This item is only available as the following downloads:
iii! Pi .j 1,;""
- I- '""H
The Baldwin Library
t 7Stao tsq-".
UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME.
.ESOP'S FABLES, with Morals. With over Ioo Illustra-
tions. Square Demy 8vo (53 x 8 inches), re-set from new type of large
size, and carefully printed on fine surfaced plate paper to ensure a
good appearance for the Illustrations, and luxuriously bound in the
best cloth, lavishly decorated with gold and gilt top. Price 2/6.
For size and for combined excellence of type, printing, paper, and binding,
and-not least-for lowness of price, the two following works will be
found to stand out prominently among the mass of cheaply bound and
worse printed apologies for books, that are too often nowadays offered
as suitable for children's prizes :
Wetherell. THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD. By E.
WETHERELL. With a new frontispiece, by W. T. SMITH, printed on
plate paper. Square Demy 8vo (5 x80 inches), re-set from new type
of large size, and carefully printed on fine white laid paper, and
luxuriously bound in the best cloth, lavishly decorated with gold and
gilt top. Price 2/6.
L. M. Alcott. LITTLE WOMEN AND GOOD WIVES.
By L. M. ALCOTT. With a new frontispiece, by W. T. SMITH,
printed on plate paper. Square Demy 8vo (51 x 8g inches), re-set from
new type of large size, and carefully printed on fine white laid paper,
and luxuriously bound in the best cloth, lavishly decorated with gold
and giltP. Price 2/6.
THE first English translation of Andersen's "Eventyr," under the
title of Danish Fairy Legends and Tales, was published by Pickering
in 1846. Mrs Howitt was the translator. This edition, however,
contained only fourteen tales.
In 1852 a second enlarged edition appeared, containing forty-five
tales, and being at the time the only complete collection printed
in this country. These were made from the original Danish, and
not from any of the German versions, as are many of the more
The present edition is a verbatim reprint of the fourteen tales
of the 1846 edition and of the remaining thirty-one of the second
edition of 1852. It may be interesting to note that the second
edition is more rare than the first.
(See page 9o)
DANISH FAIRY TALES
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
With a Memoir of the Author
With Sixteen Illustrations by W. H. Robinson
BLISS, SANDS & CO.
12 BURLEIGH STREET, STRAND, W.C.
f MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, .II
THE WILD SWANS, 29
THE UGLY DUCKLING, 42
THE LITTLE MERMAID, 50
THE STORKS, 68
THE NIGHTINGALE, 72
LITTLE IDA'S FLOWERS, 80
THE SWINEHERD, 86
-k THE DUSTMAN,. 90
THE DAISY, 99
THE BUCKWHEAT, 102
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, 104
THE REAL PRINCESS, 108
THE TOP AND THE BALL, IO9
THE GARDEN OF PARADISE, III
THE FIR-TREE, 122
MOTHER ELDER, 129
THE SNOW QUEEN, 142
HOLGER THE DANE, 168
GREAT CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS, 181
THE CONSTANT TIN SOLDIER, 19
THE NAUGHTY BOY, 194
THE ANGEL, .. 196
THE CLOGS OF FORTUNE, 198
THE SHEPHERDESS AND THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER, 222
THE TINDER BOX, 226
THE RED SHOES, 233
THE FELLOW TRAVELLERS, 238
THE LEAPING MATCH, 256
THE ROSE-ELF, 258
THE. FLYING TRUNK, 262
THE OLD STREET LAMP, 267
THE LITTLE MATCH-GIRL, 273
THE NEIGHBOURS, 276
THE BELL, 285
THE DARNING-NEEDLE, 291
LITTLE TUK, 293
THE SHADOW, 297
THE OLD HOUSE, 308
THE FLAX, 315
THE DROP OF WATER, 319
THE HAPPY FAMILY, 321
THE FALSE COLLAR, 325
STORY OF A MOTHER, 328
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
THE DUSTMAN, .
SHE WALKED ON A LITTLE FARTHER AND MET AN
OLD WOMAN WITH A BASKET FULL OF BERRIES,
"ACH! DU LIEBER AGUSTIN
ALLES IST WEG, WEG, WEG !"
.... AND THE OLD KING, THE PRINCE'S FATHER,
WENT OUT HIMSELF TO OPEN IT, .
HE WAS SITTING ON THE BACK OF THE EAST WIND,
HE WAS BUSIED AMONG THE SHARP ICY FRAGMENTS,
.. HE DISCOVERED THREE SILVER COINS STICKING
AT THE BOTTOM, .
IS HE NOT A MISCHIEVOUS BOY?
BEWARE OF HIM, BEWARE OF HIM, DEAR CHILD I
A SOLDIER WAS MARCHING ALONG THE HIGH-ROAD-
RIGHT, LEFT! RIGHT, LEFT! .
.... AND THE GOOD OLD KING LIVED THROUGH
MANY HAPPY DAYS, .
.... ALL AT ONCE HE MADE A LITTLE SIDE-LONG
JUMP INTO THE LAP OF THE PRINCESS,
.... AND BURIED BOTH HEAD AND BODY IN THE
MOIST EARTH UNDER A LIME-TREE,
.... HE, MEANTIME, GOES ABOUT THE WORLD TELL-
ING STORIES, .
THE KING'S SON RAISED HIS ARMS IN GRATEFUL
RAPTURE TOWARDS HEAVEN, SEA, AND FOREST,.
LITTLE TUK, .
.... AND THE WIND BLEW KEEN AND CUTTING
INTO THE WANDERER'S FACE, .
facing page 32
,, ,, 89
,, ,, x64
,, ,, 186
,, ,, 195
,, ,, 226
,, ,, 255
,, ,, 257
,, ,, 259
,, ,, 266
,, ,, 289
,, ,, 293
,, ,, 328
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN, the author of these tales, may not with-
out reason call himself "the Child of Good Fortune." Born at
Odense, an obscure town in the island of Funen, his father a shoe-
maker, his mother a poor wonian-so poor, that in her childhood she
was sent out to beg in the streets-intended by his parents to gain
his livelihood as a tailor, and so uninstructed that, when at the age
of eighteen he tried in Copenhagen to support himself by composing
pieces for the theatre, he could not write and spell his own language
correctly-he has yet attracted the sympathy and esteem of the noblest
and choicest spirits of his own land, he has won friends in almost all
countries of Europe, especially among highly-cultured and genial
minds, and by giving them hours of refreshment and pleasure has
awakened kindly feelings in the hearts of thousands personally un-
known to him. Envy, opposition, and misconstruction lie has had
to encounter, both from those in whose rank he was born, and those
to whose level he has raised himself: realising the dream of his
youth, he has gone through a great deal of adversity ere at last he
became famous." But, indeed, as he says of the long-despised hero
of the fable which shadows forth his own life-history, "It matters not
to have been born in a duck-yard, when one has been hatched from
a swan's egg."
Andersen's early years were, however, very happy; his parents,
poor as they were, never suffered hiin to feel Want, and indulged him
in all his childish fancies. His father, an intelligent man, was the
son of a country farmer, who, after sustaining severe misfortunes,
finally lost his reason; but although some neighbours had half
promised to send the son to a grammar-school, their good intentions
had evaporated in talk, and he had instead been bound apprentice
to a 'shoemaker. But he could never reconcile himself to this
mechanical occupation, rarely associated with his equals, and spent
all his leisure in' reading aloud to little Hans Christian, especially
from Holberg's Comedies, and the "Arabian Nights," or iti taking
long rambles with him through the pleasant beech-woods of the
island. There, whilst the child ran about, threading strawberries, or
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
making; garlands of wild-flowers, the father would sit down silently
brooding over the one great disappointment of his life. Sometimes
he amused himself in making toys, amongst others a little puppet-
theatre, with a whole dramatic corps of dolls, which his son took
great delight in dressing, afterwards making them act the plays his
father read to him. And though so dreamy a child, that he con-
tinually walked about with his eyes shut, every slight incident and
scene of his early life seems to have been deeply impressed on his
References to these constantly occur in his writings : his parents'
humble garden, consisting of a few vegetables grown in a box filled
with mould, and placed on the gutter between theirs and the neigh-
bouring house, still blooms in his story of the Snow-Queen "; a
likeness of his half-witted grandfather, a harmless old man, who lived
in a small house with his excellent, intelligent, industrious wife,
spending his time in carving figures out of wood, may be found in
the legend of "Holger the Dane"; and the pair of boots, the first
he ever possessed, that were given him to wear at his confirmation,
and so distracted his mind from his devotions, are immortalized in
little "Karen's Red Shoes."
One anecdote of his childhood is worth preserving.
He and his mother were gleaning in some fields where the bailiff
had the reputation of being a savage, coarse-minded man. Upon
the appearance of this formidable personage, armed with a heavy
whip, all the gleaners took flight, but little Hans Christian's clumsy
wooden shoes fell off, the stubble pricked his bare feet, and he was
unable to effect his escape. He saw the bailiff close behind him,
brandishing the whip over his head; however, with a sudden im-
pulse of courage, the child looked his pursuer steadily in the face, and
exclaimed, How dare you strike me when God can see you "
At this the man's rough visage softened at once; instead of hurting
the boy he stroked his cheeks, asked his name, and even gave him
When Hans Christian was about nine years old, his father, who
had lately grown more and more restless and moody, enlisted among
the troops preparing to join Napoleon, Denmark being then in league
with France. However, peace having been concluded, the regiment
advanced no farther than Holstein, and the soldier again became a
shoemaker; but his health had suffered from the sudden change in
his mode of life. One morning he awoke in feverish delirium, raving
of his imaginary campaign-life, and his favourite hero-Napoleon.
Conformably with the superstitious feeling of the place, his wife sent
off little Hans Christian, not to a physician, but to a so-called wise-
woman who lived in a little village half a mile from Odense, to learn
from her whether his father would live or die. The old dame
questioned the boy, took the measure of his arm with a woollen
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
thread, and, after various other cabalistical manceuvres, laid a green
bough on his breast, a bough off a tree of the same kind as that of
which the cross of our Saviour was made,-so, at least, she assured
him. She then bade him go home by the river-side, for that if his
father were to die of this illness, he would meet his ghost by the way.
Poor child a pleasant walk it must have been for him "But thou
hast not met any such thing, hast thou ?" asked his mother, on his
repeating to her the reply of the oracle. No, he had not. Unfor-
tunately for the credit of the wise-woman, his father died three days
after. His mother married again, but the step-father never interfered
either with Hans Christian or his education. He was left for a long
time to amuse himself with his little puppet-theatre, making clothes
for his dolls out of all the bright-coloured pieces of silk and cloth he
could procure. His mother was well pleased with this employment,
thinking it a good preparation for the tailor-trade, for which she was
convinced he had a decided vocation; but he, on the contrary, de-
clared his full determination to be a play-actor and poet. This last
desire had been awakened in him by his visits to a kind old lady,
Madame Bunkeflod, the widow of a clergyman, of some poetical
reputation, and whose sister, as well as his widow,, opened their
house and heart to the tall yellow-haired youth. Hans Christian
frequently heard Bunkeflod's sister talk of "my brother, the poet,"
with kindling eyes, and an enthusiasm which showed that the
epithet "poet" had something sacred and glorious in it; here, too,
he read a translation of Shakespeare, and while under these inspira-
tions he wrote his first play.
This was of course a tragedy: the subject was Pyramus and
Thisbe, all the dramatic persona being killed off in the closing scene;
for the greater the number of people dying, the more interesting our
young aspirant thought the play must be. His second piece was
still more ambitious-a king and queen were introduced; but now
came this difficulty-how were they to speak ? for he thought it
would be quite derogatory to their majesties' dignity to talk ordinary
He asked his mother and several others how a king ought to
speak, but unfortunately it was so long since any such exalted
personage had visited Odense that no one could enlighten him on
this point. All were agreed, however, that a king must speak some
foreign language, so he procured himself a lexicon, and manufactured
for the use of the royal pair a sort of Babel-jargon, compounded of
German, English, and French.
The young dramatist wished every one to hear his pieces, not
merely for the sake of winning admiration, but for the pleasure he
took in reading them aloud. But it was a great affliction to him,
shy and sensitive as he was, when the boys in the street hooted him,
and shouted "There runs -the play-writer However, the sort of
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
reputation he acquired also brought him happiness, for some of the
gentry of the place, struck by his passion for reading, his aptness for
reciting whole scenes from plays, and his clear, beautiful voice,
invited him to their houses, and lent him books. His mother sent
him for a short period to a charity-school, but here he did not learn
riuch and at the age of fourteen, having been confirmed, it was
settled that he should be apprenticed to a tailor.
Aind now came the great question! Should he yield to his
mother's wishes, or satisfy his own indefinite longing for some career
more refined and elevated? Probably the recollection of the un-
happy life his father had led as a handicraftsman strengthened his
resolution. He had carefully saved up his money during the past
year, and now found it to amount to about thirty shillings. With this
immense wealth at his disposal, he entreated his mother to allow
him to journey to Copenhagen, "the greatest city in the world,"
according to his notions.
"What would'st thou do there ? was her very natural question.
"I will become famous," was the reply; and then he recounted
to her all he had ever heard or read of great men who had risen
from poverty, concluding invariably every history with the same
moral, viz., that "People had a great deal of adversity to go through,
and then at last they became famous." His own vehement prayers
and tears were probably more powerful arguments with his mother,
ignorant as she was of the world and its ways. She consented to
abide by the decision of a certain wise-woman from the hospital.
One would have supposed that the ill-success attending his former
application to one of these female oracles might have destroyed her
faith in them, but it seems otherwise. The' old lady in question
consulted her coffee-grounds and her cards; she announced that the
lad would become a great man, and that some day Odense should
be illuminated in his honour, and thus the matter was decided.
The neighbours, however, who had no great opinion of young
Andersen, and disliked his peculiarities, represented to the mother
the folly of sending a boy of fourteen to lose himself in a great city
where he knew no one; and to all they said his mother agreed,
"but," she said, "he left her no peace"; besides, she felt sure that
"when he got in sight of'the sea he would be frightened and ttirn
back again." It must be confessed that our young hero had as yet.
a very vague notion how to commence the glorious career he felt
himself destined to pursue. Some way or other connected with the
stage he must be, but in what capacity, whether as play-writer or
play-actor, singer or dancer, he was quite undetermined.
Andersen's little bundle of clothes was now made up, a bargain
was struck with the driver of a postchaise, who was to take him
back with him to Cpenihagen, and his mother and giranidmother
took leave of him at the gates of Odense.
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR. 15
Piror Nyborg th'6 ship bore him across the Belt. As soon as it
anchored, and he set foot on the coast of Zealard, he stepped be-
hind a shed, arid there, kneeling down, prayed the God 6f the father-
less to help and guide him.
He now travelled a whole night and day without resting, and on
the morning of Septeniber 5,.1819, got out of the carriage arid, his
bundle in his hand, entered the capital, where he imniediately
sought out a certain Madame Schall, to whom he had a letter of
iiitroduction. Upon this lady, who, it seems, was an opera-dancer
of some repute, he does not appear to have made a favourable im-
pression j but, nothing daunted, he next went to the manager of a
theatre and asked for an engagement. The reply was, that he was
"too thin for the stage." "Oh, no," returned the supplicant, "if
you will but give me a salary of a hundred rix-dollars banco, I
shall soon get fat." But the manager looked grave at this proposal,
and told him he "never engaged any but people of education."
Poor Andersen! this repulse wounded him sore, and there was
no one to whom he could go for counsel: his own words are, "I
thought of death as the only help for me, but even amid this anguish
my thoughts rose to God, resting upon Him with all the undoubting
confidence of a child in his father. I wept bitterly; but still I said
to myself, 'When all seems dark and hopeless, God always sends
help.; I haveread so many times people must suffer much, very
much, before they can attain their heart's desire.'"
After paying his bill, he found he had only one rix-dollar left;
it was clear, therefore, that something must be done at once. He
offered himself to a cabinetmaker in want of an apprentice; one day,
however, spent with the journeymen, who, in their master's absence,
indulged in a great deal of coarse jesting, so disgusted hiii that he
could not endure it longer. It then occurred to him that no one
in Copenhagen had heard his beaiitiful voice, so often praised in his
own country; and as the name of the Italiani director of the Academy
of Music- Sibodi-was familiar to him, he hastened, in a state of
great excitement, to his house.
Siboni was at dinner with a large party; Andersen told his story
to the housekeeper, who listened with interest, and thii went and
repeated it to the compare. Presently the diniig-rooni door opened,
and all the guests came out to look at the young adventurer; he was
called upon to sing, and recite some scenes from Holberg, but, in the
midst of this declamation, the sense of his poverty and dependent
situation so overcame him that he could not restrain his tears. All
present encouraged him, and, which was more to the purpose,
Siboni, who had listened attentively to his singing, promised to
cul ivaite his. ,.ice, and bring him out at the Theatre Royal.
He was now perfectly satisfied with the prospects opening before
him, and sent a rapturous letter home to his mother. Professor
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
Weyse, one of Siboni's guests, collected seventy rix-dollars for him;
and Siboni himself received him into his house, gave him his board,
and instructed him. But this happiness was of short duration; in
six months his voice broke, and Siboni told him he had better go
back to Odense and learn a trade. Return to Odense, and be
the laughing-stock of the place! better learn a trade in Copenhagen.
However, he did neither. Professor Guldberg, a relation of one of
his friends in Odense, gave him temporary assistance, and introduced
him to one or two actors, from whom he received now a lesson in
Latin, now in dancing, now in singing, now in recitation; he was
even suffered to appear on the stage sometimes. Meanwhile he
lived almost entirely on dry bread, and his clothes were nearly
threadbare. Three years had he passed in this miserable manner
when one day he received a letter from the directors of the theatre,
dismissing him from the dancing and singing schools, and telling
him that the instruction given there could be of no possible use to
him, but that he ought to apply to some friends, and endeavour to
move them to.bestow upon him a regular education, without which
his talents would remain useless. The idea of becoming a student
had been suggested to Andersen before, and in the hope of obtaining
the necessary funds, he had composed and sent to the directors a
tragedy called "The Robbers of Wissenburg "; but as it was written
in defiance of all the rules of grammar, it had, of course, been returned.
Now, however, he set to work upon a new tragedy, to be entitled
"Alfsol," and this, when finished, was also sent to the managers,
accompanied by a letter from one Dean Gutfeldt. The whole
summer was spent in anxious suspense. Scott's novels, with which
he at that period became acquainted through a circulating library,
formed his only pleasure, and even the consolation they afforded
could only be obtained at the sacrifice of a dinner.
Yet this summer proved the turning-point of Andersen's fortunes:
it brought him a true and steady friend, one who became to him a
second father, and in whose house he found a real home. This was
the Conference-Councillor Collin. Some one mentioned Andersen's
case to him, and he sent for the youth. His manner was grave and
cold; he said little, and did not seem to admire the tragedy which
had been shown him; consequently Andersen, who was accustomed
to receive either injudicious praise or undiscriminating censure,
went away chilled and disappointed. His tragedy, too, was in a few
days finally rejected. It was therefore a most unexpected happiness
when he received a letter informing him that not only was he to
receive from King Frederick VI. a small annual stipend, but that
he was to be admitted, free of expense, into the grammar-school at
Slagelse. For this he was indebted to Collin: from Collin he was
to receive the money every quarter; Collin was responsible for his
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
Alas, the poor shoemaker of Odense Why had he not lived to
see the joyful day when his son became a student! when his son
should receive the education he so much coveted for himself!
However, Andersen did not find his school-life so particularly
delightful. At the age of eighteen, after writing tragedies and poems
numberless, he had to sit down on the lowest form and learn to
spell with the youngest boys in the school of Slagelse. It was not a
pleasant situation by any means; and, shy, awkward, and peculiarly
sensitive to ridicule, he could not help feeling it acutely. The
rector of the school appeared to take pleasure in tormenting him;
he had little confidence in himself, and, though resolute and per-
severing in his application, he could not make the progress he
desired. Collin had charged his protdg6 to write to him without
restraint and tell him everything; this permission was a great relief
to Andersen, and he often availed himself of it. On one occasion
he wrote to express his distress because "very good" had been
written in his character-book, instead of "particularly good," as was
usual; "he could not," he said, "imagine what he had done to
occasion the difference." Another time the rector had called him
"stupid," and he feared he was so, and that he did not deserve all
that was done for him. Collin alone could reassure and comfort
him in all his troubles, and this he was never slow to do. More-
over, his old friend, Colonel Guldberg, during this period of his
life, kindly furnished him with the means for re-visiting his birth-
place. Speaking of this temporary return to his boyhood's home,
he says, "When I came in sight of the tall, old church-tower of
Odense, I felt more and more affected; I felt how God had cared
for me, and I burst into tears. My mother rejoiced over me, the
families of Iversen and Guldberg gave me a hearty welcome, and I
saw windows opening in the street, and faces looking out at me, for
all knew how well I had prospered."
After a time the rector, weary of his residence at Slagelse, applied
for the appointment of rector in the grammar-school at Helsingbr.
He obtained it, and invited Andersen to remove with him thither
and lodge in his house, promising to give him private lessons in
Latin and Greek. With Collin's approval, the invitation was
accepted. His new home, however, did not prove a happy one;
the rector's continual depreciation and sarcasm made him thoroughly
miserable; and it was fortunate that one of the masters, when on a
visit at Copenhagen, informed his patron of his uncomfortable
position. Collin immediately recalled Andersen to Copenhagen;
and henceforth he was to study under a private tutor.
In September 1828, after passing his examination, he brought
out his first book, entitled "A Journey on Foot to Amager," and
also a play, which, this time was accepted and actually performed,
but these trifles did not divert him from severer studies) and in the
18 MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
following year he passed his Examen Philologicum et Philosophicum,
-an examination which, notwithstanding its high-sounding title, we
may presume, was not a very awful affair. From this period the
course of his life seems to have flowed smoothly enough, his chief
if not only trouble being the ill-natured satire of some of his critics,
an annoyance, however, which must have been very light when
weighed in the balance with the attachment of those warm and
steady friends he had won among all ranks and different countries.
In 1831 he made a tour of Germany, and there became ac-
quainted'with Tieck and Chamisso. Two years later he received a
stipend to enable him to travel again, and he then visited France
and Italy. This excursion was the source of what may be deemed
his strongest inspiration. The luxuriant beauty of Italian scenery,
and the happy, joyous life of the people, blended with the memory
of his own early struggles and fancies, gave birth to the most poetical
of his works, the "Improvisatore," the first chapter of which was
written in Rome, and which was finished in Copenhagen, on his
return. The dedication runs thus: "To the Conference-Councillor
Collin and his noble wife, in whom I found parents, whose children
were brothers and sisters to me, whose house was my home, do I
here offer the best of what I possess."
The novels of "O.T. and "Only a Fiddler" quickly followed.
"A Poet's Bazaar" appeared in 184x. But it is unnecessary here
to enumerate our author's writings. They all bear the impress of his
peculiar character, of that childlike simplicity and candour, that
genuine love for and close observation of nature, and the quiet,
gentle humour with which he observes the world and its ways. A
true child of the people, Andersen is never more felicitous than
when painting popular life; he has of late years been conversant
with kings and princes, but even in the atmosphere of'courts he has
preserved the heart of a peasant. One of the prettiest and most
unpretending of his little volumes is the "Picture-book without
Pictures." In this he describes the attic-chamber in Copenhagen
where he lodged whilst a student, and relates how the moon shone
into his lonely room night after night, telling him stories of what she
had seen elsewhere. As these stories, or rather sketches, are not so
well known as they deserve to be, we will give a translation of one
of them. It may serve as a specimen of the rest.
