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HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
THE BUD OPENED INTO A FULL-BLOWN FLOWER, IN THE MIDDLE OF
WHICH LAY A BEAUTIFUL CHILD
W: HEATH: ROBINSON
Published by Hodder and Stoughton Limited
for Boots Pure Drug Co., Ltd., Nottingham
Made and Printed in Great Britain by Butler &
Tanner Ltd., Frome and London
TIE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 16
THE SNOW QUEEN 82
PART THE FIRST-WHICH TREATS OF THE MIRROR
AND ITS FRAGMENTS 82
PART THE SECOND-A LITTLE BOY AND A LITTLE
PART THE THIRD-THE ENCHANTED FLOWER-
PART THE FOURTH-THE PRINCE AND THE
PART THE FIFTH-THE LITTLE ROBBER-MAIDEN 115
PART THE SIXTH-THE LAPLAND WOMAN AND
THE FINLAND WOMAN 123
8 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
PART THE SEVENTH-WHICH TREATS OF THE
SNOW QUEEN'S PALACE, AND OF WHAT CAME
TO PASS THEREIN
THE LITTLE MERMAID
THE RED SHOES .
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES
THE SWINEHERD .
THE FLYING TRUNK
THE LEAPING MATCH .
THE SHEPHERDESS AND THE C
THE UGLY DUCKLING .
THE NAUGHTY BOY
LIST OF COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS
THE BUD OPENED INTO A FULL-BLOWN FLOWER,
IN THE MIDDLE OF WHICH LAY A BEAUTIFUL
SHE STOOD AT THE DOOR AND BEGGED FOR A PIECE
OF BARLEY-CORN 67
"YES, I WILL GO WITH THEE!" SAID TOMMELISE,
AND SHE SEATED HERSELF ON THE BIRD'S BACK 77
THE SWING MOVES AND THE BUBBLES FLY UPWARD
WITH BRIGHT, EVER-CHANGING COLOURS .97
"HE DID NOT COME TO WOO HER," HE SAID, "HE
HAD ONLY COME TO HEAR THE WISDOM OF THE
ROUND AND ROUND THEY WENT, SUCH WHIRLING
AND TWIRLING ........ 143
10 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
SHE PUT THE STATUE IN HER GARDEN 153
WITH THE REST OF THE CHILDREN OF AIR, SOARED
HIGH ABOVE THE ROSY CLOUD 181
WE WILL BRING HIM TWO LITTLE ONES, A BROTHER
AND A SISTER .191
THEN BEGAN THE NIGHTINGALE TO SING. 199
THE PEASANT'S WIFE SAT ON SUNDAYS AT THE DOOR
OF HER COTTAGE READING HER HYMN-BOOK 215
PRINCESSES HE FOUND IN PLENTY, BUT WHETHER
THEY WERE REAL PRINCESSES IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE
FOR HIM TO DECIDE 239
SHE SAT DOWN ONE DAY AND MADE OUT OF SOME
OLD PIECES OF RED CLOTH A PAIR OF LITTLE
THE SWINEHERD SCOLDED AND THE RAIN POURED
SHE SAT THE LIVELONG DAY UPON THE ROOF OF
HER PALACE, EXPECTING HIM .283
HE JUMPED DOWN FROM THE OLD MAN'S LAP AND
DANCED AROUND HIM ON THE FLOOR 817
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The marsh king's daughter 15
She understood the speech of birds 16
It was he who pulled her down 21
The Nile flood had retired 27
There was a little bird that beat its wings 9
Placed the golden circuit about his neck 47
Then she saw the storks 53
The swallow soared high into the air .61
"Thou poor little thing," said the field-mouse 62
"This is just the wife for my son," said the toad. 65
Oh, how terrified was poor Tommelise 71
That was the greatest of pleasures .. 76
They carried the mirror from place to place 81
He chuckled with delight 83
She wore a large hat, with most beautiful flowers painted on it 91
12 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
Gerda knew every flower in the garden .
Suddenly a large raven hopped upon the snow in front of her .
Cabinet councillors were walking about barefooted.
And the nearer they were to the door the prouder they looked
And flapped his black wings at the carriage till it was out of sight
The little robber-maiden .
The snow queen .
She ran on as fast as she could
She entered, the large, cold, empty hall.
The elfin-king's housekeeper .
The mer-king must be invited first
They felt quite as if they were at home
I will have thee myself to wife
The little mermaid .
She was on the whole a sensible sort of lady
The youngest was the most lovely
They ate from their hands .
Many an evening she rose to the place.
When the sun arose she awoke .
" Stork stork 1 long-legged stork "
And fetch one for each of the boys
" Oh I how pretty that is I" he would say .
Among the branches dwelt a nightingale
They admired the city, the palace, and the ga
The kitchen-maid .
The chief imperial nightingale bringer
He was quite as successful as the real nightint
The wild swans .
So Elise took off her clothes and stepped into the water
And met an old woman with a basket full of berries
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Not a boat was to be seen .
There was only just room for her and them .
I must venture to the churchyard ..
I have scarcely closed my eyes the whole night through
The old king himself went out to open it ..
The peas were preserved in the cabinet of curiosities
And Karen was dressed very neatly .
Karen and the old lady walked to church
He sat there nodding at her. .
Dance she must, over field and meadow
Two rogues calling themselves weavers made their appearance
" Oh, it is excellent I replied the minister .
As if in the act of holding something up .
So now the emperor walked under his high canopy
The two rogues .
The emperor's daughter .
All cares and sorrows were forgotten by him
And he wept like a child .
" Ach I du lieber Augustin "
Up flew the trunk .
The son lived merrily .
"Will you tell us a story ? asked the queen
"But let it make us laugh," said the king
Their slippers flew about their ears
And thus the frog won the princess .
The old councillor .
"I say nothing for the present," remarked the
It may not be perfectly true
The shepherdess and the chimney-sweeper
wvho inhaled its
14 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
The poor duckling was scorned by all .
He came to a large moor .
And the cat said, Can you purr ? .
And every one said, The new one is the best"
Beware of him, dear child I ..
THE: MARSH: KING'S DAUGHTER
SHE UNDERSTOOD THE SPEECH OF BIRDS
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
THE storks tell their young ones ever so many fairy
tales, all of them from the fen and the moss. Generally
the tales are suited to the youngsters' age and under-
standing. The baby birds are pleased if they are told
just kribly, krably, plurry-murry !" which they think
wonderful; but the older ones will have something with
more sense in it, or, at the least, a tale about themselves.
Of the two oldest and longest tales which have been told
among the storks, one we all know-that about Moses,
who was placed by his mother in an ark on the waters of
the Nile, was found by the king's daughter, and then was
taught all learning, and became a great man, and no one
knows where he was buried. Everybody has heard that
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
But the other story is not known at all even now;
perhaps because it is really a chimney-corner tale. It has
been handed down by mother-stork to mother-stork for
hundreds of years, and each in turn has told it better,
till now we are telling it best of all.
The first pair of storks who knew it had their summer
quarters on a Viking's log-house by the moor in Wendsyssel,
which is in the county of Hj6rring, near Skagen in Jut-
land, if we want to be accurate. To this day there is still
an enormous great moss there. You can read all about it
in your geography book. The moss lies where was once
the bottom of the sea, before the great upheaval of the
land; and now it stretches for miles, surrounded on all
sides by watery meadows and quivering bog, with turf-moss
cloud-berries and stunted trees growing. A fog hangs
over it almost continually, and till about seventy years
ago wolves were still found there. It may certainly be
called a wild moor, and you can imagine what lack of
paths and what abundance of swamp and sea was there
thousands of years ago. In that waste man saw ages
back just what he sees to-day. The reeds were just as
high, with the same kind of long leaves and purplish-
brown, feathery flowers as they have now; the birches
stood with white bark and fine, loose-hung leaves just
as they now stand; and for the living creatures that came
there, why, the fly wore its gauze suit of just the same cut
as now, and the colour of the stork's dress was white and
black, with red stockings. On the other hand, the men of
that time wore different clothes from those we wear. But
whoever it was, poor peasant or free hunter, that trod
on the quagmire, it happened thousands of years ago just
as it does to-day-in he went and down he sank, down to
the Marsh King, as they called him, who reigned beneath
in the great Moss Kingdom. He was called also the
Mire King, but we will call him by the stork's name for
him-Marsh King. People know very little about how
he governed, but perhaps that is just as well.
18 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
Near to the moss, and right in the Liim Fjord, stood the
Viking's log-house, with paved cellar and tower two
storeys high. On the roof the storks had built their nest.
Mother-stork sat on her eggs, and was positive they would
turn out well.
One evening father-stork had been out for a long time,
and when he came home he seemed excited and flurried.
I've dreadful news for you! he said to mother-stork.
Don't get excited," said she. "Remember I'm sit-
ting on my eggs, and I might be upset by it, and then the
eggs would suffer."
You must know it I he answered. She has come
here, our landlord's daughter in Egypt! She has ven-
tured on the journey here, and she is lost! "
Why, she is of fairy descent Tell me all about it;
you know I can't bear to wait at this time, when I'm
"Listen, mother. It's as you told me. She has be-
lieved what the doctor said, that the moor-flowers here
could do her sick father good, and so she has flown here in
a feather-dress with the other winged princesses, who have
to come to the north every year to bathe and renew their
youth. She has come, and she is lost I "
You're getting too long-winded said mother-stork.
"The eggs may be chilled I I can't bear to be excited "
I have watched," said father-stork, and in the even-
ing, when I went into the reeds, where the quagmire is able
to bear me, there came three swans. Something in the
way they flew told me, 'Watch; that isn't a real swan;
it's only swan feathers.' You know the feeling, mother,
as well as I do ; you can tell if it is right."
"Yes, certainly," said she; but tell me about the
princess. I'm tired of hearing about the swan's feathers."
Here, in the middle of the moor, you know," said
father-stork, is a kind of lake ; you can see a part of it if
you stand up. There, by the reeds and the green quag-
mire, lies a great elder-stump. The three swans lighted
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 19
on it, flapped their wings, and looked round them. Then
one of them threw off her swan's plumage, and I saw it
was our own princess, of our house in Egypt. Then she
sat down, and she had no other covering than her own
long, black hair. I heard her ask the two others to take
great care of her swan-skin while she plunged under the
water to gather a flower which she thought she saw. They
nodded, and lifted up the loose feather-dress. 'I wonder
what they mean to do with it,' said I to myself; and no
doubt she asked them the same. And she got an answer,
something she could see for herself. They flew aloft with
her feather-dress 1 Sink down,' they cried; 'you shall
never fly in the swan-skin again; never see Egypt again I
Stay in the moss I' And so they tore her feather-dress
into a hundred pieces, till the feathers flew about as if
it was snowing, and off flew the two good-for-nothing
Oh, how dreadful!" said mother-stork. "I can't
bear to hear it. But, tell me, what else happened ? "
Our princess moaned and wept. Her tears fell on
the elder-stump, and it was quite moved, for it was the
Marsh King himself, who lives in the quagmire. I saw
the stump turn itself, so it wasn't only a trunk, for it put
out long, muddy boughs like arms. Then the unhappy
girl was frightened, and sprang aside into the quivering
marsh, which will not bear me, much less her. In at once
she sank, and down with her went the elder-stump-it was
he who pulled her down. Then a few big black bubbles,
and no trace of her left. She is engulfed in the marsh, and
will never return to Egypt with her flower. You couldn't
have borne to see it, mother "
You shouldn't have told me anything of the sort just
now; it may affect the eggs. The princess can take good
care of herself. She'll get help easily enough. Had it
been you or I, there would have been an end of us."
However, I'll go day by day to see about it," said
father-stork; and so he did.
20 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
The days and months went by. He saw at last one day
that right from the bottom of the marsh a green stalk
pushed up till it reached the surface of the water. Out of
it grew a leaf, that grew wider and wider, and close to it a
bud put out. Then one morning, as the stork was flying
over it, it opened, with the sun's warmth, into a full-blown
flower, in the middle of which lay a beautiful child, a
little girl, as if she were fresh from the bath. So like was
the child to the princess from Egypt, that at first the stork
believed it to be herself turned a child again. But when
he thought it over, he decided that it was more likely to
be the child of the princess and the Marsh King, and that
was why she was lying in a water lily.
She mustn't be left lying there," thought father-
stork, and there are too many already in my nest. But
I have it! The Viking's wife has no children, and she has
often wished for a little one. Yes, I get the name for
bringing the babies; I will do it in sober truth for once !
I'll fly to the Viking's wife with the child. They'll be
So the stork took the little girl, flew to the log-house,
made a hole with his beak in the window, with panes made
of bladder, laid the child on the bosom of the Viking's wife,
and flew away to mother-stork to tell her all about it. Her
young ones heard it too, for they were now old enough.
Listen; the princess is not dead. She has sent her
little one up, and the child has a home found for her."
"Yes, so I said from the first," said mother-stork.
"Now think a little about your own children. It's almost
time for our journey. I begin to feel a tingling under my
wings. The cuckoo and the nightingale are off already,
and I hear the quails chattering about it, and saying that
we shall soon have a favourable wind. Our young ones
are quite fit for training, I'm sure."
Glad indeed was the Viking's wife when she woke in
the morning to find the beautiful little child near her side.
She kissed and fondled it, but it screamed with passion,
IT WAS HE WHO PULLED HER DOWN
22 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
and threw out its arms and legs, and seemed utterly miser-
able. At last it cried itself to sleep, and there it lay, one
of the prettiest babies you could set eyes on.
The Viking's wife was so happy, so gay, so well, that
she could not but hope that her husband and his men would
return as suddenly as the little one had come, and so she
and all her household busied themselves to get everything
into order. The long coloured tapestries, which she and
her maidens had woven with figures of their gods-Odin,
Thor, Freya, as they were called-were hung up; the
slaves were set to polish the old shields used for decoration;
cushions were arranged on the benches, and dry wood
placed on the hearth in the middle of the hall, so that the
fire could be lit in a moment. The Viking's wife took her
share in the work, so that by the evening she was very
tired, and slept soundly.
