I shall manage to get on with-
out the money; I have hearty strong limbs, and Heaven will always
Yes," said these ugly bad men, if you will pay his debt we will do
nothing to him, you may depend upon that !" And then they took the
money he gave them, laughed aloud at his good nature, and went their
way. But he laid the corpse out again in the coffin, and folded its
hands, took leave of it, and went away contentedly through the great
All around, wherever the moon could shine through between the trees,
he saw the graceful little elves playing merrily. They did not let him
disturb them; they knew that he was a good innocent man; and it is
only the bad people who never get to see the elves. Some of them were
not larger than a finger's breadth, and had fastened up their long yellow
hair with golden combs: they were rocking themselves, two and two, on
the great dew-drops that lay on the leaves and on the high grass; some-
times the drop rolled away, and then they fell down between the long
The Travelling Companion. 49
grass-stalks, and that occasioned much laughter and noise among the
other little creatures. It was charming. They sang, and John recog.
nized quite plainly the pretty songs which he had learned as a little boy.
Great coloured spiders, with silver crowns on their heads, had to spin
long hanging bridges and palaces from hedge to hedge; and as the tiny
dew-drops fell on these they looked like gleaming glass in the moonlight.
This continued until the sun rose. Then the little elves crept into the
flower-buds, and the wind caught their bridges and palaces, which flew
through the air in the shape of spider's webs.
John had just come out of the wood, when a strong man's voice called
out behind him, Halloo, comrade whither are you journeying ? "
"Into the wide world!" he replied. "I have neither father nor
mother, and am but a poor lad; but Providence will help me."
"I am going out into the wide world, too," said the strange man:
"shall we two keep one another company ?"
Yes, certainly," said John; and so they went on together. Soon
they became very fond of each other, for they were both good men. But
John saw that the stranger was much more clever than himself. He
had travelled through almost the whole world, and knew how to tell of
almost everything that existed.
The sun already stood high when they seated themselves under a great
tree to eat their breakfast; and just then an old woman came up. Oh,
she was very old, and walked quite bent, leaning upon a crutch-stick;
upon her back she carried a bundle of firewood which she had collected
in the forest. Her apron was untied, and John saw that three great
stalks of fern and some willow twigs looked out from within it. When
she was close to them, her foot slipped; she fell and gave a loud scream,
for she had broken her leg, the poor old woman !
John directly proposed that they should carry the old woman home to
her dwelling; but the stranger opened his knapsack, took out a little
box, and said that he had a salve there which would immediately make
her leg whole and strong, so that she could walk home herself, as if she
had never broken her leg at all. But for that he required that she should
give him the three rods which she carried in her apron.
That would be paying well!" said the old woman, and she nodded
her head in a strange way. She did not like to give away the rods, but
then it was not agreeable to lie there with a broken leg. So she gave
him the wands; and as soon as he had only rubbed the ointment on her
leg, the old mother arose, and walked much better than before-such
was the power of this ointment. But then it was not to be bought at
What do you want with the rods ?" John asked his travelling com-
They are three capital fern brooms," replied he. I like those very
much, for I am a whimsical fellow."
And they went on a good way.
See how the sky is becoming overcast," said John, pointing straight
before them. Those are terribly thick clouds."
50 Stories for the Household.
"No," replied his travelling companion, those are not clouds, they
are mountains-the great glorious mountains, on which one gets quite
up over the clouds, and into the free air. Believe me, it is delicious !
To-morrow we shall certainly be far out into the world."
But that was not so near as it looked; they had to walk for a whole
day-before they came to the mountains, where the black woods grew
straight up towards heaven, and there were stones almost as big as a
whole town. It might certainly be hard work to get quite across them,
and for that reason John and his comrade went into the inn to rest them-
selves well, and gather strength for the morrow's journey.
Down in the great common room in the inn many guests were assem-
bled, for a man was there exhibiting a puppet-show. He had just put
up his little theatre, and the people were sitting round to see the play.
Quite in front a fat butcher had taken his seat in the very best place;
his great bulldog, who looked very much inclined to bite, sat at his side,
and made big eyes, as all the rest were doing too.
Now the play began; and it was a very nice play, with a king and a
queen in it; they sat upon a beautiful throne, and had gold crowns on
their heads and long trains to their clothes, for their means admitted of
that. The prettiest of wooden dolls with glass eyes and great mous-
taches stood at all the doors, and opened and shut them so that fresh air
might come into the room. It was a very pleasant play, and not at all
mournful. But-goodness knows what the big bulldog can have been
thinking of!-just as the queen stood up and was walking across the
boards, as the fat butcher did not hold him, he made a spring upon the
stage, and seized the queen round her slender waist so that it cracked
again. It was quite terrible!
The poor man who managed the play was very much frightened and
quite sorrowful about his queen, for she was the daintiest little doll he
possessed, and now the ugly bulldog had bitten off her head. But after-
wards, when the people went away, the stranger said that he would put
her to rights again; and then he brought out his little box, and rubbed
the doll with the ointment with which he had cured the old woman when
she broke her leg. As soon as the doll had been rubbed, she was whole
again; yes, she could even move all her limbs by herself; it was no
longer necessary to pull her by her string. The doll was like a living
person, only that she could not speak. The man who had the little
puppet-show was very glad, now he had not to hold this doll any more.
She could dance by herself, and none of the others could do that.
When 'night came on, and all the people in the inn had gone to bed,
there was some one who sighed so fearfully, and went on doing it so long,
that they all got up to see who this could be. The man who had shown
the play went to his little theatre, for it was there that somebody was
sighing. All the wooden dolls lay mixed together, the king and all his
followers ; and it was they who sighed so pitiably, and stared with their
glass eyes; for they wished to be rubbed a little as the queen had been,
so that they might be able to move by themselves. The queen at once
sank on her knees, and stretched forth her beautiful crown, as if she
The Travelling Companion. 51
begged, Take this from me, but rub my husband and my courtiers !"
Then the poor man, the proprietor of the little theatre and the dolls,
could not refrain from weeping, for he was really sorry for them. He
immediately promised the travelling companion that he would give him
all the money he should receive the next evening for the representation
if the latter would only anoint four or five of his dolls. But the comrade
said he did not require anything at all but the sword the man wore by
his side; and, on receiving this, he anointed six of the dolls, who imme-
diately began to dance so gracefully that all the girls, the living human
girls, fell a dancing too. The coachman and the cook danced, the waiter
and the chambermaid, and all the strangers, and the fire-shovel and
tongs; but these latter fell down just as they made their first leaps.