"Along the shore "-thus begins the Moon-" extends a wood,
oaks and beech-trees grow there, whose fresh and fragrant shades
are haunted every spring by a hundred nightingales; close by lies
the sea, the ever-changing sea, and between the sea and the wood
runs the high road. Carriage after carriage rolls by; I do not care
to follow them; my eye loves to rest on one spot-upon the grave-
mound of an old Danish warrior, where brambles and sloeberries
have grown out from among the cairn-stones. There is Nature's
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
genuine poetry in this scene. And by how many people, think you,
is this poetry felt and understood ? I will repeat to' thee the obser-
vations I heard there last night. First came two merchants. 'Fine
trees those!' said one. 'There must be ten cartloads of firewood
in each,' replied the other; 'it will be a severe winter, I fancy,-
how did we sell wood last year? '-and then they were gone.
f" 'What a miserable road!' exclaimed the next passer-by. 'And
those abominable trees,' said his companion; no free current of air
at all except from the sea,' and their carriage rattled past.
"'Next drove by the diligence; all the passengers were asleep,
sleeping over the very loveliest scene the whole journey could show
them; the conductor was blowing his horn, thinking the while,
'Certainly I do it very well, and it sounds beautifully in this quiet
"And now came two young men riding on horseback. 'Ah,'
thought I, here is youth, and youth must have a feeling for nature's
poetry.' And in truth they both smiled as they glanced at the moss-
grown barrow and dusky grove. 'I should like a walk with Christine
here,' said one, and on they rode.
"And the fragrance of the wild-flowers was so strong, and every
breeze was at rest; the sea appeared only part of the sky which
arched over the deep valley.
"Again a carriage rattled past; there were six persons in it; four
were asleep, the fifth was occupied with thoughts of his tailor and
his new frock-coat, the sixth put his head out of the window and
asked the coachman if there was anything remarkable about that
heap of stones. 'No,' was the reply, 'but the trees are remarkable.'
'How? '-' Why, you see, in the winter, when the snow lies deep
and the road is hidden under it, those trees serve me as a land-
mark, and save me from driving into the sea; that is what makes
them remarkable.' And this carriage passed.
"Next came an artist; his eyes sparkled, he said not a word, but
kept whistling. The nightingales were singing as though each were
trying to be louder than the rest. 'Be quiet!' exclaimed the artist,
and he began to dot into his sketch-book the varied tints around
him, 'blue, dark-brown,-it will make a splendid picture!' thought
he. He took the whole landscape, just as a mirror would have
done, humming the while a march of Rossini's.
"The last passer-by was a poor young girl; she sat down to rest
on the warrior's grave; laying her burden by her side, her sweet,
pale face was raised, listening, towards the grove, her eyes glistened,
and as she glanced over the sea towards the sky, she clasped her
hands, and I believe she repeated 'Our Father.' She, herself, com-
prehended not the feeling that thrilled through her; but I am per-
suaded that in her future years the scene where she enjoyed that
minute of repose will frequently rise before her mind, far more
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
beautiful, nay, far more true, than as it is painted in the artist's
sketch-book, where the colours are so exactly copied. My beams,"
continued the Moon, "followed the poor girl till daylight kissed her
It now remains to speak of the faery tales contained in this
volume. They were written at intervals, and published a few at a
time. At first they were set forth as "Stories related to Children";
but as, after a while, Andersen found that they gave pleasure to
children of a larger growth, he dropped the original title, and has
since called every fresh series, "Nye Eventyr," or "New Tales";
the word eventyr' literally signifying wonderful tale. And, perhaps,
in no other species of composition is Andersen so much at home:
his exuberant fancy and good-humoured satire have here free play;
and the simple, fragmentary style of the legend leaves him less
fettered by rule than in his more ambitious fictions.
The stories respectively entitled "The Tinder-box," "The
Fellow-Travellers," "Great Claus and Little Claus," "The Wild
Swans," "The Real Princess," and "The Garden of Paradise" are
more or less altered from old traditionary tales told to the author in
his childhood. Certainly he has not written them down merely as
they lived in his memory: he has frequently altered the incidents,
and lent new colouring and freshness to the whole.
The fable of "The Naughty Boy" was borrowed from Anacreon,
that of "The Rose Elf" from a novel of Boccacio's. The original
story of "The Emperor's New Clothes" is to be found in "El
Conde Lucanor," a collection of moral apologues written by Don
"Holgar the Dane" is the same worthy whom the writers of
the old French romances celebrate as Ogier le Danois, the beloved
of Morgaine la Faye; who, it is fabled, retains him to this day
entranced in Avalon, in company with her brother King Arthur,
and other renowned knights. According to the romance, several
other fairies besides the powerful Morgaine presided at the hero's
birth, each bestowing on him some "noble and virtuous" gift, and
being thus endowed he distinguished himself in battle and council
This nobleman, born 1277, was son of a regent of Castile, and grandson to
King San Fernando. He was one of the most powerful of the Spanish Ricos
Hombres, and spent the greater part of his life in incessant warfare, now with
the Moors, now with his own liege sovereign, Alfonso the Magnificent. It
seems strange that he should have had either the taste or the leisure for inditing
a book of stories, or ensamples," as they are called. They profess to be related
for the instruction of a prince by his counsellor Patronio, each tale ending with
a distich by way of moral. The story identical with our friend Andersen's is to
be found in cap. 7, under the title De un rey y de tres burladores que a el
vinieron" ; the imposture here is discovered, not by a child, but by a poor black
man, who, having neither houses nor lands to lose, could afford to speak the
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
till he reached his hundredth year, when Morgaine thought fit to
release him from toil and care, and to that end causes him to be
shipwrecked on a rock near the castle of loadstone-the castle of
Avalon. Ogier is alone and begins to despair, when a voice bids
him "not be dismayed," but so soon as night shall come, and he
shall see a castle shining before him, to go towards it, making his
way from bark to bark till he shall find himself upon an island; he
is then to look about for a little path, and to follow it whithersoever
it shall lead him. And Ogier looks about, but can see no one.
However, when night comes, and the resplendent castle of Avalon is
revealed to his eyes, he commends himself to God, and contriving
to make himself a bridge over the numerous vessels that lay wrecked
around the rock, he arrives at the island, and passes on to the gate
of the castle. Two fierce lions guard the entrance, he slays them
both, and advancing into a hall, finds there a horse sitting at table.
The horse rises with the utmost politeness, and by signs invites
Ogier to sup with him. The meal being ended, the horse prevails
upon the warrior to get upon his back, and then carries him into a
bedchamber wherein to spend the night. This hospitable animal is
Papillon, a great prince, whom Arthur had conquered, and con-
demned to spend three years in silence, under the form of a horse;
at the end of that period he was, however, to be presented with the
crown of joy which is won in faery land. Next morning, while
wandering in a pleasant orchard, Ogier meets a most beautiful lady
clad in white and very richly adorned. She announces herself to be
Morgaine la Faye, and places on the Dane's finger a ring, where-
upon he, a man of a hundred years old, instantly recovers the vigour
and beauty of thirty. She then leads him back to Avalon to intro-
duce him to her brother Arthur, and as they approach the castle a
band of fay-ladies come out to meet them, singing so melodiously
that the like was never heard on earth; and on entering the hall
many others are seen, "toutes couronnees de couronnes tres
somptueusement faictes." Morgaine la Faye sets upon Ogier's head
a similar crown, and immediately he loses all memory of past
pleasures and pains: the joy of battle, love for his wife, "la dame
Clarice qui tant estait belle et noble," his brother Guyon, his nephew
Gualthier-all are forgotten, and he is content to stay in Avalon.
And such joyous pastimes did the faerie ladies devise for him as no
creature in the world could imagine, and thus time fleeted by so
quickly that a year seemed no longer than a month.
However, when two hundred years had expired, Morgaine, think-
ing the presence of her hero required to defend France and Italy
from the Paynims, took the Lethean crown off his head, upon
which his old ideas instantly rushed back upon him; the delights of
Avalon charmed him no longer, and he panted to return to his
warrior-life. The fairy gives him the horse Papillon; also a brand,
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
which must be preserved carefully, as, so long as it remains uncon-
sumed, so long shall his life endure. The faery ladies all come out
to sing him a farewell, and he and his comrade Benoist are eti-
veloped in a cloud which raises them from the earth, and presently
sets them down again by the side of a clear fountain hear Mont-
pellier. Ogier fights as he had been wont to fight, and disperses the
irifidels, after which Morgaine la Faye carries him back to Avalon.
Since then he has never been seen by mortal eyes.
This lively French fable contrasts strikingly with the gloomy
colouring of the Danish tradition, which represents the hero Holger
sitting "motionless in the dark vaults below Kronbdrg, his beard
grown into the table on which he leans. It is said that a noise like
the clash of arms having frequently been heard from under the
fortress, great wonder and curiosity were excited; and as no one
else would dare the adventure, a slave under sentence of death was
offered his life and liberty under condition of his penetrating into
the long, dark passages underground, and bringing back tidings of
what he should see there. The adventurer discovered a large iron
door, through which he advanced into a deep cavern. A lamp,
nearly burnt out, hung from the roof, and just below it was seen a
very large stone table, round which sate a company of steel-clad
warriors, their heads all drooping upon their crossed arms. Then
rose up Holger the Dane, who was seated at the farther end of the
board, and as he raised his head from his arm, the stone table, into
which his beard had grown, burst in twain. "Reach me hither thy
hand!" quoth he to the slave; but the latter, keeping a prudent
distance, presented an iron bar instead, and well it was for him that
he did, for Holger grasped it so tightly as to leave the impression of
his strong fingers upon the metal. At last he let it go, muttering
" It is well; I am right glad to find that there are yet men left in
Denmark." And the hero settled himself to his. dreams agaii,
under the delusion that he had tested the prowess and fortitude of
the knights of modern times. Another legend is told that shows the
strength of this giant-champion, as displayed during his lifetime,
and in rather a less dignified manner. He wanted a new suit of
clothes: twelve tailors were employed, who climbed up his back by
means of ladders in order to take his measure; unfortunately, the
man on the top of the right-side ladder, whilst cutting a mark in his
measure, clipped his customer's ear; Holger, feeling the annoyance,
unthinkingly put his hand to his ear, .and crushed the poor tailor
between his fingers;*
See Thiele, Danmarks Folkesagn," vol. ii. The hero's sword, too, which lay
biuied ih a barrow near i farmi-hoiise called Bygholm, was so. heavy that, when
it *iia dug ip, twelve horses were required to convey it to the house. But it did
not remain long at Bygholm, for that same night the walls of the building began
to shake so violently that all the window-panes clattered in their frames, nor was
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
Alrii0st every country has had her own Holger, her loved and
honoured champion, of whom for several generations the mass of
the people refused to believe that he was really dead. Thus has
Britain lboked forward to the return of her Arthur, supposed to be
lingering in fa&rie land; thus do the Swiss herdsmen point to the
cavern near Lake Lucerne, where "the three Tells," as the fotinders
of the Helvetic Confederacy are called, sleep peacefully till their
country shall have need of them; thus, too, it has been said, the
Emperor Charlemagne reposes within a mountain near Salzburg.
But, of all these legends, none is so closely akin to the Danish
tradition as the German one of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa
slumbering within the mountain of Kyffhausen in the Hercyhian
forest. He is described as sitting on his throne, his right arm
resting on a stone table, which his fiery red beard, still growing
during his sleep, must encircle three times before he will arise in
his might and resume his empire. He, too, like Holger the Dane,
has had his repose disturbed by curiosity. Some shepherds once
visited him, and,he roused himself so far as to ask "Do the ravens
still fly round ithe mountain ?" They answered "Yes." "Then,"
quoth he, "I may sleep on for another hundred years," and again
his head sank down upon his hand. Another time a band of
wandering musicians, reinembering how dearly the Emperor had
been wont to love minstrelsy, went at midnight to the mountain
and there struck up a serenade. Presently, lights were seen gleam-
ing among the crags and underwood, and the Emperor's daughter
appeared; she beckoned to the musicians, and they followed her
into the eavern-the Emperor's presence-chamber; they played oh
till daybreak; the Emperor then graciously bowed his head, and his
daughter, after presenting each of them with a green branch, showed
them the way out. Disgusted with receiving so poor a return for
the entertainment they' had afforded, they all threw their greeh
branches away except one, who kept his as a memorial of the
adventure. On reaching his home, however, the branch became
more and more heavy, and on looking at it he found that the leaves
were transformed into golden ducats, all rustling and sparkling with
metallic radiance. His comrades, hearing of this, went back to the
mountain and sought for their castaway treasures, but all in vain-
they were gone for ever.
We have wandered very far from Andersen and his Tales. Those
not already specified as borrowed are entirely his own invention:
our young readers may, however, like to have a few illustrations of
there an end to this disturbance until the sword was returned to its resting-place.
Whein takeii back, it became so much lighter that two horses we~ suaicient-to
drag it; Holger is said to have served under Chatlenmgne against the Saradens:
his superriaturally long life is accounted for by his having, in India, eattn of a
marvellous life-preserving fruit.
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
the national fairy mythology referred to in some of them. There is
a tradition in the North that all the various spirits who once had
sway over the earth have now different abodes assigned them,
wherein they are condemned to remain until the end of the world.
Though still retaining powers more than human, they are unhappy,
and long for their release. The Dwarfs or Mountain Trolds are
confined to the higher hills or mountains; the Elves inhabit groves
and leafy trees; the Hill-people, who take an intermediate position
between the Trolds and Elves, but nearest to the Elves, dwell in
little hillocks or caves; the Mer-folk and Necks, in the sea, in lakes,
or rivers ; whilst the Stromkarl or River-man haunts the waterfalls.
The Trolds or Dwarfs are misshapen, stumpy, and humpbacked;
they are not generally ill-natured, but have an unfortunate pro-
pensity for thieving, especially for carrying away human infants,
leaving their own deformed, weakly offspring in their place. Dwell-
ing underground, they are very rich in gold and silver, are fond of
feasting, and are skilled in supernatural lore, such as foretelling
events to come. They have a great dislike to noise, especially
to that of church-bells. There is a story that a farmer once saw a
Trold sitting on a stone near Lake Tiis in Zealand, and addressed
him, saying, "Well, friend, whither go you?" "Alas!" replied
the Trold, in a most disconsolate tone, "I can't stay in this country
any longer, there's such an eternal ringing and dinging "
The Nisses evidently belong to the Dwarf family: they are as
small as infants, but with faces like old men; they wear a grey
dress and a pointed red cap. They are domestic spirits, and there
is generally a Nisse in every farm-yard. He is a good, serviceable
spirit sometimes; at other times exceedingly mischievous and
capricious. A farmer in Jutland was once so tormented by the
Nisse inhabiting his house that he resolved to remove to another,
leaving the Nisse to himself. However, the spirit was not to be got
rid of so easily. The last cartload of domestic implements, filled
with tubs, barrels, etc., was just being driven away, when the farmer,
happening to look back, saw to his dismay the Nisse sitting in one
of the tubs, laughing and crying out, "Ah, we're flitting to-day, you
see!" There is also said to be a Nisse attached to every church:
he is called the Kirkegrim.
Of the Elves, or Ellefolk, there are many varieties : some dwell in
the moors, and may be seen dancing their rounds by moonlight,
leaving the grass they have trodden of a brighter and livelier green;
others inhabit trees; others, again, are confined within their mounds.
The sound of their voice is sweet and Soft like the air, and on
summer nights those who lay their ears close to the Elve-hills may
hear their low, plaintive singing, or the murmur of the Elle-woman's
spinning-wheel. Sometimes, on festive occasions, they raise their
mounds on red pillars, and may be seen dancing and feasting
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR. 28
beneath. The Elle-woman is fair and golden-haired, and plays
most sweetly on a stringed instrument: she is, however, hollow in
the back, like a dough-trough, and it is very dangerous for a mortal
youth to fall under the spell of her fascinations. Not many people
are able to see the Elves. Sunday children-i.e., those born on
Sunday-are thus privileged. There is an Elle-woman dwelling in
the elder-tree, called by some, Hyldemoer, or Mother Elder: in
former times a Danish peasant could never venture to break off any
part of an elder-tree without first repeating three times, Oh, mother
Elder. mother Elder, let me take some of thy elder, and I will let
thee take something of mine in return." There is a story of an
elder-tree growing in a farm-yard, that often in the twilight takes a
turn up and down the yard, and peeps in through the windows at
the children, when they are alone. The Elves live under a
monarchical form of government; one of their Kings residing at
M6en, another at Bornholm, a small island close to Zealand. The
last monarch will not suffer a human prince to pass more than three
nights on his isle.
It remains now only to speak of the spirits of the waters. Of
those who inhabit the sea, the Merman may be more safely trusted
than the Mermaid, whose seductive beauty often lures men to their
destruction. She is frequently seen sitting on the surface of the
waters, combing her long golden hair with a golden comb, or
driving her sleek, snow-white cattle to pasture on the green islets.
There is a story told in Tisvilde of a Mermaid who used to drive
her herd to grass in the Tibirke meadows. But some grasping,
avaricious farmers who lived on the spot laid wait for her one
evening, and, contriving to get her and her cattle shut up in a pen
near the town, told her they would not let her go till she had paid
them for pasturing her herd on their land. Upon her replying that
she had no money, they bade her give them the belt she wore,
which seemed very costly, and glittered as with precious stones.
She was compelled to ransom herself by giving up the belt, but as
she drove her cattle down to the shore she said to the largest bull
"Rake !" whereupon the animal began to push with his horns down
into the sand, scattering it all along the shore, and as just then a
north-westerly wind arose, the sand was whirled over the fields
towards the town, where the church was nearly buried beneath it.
Nor did the farmers gain much from the Mermaiden's belt, for
upon bringing it home they found it to be composed, not of precious
stones, but of woven rushes.
The Str6mkarl, or Spirit of the Waterfall, is rarely met with save
in Norway. The Neck or N6kke haunts the river: he is variously
described, sometimes as appearing under the form of a horse, some-
times as an old man, continually wringing the water out of his long
beard, but oftenest as a beautiful, golden-haired boy, wearing a red
2S MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
cap: H1 sits on the water playing most exquisitely of his golden
harp. The following beautiful legend is tdld of him in Sweden. Two
boys, while playing near a river, saw the Neck rise out of the water
ind begin to sing, and the burden of his song was still, "Arid I hope,
atid I hope that my Redeemer liveth !" And the children said,
"What is the use of all your singing ahd playing, Neck? you will
iinver be saved!'" The spirit at hearing this wept bitterly, flung
aside hid harp, and sank below the waters. But when the children
repeated wiht had passed to their father, he told them that they had
doing wrong in refusing to him all hbpe, and bade them go back
arid console him. They found the Neck sitting on the water, wailing
most piteously, and they said Neck, do not grieve so; our father
says that petrhps your Redeemer liveth also j" and upon this the
spirit again took up his harp and played a sweets joyous, exulting
strain. In a variation of this legend a priest says to the Neck,
"Sooner shall this dry stick in my hand put forth leaves and flowers
than thbti shalt attain salvation." The Neck flung away his harp
and wept, and the priest rode on, but to his amazement he presently
discovered that his cane was beginning to bud and blossom, and he
went back to tell the glad tidings to the Neck, who after this played
joyously the whole night through.
Who shall call a legend like this profane? is it hot rather the
popular expression of the truth that "the whole creation groanith
and travaileth together in pain tintil now," and that "the creature
itself ilsa hall be delivered from the bondage of eorruptioni, into
the glorious liberty bf the children of Gdd."
But here we are intruding upon ground too high and sacred we
Will only addd that some antiquaries derive these legends from very
early times and look upon them as expressive of the syinpathy of
the first converts to Christianity with their heathen forefathers, who
died before the light of the Gospel had dawned upon their land,
whose b6dies tested in inhallowed ground, whose spirits had no sure
hope of salvation.
With respect to the inddteti legends We are now about to Ihttoduce
td oitr reader, they may be deeined by some ridiculous and puerile:
therd are, however, others who will reiimemfiber, especially as the
holy season of Christtias draws nigh, that all of ib, whether yoilths
or maidens, men or wotfieni, are exhorted by Hiin Who was ince the
Babe of Bethlehem, to become as little childrei-children in guile-
lessness and putity-children also iii innocent gladniess f heart;
and surely it may safely be asserted that Aiderseni' Tales chitrib in
harmoniously both with our Christmas hynhis and uit Christnas
gaitie; they are diaieitihg eiouigh to be the odtipanidiiS Of our
holiday ) and h 6e, for thed hiOt pjirt a healthy; feligiouti feeling,
which may well accord With the tfiost sdfitti thiights af ddr holy-
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR. 27
Child Jesus! who from realms above
Cam'st down with messages of love,
To our vex'd souls Thy peace impart,
And make us meek and pure in heart.
Chase pride, and strife, and worldliness,
And teach us Thine own lowliness,
Hush every word or thought of ill,
Bid every restless wish be still,
And let us, like a helpless child,
Still cling to Thee through this world's wild,
Thy spotless innocency learn,
And for Thy fuller presence yearn,
That when, this feverish life-dream o'er,
We tremble on th' eternal shore,
Our eyes may rest upon Thy face-
Death's chilly touch Thy first embrace I
DANISH FAIRY TALES
THE WILD SWANS.
FAR hence, in a country whither the Swallows fly in our winter-time,
there dwelt a King who had eleven sons, and one daughter, the
beautiful Elise. The eleven brothers (they were princes) went to
school with stars on their breasts and swords by their sides; they
wrote on golden tablets with diamond pens, and could read either
with a book or without one, in short it was easy to perceive that
they were princes. Their sister Elise used to sit upon a little glass
stool, and had a picture book which had cost the half of a kingdom.
Oh the children were so happy but happy they were not to remain
Their father the King married a very wicked Queen, who was not
at all kind to the poor children; they found this out on the first day
after the marriage, when there was a grand gala at the palace; for
when the children played at receiving company, instead of having
as many cakes and sweetmeats as they liked, the Queen gave them
only some sand in a little dish, and told them to imagine that was
The week after, she sent the little Elise to be brought up by some
peasants in the country, and it was not long before she told the King
so many falsehoods about the poor princes that he would have
nothing more to do with them.
"Away, out into the world, and take care of yourselves," said the
wicked Queen; fly away in the form of great speechless birds."
But she could not make their transformation so disagreeable as she
wished, -the Princes were changed into eleven white swans. Sending
forth a strange cry, they flew out of the palace windows, over the
park and over the wood.
It was still early in the morning when they passed by the place
where Elise lay sleeping in the peasant's cottage; they flew several
times round the roof, stretched their long necks, and flapped their
THE WILD SWANS.
wings, but no one either heard or saw them, they were forced to fly
away, up to the clouds and into the wide world, so on they went to
the forest which extended as far as the sea-shore.