When she woke towards daybreak she was terribly
frightened. The little child had vanished! She sprang
up, lighted a brand, and looked everywhere around.
There, just at the foot of the bed where she had lain, was,
not a baby, but a great ugly toad In utter disgust at it
she took a heavy stick to kill it, but the creature looked
at her with such wonderfully sad eyes that she could not
destroy it. Once more she gazed round; the toad uttered
a faint, mournful croak. She started, and sprang from
the bedside to the window, and opened it. At that mo-
ment the sun rose, and cast its rays upon the bed and upon
the great toad. All at once it seemed that the creature's
wide mouth shrank, and became small and rosy; the
limbs filled out into the most charming shape. It was her
own beautiful babe that lay there, not the hideous reptile !
What is this ? cried the dame. Was it an ill
dream? Yes, there is my own sweet elfin child lying
there She kissed it, and pressed it to her heart; but
it fought and bit like a wild kitten I
The Viking, however, did not come that day, nor the
next; for though he was on his way, the wind was against
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
him as it blew to the south for the storks. Fair wind for
one is foul for the other.
In those two days and nights the Viking's wife saw
clearly how it was with her little child. And dreadful indeed
was the spell that lay on it. By day it was as beautiful as
an angel of light, but it had a bad, evil disposition. By
night, on the other hand, it was a hideous toad, quiet, sad,
with sorrowful eyes. It had two natures, which changed
with its outward form. And so it was that the baby,
brought by the stork, had by daylight its mother's own
rightful shape, but its father's temper; while again, night
made the kinship with him evident in the bodily form, in
which, however, dwelt the mother's mind and heart. Who
could loose the spell cast by the power of witchcraft ?
The Viking's wife was worn and distressed about it, and her
heart was heavy for the unhappy being, of whose condition
she did not think that she dared tell her husband if he came
home then, for he would certainly follow the custom and
practice of the time, and expose the poor child on the high-
road for anyone that liked to take away. The good dame
had not the heart to do this : her husband should see the
child only by daylight.
One morning the wings of storks were heard above
the roof. More than a hundred pairs of the birds had
rested themselves for the night after their heavy exer-
cise, and they now flew up, preparatory to starting
All ready, and the wives and children ? was their
Oh, I'm so light," said the young storks. My
bones feel all kribly-krably, as if I was filled with live
frogs! How splendid it is to have to go abroad I "
Keep up in the flight," said father and mother, and
don't chatter so much ; it tires the chest."
And they flew.
At the same moment a horn sounded over the moor.
The Viking had landed with all his men, returning laden
24 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
with booty from the coasts of Gaul, where the people, like
those of Britain, used to chant in their terror: "From
the rage of the Northmen, Lord, deliver us Guess
what stir and festival now came to the Viking's stronghold
near the moor A barrel of mead was brought into hall;
a huge fire was lighted; horses were slaughtered; every-
thing went duly. The heathen priest sprinkled the slaves
with warm blood, to begin their new life; the fire crackled;
the smoke curled under the roof; the soot fell down from
the beams-but they were used to that. Guests were
invited, and received valuable gifts. Plots and treachery
were forgotten; they drank deep and threw the picked
bones in each other's faces in good-humoured horse-play.
The bard-a kind of musician, but a warrior as well, who
went with them, saw their exploits, and sang about them-
gave them a song in which they heard all their warrior-
deeds and feats of prowess. Each verse ended with the
"Wealth, kindred, life cannot endure,
But the warrior's glory standeth sure."
And they all clashed upon their shields, and beat upon the
table with knives and fists, and made great clamour.
The Viking's wife sat on the cross-bench in the open
banqueting-hall. She wore a robe of silk, with bracelets
of gold and beads of amber. She had put on her dress of
state, and the bard sang of her, and told of the golden
treasure she had brought to her wealthy lord, while he was
delighted with the beautiful child, for he could see it by
day in all its loveliness. He was well pleased with the
baby's wildness, and said she would become a right warrior-
maid, and fight as his champion. She did not even blink
her eyes when a skilful hand cut her eyelashes with a sharp
sword as a rough joke.
The barrel of mead was drained, and a second brought
in, and all got well drunk, for they were folk who loved to
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
drink their fill. They had a proverb: "The kine know
when to go to stall from pasture, but the fool never knows
when he has had enough." They knew it well enough, but
know and do are different things. They had another
proverb, too : The dearest friend grows wearisome when
he outstays his welcome." But on they stayed. Meat
and mead are good: it was glorious !-and the slaves
slept in the warm ashes, and dipped their fingers in the
fat and licked them. Oh, it was a great time I
Once again that year the Viking went on a raid, though
the autumn gales were rising. He led his men to the coast
of Britain-" just over the water," he said; and his wife
remained with the little girl. And truth to tell, the foster-
mother soon grew fonder of the unhappy toad with the
gentle eyes and deep sigh than of the beautiful child that
fought and bit all about her.
The raw, dank autumn mist, Mouthless," which
devours the leaves lay over forest and moor; Bird
Featherless," as they called the snow, flew closely all
around; winter was nigh at hand. The sparrows took
the storks' nests for themselves, and criticized the ways of
the late owners during their absence. And where were
mother- and father-stork and their young ones all the time ?
Down in the land of Egypt, where the sun shone warm,
as it does on a fine summer's day with us. Tamarinds and
acacias bloomed round them; the crescent of Mahomet
gleamed bright from the cupolas of the mosques; pairs and
pairs of storks sat on the slender turrets, and rested after
their long journey. Great flocks of them had built nest by
nest on the huge pillars and broken arches of temples and
forgotten cities. The date-palm raised its foliage on high,
as if to keep off the glare of the sun. Grey-white pyramids
stood out against the clear sky across the desert, where the
ostrich raced at speed, and the lion crouched with great,
wise eyes, and saw the marble sphinx that lay half-buried
in the sand. The Nile flood had retired; the whole bed
of the river was swarming with frogs, and to the stork
26 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
family that was quite the best thing to be seen in the
country. The young ones thought their eyes must be
playing them tricks, it all seemed so wonderful.
We always have it just like this in our warm coun-
try," said mother-stork; and the young ones felt their
Will there be anything more to see ? said they.
"Shall we go much farther into the country ? "
"There is nothing better to see," said mother-stork.
At that green border is only a wild wood, where the trees
crowd one upon another, and are entangled together with
thorny creepers. Only an elephant with his clumsy legs
can make a way there. The snakes are too large for us,
and the lizards too lively. If you try to go into the desert
you get your eyes full of sand in fair weather, and if there
is much wind, you find yourself buried under a sand-heap.
No, this is the best place. Here are frogs and locusts. I
shall stop here, and you must stay with me." And they
The old ones sat in their nest on the slender minaret
and rested themselves, while yet they were busy preening
their feathers and rubbing their beaks on their red-
stockinged legs. They would raise their necks, bow gravely,
and hold up their heads with their high foreheads, fine,
smooth feathers, and brown eyes glancing sharply. The
young hen-storks walked gravely about among the coarse
reeds, stealing glances at the other young storks, and
devouring a frog at every third step, or else a small snake,
which they found so good for their health, and so tasty.
The young males began to quarrel, beat each other with
their wings, pecked, yes, stabbed till the blood flowed I
And so one and another got betrothed, for that was the
whole purpose of life. They built nests, and from that
sprang new quarrels, for in hot countries tempers are so
quick I Nevertheless, it was all delightful, especially to
the old ones. Everything that one's own youngsters do
becomes them. Every day there was sunshine; every
THE NILE FLOOD HAD RETIRED
28 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
day was so much taken up with eating that there was
hardly time to think of amusement.
But inside the rich palace of their Egyptian landlord,
as they called him, joy was unknown. Rich and mighty
lord, there he lay on a couch, his limbs rigid, stretched out
like a mummy, in the midst of the great hall with its many-
coloured walls; it looked just as if he was lying in a tulip.
His kinsmen and servants stood around him; he was not
dead; you could not call him alive; he existed. The
healing moss-flower from the northern land, which should
have been searched for and gathered by her who loved
him most dearly, would never be brought. His young and
beautiful daughter, who flew in swan's plumage over sea
and land, far towards the north, would never return. She
is dead and gone the two swan-maidens had told him
on their return. They had invented a whole history of it.
Said they :
We all three flew high in the air: a hunter saw us
and shot an arrow; it struck our friend, and singing her
farewell, like a dying swan, she slowly sank, in the midst
of a forest lake. There we buried her, near the shore of
the lake, under a fragrant weeping-birch. But we took
our revenge 1 We bound fire under the wings of a swallow
which had built under the hunter's thatched roof The
thatch caught; the house blazed up He was burned in
it, and the light shone over the lake as far as the drooping
birch tree under which she is buried. She will never come
back to the land of Egypt."
And so they both wept; and the father-stork, when he
heard it, chattered with his beak till it rattled again.
"Lies and make-up said he. "I have a great
mind to drive my beak into their hearts."
"And break it off! said mother-stork. "And what
good would that do ? Think first of yourself and your
own family; everything else is of no consequence! "
However, I will seat myself on the edge of the open
court in the morning, when all the learned doctors are met
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 29
to talk about the illness. Perhaps they will come a little
nearer the truth."
And the learned doctors came together, and talked and
talked all about, so that the stork could not make head or
tail of it-nor did anything come of it for the sickness, or
for the daughter in the moor; but, nevertheless, we shall
be glad to hear something about it, for we are obliged to
listen to a great deal.
But now it will be a very good thing to learn what had
gone before this meeting, in order to understand the story
better, for at least we know as much as father-stork.
"Love brings life! The highest love supports the
highest life Only through love will he be able to secure
the preservation of his life was what they said ; and very
wisely and well said it was, according to the learned.
"That's a pretty thought! said father-stork.
"I don't rightly understand it! said mother-stork,
and it isn't my fault, but the expressions However, be
that as it may, I've something else to think about "
Then the learned men had spoken of love for one thing
to another, of the difference there is between the affection
of lovers and that of parent and child; of the love of plant
and sunbeam, where the rays of the sun touch the bud and
the young shoot thus comes forth-all this was expounded
at such great length and in so learned a way that it was
impossible for father-stork to follow it, much less to repeat
it. He was quite thoughtful about it, and half closed his
eyes and stood on one leg a whole day afterwards; such
learning was too heavy for him to bear.
However, he understood one thing. He had heard
both the common folk and those of the highest rank say
the same thing from the bottom of their hearts-that it
was a great misfortune for thousands of people, for the
country at large, that this man should be ill and not
recover; it would be a joy and blessing if he were restored
to health. But where does the flower of health grow for
him ? that was what they had all inquired. They sought
80 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
it from the scrolls of wisdom, from the twinkling stars, and
from the winds ; they had asked in all by-ways where they
might find it, and at last the learned and wise announced,
as we have said: "Love brings forth life, the life of a
father," and so they said more than they themselves
understood. They repeated it, and wrote it as a prescrip-
tion : Love brings forth life ; but how was the thing to
be done from this prescription ? There lay the difficulty.
At length they came to an agreement about it; the help
must come from the princess, who was attached to her
father with her whole soul and heart. And then they
decided how it was to be brought about (all this was more
than a year and a day before): she must go by night, at
the new moon, to the marble sphinx near the desert, must
clear away the sand from the door with her feet, and then
go through the long passage that led into the middle of
one of the great pyramids, where in his mummy-case lay
one of the mighty kings of old, surrounded by splendour
and magnificence. Here she was to hold her ear to the
lips of the dead, and then it would be revealed to her
how she was to gain life and health for her father.
All this she had done, and had learned in vision that,
from the deep marsh in the land of Denmark, a spot most
clearly indicated, she might bring home the marsh-flower,
which there in the depth of the water had touched her
breast. Then he would be healed. So she flew in swan's
plumage from the land of Egypt to the moor.
You see, father-stork and mother-stork were aware of
all this, and now we know the story more fully than
before. We remember that the Marsh King dragged her
down to him; we know that for those at home she is
dead and gone; only the wisest of them all said still, with
mother-stork: "She takes good care of herself! and
they were obliged to wait, for that was all they knew
"I believe I can steal the swans' plumage from the two
good-for-nothing princesses said father-stork, "then they
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
will not be able to go to the moor to work mischief. I
will hide the swans' skins themselves till they are wanted."
"Where will you hide them ? asked mother-stork.
"In our nest on the moor! said he. "I and the
youngest of our brood can be helped along with them, and
if they are troublesome to us, there are plenty of places
on the way where we can hide them till next time of
moving. One swan's dress would be enough for her,
but two are better; it is well to have plenty of luggage in
a northern climate "
You will get no thanks for it! said mother-stork.
"However, you are the master. I have nothing to say,
except when I am sitting."
In the Viking's stronghold near the moor, whither the
storks flew at the spring, the little girl had received her
name. They had called her Helga, but that was far too
sweet for such a disposition as the one possessed by this
most beautiful child. Month after month it became more
evident, and as years went by-whilst the storks pursued
the same journey, in autumn towards the Nile, in spring
towards the moor-the little child became a grown girl,
and before people thought of it, she was in her sixteenth
year, and the most beautiful of maidens. But the fruit
was a beautiful shell, the kernel hard and rough. She
was wilder than most people even in that hard, gloomy
It was a delight to her to splash with her white hands
in the hot blood of the horse which had been slaughtered
as a sacrifice; in her wildness she bit off the neck of the
black cock which should have been slain by the heathen
priest; and she said in sober earnest to her foster-father:
If thine enemy came and tied a rope to the beams of
the roof, and lifted it over thy chamber, whilst thou wast
asleep, I should not wake thee, even if I could I would
not hear it, my blood still so hums in my ears where thou
didst slap me years ago I Thou I I remember "
32 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
But the Viking did not believe what she said; he was,
like the others, infatuated with her beauty; and he did not
know how disposition and appearance changed in little
Helga. She would sit without a saddle, as if she had
grown to the horse, when it galloped at full speed; and
she would not leap off, even when it fought with other
vicious horses. In all her clothes she would often cast
herself from the bank into the strong current of the fjord
and swim to meet the Viking when his boat was steering
towards the land. She cut off the longest lock from her
beautiful long hair, and made it into a string for her
bow. Self-made is well made she said.