Yes, it was a merry night!
THE BULLDOG WORRIES THE PUPPET.
Next morning John went away from them all with his travelling com-
panion, up on to the high mountains, and through the great pine woods.
They came so high up that the church steeples under them looked at
last like little blueberries among all the green; and they could see very
far, many, many miles away, where they had never been. So much
splendour in the lovely world John had never seen at one time before.
And the sun shone warm in the fresh blue air, and among the mountains
he could hear the huntsmen blowing their horns so gaily and sweetly
that tears came into his eyes, and he could not help calling out, How
kind has Heaven been to us all, to give us all the splendour that is in
this world !"
The travelling companion also stood there with folded hands, and
looked over the forest and the towns into the warm sunshine. At the
same time there arose lovely sounds over their heads: they looked up,
and a great white swan was soaring in the air, and singing as they had
52 Stories for the Household.
never heard a bird sing till then. But the song became weaker and
weaker; he bowed his head and sank quite slowly down at their feet,
where he lay dead, the beautiful bird !
Two such splendid wings," said the travelling companion, so white
and large, as those which this bird has, are worth money ; I will take
them with me. Do you see that it was good I got a sabre ?"
And so, with one blow, he cut off both the wings of the dead swan,
for he wanted to keep them.
They now travelled for many, many miles over the mountains, till at
last they saw a great town before them with hundreds of towers, which
glittered like silver in the sun. In the midst of the town was a splen-
did marble palace, roofed with pure red gold. And there the King lived.
John and the travelling companion would not go into the town at
once, but remained in the inn outside the town, that they might dress
themselves; for they wished to look nice when they came out into the
streets. The host told them that the King was a very good man, who
never did harm to any one; but his daughter, yes, goodness preserve us!
she was a bad Princess. She possessed beauty enough-no one could
be so pretty and so charming as she was-but of what use was that ?
She was a wicked witch, through whose fault many gallant Princes had
lost their lives. She had given permission to all men to seek her hand.
Any one might come, be he Prince or beggar: it was all the same to her.
He had only to guess three things she had just thought of, and about
which she questioned him. If he could do that she would marry him,
and he was to be King over the whole country when her father should
die; but if he could not guess the three things, she caused him to be
hanged or to have his head cut off! Her father, the old King, was very
sorry about it; but he could not forbid her to be so wicked, because he
had once said that he would have nothing to do with her lovers ; she
might do as she liked. Every time a Prince came, and was to guess to
gain the Princess, he was unable to do it, and was hanged or lost his
head. He had been warned in time, you see, and might have given over
his wooing. The old King was so sorry for all this misery and woe, that
he used to lie on his knees with all his soldiers for a whole day in every
year, praying that the Princess might become good; but she would not,
by any means. The old women who drank brandy used to colour it
quite black before they drank it, they were in such deep mourning-and
they certainly could not do more.
The ugly Princess! said John; she ought really to have the rod;
that would do her good. If I were only the old King she should be
Then they heard the people outside shouting "Hurrah! The Prin-
cess came by; and she was really so beautiful that all the people forgot
Aow wicked she was, and that is why they cried Hurrah! Twelve
beautiful virgins, all in white silk gowns, and each with a golden tulip
in her hand, rode on coal-black steeds at her side. The Princess herself
had a snow-white horse, decked with diamonds and rubies. Her riding-
habit was all of cloth of gold, and the whip she held in her hand looked
The Travelling Companion. 53
like a sunbeam; the golden crown on her head was just like little stars
out of the sky, and her mantle was sewn together out of mor.- tlian a
thousand beautiful butterflies' wings. In spite of this, i.- herselfit was
much more lovely than all her clothes.
When John saw her, his face became as red as a drol ..-f blo:.d1, and
he could hardly utter a word. The Princess looked just like the beau-
tiful lady with the golden crown, of whom he had dreamt on the night
when his father died. He found her so enchanting that he could not
help loving her greatly. It could not be true that she was a wicked
witch, who caused people to be hanged or beheaded if they could not
guess the riddles she put to them.
JOHN AND HIS COMPANION SEE THE PRINCESS RIDING BY.
"Every one has permission to aspire to her hand, even the poorest
beggar. I will really go to the castle, for I cannot help doing it! "
They all told him not to attempt it, for certainly he would fare as all
the rest had done. His travelling companion too tried to dissuade him;
but John thought it would end well. He brushed his shoes and his
coat, washed his face and his hands, combed his nice fair hair, and then
went quite alone into the town and to the palace.
Come in!" said the old King, when John knocked at the door.
John opened it, and the old King came towards him in a dressing-
gown and embroidered slippers; he had the crown on his head, and the
54 Stories for the Household.
sceptre in one hand and the orb in the other. Wait a little! said
he, and put the orb under his arm, so that he could reach out his hand
to John. But as soon as he learned that his visitor was a suitor, he
began to weep so violently that both the sceptre and the orb fell to the
ground, and he was obliged to wipe his eyes with his dressing-gown. Poor
old King !
Give it up !" said he. You will fare badly, as all the others have
done. Well, you shall see "
Then he led him out into the Princess's pleasure garden. There was
a terrible sight In every tree there hung three or four Kings' sons who
had wooed the Princess, but had not been able to guess the riddles she
proposed to them. Each time that the breeze blew all the skeletons
rattled, so that the little birds were frightened, and never dared to come
into the garden. All the flowers were tied up to human bones, and in
the flower-pots skulls stood and grinned. That was certainly a strange
garden for a Princess.
Here you see it," said the old King. "It will chance to you as it
has chanced to all these whom you see here; therefore you had better
give it up. You will really make me unhappy, for I take these things
very much to heart."
John kissed the good old King's hand, and said it would go well, for
that he was quite enchanted with the beautiful Princess.
Then the Princess herself came riding into the courtyard, with all
her ladies; and they went out to her and wished her good morning.
She was beautiful to look at, and she gave John her hand. And he
cared much more for her then than before-she could certainly not be a
wicked witch, as the people asserted. Then they betook themselves to
the hall, and the little pages waited upon them with preserves and
gingerbread nuts. But the old King was quite sorrowful; he could not
eat anything at all. Besides, gingerbread nuts were too hard for him.
