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The Baldwin Library
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TH CIDRNAN TESTI -S
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.
ILL US TRA TED EDITION
Mitt fourteen CoaIureb Pictures, anb nearIg @ tc Aunbreb fullupage
anb otter 3Engrabings.
WARD, LOCK, & TYLER, WARWICK HOUSE,
PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.
Fairy Tales. By HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. With joo Illus-
trations and Fourteen Coloured Pictures, and Life of the Author. In one hand-
some Volume, demy 8vo, cloth gilt, 7s. 6d.
Andersen's Popular Tales for Children. With many full-page and
other Illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 3s. 6d; with Coloured Illustrations,
cloth gilt, gilt edges, 5s.
Andersen's Stories for the Young. With many full-page and
other Illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 3s. 6d. ; with Coloured Illustrations,
cloth gilt, gilt edges, 5s.
The Hans Andersen's Story Books for the Young:--
Fcap. 8vo, cloth gilt, is.
z. THE CHRISTMAS TREE. 5, THE LITTLE tMER- 9. LITTLE IDEA'S
2. THE GARDEN OF PARA- MAID. FLOWERS.
D1SE. 6. THE SILVER SHILLING. 10. LITTLE TUK.
3. THE WILLOW TREE. 7, THE SNOW QUEEN. II. WHAT THE 1AOON
4. THE SILENT BOOK. 8. THE ICE MAIDEN. SAW.
WARD, LOCK & TYLER, WARWICK HOUSE, PATERNOSTER Row, E.C.
The Life of Hans Christian Andersen vii-xxxii
The Fir Tree I
The Swineherd 7
The Elf of the Roses 10
The Emperor's New Clothes .. .. 13
The Storks ... 16
The Story of the Year ... 22
The Elfin Hill . 28
The Loveliest Rose in the World .33
The Steadfast Tin Soldier . .. 35
The Buckwheat. 38
At the Last Day .. 39
Good Temper 42
Big Claus and Little Claus 45
The Naughty Boy .. 53
The Nightingale 54
There is a Difference 61
The Garden of Paradise 63
It is Quite True 72
The Daisy. 74
The Goloshes of Fortune . 76
Five Out of One Shell .. 94
Ole Luk Oie 97
The Ugly Duckling 104
Under the Willow Tree .
The Princess and the Pea . 123
The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweeper 124
The Tinder Box ... 127
A Heartfelt Sorrow . .. 132
Elder Tree Mother .. 133
The Swan's Nest 138
Holger Danske . 140
In Years to Come 143
Thumbelina ... 145
Everything in its Right Place 51
The Red Shoes .. 158
The Silent Book 61
The Little Match Girl .63
The Jumpers . 65
The Flying Trunk 66
A Story 17
The Old Street Lamp .. 174
The Metal Pig .. 178
The Neighbours .86
A Rose from the Grave of Homer .. 193
The Little Mermaid .. 194
Ib and Christina 208
The Shadow 216
The Bond of Friendship 224
The Old House . 230
The Jewish Maiden .. .. 235
The Flax 239
A Drop of Water .. 242
Two Maids 243
The Happy Family 246
The Story of a Mother 248
The Angel .. 251
A Picture from the Fortress Wall .. 253
The Snowdrop 254
Thickheaded Jack 257
The Bell's Hole. 260
The Pigs 262
At the Alms House Window 264
The Golden Treasure .. 265
The Windmill 270
The Money Box.. 272
The Toad 275
Good Deeds are not Forgotten 279
The Wild Swans 28
A Leaf from Heaven. 292
The Old Church Bell .. 294
The Silver Shilling 297
Two Brothers .. 299
The Old Grave Stone 301
The Snail and the Rosebush 304
The Snow Man 306
Good for Nothing 309
What the Old Man does is always Right . 314
Twelve by the Mail 318
The Thorny Path of Honour . 320
The Snow Queen-
About a Wicked Goblin. 324
About a Little Boy and a Little Girl . 325
About the Witch's Flower Garden. 329
About a Prince and Princess. 333
About the Little Robber Girl. 338
About the Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman 340
About the Snow Queen's Palace and What Happened there 343
The Last Dream of the Old Oak 345
The Ice Maiden-
Little Rudy. 349
The Journey to the New Home 353
Rudy's Uncle 356
Babette .. ... 358
The Homeward Journey. 363
The Visit to the Mill 364
The Eagle's Nest . . 366
What the Parlour Cat had to Tell 368
The Ice Maiden 369
The Godmother ... 370
The Cousin 372
Evil Powers .. 373
In the Mill 375
Dreams of the Night 376
The End .. 377
The Last Pearl .. 380
In the Duckyard 382
The Bottle Neck 386
Children's Prattle 393
The Farmyard Cock and the Weathercock 394
The Beetle .. .. 396
Little Ida's Flowers . .. 402
The Pen and the Inkstand 406
The Girl who Trod upon Bread .. 408
Grandmother .. 413
The Marsh King's Daughter 414
The Phcenix .. 436
The Marionettes 437
The Child in the Grave 440
The Butterfly 443
The Goblin and the Huckster 445
The Wicked Prince .. 448
Little Tuk .. 450
The Darning Needle. 453
The Bell 455
Psyche. .. 456
Soup made out of a Sausage Skewer 466
What the First Little Mouse had Seen and Learnt on her Travels 467
What the Second Little Mouse had to Say 469
What the Fourth Little Mouse, who Spoke before the Third, had to Tell 472
How the Soup was Made 473
The Shirt Collar .. 475
The Racers 477
The Travelling Companion 479
"Something" . .490
"The Storm that Moves the Shield" 494
From the Uttermost Parts of the Sea 497
The Bird of Song. 499
What the Moon Saw-
The Spinning Wheel 502
The Bear that Played at Soldiers . 503
Died on the Throne of France 504
Children's Troubles. 505
The Emigrants 505
By the Huns' Grave 506
The Mother of the Rothschilds .. 507
The Little Chimney-Sweeper. 50S
By the Ganges 50
The Little Girl and the Chickens 509
A Comedy ... .... . 509