The Viking's wife, according to the age and custom,
was strong in will and in disposition, but towards the
daughter she seemed a mild, anxious woman, for she knew
that the dreadful child was bewitched.
When her mother stood on the balcony, or walked out
into the courtyard, it seemed as if Helga took an evil
delight in placing herself on the edge of the well, extending
her arms and legs, and then leaping plump into the narrow,
deep hole, where she, with her frog-nature, dived, and rose
again, crawled out, just as if she was a cat, and came,
dripping with water, into the lofty hall, so that the green
leaves which were scattered on the floor floated about in
the watery stream.
But there was one bond that restrained little Helga,
and that was the dusk of the evening. Then she became
quiet and pensive, and would allow herself to be called
and led. She seemed to be drawn by some internal feeling
to her mother, and when the sun went down and the
transformation without and within her took place, she
sat there quiet and melancholy, shrunken together into
the figure of a toad. Her body, indeed, was now far
larger than that creature's, but it was only so much the
more disgusting. She looked like a miserable dwarf
with frog's head, and web between the fingers. There was
something of the deepest melancholy in the expression of
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
her eyes; she had no voice but a hollow moan, just like
a child that sobs in its dreams. The Viking's wife could
then take her on her knees: she forgot the ugly form,
and looked only at the sorrowful eyes, and more than once
she said :
I could wish almost that thou wast always my dumb
frog-child! Thou art more frightful to look at when thy
beauty returns to thee."
And she wrote runes against witchcraft and disease, and
cast them over the wretched girl, but she saw no change.
Now that she is a full-grown woman, and so like the
Egyptian mother," said father-stork, one could not
believe that she was once so little that she lay in a water-
lily. We have never seen her mother since She did not
take care of herself, as you and the learned men thought.
Year out, year in, I have flown now in all directions over the
moor, but she has never made any sign. Yes, let me tell
you that every year when I have come up here some days
ahead of you, to mend the nest and put one thing and
another straight, I have flown for a whole night, like an
owl or a bat, to and fro over the open water, but it was
no use I Nor have the two swan-dresses been any use
which the young ones and I dragged hither from the land
of the Nile. Toilsome work it was, and it took us three
journeys to do it. They have now lain for many years
at the bottom of the nest, and if such a disaster as a fire
should happen at any time, and the log-house be burnt,
they would be lost! "
And our good nest would be lost also said mother-
stork. You think too little of that, and too much of the
feather-dress, and your moss-princess You had better
take it to her and stay in the bog I You are a useless
father to your own family; I have said that ever since I
sat on an egg for the first time! I only hope that we
or our young ones may not get an arrow in the wing
from that mad Viking girl! She does not know what
she is doing. We have lived here a little longer than she,
34 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
she should remember We never forget our obligations;
we pay our taxes yearly, a feather, an egg, and a young
one, as is right.' Do you think, when she is outside, I feel
inclined to go down there, as in the old days, and as I do
in Egypt, where I am half a companion with them, with-
out their forgetting me, and peep into tub and pot ? No,
I sit up here worrying myself about her-the hussy !-and
about you too You ought to have let her lie in the
water-lily, and there would have been an end of her! "
You are kinder than your words said father-
stork. "I know you better than you know yourself."
And so he gave a jump, two heavy strokes of his
wings, stretched his legs behind him, and off he flew. He
sailed away, without moving his wings. At a good dis-
tance off he gave a powerful stroke; the sun shone on his
white feathers; he stretched his neck and head forward !
That was speed and flight
But he is still the handsomest of them all!" said
the mother-stork, only I don't tell him that."
Early that autumn the Viking came home with spoil
and captives. Among these was a young Christian priest,
one of those men who preached against the idols of the
northern countries. Often at that period did the talk in
the hall and in the bower of the women refer to the new
faith, which had made its way into all the countries of the
south, and by the holy Anskarius had been brought even
to Haddeby on the Schlei. Helga herself had heard of the
faith in the White Christ, who out of love to men had given
Himself to save them; but for her, as they say, it had gone
in at one ear and out at the other. She seemed to have
only a perception of that word love when she crouched
in that closed room in her miserable frog-form. But
the Viking's wife had listened to it, and felt herself wonder-
fully affected by the story and traditions of the Son of
the only true God. The men, on coming home from their
expedition, had told of the splendid temples of costly
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
hewn stone, erected for Him whose message was love;
and they brought home with them a pair of heavy golden
vessels, elaborately pierced, and with a fragrant odour
about them, for they were censers, which the Christian
priests used to swing before the altar where no blood was
ever shed, but wine and consecrated bread changed into
His body and blood who had given Himself for generations
In the deep paved cellar of the log-house the young
captive Christian priest was confined, his feet and hands
securely bound. The Viking's wife said that he was as
fair as Baldur," and she was touched by his distress;
but young Helga wished that a rope should be drawn
through his legs, and that he should be tied to the tails of
Then I would set the dogs loose. Halloo away over
bog and fen, out to the moor! That would be jolly
to see jollier still to be able to follow him on his course "
But the Viking did not choose that he should be put to
death that way, but, as a denier and opposer of the high
gods, he should be offered the next morning on the blood-
stone in the grove-the first time that a human sacrifice
had been offered there.
Young Helga asked that she might sprinkle the images
of the gods and the people with his blood. She sharpened
her gleaming knife, and when one of the great, ferocious
dogs, of which there were a good many in the courtyard,
ran across her feet, she drove the knife into its side.
"That is to test it," said she; and the Viking's wife
looked sadly at the wild, ill-tempered girl, and, when the
night came, and the beautiful bodily form of her daughter
was changed for the beauty of soul, she spoke glowing
words of sorrow to her from her own afflicted spirit.
The hideous toad with the goblin's body stood before
her, and fixed its brown, sorrowful eyes on her; listening
and seeming to understand with the intelligence of a
36 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
"Never, even to my husband, has a word fallen from
my tongue about the twofold nature I endure in thee,"
said the Viking's wife. There is more pity in my heart
for thee than I could have believed Great is the love
of a mother; but affection never comes into thy mind!
Thy heart is like the cold clod I Whence didst thou then
come into my house ? "
At that the hideous form trembled and shook. It
seemed as if the word touched some connexion between
body and soul; great tears came into its eyes.
"Thy bitter trial will come some time!" said the
Viking's wife; "and terrible will it be for me Better
hadst thou been abandoned on the highway as a child,
and the night-frost had lulled thee into death I" And
the Viking's wife wept bitter tears, and, wrathful and sad,
passed behind the loose curtains which hung over the
beam and divided the room.
The shrunken toad sat alone in the corner. There was
silence, but after a short interval there came from her
breast a half-smothered sigh. It was as if, painfully, a
soul awoke to life in a corner of her heart. She took
one step forward, listened, took another step, and then
with her awkward hands she seized the heavy bar that
was placed before the door. Gently she put it back,
and quietly she drew out the peg that was stuck in over
the latch. She took the lighted lamp that stood in front
of the rooms; it seemed as if a strong will gave her
power. She drew the iron pin out of the bolted shutter,
and moved gently towards the prisoner. He was asleep.
She touched him with her cold, damp hand, and when
he awoke and saw that hideous form, he shuddered, as if
at an evil vision. She drew her knife, severed his bonds,
and made signs to him to follow her.
He called upon the holy Name, made the sign of the
cross, and as the figure stood unchanged, he repeated
the words of the Bible:
"'The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive:
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 87
the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.' Who art
thou ? Whence is this reptile shape that yet is so full of
deeds of compassion ? "
The toad-figure beckoned and guided him behind
sheltering curtains by a solitary way out to the stable,
pointed at a horse; he mounted it, and she seated herself
before him and held on by the mane of the animal. The
prisoner understood her, and they rode away at a quick
trot, by a path he would never have discovered, out to the
He forgot her hideous form, for the favour and mercy
of the Lord were acting through this hobgoblin. He
offered up pious prayers, and began to sing holy songs;
and she trembled; was it the power of the prayers and
hymns that acted upon her ? or was it the coldness of the
morning which was so quickly coming ? What was it that
she felt ? She raised herself up in the breeze, and wished
to stop the horse and spring off; but the Christian priest
held her fast with all his strength, and sang aloud a
Psalm, as if that would have power to loose the spell
that held her in that hideous frog shape, and the horse
galloped forward yet more wildly. The heaven became
red; the first ray of the sun shot through the cloud, and
with that clear spring of light came the change of form
-she was the beautiful young girl with the demoniac,
evil temper I In his arms he held a peerless maiden, and
in utter terror he sprang from the horse and stopped it,
for he thought he was encountering a new and deadly
witchcraft. But young Helga at the same time leapt
to the ground; the short child's frock reached only to
her knees; she drew the sharp knife from her belt, and
rushed at the startled man.
"Let me get at you!" she cried; "let me get at
you, and you shall feel the knife. Yes, you are as pale as
hay 1 Slave Beardless boy "
She pressed him hard; they were engaged in a severe
conflict, but it was as if an unseen power gave strength
88 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
to the Christian. He held her fast, and the old oak tree
hard by came to his help, for its roots, half loosened from
the earth, caught her feet as they slipped under them. A
spring gushed forth quite close to them; he sprinkled
her with the fresh water on breast and face, and charged
the unclean spirit to come out of her, signing her with
the cross, according to the Christian rite. But the water
of baptism had no power there, where the spring of faith
had not yet arisen within.
Yet herein also was he strong; more than a man's
strength against the rival power of evil lay in his act, and
as if it overwhelmed her, she dropped her arms, looked
with a surprised glance and pale cheeks at him, who
seemed a powerful sorcerer, strong in wizardry and secret
lore. They were dark runes which he spoke, mystic signs
which he was making in the air! She would not have
blinked if he had swung an axe or a sharp knife before
her eyes, but she did when he made the sign of the cross
on her forehead and breast; she now sat like a tame
bird, her head bowed down on her bosom.
Gently he told her of the work of love she had done for
him in the night, that she had come in the hideous skin
of a frog, and had loosed his bonds, and brought him
out to light and life. He said that she also was bound-
bound in a closer bondage than he had been, but she, too,
with him should come to light and life. He would bring
her to Haddeby, to the holy Anskarius. There, in the
Christian city, the enchantment would be broken. But
he would not dare to carry her in front of him on the
horse, although she herself was willing to sit there.
You must sit behind me on the horse, not in front of
me Thy witch-beauty has a power that is from the
evil one. I dread it-and yet there is victory for me in
He bent his knees and prayed gently and earnestly.
It was as if the silent glades of the forest were consecrated
thereby into a holy church. The birds began to sing as
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
if they belonged to a new brotherhood; the mint poured
forth its fragrance as if it would take the place of incense.
The priest proclaimed aloud the words of Holy Writ:
The Dayspring from
on high hath visited us, to
give light to them that sit in
darkness and in the shadow t ..
of death, and to guide our r
feet into the way of peace!' "
And he spoke about the
longing of the whole Crea-
tion, and whilst he spoke the
horse, which had carried
them in its wild race, stood
quiet, and shook the great
brambles, so that the ripe,
juicy berries fell on little
Helga's hand, offering them-
selves for her refreshment.
Patiently she let herself
be lifted on to the back of
the horse, and sat there like
one walks in his sleep, who
is not awake, but yet is not
moving in his dream. The
Christian fastened two ,
boughs together with a strip z' -
of bark to form a cross, and
held it aloft in his hands.
So they rode through the
forest, which became denser
as the way grew deeper, or THERE WAS A LITTLE BIRD
rather, there was no way at THAT BEAT ITS WINGS
all. Sloes grew across the
path; one was obliged to ride around them. The spring
did not become a running brook, but a standing bog,
and one had to ride around that. There was strength
40 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
and refreshment in the fresh forest air; there was not
less power in the word of gentleness which sounded in
faith and Christian love, in the heartfelt desire to bring
the possessed to light and life.
They say that the drops of rain can hollow the hard
stone, the billows of the sea can in time wear smooth
the broken, sharp-edged pieces of rock. The dew of
Grace, which had descended upon little Helga, pierced
the hardness and rounded the ruggedness of her nature,
although it was not yet evident, and she was not yet
aware of it herself. But what does the germ in the
earth know of the refreshing moisture and the warm
rays of the sun, while yet it is hiding within itself plant
As a mother's song for her child imperceptibly fastens
itself into its mind, and it babbles single words after
her, without understanding them, although they after-
wards collect themselves in its thoughts, and become clear
in the course of time, so in her the Word worked which
is able to create.
They rode out of the forest, away over the heath,
again through pathless forest, and towards evening they
met some robbers.
Where have you stolen that fair maiden ? they
shouted; they stopped the horse, and snatched the two
riders from it, for they were strong men. The priest
had no other weapon than the knife which he had taken
from little Helga to defend himself with; one of the
robbers swung his axe, but the young Christian avoided it,
and lightly sprang aside, or he would have been struck;
but the edge of the axe sank deep into the horse's neck, so
that the blood streamed out, and the animal fell to the
earth. Then little Helga started, as if awakened out of a
long, deep meditation, and threw herself down on the
expiring animal. The Christian priest placed himself
before her in order to defend her, but one of the robbers
dashed a ponderous iron mace against his forehead,
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
crushing it. The blood and brains spurted around, and
he fell dead to the earth.