The poor little Elise stood in the peasant's cottage amusing herself
with a green leaf, for she had no other plaything. She pricked a
hole in the leaf and peeped through it at the sun, and then she
fancied she saw her brother's bright eyes, and whenever the warm
sunbeams shone full upon her cheeks, she thought of her brother's
One day passed exactly like the other. When the wind blew
through the thick hedge of rose-trees in front of the house, she would
whisper to the roses, "Who is more beautiful than you?" but the
roses would shake their heads and say, Elise." And when the
peasant's wife sat on Sundays at the door of her cottage reading her
hymn book, the wind would rustle in the leaves and say to the book,
Who is more pious than thou ?"-" Elise," replied the hymn book.
And what the roses and the hymn book said, was no more than the
Elise was now fifteen years old, she was sent for home; but when
the Queen saw how beautiful she was, she hated her the more, and
would willingly have transformed her like her brothers into a wild
swan, but she dared not do so, because the King wished to see his
So the next morning the Queen went into a bath which was made
of marble, and fitted up with soft pillows and the gayest carpets; she
took three toads, kissed them, and said to one, Settle thou upon
Elise's head that she may become dull and sleepy like thee."-
"Settle thou upon her forehead," said she to another, "and let her
become ugly like thee, so that her father may not know her again,"
-And Do thou place thyself upon her bosom," whispered she to
the third, "that her heart may become corrupt and evil, a torment
to herself." She then put the toads into the clear water, which was
immediately tinted with a green colour, and having called Elise, took
off her clothes and made her get into the bath-one toad settled
among her hair, another on her forehead, and the third upon her
bosom, but Elise seemed not at all aware of it, she rose up and three
poppies were seen swimming on the water. Had not the animals
been poisonous and kissed by a witch, they would -have been
changed into roses whilst they remained on Elise's head and heart,
-she was too good for magic to have any power over her. When
the Queen perceived this, she rubbed walnut juice all over the
maiden's skin, so that it became quite swarthy, smeared a nasty salve
over her lovely face, and entangled her long thick hair,-it was im-
possible to recognize the beautiful Elise after this.
When her father saw her, he was shocked and said she could not
be his daughter; no one would have anything to do with her but the
THE WILD SWANS.
mastiff and the swallows; but they, poor things, could not say any-
thing in her favour.
Poor Elise wept, and thought of her eleven brothers, not one of
whom she saw at the palace. In great distress she stole away and
wandered the whole day over fields and moors, till she reached the
forest. She knew not where to go, but she was so sad, and longed
so much to see her brothers, who had been driven out into the world,
that she determined to seek and find them.
She had not been long in the forest when night came on, and she
lost her way amid the darkness. So she lay down on the soft moss,
said her evening prayer, and leaned her head against the trunk of a
tree. It was so still in the forest, the air was mild, and from the
grass and mould around gleamed the green light of many hundred
glowworms, and when Elise lightly touched one of the branches
hanging over her, bright insects fell down upon her like falling stars.
All the night long she dreamed of her brothers. They were all
children again, played together, wrote with diamond pens upon
golden tablets, and looked at the pictures in the beautiful book which
had cost half of a kingdom. But they did not as formerly make
straight strokes and pothooks upon the tablets, no, they wrote of the
bold actions they had performed, and the strange adventures they
had encountered, and in the picture book every thing seemed alive,
the birds sang, men and women stepped from the book and talked
to Elise and her brothers; however, when she turned over the leaves,
they jumped back into their places, so that the pictures did not get
When Elise awoke the sun was already high in the heavens. She
could not see it certainly, for the tall trees of the forest entwined
their thickly-leaved branches closely together, which, as the sun-
beams played upon them, looked like a golden veil waving to and
fro. And the air was so fragrant, and the birds perched upon Elise's
shoulders. She heard the noise of water, there were several springs
forming a pool, with the prettiest pebbles at the bottom, bushes were
growing thickly round, but the deer had trodden a broad path
through them, and by this path Elise went down to the water's edge.
The water was so clear that had not the boughs and bushes around
been moved to and fro by the wind, you might have fancied they
were painted upon the smooth surface, so distinctly was each little
leaf mirrored upon it, whether glowing in the sunlight or lying in the
As soon as Elise saw her face reflected in the water, she was quite
startled, so brown and ugly did it look; however, when she wetted
her little hand, and rubbed her brow and eyes, the white skin again
appeared.-So Elise took off her clothes, stepped into the fresh
water, and in the whole world there was not a king's daughter more
beautiful than she then appeared.
THE WILD SWANS:
After she had again dressed herself, and had braided her long hair,
she went to the bubbling spring, drank out of the hollow of her hand,
and then wandered farther into the forest. She knew not where she
was going, but she thought of her brothers, and of the good God:who,
she felt, would never forsake her. He it was who made the wild
crab-trees grow in order to feed the hungry, and who showed her
a tree whose boughs bent under the weight of their fruit. She made
her noonday meal under its shade, propped up the boughs, and then
walked on amid the dark twilight of the forest. It was-so still that
she could hear her own footsteps, and the rustling, of each-little
withered leaf that was crushed beneath her feet; not a: bird was, to
be seen, not a single sunbeam penetrated through the thick-foliage,
and the tall stems of the trees stood so close together, that.when she
looked straight before her, she seemed enclosed by-trellis-work upon
trellis-work. Oh! there was a solitariness in this forest such-as Elise
had never known before.
And the night was so dark not a single glowworm sent forth its
light. Sad and melancholy she lay down to sleep, and- then it
seemed to her as though the boughs above her opened, and that she
saw the Angel of God looking down upon her with gentle aspect,
and a thousand little cherubs all around him. When she awoke in
the morning she could not tell whether this was a dream, or whether
she had really been so watched.
She walked on a little farther and met an old woman with a basket
full of berries; the old woman gave her some of them, and Elise
asked if she had not seen eleven princes ride through the wood.
"No," said the old woman, "but I saw yesterday eleven Swans
with golden crowns on their heads swim down the brook near this
And she led Elise on a little farther to a precipice, the base of
which was washed by a brook, the trees on each side stretched their
long leafy branches towards each other, and where they could not
unite, the roots had disengaged themselves from the earth and hung
their interlaced fibres over the water.
Elise bade the old woman farewell, and wandered by the side of
the stream till she came to the place where it reached the open sea.
The great, the beautiful sea lay extended before the maiden's eyes,
but not a ship, not a boat was to be seen; how was she to go on?
She observed the numberless little stones on the shore, all of which
the waves had washed into a round form; glass, iron, stone, every
thing that lay scattered there, had been moulded into shape, and
yet the water which had effected this was much softer than Elise's
delicate, little hand. "It rolls on unweariedly," said she, "and
subdues what is so hard; I will be no less unwearied Thank you
for the lesson you have given me, ye bright rolling waves; some day,
my heart tells me, you shall carry me to my dear brothers !"
iIII1!11~1,!; 1 ,II~r
She walked on a little farther and met an old woman with a basket full of berries;
(facing page 32)
THE WILD SWANS.
There lay upon the wet sea-grass eleven white swan-feathers;
Elise collected them together; drops of water hung about them,
whether dew or tears she could not tell. She was quite alone on the
sea-shore, but she did not care for that, the sea presented an eternal
variety to her, more indeed in a few hours than the gentle inland
waters would have offered in a whole year. When a black cloud
passed over the sky, it seemed as if the sea would say, "I too can
look dark," and then the wind would blow and the waves fling out
their white foam, but when the clouds shone with a bright red tint,
and the winds were asleep, the sea also became like a rose-leaf in
hue; it was now green, now white, but as it reposed peacefully,
a slight breeze on the shore caused the water to heave gently like the
bosom of a sleeping child.
At sunset Elise saw eleven Wild Swans with golden crowns on
their heads fly towards the land; they flew one behind another,
looking like a streaming white ribbon. Elise climbed the precipice,
and concealed herself behind a bush; the swans settled close to her,
and flapped their long white wings.
As the sun sank beneath the water, the swans also vanished, and
in their place stood eleven handsome princes, the brothers of Elise.
She uttered a loud cry, for although they were very much altered,
Elise knew that they were, felt that they must be, her brothers; she
ran into their arms, called them by their names-and how happy
were they to see and recognize their sister, who was now grown so
tall and so beautiful! They laughed and wept, and soon told each
other how wickedly their step-mother had acted towards them.
"We," said the eldest of the brothers, "fly or swim as long as the
sun is above the horizon, but when it sinks below, we appear again
in our human form; we are therefore obliged to look out for a safe
resting-place, for if at sunset we were flying among the clouds, we
should fall down as soon as we resumed our own form. We do not
dwell here, a land quite as beautiful as this lies on the opposite side
of the sea, but it is far off,-to reach it, we have to cross the deep
waters, and there is no island midway on which we may rest at night;
one little solitary rock rises from the waves, and upon it we only just
find room enough to stand side by side. There we spend the night
in our human form, and when the sea is rough, we are sprinkled by
its foam; but we are thankful for this resting-place, for without it we
should never be able to visit our dear native country. Only once in
the year is this visit to the home of our fathers permitted; we require
two of the longest days for our flight, and can remain here only
eleven days, during which time we fly over the large forest, whence
we can see the palace in which we were born, where our father dwells,
and the tower of the church in which our mother was buried. Here
even the trees and bushes seem of kin to us, here the wild horses
still race over the plains, as in the days of our childhood, here the
THE WILD SWANS.
charcoal-burner still sings the same old tuned to which we used to
dance in our youth, here we are still attracted, and here we have
found thee, thou dear little sister! We have yet two days longer to
stay here, then we must fly over the sea to a land beautiful indeed,
but not our fatherland. How shall we take thee with us ? we have
neither ship nor boat!"
"How shall I be able to release you?" said the sister. And so
they went on talking almost the whole of the night. They slumbeted
only a few hours.
Elise was awakened by the rustling of swans' wings which were
fluttering above her. Her brothers were again tratisforimed, and fdi
some time flew around in large circles. At last they flew far, fat away
one of them remained behind, it was the youngest, he laid his head
in her lap and she stroked his white wings; they reriaained the
whole day together. Towards evening the others came back, and
when the sun was set, again they stood on the firm ground in their
"To-morrow we shall fly away, and may not return fbr a yeaf, but
we cannot leave thee; hast thou courage to accompany u ? My
arm is strong enough to bear thee through the forest, shall we hot
have sufficient strength in our wings to transport thee over the sea ? "
"Yes, take me with you," said Elise. They spent the whole night
in weaving a mat of the pliant willow batk and the tough rushes, anid
their mat was thick and strong. Elise lay down upon it, and when
the sun had risen, and the brothers were again transformed into wild
swans, they seized the mat with their beaks and flew up high amod'ig
the clouds with their dear sister, who was still sleeping. The sun-
beams shone full upon her face, so one of the swahs fleW over eti
head, and shaded her with his broad wings.
They were already far froih land when Elise awoke: she thought
she was still dreaming, so strange did it appear to her to be ttavelliig
through the air, and over the sea. By her side lay a cluster of pretty
berries, and a handful of savoury roots. Her youngest brother had
collected and laid them there; and she thanked him with a smile,
for she knew him as the swan who flew over her head and shaded
her with his wings.
They flew so high, that the first ship they saw beneath them
seemed like a white sea-gull hovering over the water. Elise Saw
behind her a large cloud, it looked like a mountain, and on it she
saw the gigantic shadows of herself and the eleven swans-it formed
a picture more splendid than any she had ever yet seen; soon,
however, the sun rose higher, the cloud remained far behind, and
then the floating shadowy picture disappeared.
The whole day they continued flying with a whizzing noise s6irie-
what like an arrow, but yet they went slower thahi isutl-they had
their sister to carry. A heavy tempest was gathering, the evening
THE WILD SWANS.
approached; anxiously did Elise watch the sun, it was setting, still
the solitary fock could hot be seen; it appeared to her that the swans
plied their wings with increasing vig9ur. Alas! it would be her
fault if her brothers did not arrive at the place in time they would
beconie human beings when the sun set, and if this happened before
they reached the rock, they must fall into the sea, and be drowned.
She prayed to God most fervently, still no rock was to be seen, the
black clouds dtew nearer, violent gusts of wind A announced the
approach of a tempest, the clouds rested perpendicularly upon a
fearfully large wave which rolled quickly forwards, one flash of
lightning rapidly succeeded another.
The sun was now on the rim of the sea. Elise's heart beat violently;
the swans shot downwards so swiftly that she thought she must fall,
but again they began to hover; the sun was half sunk beneath the
water, and at that moment she saw the little rock below her; it looked
like a seal's head when he raises it just above the water. And the
sun was sinking fast, -it seemed scarcely larger than a star,-her foot
touched the hard ground, and it vanished altogether, like the last
spark oh a burnt piece of paper. Arm in arm stood her brothers
aroufid her; there was only just room for her and them-the sea
beat tempestiously against the rock, flinging over them a shower of
foai the sky seemed in a continual blaze, with the fast-succeeding
flashes df fire that lightened it, and peal after pedl rolled on the
thunder, but sister and brothers kept firm hold of each other's hands.
They sang a psalm, and their psalm gave them comfort and courage.
By daybreak the air was pure and still, and as soon as the sun
rose, the swans flew away with Elise from the rock. The waves rose
higher and higher, and when they looked from the clouds down upon
the blackish-green sea, covered as it was with white foam, they might
have fancied that millions of swans were swimming on its Surface.
As day advanced, Elise saw floating in the air before her a land
of mountains intermixed with glaciers, and in the centre, a palace a
mile in length, with splendid colonnades, surrounded by palm-trees
and gorgeous-looking flowers as large as millwheels. She asked if
this were the country to which they were flying, but the swans shook
their heads, for what she saw was the beautiful airy castle of the
fairy Morgana, where no human being was admitted; and whilst
Elis still beht her eyes upon it, inountains, trees, and castle all
disappeared, and in their place stood twelve churches with high
towers and pointed windows-she fancied she heard the organ play,
but it was ohly the inurinur of the sea. She was now close to these
churches, but behold they have changed into a large fleet sailing
inder them; she looked down and saw it was only a sea-mist passing
rapidfy over the water. An eternal variety floated before her eyes,
till it last the actual land to which she was going appeared in sight.
Beautiful blue mountains, cedar woods, towns, and castles rose to
THE WILD SWANS.
view. Long before sunset Elise sat down among the mountains, in
front of a large cavern; delicate young creepers grew around so
thickly, that it appeared covered with gay embroidered carpets.
"Now we shall see what thou wilt dream of to-night! said her
youngest brother, as he showed her the sleeping chamber destined
"Oh that I could dream how you might be released from the
spell!" said she; and this thought completely occupied her; she
prayed most earnestly for God's assistance, nay, even in her dreams
she continued praying, and it appeared to her that she was flying up
high in the air towards the castle of the fairy Morgana. The fairy
came forward to meet her, radiant and beautiful, and yet she fancied
she resembled the old woman who had given her berries in the forest,
and told her of the swans with golden crowns.
"Thou canst release thy brothers," said she, "but hast thou
courage and patience sufficient ? The water is indeed softer than
thy delicate hands, and yet can mould the hard stones to its will,
but then it cannot feel the pain which thy tender fingers will feel; it
has no heart, and cannot suffer the anxiety and grief which thou
must suffer. Dost thou see these stinging-nettles which I have in
my hand ? there are many of the same kind growing round the cave
where thou art sleeping; only those that grow there or on the graves
in the church-yard are of use, remember that! Thou must pluck
them, although they will sting thy hand, thou must trample on the
nettles with thy feet, and get yarn from them, and with this yarn
thou must weave eleven shirts with long sleeves;-throw them over
the eleven wild swans, and the spell is broken. But mark this: from
the moment that thou beginnest thy work till it is completed, even
should it occupy thee for years, thou must not speak a word; the first
syllable that escapes thy lips will fall like a dagger into the hearts of
thy brothers; on thy tongue depends their life. Mark well all this !"
And at the same moment the fairy touched Elise's hands with a
nettle, which made them burn like fire, and Elise awoke. It was
broad day-light, and close to her lay a nettle like the one she had
seen in her dream. She fell upon her knees, thanked God, and
then went out of the cave in order to begin her work. She plucked
with her own delicate hands the disagreeable stinging-nettles; they
burned large blisters on her hands and arms, but she bore the pain
willingly in the hope of releasing her dear brothers. She trampled
on the nettles with.her naked feet, and spun the green yarn.
At sunset came her brothers. Elise's silence quite frightened
them, they thought it must be the effect of some fresh spell of their
wicked step-mother, but when they saw her blistered hands, they
found out what their sister was doing for their sakes. The youngest
brother wept, and when his tears fell upon her hands, Elise felt rio
more pain, the blisters disappeared.
THE WILD SWANS.
The whole night she spent in her work, for she could not rest till
she had released her brothers. All the following day she sat in her
solitude, for the swans had flown away; but never had time passed
so quickly. One shirt was ready; she now began the second.
Suddenly a hunting horn resounded among the mountains. Elise
was frightened. The noise came nearer, she heard the hounds
barking; in great terror she fled into the cave, bound up the nettles
which she had gathered and combed into a bundle, and sat down
In the same moment a large dog sprang out from the bushes, two
others immediately followed, they barked loudly, ran away and then
returned. It was not long before the hunters stood in front of the
cave; the handsomest among them was the King of that country;
he stepped up to Elise. Never had he seen a lovelier maiden.
"How camest thou here, thou beautiful child?" said he. Elise
shook her head, she dared not speak, a word might have cost her
the life of her brothers, and she hid her hands under her apron lest
the King should see how she was suffering.
"Come with me," said he, "thou must not stay here If thou
art good as thou art beautiful, I will dress thee in velvet and silk, I
will put a gold crown upon thy head, and thou shalt dwell in my
palace !" So he lifted her upon his horse, while she wept and wrung
her hands; but the King said, "I only desire thy happiness thou
shalt thank me for this some day and away he rode over moun-
tains and valleys, holding her on his horse in front, whilst the. other
hunters followed. When the sun set, the King's magnificent capital
with its churches and cupolas lay before them, and the King led
Elise into the palace, where, in a high marble hall, fountains were
playing, and the walls and ceiling displayed the most beautiful paint-
ings. But Elise cared not for all this splendour, she wept and
mourned in silence, even whilst some female attendants dressed her
in royal robes, wove costly pearls in her hair, and drew soft gloves
over her blistered hands.
And now she was full dressed, and as she stood in her splendid
attire, her beauty was so dazzling, that the courtiers all bowed low
before her, and the King chose her for his bride, although the Arch-
bishop shook his head, and whispered that the "beautiful lady of
the wood must certainly be a witch, who had blinded their eyes, and
infatuated the King's heart."
But the King did not listen, he ordered that music should be
played. A sumptuous banquet was served up, and the loveliest
maidens danced round the bride; she was led through fragrant
gardens into magnificent halls, but not a smile was seen to play upon
her lips or beam from her eyes. The King then opened a small
room next her sleeping apartment; it was adorned with costly green
tapestry, and exactly resembled the cave in which she had been
THE WILD SWANS.
found; upon the ground lay the bundle of yarn which she had spun
from the nettles, and by the wall hung the shirt she had completed.
One pf the hunter had brought all this, thinking there must be
something wonderful in it.
Here thou mayest dream of thy former home," said the King;
"here is the work which employed thee; amidst all thy present
splendppu it may sometimes give thee pleasure to fancy thyself there
When Elise saw what was so dear to her heart, she smiled, and
the blood returned to her cheeks; she thought her brothers might
still be released, and she kissed the King's hand; he pressed her to
his heart and ordered the bells of all the churches in the city to be
rung, to announce the celebration of their wedding. The beautiful
dumb gmaiden of the wood was to become Queen of the land.
The Archbishop whispered evil words in the King's ear, but they
made no impression upon him; the marriage was splemnised, and
the Archbishop himself was obliged to put the crown upon her head.
In his rage he pressed the narrow rim so firmly on her forehead that
it hurt her; but a heavier weight (sorrow for her brothers) lay upon
her heart, she did not feel bodily pain. She was still silent, a single
word would have killed her brothers; her eyes, however, beamed with
heartfelt love to the King, so good and handsome, who had done so
much to make her happy. She became more warmly attached to
him eyery day. Oh! how much she wished she might confide to
him all her sorrows I but she was forced top remain silent, she could
not speak until her work was completed! To this end she stole
away every night, and went into the little room that was fitted up in
imitation of the cave; there she worked at her shirts, but by the
time she had begun the seventh, all her yarn was spent.
She knew that the nettles she needed grew in the church-yard, but
she must gather them herself; how was she to get them ?
"Oh what is the pain in my fingers compared to the anguish my
heart suffers !" thought she. I must venture to the church-yard;
the good God will not withdraw His protection from me !"
Fearf.ul as though she wpre about to do something wrong, one
moonlight night she crept dowp to the garden, and through the long
avenues got into the lonely road leading to the church-yard. She
saw sitting on one of the broadest tombstones a number of ugly old
witches. They took off their ragged clothes as if they were going to
bathe, and digging with their long lean fingers into the fresh grass,
drew up the dead bodies and devoured the flesh. E!is. was obliged
tp pass close by them, and the witches fixed their wicked eyeq upon
her; but she repeated her prayer, gathered thp stinging-nettles, gnd
took them back with her into thp palace. One person only had seen
her; it was the Arphbishop, he was awake when others slept; now
he was convinced that all was not right about the Queen: she must
THE WILD SWANS.
be a witch, who had through her enchantments infatuated the King,
and all the people.
In the Confessional he told the King what he had seen, and what
he feared; and when the slanderous words came from his lips, the
sculptured images of the saints shook their heads as though they
would say, "It is untrue, Elise is innocent !" But the Archbishop
explained the omen quite otherwise; he thought it was a testimony
against her that the holy images shook their heads at hearing of her
Two large tears rolled down the King's cheeks; he returned home
in doubt, he pretended to sleep at night, though sleep never visited
him; and he noticed that Elise rose from her bed every night, and
every time he followed her secretly and saw her enter her little room.
His countenance became darker every day; Elise perceived it,
though she knew not the cause. She was much pained, and besides,-
what did she not suffer in her heart for her brothers! Her bitter
tears ran down on the royal velvet and purple; they looked like
bright diamonds, and all who saw the magnificence that surrounded
her, wished themselves in her place. She had now nearly finished
her work, only one shirt was wanting; unfortunately, yarn was want-
ing also, she had not a single nettle left. Once more, only this one
time, she must go to the church-yard and gather a few handfuls.
She shuddered when she thought of the solitary walk and of the
horrid witches, but her resolution was as firm as her trust in God.
Elise went, the King and the Archbishop followed her; they saw
her disappear at the church-yard door, and when they came nearer,
they saw the witches sitting on the tombstones as Elise had seen
them, and the King turned away, for he believed her whose head
had rested on his bosom that very evening to be amongst them.
5' Let the people judge her I" said he. And the people condemned
her to be burnt.
She was now dragged from the King's sumptuous apartments into
a dark, damp prison, where the wind whistled through the grated
window. Instead of velvet and silk, they gave her the bundle of
nettles she had gathered; on that must she lay her head, the shirts
she had woven must serve her as mattress and counterpane;-but
they could not have given her anything she valued so much; and
she continued her work, at the same time praying earnestly to her
God. The boys sang scandalous songs about her in front of her
prison; not a soul comforted her with one word of love.
Towards evening she heard the rustling of Swans' wings at the
grating. It was the youngest of her brothers, who had at last found
his sister, and she sobbed aloud for joy, although she knew that the
coming night would probably be the last of her life; but then her
work was almost finished and her brother was near.