It was settled that John should come to the palace again the next
morning; then the judges and the whole council would be assembled,
and would hear how he succeeded with his answers. If it went well,
he should come twice more; but no one had yet come who had suc-
ceeded in guessing right the first time; and if he did not manage better
than they he must die.
John was -jot at all anxious as to how he should fare. On the con-
trary, he was merry, thought only of the beautiful Princess, and felt
quite certain that he should be helped; but how he did not know, and
preferred not to think of it. He danced along on the road returning
to the inn, where his travelling companion was waiting for him.
John could not leave off telling how polite the Princess had been to
him, and how beautiful she was. He declared he already longed for
the next day, when he was to go into the palace and try his luck in
But the travelling companion shook his head and was quite down-
cast. I am so fond of you!" said he. We might have been together
a long time yet, and now I am to lose you already! You poor dear
The Travelling Companion. 55
John! I should like to cry, but I will not disturb your merriment on
the last evening, perhaps, we shall ever spend together. We will be
merry, very merry! To-morrow, when you are gone, I can weep un-
All the people in the town had heard directly that a new suitor for
the Princess had arrived; and there was great sorrow on that account.
The theatre remained closed; the women who sold cakes tied bits of
crape round their sugar men, and the King and the priests were on
their knees in the churches. There was great lamentation; for John
would not, they all thought, fare better than the other suitors had fared.
Towards evening the travelling companion mixed a great bowl of
punch, and said to John, "Now we will be very merry, and drink to
the health of the Princess." But when John had drunk two glasses,
he became so sleepy that he found it impossible to keep his eyes open,
and he sank into a deep sleep. The travelling companion lifted him very
gently from his chair, and laid him in the bed; and when it grew to be
dark night, he took the two great wings which he had cut off the swan,
and bound them to his own shoulders. Then he put in his pocket the
longest of the rods he had received from the old woman who had fallen
and broken her leg; and he opened the window and flew away over the
town, straight towards the palace, where he seated himself in a corner
under the window which looked into the bed-room of the Princess.
All was quiet in the whole town. Now the clock struck a quarter to
twelve, the window was opened, and the Princess came out in a long
white cloak, and with black wings, and flew away across the town to a
great mountain. But the travelling companion made himself invisible,
so that she could not see him at all, and. flew behind her, and whipped
the Princess with his rod, so that the blood almost came wherever he
struck. Oh, that was a voyage through the air! The wind caught her
cloak, so that it spread out on all sides like a great sail, and the moon
shone through it.
"How it hails! how it hails!" said the Princess at every blow she
got from the rod; and it served her right. At last she arrived at the
mountain, and knocked there. There was a rolling like thunder, and
the mountain opened, and the Princess went in. The travelling com-
panion followed her, for no one could see him-he was invisible. They
went through a great long passage, where the walls sh'dne in quite a
peculiar way: there were more than a thousand glowing spiders running
up and down the walls and gleaming like fire. Then they came into a
great hall built of silver and gold; flowers as big as sunflowers, red and
blue, shone on the walls; but no one could pluck these flowers, for the
stems were ugly poisonous snakes, and the flowers were streams of fire
pouring out of their mouths. The whole ceiling was covered with
shining glowworms and sky-blue bats, flapping their thin wings. It
looked quite terrific! In the middle of the floor was a throne, carried
by four skeleton horses, with harness of fiery red spiders ; the throne
itself was of milk-white glass, and the cushions were little black mice,
biting each other's tails. Above it was a canopy of pink spider's web,
56 .Stories for the Household.
trimmed with the prettiest little green flies, which gleamed like jewels.
On the throne sat an old magician, with a crown on his ugly head and
a sceptre in his hand. He kissed the Princess on the forehead, made
her sit down beside him on the costly throne, and then the music began.
Great black grasshoppers played on jews'-harps, and the owl beat her
wings upon her body, because she hadn't a drum. That was a strange
concert! Little black goblins with a Jack-o'-lantern light on their caps
danced about in the hall. But no one could see the travelling com-
panion: he had placed himself just behind the throne, and heard and
saw everything. The courtiers, who now came in, were very grand and
noble; but he who could see it all knew very well what it all meant.
They were nothing more than broomsticks with heads of cabbages on
them, which the magician had animated by his power, and to whom he
had given embroidered clothes. But that did not matter, for, you see,
they were only wanted for show.
After there had been a little dancing, the Princess told the magician
that she had a new suitor, and therefore she inquired of him what she
should think of to ask the suitor when he should come to-morrow to
Listen !" said the magician, "I will tell you that: you must choose
something very easy, for then he won't think of it. Think of one of
your shoes. That he will not guess. Let him have his head cut off:
but don't forget, when you come to me to-morrow night, to bring me
his eyes, for I '1 eat them."
The Princess courtesied very low, and said she would not forget the
eyes. The magician opened the mountain, and she flew home again;
but the travelling companion followed her, and beat her again so hard
with the rod that she sighed quite deeply about the heavy hail-storm,
and hurried as much as she could to get back into the bed-room through
the open window. The travelling companion, for his part, flew back to
the inn, where John was still asleep, took off his wings, and then lay
down upon the bed, for he might well be tired.
It was quite early in the morning when John awoke. The travelling
companion also got up, and said he had had a wonderful dream in the
night, about the Princess and her shoe; and he therefore begged John
to ask if the Princess had not thought about her shoe. For it was this
he had heard from the magician in the mountain.
"I may just as well ask about that as about anything else," said John.
"Perhaps it is quite right, what you have dreamed. But I will bid you
farewell; for, if I guess wrong, I shall never see you more."
Then they embraced each other, and John went into the town and to
the palace. The entire hall was filled with people: the judges sat in
their arm-chairs and had eider-down pillows behind their heads, for they
had a great deal to think about. The old King stood up, and wiped his
eyes with a white pocket handkerchief. Now the Princess came in.
She was much more beautiful than yesterday, and bowed to all in a very
affable manner; but to John she gave her hand, and said, "Good morn-
ing to you."
The Travelling Companion. 57
Now John was to guess what she had thought of. Oh, how lovingly
she looked at him! But as soon as she heard the single word shoe "
pronounced, she became as white as chalk in the face, and trembled all
over. But that availed her nothing, for John had guessed right!
SWonderful! How glad the old King was! He threw a somersault
beautiful to behold. And all the people clapped their hands in honour of
him and of John, who had guessed right the first time!