The robbers seized little Helga by her white arm.
At that moment the sun went down, and as the last ray
faded, she was changed to a hideous toad. Her greenish
mouth opened across half her face; her arms became
thin and slimy, and her hands grew broad and covered
with webbing. Terror seized the robbers at the sight.
She stood among them, a hideous monster; then, frog-
like, hopped away, with bounds higher than she was
herself, and vanished in the thicket. The robbers knew
it for an evil trick of Loge, or secret magic art, and
hurried away in affright.
The full moon was already rising, and soon shone
forth in splendour, and little Helga crept forth from the
thicket in the skin of a wretched toad. She stood by the
bodies of the Christian priest and of the horse, and she
looked at them with eyes that seemed to weep. Her
frog's head uttered a moan like a child beginning to cry.
She threw herself now upon one, now upon the other;
she took water in her hand, which the webbed skin had
made larger and more hollow, and poured it over them.
They were dead, and would remain dead; she understood
that. Wild animals would soon come and devour their
bodies; but that must not be So she dug in the earth
as deep as she could. To open a grave for them was her
wish, but she had nothing to dig it with except a strong
bough of a tree and her weak hands; but on them there
was webbing stretched between her fingers. She tore it,
and the blood flowed. These means would be of no
use, she could see. Then she took water and washed the
dead man's face, covered it with fresh green leaves, fetched
great boughs and laid them over him, shook leaves between
them, then took the heaviest stones she was able to lift,
laid them over the dead bodies, and filled up the openings
with moss. Then the mound seemed strong and protected,
42 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
but this arduous task had occupied the entire night-
the sun now burst forth, and little Helga stood in all her
beauty, with bleeding hands, and, for the first time, with
tears on her flushed maiden cheeks.
In this transformation, it seemed as if the two natures
struggled within her. She trembled, and gazed around her
as if she had awoke from a frightful dream. Running
to a slender beech, she held fast to it for support, then
climbed to the top of the tree, as lithely as a cat, and
clung fast to it. There she sat like a frightened squirrel,
sat there all through the long day in the deep solitude
of the forest, where all is still and death-like as they say.
Yet a pair of butterflies fluttered about at play or in
quarrel; there were ant-hills close by with many hundreds
of busy little creatures that crowded backwards and
forwards. Countless gnats danced in the air, swarm upon
swarm; hosts of buzzing flies chased each other about;
birds, dragon-flies, and other small winged creatures filled
the air. The earth-worm crept out from the moist soil,
the mole raised itself above the ground. In all else it
was still and death-like around, or what one calls death-like
indeed Nothing took any notice of little Helga, except
the jays, which flew screaming around the top of the tree
where she was sitting. They jumped along the branches
near her in daring inquisitiveness. One glance of her
eye was enough to chase them away again; but they
could not quite make her out, neither could she understand
When evening was near, and the sun began to go down,
her approaching change called her to movement again.
She let herself slide down from the tree, and when the
last ray of the sun disappeared, she sat there in the toad's
shrunken form, with the webbed skin of her hands lacer-
ated, but her eyes now sparkled with a brilliancy of
beauty which they had scarcely possessed before, even in
her beautiful human shape. They were now the gentle
eyes of a pious maiden that looked from behind the
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 43
reptile's outward shape, and told of a deepened mind, of a
true human heart. The beautiful eyes swam with tears,
heavy tears that relieved her heart.
The cross of boughs bound together with a strip of
bark, the last work of him who now lay dead and buried,
was still lying on the grave she had made. Little Helga
now took it, at some unprompted impulse, and planted it
amongst the stones, over him and the slain horse. The
sadness of the recollection brought tears to her eyes, and
with the grief in her heart she traced the same sign in
the earth around the grave that so honourably enclosed
the dead. As with both hands she traced the sign of the
cross, the webbing fell off like a torn glove She washed
herself in the water of the spring, and looked with astonish-
ment at her fine white hands. Again she made the
sign of the cross in the air between herself and the grave;
her lips quivered, her tongue moved, and that Name,
which she had heard pronounced most frequently on her
ride through the forest, came audibly from her mouth-
she said, Jesus Christ "
The toad's skin fell off: she was a beautiful young
maiden; but her head drooped wearily, her limbs
needed repose-she slept.
Her slumber was short; at midnight she awoke. The
dead horse was standing before her, shining, and full of
life, that gleamed in light from its eyes and from its
wounded neck. Close by she saw the murdered Christian
priest, more beautiful than Baldur! as the Viking's
wife would have said; and he appeared surrounded with
a glory of fire.
There was an earnest look in his large, gentle eyes, just
and searching, so penetrating a gaze that it seemed to
shine into the inmost recesses of her heart. Little Helga
trembled before it, and her memory was awakened with
a power as if it was the Day of Judgment. Every kind
action that had been done for her, every kindly word that
had been spoken to her, seemed endued with life; she
44 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
understood that it was mercy which had taken care of
her during her days of trial, in which the child of spirit
and clay works and strives. She owned that she had
only followed the bent of her own desire, and had done
nothing on her own part. Everything had been given to
her, everything had been allowed, so to speak. She
bowed herself humbly, ashamed before Him who alone
can read the hidden things of the heart; and in that
instant there seemed to come to her a fiery touch of
purifying flame-the flame of the Holy Spirit.
Thou daughter of the mire," said the Christian priest,
"from the mire, from the earth thou art sprung; from
earth thou shalt again arise. The fire within thee returns
in personality to its source; the ray is not from the sun,
but from God. No soul shall perish, but far distant is the
time when life shall be merged in eternity. I come from
the land of the dead; so shalt thou at some time travel
through the deep valley to the shining hill-country, where
grace and fulness dwell. I may not lead thee to Hadde
for Christian baptism. First thou must burst the water-
shield over the deep moorland, and draw up the living
root that gave thee life and cradled thee. Thou must
do thy work before the consecration may come to thee."
And he lifted her on to the horse, handed her a golden
censer, like that which she had seen in the Viking's castle,
from which there came a sweet, strong fragrance. The
open wound on the forehead of the slain shone like a radiant
diadem. He took the cross from the grave, raised it on
high; and now they went off through the air, over the
rustling forest, then over the mounds where the warriors
were buried, sitting on their dead steeds; and these
majestic forms arose, and rode out to the tops of the
hills. A broad golden hoop with a gold knob gleamed
on their foreheads in the moonlight, and their cloaks
fluttered in the wind. The dragon that sits and broods
over treasure raised its head, and looked after them.
Dwarfs peered forth from the hills, and the furrows swarmed
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 45
with red, blue, and green lights, like a cluster of sparks in
a burnt piece of paper.
Away over wood and heath, stream and pool, they
flew to the moor, and floated over that in great circles.
The Christian priest raised the cross on high; it shone
like gold, and from his lips came the eucharistic chant.
Little Helga sang with him, as a child joins in the song
of its mother. She swung the censer, and there came a
fragrance as if from an altar, so powerful, so subtly oper-
ating, that the rushes and reeds of the moor put forth
their flowers. All the germs sprang up from the deep
soil; everything that had life arose. A veil of water-
lilies spread itself like an embroidered carpet of flowers,
and on it lay a sleeping woman, young and beautiful.
Little Helga thought she saw herself mirrored in the
still water; but it was her mother that she saw, the
Marsh King's wife, the princess from the waters of the
The dead Christian priest bade the sleeper be lifted
on to the horse; but that sank under the burden as if
its body was only a winding-sheet flying in the breeze;
but the sign of the cross made the airy phantom strong,
and all three rode to the firm ground.
A cock crowed in the Viking's stronghold. The
phantoms rose up in the mist, and were dispersed in the
wind, but mother and daughter stood there together.
"Is that myself that I see in the deep water ? said
"Is that myself that I see in the bright shield? "
exclaimed the daughter; and they came close together,
breast to breast in each other's arms. The mother's heart
beat strongest, and she understood it all.
"My child My own heart's flower I My lotus from
the deep waters "
And she embraced her child, and wept over her; and
the tears were as a baptism of new life and affection for
46 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
"I came hither in a swan's skin, and I took it off,"
said the mother. I sank through the quivering swamp,
deep into the mire of the bog, that enclosed me as with a
wall. But soon I found a fresher current about me; a
power seemed to draw me ever deeper and deeper. I felt
a pressure of sleep on my eyelids; I slept, I dreamt-I
seemed to lie again in the pyramids of Egypt; but there
still stood before me the moving elder-stump, which had
frightened me on the surface of the moor. I looked at
the crevices in the bark, and they shone forth in colours
and became hieroglyphics-it was the case of a mummy
which I was looking at. That burst, and out of it stepped
a lord a thousand years old, a mummy form, black as
pitch, shining black like a wood-snail or the slimy black
mud-the Marsh King, or the mummy of the pyramid, I
did not know which. He flung his arms about me, and
I felt that I should die. When I first returned to life
again, and my breast became warm, there was a little
bird which beat its wings, and twittered and sang. It
flew up from my breast towards the dark, heavy roof,
but a long green band still fastened it to me. I heard
and understood its longing notes : "Liberty I sunshine I
to my father Then I thought of my father in the sun-
lit land of my home, my life, my affection and I loosed
the band and let him flutter away-home to his father.
Since that hour I have not dreamed; I slept a long and
heavy sleep till the moment when the sounds and fragrance
arose and raised me."
That green band from the mother's heart to the bird's
wings, whither had it passed now ? where was it lying
cast away ? Only the stork had seen it. The band was
that green stalk; the knot was that shining flower which
served as a cradle for the child who now had grown in
beauty, and again reposed near the mother's heart.
And whilst they stood there in close embrace, the
father-stork flew in circles about them, made speed to his
nest, fetched from thence the feather-dresses kept for so
PLACED THE GOLDEN CIRCUIT ABOUT HIS NECK
48 HANS ANbERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
many years and threw one over each of them; and they
flew, and raised themselves from the earth like two white
"Let us talk," said father-stork, "now that we can
understand each other's speech, although the beak is cut
differently on one bird and on the other I It is the most
lucky thing possible that you came to-night. In the
morning we should have been off, mother, and I, and the
young ones I We are flying to the south I Yes, look at
me 1 I am an old friend from the land of the Nile, and
that is the mother; she has more in her heart than in her
chatter. She always believed that the princess was only
taking care of herself. I and the young ones have brought
the swan-skins here. Well, how glad I am I And what
a fortunate thing it is that I am here still I At daybreak
we shall set off, a large party of storks. We fly in front;
you can fly behind, and then you will not mistake the
way. I and the young ones will then be able to keep an
eye upon you l"
"And the lotus flower, that I ought to bring," said
the Egyptian princess, "it flies in swan's plumage by my
side! I have the flower of my heart with me; thus it
has released itself. Homeward homeward I"
But Helga said that she could not leave the land of
Denmark till she had once more seen her foster-mother,
the kind wife of the Viking. In Helga's thoughts came
up every beautiful remembrance, every affectionate word,
every tear which her foster-mother had shed, and it almost
seemed at that instant as if she clung closest to that
"Yes, we will go to the Viking's house," said the
stork-father. "There I expect mother and the young
ones. How they will open their eyes and chatter about
it I Yes, mother doesn't say so very much; what she
does is short and pithy, and s6 she thinks the best I I
will sound the rattle directly, so that she will hear we are
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
And so father-stork chattered his beak, and flew with
the swans to the Viking's stronghold.
Every one there was lying deep in slumber. The
Viking's wife had not gone to rest till late that night;
she was still in fear for little Helga, who had disappeared
three days ago with the Christian priest. She must have
helped him to escape, for it was her horse that was missing
from the stable. By what power had all this been brought
about ? The Viking's wife thought about the wonderful
works which she had heard were performed by the White
Christ, and by those who believed in Him and followed
Him. Her changing thoughts shaped themselves into a
dream. It appeared to her that she was still sitting on
her bed, awake, and meditating, and that darkness shrouded
everything outside. A storm arose; she heard the rolling
of the sea in the west and the east, from the North Sea
and the waters of the Cattegat. That huge serpent which
encircles the earth in the depths of the ocean shook con-
vulsively; it was Ragnar6k, the twilight of the gods, as
the heathen called the last hour, when everything should
pass away, even the high gods themselves. The trumpet
sounded, and the gods rode forth over the rainbow, arrayed
in steel, to take part in the last contest. Before them
flew the winged warrior-maidens, and behind them in
array marched the forms of dead warriors. The whole
sky was illuminated by the northern lights, but the dark-
ness again prevailed. It was an appalling hour.
And close by the frightened Viking's wife little Helga
sat on the floor in the hideous form of a toad, trembling
and nestling herself up against her foster-mother, who
took her on her lap and affectionately held her fast,
although she seemed more hideous than a toad. The air
was full of the sound of sword-strokes and the blows of
maces, of arrows whizzing, as if a furious hail-storm was
raging above them. The hour had come when earth and
heaven should fail, the stars should fall, and everything
be burned up in the fire of Surtr; but the dreamer knew
50 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
that a new earth and heaven would come, and the corn
wave where the sea now rolled over the barren sand
bottom; that the God who cannot be named rules, and
up to Him rose Baldur, the gentle and kind, loosed from
the realm of death. He came-the Viking's wife saw him,
and knew his face. It was the captive Christian priest.
"White Christ! she cried aloud; and as she men-
tioned that Name she pressed a kiss on the hideous fore-
head of her frog-child; the toad's skin fell off, and little
Helga stood there in all her beauty, gentle as she had
never been before, and with beaming eyes. She kissed
her foster-mother's hands, blessed her for all her care and
affection with which she had surrounded her in the days
of her distress and trial; thanked her for the thoughts
to which she had given birth in her; thanked her for
mentioning the Name which she repeated, White Christ! "
and then little Helga rose up as a noble swan, her wings
expanded themselves wide, wide, with a rustling as when a
flock of birds of passage flies away!