The Archbishop came in order.to spend the last hour with her;
THE WILD SWANS.
he had promised the King he would; but she shook her head and
entreated him with her eyes and gestures to go-this night she must
finish her work, or all she had suffered, her pain, her anxiety, her
sleepless nights, would be in vain. The Archbishop went away with
many angry words, but the unfortunate Elise knew herself to be
perfectly innocent, and went on with her work.
Little mice ran busily about and dragged the nettles to her feet,
wishing to help her; and the thrush perched on the iron bars of the
window, and sang all night as merrily as he could, that Elise might
not lose courage.
It was still twilight, just one hour before sun-rise, when the eleven
brothers stood before the palace gates, requesting an audience with
the King; but it could not be, they were told, it was still night, the
King was asleep, and they dared not wake him. They entreated,
they threatened, the guard came up, the King himself at last stepped
out to ask what was the matter,-at that moment the sun rose, the
brothers could be seen no longer, and eleven white Swans flew away
over the palace.
The people poured forth from the gates of the city ; they wished
to see the witch burnt. One wretched horse drew the cart in which
Elise was placed, a coarse frock of sackcloth had been put on her,
her beautiful long hair hung loosely over her shoulders, her cheeks
were of a deadly paleness, her lips moved gently, and her fingers wove
the green yarn : even on her way to her cruel death she did not give
up her work; the ten shirts lay at her feet, she was now labouring to
complete the eleventh. The rabble insulted her.
"Look at the witch, how she mutters she has not a hymn-book
in her hand, no, there she sits with her accursed hocus-pocus. Tear
it from her, tear it into a thousand pieces! "
And they all crowded about her, and were on the point of snatch-
ing away the shirts, when eleven white Swans came flying towards
the cart; they settled all round her, and flapped their wings. The
crowd gave way in terror.
"It is a sign from Heaven she is certainly innocent !" whispered
some; they dared not say so aloud.
The Sheriff now seized her by the hand-in a moment she threw
the eleven shirts over the Swans, and eleven handsome Princes
appeared in their place. The youngest had, however, only one arm,
and a wing instead of the other, for one sleeve was deficient in his
shirt, it had not been quite finished.
"Now I may speak," said she: "I am innocent!"
And the people who had seen what had happened bowed before
her 'as before a saint. She, however, sank lifeless in her brothers'
arms; suspense, fear, and grief had quite exhausted her.
"Yes, she is innocent," said her eldest brother, and he now related
their wonderful history. Whilst he spoke a fragrance as delicious as
THE WILD SWANS. 41
though it proceeded from millions of roses, diffused itself around, for
every piece of wood in the funeral pile had taken root and sent forth
branches, a hedge of blooming red roses surrounded Elise, and above
all the others blossomed a flower of dazzling white colour, bright as
a star; the King plucked it and laid it on Elise's bosom, whereupon
she awoke from her trance with peace and joy in her heart.
And all the church-bells began to ring of their own accord, and
birds flew to the spot in swarms, and there was a festive procession
back to the palace, such as no King has ever seen equalled.
THE UGLY DUCKLING.
IT was beautiful in the country, it was summer-time, the wheat was
yellow, the oats were green, the hay was stacked up in the green
meadows, and the stork paraded about on his long red legs, discours-
ing in Egyptian, which language he had learned from his mother.
The fields and meadows were skirted by thick woods, and a deep
lake lay in the midst of the woods.-Yes, it was indeed beautiful in
the country! The sunshine fell warmly on an old mansion, sur-
rounded by deep canals, and from the walls down to the water's edge
there grew large burdock-leaves, so high that children could stand
upright among them without being perceived. This place was as
wild and unfrequented as the thickest part of the wood, and on that
account a duck had chosen to make her nest there. She was sitting
on her eggs; but the pleasure she had felt at first was now almost
gone, because she had been there so long, and had so few visitors,
for the other ducks preferred swimming on the canals to sitting
among the burdock-leaves gossiping with her.
At last the eggs cracked one after another, "Tchick, tchick!"
All the eggs were alive, and one little head after another appeared.
" Quack, quack," said the duck, and all got up as well as they could;
they peeped about from under the green leaves, and as green is good
for the eyes, their mother let them look as long as they pleased.
"How large the world is !" said the little ones, for they found
their present situation very different to their former confined one,
while yet in the egg-shells.
"Do you imagine this to be the whole of the world? said the
mother, "it extends far beyond the other side of the garden, to the
pastor's field; but I have never been there. Are you all here?"
And then she got up. No, I have not got you all, the largest egg
is still here. How long will this last? I am so weary of it!" And
then she sat down again.
"Well, and how are you getting on?" asked an old duck, who
had come to pay her a visit.
"This one egg keeps me so long," said the mother, "it will not
break; but you should see the others they are the prettiest little
ducklings I have seen in all my days; they are all like their father,-
the good-for-nothing fellow! he has not been to visit me once."
"Let me see the egg that will not break," said the old duck,
"depend upon it, it is a turkey's egg. I was cheated in the same
THE UGLY DUCKLING. 43
way 9ce myself, and I had such trouble with the young ores; for
they were afraid of the water, and I could not get them there. I
called and scolded, but it was all of no use. But let me see the egg
-ah yes to be sure, that is a turkey's egg. 'Leave it, and teach
the other little ones to swim."
"I will sit on it a little longer," said the duck. "I have been
sitting so long, that I may as well spend the harvest here."
"It is no business of mine," said the old duck, and away she
The great egg burst at last, "Tchick, tchick," said the little one,
and out it tumbled-but oh how large and ugly it was The duck
looked at it, "That is a great, strong creature," said she, "none of
the others are at all like it, can it be a young turkey-cock ? well, we
shall sopn find out, it must go into the water, though I push it in
The next day there was delightful weather, and the sun shone
warmly upon all the green leaves when mother-duck with all her
family went down to the canal; plump she went into the water,
"quack, quack, 't cried she, and one duckling after another jumped
in. The water closed over their heads, but all came up again, and
swam together in the pleasantest manner; their legs moved without
effort. All were there, even the ugly, grey one.
"No I it is not a turkey," said the old duck; "only see how
prettily it moves its legs, how upright it holds itself, it is my qwn
child! it is also really very pretty when one looks more closely at it;
quck, quack, now come with me, I will take you into the world, in-
trpduce you in the duck-yard; but keep close tp me, or some one
may tread on you, and beware of the cat."
So they came into the duck-yard. There was a horrid noise; two
families were quarrelling about the remains of an eel, which in the
end was secured by the caf.
"See, my children such is the way of the world," said the mother
duck, wiping her b.ea, for she too was fond of roasted eels. ;ow
use your legs," said she, "keep together, and bow to the old duck
ypu see yonder. She is the most distinguished of all the fowls
present, and is of Spanish blood, which accounts for her dignified
appearance and manners. And look, she has a red rag on her leg;
that is considered extremely handsome, and is the greatest distinction
a duck can have. Don't turn your feet inwards, a well-educated
duckling always keeps his legs far apart, like his father and mother,
just so-look now bow your necks, and say quack.'"
Apin they did as they were told. But the other ducks who were
in the yard looked at them and said aloud, "Only see, now we have
another brood, as if there were not enough of us already, and fie!
hpw Tgly that one is, we will not endure it," and immediately one of
the ducks flew t him, and bit him in tltl neck.
THE UGLY DUCKLING.
"Leave him alone," said the mother, "he is doing no one any
"Yes, but he is so large, and so strange-looking, and therefore he
shall be teased."
"Those are fine children that our good mother has," said the old
duck with the red rag on her leg. "All are pretty except one, and
that has not turned out well; I almost wish it could be hatched over
"That cannot be, please your highness," said the mother.
" Certainly he is not handsome, but he is a very good child, and
swims as well as the others, indeed rather better. I think he will
grow like the others all in good time, and perhaps will look smaller.
He stayed so long in the egg-shell, that is the cause of the difference,"
and she scratched the duckling's neck, and stroked his whole body.
"Besides," added she, "he is a drake; I think he will be very
strong, therefore it does not matter so much, he will fight his way
"The other ducks are very pretty," said the old duck, "pray
make yourselves at home, and if you find an eel's head you can
bring it to me."
And accordingly they made themselves at home.
But the poor little duckling, who had come last out of its egg-shell,
and who was so ugly, was bitten, pecked, and teased by both ducks
and hens. "It is so large," said they all. And the turkey-cock,
who had come into the world with spurs on, and therefore fancied
he was an emperor, puffed himself up like a ship in full sail, and
marched up to the duckling quite red with passion. The poor little
thing scarcely knew what to do; he was quite distressed, because he
was so ugly, and because he was the jest of the poultry yard.
So passed the first day, and afterwards matters grew worse and
worse; the poor duckling was scorned by all. Even his brothers and
sisters behaved unkindly, and were constantly saying, "The cat
fetch thee, thou nasty creature !" The mother said, "Ah, if thou
wert only far away!" The ducks bit him, the hens pecked him,
and the girl who fed the poultry kicked him. He ran over the
hedge; the little birds in the bushes were terrified. "That is
because I am so ugly," thought the duckling, shutting his eyes, but
he ran on. At last he came to a wide moor, where lived some wild
ducks; here he lay the whole night, so tired and so comfortless. In
the morning the wild ducks flew up, and perceived their new com-
panion. "Pray who are you? asked they; and our little duckling
turned himself in all directions, and greeted them as politely as
"You are really uncommonly ugly," said the wild ducks; "how-
ever that does not matter to us, provided you do not marry into our
families." Poor thing he had never thought of marrying; he only
THE UGLY DUCKLING.
begged permission to lie among the reeds, and drink the water of
There he lay for two whole days-on the third day there came
two wild geese, or rather ganders, who had not been long out of their
egg-shells, which accounts for their impertinence.
Hark-ye," said they, you are so ugly that we like you infinitely
well; will you come with us, and be a bird of passage ? On another
moor, not far from this, are some dear, sweet, wild geese, as lovely
creatures as have ever said 'hiss, hiss.' You are truly in the way
to make your fortune, ugly as you are."
Bang a gun went off all at once, and both wild geese were
stretched dead among the reeds, the water became red with blood;
-bang a gun went off again, whole flocks of wild geese flew up
from among the reeds, and another report followed.
There was a grand hunting party: the hunters lay in ambush all
around; some were even sitting in the trees, whose huge branches
stretched far over the moor. The blue smoke rose through the
thick trees like a mist, and was dispersed as it fell over the water;
the hounds splashed about in the mud, the reeds and rushes bent
in all directions-how frightened the poor little duck was he turned
his head, thinking to hide it under his wings, and in a moment a
most formidable-looking dog stood close to him, his tongue hanging
out of his mouth, his eyes sparkling fearfully. He opened wide
his jaws at the sight of our duckling, showed him his sharp white
teeth, and, splash, splash! he was gone, gone without hurting
"Well! let me be thankful," sighed he, "I am so ugly, that even
the dog will not eat me."
And now he lay still, though the shooting continued among the
reeds, shot following shot.
The noise did not cease till late in the day, and even then the
poor little thing dared not stir; he waited several hours before he
looked around him, and then hastened away from the moor as fast
as he could. He ran over fields and meadows, though the wind was
so high that he had some difficulty in proceeding.
Towards evening he reached a wretched little hut, so wretched
that it knew not on which side to fall, and therefore remained stand-
ing. The wind blew violently, so that our poor little duckling
was obliged to support himself on his tail, in order to stand against
it; but it became worse and worse. He then remarked that the
door had lost one of its hinges, and hung so much awry that he
could creep through the crevice into the room, which he did.
In this room lived an old woman, with her tom-cat and her hen;
and the cat, whom she called her little son, knew how to set up his
back and purr; indeed he could even emit sparks when stroked the
wrong way. The hen had very short legs, and was therefore called
46 THE UGLY D CWO LING.
"Cuckoo Shoftlegs "; she laid very good eggs, and the old wtmaiin
loved her as her own child.
The neit morning the new guest was perceived; the cat began
to mew, arid the hen to cackle.
"What is the matter?" asked the old woman, looking rpund;
however, her eyes were not good, so she took the young dtickling to
be a fat duck who had lost her way. "This is a capital catch," said
she, "I shall now have ducks' eggs, if it be hot a drake : we must
And so the duckling was put to the proof for three weeks, but no
eggs made their appearance.
Ndo the cat was the master of the house, and the her was the
rtistiess, and they used always to say, "We and the world," for they
imagined themselves to be not only the half of the world, but also
by far the better half. The duckling thought it was possible to be
of a different opinion, but that the hen would not allow.
Can you lay eggs?" asked she.
"Well, then, hold your tongue."
And the cat said, "Can yoti set up your back ? can you pirr ?"
"Well, then, you should hate no opinion when reasoitable persons
So the duckling sat alone ifi a cornet, and wds iii a very bad
huminour; however, he happened to think of the fresh air arid blight
sun-shine, and these thoughts gave him such a strong desire to swim
again that he could i'ot help telling it to the hen.
"What ails you?" said the hen. "You have fiothing to do, aid,
therefore, broad over these fancies; either lay eggs, or purr, then
you will forget them."
"Btif it is so delicious to swim," said the duckling, "so delicious
when the waters close over your head, aid you pliirige to the
"Well, that is a queer sort of a plensufre," said the heri; "I think
you must be crazy. Not to speak of myself, ask the cat-he is the
most sensible animal I know-whether he would like to swim or to
plunge to the bottom of the water. Ask our mistress, the old woman
-there is fid one in the world wiser than she-dd you think she
would take pleasure iin swimming, arid in the waters closing over her
"You do not understand me," said the duckling.
"What, We do not understand you! so you think yourself wiser
ftaii the cat, arid the old wonian, riot to speak of myself. VIo iot
fdlcy any such thing, child, but be thankful fdr all the kifidness that
has been shown you. Are youi not lodged iii a iwarmii rooin, and
have you not the advantage of society from which you can learn
Tii UGLY D)UCKLING.
something ? But you are a siiipleton, arid it is wc irisome to have
anything to do with you. Believe me, I wish you well. I tell you
unpleasant truths, but it is thus that real friendship is shown. Come,
for once give yourself the trouble to learn to purr, or to lay eggs."
"I think I will go out into the wide world again," said the duck-
"Well, go," answered the hen.
So the duckling went. He swam on the surface of the water, he
plunged beneath, but all animals passed him by, on account of his
ugliness. And the autumn came, the leaves turned yellow and
brown, the wind caught them and danced them about, the air was
very cold, the clouds were heavy with hail or snow, and the raven
sat ori the hedge and croaked :-the poor duckling was certaifily not
very comfortable !
One evening, just as the sun was setting with unusual brilliancy, a
flock of large beautiful birds rose from out of the biushwood; the
duckling had never seen anything so beautiful before; their plitiage
was of a dazzling white, and they had long, slender necks. They
were swfis; they littered a singular cry, spread out their lohg, splendid
wings, and flew away from these cold regions to atriier uddiiitries,
across the open sea. They flew so high, so very high! rid the little
ugly duckling's feelings were so strange; he.turned round and round
in the Water like a mill-wheel, strained his neck to look afteb them,
and sent foith such a loud and strange cry, that it almost frightened
himself.-Ah! he could not forget them, those noble birds those
happy birds When he could see theih no longer, he plinged to
the bottom of the -water, and when he rose again, was almost beside
himself. The duckling knew not what the birds were called, kiew
not whithet they were flying, yet he loved them as he had never
before loved anything; he envied them not, it would never have
occurred to him to wish such beauty for himself; he Would have
been quite contented if the ducks in the duck-yard had but endured
his dompafigy-the poor ugly animal !
And the winter was so cold, so cold! The duckling ias obliged
to swiit round and round in the wat'ii, to keep it ftoit freezing; but
eebry night the opefiiig in which he siam became sinaller and
smaller it froze so that the crust of ice crackled; the duckling Was
obliged to make good use of his legs to prevent the iater from freez-
ing entirely ; at last, wearied out, he lay stiff and ol6d iin the ice.
Early in the morning there passed by a peasant, who saw hiiit,
broke the ice in pieces with his wooden shoe, and brought him .home
to his Wife.
He it'i revived; the children iwold have played with hiih, but
otir duckling thought they wished to tease himti, and in his terror
jimiied into the milk-pail, so that the milk Was spilled abott the
ro6'i: the good woman screamed and clapped her hands; he flew
THE UGLY DUCKLING.
thence into the pan where the butter was kept, and thence into the
meal-barrel, and out again, and then how strange he looked !
The woman screamed, and struck at him with the tongs, the
children ran races with each other trying to catch him, and laughed
and screamed likewise. It was well for him that the door stood open;
he jumped out among the bushes into the new fallen snow-he lay
there as in a dream.
But it would be too melancholy to relate all the trouble and
misery that he was obliged to suffer, during the severity of the
winter-he was lying on a moor among the reeds, when the sun
began to shine warmly again, the larks sang, and beautiful spring
And once more he shook his wings. They were stronger than
formerly, and bore him forwards quickly, and before- he was well
aware of it, he was in a large garden where the apple-trees stood in
full bloom, where the syringas sent forth their fragrance and hung
their long green branches down into the winding canal. Oh every-
thing was so lovely, so full of the freshness of spring And out of
the thicket came three beautiful white swans. They displayed their
feathers so proudly, and swam so lightly, so lightly! The duckling
knew the glorious creatures, and was seized with a strange melan-
"I will fly to them, those kingly birds!" said he. "They will
kill me, because I, ugly as I am, have presumed to approach them;
but it matters not, better to be killed by them than to be bitten by
the ducks, pecked by the hens, kicked by the girl who feeds the
poultry, and to have so much to suffer during the winter "-he flew
into the water, and swam towards the beautiful creatures-they saw
him and shot forward to meet him. "Only kill me," said the poor
animal, and he bowed his head low, expecting death,-but what did
he see in the water ?-he saw beneath him his own form, no longer
that of a plump, ugly, grey bird-it was that of a swan.
It matters not to have been born in a duck-yard, if one has been
hatched from a swan's egg.
The good creature felt himself really elevated by all the troubles
and adversities he had experienced. He could now rightly estimate
his own happiness, and the larger swans swam round him, and
stroked him with their beaks.
Some little children were running about in the garden; they
threw grain and bread into the water, and the youngest exclaimed,
"There is a new one! the others also cried out, "Yes, there is a
new swan come!" and they clapped their hands, and danced
around. They ran to their father and mother, bread and cake
were thrown into the water, and everyone said, "The new one is
the best, so young, and so beautiful!" and the old swans bowed.
before him. The young swan felt quite ashamed, and hid his head
THE UGLY DUCKLING.
under his wings; he scarcely knew what to do, he was all too happy,
but still not proud, for a good heart is never proud.
He remembered how he had been persecuted and derided, and
he now heard everyone say, he was the most beautiful of all beauti-
ful birds. The syringas bent down their branches towards him low
into the water, and the sun shone so warmly and brightly-he shook
his feathers, stretched his slender neck, and in the joy of his heart
said, "How little did I dream of so much happiness when I was the
ugly, despised duckling!"
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
FAR out in the wide sea,-where the water is blue as the loveliest
cornflower, and clear as the purest crystal, where it is so deep that
very, very many church-towers must be heaped one upon another,
in order to reach from the lowest depth to the surface above,-dwell
Now you must not imagine that there is nothing but sand below
the water: no, indeed, far from it! Trees and plants of wondrous
beauty grow there, whose stems and leaves are so light, that they are
waved to and fro by the slightest motion of the water, almost as if
they were living beings. Fishes, great and small, glide in and out
among the branches, just as birds fly about among our trees.
Where the water is deepest, stands the palace of the Mer-king.
The walls of this palace are of coral, and the high, pointed windows
are of amber; the roof, however, is composed of mussel-shells,
which, as the billows pass over them, are continually opening and
shutting. This looks exceedingly pretty, especially as each of these
mussel-shells contains a number of bright, glittering pearls, one only
of which would be the most costly ornament in the diadem of a
king in the upper world.
The Mer-king, who lived in this palace, had been for many years
a widower; his old mother managed the household affairs for him.
She was, on the whole, a sensible sort of a lady, although extremely
proud of her high birth and station, on which account she wore
twelve oysters on her tail, whilst the other inhabitants of the sea,
even those of distinction, were allowed only six. In every other
respect she merited unlimited praise, especially for the affection she
showed to the six little princesses, her grand-daughters. These
were all very beautiful children; the youngest was, however, the
most lovely; her skin was as soft and delicate as a rose-leaf, her
eyes were of as deep a blue as the sea, but like all .other mermaids,
she had no feet, her body ended in a tail like that of a fish.
The whole day long the children used to play in the spacious
apartments of the palace, where beautiful flowers grew out of the
walls on all sides around them. When the great amber windows
were opened, fishes would swim into these apartments as swallows
fly into our rooms; but the fishes were bolder than the swallows,
they swam straight up to the little princesses, ate from their hands,
and allowed themselves to be caressed.
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
In front of the palace there was a large garden, full of fiery red
and dark blue trees, whose fruit-glittered like gold, and whose
flowers resembled a bright, burning sun. The sand that formed
the soil bf the garden was of a bright blue colour, something like
flames of sulphur; and a strangely beautiful blue was spread over
the whole, so that one might have fancied oneself raised very high
in the air, with the sky at once above and below, certainly not at
the bottom of the sea. When the waters were quite still, the sun
tiight be seen looking like a purple flower, out of whose cup
streamed forth the light of the world.
Each of the little princesses had her own plot in the garden,
*here she might plant and sow at her pleasure. One .chose her's
to be made in the shape of a whale, another preferred the figure of
a mermaid, but the youngest had her's quite round like the sun,
and planted in it only those flowers that were red, as the sun seemed
to her. She was certainly a singular child, very quiet and thought-
ful. Whilst her sisters were adorning themselves with all sorts of gay
things that came out of a ship which- had been wrecked, she asked
for nothing but a beautiful white marble statue of a boy, which had
been found in it. She put the statue in her garden, and planted a red
weeping willow by its side. The tree grew up quickly, and let its long
boughs fall upon the bright blue ground, where ever-moving shadows
played in violet hues, as if boughs and root were embracing.
Nothing pleased the little princess more than to hear about the
world of human beings living above the sea. She made her old
grandmother tell her everything she knew about ships, towns, men,
and land animals, and was particularly pleased when she heard that
the flowers of the upper world had a pleasant fragrance (for the
flowers of the sea are scentless), and that the woods were green, and
the fishes fluttering among the branches of various gay colours, and
that they could sing with a loud clear voice. The old lady meant
birds, but she called them fishes, because her grandchildren, having
never seen a bird, would not otherwise have understood her.
"When you have attained your fifteenth year," added she, "you
will be permitted to rise to the surface of the sea; you will then sit
by moonlight in the clefts of the rocks, see the ships sail by, and
learn to distinguish towns and men."
The next year the eldest of the sisters reached this happy age,
but the others-alas the second sister was a year younger than the
eldest, the third a year younger than the second, and so on; the
youngest had still five whole years to wait till that joyful time should
come when she also might rise to the surface of the water and see
what was going on in the upper world; however, the eldest promised
to tell the others of everything she might see, when the first day of
her being of age arrived; for the grandmother gave them but little
information, and there was so much that they wished to hear.
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
But none of all the sisters longed so ardently for the day when she
should be released from childish restraint as the youngest, she who
had longest to wait, and was so quiet and thoughtful. Many a
night she stood by the open window, looking up through the clear
blue water, whilst the fishes were leaping and playing around her.