A Picture 510
A Greeting 51
In the Far North. 511
The Long Journey. 512
The Bride 513
The City of the Dead 513
The Critics 514
The Children and the Storks 516
The Clown and the Columbine 516
What will the Dogs Think ? 517
The City of the Waves. 5S
A Tragedy 519
Past and Present 519
In the Desert 520
The Convent. 521
Pe and Soui-Hong 522
The Swan's Flight 523
The Crown and the Coffin o .. 52
The Writing on the Wall a 524
Bread and Butter . 524
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.
ANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN is one of those men who,
from their earliest youth, have had to keep up a warfare with
circumstances; a man, like Burns and Hogg, who seemed destined
by Fate to end their lives unnoticed in a village, and yet through an
instinctive sense of their destined pre-eminence in the beautiful regions
of art and literature, and sustained by an irrepressible will, have made
themselves a part of the great world.
During my residence in Copenhagen, says Marmier, in the year
1837, one day a tall young man entered my room. His timid and
embarrassed, and somewhat awkward, manner might, perhaps, have
displeased a fine lady, yet at the same time his friendly behaviour,
and his open, honest countenance, at the first meeting, must have
awakened sympathy and confidence. This was Andersen. At that
very moment a volume of his works was lying on my table; an
acquaintance was thus soon made. Poetry is a sort of freemasonry;
they who render homage to it are related, although they may come
from the opposite ends of the world; they speak a word, make a
sign, and immediately they know that they are brethren. They who
live together impart to each other mutually the emotions of their
hearts; they who meet on foreign ground relate to each other,
like pious pilgrims, by what paths they have wandered thither and
through what cities they have come. Thus, then, it happened that
Andersen, after we had passed a few hours together in conversation on
poetry, which, more than anything else, has the peculiarity of unlock-
ing the heart and calling forth mutual confidence, told me of the
adverse circumstances through which he had passed, and, at my
request that he would make me acquainted with the history of his life,
communicated to me the following details :-
Andersen's grandparents were, at one time, well-to-do in the world,
and even possessed of a farm in the country. All kind of misfortunes,
however, befell them; the worst of which was, that the husband lost
his reason. The poor wife then removed to Odensee, and placed there
her only son as apprentice with a shoemaker. The boy, full of activity,
found the beginning of his life happier than his later years; he
viii THE LIFE OF
employed his hours of leisure in reading Holberg, in making toys, and
in composing music.
When he was scarcely twenty, in the spring of 1804, he married a
young girl who was quite as poor as himself; and so great, indeed,
was their poverty, that, in going to housekeeping, the young bride-
groom could not afford to buy a bedstead, and contrived to obtain one
in this manner.:-A count was dead somewhere in the neighbourhood,
and while he lay:in state his coffin was supported on a wooden frame
made for the purpose, and this, being sold after the funeral, was
purchased by the husband-elect, who prepared it for future family use;
and yet he could not have made very great alteration in it, for many
years afterwards it might still be seen covered with its black cloth.
Upon this frame, on which had rested the corpse of the noble
count in his last splendour, lay, on the 2nd of April, I805, poor, but
living, the first-born of his humble parents, Hans Christian Andersen.
When the new-born child was taken to the church to be baptized, it
cried resoundingly, which greatly displeased the ill-tempered pastor,
who declared, in his passion, that the thing cried like a cat ;" at
which his mother was bitterly annoyed. One of the godparents,
however, consoled her by the assurance that the louder the child cried,
the sweeter he would sing some day, and that pacified her.
The father of Andersen was not without education ; the mother was
all heart. The married couple lived on the best terms with each other,
and yet the husband did not feel himself happy; he had no intercourse
with his neighbours, but preferred keeping himself at home, where he
read Holberg's Comedies," The Thousand-and-One Tales of the
Arabian Nights," and worked at a puppet-theatre for his little son,
whom on Sundays he often took with him to the neighboring woods,
where the two commonly spent the whole day in quiet solitude with
The grandmother also, who was an amiable old lady, and who bore
the misfortunes of her family with Christian patience, had great
influence on the mind of the boy. She had been very handsome, was
kind to everybody, and, besides that, was scrupulously clean in her
poor clothing. With a feeling of deep melancholy, she would often tell
how her grandmother had been the daughter of a rich gentleman of
family in Germany, who lived in the city of Cassel; that the daughter
had fallen in love with a comic actor, had left her parents secretly to
marry him, and after that had sunk into poverty.