With that the Viking's wife awoke, and still heard
outside the same strong sound of wings. She knew that
it was time for the storks to depart, and no doubt that
was what she heard. Still, she wished to see them once
before their journey, and to bid them farewell. She stood
up, went out on to the balcony, and there she saw on the
ridge of the outhouse rows of storks, and round the
courtyard and over the lofty trees crowds of others were
flying in great circles. But straight in front of her, on
the edge of the well, where little Helga had so often sat
and frightened her with her wildness, two swans now sat
and looked at her with intelligent eyes. Her dream came
to her mind; it still quite filled her as if it had been
reality. She thought of little Helga in the form of a swan,
she thought of the Christian priest, and she felt a strange
joy in her heart.
The swans beat their wings, and bent their necks, as
if they wished so to salute her; and the Viking's wife
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
stretched out her arms towards them as if she understood,
and smiled at them through her tears.
Then, with a noise of wings and chattering, all the
storks arose to start on their journey to the south.
We cannot wait for the swans said mother-stork.
"If they wish to come with us they may; but we can't
wait here till the plovers start I It is a very good thing
to travel in family parties; not like the chaffinches and
ruffs, where the males fly by themselves and the females
by themselves; that is certainly not proper And what
are those swans flapping their wings for ? "
"Every one flies in his own way said father-stork.
"The swans go in slanting line, the cranes in a triangle,
and the plovers in a wavy, snake-like line."
Don't mention serpents when we are flying up here "
said mother-stork; it only excites the appetites of our
young ones when they can't be satisfied."
"Are those the high mountains down there which I
have heard of ? asked Helga in the swan's skin.
Those are thunder-clouds which drive below us,"
said the mother.
"What are those white clouds which lift themselves
so high ? asked Helga.
"Those are the everlasting snow-clad hills which you
see," said the mother; and they flew over the Alps, down
towards the blue Mediterranean.
"Land of Africa I Coast of Egypt I jubilantly sang
the daughter of the Nile in her swan form, when, high in
the air, she described her native land, like a yellowish white,
And as the birds saw it, they hastened their flight.
"I smell the mud of the Nile and the wet frogs!"
said mother-stork. It quite excites me Yes, now you
shall taste them; now you shall see the adjutant bird,
the ibis, and the cranes They all belong to our family,
52 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
but they are not nearly so handsome as we are. They
stick themselves up, especially the ibis; he is now quite
pampered by the Egyptians-they make a mummy of
him, and stuff him with aromatic herbs. I would rather
be stuffed with live frogs, and so would you, and so you
shall be. It is better to have something inside you while
you live than to be in state when you are dead I That is
my opinion, and that is always right "
"Now the storks are come they said in the rich
house on the bank of the Nile, where, in the open hall on
soft cushions covered with a leopard's skin, the royal
master lay outstretched, neither living nor dead, hoping
for the lotus flower from the deep marsh in the north.
Kinsmen and servants stood around him.
And into the hall flew two beautiful white swans,
which had come with the storks They threw off their
dazzling feather-dress, and there stood two beautiful
women, as much alike as two drops of dew They bent
down over the pale, withered old man; they put back
their long hair, and when little Helga stooped over her
grandfather, the colour returned to his cheeks, his eyes
sparkled, and life came into his stiffened limbs. The old
man raised himself healthy and vigorous; daughter and
granddaughter held him in their arms as if they were giving
him a morning salutation in their joy after a long, heavy
And there was joy over all the house and in the storks'
nest, but there it was chiefly over the good food, and the
swarming hosts of frogs; and whilst the learned men made
haste to note down in brief the history of the two prin-
cesses and the flower of health, which was such a great
event and a blessing for house and country, the parent
storks related it in their fashion to their own family, but
not till they had all satisfied their hunger, or else they
would have had something else to do than to listen to
THEN SHE SAW THE STORKS
54 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
Now you will become somebody whispered mother-
stork; that is certain "
Well! what should I become ? said father-stork;
"and what have I done ? A mere nothing! "
"You have done more than all the others! But for
you and the young ones the two princesses would never
have seen Egypt again, and made the old man well.
You will become somebody You will certainly receive a
Doctor's degree, and our young ones will bear it after-
wards, and their young ones will have it in turn. You
look already like an Egyptian doctor-in my eyes! "
The wise and learned expounded the fundamental idea,
as they called it, that ran through the whole history:
"Love brings forth life! "-they gave that explanation
in different ways-" the warm sunbeam was the Egyptian
princess, she descended to the Marsh King, and in their
meeting the flower sprang forth--"
"I can't repeat the words quite right," said father-
stork, who had heard it from the roof, and was expected
to tell them all about it in his nest. What they said
was so involved, it was so clever, that they immediately
received honours and gifts. Even the head cook obtained
a high mark of distinction-that was for the soup "
And what did you receive ? inquired mother-stork;
"they ought not to forget the most important, and that
is yourself. The learned have only chattered about it
all, but your turn will come "
Late that night, while peaceful slumber enwrapped the
now prosperous house, there was one who was still awake;
and that was not the father-stork, though he stood on one
leg in the nest and slept like a sentinel. No, little Helga
was awake. She leaned out over the balcony and gazed
at the clear sky, with the great, bright stars, larger and
purer in their lustre than she had seen them in the north,
and yet the same. She thought of the Viking's wife by
the moor, of her foster-mother's gentle eyes, and the tears
she had shed over her poor toad-child, who now stood in
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
the light and splendour of the stars by the waters of the
Nile in the soft air of spring. She thought of the love
in that heathen woman's breast, that love which she had
shown to a miserable creature who, in human form, was
an evil brute, and in the form of an animal, loathsome to
look at and to touch. She looked at the shining stars,
and called to mind the splendour on the forehead of the
dead man, when they flew away over forest and moor;
tones resounded in her recollection, words she had heard
pronounced when they rode away, and she sat as if paralysed
-words about the great Author of Love, the highest
Love, embracing all generations.
Yes, how much had been given, gained, obtained!
Little Helga's thoughts were occupied, night and day,
with all her good fortune, and she stood in contemplation
of it like a child which turns quickly from the giver to all
the beautiful presents that have been given; so she rose
up in her increasing happiness, which could come and would
come. She was indeed borne in mysterious ways to even
higher joy and happiness, and in this she lost herself one
day so entirely that she thought no more of the Giver.
It was the strength of youthful courage that inspired her
bold venture. Her eyes shone, but suddenly she was
called back by a great clamour in the courtyard beneath.
There she saw two powerful ostriches running hurriedly
about in narrow circles. She had never before seen that
creature, so great a bird, so clumsy and heavy. Its wings
looked as if they were clipped, the bird itself as if it had
been injured, and she inquired what had been done to
it, and for the first time heard the tradition which the
Egyptians relate about the ostrich.
The race had at one time been beautiful, its wings
large and powerful; then, one evening, a mighty forest
bird said to it: "Brother, shall we fly to the river in
the morning, if God will, and drink ? And the ostrich
replied: "I will." When day broke they flew off, at
first high up towards the sun-the eye of God-ever
56 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
higher and higher, the ostrich far above all the others;
it flew in its pride towards the light; it relied on its own
strength, and not on the Giver; it did not say, If God
will Then the avenging angel drew back the veil
from the burning flame, and in that instant the bird's
wings were burnt; it sank miserably to the earth. Its
descendants are no longer able to raise themselves; they
fly in terror, rush about in circles in that narrow space.
It is a reminder to us men, in all our thoughts, in all our
actions, to say: If God will! "
And Helga thoughtfully bowed her head, looked at
the hurrying ostrich, saw its fear, saw its silly delight at
the sight of its own great shadow on the white sunlit wall.
And deep seriousness fixed itself into her mind and
thoughts. So rich a life, so full of prosperity, was given,
was obtained-what would happen ? What was yet to
come ? The best thing: If God will! "
In the early spring, when the storks again started for
the north, little Helga took her gold bracelet, scratched
her name on it, beckoned to the stork-father, placed the
golden circlet about his neck, and asked him to bear it
to the Viking's wife, by which she would understand that
her foster-daughter was alive, and that she was happy,
and thought of her.
That is heavy to carry !" thought the father-stork
when it was placed around his neck; "but one does not
throw gold and honour on the high-road. They will find
it true up there that the stork brings fortune "
You lay gold, and I lay eggs !" said the mother-
stork; but you only lay once, and I lay every year
But it vexes me that neither of us is appreciated."
But we are quite aware of it ourselves, mother "
But you can't hang that on you," said mother-stork.
"It neither gives us fair wind nor food."
And so they flew.
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
The little nightingale, that sang in the tamarind-bush,
also wished to start for the north immediately. Little
Helga had often heard him up there near the moor; she
wished to give him a message, for she understood the
speech of birds when she flew in the swan's skin, and she
had often since that time used it with the stork and the
swallow. The nightingale would understand her, and she
asked him to fly to the beech-forest on the peninsula of
Jutland, where she had erected the grave of stones and
boughs; there she asked him to bid all the small birds
to protect the grave, and always to sing their songs around
it And the nightingale flew-and time flew also.
The eagle stood on the pyramid in the autumn, and
saw a magnificent array of richly laden camels, with armed
men in costly clothing, on snorting Arabian steeds, shining
as white as silver, and with red quivering nostrils, their
heavy thick manes hanging down about their slender legs.
Rich visitors, a royal prince from the land of Arabia,
beautiful as a prince ought to be, came to that noble
house, where the storks' nest now stood empty, its former
occupants now far away in the northern land, but soon
to return. And they came exactly on that day which
was most filled with joy and mirth. There was a grand
wedding, and little Helga was the bride arrayed in silk
and jewels; the.bridegroom was the young prince from
the land of Arabia; and the two sat highest at the table
between the mother and grandfather. But she did not
look at the bridegroom's brown, manly cheek, where his
black beard curled; she did not look at his dark, fiery
eyes, which were fastened upon her; she looked outwards
and upwards towards the twinkling, sparkling stars, which
beamed down from Heaven.
Then there was a rustling sound of strong wing-strokes
outside in the air-the storks had returned; and the old
couple, however tired they might be with the journey,
and however much they needed rest, still flew on to the
58 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
railing of the verandah immediately they were aware
whose festivity it was. They had already heard, at the
frontier of the country, that little Helga had allowed
them to be painted on the wall because they belonged
to her history.
"That is very nicely borne in mind," said father-
It is very little said the mother-stork ; "she could
not have done less."
And when Helga saw them, she got up and went out
into the verandah to them to pat them on the back. The
old storks curtsied with their necks, and the youngest of
their young ones looked on, and felt themselves honoured.
And Helga looked up to the bright stars which shone
clearer and clearer; and between them and her a form
seemed to move still purer than the air, and seen through
it, that hovered quite near her-it was the dead Christian
priest; so he came on the day of her festivity, came from
the Kingdom of Heaven.
"The splendour and glory which are there surpass
everything that earth knows he said.
And little Helga prayed gently and from her heart,
as she had never prayed before, that she only for one
single minute might dare to look within, might only cast
one single glance into the Kingdom of Heaven, to the
Father of all.
And he raised her into the splendour and glory, in
one current of sounds and thoughts; it was not only
round about her that it shone and sounded, but within
her. No words are able to describe it.
"Now we must return; you are wanted! he said.
Only one glance more I she entreated; only one
short minute "
We must go back to the earth; all the guests have
"Only one glance I the last- "
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 59
And little Helga stood outside in the verandah; but
all the torches outside were extinguished, all the lights
in the wedding chamber were gone, the storks were gone,
no guests to be seen, no bridegroom; everything seemed
to be blown away in three short minutes.
Then Helga was filled with terror, and she went through
the great, empty hall, into the next room. Strange
soldiers were sleeping there. She opened a side door that
led into her apartment, and when she expected to stand
there, she found herself outside in the garden; but it
was not like this before-the heaven was red and shining,
it was towards daybreak.
Only three minutes in Heaven, and a whole night had
passed on the earth !
Then she saw the storks; she cried to them, speaking
their language, and father-stork turned his head, listened,
and drew near her.
"You are speaking our language I said he; what
do you want ? Why do you come here, you strange
woman ? "
It is I 1 it is Helga I Don't you know me ? Three
minutes ago we were talking together, yonder in the
That is a mistake said the stork; you must have
dreamt it! "
"No, no she said, and reminded him of the Viking's
stronghold and the moor, and of the journey hither !
Then father-stork blinked his eyes : That is a very
old story; I have heard it from my great-great-great-
grandmother's time Yes, certainly, there was such a
princess in Egypt from the land of Denmark, but she dis-
appeared on the night of her wedding many hundreds of
years ago, and never came back again. That you may
read for yourself on the monument in the garden; there
are sculptured both swans and storks, and at the top
you yourself stand in white marble."
60 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
It was indeed so. Little Helga saw it, understood it,
and fell on her knees.
The sun broke forth, and as in former times at the touch
of its beams the toad-form disappeared and the beautiful
shape was seen, so she raised herself now at the baptism
of light in a form of brighter beauty, purer than the air,
a ray of light-to the Father of all.
Her body sank in dust; there lay a faded lotus-flower
where she had stood.
"Then that was a new ending to the story I said the
father-stork. "I had not at all expected it I but I rather
like it "
"I wonder what my young ones will say about it "
said the mother-stork.
Yes, that is certainly the principal thing I answered
THE SWALLOW SOARED HIGH INTO THE AIR
"THOU POOR LITTLE THING SAID THE FIELD-MOUSE
ONCE upon a time there lived a young wife who longed
exceedingly to possess a little child of her own, so she
went to an old witch-woman and said to her, I wish so
very much to have a child, a little tiny child; won't you
give me one, old mother ? "
Oh, with all my heart replied the witch. "Here
is a barley-corn for you; it is not exactly of the same
sort as those that grow on the farmer's fields, or that are
given to the fowls in the poultry yard, but do you sow it in
a flower-pot, and then you shall see what you shall see "
Thank you, thank you cried the woman, and she
gave the witch a silver sixpence, and then having returned
home sowed the barley-corn as she had been directed,
whereupon a large and beautiful flower immediately shot
forth from the flower-pot. It looked like a tulip, but the
petals were tightly folded up; it was still in bud.