She could see the sun and the moon; their light was pale, but they
appeared larger than they do to those who live in the upper world.
If a shadow passed over them, she knew it must be either a whale
or a ship sailing by full of human beings, who indeed little thought
that, far beneath them, a little mermaiden was passionately stretch-
ing forth her white hands towards their ship's keel.
The day had now arrived when the eldest princess had attained
her fifteenth year, and was therefore allowed to rise up to the surface
of the sea.
When she returned she had a thousand things to relate. Her
chief pleasure had been to sit upon a sandbank in the moonlight,
looking at the large town which lay on the coast, where lights
were beaming like stars, and where music was playing; she had
heard the distant noise of men and carriages, she had seen the
high church-towers, had listened to the ringing of the bells; and
just because she could not go there she longed the more after all
How attentively did her youngest sister listen to her words! And
when she next stood at night time, by her open window, gazing
upward through the blue waters, she thought so intensely of the
great noisy city that she fancied she could hear the church-bells
Next year the second sister received permission to swim wherever
she pleased. She rose to the surface of the sea, just when the sun
was setting; and this sight so delighted her, that she declared it to
be more beautiful than anything else she had seen above the waters.
"The whole sky seemed tinged with gold," said she, "and it is
impossible for me to describe to you the beauty of the clouds. Now
red, now violet, they glided over me; but still more swiftly flew over
the water a flock of white swans, just where the sun was descending;
I looked after them, but the sun disappeared, and the bright rosy
light on the surface of the sea and on the edges of the clouds was
It was now time for the third sister to visit the upper world. She
was the boldest of the six, and ventured up a river. On its shores
she saw green hills covered with woods and vineyards, from among
which arose houses and castles; she heard the birds singing, and
the sun shone with so much power, that she was continually obliged
to plunge below, in order to cool her burning face. In a little bay
she met with a number of children, who were bathing and jumping
about; she would have joined in their gambols, but the children fled
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
back to land in great terror, and a little black animal barked at her
in such a manner, that she herself was frightened at last, and swam
back to the sea. She could not, however, forget the green woods,
the verdant hills, and the pretty children, who, although they had no
fins, were swimming about in the river so fearlessly.
The fourth sister was not so bold, she remained in the open sea,
and said on her return home, she thought nothing could be more
beautiful. She had seen ships sailing by, so far off that they looked
like sea-gulls, she had watched the merry dolphins gamboling in the
water, and the enormous whales, sending up into the air a thousand
The year after, the fifth sister attained her fifteenth year. Her
birthday happened at a different season to that of her sisters; it was
winter, the sea was of a green colour, and immense icebergs were
floating on its surface. These, she said, looked like pearls; they
were, however, much larger than the church-towers in the land of
human beings. She sat down upon one of these pearls, and let the
wind play with her long hair, but then all the ships hoisted their
sails in terror, and escaped as quickly as possible. In the evening
the sky was covered with sails; and whilst the great mountains of
ice alternately sank and rose again, and beamed with a reddish glow,
flashes of lightning burst forth from the clouds, and the thunder rolled
on, peal after peal. The sails of all the ships were instantly furled,
and horror and affright reigned on board, but the princess sat still on
the iceberg, looking unconcernedly at the blue zig-zag of the flashes.
The first time that either of these sisters rose out of the sea, she
was quite enchanted at the sight of so many new and beautiful
objects, but the novelty was soon over, and it was not long ere their
own home appeared more attractive than the upper world, for there
only did they find everything agreeable.
Many an evening would the five sisters rise hand in hand from the
depths of the ocean. Their voices were far sweeter than any human
voice, and when a storm was coming on, they would swim in front
of the ships, and sing,-oh how sweetly did they sing describing
the happiness of those who lived at the bottom of the sea, and
entreating the sailors not to be afraid, but to come down to them.
The mariners, however, did notunderstand their words; theyfancied
the song was only the whistling of the wind, and thus they lost the
hidden glories of the sea; for if their ships were wrecked, all on
board.were drowned, and none but dead men ever entered the Mer-
Whilst the sisters were swimming at evening time, the youngest
would remain motionless and alone, in her father's palace, looking
up after them. She would have wept, but mermaids cannot weep,
and therefore, when they are troubled, suffer infinitely more than
human beings do.
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
S"Oh I if I were but fifteen I" sighed she, "I know that I should
love the upper world and its inhabitants so much."
At last the time she had so longed for arrived.
"Well, now it is your turn," said the grandmother, "come here
that I may adorn you like your sisters." And she wound around
her hair a wreath of white lilies, whose every petal was the half of a
pearl, and then commanded eight large oysters to fasten themselves
to the princess's tail, in token of her high rank.
But that is so very uncomfortable !" said the little princess.
"One must not mind slight inconveniences when one wishes to
look well," said the old lady.
How willingly would the princess have given up all this splendour,
and exchanged her heavy crown for the red flowers of her garden,
which were so much more becoming to her. But she dared not do
so. "Farewell," said she; and she rose from the sea, light as a
flake of foam.
When, for the first time in her life, she appeared on the surface of
the water, the sun had just sunk below the horizon, the clouds were
beaming with bright golden and rosy hues, the evening star was
shining in the pale western sky, the air was mild and refreshing, and
the sea as smooth as a looking-glass. A large ship with three masts
lay on the still waters; one sail only was unfurled, but not a breath
was stirring, and the sailors were quietly seated on the cordage and
ladders of the vessel. Music and song resounded from the deck,
and after it grew dark hundreds of lamps all on a sudden burst forth
into light, whilst innumerable flags were fluttering overhead. The
little mermaid swam close up to the captain's cabin, and every now
and then when the ship was raised by the motion of the water, she
could look through the clear window panes. She saw within, many
richly dressed men; the handsomest among them was a young prince
with large black eyes. He could not certainly be more than sixteen
years old, and it was in honour of his birthday that a grand festival
was being celebrated. The crew were dancing on the deck, and
when the young prince appeared among them, a hundred rockets
were sent up into the air, turning night into day, and so terrifying
the little mermaid, that for some minutes she plunged beneath the
water. However, she soon raised her little head again, and then it
seemed as if all the stars were falling down upon her. Such a fiery
shower she had never even seen before, never had she heard that
men possessed such wonderful powers. Large suns revolved around
her, bright fishes swam in the air, and everything was reflected
perfectly on the clear surface of the sea. It was so light in the ship,
that everything could be seen distinctly. Oh! how happy the young
prince was! he shook hands with the sailors, laughed and jested
with them, whilst sweet notes of music mingled with the silence of
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
It was now late, but the little mermaid could not tear herself away
from the ship and the handsome young prince. She remained
looking through the cabin window, rocked to and fro by the waves.
There was a foaming and fermentation in the depths beneath, and
the ship began to move on faster, the sails were spread, the waves
rose high, thick clouds gathered over the sky, and the noise of
distant thunder was heard. The sailors perceived that a storm was
coming on, so they again furled the sails. The great vessel was
tossed about on the tempestuous ocean like a light boat, and the
waves rose to an immense height, towering over the ship, which
alternately sank beneath and rose above them. To the little mer-
maid this seemed most delightful, but the ship's crew thought very
differently. The vessel cracked, the stout masts bent under the
violence of the billows, the waters rushed in. For a minute the ship
tottered to and fro, then the main-mast broke, as if it had been a
reed; the ship turned over, and was filled with water. The little
mermaid now perceived that the crew was in danger, for she herself
was forced to beware of the beams and splinters torn from the vessel,
and floating about on the waves. But at the same time it became
pitch dark so that she could not distinguish anything; presently,
however, a dreadful flash of lightning disclosed to her the whole of
the wreck. Her eyes sought the young prince-the same instant the
ship sank to the bottom. At first she was delighted, thinking that
the prince must now come to her abode, but she soon remembered
that man cannot live in water, and that therefore if the prince ever
entered her palace, it would be as a corpse.
"Die I no, he must not die !" She swam through the fragments
with which the water was strewn regardless of the danger she was
incurring, and at last found the prince all but exhausted, and with
great difficulty keeping his head above water. He had already
closed his eyes, and must inevitably have been drowned, had not
the little mermaid come to his rescue. She seized hold of him and
kept him above water, suffering the current to bear themr on
Towards morning the storm was hushed; no trace, however,
remained of the ship. The sun rose like fire out of the sea; his
beams seemed to restore colour to the prince's cheeks, but his eyep
were still closed. The mermaid kissed his high forehead and
stroked his wet hair away from his face. He looked like the marble
statue in her garden; she kissed him again and wished most fervently
that he might recover.
She now saw the dry land with its mountains glittering with snow.
A green wood extended along the coast, and at the entrance of the
wood stood a chapel or convent, she could not be sure which. Citron
and lemon trees grew in the garden adjoining it, an avenue of tall
palm trees led up to the door. The sea here formed a little bay, in
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
which the water was quite smooth but very deep, and under the
cliffs there were dry firm sands. Hither swam the little mermaid
with the seemingly dead prince; she laid him upon the warm sand,
and took care to place his head high, and to turn his face to the
The bells began to ring in the large white building which stood
before her, and a number of young girls came out to walk in the
garden. The mermaid went away from the shore, hid herself behind
some stones, covered her head with foam, so that her little face could
not be seen, and watched the prince with unremitting attention.
It was not long before one of the young girls approached. She
seemed quite frightened at finding the prince in this state, apparently
dead; soon, however, she recovered herself, and ran back to call her
sisters. The little mermaid saw that the prince revived, and that
all around smiled kindly and joyfully upon him-for her, however,
he looked not, he knew not that it was she who had saved him, and
when the prince was taken into the house, she felt so sad, that she
immediately plunged beneath the water, and returned to her father's
If she had been before quiet and thoughtful, she now grew still
more so. Her sisters asked her what she had seen in the upper
world, but she made no answer.
Many an evening she rose to the place where she had left the
prince. She saw the snow on the mountains melt, the fruits in the
garden ripen and gathered, but the prince she never saw, so she
always returned sorrowfully to her subterranean abode. Her only
pleasure was to sit in her little garden gazing on the beautiful statue
so like the prince. She cared no longer for her flowers; they grew
up in wild luxuriance, covered the steps, and entwined their long
stems and tendrils among the boughs of the trees, so that her whole
garden became a bower.
At last, being unable to conceal her sorrow any longer, she
revealed the secret to one of her sisters, who told it to the other
princesses, and they to some of their friends. Among them was
a young mermaid who recollected the prince, having been an eye-
witness herself to the festivities in the ship; she knew also in what
country the prince lived, and the name of its king.
"Come, little sister!" said the princesses, and embracing her,
they rose together arm in arm, out of the water, just in front of the
This palace was built of bright yellow stones, a flight of white
marble-steps led from it down to the sea. A gilded cupola crowned
the building, and white marble figures, which might almost have
been taken for real men and women, were placed among the pillars
surrounding it. Through the clear glass of the high windows one
might look into magnificent apartments hung with silken curtains,
THE LITTLE MERMAID. 57
the walls adorned with magnificent paintings. It was a real treat to
the little royal mermaids to behold so splendid an abode; they
gazed through the windows of one of the largest rooms, and in the
centre saw a fountain playing, whose waters sprang up so high as
to reach the glittering cupola above, through which the sunbeams
fell dancing on the water, and brightening the pretty plants which
grew around it.
The little mermaid now knew where her beloved prince dwelt,
and henceforth she went there almost every evening. She often
approached nearer the land than her sisters had ventured, and even
swam up the narrow channel that flowed under the marble balcony.
Here on a bright moonlight night, she would watch the young prince
who believed himself alone.
Sometimes she saw him sailing on the water in a gaily-painted
boat with many coloured flags waving above. She would then hide
among the green reeds which grew on the banks, listening to his
voice, and if any one in the boat noticed the rustling of her long
silver veil, which was caught now and then by the light breeze, they
only fancied it was a swan flapping his wings.
Many a night when the fishermen were casting their nets by the
beacon's light, she heard them talking of the prince, and relating
the noble actions he had performed. She was then so happy,
thinking how she had saved his life when struggling with the waves,
and remembering how his head had rested on her bosom, and how
she had kissed him when he knew nothing of it, and could never
even dream of such a thing.
Human beings became more and more dear to her every day;
she wished that she were one of them. Their world seemed to her
much larger than that of the mer-people; they could fly over the
ocean in their ships, as well as climb to the summits of those high
mountains that rose above the clouds; and their wooded domains
extended much farther than a mermaid's eye could penetrate.
There were many things that she wished to hear explained, but
her sisters could not give her any satisfactory answer; she was again
obliged to have recourse to the old queen-mother, who knew a great
deal about the upper world, which she used to call "the country
above the sea."
Do men when they are not drowned live for ever? she asked one
day. "Do they not die as we do, who live at the bottom of the sea?"
"Yes," was the grandmother's reply, "they must die like us, and
their life is much shorter than ours. We live to the age of three
hundred years, but when we die, we become foam on the sea, and
are not allowed even to share a grave among those that are dear to
us. We have no immortal souls, we can never live again, and are
like the grass which, when once cut down, is withered for ever.
Human beings, on the contrary, have souls that continue to live
58 THE LITTLE MERMAID.
when their bodies become dust, and as we rise out of the water to
admire the abode of man, they ascend to glorious unknown dwellings
in the skies which we are not permitted to see."
"Why have not we immortal souls?" asked the little mermaid,
" I would willingly give up my three hundred years to be a human
being for only one day, thus to become entitled to that heavenly
"You must not think of that," answered her grandmother, "it is
much better as it is; we live longer and are far happier than human
"So I must die, and be dashed like foam over the sea, never to
rise again and hear the gentle murmur of the ocean, never again see
the beautiful flowers and the bright sun! Tell me, dear grandmother,
are there no means by which I may obtain an immortal soul ?"
"No I" replied the old lady. "It is true that if thou couldst so
win the affections of a human being as to become dearer to him
than either father or mother; if he loved thee with all his heart, and
promised whilst the priest joined his hands with thine to be always
faithful to thee; then his soul would flow into thine, and thou
wouldst then become partaker of human bliss. But that can never
be for what in our eyes is the most beautiful part of our body, the
tail, the inhabitants of the earth think hideous, they cannot bear it.
To appear handsome to them, the body must have two clumsy props
which they call legs."
The little mermaid sighed and looked mournfully at the scaly
part of her form, otherwise so fair and delicate.
We are happy," added the old lady, "we shall jump and swim
about merrily for three hundred years; that is a long time, and
afterwards we shall repose peacefully in death. This evening we
have a court ball."
The ball which the queen-mother spoke of was far more splendid
than any that earth has ever seen. The walls of the saloon were of
crystal, very thick, but yet very clear; hundreds of large mussel-
shells were planted in rows along them; these shells were some of
rose-colour, some green as grass, but all sending forth a bright light,
which not only illuminated the whole apartment, but also shone
through the glassy walls so as to light up the waters around for a
great space, and making the scales of the numberless fishes, great
and small, crimson and purple, silver and gold-coloured, appear
more brilliant than ever.
Through the centre of the saloon flowed a bright, clear stream, on
the surface of which danced mermen and mermaids to the melody
of their pwn sweet voices, voices far sweeter than those of the
dwellers upon earth. The little princess sang more harmoniously
than any other, and they clapped their hands and applauded her.
She was pleased at this, for she knew well that there was neither on
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
earth or in the sea a more beautiful voice than hers. But her
thoughts soon returned to the world above her: she could not forget
the handsome prince; she could not control her sorrow at not having
an immortal soul. She stole away from her father's palace, and
whilst all was joy within, she sat alone lost in thought in her little
neglected garden. On a sudden she heard the tones of horns
resounding'over the water far away in the distance, and she said to
herself, "Now he is going out to hunt, he whom I love more than
my father and my mother, with whom my thoughts are constantly
occupied, and to whom I would so willingly trust the happiness of
my life! All I all, will I risk to win him-and an immortal soul I
Whilst my sisters are still dancing in the palace, I will go to the
enchantress whom I have hitherto feared so much, but who is,
nevertheless, the only person who can advise and help me."
So the little mermaid left the garden, and went to the foaming
whirlpool beyond which dwelt the enchantress. She had never been
this way before-neither flowers nor sea-grass bloomed along her
path; she had to traverse an extent of bare grey sand till she reached
the whirlpool, whose waters were eddying and whizzing like mill-
wheels, tearing everything they could seize along with them into the
abyss below. She was obliged to make her way through this horrible
place, in order to arrive at the territory of the enchantress. Then
she had to pass through a boiling, slimy bog, which the enchantress
called her turf-moor: her house stood in a wood beyond this, and
a strange abode it was. All the trees and bushes around were polypi,
looking like hundred-headed serpents shooting up out of the ground;
their branches were long slimy arms with fingers of worms, every
member, from the root to the uttermost tip, ceaselessly moving and
extending on all sides. Whatever they seized they fastened upon so
that it could not loosen itself from their grasp. The little mermaid
stood still for a minute looking at this horrible wood; her heart beat
with fear, and she would certainly have returned without attaining
her pbject, had she not remembered the prince-and immortality.
The thought gave her new courage, she bound up her long waving
hair, that the polypi might not catch hold of it, crossed her delicate
arms over her bosom, and, swifter than a fish can glide through the
water, she passed these unseemly trees, who stretched their eager
arms after her in vain. She could not, however, help seeing that
every polypus had something in his grasp, held as firmly by a
thousand little arms as if enclosed by iron bands. The whitened
skeletons of a number of human beings who had been drowned in
the sea, and had sunk into the abyss, grinned horribly from the arms
of these polypi; helms, chests, skeletons of land animals were also
held in their embrace; among other things might be seen even a
little mermaid whom they had seized and strangled What a
fearful sight for the unfortunate princess I
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
But she got safely through this wood of horrors, and then arrived at
a slimy place, where immense, fat snails were crawling about, and in
the midst of this place stood a house built of the bones of unfortunate
people who had been shipwrecked. Here sat the witch caressing a
toad in the same manner as some persons would a pet bird. The
ugly fat snails she called her chickens, and she permitted them to
crawl about her.
"I know well what you would ask of me," said she to the little
princess. "Your wish is foolish enough, yet it shall be fulfilled,
though its accomplishment is sure to bring misfortune on you, my
fairest princess. You wish to get rid of your tail, and to have instead
two stilts like those of human beings, in order that a young prince
may fall in love with you, and that you may obtain an immortal soul.
Is it not so ? Whilst the witch spoke these words, she laughed so
violently that her pet toad and snails fell from her lap. "You come
just at the right time," continued she; "had you come after sunset,
it would not have been in my power to have helped you before
another year. I will prepare for you a drink with which you must
swim to land, you must sit down upon the shore and swallow it,
and then your tail will fall and shrink up to the things which men
call legs. This transformation will, however, be very painful; you
will feel as though a sharp knife passed through your body. All who
look on you after you have been thus changed will say that you are
the loveliest child of earth they have ever seen; you will retain your
peculiar undulating movements, and no dancer will move so lightly,
but every step you take will cause you pain all but unbearable; it
will seem to you a though you were walking on the sharp edges of
swords, and your blood will flow. Can you endure all this suffering ?
If so, I will grant your request."
"Yes, I will," answered the princess, with a faltering voice; for
she remembered her dear prince, and the immortal soul which her
suffering might win.
"Only consider," said the witch, "that you can never again be-
come a mermaid, when once you have received a human form. You
may never return to your sisters, and your father's palace; and unless
you shall win the prince's love to such a degree, that he shall leave
father and mother for you, that you shall be mixed up with all his
thoughts -and wishes, and unless the priest join your hands, so that
you become man and wife, you will never obtain the immortality you
seek. The morrow of the day on which he is united to another, will
see your death; your heart will break with sorrow, and you will be
changed to foam on the sea."
"Still I will venture !" said the little mermaid, pale and trembling
as a dying person.
"Besides all this, I must be paid, and it is no slight thing that
I require for my trouble. Thou hast the sweetest voice of all the
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
dwellers in the sea, and thou thinkest by its means to charm the
prince; this voice, however, I demand as my recompense. The
best thing thou possessest I require in exchange for my magic drink;
for I shall be obliged to sacrifice my own blood, in order to give it
the sharpness of a two-edged sword."
"But if you take my voice from me," said the princess, "what
have I left with which to charm the prince ? "
"Thy graceful form," replied the witch, "thy modest gait, and
speaking eyes. With such as these, it will be easy to infatuate a
vain human heart. Well now! hast thou lost courage ? Put out
thy little tongue, that I may cut it off, and take it for myself, in
return for my magic drink."
Be it so !" said the princess, and the witch took up her cauldron,
in order to mix her potion. "Cleanliness is a good thing," re-
marked she, as she began to rub the cauldron with a handful of
toads and snails. She then scratched her bosom, and let the black
blood trickle down into the cauldron, every moment throwing in
new ingredients, the smoke from the mixture assuming such horrible
forms, as were enough to fill beholders with terror, and a moaning
and groaning proceeding from it, which might be compared to the
weeping of crocodiles. The magic drink at length became clear and
transparent as pure water; it was ready.
"Here it is!" said the witch to the princess, cutting out her
tongue at the same moment. The poor little mermaid was now
dumb: she could neither sing nor speak.
"If the polypi should attempt to seize you, as you pass through
my little grove," said the witch, "you have only to sprinkle some of
this magic drink over them, and their arms will burst into a thousand
pieces." But the princess had no need of this counsel, for the polypi
drew hastily back, as soon as they perceived the bright phial, that
glittered in her hand like a star; thus she passed safely through the
formidable wood over the moor, and across the foaming mill-stream.
She now looked once again at her father's palace; the lamps in
the saloon were extinguished, and all the family were asleep. She
would not go in, for she could not speak if she did; she was about
to leave her home for ever; her heart was ready to break with sorrow
at the thought; she stole into the garden, plucked a flower from the
bed of each of her sisters as a remembrance, kissed her hand again
and again, and then rose through the dark blue waters to the
The sun had not yet risen, when she arrived at the prince's dwell-
ing, and ascended those well-known marble steps. The moon still
shone in the sky when the little mermaid drank off the wonderful
liquid contained in her phial,-she felt it run through her like a
sharp knife, and she fell down in a swoon. When the sunrose, she
awoke; and felt a burning pain in all her limbs, but-she saw stand-
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
iiig close to ier the object of her love, the handsome ybunig prince,
Whose coal-black eyes Were fixed inquiringly upon her. Full of
shame she east down her own, and perceived, instead of the long
fish-like tail she had hitherto borne, two slender legs; but she was
quite naked, and tried in vain to cover herself with her long thick
hair. The prince asked who she was, and how she had got there;
and she, in reply, smiled and gazed upon him with her bright blue
eyes, for alas she could not speak. He then led her by the hand
into the palace. She found that the witch had told her true; she
felt as though she were walking on the edges of sharp swords, but
she bore the pain willingly; on she passed, light as a zephyr, and all
who saw her, wondered at her light undulating movements.
When she entered the palace, rich clothes of muslin and silk were
bought to her; she was lovelier than all who dwelt there, but she
could neither speak nor sing. Some female slaves, gaily dressed in
silk and gold brocade, sung before the prince and his royal parents;
tnd oni of them distinguished herself by her clear sweet voice, which
the prince applauded by clapping his hands. This made the little
mermaid very sad, for she knew that she used to sing far better thaii
the young slave. "Alas!" thought she, "if he did but know that,
for his sake, I have given away my voice for ever."