The travelling companion was very glad too, when he heard how well
matters had gone. But John felt very grateful; and he was sure he
should receive help the second and third time, as he had been helped the
first. The next day he was to guess again.
The evening passed just like that of yesterday. While John slept the
travelling companion flew behind the Princess out to the mountain, and
beat her even harder than the time before, for now he had taken two
rods. No one saw him, and he heard everything. The Princess was to
think of her glove; and this again he told to John as if it had been a
dream. Thus John could guess well, which caused great rejoicing in
the palace. The whole court threw somersaults, just as they had seen
the King do the first time; but the Princess lay on the sofa, and would
not say a single word. Now, the question was, if John could guess
properly the third time. If he succeeded, he was to have the beautiful
Princess and inherit the whole kingdom after the old King's death. If
he failed, he was to lose his life, and the magician would eat his beau-
tiful blue eyes.
That evening John went early to bed, said his prayers, and went to
sleep quite quietly. But the travelling companion bound his wings to
his back and his sword by his side, and took all three rods with him,
and so flew away to the palace.
It was a very dark night. The wind blew so hard that the tiles flew
off from the roofs, and the trees in the garden where the skeletons hung
bent like reeds before the storm. The lightning flashed out every
minute, and the thunder rolled just as if it were one peal lasting the
whole night. Now the window opened, and the Princess flew out. She
was as pale as death; but she laughed at the bad weather, and declared
it was not bad enough yet. And her white cloak fluttered in the wind
like a great sail; but the travelling companion beat her with the three
rods, so that the blood dripped upon the ground, and at last she could
scarcely fly any farther. At length, however, she arrived at the moun-
"It hails and blows dreadfully !" she said. "I have never been out in
One may have too much of a good thing," said the magician. "I
shall think of something of which he has never thought, or he must be
a greater conjuror than I. But now we will be merry." And he took
the Princess by the hands, and they danced about with all the little
goblins and Jack-o'-lanterns that were in the room. The red spiders
jumped just as merrily up and down the walls: it looked as if fiery
flowers were spurting out. The owl played the drum, the crickets piped,
58 Stories for the Household.
and the black grasshoppers played on the jew's-harp. It was a merry
When they had danced long enough the Princess was obliged to go
home, for she might be missed in the palace. The magician said he would
accompany her, then they would have each other's company on the way.
Then they flew away into the4bad weather, and the travelling com-
panion broke his three rods across their backs. Never had the magician
been out in such a hail-storm. In front of the palace he said good-bye
to the Princess, and whispered to her at the-same time, Think of
my head." But the travelling companion heard it; and just at the
moment when the Princess slipped through the window into her bed-
room, and the magician was about to turn back, he seized him by his
long beard, and with his sabre cut off the ugly conjuror's head just by
the shoulders, so that the magician did not even see him. The body he
threw out into the sea to the fishes; but the head he only dipped into
the water, and then tied it in his silk handkerchief, took it with him
into the inn, and then lay down to sleep.
Next morning he gave John the handkerchief, and told him not to
untie it until the Princess asked him to tell her thoughts.
There were so many people in the great hall of the palace, that they
stood as close together as radishes bound together in a bundle. The
council sat in the chairs with the soft pillows, and the old King had new
clothes on; the golden crown and sceptre had been polished, and every-
thing looked quite stately. But the Princess was very pale, and had
a coal-black dress on, as if she were going to be buried.
"Of what have I thought ? she asked John. And he immediately
untied the handkerchief, and was himself quite frightened when he saw
the ugly magician's head. All present shuddered, for it was terrible to
look upon; but the Princess sat just like a statue, and would not utter
a single word. At length she stood up, and gave John her hand, for he
had guessed well. She did not look at any one, only sighed aloud, and
said, Now you are my lord !-this evening we will hold our wedding."
"I like that !" cried the old King. "Thus I will have it."
All present cried Hurrah !" The soldiers' band played music in the
streets, the bells rang, and the cake-women took off the black crape from
their sugar dolls, for joy now reigned around; three oxen roasted whole,
and stuffed with ducks and fowls, were placed in the middle of the market,
that every one might cut himself a slice; the fountains ran with the
best wine; and whoever bought a penny cake at a baker's got six biscuits
into the bargain, and the biscuits had raisins in them.
In the evening the whole town was illuminated; the soldiers fired off
the cannon, and the boys let off crackers; and there was eating and
drinking, clinking of glasses, and dancing, in the palace. All the noble
gentlemen and pretty ladies danced with each other, and one could hear,
a long distance off, how they sang-
"fHere are many pretty girls, who all love to dance
See, they whirl like spimniug-wheels, retire and advance.
Turn, my pretty maiden, do, till the sole falls from your shoe."
-z -~~-- ------...---- ,
S i i i i i
out of the swan's wings, and a little bottle with a few drops in it, and
told John that he must put a large tub of water before the Princess's
bed;, and when the Princess was about to get into bed, he should give
DEATH OF TIME MAGICiAN,
her a little push, so that she should i and did not like John. Tha
occudip her three times, afterlling companion so he gavehad put in there feathers and poured in the
out of the swan's wings, and a little bottle with a few drops in it, and
told John that he must put a large tub of water before the Princess's
bed; and when the Princess was about to get into bed, he should give
her a little push, so that she should fall into the tub; and then he must
dip her three times, after he had put in the feathers and poured in the
drops; she would then lose her magic qualities, and love him very much.
John did all that the travelling companion had advised him to do.
The Princess screamed out loudly while he dipped her in the tub, and
struggled under his hands in the form of a great coal-black swan with
fiery eyes. When she came up the second time above the water, the
swan was white, with the exception of a black ring round her neck.
John let the water close for the third time over the bird, and in the
same moment it was again changed to the beautiful Princess. She was
60 Stories for the Household.
more beautiful even than before, and thanked him, with tears in her
lovely eyes, that he had freed her from the magic spell.
The next morning the old King came with his whole court, and then
there was great congratulation till late into the day. Last of all came
the travelling companion; he had his staff in his hand and his knapsack
on his back. John kissed him many times, and said he must not depart,
he must remain with the friend of whose happiness he was the cause.
But the travelling companion shook his head, and said mildly and kindly,
No, now my time is up. I have only paid my debt. Do you remem-
ber the dead man whom the bad people wished to injure ? You gave
all you possessed in prder that he might have rest in his grave. I am
And in the same moment he vanished.