"What a lovely flower I" exclaimed the peasant-
woman, and she kissed the pretty red and yellow leaves,
and as she kissed them the flower gave a loud report and
opened. It was indeed a tulip, but on the small green
pointal in the centre of the flower there sat a little tiny
girl, so pretty and delicate, but her whole body scarcely
bigger than the young peasant's thumb. So she called her
A pretty varnished walnut-shell was given her as a
cradle, blue violet leaves served as her mattresses, and a
rose-leaf was her coverlet; here she slept at night, but
in the daytime she played on the table. The peasant-
wife had filled a plate with water, and laid flowers in it,
their blossoms bordering the edge of the plate, while the
stalks lay in the water; on the surface floated a large
tulip-leaf, and on it Tommelise might sit and sail from
one side of the plate to the other, two white horse hairs
having been given her for oars. That looked quite
charming And Tommelise could sing too, and she sang
in such low sweet tones as never were heard before.
One night, while she was lying in her pretty bed, a
great ugly toad came hopping in through the broken
window-pane. The toad was such a great creature, old
and withered-looking, and wet too; she hopped at once
down upon the table where Tommelise lay sleeping under
the red rose petal.
That is just the wife for my son," said the toad; and
she seized hold of the walnut-shell, with Tommelise in it,
and hopped away with her through the broken pane down
into the garden. Here flowed a broad stream; its banks
were muddy and swampy, and it was amongst this mud
that the old toad and her son dwelt. Ugh, how hideous
and deformed he was! just like his mother.
Coax, coax, brekke-ke-kex was all he could find
to say on seeing the pretty little maiden in the walnut-
Don't make such a riot, or you'll wake her said old
64 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
mother toad. She may easily run away from us, for she
is as light as a swan-down feather. I'l tell you what we'll
do; we'll take her out into the brook, and set her down on
one of the large water-lily leaves; it will be like an island
to her, who is so light and small. Then she cannot run
away from us, and we can go and get ready the state-
rooms down under the mud, where you and she are to
Out in the brook there grew many water-lilies, with
their broad green leaves, each of which seemed to be
floating over the water. The leaf which was the farthest
from the shore was also the largest; to it swam old mother
toad, and on it she set the walnut-shell, with Tommelise.
The poor little tiny creature awoke quite early next
morning, and, when she saw where she was, she began to
weep most bitterly, for there was nothing but water on all
sides of the large green leaf, and she could in no way reach
Old mother toad was down in the mud, decorating her
apartments with bulrushes and yellow buttercups, so as to
make it quite gay and tidy to receive her new daughter-in-
law. At last, she and her frightful son swam together to
the leaf where she had left Tommelise; they wanted to
fetch her pretty cradle and place it for her in the bridal
chamber before she herself was conducted into it. Old
mother toad bowed low in the water, and said to her,
"Here is my son, he is to be thy husband, and you will
dwell together so comfortably down in the mud I"
Coax, coax, brekke-ke-kex I "was all that her son could
Then they took the neat little bed and swam away with
it, whilst Tommelise sat alone on the green leaf, weeping,
for she did not like the thought of living with the withered
old toad, and having her ugly son for a husband. The
little fishes that were swimming to and fro in the water
beneath had heard what mother toad had said, so they
now put up their heads-they wanted to seethe little maid.
And when they saw her, they were charmed with her deli-
cate beauty, and it vexed them very much that the hideous
old toad should carry her off. No, that should never be !
They surrounded the green stalk in the water, whereon
rested the water-lily leaf, and gnawed it asunder with their
teeth, and then the leaf floated away down the brook, with
-_ _' - ---- ----
" THIS IS JUST THE WIFE FOR MY SON," SAID THE TOAD
Tommelise on it; away, far away, where the old toad
could not follow.
Tommelise sailed past so many places, and the wild
birds among the bushes saw her and sang, Oh, what a
sweet little maiden! On and on, farther and farther,
floated the leaf: Tommelise was on her travels.
A pretty little white butterfly kept fluttering round and
round her, and at last settled down on the leaf, for he loved
66 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
Tommelise very much, and she was so pleased. There was
nothing to trouble her now that she had no fear of the
old toad pursuing her, and wherever she sailed everything
was so beautiful, for the sun shone down on the water,
making it bright as liquid gold. And now she took off
her sash, and tied one end of it round the butterfly, fasten-
ing the other end firmly into the leaf. On floated the leaf,
faster and faster, and Tommelise with it.
Presently a great cock-chafer came buzzing past; he
caught sight of her, and immediately fastening his claw
round her slender waist, flew up into a tree with her. But
the green leaf still floated down the brook, and the butter-
fly with it; he was bound to the leaf and could not get
Oh, how terrified was poor Tommelise when the cock-
chafer carried her up into the tree, and how sorry she felt,
too, for the darling white butterfly which she had left tied
fast to the leaf; she feared that if he could not get away,
he would perish of hunger. But the cock-chafer cared
nothing for that. He settled with her upon the largest leaf
in the tree, gave her some honey from the flowers to eat,
and hummed her praises, telling her she was very pretty,
although she was not at all like a hen-chafer. And by
and by all the chafers who lived in that tree came to pay
her a visit; they looked at Tommelise, and one Miss Hen-
chafer drew in her feelers, saying, She has only two legs,
how miserable that looks I "She has no feelers," cried
another. And see how thin and lean her waist is; why
she is just like a human being 1 observed a third. How
very, very ugly she is at last cried all the lady-chafers
in chorus. The chafer who had carried off Tommelise still
could not persuade himself that she was otherwise than
pretty, but, as all the rest kept repeating and insisting
that she was ugly, he at last began to think they must be
in the right, and determined to have nothing more to do
with her; she might go wherever she would, for aught he
cared, he said. And so the whole swarm flew down from
BME STOOD AT THE DOOR AND BEGGED FOR A PIECE OF BARLEY-CORN
the tree with her, and set her on a daisy; then she wept
because she was so ugly that the lady-chafers would not
keep company with her, and yet Tommelise was the
prettiest little creature that could be imagined, soft and
delicate and transparent as the loveliest rose-leaf.
All the summer long poor Tommelise lived alone in the
wide wood. She wove herself a bed of grass-straw, and
hung it under a large burdock-leaf which sheltered her
from the rain; she dined off the honey from the flowers,
and drank from the dew that every morning spangled the
leaves and herblets around her. Thus passed the summer
and autumn, but then came winter, the cold, long winter.
All the birds who had sung so sweetly to her flew away,
trees and flowers withered, the large burdock-leaf under
which Tommelise had lived rolled itself up and became a
dry, yellow stalk, and Tommelise was fearfully cold, for
her clothes were wearing out and she herself was so slight
and frail, poor little thing she was nearly frozen to death.
It began to snow, and every light flake that fell upon her
made her feel as we should if a whole shovelful of snow were
thrown upon us, for we are giants in comparison with a
little creature only an inch long. She wrapped herself up
in a withered leaf, but it gave her no warmth; she shud-
dered with cold.
Close outside the wood, on the skirt of which Tommelise
had been living, lay a large cornfield, but the corn had
been carried away long ago, leaving only the dry, naked
stubble standing up from the hard-frozen earth. It was
like another wood to Tommelise, and oh, how she shivered
with cold as she made her way through. At last she came
past the field-mouse's door; for the field-mouse had made
herself a little hole under the stubble, and there she dwelt
snugly and comfortably, having a room full of corn, and a
neat kitchen and store-chamber besides. And poor
Tommelise must now play the beggar-girl; she stood at
the door and begged for a little piece of a barley-corn, for
she had had nothing to eat during two whole days.
70 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
"Thou poor little thing !" said the field-mouse, who
was indeed a thoroughly good-natured old creature, come
into my warm room and dine with me."
And as she soon took a great liking to Tommelise, she
proposed to her to stay. You may dwell with me all the
winter if you will, but keep my room clean and neat, and
tell me stories, for I love stories dearly."
And Tommelise did all that the kind old field-mouse
required of her, and was made very comfortable in her new
"We shall have a visitor presently," observed the
field-mouse; my next-door neighbour comes to see me
once every week. He is better off than I am, has large
rooms in his house, and wears a coat of such beautiful
black velvet. It would be a capital thing for you if you
could secure him for your husband, but unfortunately
he is blind, he cannot see you. You must tell him the
prettiest stories you know."
But Tommelise did not care at all about pleasing their
neighbour Mr. Mole, nor did she wish to marry him. He
came and paid a visit in his black-velvet suit, he was so
rich and so learned, and the field-mouse declared his
domestic offices were twenty times larger than hers, but
the sun and the pretty flowers he could not endure, he was
always abusing them, though he had never seen either.
Tommelise was called upon to sing for his amusement, and
by the time she had sung Lady-bird, lady-bird, fly away
home I and "The Friar of Orders Grey," the mole had
quite fallen in love with her through the charm of her sweet
voice; however, he said nothing, he was such a prudent,
He had just been digging a long passage through the
earth from their house to his, and he now gave permission
to the field-mouse and Tommelise to walk in it as often as
they liked; however, he bade them not be afraid of the
dead bird that lay in the passage; it was a whole bird, with
beak and feathers entire, and therefore he supposed it must
have died quite lately, at the beginning of the winter, and
had been buried just in the place where he had dug his
The mole took a piece of tinder, which shines like fire
in the dark, in his mouth, and went on first to light his
friends through the long dark passage, and when they came
to the place where the dead bird lay, he thrust his broad
OH, HOW TERRIFIED WAS POOR TOMMELISE I
nose up against the ceiling and pushed up the earth, so as
to make a great hole for the light to come through. In
the midst of the floor lay a swallow, his wings clinging
firmly to his sides, his head and legs drawn under the
feathers; the poor bird had evidently died of cold. Tom-
melise felt so very sorry, for she loved all the little birds,
who had sung and chirped so merrily to her the whole
72 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
summer long; but the mole kicked it with his short legs,
saying, Here's a fine end to all its whistling a miserable
thing it must be to be born a bird. None of my children
will be birds, that's a comfort! Such creatures have
nothing but their 'quivit,' and must be starved to death
in the winter."
Yes, indeed, a sensible animal like you may well say
so," returned the field-mouse; what has the bird got
by all his chirping and chirruping ? when winter comes it
must starve and freeze; and it is such a great creature
Tommelise said nothing, but when the two others had
turned their backs upon the bird, she bent over it, smoothed
down the feathers that covered its head, and kissed the
closed eyes. Perhaps it was this one that sang so de-
lightfully to me in the summer-time," thought she; how
much pleasure it has given me, the dear, dear bird "
The mole now stopped up the hole through which the
daylight had pierced, and then followed the ladies home.
But Tommelise could not sleep that night, so she got out
of her bed, and wove a carpet out of hay, and then went out
and spread it round the dead bird; she also fetched some
soft cotton from the field-mouse's room, which she laid
over the bird, that it might be warm amid the cold earth.
"Farewell, thou dear bird," said she; farewell, and
thanks for thy beautiful song in the summer-time, when all
the trees were green, and the sun shone so warmly upon
us And she pressed her head against the bird's breast,
but was terrified to feel something beating within it. It
was the bird's heart. The bird was not dead; it had lain
in a swoon, and now that it was warmer its life returned.
Every autumn all the swallows fly away to warm coun-
tries; but if one of them linger behind, it freezes and
falls down as though dead, and the cold snow covers it.
Tommelise trembled with fright, for the bird was very
large compared with her, who was only an inch in length.
However, she took courage, laid the cotton more closely
round the poor swallow, and fetching a leaf which had
served herself as a coverlet, spread it over the bird's head.
The next night she stole out again, and found that the
bird's life had quite returned, though it was so feeble that
only for one short moment could it open its eyes to look at
Tommelise, who stood by with a piece of tinder in her
hand-she had no other lantern.
Thanks to thee, thou sweet little child I said the sick
swallow. "I feel delightfully warm now; soon I shall
recover my strength, and be able to fly again, out in the
Oh, no," she replied, it is too cold without, it snows
and freezes Thou must stay in thy warm bed; I will
take care of thee."
She brought the swallow water in a flower-petal and he
drank, and then he told her how he had torn one of his wings
in a thorn-bush, and therefore could not fly fast enough
to keep up with the other swallows who were all migrating
to the warm countries. He had at last fallen to the earth,
and more than that he could not remember; he did not
at all know how he had got underground.
However, underground he remained all the winter long,
and Tommelise was kind to him, and loved him dearly, but
she never said a word about him either to the mole or the
field-mouse, for she knew they could not endure the poor
As soon as the spring came and the sun's warmth had
penetrated the earth, the swallow said farewell to Tom-
melise, and she opened for him the covering of earth which
the mole had thrown back before. The sun shone in upon
them so deliciously, and the swallow asked whether she
would not go with him; she might sit upon his back, and
then they would fly together far out into the greenwood.
But Tommelise knew it would vex the old field-mouse if
she were to leave her.
"No, I cannot, I must not go," said Tommelise.
Fare thee well, then, thou good and pretty maiden,"
74 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
said the swallow, and away he flew into the sunshine.
Tommelise looked after him and the tears came into her
eyes, for she loved the poor swallow so much.
Quivit, quivit," sang the bird, as he flew into the green-
wood. And Tommelise was now sad indeed. She was not
allowed to go out into the warm sunshine; the wheat that
had been sown in the field above the field-mouse's house
grew up so high that it seemed a perfect forest to the poor
little damsel who was only an inch in stature.