"And now all her posterity must do penance for her sin sighed
Young Andersen was extremely attached to this good grandmother.
She had to take care of a garden at the lunatic hospital, and here,
among its sunny flowers, he spent most of the afternoons of his early
childhood. The annual festival in the garden, when the fallen leaves
were burnt, had for him an especial charm, although the presence of the
insane ladies, a few of whom were allowed to wander about, terrified
him greatly. Frequently one of the old nurses would fetch him into the
house and take him into the spinning-room, where all the old ladies
would praise him for his eloquence, and would recompense him for it
with tales and ghost stories, which they related with wondrous effect,
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. ix
so that certainly no child of his years ever heard more of such-
like histories, neither could any child be more superstitious than
Among the earliest recollections of Andersen is that of the residence
of the Spaniards in Fyen, in the years 1808 and 1809.. A soldier of
an Asturian regiment one day took him in his arms and danced with
him along the street, shedding tears of joy, no doubt called forth by
some tender home remembrance, whilst he pressed the image of the
Madonna to his lips, which occasioned great trouble to the child's
In Odensee, at that time, many old festivities were still in use,
which made a deep impression upon the excitable temper of the boy;
the corporation went in procession, with their escutcheons, through
the city; the sailors also marched round in Lent, and the people made
pilgrimages to the miracle-performing well of the holy Regisse.
So passed on the first years of the youth of our poet. His father, in
the mean time, read industriously in his Bible, but one day shut it with
the words, Christ became a man like to us, but a very uncommon
man! Upon which his wife burst into tears, at what she called the
blasphemy of her husband, which made such a deep impression upon
the son that he prayed in solitude for the soul of his father. There
is no other devil," said he, afterwards, but that which a man bears
in his own breast!" After which, finding his arm scratched one
morning when he awoke, probably by a nail, his -wife told him that
this was a punishment of the devil, who, at least, would show him of
his real existence.
The unhappy temper of the father, however, increased from day to
day: he longed to go forth into the world. At that time war was
raging in Germany; Napoleon was his hero; and, as Denmark had
now allied itself to France, he entered himself as a private soldier in a
recruiting regiment, hoping that some time or other he should return
as a lieutenant. The neighbours, however, thought that it was folly
to let himself be shot to death for nothing at all. But the corps
in which he served went no further than Holstein; the peace suc-
ceeded, and before long the voluntary soldier sat down again in the
concealment of his citizen-dwelling in Odensee. Meanwhile his health
had suffered. He awoke one morning delirious, and talked about
campaigns and Napoleon.
Young Andersen was at that time nine years old, and his mother
sent him to the next village to ask counsel from a wise woman.
Will my poor father die ? inquired he, anxiously.
"t If thy father will die," replied the sibyl, "thou wilt meet his ghost
on thy way home."
It is easy to, imagine what an impression this oracle would make
upon the boy, who was timid enough without that ; it was, in fact, his
only consolation, on his homeward way, that his father certainly knew
how such an apparition would terrify his little son, and therefore he
would not show himself. He reached home without any unfortunate
adventure, without seeing the ghost of his father; and on the third
day after that the sick man died.
From this time young Andersen was left to himself; the whole
x THE LIFE OF
instruction which he received was in a charity school, and consisted of
reading, writing, and arithmetic, the two last very imperfectly.
The poor boy, at this time, gained an entrance into the house of a
widow of the Pastor Bunkeflod, of Odensee, who died in the year 1805,
and whose name, on account of some lyrical productions, is known in
Danish literature. He was engaged to read aloud to the widow and
her sister-in-law; and here, for the first time, he heard the appellation
poet, and saw with what love the faculty which made the dead a poet
was regarded. This sunk deeply into his mind. He read some tragedies,
and then determined to write a comedy, and to become also a poet, as
the deceased pastor had been.
And now, actually, he wrote a true tragedy, for all the characters lost
their lives in it; and the dialogue was interlarded with many passages
of Scripture. His two first auditors received this first work of the young
poet with unmingled applause; and, before long, the report of it ran
through the whole street, and everybody wished to hear the tragedy of
the witty Hans Christian. But here the applause was by no means
unmingled; most people laughed right heartily at it, whilst others
ridiculed him. This wounded the poor boy so much that he passed
the whole night in weeping, and was only silenced by his mother's
serious admonition, that if he did not leave off such folly she would
give him a good beating into the bargain. Spite of the ill success of
his first attempt, however, he now, unknown to any one, set.about a
new piece, in which a prince and a princess were introduced. But
these lofty characters threw him into great perplexity, for he did not
at all know how such noble people as these conversed, imagining, of
course, that it must be impossible for them to talk as other people did.