The slaves began to dance; our lovely little mermaiden then arose,
stretched out her delicate white arms, and hovered gracefully about
the room. Every motion displayed more and more the perfect
symmetry and elegance of her figure; arid the expression which
beamed in her speaking eyes touched the hearts of the spectators far
more than the song of the slaves.
All present were enchanted, but especially the young prince, who
called her his dear little foundling. And she danced agaih and
again, although eveiy step cost her excessive pain. The prince then
said she should always be with him; and accordingly a sleeping
place was prepared for her on velvet cushions in the anteroom of hib
The prince caused a suit of male apparel to be made for her, iri
order that she might accompany him in his rides; so together they
traversed the fragrant woods, where green boughs brushed against
their shoulders, and the birds sang merrily among the fresh leaves.
With him she climbed up steep mountains, and although her tender
feet bled, so as to be remarked by the attendants, she only smiled,
and followed her dear prince to the heights, whence they could see
the clouds chasing each other beneath them, like a flock of birds
migrating to other countries.
During the night, she would, when all in the palace were at rest
walk down the marble steps, in order to cool her feet in the deep
waters; she would then think of those beloved ones, who dwelt in
the lower world.
STHE LITTLE MERMAID.
One night, as she was thus bathing her feet, her sisters- swam to-
gether to the spot, arm in arm and singing, but alas I so mournfully !
She beckoned to them, and they immediately recognized her, and
told her how great was the mourning in her father's house for her
loss. From this time the sisters visited her every night; and once
they brought with them the old grandmother, who had not seen the
upper world for a great many years; they likewise brought their
father, the Mer-king, with his crown on his head; but these two old
people did not venture near enough to land to be able to speak to
The little mermaiden became dearer and dearer to the prince every
day; but he only looked upon her as a sweet, gentle child; and the
thought of making her his wife never entered his head. And yet
his wife she must be, ere she could receive an immortal soul; his
wife she must be, or she would change into foam, and be driven
restlessly over the billows of the sea !
"Dost thou not love me above all others her eyes seemed to
ask, as he pressed her fondly in his arms, and kissed her lovely
"Yes," the prince would say, "thou art dearer to me than any
other, for no one is as good as thou art! Thou lovest me so much;
and thou art so like a young maiden, whom I have seen but once,
and may never see again. I was on board a ship, which was
wrecked by a sudden tempest; the waves threw me on the shore,
iear a holy temple, where a number of young girls are occupied con-
stantly with religious services. The youngest of them found me on
the shore, and saved my life. I saw her only once, but her image
is vividly impressed upon my memory, and her alone can I love.
But she belongs to the holy temple; and thou who resemblest her
so much hast been given to me for consolation; never will we be
"Alas! he does not know that it was I who saved his life,"
thought the little mermaiden, sighing deeply; "I bore him over
the wild waves, into the wooded bay, where the holy temple stood;
I sat behind the rocks, waiting till some one should come. I saw
the pretty maiden approach, whom he loves more than me,"-and
again she heaved a deep sigh, for she could not weep,-" he said
that the young girl belongs to the holy temple; she never comes out
into the world, so they cannot meet each other again,-and I am
always with him, see him daily; I will love him, and devote my
whole life to him."
"So the prince is going to be married to the beautiful daughter of
the neighboring king," said the courtiers, that is why he is having
that splendid ship fitted out. It is announced that he wishes to
travel, but in reality he goes to see the princess; a numerous retinue
will accompany him." The little mermaiden smiled at these and
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
similar conjectures, for she knew the prince's intentions better than
any one else.
I must go," he said to her, I must see the beautiful princess;
my parents require me to do so; but they will not compel me to
marry her, and bring her home as my bride. And it is quite im-
possible for me to love her, for she cannot be so like the beautiful
girl in the temple as thou art; and if I were obliged to choose, I
should prefer thee, my little silent foundling, with the speaking eyes."
And he kissed her rosy lips, played with her locks, and folded her
in his arms, whereupon arose in her heart a sweet vision of human
happiness, and immortal bliss.
Thou art not afraid of the sea, art thou, my sweet silent child ?"
asked he tenderly, as they stood together in the splendid ship, which
was to take them to the country of the neighboring king. And then
he told her of the storms that sometimes agitate the waters; of the
strange fishes that inhabit the deep, and of the wonderful things
seen by divers. But she smiled at his words, for she knew better
than any child of earth what went on in the depths of the ocean.
At night time, when the moon shone brightly, and when all on
board were fast asleep, she sat in the ship's gallery, looking down
into the sea. It seemed to her, as she gazed through the foamy
track made by the ship's keel, that she saw her father's palace, and
her grandmother's silver crown. She then saw her sisters rise out of
the water, looking sorrowful and stretching out their hands towards
her. She nodded to them, smiled, and would have explained that
everything was going on quite according to her wishes; but just
then the cabin boy approached, upon which the sisters plunged
beneath the water so suddenly that the boy thought what he had seen
on the waves was nothing but foam.
The next morning the ship entered the harbour of the king's
splendid capital. Bells were rung, trumpets sounded, and soldiers
marched in procession through the city, with waving banners, and
glittering bayonets. Every day witnessed some new entertainments,
balls and parties followed each other; the princess, however, was not
yet in the town; she had been sent to a distant convent for education,
and had there been taught the practice of all royal virtues. At last
she arrived at the palace.
The little mermaid had been anxious to see this unparalleled
princess; and she was now obliged to confess, that she had never
before seen so beautiful a creature.
The skin of the princess was so white and delicate, that the veins
might be seen through it, and her dark eyes sparkled beneath a pair
of finely formed eye-brows.
"It is herself!" exclaimed the prince, when they met, "it is she
who saved my life, when I lay like a corpse on the sea-shore !" and
he pressed his blushing bride to his beating heart.
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
' "Oh I am all too happy!" said he to his dumb foundling. "What
I never dared to hope for, has come to pass. Thou must rejoice in
my happiness, for thou lovest me more than all others who surround
me."-And the little mermaid kissed his hand in silent sorrow; it
seemed to her as if her heart was breaking already, although the
morrow of his marriage day, which must inevitably see her death, had
not yet dawned.
Again rung the church-bells, whilst heralds rode through the
streets of the capital, to announce the approaching bridal. Odorous
flames burned in silver candlesticks on all the altars; the priests
swung their golden censers; and bride and bridegroom joined hands,
whilst the holy words that united them were spoken. The little
mermaid, clad in silk and cloth of gold, stood behind the princess,
and held the train of the bridal dress; but her ear heard nothing of
the solemn music; her eye saw not the holy ceremony; she re-
membered her approaching end, she remembered that she had lost
both this world and the next.
That very same evening, bride and bridegroom went on board the
ship; cannons were fired, flags waved with the breeze, and in the
centre of the deck stood a magnificent pavilion of purple and cloth
of gold, fitted up with the richest and softest couches. Here the
princely pair were to spend the night. A favourable wind swelled
the sails, and the ship glided lightly over the blue waters.
As soon as it was dark, coloured lamps were hung out and dancing
began on the deck. The little mermaid was thus involuntarily re-
minded of what she had seen the first time she rose to the upper
world. The spectacle that now presented itself was equally splendid
-and she was obliged to join in the dance, hovering lightly as a
bird over the ship boards. All applauded her, for never had she
danced with more enchantinggrace. Her little feet suffered ex-
tremely, but she no longer felt the pain; the anguish her heart
suffered was much greater. It was the last evening she might see
him, for whose sake she had forsaken her home and all her family,
had given away her beautiful voice, and suffered daily the most
violent pain-all without his having the least suspicion of it. It was
the last evening that she might breathe the same atmosphere in
which he, the beloved one, lived; the last evening when she might
behold the deep blue sea, and the starry heavens-an eternal night,
in which she might neither think nor dream, awaited her. And all
was joy in the ship; and she, her heart filled with thoughts of death
and annihilation, smiled and danced with the others, till past mid-
night. Then the prince kissed his lovely bride, and arm in arm they
entered the magnificent tent, prepared for their repose.
All was now still; the steersman alone stood at the ship's helm.
The little mermaid leaned her white arms on the gallery, and looked
towards the east, watching for the dawn; she well knew that the first
66 THE LITTLE MERMAID.
sunbeam would witness her dissolution. She saw her sisters rise out'
of the sea; deadly pale were their features; and their long hair
no more fluttered over their shoulders, it had all been cut off.
"We have given it to the witch," said they, "to induce her to
help thee, so that thou mayest not die. She has given to us a pen-
knife : here it is before the sun rises, thou must plunge it into the
prince's heart; and when his warm blood trickles down upon thy
feet they will again be changed to a fish-like tail; thou wilt once
more become a mermaid, and wilt live thy full three hundred years,
ere thou changes to foam on the sea. But hasten either he or
thou must die before sun-rise. Our aged mother mourns for thee so
much, her grey hair has fallen off through sorrow, as ours fell before
the scissors of the witch. Kill the prince, and come down to us I
hasten I hasten! dost thou not see the red streaks on the eastern
sky, announcing the near approach of the sun ? A few minutes
more and he rises, and then all will be over with thee." -At these
words they sighed deeply and vanished.
The little mermaid drew aside the purple curtains of the pavilion,
where lay the bride and bridegroom; bending over them, she kissed
the prince's forehead, and then glancing at the sky, she saw that the
dawning light became every moment brighter. The prince's lips
unconsciously murmured the name of his bride-he was dreaming of
her, and her only, whilst the fatal penknife trembled in the hand of
the unhappy mermaid. All at once, she threw far out into the sea
that instrument of death; the waves rose like bright blazing flames
around, and the water where it fell seemed tinged with blood. With
eyes fast becoming dim and fixed, she looked once more at her be-
loved prince; then plunged from the ship into the sea, and felt her
body slowly but surely dissolving into foam.
The sun rose from his watery bed; his beams fell so softly and
warmly upon her, that our little mermaid was scarcely sensible of
dying. She still saw the glorious sun; and over her head hovered a
thousand beautiful, transparent forms; she could still distinguish the
white sails of the ship, and the bright red clouds in the sky; the
voices of those airy creatures above her had a melody so sweet and
soothing, that a human ear would be as little able to catch the sound,
as her eye was capable of distinguishing their forms; they hovered
around her without wings, borne by their own lightness through the
air. The little mermaid at last saw that she had a body as trans-
parent as theirs; and felt herself raised gradually from the foam of
the sea, to higher regions.
Where are they taking me ? asked she, and her words sounded
just like the voices of those heavenly beings.
Speak you to the daughters of air ?" was the answer. "The
mermaid has no immortal soul, and can only acquire that heavenly
gift by winning the love of one of the sons of men; her immortality
THE LITTLE MERMAID.
depends upon union with man. Neither do the daughters of air.
possess immortal souls, but they can acquire them by their own good
deeds. We fly to hot countries, where the children of earth are
sinking under sultry pestilential breezes-our fresh cooling breath
revives them. We diffuse ourselves through the atmosphere; we
perfume it with the delicious fragrance of -flowers; and thus spread
delight and health over the earth. By doing good in this manner
for three hundred years, we win immortality, and receive a share of
the eternal bliss of human beings. And thou, poor little mermaid I
who, following the impulse of thine own heart, hast done and
suffered so much, thou art now raised to the airy world of spirits,
that by performing deeds of kindness for three hundred years, thou
mayest acquire an immortal soul."
The little mermaid stretched out her transparent arms to the sun;
and, for the first time in her life, tears moistened her eyes.
And now again all were awake and rejoicing in the ship; she saw
the prince, with his pretty bride; they had missed her; they looked
sorrowfully down on the foamy waters, as if they knew she had
plunged into the sea; unseen she kissed the bridegroom's forehead,
smiled upon him, and then, with the rest of the children of air,
soared high above the rosy cloud which was sailing so peacefully
over the ship.
"After three hundred years we shall fly in the kingdom of
"We may arrive there even sooner," whispered one of her sisters.
"We fly invisibly through the dwellings of men, where there are
children; and whenever we find a good child, who gives pleasure
to his parents and deserves their love, the good God shortens our
time of probation. No child is aware that we are flitting about his
room; and that whenever joy draws from us a smile, a year is struck
out of our three hundred. But when we see a rude naughty child,
we weep bitter tears of sorrow, and every tear we shed adds a day to
our time of probation."
ON the roof of a house situated at the extremity of a small town, a
stork had built his nest. There sat the mother-stork, with her four
young ones, who all stretched out their little black bills, which had
not yet become red. Not far off, upon the parapet, erect and proud,
stood the father-stork; he had drawn one of his legs under him,
being weary of standing on two. You might have fancied him
carved in wood, he stood so motionless. "It looks so grand,"
thought he, "for my wife to have a sentinel to keep guard over her
nest; people cannot know that I am her husband, they will cer-
tainly think that I am commanded to stand here-how well it
looks!" and so he remained standing on one leg.
In the street below, a number of children were playing together.
When they saw the storks, one of the liveliest amongst them began
to sing as much as he could remember of some old rhymes about
storks in which he was soon joined by the others.
"Stork I stork I long-legged stork I
Into thy nest I frithee walk;
There sits thy mate,
With her four children so great.
The first we'll hang like a cat,
The second we'll burn,
The third on a spit well turn,
The fourth drown dead as a rat I"
"Only listen to what the boys are singing," said the little storks,
"they say we shall be hanged and burnt!"
"Never mind," said the mother, "don't listen to them; they will
do you no harm."
But the boys went on singing, and pointed their fingers at the
storks: only one little boy, called Peter, said, "it was a sin to mock
and tease animals, and that he would have nothing to do with it."
The mother-stork again tried to comfort her little ones. "Never
mind," said she; "see how composedly your father is standing
there, and upon one leg only."
But we are so frightened !" said the young ones, drawing their
heads down into the nest.
The next day, when the children were again assembled to play
together, and saw the storks, they again began their song.
The first we'll ang like a cat,
The second will burn I"
"And are we really to be hanged and burnt? asked the young
"No indeed !" said the mother. "You shall learn to fly: I will
teach you myself. Then we can fly over to the meadow, and pay a
visit to the frogs. They will bow to us in the water, and say,
'croak, croak!' and then we shall eat them; will not that be
"And what then ?" asked the little storks.
"Then all the storks in the country will gather together, and the
autumnal exercise will begin. It is of the greatest consequence that
you should fly well then; for everyone who does not, the general
will stab to death with his bill; so you must pay great attention
when we begin to drill you, and learn very quickly."
"Then we shall really be killed after all! as the boys said. Oh
listen they are singing it again !"
"Attend to me, and not to them !" said the mother. "After the
grand exercise, we shall fly to warm countries, far, far away from
here, over mountains and forests. We shall fly to Egypt, where are
the three-cornered stone houses whose summits reach the clouds;
they are called pyramids, and are older than it is possible for storks
to imagine. There is a river too, which overflows its banks, so as to
make the whole country like a marsh, and we shall go into the
marsh and eat frogs.'
"Oh!" said the young ones.
"Yes, it is delightful! one does nothing but eat all the day long.
And whilst we are so comfortable, in this country not a single green
leaf is left on the trees, and it is so cold that the clouds are frozen,
and fall down upon the earth in little white pieces."-She meant
snow, but she could not express herself more clearly.
"And will the naughty boys be frozen to pieces too ? asked the
"No, they will not be frozen to pieces; but they will be nearly as
badly off as if they were; they will be obliged to crowd round the
fire in their little dark rooms; while you, or the contrary, will be
flying about in foreign lands, where there are beautiful flowers and
Well, time passed away, and the young storks grew so tall, that
when-they stood upright in the nest they could see the country around
to a great distance. The father-stork used to bring them every day
the nicest little frogs, as well as snails, and all the other stork tit-bits
he could find. Oh! it was so droll to see him show them his
tricks; he would lay his head upon his tail, make a rattling noise
with his bill, and then tell them such charming stories all about the
70 TiHE STORKs.
"Now you must learn to fly!" said the riiotler one day; and
accordingly, all the four young storks Were obliged to come out upon
the parapet. Oh! how they trembled! And though they balanced
themselves on their wings, they were very near falling.
"Only look at me," said the mother. "This is the way you
must hold your heads; and in this manner place your feet,--one,
two i one, two this will help you to get on." She flew a little way,
arid the young ones made an awkward spring after her,-bounce!
down they fell; for their bodies were heavy.
"I will not fly," said one of the young ones, as he crept back
into the nest. "I do not want to go into the warm countries !"
"Do you want to be frozen to death during the winter ? shall the
boys come, and hang, burn,-or roast you? Wait a little, I will call
"Oh no !" said the little stork; and again he began to hop about
on the roof like the others. By the third day they could fly pretty
well, and so they thought they could also sit and take their ease in
the air; but bounce! down they tumbled, and found themselves
obliged to make use of their wings. The boys now came into the
street, singing their favourite song.
Stork stork I long-legged stork !"
"Shall not we fly down and peck out their eyes ?" said the young
"No, leave them alone said the mother. "Attend to me, that
is of much more importance !-one, two, three, now to the right!-
one, two, three, now to the left, round the chimney pot That was
very well ; you managed your wings so neatly last time, that I will
permit you to come with me to-morrow to the marsh: several first-
rate stork families will be there with their children. Let it be said
that mine are the prettiest and best behaved of all; and remember
to stand very uptight, and to throw out your chest; that looks well,
and gives such an air of distinction "
But are we hot to take revenge upon those rude boys ? asked
the young ones.
"Let them screech as much as they please You will fly among
the clouds, you will go to the land of the pyramids, when they must
shiver with cold, and have not a single green leaf to look at, nor a
single sweet apple to eat !"
"Yes, we shall be revenged!" whispered they, one to another.
And then they were drilled again.
Of all the boys in the town, the forwardest in singing nonisenhical
verses was Always the same one who had begun teasing the storks,
a little trchih not more than six years old. The young storks indeed
fancied him a hundred years old, because he was bigger than either
their father or mother, and what should they know about the ages
THE STORKS. 71
of children, or grown up human beings! All their schemes of
revenge were aimed at this little boy; he had been the first to tease
them, and continued to do so. The young storks were highly
excited about it, and the older they grew, the less they were inclined
to endure persecution. Their mother, in order to pacify them, at
last promised that they should be revenged, but not until the last
day of their stay in this place.
"We must first see how you behave yourselves at the grand
exercise; if then you should fly badly, and the general should
thrust his beak into your breast, the boys will, in some measure, be
proved in the right. Let me see how well you will behave !"
"Yes, that you shall!" said the young ones. And now they
really took great pains, practised every day, and at last flew so
lightly and prettily, that it was a pleasure to see them.
Well, now came the autumn. All the storks-assembled, in order
to fly together to warm countries for the winter. What a practising
there was! Away they went over woods and fields, towns and
villages, merely to see how well they could fly, for they had a long
journey before them. The young storks distinguished themselves
so honourably that they were pronounced "worthy of frogs and
serpents." This was the highest character they-could obtain; now
they were allowed to eat frogs and serpents, and accordingly they
did eat them.
"Now we will have our revenge !" said they.
"Very well!" said the mother; "I have been thinking what will
be the best, I know where the pool is, in which all the little human
children lie until the storks come and take them to their parents:
the pretty little things sleep and dream so pleasantly as they will
never dream again. All parents like to have a little child, and all
children like to have a little brother or sister. We will fly to the
pool and fetch one for each of the boys who has not sung that
wicked song, nor made a jest of the storks; and the other naughty
children shall have none."
"But he who first sung those naughty rhymes! that great ugly
fellow! what shall we do to him ? cried the young storks.
"In the pool there lies a little child who has dreamed away his
life; we will take it for him, and he will weep because he has only
a little dead brother. But as to the good boy who said it was a sin
to mock and tease animals, surely you have not forgotten him ?
We will bring him two little ones, a brother and a sister. And as
this little boy's name is Peter, you too shall for the future be called
'Peter' I "
And it came to pass just as the mother said; and all the storks
were called "Peter," and are still so called to this very day.
IN China, as you well know, the Emperor is Chinese, and all around
him are Chinese also.-Now what I am about to relate, happened
many years ago, but even on that very account it is the more im-
portant that you should hear the story now, before it is forgotten.
The Emperor's palace was the most magnificent palace in the
world; it was made entirely of fine porcelain, exceedingly costly;
but at the same time so brittle, that it was dangerous even to touch
The choicest flowers were to be seen in the garden; and to the
most splendid of all these, little silver bells were fastened, in order
that their tinkling might prevent any one from passing by without
noticing them. Yes! everything in the Emperor's garden was
excellently well arranged; and the garden extended so far, that even
the gardener did not know the end of it; whoever walked beyond it,
however, came to a beautiful wood, with very high trees; and beyond
that, to the sea. The wood went down quite to the sea, which was
very deep and blue; large ships could sail close under the branches;
and among the branches dwelt a nightingale, who sang so sweetly,
that even the poor fisherman, who had so much else to do, when he
came out at night time to cast his nets, would stand still and listen
to her song. "Oh! how pretty that is!" he would say-but then
he was obliged to mind his work, and forget the bird; yet the
following night, if again the nightingale sang, and the fisherman
came out, again he would say, "Oh! how pretty that is !"
Travellers came from all parts of the world to the Emperor's city;
and they admired the city, the palace, and the garden; but if they
heard the nightingale, they all said, "This is the best." And they
talked about her after they went home, and learned men wrote books
about the city, the palace, and the garden; nor did they forget the
nightingale: she was extolled above everything else; and poets
wrote the most beautiful verses about the nightingale of the wood
near the sea.
These books went round the world, and one of them at last
reached the Emperor. He was sitting in his golden arm-chair; he
read and read, and nodded his head every moment; for these
splendid descriptions of the city, the palace, and the garden, pleased
him greatly. "But the nightingale is the best of all," was written
in the book.
"What in the world is this ?" said the Emperor. The nightin-
gale! I do not know it at all! Can there be such a bird in my
empire, in my garden even, without my having even heard of it?
Truly one may learn something from books."
So he called his Cavalier*; now this was so grand a personage,
that no one of inferior rank might speak to him; and if one did
venture to ask him a question, his only answer was "Pish! which
has no particular meaning.
"There is said to be a very remarkable bird here, called the
nightingale," said the Emperor; "her song, they say, is worth more
than anything else in all my dominions; why has no one ever told
me of her?"
"I have never before heard her mentioned," said the Cavalier;
"she has never been presented at court."
"I wish her to come, and sing before me this evening," said the
Emperor. "The whole world knows what I have, and I do not
know it myself !"
"I have never before heard her mentioned," said the Cavalier,
"but I will seek her, I will find her."
But where was she to be found ? The Cavalier ran up one flight
of steps, down another, through halls, and through passages; not
one of all whom he met had ever heard of the nightingale; and the
Cavalier returned to the Emperor, and said, "It must certainly be
an invention of the man who wrote the book. Your Imperial
Majesty must not believe all that is written in books; much in them
is pure invention, and there is what is called the Black Art."
"But the book in which I have read it," said the Emperor, "was
sent me by the high and mighty Emperor of Japan, and therefore it
cannot be untrue. I wish to hear the nightingale; she must be here
this evening, and if she do not come, after supper the whole court
shall be flogged."
"Tsing-pe!" said the Cavalier; and again he ran up stairs, and
down stairs, through halls, and through passages, and half the court
ran with him; for not one would have relished the flogging. Many
were the questions asked respecting the wonderful nightingale, whom
the whole world talked of, and about whom no one at court knew
At last they met a poor little girl in the kitchen, who said, "Oh
yes! the nightingale! I know her very well. Oh! how she can sing !