This summer you must work at getting your wedding
clothes ready," said the field-mouse, for their neighbour,
the blind dull mole in the black-velvet suit, had now made
his proposals in form to Tommelise. You shall have
worsted and linen in plenty; you shall be well provided
with all manner of clothes and furniture before you become
the mole's wife." So Tommelise was obliged to work
hard at the distaff, and the field-mouse hired four spiders
to spin and weave night and day. Every evening came
the mole, and always began to talk about the summer soon
coming to an end, and that then, when the sun would no
longer shine so warmly, scorching the earth till it was as
dry as a stone, yes, then, his nuptials with Tommelise
should take place. But this sort of conversation did not
please her at all; she was thoroughly wearied of his dul-
ness and his prating. Every morning when the sun rose,
and every evening when it set, she used to steal out at the
door, and when the wind blew the tops of the corn aside,
so that she could see the blue sky through the opening,
she thought how bright and beautiful it was out here, and
wished most fervently to see the dear swallow once more;
but he never came, he must have been flying far away in
the beautiful greenwood.
Autumn came, and Tommelise's wedding clothes were
Four weeks more, and you shall be married said
the field-mouse. But Tommelise wept, and said she would
not marry the dull mole.
Fiddlestick I exclaimed the field-mouse; "don't
be obstinate, child, or I shall bite thee with my white teeth I
Is he not handsome, pray ? Why, the Queen has not got
such a black-velvet dress as he wears And isn't he rich ?
rich both in kitchens and cellars ? Be thankful to get
such a husband! "
So Tommelise must be married. The day fixed had
arrived, the mole had already come to fetch his bride, and
she must dwell with him, deep under the earth, never
again to come out into the warm sunshine which she loved
so much, and which he could not endure. The poor child
was in despair at the thought that she must now bid fare-
well to the beautiful sun of which she had at least been
allowed to catch a glimpse every now and then while she
lived with the field-mouse.
Farewell, thou glorious sun she cried, throwing her
arms up into the air, and she walked on a little way beyond
the field-mouse's door; the corn was already reaped, and
only the dry stubble surrounded her. Farewell, fare-
well I repeated she, as she clasped her tiny arms round a
little red flower that grew there. Greet the dear swallow
from me, if thou shouldst see him."
Quivit! quivit! "-there was a fluttering of wings
just over her head; she looked up, and behold the little
swallow was flying past. And how pleased he was when
he perceived Tommelise I She told how that she had been
obliged to accept the disagreeable mole as a husband, and
that she would have to dwell deep underground where
the sun never pierced. And she could not help weeping as
The cold winter will soon be here said the swallow;
"I shall fly far away to the warm countries. Wilt thou go
with me ? Thou canst sit on my back, and tie thyself
firmly to me with thy sash, and thus we shall fly away
from the stupid mole and his dark room, far away over the
mountains to those countries where the sun shines so
brightly, where it is always summer, and flowers blossom
76 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
all the year round. Come and fly with me, thou sweet
little Tommelise, who didst save my life when I lay frozen
in the dark cellars of the earth I "
Yes, I will go with thee said Tommelise. And she
seated herself on the bird's back, her feet resting on the
outspread wings, and tied her girdle firmly round one of
the strongest feathers, and then the swallow soared high
THAT WAS THE GREATEST OF PLEASURES
into the air, and flew away over forest and over lake, over
mountains whose crests are covered with snow all the year
round. How Tommelise shivered as she breathed the
keen frosty air I However, she soon crept down under
the bird's warm feathers, her head still peering forth,
eager to behold all the glory and beauty beneath her.
At last they reached the warm countries. There the sun
shone far more brightly than in her native clime. The
i.. _~. i
r -;'iie i ;-..
6 YES, I WILL GO WITH THEE I SAID TOMMELISE, AND SHE SEATED
HERSELF ON THE BIRD'S BACK
heavens seemed twice as high, and twice as blue; and
ranged along the sloping hills grew, in rich luxuriance, the
loveliest green and purple grapes. Citrons and melons
were seen in the groves, the fragrance of myrtles and
balsams filled the air, and by the wayside gambolled
groups of pretty merry children, chasing large bright-
But the swallow did not rest here; still he flew on;
and still the scene seemed to grow more and more beautiful.
Near a calm, blue lake, overhung by lofty trees, stood a
half-ruined palace of white marble, built in times long
past; vine-wreaths trailed up the long slender pillars,
and on the capitals, among the green leaves and waving
tendrils, many a swallow had built his nest, and one of
these nests belonged to the swallow on whose back Tom-
melise was riding.
This is my house," said the swallow, "but if thou
wouldst rather choose for thyself one of the splendid
flowers growing beneath us, I will take thee there, and
thou shalt make thy home in the loveliest of them all."
That will be charming I exclaimed she, clapping her
On the green turf beneath there lay the fragments of
a white marble column which had fallen to the ground,
and around these fragments twined some beautiful large
white flowers. The swallow flew down with Tommelise,
and set her oh one of the broad petals. But what was
her surprise when she saw sitting in the very heart of the
flower a little mannikin, fair and transparent as though
he were made of glass I wearing the prettiest gold crown
on his head, and the brightest, most delicate wings on
his shoulders, yet scarcely one whit larger than Tom-
melise herself. He was the spirit of the flower. In every
blossom there dwelt one such faery youth or maiden,
but this one was the king of all these flower-spirits.
Oh, how handsome he is, this king! whispered
Tommelise to the swallow. The faery prince was quite
80 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
startled at the sudden descent of the swallow, who was a
sort of giant compared with him; but when he saw
Tommelise he was delighted, for she was the very loveliest
maiden he had ever seen. So he took his gold crown
off his own head and set it upon hers, asked her name, and
whether she would be his bride, and reign as queen over
all the flower-spirits. This, you see, was quite a different
bridegroom from the son of the ugly old toad, or the
blind mole with his black-velvet coat. So Tommelise
replied Yes to the beautiful prince, and then the lady
and gentlemen faeries came out, each from a separate
flower, to pay their homage to Tommelise; so gracefully
and courteously they paid their homage: and every one
of them brought her a present.
But the best of all the presents was a pair of transparent
wings; they were fastened on Tommelise's shoulders, and
enabled her to fly from flower to flower. That was the
greatest of pleasures; and the little swallow sat in his
nest above and sang to her his sweetest song; in his
heart, however, he was very sad, for he loved Tommelise,
and would have wished never to part from her.
"Thou shalt no longer be called Tommelise," said the
king of flowers to her, "for it is not a pretty name,
and thou art so lovely We will call thee Maia."
Farewell! farewell! sang the swallow, and away he
flew from the warm countries, far away back to Denmark.
There he had a little nest just over the window of the
man who writes stories for children. Quivit, quivit,
quivit he sang to him, and from him we have learned
THEY CARRIED THE MIRROR FROM PLACE TO PLACE
THE SNOW QUEEN
IN SEVEN PARTS
PART THE FIRST
WHICH TREATS OF THE MIRROR AND ITS FRAGMENTS
LISTEN! We are beginning our story When we
arrive at the end of it we shall, it is to be hoped, know
more than we do now. There was once a magician!
a wicked magician a most wicked magician II Great
was his delight at having constructed a mirror possessing
this peculiarity, viz. :-that everything good and beauti-
ful, when reflected in it, shrank up almost to nothing,
whilst those things that were ugly and useless were
magnified, and made to appear ten times worse than
before. The loveliest landscapes reflected in this mirror
looked like boiled spinach; and the handsomest persons
appeared odious, or as if standing upon their heads,
their features being so distorted that their friends could
never have recognized them. Moreover, if one of them
had a freckle, he might be sure that it would seem to
spread over the nose and mouth; and if a good or pious
thought glanced across his mind, a wrinkle was seen in
the mirror. All this the magician thought highly enter-
taining, and he chuckled with delight at his own clever
invention. Those who frequented the school of magic
where he taught spread abroad the fame of this wonderful
mirror, and declared that by its means the world and its
inhabitants might be seen now for the first time as they
really were. They carried the mirror from place to place,
THE SNOW QUEEN
till at last there was no country nor person that had not
been misrepresented in it. Its admirers now must needs
fly up to the sky with it, to see if they could carry on
their sport even there. But the higher they flew the
more wrinkled did the mirror become; they could scarcely
hold it together. They flew on and on, higher and higher,
till at last the mirror trembled so fearfully that it escaped
from their hands, and fell to the earth, breaking into
millions, billions, and trillions of pieces. And then it
caused far greater unhappiness than before, for fragments
HE CHUCKLED WITH DELIGHT
of it, scarcely so large as a grain of sand, would be flying
about in the air, and sometimes get into people's eyes,
causing them to view everything the wrong way, or to
have eyes only for what was perverted and corrupt; each
little fragment having retained the peculiar properties of
the entire mirror. Some people were so unfortunate as
to receive a little splinter into their hearts-that was
terrible The heart became cold and hard, like a lump
of ice. Some pieces were large enough to be used as
window-panes, but it was of no use to look at one's
friends through such panes as those. Other fragments
84 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
were made into spectacles, and then what trouble people
had with setting and re-setting them !
The wicked magician was greatly amused with all
this, and he laughed till his sides ached.
There are still some little splinters of this mischievous
mirror flying about in the air. We shall hear more about
them very soon.
PART THE SECOND
A LITTLE BOY AND A LITTLE GIRL
IN a large town, where there are so many houses and
inhabitants that there is not room enough for all the
people to possess a little garden of their own, and therefore
many are obliged to content themselves with keeping a
few plants in pots, there dwelt two poor children, whose
garden was somewhat larger than a flower-pot. They
were not brother and sister, but they loved each other as
much as if they had been, and their parents lived in two
attics exactly opposite. The roof of one neighbour's
house nearly joined the other, the gutter ran along between,
and there was in each roof a little window, so that you
could stride across the gutter from one window to the
other. The parents of each child had a large wooden
box in which grew herbs for kitchen use, and they had
placed these boxes upon the gutter, so near that they
almost touched each other. A beautiful little rose-tree
grew in each box, scarlet runners entwined their long
shoots over the windows, and, uniting with the branches
of the rose-trees, formed a flowery arch across the street.
The boxes were very high, and the children knew that
they might not climb over them, but they often obtained
leave to sit on their little stools, under the rose-trees, and
thus they passed many a delightful hour.
But when winter came there was an end to these
pleasures. The windows were often quite frozen over, and
then they heated halfpence on the stove, held the warm
copper against the frozen pane, and thus made a little
round peep-hole, behind which would sparkle a bright
gentle eye, one from each window.
The little boy was called Kay, the little girl's name was
Gerda. In summer-time they could get out of window and
86 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
jump over to each other; but in winter there were stairs
to run down, and stairs to run up, and sometimes the
wind roared, and the snow fell without-doors.
Those are the white bees swarming there 1 said the
Have they a Queen bee ? asked the little boy, for
he knew that the real bees have one.
"They have," said the grandmother. "She flies
yonder where they swarm so thickly; she is the largest of
them, and never remains upon the earth, but flies up
again into the black cloud. Sometimes on a winter's night
she flies through the streets of the town, and breathes with
her frosty breath upon the windows, and then they
are covered with strange and beautiful forms, like trees
"Yes, I have seen them I" said both the children-
they knew that this was true.
Can the Snow Queen come in here ? asked the little
If she do come in," said the boy, I will put her on
the warm stove and then she will melt."
And the grandmother stroked his hair and told him
That same evening, after little Kay had gone home,
and was half undressed, he crept upon the chair by the
window and peeped through the little round hole. Just
then a few snow-flakes fell outside, and one, the largest of
them, remained lying on the edge of one of the flower-pots.
The snow-flake appeared larger and larger, and at last
took the form of a lady dressed in the finest white crape,
her attire being composed of millions of star-like particles.
She was exquisitely fair and delicate, but entirely of ice,
glittering, dazzling ice; her eyes gleamed like two bright
stars, but there was no rest or repose in them. She
nodded at the window, and beckoned with her hand. The
little boy was frightened and jumped down from the chair;
he then fancied he saw a large bird fly past the window.
THE SNOW QUEEN 87
There was a clear frost next day, and soon afterwards
came spring-the trees and flowers budded, the swallows
built their nests, the windows were opened, and the little
children sat once more in their little garden upon the
gutter that ran along the roofs of the houses.
The roses blossomed beautifully that summer, and the
little girl had learned a hymn in which there was something
about roses; it reminded her of her own. So she sang it
to the little boy, and he sang it with her.
"Our roses bloom and fade away,
Our Infant Lord abides always;
May we be blessed His face to see,
And ever little children be "
And the little ones held each other by the hand,
kissed the roses, and looked up into the blue sky, talking
away all the time. What glorious summer days were
those I how delightful it was to sit under those rose-trees
which seemed as if they never intended to leave off blos-
soming I One day Kay and Gerda were sitting looking
at their picture-book full of birds and animals, when
suddenly-the clock on the old church tower was just
striking five-Kay exclaimed, Oh, dear I what was that
shooting pain in my heart: and now again, something
has certainly got into my eye I "
The little girl turned and looked at him. He winked
his eyes; no, there was nothing to be seen.
"I believe it is gone," said he; but gone it was not.
It was one of those glass splinters from the Magic Mirror,
the wicked glass which made everything great and good
reflected in it to appear little and hateful, and which
magnified everything ugly and mean. Poor Kay had
also received a splinter in his heart; it would now become
hard and cold like a lump of ice. He felt the pain no
longer, but the splinter was there.
Why do you cry ? asked he; "you look so ugly
when you cry I there is nothing the matter with me.
88 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
Fie exclaimed he again, this rose has an insect in it,
and just look at this I After all, they are ugly roses I
and it is an ugly box they grow in I" then he kicked
the box, and tore off the roses.