At length it occurred to him to interweave German and French words
into their conversation, so that the dignified language of these princely
personages became a perfect gibberish, which, however, according to
the opinion of the young author, had in it a something very uncommon
This masterpiece also was introduced to the knowledge of the neigh-
bourhood, the result of which was, that not many days elapsed before
he was derided by the wild boys in the streets, who shouted, as he
went by, Look 1 look! there goes the comedy-writer! "
But it was not alone the rude boys, but the schoolmaster also, who
entirely mistook the genius which clearly betrayed itself, even in such-
like productions; for, one day, when young Andersen presented to
him, as a birth-day present, a garland, with which he had twisted up a
little poem of his own writing, he blamed him for it; and the only
reward which the poor poet had for his first poetical attempt consisted
of trouble and tears.
In the mean time the worldly affairs of the mother grew worse and
worse; and as the son of a neighbour earned money in some kind of
manufactory, it was determined also that the good Hans Christian
should be sent there. The old grandmother conducted him to the
master of the manufactory, and wept right bitter tears that the lot of
her grandson should be so early that of care and sorrow.
German workmen were principally employed in the manufactory,
and to them the children used often to sing their Danish songs. The
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xi
new-comer, Andersen, was desired to do so, and that he did willingly,
because he knew that he could produce great effect with his singing:
the neighbours had always listened when at home he sung in the
garden; and once, indeed, a whole party, who were assembled in the
garden of the rich neighbour, had admired his beautiful voice and loudly
applauded him. Similar applause fell to his share in the manufactory.
I can also act comedy! said poor Andersen one day, encouraged
by their approbation, and forthwith recited whole scenes from Holberg's
comedies. All went well for a time, and the other boys were compelled
to do his work whilst he amused the workmen; but presently persecu-
tions began, and he found himself so roughly handled, even by his
former admirers, that he left the place and flew back weeping to his
mother, praying that he might never be sent there again.
His prayer was granted, because, said his mother, he was not sent
there for the sake of what he would get, but that he might be well
cared for while she went out to work.
The boy must go to the theatre! many of her neighbours had
said to her; but, as she knew of no other theatre than that of strolling
players, she shook her head thoughtfully, and determined rather to put
her son as apprentice with a tailor.
Andersen was now twelve years old, was altogether quite at a loose
end at home, and devoured the contents of every book which fell in his
way. His favourite reading was, however, an old prose translation of
Shakspeare. From this, with little figures which he made out of
pasteboard, he performed the whole of King Lear," and the Mer-
chant of Venice." He very rarely went to the playhouse, but as he
was in favour with the man who carried out the bills, he obtained a
copy of each of these from him, and then, seating himself in the
evening before the stove, studied the names of the various actors,
and thus supplied to every piece which was performed an imaginary
Andersen's passion for reading, and his beautiful voice, had, in the
mean time, drawn upon him the attention of several of the higher
families of the city, who introduced him to their houses. The simple,
childlike behaviour of the boy, his wonderful memory, and his sweet
voice, gave to him, in fact, a something quite peculiar; people spoke
of it, and several houses were very soon open to him. But still the
first family which had noticed him and had received him with so much
sympathy, nay, indeed, who had even introduced him to Prince
Christian, remained his favourites. This family was that of Colonel
H6egh Guldborg, a man whose great accomplishments equalled his
goodness'of heart, and the brother of the well-known poet of the same
About this time his mother married a second time, and, as the step-
father would not at all interest himself about the education of the son, our
young Andersen had still more liberty than hitherto. He had no play-
fellows, and often wandered by himself to the neighboring woods, or,
seating himself at home in a corner of the house, dressed up little dolls
for his theatre, his mother thinking the while that, as he was destined
to be a tailor, it was a good thing that he should practice sewing; and
the poor lad consoled himself by thinking that, if he really must be a
xii THE LIFE OF
tailor, he should find many beautiful pieces of cloth from which he
could, on Sundays, make new dresses for his theatrical wardrobe.
At length the time for his confirmation drew nigh, for which occasion
he obtained the first pair of boots he ever had in his life; and, in order
that people might see them, he pulled them up over his trousers. Nor
was this all his finery: an old sempstress was employed to make him
a confirmation dress out of his deceased father's great-coat; and with
this his festal attire was complete. Never before had Andersen been
possessed of such beautiful clothes; his joy over which was so great
that the thoughts of them even disturbed his devotion on the day of
consecration, and caused him afterwards such reproaches of conscience
that he besought of God to forgive him such worldly thoughts; and
yet, at that very moment, he could not help thinking about the beauti-
ful creaking boots.