The wedding festivities lasted a whole month. John and the Princess
loved each other truly, and the old King passed many pleasant days, and
let their little children ride on his knees and play with his sceptre. And
John afterwards became King over the whole country.
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES.
MANY years ago there lived an Emperor, who cared so enormously, for
new clothes that he spent all his money upon them, that he might be
very fine. He did not care about his soldiers, nor about the theatre,
and only liked to drive out and show his new clothes. He had a coat
for every hour of the day ; and just as they say of a thing, He is in
council," one always said of him, The Emperor is in the wardrobe."
In the great city in which he lived it was always very merry; every day
a number of strangers arrived there. One day two cheats came: they
gave themselves out as weavers, and declared that they could weave the
finest stuff any one could imagine. Not only were their colours and
patterns, they said, uncommonly beautiful, but the clothes made of the
stuff possessed the wonderful quality that they became invisible to any
one who was unfit for the office he held, or was incorrigibly stupid.
Those would be capital clothes! thought the Emperor. If I wore
those, I should be able to find out what men in my empire are not fit
for the places they have; I could distinguish the clever from the stupid.
Yes, the stuff must be woven for me directly "
And he gave the two cheats a great deal of cash in hand, that they
might begin their work at once.
As for them, they put up two looms, and pretended to be working;
but they had nothing at all on their looms. They at once demanded the
finest silk and the costliest gold; this they put into their own pockets,
and worked at the empty looms till late into the night.
"I should like to know how far they have got on with the stuff,"
thought the Emperor. But he felt quite uncomfortable when he
,7 7- -h ie
THE EMPEROR INSPECTING THE INVISIBLE STURF.
thought that those who were not fit for their offices could not see it.
He believed, indeed, that he had nothing to fear for himself, but yet he
preferred first to send some one else to see how matters stood. All the
people in the whole city knew what peculiar power the stuff possessed,
and all were anxious to see how bad or how stupid their neighbours
I will send my honest old Minister to the weavers," thought the
Emperor. He can judge best how the stuff looks, for he has sense,
and no one understands his office better than he."
Now the good old Minister went out into the hall where the twc
cheats sat working at the empty looms.
Mercy preserve us! thought the old Minister, and he opened his
eyes wide. "I cannot see anything at all! But he did not say this.
Both the cheats begged him to be kind enough to come nearer, and
asked if he did not approve of the colours and the pattern. Then they
62 Stories for the Household.
pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old Minister went on opening
his eyes; but he could see nothing, for there was nothing to see.
"Mercy !" thought he, can I indeed be so stupid ? I never thought
that, and not a soul must know it. Am I not fit for my office ?-No,
it will never do for me to tell that I could not see the stuff."
"Do you say nothing to it ? said one of the weavers.
"Oh, it is charming,-quite enchanting answered the old Minister,
as he peered through his spectacles. What a fine pattern, and what
colours! Yes, I shall tell the Emperor that I am very much pleased
"Well, we are glad of that," said both the weavers; and then they
named the colours, and explained the strange pattern. The old Minister
listened attentively, that he might be able to repeat it when the Emperor
came. And he did so.
Now the cheats asked for more money, and more silk and gold, which
they declared they wanted for weaving. They put all into their own
pockets, and not a thread was put upon the loom; but they continued
to work at the empty frames as before.
The Emperor soon sent again, dispatching another honest statesman,
to see how the weaving was going on, and if the stuff would soon be
ready. He fared just like the first: he looked and looked, but, as there
was nothing to be seen but the empty looms, he could see nothing.
"Is not that a pretty piece of stuff?" asked the two cheats; and
they displayed and explained the handsome pattern which was not there
"I am not stupid! thought the man,-" it must be my good office,
for which I am not fit. It is funny enough, but I must not let it be
noticed." And so he praised the stuff which he did not see, and ex-
pressed his pleasure at the beautiful colours and the charming pattern.
"Yes, it is enchanting," he said to the Emperor.
All the people in the town were talking of the gorgeous stuff. The
Emperor wished to see it himself while it was still upon the loom.
With a whole crowd of chosen men, among whom were also the two
honest statement who had already been there, he went to the two cunning
cheats, who were now weaving with might and main without fibre or
Is that not splendid ? said the two old statesmen, who had already
been there once. Does not your Majesty remark the pattern and the
colours ? And then they pointed to the empty loom, for they thought
that the others could see the stuff.
What's this ?" thought the Emperor. I can see nothing at all!
That is terrible. Am I stupid ? Am I not fit to be Emperor ? That
would be the most dreadful thing that could happen to me.-Oh, it is
very pretty! he said aloud. It has our exalted approbation." And
he nodded in a contented way, and gazed at the empty loom, for he
would not say that he saw nothing. The whole suite whom he had with
him looked and looked, and saw nothing, any more than the rest; but,
like the Emperor, they said, That is pretty! and counselled him to
The Emperor's New Clothes. 63
wear these splendid new clothes for the first time at the great procession
that was presently to take place. "It is splendid, tasteful, excellent !"
went from mouth to mouth. On all sides there seemed to be genera.
rejoicing, and the Emperor gave the cheats the title of Imperial Court
The whole night before the morning on which the procession was to
take place the cheats were up, and had lighted more than sixteen candles.
The people could see that they were hard at work, completing the Em-
peror's new clothes. They pretended to take the stuff down from the
loom; they made cuts in the air with great scissors ; they sewed with
needles without thread; and at last they said, Now the clothes are
The Emperor came himself with his noblest cavaliers; and the two
cheats lifted up one arm as if they were holding something, and said,
" See, here are the trousers! here is the coat! here is the cloak! and
so on. It is as light as a spider's web: one would think one had no-
thing on; but that is just the beauty of it."
"Yes," said all the cavaliers; but they could not see anything, for
nothing was there.
"Does your Imperial Majesty please to condescend to undress ? said
the cheats; then we will put you on the new clothes here in front of
the great mirror."
The Emperor took off his clothes, and the cheats pretended to put on
him each new garment as it was ready; and the Emperor turned round
and round before the mirror.
Oh, how well they look! how capitally they fit! said all. What
a pattern! what colours! That is a splendid dress !"
"They are standing outside with the canopy which is to be borne
above your Majesty in the procession announced the head master of
"Well, I am ready," replied the Emperor. "Does it not suit me
well? And then he turned again to the mirror, for he wanted it to
appear as if he contemplated his adornment with great interest.