Every evening I carry the fragments left at table to my poor sick
mother. She lives by the sea-shore; and when I am coming back,
and stay to rest a little in the wood, I hear the nightingale sing; it
makes the tears come into my eyes it is just as if my mother kissed
"Little kitchen maiden," said the Cavalier, "I will procure for
Gentleman in waiting.
you d sure appointment ir the kitchen, together with permission to
see His Majesty the Emperor dine, if you will conduct us to the
nightingale, for she is expected at court this evening."
So they went together to the wood, where the nightingale was
accustomed to sing; and half the court went with them. Whilst on
their way, a cow began to low.
"Oh !" said the coutt pages, "now we have her It is certainly
an extraordinary voice for so small an animal; surely I have heard
it somewhere before."
"No, those are cows you hear lowing," said the little kitchen-maid,
"we are still far from the place."
The frogs were now croaking in the pond.
"That is famous !" said the chief court-preacher, "now I hear
her; it sounds just like little church-bells."
"No, those are frogs," said the little kitchen-maid, "but now I
think we shall soon hear her."
Then began the nightingale to sing.
"There she is!" said the little girl, "listen! listen! there she
sits;" and she pointed to a little grey bird up in the branches.
Is it possible ? said the Cavalier. I should not have thought it.
How simple she looks! she must certainly have changed colour at
the sight of so many distinguished personages."
"Little nightingale !" called out the kitchen-maid, our gracious'
Emperor wishes you to sing something to him."
"With the greatest pleasure," said the nightingale, and she sang
in such a manner that it was delightful to hear her.
"It sounds like glass bells," said the Cavalier. "And look at
her little throat, how it moves It is singular that we should never
have heard her before; she will have great success at court."
"Shall I sing again to the Emperor?" asked the nightingale, for
she thought the Emperor was among them.
"Most excellent nightingale!" said the Cavalier, "i have the
honour to invite you to a court festival, which is to take place this
evening, when His Imperial Majesty will be enchanted with your
"My song would sound far better among the green trees," said
the nightingale; however, she followed willingly when she heard
that the Emperor wished it.
There was a regular trimming and polishing at the palace; the
walls and the floors, which were all of porcelain, glittered with a
thousand gold lamps; the loveliest flowers, with the merriest tinkling
bells, were placed in the passages; there was a running to and fro,
which made all the bells to ring, so that one could not hear his own
In the midst of the grand hall where the Emperor sat, a golden
perch was erected, on which the nightingale was to sit. The whole
coiit was present, and the little kitchen-iaid received petliissioti to
stand behind the door, for she had now actually the rank and title
of "Maid of the Kitchen." All were dressed out in their finest
clothes; and all eyes were fixed upon the little grey bird, to whom
the Emperor nodded as a signal for her to begin.
And the nightingale sang so sweetly, that tears came into the
Emperor's eyes, tears rolled down his cheeks; and the nightingale
sang more sweetly still, and touched the hearts of all who heard her;
and the Emperor was so merry, that he said, "The nightingale
should have his golden slippers, and wear them round her neck."
Btit the nightingale thanked him, and said she was already sufficiently
"I have seen tears in the Emperor's eyes, that is the greatest re-
ward I can have. The tears of an Emperor have a particular value.
Heaven knows I am sufficiently rewarded." And then she sang
again with her sweet, lovely voice.
"It is the most amiable coquetry ever known," said the ladies
present; and they put water into their mouths, and tried to move
their throats as she did, when they spoke; they thought to become
nightingales also. Indeed even the footmen and chamber-maids
declared that they were quite contented; which was a great thing to
say, for of all people they are the most difficult to satisfy. Yes
indeed! the nightingale's success was complete. She was now to
reiiain at court, to have her own cage; with permission to fly out
twice in the day, and once in the night. Twelve attendants were
allotted her, who were to hold a silken band, fastened round her
foot; and they kept good hold. There was no pleasure in excursions
made in this manner.
All the city was talking of the wonderful bird; and when two
persons met, one would say only "night," and the other "gale," and
their they sighed, and understood each other perfectly; indeed eleven
of the children of the citizens were named after the nightingale, but
none of them had her tones in their throats.
One day a large parcel arrived for the Emperor, on which waS
"Here we have another new book about out far-fanied bird," said
the Emperor. But it was not a book; it was a little piece of mechan-
ism, lying in a box; an artificial nightingale, which was intended to
look like the living one; but was covered all over with diamonds,
rubies and sapphires. When this artificial bird had been wound tp,
it could sing one of the tunes that the real nightingale sang; and its
tail, all glittering with silver and gold, went up and down all the
time. A little band was fastened round its neck, on which was
written, The nightingale of the Emperor of China is poor compared
with the nightingale of the Emperor of Japan."
That is famous !" said every one; and he who had brought the
bird, obtained the title of "Chief Imperial Nightingale Bringer."
"Now they shall sing together; we will have a duet."
And so they must sing together; but it did not succeed, for the
real nightingale sang in her own way, and the artificial bird produced
its tones by wheels. "It is not his fault," said the artist, "he keeps
exact time and quite according to method."
So the artificial bird must now sing alone; he was quite as suc-
cessful as the real nightingale; and then he was so much prettier to
look at; his plumage sparkled like jewels.
Three and thirty times he sang one and the same tune, and yet he
was not weary; every one would willingly have heard him again;
however, the Emperor now wished the real nightingale should sing
something-but where was she ? No one had remarked that she had
flown out of the open window; flown away to her own green wood.
"What is the meaning of this ?" said the Emperor; and all the
courtiers abused the nightingale, and called her a most ungrateful
creature. "We have the best bird at all events," said they, and for
the four and thirtieth time they heard the same tune, but still they
did not quite know it, because it was so difficult. The artist praised
the bird inordinately; indeed he declared it was superior to the real
nightingale, not only in its exterior, all sparkling with diamonds,
but also intrinsically.
For see, my noble lords, his Imperial Majesty especially, with
the real nightingale, one could never reckon on what was coming;
but everything is settled with the artificial bird; he will sing in this
one way, and no other: this can be proved, he can be taken to
pieces, and the works can be shown, where the wheels lie, how they
move, and how one follows from another."
"That. is just what I think," said everybody; and the artist
received permission to show the bird to the people on the following
Sunday. "They too should hear him sing," the Emperor said.
So they heard him, and were as well pleased as if they had all been
drinking tea; for it is tea that makes Chinese merry, and they all
said oh and raised their fore-fingers, and nodded their heads. But
the fisherman, who had heard the real nightingale, said, "It sounds
very pretty, almost like the real bird; but yet there is something
wanting, I do not know what."
The real nightingale was, however, banished the empire.
The artificial bird had his place on a silken cushion, close to the
Emperor's bed; all the presents he received, gold and precious
stones, lay around him; he had obtained the rank and title of
"High Imperial Dessert Singer," and, therefore, his place was
number one on the left side; for the Emperor thought that the side
where the heart was situated must be the most honourable, and the
heart is situated on the left side of an Emperor, as well as with other
And the artist wrote five and twenty volumes about the artificial
bird, with the longest and most difficult words that are to be found
in the Chinese language. So, of course, all said they had read and
understood them, otherwise they would have been stupid, and
perhaps would have been flogged.
Thus it went on for a year. The Emperor, the court, and all
the Chinese knew every note of the artificial bird's song by heart;
but that was the very reason they enjoyed it so much, they could
now sing with him. The little boys in the street sang "zizizi, cluck,
cluck, cluck !" and the Emperor himself sang too-yes, indeed, that
was charming !
But one evening, when the bird was in full voice, and the
Emperor lay in bed, and listened, there was suddenly a noise,
"bang," inside the bird, then something sprang "fur-r-r-r," all the
wheels were running about, and the music stopped.
The Emperor jumped quickly out of bed, and had his chief
physician called; but of what use could he be? Then a clock-
maker was fetched, and at last, after a great deal of discussion and
consultation, the bird was in some measure put to rights again; but
the clockmaker said, he must be spared much singing, for the pegs
were almost worn out, and it was impossible to renew them, at least
so that the music should be correct.
There was great lamentation, for now the artificial bird was allowed
to sing only once a year, and even then there were difficulties; how-
ever, the artist made a short speech full of his favourite long words,
and said the bird was as good as ever: so then, of course, it was as
good as ever.
When five years were passed away, a great affliction visited the whole
empire, for in their hearts the people thought highly of their Emperor;
and now he was ill, and it was reported that he could not live. A
new Emperor had already been chosen, and the people stood in the
street, outside the palace, and asked the Cavalier how the Emperor
"Pish !" said he, and shook his head.
Cold and pale lay the Emperor in his magnificent bed; all the
court believed him to be already dead, and every one had hastened
away to greet the new Emperor; the men ran out for a little gossip
on the subject, and the maids were having a grand coffee-party.
The floors of all the rooms and passages were covered with cloth,
in order that not a step should be heard-it was everywhere so still!
so still! But the Emperor was not yet dead ; stiff and pale he lay
in his splendid bed, with the long velvet curtains, and heavy gold
tassels. A window was opened above, and the moon shone down on
the Emperor and the artificial bird.
The poor Emperor could scarcely breathe; it appeared to him as
though something was sitting on his chest; he opened his eyes, and
saw that it was Death, who had put on the Emperor's crown, and
fith one hand held the golden scimitar, with the other the splendid
imperial banner; whilst, from under the folds of the thick velvet
hangings, the strangest-looking heads were seen peering forth; some
with an expression absolutely hideous, and others with an extremely
gentle and lovely aspect: they were the bad and good deeds of
the Emperor, which were now all fixing their eyes upon him, whilst
Death sat on his heart.
"Dost thou know this?" they whispered one after another.
" Dost thou remember that ?" And they began reproaching him in
such a manner that the sweat broke out upon his forehead.
"I have never known anything like it," said the Emperor. "Music,
music, the great Chinese drum !" cried he, "let me not hear what
they are saying."
They went on, however; and Death, quite in the Chinese fashion,
nodded his head to every word.
Music, music cried the Emperor. Thou dear little artificial
bird sing, I pray thee, sing !-I have given thee gold and precious
stones, I have even hung my golden slippers round thy neck-sing, I
pray thee, sing !"
But the bird was silent; there was no one there to wind him up,
and he could not sing without this. Death continued to stare at the
Emperor with his great hollow eyes! and everywhere it was still,
All at once the sweetest song was heard from the window; it was
the little living nightingale who was sitting on a branch outside-she
had heard of her Emperor's severe illness, and was come to sing to
him of comfort and hope. As she sang, the spectral forms became
paler and paler, the blood flowed more and more quickly through
the Emperor's feeble members, and even Death listened and said,
"Go on, little nightingale, go on."
"Wilt thou give me the splendid gold scimitar? Wilt thou give
me the gay banner, and the Emperor's crown ? "
And Death gave up all these treasures for a song; and the nightingale
sang on: she sang of the quiet churchyard, where white roses blossom,
where the lilac sends forth its fragrance, and the fresh grass is
bedewed with the tears of the sorrowing friends of the departed.
Then Death was seized with a longing after his garden, and like a
cold white shadow, flew out at the window.
"Thanks, thanks," said the Emperor, "thou heavenly little bird,
I know thee well. I have banished thee from my realm, and thou
hast sung away those evil faces from my bed, and death from my
heart; how shall I reward thee ?"
"Thou hast already rewarded me," said the nightingale; "I have
seen tears in thine eyes, as when I sang to thee for the first time:
those I shall never forget, they are jewels which do so much good to
a minstrel's heart! but sleep now, and wake fresh and healthy; I
will sing thee to sleep."
And she sang-and the Emperor fell into a sweet sleep. Oh how
soft and kindly was that sleep !
The sun shone in at the window when he awoke, strong and
healthy. Not one of his servants had returned, for they all believed
him dead; but the nightingale still sat and sang.
"Thou shalt always stay with me," said the Emperor, "thou shalt
only sing when it pleases thee, and the artificial bird I will break
into a thousand pieces."
"Do not so," said the nightingale; "truly he has done what he
could; take care of him. I cannot stay in the palace; but let me
come when I like: I will sit on the branches close to the window,
in the evening, and sing to thee, that thou mayest become happy
and thoughtful. I will sing to thee of the joyful and the sorrowing,
I will sing to thee of all that is good or bad, which is concealed
from thee. The little minstrel flies afar to the fisherman's hut, to
the peasant's cottage, to all who are far distant from thee and thy
court. I love thy heart more than thy crown, and yet the crown has
an odour of something holy about it. I will come, I will sing. But
thou must promise me one thing."
"Everything," said the Emperor. And now he stood in his
imperial splendour, which he had put on himself, and held the
scimitar so heavy with gold to his heart. "One thing I beg of thee:
let no one know that thou hast a little bird, who tells thee every-
thing, then all will go on well." And the nightingale flew away.
The attendants came in to look at their dead Emperor-lo there
they stood -and the Emperor said, Good-morning !"
LITTLE IDA'S FLOWERS.
"My flowers are quite faded," said little Ida. "Only yesterday
evening they were so pretty, and now they are all drooping What
can be the reason of it ?" asked she of the student who was sitting
on the sofa, and who was a great favourite with her, because he used
to tell her stories, and cut out all sorts of pretty things for her in
paper; such as hearts with little ladies dancing in them, flowers,
high castles with open doors, etc. "Why do these flowers look so
deplorable?" asked she again, showing him a bouquet of faded
"Do you not know?" replied the student. "Your flowers went
to a ball last night, and are tired; that is why they all hang their
"Surely flowers cannot dance !" exclaimed little Ida.
"Of course they can dance! When it is dark, and we are all
gone to bed, they jump about as merrily as possible. They have a
ball almost every night."
"May children go to the ball too ?" asked Ida.
"Yes," said the student, "daisies and lilies of the valley."
"And where do the prettiest flowers dance ?"
Have you never been in the large garden, in front of the King's
beautiful summer palace, the garden so full of flowers ? Surely you
recollect the swans which come swimming up to you, when you
throw them crumbs of bread ? There you may imagine they have
"I was there yesterday with my mother," said Ida, "but there
were no leaves on the trees, neither did I see a single flower.
What could have become of them? There were so many in the
"They are now at the palace," answered the student. "As soon
as the King leaves his summer residence, and returns with all his
court to the town, the flowers likewise hasten out of the garden and
into the palace, where they enjoy themselves famously. Oh, if you
could but see them! The two loveliest roses sit on the throne, and
act King and Queen. The red cocks-combs then arrange themselves
in rows before them, bowing very low; they are the gentlemen of
the bedchamber. After that the prettiest among the flowers come
in, and open the ball. The blue violets represent midshipmen, and
begin dancing with the hyacinths and crocuses, who take the part
LITTLE IDEA'S FLOWERS.
of young ladies. The tulips and the tall orange-lilies are old dowagers,
whose business it is to see that everything goes on with perfect
"But," asked the astonished little Ida, "may the flowers give
their ball in the King's palace ?"
"No one knows anything about it," replied the student. "Perhaps
once during the night the old chamberlain may come in, with his
great bunch of keys, to see that all is right; but as soon as the
flowers hear the clanking of the keys, they are quite still, and hide
themselves behind the long silk window curtains. 'I smell flowers
here,' says the old chamberlain, but he is not able to find them."
"That is very funny," said Ida, clapping her little hands; "but
could not I see the flowers ? "
"To be sure you can see them!" returned the student. "You
have only to peep in at the window next time you go to the palace.
I did so to-day, and saw a long yellow lily lying on the sofa. That
was a court lady."
"Can the flowers in the Botanic Garden'go there too? Can they
go so far ?" asked Ida.
Certainly, for flowers can fly if they wish it. The pretty red and
yellow butterflies, that look so much like flowers, are in fact nothing
else. They jump from their stalks, move their petals, as if they were
little wings, and fly about; as a reward for always behaving them-
selves well, they are allowed, instead of sitting quietly on their stalks,
to flutter hither and thither all day long, till wings actually grow out
of their petals. You have often seen it yourself. For the rest, it may
be that the flowers in the Botanic Garden have not heard what merry
making goes on every night at the palace; but I assure you, if, next
time you go into the garden, you whisper to one of the flowers, that
a ball is to be given at night at Friedricksburg, the news will be
repeated from flower to flower, and there they will all fly to a
certainty. Then, should the professor come into the garden, and
find all his flowers gone, he will not be able to imagine what is
become of them."
"Indeed !" said Ida, rather vexed at the student's strange words.
"And, pray, how can the flowers repeat to each other what I say to
them? I am sure that flowers cannot speak."
"No, they cannot speak, you are right there," returned the
student; but they make themselves understood by means of panto-
mime. Have you never seen them move to and fro at the least
breath of air ? They can understand each other this way as well as
we can by talking."
"And does the professor understand their pantomime?-" asked
Oh, certainly One morning he came into the garden, and per-
ceived that a tall nettle was conversing in pantomime with a pretty
LITTLE IDA'S FLOWERS.
red carnation. 'Thou art so beautiful,' said he to the carnation,
'and I love thee so much But the professor could not allow
such things, so he gave a rap at the nettle's leaves, which are his
fingers, and in doing so, he stung himself, and since then has never
dared to touch a nettle."
"Ah, ah laughed little Ida, "that was very foolish."
"What do you mean by this?" here interrupted the tedious
counsellor, who had come on a visit; "putting such things into
children's heads." He could not endure the student, and always
used to scold when he saw him cutting out pasteboard figures, as
for instance, a man on the gallows holding a heart in his hand,
which was meant for a heart-stealer; or an old witch, riding on a
broomstick, and carrying her husband on the tip of her nose. He
used always to say then as now: "What do you mean by putting
such things into children's heads ? it is all fantastical nonsense i "
However, little Ida thought what the student had told her about
the flowers was very droll, and she could not leave off thinking of
it. She was now sure that her flowers hung their heads because they
were tired with dancing so much the night before. So she took
them to the pretty little table, where her playthings were arranged.
Her doll lay sleeping in the cradle, but Ida said to her, "You must
get up, Sophy, and be content to sleep to-night in the table-drawer,
for the poor flowers are ill, and must sleep in your bed; perhaps they
will be well again by to-morrow." She then took the doll out of the
bed; but the good lady looked vexed at having to give up her
cradle to the flowers.
Ida then laid the faded flowers in her doll's bed, drew the
covering over them, and told them to lie quite still, whilst she made
some tea for them to drink, in order that they might be well again
the next day. And she drew the curtains round the bed, so that the
sun might not dazzle their eyes.
All the evening she thought of nothing but the student's words,
and just before she went to bed, she ran up to the window, where
her mother's tulips and hyacinths stood behind the blinds, and
whispered to them, I know very well that you are going to a ball
to-night." But the flowers moved not a leaf, and seemed not to have
After she was in bed, she thought for a long time how delightful
it must be to see the flowers dancing in the palace, and said to
herself, "I wonder whether my flowers have been there ?" but
before she could determine the point, she fell asleep. During the
night she awoke; she had deen dreaming of the student and the
flowers, and of the counsellor, who told her that they were making
game of her. All was still in the room, the night lamp was burning
on the table, and her father and mother were both asleep.
I wonder whether my flowers are still lying in Sophy's bed? "
LITTLE IDEA'S FLOWERS. 83
said she. "I should very much like to know." She raised herself
a little, looked towards the door, which stood half open; she saw
that the flowers and all her playthings were just as she had left them.
She listened,and it seemed to her as if some one must be playing on
the piano; but the tones were lower and sweeter than she had ever
"Now my flowers must certainly be dancing," said she. "Oh,
how I should like to see them but she dared not get up for fear
of waking her father and mother. "If they would only come in
here I Still the flowers did not come, and the piano sounded so
sweetly. At last she could restrain herself no longer, she must see
the dancing; so she crept lightly out of bed, and stole towards the
door of the room. Oh, what wonderful things she saw then !
The night lamp was burning no longer; however, it was quite light
in the room, for the moon shone brightly through the windows on
the floor. All the hyacinths and tulips stood there in two rows,
whilst their empty pots might still be seen in front of the windows;
they performed figures, and took hold of each other by the leaves.
At the piano sat a large yellow lily, which Ida fancied she must
have seen before, for she remembered the student's saying that this
flower was exceedingly like Miss Laura, and how everyone had
laughed at his remark. Now she herself agreed that the lily did
resemble this young lady, for she had exactly her way of playing,
bowing her long yellow face now to one side, now to the other, and
nodding her head to mark the time. A tall blue crocus now stepped
forward, sprang upon the table, on which lay Ida's playthings, went
straight up to the bed, and drew back the curtains. There lay the
sick flowers, but they arose immediately, and greeted the other
flowers, who invited them to dance with them. The sick flowers
got up, appeared quite well again, and danced as merrily as the rest.
Suddenly a heavy noise as of something falling from the table
was heard. Ida cast a glance that way, and saw that it was the rod
which she had found on her bed on the morning of Shrove Tuesday,
and which was desirous of ranking itself among the flowers. It
was certainly a very pretty rod, for a wax doll was fixed on the top,
wearing a hat, as broad-brimmed as the counsellor's, with a blue
and red ribbon tied round it. She hopped upon her three red stilts
in the middle of the flowers, and stamped the floor merrily with her
feet. She was dancing the Mazurka, which the flowers could not
dance, they were too light-footed.
All at once, the wax doll on the rod swelled out to a giant, tall
and broad, and exclaimed in a loud voice, "What do you mean by
putting such things into children's heads? It is all fantastical
nonsense And now the doll looked as much like the counsellor
in his broad-brimmed hat, as one drop of water resembles another;
her countenance looked as yellow and peevish as his; the paper
LITTLE IDEA'S FLOWERS
flowers on the rod, however, pinched her thin legs, whereupon she
shrunk up to her original size. The little Ida thought this scene
so droll that she could not help laughing; the ball company, however,
did not notice it, for the rod continued to stamp about, till at last
the doll-counsellor was obliged to dance too, whether she would or
no, and make herself now thin, now thick, now tall, now short, till at
last the flowers interceded for her, and the rod then left her in peace.
A loud knocking was now heard from the drawer in which lay
Ida's doll. It was Sophy who made the noise. She put her head.
out of the drawer and asked in great astonishment, Is there a ball
here ? why has no one told me of it ? "
"Will you dance with me ? asked the nut-crackers.
"Certainly you are a very fit person to dance with me!" said
Sophy, turning her back to him. She then sat down on the table,
expecting that one of the flowers would come and ask her to dance,
but no one came. She coughed-" hem! hem!"-still no one
came. Meantime the nut-crackers danced by himself, and his steps
were not at all badly made.
As no flowers came forward to ask Sophy to dancer all at once
she let herself fall down upon the floor, which excited a general
commotion so that all the flowers ran up to ask her whether she had
hurt herself. But she had received no injury; the flowers, however,
were all very polite, especially Ida's flowers, who took the oppor-
tunity of thanking her for the comfortable bed in which they had
slept so. quietly, and then seized her hands to dance with her, 'whilst
all the other flowers stood in a circle round them. Sophy was now
quite happy, and begged Ida's flowers to make use of her bed again
after the ball, as she did not at all mind sleeping one night in the
But the flowers said, We owe you many thanks for your kind-
ness, we shall not live long enough to need it, we shall be quite dead
by to-morrow; but request the little Ida to bury us in the garden
near her canary-bird, then we shall grow again next summer, and
be even more beautiful than we have been this year."