After the conclusion of the confirmation festival, it had been deter-
mined that Andersen was to begin his tailor-apprenticeship ; but he
continually besought of his mother that she would permit him to go to
Copenhagen and visit the royal theatre there. He read to her the
lives of celebrated men who had been quite as poor as himself, and
assured her that he also would some day be a celebrated man. Already
for several years had he hoarded up in a little save-all his spare money,
and this had now grown into what seemed to him the inexhaustible
sum of about thirty shillings of English money. The sight of this
unexpectedly large sum of money softened also the maternal heart,
and she began to incline towards the wishes of her son; but yet, before
she fully consented, she thought it best to consult a wise woman on
his future prospects. The sibyl was accordingly fetched to the house,
and after she had read the cards, and studied the coffee-grounds, the
oracle spoke these memorable words :-
Your son will become a great man. The city of Odensee will be
illuminated in his honour /"
So good a prophecy of course removed the last impediment out of
Go, then, in God's name said his mother.
When, however, her neighbours represented to her how foolish it
was to let the boy of fourteen years old set off to the great city in
which he did not know a single soul, she replied that he let her have
no rest, and that she was convinced he would soon come back again
when he saw the great water which he would have to cross.
Some one had mentioned to young Andersen a certain female dancer
at the royal theatre, as being a person of very great influence; he
obtained, therefore, from a man universally esteemed in Odensee a
letter of recommendation to this lady; and, provided with this im-
portant paper and his thirteen rix-dollars, he commenced the journey
on which depended his whole fate. His mother accompanied him to
the gate of the city, and here he found waiting for him the good old
grandmother, whose still beautiful hair had become grey within a few
weeks. She kissed, with many tears, her beloved grandson; her grief
had no words; and within a very short time the cold grave covered all
Andersen travelled as gratis passenger by the mail as far as Nyborg,
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xiii
and not until he was sailing across the Great Belt did he feel how
forlorn he was in the world. The discomfort of a sea-voyage, even
though short, would make him feel this if nothing else did. As soon
as he came on shore in Zealand, he stepped to a spot that lay apart,
and, falling on his knees, besought of God for help in his forlorn
He rose up comforted, and went on now uninterruptedly for a day
and a night through cities and villages until, on Monday morning, the
ith of September, 1819, he saw the towers of Copenhagen. He had
travelled, as before, free of cost, through the good-nature or compassion
of the drivers of the mail, and now before he reached the gate of the
city was obliged, of course, to dismount, and, with his little bundle
under his arm, entered the great city.
The well-known Jews' quarrel, which at that time extended from the
south to the north of Europe, had broken out here the very evening
before, and all was in commotion.
His journey cost him three rix-dollars, and, with the remaining ten
in his pocket, the young adventurer took up his lodgings in a public-
house. His first ramble into the city was to the -theatre, and with
astonishment he surveyed the magnificent building, walked round it,
and prayed fervently that it might soon open itself to him, and that he
might become a skilful actor therein. At that time certainly he had
no presentiment that ten years afterwards his dramatic work would be
received with applause, and that. he would address the public for the
On the following day, dressed in his confirmation suit, he betook
himself, with his letter of introduction in his hand, to the house of the
all-potential dancer. The lady let him wait a long time on the steps;
and when at length he was permitted to enter her presence, his awk-
ward and naif behaviour displeased her so much that she regarded
him as insane, more especially as she knew nothing of the gentleman
who had addressed the letter to her.
After this unsatisfactory attempt Andersen turned his steps towards
the director of the theatre, requesting from him some appointment;
but here also his efforts were unsuccessful.
"1 You are too thin for the theatre," was the answer which he
Oh," replied Andersen, "if you will ensure me one hundred
dollars I will soon become fat !"
But the director would not enter into arrangements on these terms,
and dismissed the poor supplicant with the information that they
were not in the habit of engaging any but people of education.
The poor lad went his way truly dejected in spirits: he knew no
creature who could give him counsel or comfort, no human being on
whose breast he could weep. He thought on death, and the terror of
this thought drove him back to God.
When everything," said he, goes quite unfortunately, then God
will help me; it is written so in every book that I ever read-and in
God I will put my trust! "
He then went out and bought a ticket for the gallery for Paul and
Virginia." The scene in the second act, where the lovers part, affected
xiv THE LIFE OF
him so much that he burst into loud sobs, which drew upon him
the attention of those who sat near to him. They spoke kindly to him,
and inquired who he was. Their friendly sympathy unlocked his
whole heart, and he told all that related to himself-who he was, and
whence he came, and that his love to the theatre was not less than
Paul's love to Virginia, and that he certainly should become as un-
happy as Paul if he did not obtain some little post in the theatre.
They all looked at him in amazement.
The next day brought no more cheering prospects, and his money
had before long all melted away to one single dollar. What was he to
do ? Either he must work back his passage in a vessel to his native
city, and be laughed at there for his pains when he arrived, or else he
must put himself here to some handicraft trade, which would be his
fate if he returned to Odensee.
A joiner at that moment wanted an apprentice, and to him Andersen
introduced himself, but here again it did not succeed: after a short
time poor Andersen was persecuted by the journeymen, who found him
an object of sport, and the end was like the working in the manufactory
at Odensee; and, with tears in his eyes, he parted from his master.