The chamberlains, who were to carry the train, stooped down with
their hands towards the floor, just as if they were picking up the mantle;
then they pretended to be holding something up in the air. They did
not dare to let it be noticed that they saw nothing.
So the Emperor went in procession under the rich canopy, and every
one in the streets said, "How incomparable are the Emperor's new
clothes! what a train he has to his mantle! how it fits him! No one
would let it be perceived that he could see nothing, for that would have
shown that he was not fit for his office, or was very stupid. No clothes
of the Emperor's had ever had such a success as these.
"But he has nothing on! a little child cried out at last.
"Just hear what that innocent says!" said the father; and one whis-
pered to another what the child had said.
"But he has nothing on! said the whole people at length. That
touched the Emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he
64 Stories for the Household.
thought within himself, "I must go through with the procession." And
the chamberlains held on tighter than ever, and carried the train which
did not exist at all.
THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE.
IN a house in Copenhagen, not far from the King's New Market, a
company-a very large company-had assembled, having received invi-
tations to an evening party there. One-half of the company already
sat at the card tables, the other half awaited the result of the hostess's
question, What shall we do now ?" They had progressed so far, and
the entertainment began to take some degree of animation. Among
other subjects the conversation turned upon the Middle Ages. Some
considered that period much more interesting than our own times: yes,
Councillor Knap defended this view so zealously that the lady of the
house went over at once to his side; and both loudly exclaimed against
Oersted's treatise in the Almanac on old and modern times, in which
the chief advantage is given to our own day. The councillor 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 contained nothing worth reading,
we will betake ourselves to the antechamber, 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
own exalted person to perform her business, for thus she knows that it
is well done.
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," said she, "that to-day is my birthday; and in
honour of it a pair of goloshes has been entrusted to me, which I am to
The Goloshes of Fortune. 65
bring to the human race. These goloshes have the property that every
one 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
Believe me," said Care, he will be very unhappy, and will bless
the moment when he can get rid of the goloshes again."
THE GOLOSIES LEBT AT THE DOOR.
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, that was the dialogue they held.
WhVat happened to the Councillor.
It was late. Councillor Knap, lost in contemplation of the times of
King Hans, wished to get home; and fate willed that instead of his own
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 mud and mire in the street, because in those days
there was not any pavement.
Kin Has, ised o gt ome an fte illd hatinsea ofhisow
66 Stories for the Household.
"Why, this is horrible-how dirty it is here !" said the councillor.
"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 corner 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 figure.
"That 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 masquerade."
Suddenly there was a sound of drums and fifes, and torches gleamed
brightly. The councillor started. And now he saw a strange proces-
sion 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 councillor asked what was the meaning
of this, and who the man might be.
That is the Bishop of Zealand."
What in the world has come to the bishop ? said the councillor,
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 councillor 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 asked.
"To the Holm !" repeated the councillor, who did not know, you
see, in what period he was. "I 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 understand them. "I don't understand your Bornholm
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 where were the cabs ?-not one was 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
Now he went towards 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
THE COUNCILLOR IS AILARMD.
In the meantime, however, he found a passage open, and through this
he came out upon our New M\arket; 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
"Either I behold a Fata Mlorgana, or I am tipsy," sighed the coun-
cillor. What can that be ? what can that be ? "
He turned back, in the full persuasion that he must be ill. In walk-
ing 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
68 Stories for the Household.
one shop is to be seen; old, miserable, tumble-down huts are all I see,
as if I were at Roeskilde or Ringstedt. 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, consist-
ing of seamen, citizens of Copenhagen, and a few scholars, sat in deep
conversation over their jugs, and paid little attention to the new comer.
I beg pardon," said the councillor 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 councillor now supposed that she did not understand Danish,
so he repeated his wish in the German language. This, and his cos-
tume, convinced the woman that he was a foreigner. She soon under-
stood 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 outside.
The councillor leaned his head on 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 that 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 appearance in the air which had
been seen in the city of Cologne.
That is very old! said the councillor, who became quite cheerful
at sight of this antiquity. How did you come by this strange leaf ?
That is very interesting, although the whole thing is a fable. Now-a-
days these appearances are explained to be northern lights that have
been seen; probably 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 councillor; "I can only say a word or two
about things one ought to understand."
Modestia is a beautiful virtue," said the man. Moreover, I must
say to your speech, 'm ihi secus videtur;' yet I will gladly suspend my
May I ask with whom I have the pleasure of speaking ? asked the
"I am a bachelor of theology," replied the man.
This answer sufficed for the councillor; the title corresponded with
Certainly," he thought, "this must be an old village schoolmaster,
a queer character, such as one finds sometimes over in Jutland."
The Goloshes of Fortune. 69
This is certainly not a locus 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 councillor. "I am fond of reading useful
old books; and am fond of the modern ones, too, with the exception o!
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 romance by
Messieurs Iffven and Gaudian, which talks about King Arthur and his
knights of the Round Table. He has jested about it with his noble lords.
That I have certainly not yet read," said the councillor: that must
be quite a new book published by Heiberg."
No," retorted the man, "it is not published by Heiberg, but by
Godfrey von Gehmep.*
"Indeed! is he the author ?" asked the councillor. "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 councillor supposed that he meant the cholera,
and so the conversation went on tolerably. The Freebooters' War of
1490 was so recent that it could not escape mention. The English
pirates had taken ships from the very wharves, said the man; and the
councillor, who was well acquainted with the events of 1801, joined in
manfully against the English. The rest of the talk, however, did not
pass over so well; every moment there was a contradiction. The good
bachelor was terribly ignorant, and the simplest assertion of the coun-
cillor 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 coun-
cillor by the sleeve.
Now his recollection came back: in the course of the conversation he
had forgotten everything that had happened.
Good heavens! where am I ?" he said, and he felt dizzy when he
thought of it.
"We '11 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 colours. They
poured out drink and bowed: the councillor felt a cold shudder running
all down his back. "What's that? what's that ?" he cried; but he
was obliged to drink with them. They took possession of the good man
The first printer and publisher in Denmark, under King Hans.
70 Stories for the Household.
quite politely. 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 heathenism," was
his reflection. This is the most terrible moment 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 discovered his intention. They seized
him by the feet; and now the goloshes, to his great good fortune, came
off, and-the whole enchantment vanished.