Kay, what are you doing ? cried the little girl,
but when he saw how it grieved her, he tore off another
rose, and jumped down through his own window, away
from his once dear little Gerda.
Ever afterwards when she brought forward the picture-
book, he called it a baby's book, and when her grand-
mother told stories, he interrupted her with a but," and
sometimes, whenever he could manage it, he would get
behind her, put on her spectacles, and speak just
as she did; he did this in a very droll manner, and so
people laughed at him. Very soon he could mimic
everybody in the street. All that was singular and
awkward about them could Kay imitate, and his neigh-
bours said, What a remarkable head that boy has "
But no, it was the glass splinter which had fallen into his
eye, the glass splinter which had pierced into his heart-it
was these which made him regardless whose feelings he
wounded, and even made him tease the little Gerda who
loves him so fondly.
His games were now quite different from what they
used to be, they were so rational! One winter's day when
it was snowing, he came out with a large burning-glass in
his hand, and holding up the skirts of his blue coat let the
snow-flakes fall upon them. "Now look through the
glass, Gerda!" said he, returning to the house. Every
snow-flake seemed much larger, and resembled a splendid
flower, or a star with ten points; they were quite beauti-
ful. See, how curious said Kay, these are far
more interesting than real flowers, there is not a single
blemish in them; they would be quite perfect if only they
did not melt."
Soon after this Kay came in again, with thick gloves on
his hands, and his sledge slung across his back. He called
THE SNOW QUEEN
out to Gerda, "I have got leave to drive on the great
square where the other boys play and away he went.
The boldest boys in the square used to fasten their
sledges firmly to the wagons of the country people, and
thus drive a good way along with them; this they thought
particularly pleasant. Whilst they were in the midst of
their play, a large sledge painted white passed by; iin it
sat a person wrapped in a rough white fur, and wearing a
rough white cap. When the sledge had driven twice
round the square, Kay bound to it his little sledge,
and was carried on with it. On they went, faster and
faster, into the next street. The person who drove the
large sledge turned round and nodded kindly to Kay, just
as if they had been old acquaintances, and every time
Kay was going to loose his little sledge turned and nodded
again, as if to signify that he must stay. So Kay sat
still, and they passed through the gates of the town.
Then the snow began to fall so thickly that the little
boy could not see his own hand, but he was still carried
on. He tried hastily to unloose the cords and free himself
from the large sledge, but it was of no use; his little
carriage could not be unfastened, and glided on swift
as the wind. Then he cried out as loud as he could,
but no one heard him, the snow fell and the sledge flew;
every now and then it made a spring as if driving over
hedges and ditches. He was very much frightened; he
would have repeated Our Father," but he could remember
nothing but the multiplication table.
The snow-flakes seemed larger and larger, at last they
looked like great white fowls. All at once they fell
aside, the large sledge stopped, and the person who drove
it arose from the seat. He saw that the cap and coat were
entirely of snow, that it was a lady, tall and slender, and
dazzlingly white-it was the Snow Queen !
"We have driven fast! said she, but no one likes
to be frozen; creep under my bear-skin," and she seated
him in the sledge by her side, and spread her cloak around
90 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
him-he felt as if he were sinking into a drift of snow.
Are you still cold ? asked she, and then she kissed
his brow. Oh I her kiss was colder than ice. It went to
his heart, although that was half frozen already; he
thought he should die. It was, however, only for a
moment; directly afterwards he was quite well, and no
longer felt the intense cold around.
My sledge I do not forget my sledge "-he thought
first of that-it was fastened to one of the white fowls
which flew behind with it on his back. The Snow Queen
kissed Kay again, and he entirely forgot little Gerda,
her grandmother, and all at home.
"Now you must have no more kisses I" said she,
" else I should kiss thee to death."
Kay looked at her, she was so beautiful; a more
intelligent, more lovely countenance, he could not imagine;
she no longer appeared to him ice, cold ice as at the time
when she sat outside the window and beckoned to him;
in his eyes she was perfect; he felt no fear. He told
her how well he could reckon in his head, even fractions;
that he knew the number of square miles of every country,
and the number of the inhabitants contained in different
towns. She smiled, and then it occurred to him that,
after all, he did not yet know so very much. He looked
up into the wide, wide space, and she flew with him high
up into the black cloud while the storm was raging;
it seemed now to Kay as though singing songs of olden
They flew over woods and over lakes, over sea and over
land; beneath them the cold wind whistled, the wolves
howled, the snow glittered, and the black crow flew
cawing over the plain, whilst above them shone the
moon, so clear and tranquil.
Thus did Kay spend the long, long winter night; all
day he slept at the feet of the Snow Queen.
SIIE WORE A LARGE HAT, WITH MOST BEAUTIFUL
FLOWERS PAINTED ON IT
PART THE THIRD
THE ENCHANTED FLOWER-GARDEN
BUT how fared it with little Gerda when Kay never
returned ? Where could he be ? No one knew, no one
could give any account of him. The boy said that they
had seen him fasten his sledge to another larger and very
handsome one which had driven into the street, and thence
through the gates of the town. No one knew where he
was, and many were the tears that were shed; little
Gerda wept much and long, for the boys said he must be
dead, he must have been drowned in the river that flowed
not far from the town. Oh, how long and dismal the
winter days were now I At last came the spring, with its
"Alas, Kay is dead and gone," said little Gerda.
"That I do not believe," said the sunshine.
He is dead and gone," said she to the swallows.
"That we do not believe," returned they, and at last
little Gerda herself did not believe it.
I will put on my new red shoes," said she one morn-
ing, "those which Kay has never seen, and then I will
go down to the river and ask after him."
It was quite early. She kissed her old grandmother,
who was still sleeping, put on her red shoes, and went
alone through the gates of the town towards the river.
Is it true," said she, that thou hast taken my little
playfellow away ? I will give thee my red shoes if thou
wilt restore him to me I "
And the wavelets of the river flowed towards her in a
manner which she fancied was unusual; she fancied that
THE SNOW QUEEN 98
they intended to accept her offer, so she took off her red
shoes-though she prized them more than anything else
she possessed-and threw them into the stream; but they
fell near the shore, and the little waves bore them back
to her, as though they would not take from her what she
most prized, as they had not got little Kay. However,
she thought she had not thrown the shoes far enough, so
she stepped into a little boat which lay among the reeds
by the shore, and, standing at the farthest end of it,
threw them from thence into the water. The boat was
not fastened, and her movements in it caused it to glide
away from the shore. She saw this, and hastened to get
out, but by the time she reached the other end of the
boat it was more than a yard distant from the land;
she could not escape, and the boat glided on.
Little Gerda was much frightened and began to cry,
but no one besides the sparrows heard her, and they could
not carry her back to the land; however, they flew along
the banks, and sang, as if to comfort her, Here we are,
here we are 1 The boat followed the stream. Little
Gerda sat in it quite still; her red shoes floated behind
her, but they could not overtake the boat, which glided
along faster than they did.
Beautiful were the shores of that river; lovely flowers,
stately old trees, and bright green hills dotted with
sheep and cows, were seen in abundance, but not a single
"Perhaps the river may bear me to my dear Kay,"
thought Gerda, and then she became more cheerful, and
amused herself for hours with looking at the lovely country
around her. At last she glided past a large cherry-garden,
wherein stood a little cottage with thatched roof and
curious red and blue windows; two wooden soldiers stood
at the door, who presented arms when they saw the little
Gerda called to them, thinking that they were alive,
but they, naturally enough, made no answer. She came
94 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
close up to them, for the stream drifted the boat to the
Gerda called still louder, whereupon an old lady came
out of the house, supporting herself on a crutch; she
wore a large hat, with most beautiful flowers painted on
"Thou poor little child I said the old woman, "the
mighty flowing river has indeed borne thee a long, long
way," and she walked right into the water, seized the
boat with her crutch, drew it to land, and took out the
Gerda was glad to be on dry land again, although
she was a little afraid of the strange old lady.
"Come and tell me who thou art, and how thou
camest hither," said she.
And Gerda told her all, and the old lady shook her
head, and said, Hem I hem I And when Gerda asked
if she had seen little Kay, the lady said that he had not
arrived there yet, but that he would be sure to come
soon, and that in the meantime Gerda must not be sad;
that she might stay with her, might eat her cherries, and
look at her flowers, which were prettier than any picture-
book, and could each tell her a story.
She then took Gerda by the hand; they went together
into the cottage, and the old lady shut the door. The
windows were very high and their panes of different-coloured
glass, red, blue, and yellow, so that when the bright
daylight streamed through them, various and beautiful
were the hues reflected upon the room. Upon a table in
the centre was placed a plate of very fine cherries, and of
these Gerda was allowed to eat as many as she liked.
And whilst she was eating them, the old dame combed her
hair with a golden comb, and the bright flaxen ringlets
fell on each side of her pretty, gentle face, which looked as
round and as fresh as a rose.
"I have long wished for such a dear little girl," said
the old lady. "We shall see if we cannot live very
THE SNOW QUEEN 95
happily together." And, as she combed little Gerda's
hair, the child thought less and less of her foster-brother
Kay, for the old lady was an enchantress. She did not,
however, practise magic for the sake of mischief, but
merely for her own amusement. And now she wished
very much to keep little Gerda, to live with her; so,
fearing that if Gerda saw her roses, she would be reminded
of her own flowers and of little Kay, and that then she
might run away, she went out into the garden, and extended
her crutch over all her rose-bushes, upon which, although
they were full of leaves and blossoms, they immediately
sank into the black earth, and no one would have guessed
that such plants had ever grown there.
Then she led Gerda into this flower-garden. Oh how
beautiful and how fragrant it was Flowers of all seasons
and all climes grew there in fulness of beauty-certainly
no picture-book could be compared with it. Gerda bounded
with delight, and played among the flowers till the sun
set behind the tall cherry-trees ; after which a pretty little
bed, with crimson silk cushions, stuffed with blue violet-
leaves, was prepared for her, and here she slept so sweetly
and had such dreams as a queen might have on her bridal
The next day she again played among the flowers in
the warm sunshine, and many more days were spent
in the same manner. Gerda knew every flower in the
garden, but, numerous as they were, it seemed to her
that one was wanting, she could not tell which. She
was sitting one day, looking at her hostess's hat, which had
flowers painted on it, and, behold, the loveliest among
them was a rose I The old lady had entirely forgotten
the painted rose on her hat, when she made the real
roses to disappear from her garden and sink into the
ground. This is often the case when things are done
"What," cried Gerda, "are there no roses in the
garden ? And she ran from one bed to another, sought
HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES
and sought again, but no rose was to be found. She
sat down and wept, and it so chanced that her tears fell
on a spot where a rose-tree had formerly stood, and as soon
as her warm tears had moistened the earth, the bush shot
up anew, as fresh and as blooming as it was before it
had sunk into the ground; and Gerda threw her arms
around it, kissed the blossoms, and immediately recalled
to memory the beautiful roses at home, and her little
playfellow Kay. Oh, how could I stay here so long I "
exclaimed the little maiden. "I left my home to seek
for Kay. Do you know where he is ? she asked of the
roses; "think you that he is dead ? "
"Dead he is not," said the roses. "We have been
down in the earth; the dead are there, but not Kay."
"I thank you," said little Gerda, and she went to the
other flowers, bent low over their cups, and asked, Know
you not where little Kay is ? "
But every flower stood in the sunshine dreaming its
own little tale. They related their stories to Gerda, but
none of them knew anything of Kay.
"And what think you ? said the tiger-lily.
"Listen to the drums beating, boom I boom They
have but two notes, always boom boom I Listen to the
dirge the women are singing! Listen to the chorus of
priests I Enveloped in her long red robes stands the
Hindoo wife on the funeral pile; the flames blaze around
her and her dead husband, but the Hindoo wife thinks
not of the dead. She thinks only of the living, and the
anguish which consumes her spirit is keener than the
fire which will soon reduce her body to ashes. Can the
flame of the heart expire amid the flames of the funeral
pile ? "
"I do not understand that at all I said little Gerda.
"That is my tale I" said the tiger-lily.
"What says the convolvulus ? "
"Hanging over a narrow mountain causeway, behold
an ancient, baronial castle. Thick evergreens grow
_. o .
THE SWING MOVES AND THE BUBBLES FLY UPWARD WITH BRIGHT,
THE SNOW QUEEN 99
amongst the time-stained walls, their leafy branches
entwine about the balcony, and there stands a beautiful
maiden; she bends over the balustrades and fixes her
eyes with eager expectation on the road winding beneath.
The rose hangs not fresher and lovelier on its stem than
she; the apple-blossom which the wind threatens every
moment to tear from its branch is not more fragile and
trembling. Listen to the rustling of her rich silken robe !
Listen to her half-whispered words, 'He comes not
"Is it Kay you mean ? asked little Gerda.
"I do but tell you my tale-my dream," replied the
What says the little snowdrop ?"
Between two trees hangs a swing. Two pretty little
maidens, their dress as white as snow, and long green
ribbands fluttering from their hats, sit and swing them-
selves in it. Their brother stands up in the swing, he has
thrown his arms round the ropes to keep himself steady,
for in one hand he holds a little cup, in the other a pipe
made of clay; he is blowing soap bubbles. The swing
moves and the bubbles fly upwards with bright, ever-
changing colours; the last hovers on the edge of the
pipe, and moves with the wind. The swing is still in
motion, and the little black dog, almost as light as the
soap bubbles, rises on his hind feet and tries to get into
the swing also; away goes the swing, the dog falls, is out
of temper, and barks; he is laughed at, and the bubbles
burst. A swinging board, a frothy, fleeting image is my
"What you describe may be all very pretty, but
you speak so mournfully, and there is nothing about
"What say the hyacinths ?"
"There were three fair sisters, transparent and delicate
they were; the kirtle of the one was red, that of the
second blue, of the third pure white; hand in hand they