As now with a heavy heart he was walking through the streets
crowded by his fellow-beings, yet without the consciousness of having
one friend among them, it occurred to him that nobody as yet had
heard his fine voice. Full of this thought, he hastened to the house of
Professor 'Siboni, the director of the Royal Conservatorium, where a
large party was that day at dinner, among whom were Baggesen, the
poet, and the celebrated composer, Professor Weyse. He knocked at
the door, which was opened by a very lively young housemaid, and to
her he related quite open-heartedly how forlorn and friendless he was,
and how great was his desire to be engaged at the theatre, which the
good-natured young serving-woman immediately retailed again to the
company, who became curious to see the little adventurer, as Baggesen
called him. He was now ordered in, and was desired to sing before
the company and to declaim scenes from Holberg. Whilst he was
so doing he came to pass age which brought to his remembrance his
own melancholy circumstances, and he burst into tears. The company
"I prophesy," said Baggesen, that he will turn out something
some day; only don't become vain when the public applauds thee !
said he to him.
On this, Professor Siboni promised that he would cultivate Ander-
sen's voice, in order that he might make his debut at the Theatre
Royal, and, highly delighted, the poor lad left that happy house..
The next day he was ordered to go to Professor Weyse's, who en-
tered with the kindest sympathy into the forlorn condition of the poor
youth, and who most nobly made a collection for him, which amounted
to seventy dollars. After this Professor Siboni took him to his house,
and half a year was spent in elementary instruction. But Andersen's
voice was in its transition state ; and, by the end of this time, seemed
entirely gone. Siboni, therefore, counselled him to return home and
put himself to some handicraft trade. And once more poor Andersen
stood in the world as hopeless as at first. Yet, even in his apparent
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xv
misfortune, there lay the seed of a better progress. He recalled to his
memory, at this dark moment of need, that there lived in Copenhagen
a poet named Guldborg, the brother of the kind colonel in Odensee.
To him Andersen bent his steps, and was kindly received by him.
When Guldborg saw that the young native of Odensee could scarcely
write a word correctly, he offered to give him instruction in the Danish
and German tongues, and made him a present of the profits arising
from a little work which he had just published. The noble-minded
Weyse, Kuhlau, and other respectable men, also extended to him a
Andersen now hired a lodging for himself in the city: he lived with
a widow, who seemed reasonable in her charges; and yet, after all, she
was a hard, unfeeling woman, who was not ashamed to fleece the poor
lad of twenty dollars for his month's charges, although she allotted to
him only a disused store-closet for his accommodation. He gave her,
however, the required sum, and received from her now and then a few
half-pence when he did errands for her in the city. Yet nobody could
feel themselves happier than the young Andersen in his present con-
dition, for Professor Guldborg had engaged the actor Lindgren to
instruct him, whilst one of the solo-dancers had taken it into his head
to make a dancer out of him. Thus he went daily to the dancing-
school, made his appearance in one or two ballets, and, as his voice also
was beginning to recover itself, he had to sing in chorus too.
Thus then actually he had become one of the theatrical corps, and
nothing was now wanting-but his debut and the acquisition of the fixed
salary belonging to it. Always, however, the slave of superstition, he
determined with himself that, if now, on this New Year's Day, when he
came to the theatre, he were able there to declaim a piece, he would
hold it to be a certain token that in the course of the following year he
should be advanced to the dignity of an actor. But, alas! when he
reached the house he found that, on this day, it was closed, and only
by accident a small side-door was open. Through this he crept,
trembling as if he had something evil in his mind; onward he went to
the dark stage, where not a creature was to be seen, and, falling down
upon his knees on the lamp-stage, uttered the Lord's Prayer, the only
thing, and the best thing, which then offered itself to his mind, and,
after that, returned home comforted.
He always kept hoping that, by degrees, his fine voice would wholly
return to him; yet that was scarcely to be expected, because the poor
youth, through want of money, was almost always obliged to go with
torn boots and wet feet ; neither had he any warm winter clothing.
He was now already sixteen years old, yet he was quite a child; so
much so, that he spent the whole evening alone in his chamber busied
in making dolls for his little theatre, which he dressed from the patterns
which he was in the habit of begging from the shops.
In this manner wore away his best years for learning; and many a
sorrowful day had he yet to spend before a milder period arrived.
Guldborg practised him in the Danish style, and, before long, he pro-
duced a rhymed tragedy, which, from the facility and freedom of its lan-
guage, won the attention of Ohlenschlager, Ingemann, and others.
But no dcbut was permitted to him in the theatre; they excused him
from any further attendance at the dancing-school, or from singing in
chorus, as it was wished, they said, that he should dedicate his time
to scientific studies; yet nobody did anything for him in this respect,
and it was as much as the poor lad could do to obtain enough to keep
body and soul together. In his great need he wrote a new dramatic
piece, in the hope that it would be accepted; but the hope was dis-
appointed; notwithstanding he persevered in a second and a third
Just at this time the distinguished Conference-councillor Collin, no
less distinguished as an officer than universally esteemed for the good-
ness of his heart, became director of the theatre, and this wise and
clear-sighted man soon perceived what slumbered in the young poet.