"No, you must not die !" replied Sophy warmly as she kissed
the flowers. Just then the door was suddenly opened, and a number
of flowers danced into the room. Ida could not conceive where
these flowers came from, unless from the King's garden. First
of all entered two beautiful roses wearing golden crowns, then
followed stocks and pinks, bowing to the company on all sides.
They had also a band of music with them; great poppies and
peonies blew upon the shells of peas till they were quite red in the
face, whilst blue and white campanulas rang a merry peal of bells.
These were followed by an immense number of different flowers all
dancing; violets, daisies, lilies of the valley, narcissuses, and others,
who all moved so gracefully, that it was delightful to see them.
LITTLE IDEA'S FLOWERS.
At last, these happy flowers wished one another "good night ";
so little Ida once more crept into bed to dream of all the beautiful
things she had seen.
The next morning, as soon as she was up and dressed, she went
.to her little table to see if her flowers were there. She drew aside
the bed-curtains-yes'! there lay the flowers, but they were to-day
much more faded than yesterday; Sophy too was lying in the
drawer, but she looked uncommonly sleepy.
Can you not remember what you have to say to me ? asked little
Ida of her; but Sophy made a most stupid face, and answered not
"You are not at all good !" said Ida, and yet all the flowers let
you dance with them." She then chose out from her playthings a
little pasteboard box with birds painted on it, and therein she placed
the faded flowers. That shall be your coffin," said she, and when
my Norwegian cousins come to see me, they shall go with me to
bury you in the garden, in order that next summer you may bloom
-again, and be still more beautiful than you have been this year."
The two Norwegian cousins of whom she spoke were two lively
boys, called Jonas and Esben. Their father had given them two new
-cross-bows, which they brought with them to show to Ida. She then
told them of the poor flowers that were dead, and were to be buried
in the garden. The two boys walked in front with their bows slung
across their shoulders, and little Ida followed carrying the dead
'flowers in their pretty coffin. A grave was dug for them in the
,garden. Ida kissed the flowers once more, then laid the box down
in the hollow, and Jonas and Esben shot arrows over the grave with
'their cross-bows, for they had neither guns nor cannon.
THERE was once a poor Prince, who had a kingdom; his kingdom
was very small, but still quite large enough to marry upon; and he
wished to marry.
It was certainly rather cool of him to say to the Emperor's
daughter, Will you have me? But so he did; for his name was
renowned far and wide; and there were a hundred princesses who
would have answered "Yes!" and "Thank you kindly." We shall
see what this Princess said.
It happened that where the Prince's father lay buried, there grew
a rose-tree-a most beautiful rose-tree, which blossomed only once
in every five years, and even then bore only one flower, but that was
a rose! It smelt so sweet, that all cares and sorrows were forgotten
by him who inhaled its fragrance.
And furthermore, the Prince had a nightingale, who could sing
in such a manner that it seemed as though all sweet melodies dwelt
in her little throat. So the princess was to have the rose, and the
nightingale; and they were accordingly put into large silver caskets,
and sent to her.
The Emperor had them brought into a large hall, where the
Princess was playing at "Visiting," with the ladies of the court; and
when she saw the caskets with the presents, she clapped her hands
"Ah, if it were but a little pussy-cat! said she-but the rose-
tree with its beautiful rose came to view.
"Oh, how prettily it is made said all the court ladies.
"It is more than pretty," said the Emperor, "it is charming "
But the Princess touched it, and was almost ready to cry.
"Fie, papa !" said she, "it is not made at all, it is natural!"
"Let us see what is in the other casket, before we get into a bad
humour," said the Emperor. So the nightingale came forth, and
sang so delightfully that at first no one could say anything ill-
humoured of her.
Superbe charmant exclaimed the ladies; for they all used to
chatter French, each one worse than her neighbour.
"How much the bird reminds me of the musical box, that be-
longed to our blessed Empress," said an old knight. "Oh yes t
these are the same tones, the same execution."
"Yes! yes!" said the Emperor, and he wept like a child at the
"I will still hope that it is not a real bird," said the Princess.
"Yes, it is a real bird," said those who had brought it. "Well,
then, let the bird fly," said the Princess; and she positively refused
to see the Prince.
However, he was not to be discouraged; he daubed his face over
brown and black; pulled his cap over his ears, and knocked at the door.
"Good day to my lord the Emperor !" said he. "Can I have
employment at the palace ? "
"Why, yes," said the Emperor, "I want some one to take care of
the pigs, for we have a great many of them."
So the Prince was appointed "Imperial Swineherd." He had a
dirty little room close by the pig-sty; and there he sat the whole day,
and worked. By the evening, he had made a pretty little kitchen-
pot. Little bells were hung all round it; and when the pot was
boiling, these bells tinkled in the most charming manner, and played
the old melody,
Ac du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist weg, weg, weg !" *
But what was still more curious, whoever held his finger in the
smoke of the kitchen-pot, immediately smelt all the dishes that were
cooking on every hearth in the city-this, you see, was something
quite different from the rose.
Now the Princess happened to walk that way; and when she
heard the tune, she stood quite still, and seemed pleased; for she
could play "Lieber Augustine"; it was the only piece she knew;
and she played it with one finger.
"Why, there is my piece," said the Princess, "that swineherd
must certainly have been well educated! go in and ask him the
price of the instrument."
So one of the court-ladies must run in; however, she drew on
wooden slippers first.
"What will you take for the kitchen-pot ?" said the lady.
"I will have ten kisses from the Princess," said the swineherd.
"Yes, indeed !" said the lady.
"I cannot sell it for less," rejoined the swineherd.
"He is an impudent fellow I" said the Princess, and she walked on
-but when she had gone a little way, the bells tinkled so prettily
Ach du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist weg, weg, weg !"
"Stay," said the Princess. "Ask him if he will have ten kisses
from the ladies of my court."
"A dear Augustine!
All is gone, gone, gone "
"No, thank youl" said the swineherd, "ten kisses from the
Princess, or I keep the kitchen-pot myself."
"That must not be either!" said the Princess; "but do you all
stand before me that no one may see us."
And the court-ladies placed themselves in front of her, and spread
out their dresses-the swineherd got ten kisses, and the Princess-
That was delightful! the pot was boiling the whole evening, and
the whole of the following day. They knew perfectly well what was
cooking at every fire throughout the city, from the chamberlain's to
the cobbler's: the court-ladies danced, and clapped their hands.
"We know who has soup, and who has pancakes for dinner to-
day; who has cutlets, and who has eggs. How interesting !"
"Yes, but keep my secret, for I am an Emperor's daughter."
The swineherd-that is to say, the Prince, for no one knew that
he was other than an ill-favoured swineherd-let not a day pass with-
out working at something; he at last constructed a rattle, which,
when it was swung round, played all the waltzes and jig-tunes
which have ever been heard since the creation of the world.
"Ah, that is superbe/" said the Princess when she passed by.
"I have never heard prettier compositions! Go in and ask him
the price of the instrument; but mind, he shall have no more
"He will have a hundred kisses from the Princess !" said the lady
who had been to ask.
"I think he is not in his right senses!" said the Princess, and
walked on; but when she had gone a little way, she stopped again.
"One must encourage art," said she. "I am the Emperor's
daughter. Tell him he shall, as on yesterday, have ten kisses
from me, and may take the rest from the ladies of the court."
"Oh !-but we should not like that at all!" said they. "What
are you muttering? asked the Princess; "if I can kiss him, surely
you can! Remember that you owe everything to me." So the
ladies were obliged to go to him again.
"A hundred kisses from the Princess!" said he, "or else let
everyone keep his own."
"Stand round!" said she; and all the ladies stood round her
whilst the kissing was going on.
"What can be the reason for such a crowd close by the pig-sty ?"
said the Emperor, who happened just then to step out on the
balcony; he rubbed his eyes and put on his spectacles. "They
are the ladies of the court; I must go down and see what they are
about!" So he pulled up his slippers at the heel, for he had
trodden them down.
As soon as he had got into the court-yard, he moved very
softly, and the ladies were so much engrossed with counting the
"Ach du lieber Augustin
Alles ist weg, weg, weg/"
(facing page 89)
kisses that all might go on fairly, that they did not perceive the
Emperor. He rose on his tip-toes.
"What is all this?" said he, when he saw what was going on, and
he boxed the Princess's ears with his slipper, just as the swineherd
was taking the eighty-sixth kiss.
"March out!" said the Emperor, for he was very angry; and
both Princess and swineherd were thrust out of the city.
The Princess now stood and wept, the swineherd scolded, and the
rain poured down.
"Alas i unhappy creature that I am !" said the Princess. "If I
had but married the handsome young Prince ah how unfortunate
And the swineherd went behind a tree, washed the black and
brown colour from his face, threw off his dirty clothes, and stepped
forth in his princely robes; he looked so noble that the Princess
could not help bowing before him.
"I am come to despise thee," said he. "Thou would'st not have
an honourable prince! thou could'st not prize the rose and the
nightingale, but thou wast ready to kiss the swineherd for the sake
of a trumpery plaything. Thou art rightly served."
He then went back to his own little kingdom, and shut the door
of his palace in her face. Now she might well sing
Ac du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist weg, weg, wegl "
THERE is no one in the whole world who knows so many stories
as the Dustman-Oh his are delightful stories.
In the evening, when children are sitting quietly at table, or on
their little stools, he takes off his shoes, comes softly upstairs, opens
the door very gently, and all on a sudden throws dust into the
children's eyes. He then glides behind them, and breathes lightly,
very lightly, upon their necks, whereupon their heads become immedi-
ately so heavy! But it does them no harm, for the Dustman means
it kindly; he only wants the children to be quiet, and they are most
quiet when they are in bed. They must be quiet, in order that he
may tell them his stories.
When the children are asleep, the Dustman sits down upon the
bed; he is gaily dressed, his coat is of silk; but of what colour it is
impossible to say, for it seems now green, now red, now blue, accord-
ing to the light. Under each arm he holds an umbrella; one, which.
has pictures painted on it, he holds over good children, it makes
them have the most delightful dreams all night long; and the other,.
which has nothing on it, he holds over naughty children, so that they
sleep heavily, and awake in the morning without having dreamed at
Now let us hear what stories the Dustman told to a little boy, of
the name of Hialmar, to whom he came every evening for a whole.
week through. There are seven stories altogether, for the week has
"Listen to me," said the Dustman, as soon as he had got Hialmar
into bed. "Now I will decorate your room "; and all at once, as
he was speaking, the flowers in the flower-pots grew up into large trees,
whose long branches extended to the ceiling, and along the walls, so
that the room looked like a beautiful arbour. All these branches
were full of flowers, and every flower was more beautiful even than
the rose, and had so pleasant a smell. Moreover, could you,have
tasted them you would have found them sweeter than preserves.
And fruit, which shone like gold, hung from the trees, also dump-
lings full of currants : never was the like seen before. But, at the
same time, a loud lamentation was heard in the table-drawer, where
Hialmar's school-books were kept.
"What is the matter? said the Dustman, going up to the table,
and taking out the drawer. There lay the slate, on which the figures
were pressing and squeezing together, because a wrong figure had got
into the sum, so that it was near falling to pieces; the pencil hopped
and skipped about like a little dog; he wanted to help the sum, but
he could not. And a little further off lay Hialmar's copy-book: a
complaining and moaning came thence also, it was quite unpleasant
to hear it; at the beginning of every line on each page, there stood
a large letter with a little letter by its side; this was the copy: and
after them stood other letters intended to look like the copy. Hialmar
had written these; but they seemed to have fallen over the lines,
upon which they ought to have stood.
Look, this is the way you must hold yourselves," said the copy;
"look, slanting just so, and turning round with a jerk."
"Oh! we would do so willingly," said Hialmar's letters; "but we
cannot, we are so badly made "
"Then you shall have some of the children's powders," said the
"Oh no!" cried they, and stood so straight that it was a pleasure
to see them.
Well, I cannot tell you any more stories now," said the Dustman;
"I must drill these letters: right, left, right, left! So he drilled
the letters till they looked as straight and perfect as only the letters
in a copy can be. However, after the Dustman had gone away, and
when Hialmar looked at them the next morning, they were as miser-
able and badly formed as before.
As soon as Hialmar was in bed, the Dustman touched with his.
little magic wand all the pieces of furniture in the room; whereupon
they all began to talk; and they all talked about themselves, except-
ing the spittoon, who stood quite still, and was much vexed at their
being so vain, all talking about themselves, without ever thinking of
him who stood so modestly in the corner, and suffered himself to
be spat upon.
Over the wardrobe there hung a large picture in a gilt frame; it
was a landscape: there you might see tall trees, flowers blossoming in
the grass, and a river that wound itself round the wood, passing many
a grand old castle on its way to the sea.
The Dustman touched the picture with his magic wand; and im-
mediately the birds began to sing, the boughs of the trees waved to
and fro, and the clouds actually flew; one could see their shadows
move over the landscape.
The Dustman then lifted little Hialmar up to the frame, and
Hialmar put his legs into the picture: there he stood amid the tall
grass. He ran to the water's edge, and sat down in a little boat,
painted red and white, with sails glittering like silver; six swans, with
golden wreaths round their necks, and bright blue stars upon their
heads, drew the boat along, near a green wood, where the trees were
telling stories about robbers and witches, and the flowers were talking
of the pretty little fairies, and what the butterflies had said to them.
Most beautiful fishes, with scales like gold and silver, swam behind
the boat, every now and then leaping up, so that the water was splashed
over Hialmar's head; birds red and blue, great and small, flew after
him in two long rows; the gnats danced, and the cockchafers said
" boom, boom They all wished to accompany Hialmar, and every
one of them had a story to tell.
A pleasant voyage was that! The woods were now thick and
gloomy, now like beautiful gardens beaming with flowers and sun-
shine. Large palaces built of glass or marble rose from among the
trees; young princesses stood in the balconies-these were all little
girls whom Hialmar knew well, and with whom he had often played.
They stretched out their hands to him, each holding a pretty little
image made of sugar, such as are seen in confectioners' shops.
Hialmer seized the end of one of these little images as he sailed by,
and a princes. kept hold of the other, so each got half, the princess
the smaller, Hialmar the larger. At every castle little princes were
keeping guard; they shouldered their golden scimitars, and showered
down raisins and tin-soldiers-these were true princes! Hialmar
sailed sometimes through woods, sometimes through large halls, or
the middle of a town. Among others he passed through the town
where his nurse lived, she who had brought him up from his infancy,
and who loved him so much. She nodded and beckoned to him as
he passed by, and sang the pretty verses she had herself composed
and sent to him.
How many, many hours I think on thee,
My own dear Hialmar, still my pride and joy I
How have I hung delighted over thee,
Kissing thy rosy cheeks, my darling boy I
Thy first low accents it was mine to hear,
To-day my farewell words to thee shall fly.
Oh may the Lord thy shield be ever near,
And fit thee for a mansion in the sky I "
And all the birds sang with her, the flowers danced upon their
stalks, and the old trees nodded their heads whilst the Dustman told
stories to them also.
Oh, how the rain was pouring down Hialmar could hear it even
in his sleep, and when the Dustman opened the window the water
came in upon the ledge; there was quite a lake in front of the house,
and on it a splendid ship.
"Will you sail with me, little Hialmar? said the Dustman. "If
you will, you shall visit foreign lands to-night, and be here again by
And now Hialmar, dressed in his Sunday clothes, was in the ship;
the weather immediately cleared up, and they floated down the
street, cruized round the church, and were soon sailing upon the wide
sea. They quickly lost sight of land, and could see only a number
of storks, who had all come from Hialmar's country, and were going
to a warmer one. The storks were flying one after another, and
were already very far from land; when one of them was so weary,
that his wings could scarcely bear him up any longer; he was last
in the train, and was soon far behind the others; he sank lower and
lower, with his wings outspread; he still endeavoured to move them,
but it was all in vain; his wings touched the ship's cordage, he slid
down the sail, and-bounce there he stood on the deck.
So the cabin-boy put him into the place where the hens, ducks,
and turkeys were kept; the poor stork stood amongst them quite
Only look, what a foolish fellow !" said all the hens. And the
turkey-cock made himself as big as he could, and asked him who he
was; and the ducks waddled backwards and pushed each other,
"quack, quack! "
The stork then told them about his warm Africa, about the
pyramids, and about the ostrich, who races through the desert like
a wild horse; but the ducks did not understand him, and again
pushed each other saying, "Do not we all agree in thinking him
very stupid ?"
"Yes, indeed he is stupid! said the turkey-cock, and began to
So the stork was silent, and thought of his Africa. "You have
really very pretty slender legs!" said the turkey-cock. "What did
they cost you per yard ? "
"Quack, quack, quack," all the ducks began to titter; but the
stork seemed not to have heard the question.
"You might just as well have laughed with them," said the turkey-
cock to him, "for it was a capital joke! But perhaps it was not
high enough for you? ah! ah! he has very grand ideas; let us go
on amusing ourselves." And then he gobbled, the hens cackled,
and the ducks quacked; they made a horrid noise with their
But Hialmar went to the hen-house, opened the door and called
the stork, who immediately jumped on deck; he had now rested
himself sufficiently; and bowed his head to Hialmar, as if to thank
him. He then spread his wings and flew away-whilst the hens
cackled, the ducks quacked, and the turkey-cock turned red as
"To-morrow, we will have you all made into soup!" said
Hialmar; whereupon he awoke, and found himself in his own little
bed. A strange journey had the Dustman taken him that night !
"I'll tell you what!" said the Dustman, "do not be afraid, and
you shall see a little mouse !" and he held out his hand, with the
pretty little animal in it. "She is come to invite you to a wedding;
there are two little mice here, who intend, this very night, to enter
into matrimony. They live under the floor of the dining-room;
their's must be such a pretty house."
"But how can I get through the little hole?" asked Hialmar.
"Let me take care of that," said the Dustman. "I will make you
very little! and he touched Hialmar with his magic wand, and he
became smaller and smaller, till at last he was no larger than his
own fingers. "Now you can borrow the tin soldiers' clothes; I
think they will just fit you; and it looks so grand to wear uniform
when you are in company."
"Ah yes !" said Hialmar, and in another moment he was dressed
like the prettiest little tin soldier.
"Will you have the goodness to sit down in your mother's
thimble ? said the little mouse. In that case, I shall feel honoured
by drawing you."
"What! will you really take so much trouble?" said Hialmar;
and away they went to the mouse's wedding.
They first came to a long passage, under the floor, which was high
enough for the thimble to be drawn along through it; and was
lighted up with toadstools throughout.
"Is there not a pleasant smell here?" said the mouse who was
drawing the thimble. "The whole passage is covered with rind of
bacon; there is nothing more delightful !"
They now entered the bridal apartment; the lady mice stood on
the right-hand side, whispering together, seemingly very merry; on
the left side stood the gentlemen mice, who were all stroking their
whiskers with their paws. In the middle of the room, the bride and
bridegroom were seen, standing in the scooped-out rind of a cheese;
and kissing each other incessantly, before the eyes of all present.
They were already betrothed; and were to be married immediately.
Strangers were arriving every moment; the mice almost trod each
other to death; and the bridal pair had placed themselves just in
the centre of the doorway, so that one could neither get out nor in.
The whole room was, like the passage, covered with the rind of
bacon; this was all the entertainment given; for dessert, however,
a pea was exhibited, in which a little mouse belonging to the family
had bitten the initials of the married couple; was not this an ex-
All the mice agreed that the wedding had been extremely genteel
and the conversation delightful
So now Hialmar returned home; he had certainly been in most
distinguished company; but still, he felt as though he had rather
lowered himself, by becoming so small, and wearing the uniform of
a tin soldier.
"It is incredible what a number of old people there are, always
wanting to have me with them," said the Dustman, "especially those
who have done anything wicked. 'Dear, good Dustman,' they say
to me, 'we cannot sleep a wink all night; we lie awake, and see all
our bad deeds sitting on the edge of the bed, like little ugly goblins,
and sprinkling hot water over us. If you would but come' and drive
them away, so that we could have a little sleep,' and then they sigh
so deeply, 'we will be sure to pay you well, -good-night, Dustman,
the money is lying at the window.' But I do not come for money,"
said the Dustman.
"What are we to do to-night? asked Hialmar.
"Why, I do not know whether you would like to go again to a
wedding ? The one of which I am now speaking is quite of another
kind from yesterday's. Your sister's great doll, that looks like a
man, and is called Herman, is going to marry the doll Bertha;
besides which, it is a birthday; so they will doubtless receive a great
"Oh yes! I know that already," said Hialmar, "whenever the
dolls want new clothes, my sister calls it either their birthday or their
wedding-day. They must certainly have been married a hundred
"Yes, but to-night they will be married for the hundred and first
time; and when it has come to that number, they can never be
married again. So this time the wedding will be splendid I only
And Hialmar looked upon the table, where stood the little doll's
house; the windows were lighted up, and tin soldiers presented arms
at the door. The bride and bridegroom were sitting on the ground,
and leaning against the leg of the table; they seemed very thoughtful;
there was, perhaps, good reason for being so. But the Dustman
had, meanwhile, put on his grandmother's black gown, and married
them. When the ceremony was over, all the furniture in the room
began singing the following pretty song, which had been written by
the lead pencil:-
Waft, gentle breeze, our kindfarewell
To the tiny house where the bridefolks dwell,
With their skin of kid-leather fitting so well;
They are straight and upright as a tailor's ell.
Hurrah, hurrah for beau and belle I
Let echo repeat our kindfarewell I"
And now presents were brought to them; all eatables, however,
they declined accepting: love was enough for them to live upon.
"Shall we go into the country, or make a tour in some foreign
land?" asked the bridegroom. So the swallow, who had travelled
a good deal, and the old hen, who had hatched five broods of
chickens, were consulted. And the swallow spoke of those beautiful,
warm countries, where bunches of grapes, large and heavy, hang on
the vines; where the air is so balmy, and the mountains of various
hues, such as are never known here.
"But then they have not our green cabbages!" said the hen.
"One summer, I and all my chickens lived in the country; there
was a gravel-pit, in which we might go and scrape about; besides,
we had access to a garden, full of green cabbages. Oh how green
they were! I cannot imagine anything more beautiful!"
"But one head of cabbage looks exactly like another," said the
swallow; "and then we so often have wet weather here!"
"One gets accustomed to that," said the hen.
"But it is so cold, it freezes !"
"That is good for the cabbages," said the hen, "besides which,
it can be warm sometimes. Did we not, four years ago, have a
summer which lasted five weeks? It was so hot, that one could
hardly breathe. Then, too, we have not all the poisonous animals
which they have in foreign countries; and we are free from robbers.
He is a blockhead who does not think our country the most beautiful
of all! he does not deserve to live here!" and at these words, tears
rolled down the hen's cheeks. I too have travelled; I have been
twelve miles in a coop. There is no pleasure at all in travelling."
"Yes, the hen is a sensible animal!" said the doll Bertha. "I
do not wish to travel over the mountains; one is always going up
and down! No, we will go to the gravel-pit, and walk in the
garden, among the cabbages."
And so it was settled.
"Now may I have some stories?" asked little Hialmar, as soon
as the Dustman had put him to sleep.
"We shall have no time for them this evening," said the Dustman,
spreading his picture umbrella over him. Look at these Chinese !"
The umbrella resembled a large Chinese plate, with blue trees, and