The councillor 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
towards a porch, and opposite 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 me !"
Two minutes afterwards 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.
Th1e Watchman's Adventures.
On my word, yonder lies a pair a goloshes !" said the watchman.
" They must certainly belong to the lieutenant who lives upstairs. They
are lying close to the door."
The honest man would gladly have rung the bell and delivered them,
for upstairs there was a light still burning; 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 man! "
As he uttered the wish, the goloshes he had put on produced their
effect, and the watchman was 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 lieu.
-The Goloshes of Fortune. 71
tenant himself. 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 poetry 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 happi-
ness. The lieutenant felt that very keenly, and so he laid his head
against the window-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 rejoice 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!"
,t I 1, : ,
-11 l -
THE WATCHMAN THINKS OF GOING TO THE MOON.
In that same moment the watchman became a watchman again; for
through the power of the goloshes of Fortune he had assumed the per-
sonality 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 became 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 was 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
72 Stories for the Household.
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 cautious of making
in this world, but doubly careful when we have goloshes of Fortune on
our feet. Just hear what happened 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 seconds 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
pame 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, unless, 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. HIe found himself on one of the
many ring mountains with which we are familiar from Dr. Mhdler'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 white of 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 ball.
He immediately became aware of a number of beings, who were cer-
tainly what we call men," but their appearance was very different from
ours. If they had been put up in a row and painted, one would have
said, "That's a beautiful arabesque !" They had also a language, but
no one could expect that the soul of the watchman should understand
it. But the watchman's soul did understand it, for our souls have far
greater abilities than we suppose. Does not its wonderful dramatic
talent 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 not 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 pecu-
liarities 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 lips ?
The Goloshes of Fortune. 73
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 asserted, 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 watchman.
He sat lifeless upon the stairs. His pike had fallen out of his hand,
and his eyes stared up at the moon, which his honest body was wonder-
"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 was, 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 afterwards 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 stupid.
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 goloshes; and then the soul had to
come back. It took its way directly towards the body, and in a few
seconds there was life in the man. He declared that this had been the
most terrible 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
A Great Moment.-A very Unusual Journey.
Every one 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 belong 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 between 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
74 Stories for the Household.
world, small heads were the most fortunate. This will be sufficient as
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 goloshes of Fortune. They
would do him very good service in this rainy weather, and .he pulled
them on. Now the question 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 imme-
diately, 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'm too fat," said he. "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 wishing,
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 until the morning, and then they would have to send for a
blacksmith, to file through the iron bars. But such a business 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's 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 theatre 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
any one 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 Goloshes of Fortune. 75
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'11 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 another 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
shrivelled 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
Orthopedic Institute, 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 patients 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 himself had become
another and a better man. He felt himself not unworthy 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 respectable 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 we 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.
76 Stories for the Household.
Then he fancied himself transported into a narrow needle-case full of
pointed needles; and he thought, This must decidedly be the heart of
an old maid!" But that was not the case. It was a young officer,
wearing several orders, and of whom one said, He's a man of intellect
Quite confused was tne 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 powerful 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! "
THE VOLUNTEER TRIES A BLISTER.
And now he remembered the great event of the last evening, 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-house."
And there he lay on the highest board in the vapour bath; but he
was lying there in all his clothes, in boots and goloshes, and the hot drops
from the ceiling were falling on his face.
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 madness.
Next morning he had a very sore back; and that was all he had got
by the goloshes of Fortune.
The Goloshes of Fortune. 77
The Transformation of the Copying Clerk.
The watchman, whom we surely have not yet forgotten, in the mean-
time thought of the goloshes, which he had found and brought to the
hospital. He took them away; but as neither the lieutenant nor any
one 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 belonged 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. But now it
was Sunday morning, and the weather was fine. A walk to Frede-
ricksburg 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 vegeta-
ting creature, so the goloshes had no opportunity of displaying their
In the avenue he met an acquaintance, one of our younger poets,
who told him that 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, you should just fxy it,
poring over the frivolous affairs in the court."
The poet shook his head; the copying clerk shook his head also:
each retained his own opinion; and thus they parted.
They are a strange race, these poets!" thought the copying 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."
78 Stories for the Household.
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 natures more poetical than those of many an
acknowledged poet. The difference is only that the poet has a better
spiritual memory: his ears hold fast the feeling and the idea until they
are embodied dearly 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
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. The 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
window-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 creature 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 office, 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
infive acts.' What is that ? And it is my own hand. Have I written
this tragedy ? The Intrigue on the Promenade; or, the Day of Pe-
nance.- 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 theatre; 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. Involuntarily he grasped one of the nearest flowers; it was a
common little daisy. What the botanists require 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 fragrance. Then he thought
of the battles of life, which likewise awaken feelings in our breasts.
Air and light are the lovers of the flower, but light is the favoured one.
Towards 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 voice.
Just by him stood a boy, knocking with his stick upon the marshy
The Goloshes of Fortune. 79
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 was 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 time 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 plaintively, 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
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 every one 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 little
bird, and, in changing thus, the former peculiarity was lost.
That is charming he said. "In the day-time I sit in the police
office among the driest of law papers; at night I can dream that I am
flying about, as a lark in the Fredericksburg 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 pro-
portion to his size, seemed to him as long as palm branches of Northern
It was only for a moment, and then all around him became as the
blackest night. It seemed to him that some immense 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 him.
In the alley the boy met with two other boys, who belonged to the
educated classes, socially speaking; but, according to abilities, they
ranked in the lowest class in the school. These bought the bird for
80 Stories for the Household.
a few Danish shillings; and so the copying clerk was carried back to
It's a good thing that I am dreaming," he said, or I should become
really angry. First I was a poet, and now I'm 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
The boys carried him into a very elegant room. A stout 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.
TE COPYING CLERK CITANGEB HANDS.
"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
Polly did not answer a single word; he only swung 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 handkerchief over
Piep piep sighed he; here's a terrible snow-storm." 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 Comee, let's be men now Everything else that he
The Goloshes of Fortune. 81
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 under-
stood his comrades very well.
I flew under the green palm tree and the blossoming almond tree!"
sang the Canary. "I flew with my 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 educa-
tion. 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 pleasant. 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 remember the sweet
fruits and the cooling juice in the wild plants ?"
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. That 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!"
0 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 '11 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 Parrot. 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 grey 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 forgotten to close your cage; the upper
window is open. Fly! 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 sparkling 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 little.