It is true that he thought but little of his dramatic works; but he
went immediately to the king, and obtained permission from him that
young Andersen should be sent at government charges to one of the
learned schools in the provinces, and became from this moment a father
to him in the noblest sense of the word.
Andersen now went from dancing-lessons, romances, and dolls, to
mathematics, Latin, and Greek; and the youth of seventeen had to
place himself among boys of ten years old to learn the first elements
of these things. The school-rector in the mean time treated him with
great severity, pronounced him to be devoid of all intellectual ability,
and so greatly forgot himself, and mistook so entirely the duty of a
public instructor, as to make the poor youth the object of ridicule
among his schoolfellows, which produced in him such a state of mental
suffering as within a short time must have been the death of him, had
he not been rescued from this misery. Two years had thus been spent
here, when one of the teachers went to Copenhagen and informed the
Conference-councillor Collin how unkindly and negligently poor Ander-
sen was treated by the rector. No sooner was the good man made
acquainted with this than he took Andersen immediately from the
school, and placed him in the hands of a private tutor. A year after
this, in 1828, Andersen was academical citizen of Copenhagen.
Within af ew months from this time appeared his first literary work
in print, under the title of A Journey on Foot to Amack (a small
island on which a part of Copenhagen is built), a humorous piece,
which met with such great success that within a very few days a
second edition was called for, and after that a third. The young
poet was now received everywhere with the most flattering attention.
The Danish translator of Shakspeare, Commander Wulff, and the
celebrated naturalist, Orsted, received him at once a sa friend; whilst
he found quite a paternal home with the Collin family.
The "Journey to Amack" was succeeded by a dramatic work, an
heroic vaudeville, entitled, Love on the Nicholas Tower," which was
brought on the stage and reviewed by Professor David. After this
Andersen passed his second academical examination, in which he
obtained the highest honours.
A short time afterwards he published his first collection of grave and
humorous poems, which met with great favour from the public. At
school Andersen had been so often accused of weakness, that after-
wards he was frequently ashamed of his best feelings ; and not seldom,
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xvii
when he had written a poem from the full, noble emotions of his soul,
he would, as a sort of excuse for himself, write a parody upon it; hence
in this volume there are frequent instances of this kind, which dis-
pleased many, who saw that a mind thus directed would be injurious
to itself as well as others.
In the summer of 1830 Andersen made a journey through the Danish
provinces, and, after his return, published a new collection of lyrical
poems, under the title of Fancies and Sketches," which showed that
a great change had taken place in him; and, as if he would avenge
himself for his former self-ridicule, these poems all bore the impression
of a quiet melancholy. Many poems in this volume were translated
into German; and one poem in particular, The Dying Child," is said
to be possessed of such extraordinary pathos and beauty that it has been
translated into German, French, English, Swedish, and Greenlandish.
The poor Greenlanders, indeed, sing it when out on their desolate seas
in their fishing excursions ; and it is to be found printed in their song-
This poem I have never met with; indeed, I regret not being pos-
sessed of this volume of Andersen's poems; however, I will subjoin
here a translation of one which Chamisso has rendered into German,
and which is so full of tenderness and beauty, that I am sure the
reader will thank me for it:-
THE MILLER'S JOURNEYMAN.
In this mill I was a servant, even when I was a boy;
And here have fled for ever my days of youthful joy.
The miller's gentle daughter was kind and full of grace
One seem'd to read her gentle heart whilst looking in her face.
In the evening oft so trustfully she sat down by my side;
We talk'd so much together, I could nothing from her hide :
She shared with me my trouble, in my pleasure she had part;
One only thing conceal'd I-the love within my heart.
I think she might have seen it ; if she had loved she would;
For there needs no word, no word at all, to make love understood!
I spoke unto my foolish heart-' Forego it, and be still!
For thee, poor youth, such joy comes not-comes not, and never will!'
"And whilst I thus was grieving, she said, with tenderest tone,
Ah, why art thou so alter'd, and why so pale hast grown ?
Thou must again be joyful; thy sorrow gives me pain '
And thus, because I loved so much, did I my love restrain.
One day, beside the rocky wall, she took by me her stand,
Her eyes flash'd clearer light, and she laid on mine her hand,
Now must thou wish me joy,' she said, 'must greet me as a bride,
And thou, thou art the first to whom I would my joy confide '
The while I kiss'd her hand I conceal'd from her my face ;
I could not speak a single word, my tears flow'd down apace;
It seemed as if had perish'd, in that same hour of woe,
My thoughts and all my hopes in the deepest depths below !
xviii THE LIFE OF
That eve was the betrothal, and even I was there;
They set me in the chiefest place, beside the happy pair;
They clink'd their merry glasses, they sung their songs of glee;
I made myself seem happy, lest all the truth should see.
Upon the following morning, my head spun round and round;
How stupid and perplex'd was I where all were happy found!
What wanted I ? one only thing 'Twas wonderful, yet true,
And they all loved me-she herself, and he, the lover, too !
They were so kind unto me, but my woe they could not guess !