The house opposite had a homelike look: one of the windows 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 imitating the
Parrot; and in the same moment he was restored to the form of the
copying clerk; but he was sitting on the table.
"Heaven preserve me!" he cried. "How could I have come here
82 Stories for the Household.
and fallen so soundly asleep ? That was an unquiet dream, too, that I
had. The whole thing was great nonsense."
The Best that the Goloshes brought.
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 neighbour 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
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 cities.
The theologian wandered up and down the path; it was only six
o'clock, and a post-horn sounded out in the street.
Oh, travelling travelling! he cried out, that's the greatest hap-
piness 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 immediately, for
he might have gone too far even for himself, and for us others too. He
was travelling; 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 hovering in a condition
between sleeping and waking. In his right-hand pocket he had his letter
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 possessions; and then he
would start up in a feverish way, and the first movement his hand made
was to describe a triangle from left to right, and towards his breast, to
feel whether he still possessed them or not. Umbrellas, hats, and walk-
ing sticks swang in the net over him, and almost took away the pros-
pect, 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:
'T is 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, whose summits were lost
in cloudy mists; and then it began to snow, and the wind blew cold.
The Goloshes of Fortune. 83
"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 prevents me from enjoying Switzerland.
Oh, if I were only at the other side!"
And then he was on the other side, in the midst of Italy, between
Florence and Rome. The lake Thrasymene lay spread out in the even-
ing 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 way-side. If we could
reproduce this scene accurately, all would cry, Glorious Italy!" But
neither the theologian nor any of his travelling companions in the
carriage of the vetturino thought this.
Poisonous flies and gnats flew into the carriage by thousands. In vain
they beat the air frantically with 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 great 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 remarkable green tone which we notice on
some old pictures, and consider unnatural unless we have ourselves
witnessed a similar play of colour. It was a glorious spectacle; but
the stomachs of all were empty and their bodies exhausted, and every
wish of the heart turned towards 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 towards the beauties of nature.
The way now led through an olive wood: he could have fancied him-
self passing between knotty willow trunks at home. Here, by the soli-
tary 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 with fingerless hands. This was
misery in rags indeed. "Eccellenza, miserabili!" 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
Yes, lay the table down in the stable," said one of the travellers.
"There, at least, one knows what one is breathing."
The windows were opened, so that a little fresh air might find its way
in; but quicker than the air came the withered arms and the continual
whining, "li~iserabili, Eccellenza On the walls were many inscrip-
tions; half of them were against La bella Italia."
84 Stories for the Household.
The supper was served. It consisted of a watery soup, seasoned with
pepper and rancid oil. This last dainty played a chief part in the 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 tra-
vellers kept watch while the rest slept. The theologian was the sentry.
Oh, how close it was in there! The heat oppressed him, the gnats
buzzed and stung, and the miserabili outside moaned in their dreams.
Yes, travelling would be all very well," said the theologian, "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 that I desire. Yes, something better-the best;
but what is that, and where is it ? In my own heart I know very well
what I want: I want to attain to a happy goal, the happiest of all!"
And so soon as the word was spoken he found himself at home. The
long white curtains hung down from the windows, 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. Esteem 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
"Thou strong, stern Death! Thy silence waketh fear
Thou leaves moould'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 hast sped,
Heavier those duties on thy heart would 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 slum-
bers here," replied Happiness.
Oh, no!" said Care. "He went away of himself, he was not sum-
moned. His spirit was not strong enough to lift the treasures which
he had been destined to lift. I will do him a favour."
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
,.s her property.
THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT OF TIN SOLDIERS.
THE HARDY TIN SOLDIER.
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 read and
blue, and very splendid. The first thing they had heard in the world,
when the lid was taken off 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 soldier 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 re-
On the table on which they had been placed stood many other play-
things, but the toy that attracted most attention was a neat castle of
j" .'. '--
THE~ HARDY~lB TI SLDER
iHEIEwr nefv n tef i odes;thywr ] rtes
fo feyba llben or f neol nspon hysolee hi
musets in lokdsrihtbfr hm: hi nirmwsra n
ble ndvr slnid.Tefrt hn hy er in h wrd
whenr'' th li a ie f hi ox a entewrs"i
soldr!"Tee odswr utrd ya ite o, lpin i
hand ~: teslir a engvnt im otwshsbrha n
nowhepu thm po ite tal.Echslirwa xclylk
''esf ; I but on ofte i be atl:' o l, n hr hdnbe
enuh i o iis i ;~11 bu esoda imy pnhsoelga
theothrs n hei two 1;1 ;n tw utsSlie h ecm e
markable.i Ii I;
Oa 'h ~l onI wh~ichte a be lcd to ay te l
thigs bu th o ha trctdms ttninwa etateo
86 Stories for the Household.
cardboard. Through the little windows 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 1 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 on 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 nutcracker 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 off the
snuff-box; but there was not 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 con-
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.storey. That was a terrible passage! iHe
pTt his leg straight up, and stack with his helmet downwards and his
bayonet between the paving-stones.
The servant-maid and the little boy came down directly to look for
him, but though they almost trod upon him 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 fitting to call out loudly, because he was in uni-
The Hardy Tin Soldier. 87
Now it began to rain; the drops soon fell thicker, and at last it came
down in a complete stream. When the rain was past, two street boys
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 countenance, and looked straight
before him, and shouldered his musket.
All at once the boat went into a long drain, and it became 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. Ahh! if the little lady only sat here with me in the boat,
it might be twice as dark for what I should care."
Suddenly there came a great Water Rat, which lived under the drain.
"Have you a passport ? said the Rat. Give me your passport."
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 wood,
"Hold him I hold him! he hasn't paid toll-he hasn't shown his pass-
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:
SFarewell, 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..
88 Stories for the Household.
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 into 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 travelled 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 colours 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 like 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
THE STORY OF A MOTHER.
A MOTHER sat by her little child: she was very sorrowful, and feared
that it would die. Its little face was pale, and its eyes were closed.
The child drew its breath with difficulty, and sometimes so deeply as if
it were sighing; and then the mother looked more sorrowfully than
before on the little creature.
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 face.
THE MOTHER WATCHING HER SICK CHILD.
And as the old man trembled with cold, and the child was quiet for a
moment, the mother went and put some beer on the stove in a little pot,
to warm it for him. The old man sat down and rocked the cradle, and
the mother seated herself 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