And as I saw them love and talk, so full of happiness,
The wish to wander far and wide took hold upon my heart;
So I made my bundle ready-'twas right I should depart!
Said I, Now let me see the world, and by its joy be bless'd '
But I only meant, forget the world that lies within my breast.
She look'd at me, and said, 'Oh, Heavens! what's come to thee !
We love thee here so kindly, where canst thou better be ?
Then flow'd forth fast my tears, this time it was but right,
SOne always weeps at parting! said she, that parting night.
They went with me for company some distance on my track-
Now sick-sick unto death-they again have brought me back.
With gentlest love and kindest care they tend me in the mill,
And she with her beloved comes to me when she will.
In July is the wedding; and ever doth she say,
That I shall have a home with them, and soon again be gay.
How dreamily I listen to the frothing waterwheel,
And think beneath it I might find the peace I cannot feel !
There know no longer sorrow, from every pain be free !-
They wish me to be happy, and thus then let it be !"
But let us now return to his life.
Andersen's health was not strong, and, in 1831, he made a journey
into the Saxon Switzerland, of which he published an account the
same year. Neither were his pecuniary circumstances flourishing:
like most authors, he had many anxieties; and, at this time, to add to
his other perplexities, he furnished opera-text to the music of Bredahl,
from Sir Walter Scott's "Bride of Lammermoor;" and for his old
benefactor, Professor Weyse, Kenilworth," from the same author.
For these works the critics handled him severely. Yet, in the mean-
time, Andersen proved how true a lyrical poet he was, by his Vignettes
to the Danish Poets," and his Twelve Months of the Year." About
this time, however, there appeared Letters of a Wandering Ghost,"
a satirical work, in which Andersen was held up to ridicule, among
other things, for his imperfect orthography. The poet's heart was
wounded, his health was indifferent, his circumstances unprosperous,
and the public laugh was against him, rather on account of his mis-
fortunes than his faults. But, as had always been the case through
his life, light broke in when the darkness seemed deepest, and at the
very moment when he was smarting under the lash of these jeering
letters, he received a royal stipend to enable him to travel through
Germany, France, and Italy. This stipend was granted to him on the
recommendation of Ohlenschlbger, Ingemann, Heiberg, Orsted, and
HANS CHRISTIAN A NDERSEN. xix,
Thiele; and it is very remarkable that all these gentlemen had recom-
mended the poet, each for a peculiar qualification; the one for hi*
deep feeling, another for his wit, and a third for his humour. Thiet
mark of favour excited still more the envy of the baser class of minds,
and many anonymous attacks were made upon him, which wounded
him so deeply, that, despairing of himself and his own powers, he set
out on the journey, which was to be to him the noblest school.
He went immediately to Paris; and it is singular that the first letter
which he received from his native land was merely a blank envelope
containing a newspaper, in which was a satirical poem on himself.
Andersen made the acquaintance of the first literary men in Paris;
thence he went to Switzerland, where he was invited by a family with
whom he was acquainted, and who were living in the valley of the Jura
Mountains, to pay them a visit. This invitation he accepted, and
under their roof, amid the deep solitudes of nature, he completed a
dramatic poem, entitled Agnes and the Waterman," which he had
begun in Paris. In this poem he poured out his whole soul, and hoped
that his fellow-countrymen, when, through it, they became better
acquainted with him, would not begrudge him the favour of his king.
On the anniversary of the day on which Andersen, fourteen years
before, a stranger and friendless, had entered the gate of Copenhagen,
he wandered over the Simplon into that beautiful land which was to
open to him a new spiritual world, and call forth the noblest charac-
teristics of his soul. He went through Milan, Genoa, and Florence, on
to Rome, where Thorwaldsen and all his countrymen there received
him with the greatest affection.
His residence in Rome began like a sunshiny summer day; but
while it yet was morning, clouds arose; the poem which he had sent to
Copenhagen, and which he hoped would warm the hearts of his
countrymen towards him, was quite overlooked-a new young poet had
just arisen, who was the star of the moment. His friends wrote to
him of all these things, and candidly told him that they, like every one
else, thought he was past his best. Another letter brought him the
sad intelligence of the death of his mother, the last of his family con-
nections. Andersen felt her death severely, and many poems which he
wrote at that time express the dejection of his mind. Spite, however,
of sadness and untoward events, the glorious treasures of art around
him, and the fine country within which he was a sojourner, with its
bright southern life, operated beneficially on his spirit. With that
intense love for Italy, which is peculiar to the most spiritual-minded
inhabitants of the cold north, and, in some cases, has amounted to a
passion like the attachment of the Swiss to their mountains, Andersen
entered into the spirit of the life of the people, and has reflected all
back with the most beautiful colouring in his Improvisatore."
Thorwaldsen gratified the poet by the warmest admiration of his
unfortunate production, Agnes and the Waterman," and from the
great sculptor he received the utmost kindness. Thorwaldsen told him
how poor he also had been, how, in his early artist-career, he had had
to contend against envy, and how he also had been misunderstood.
At this moment Andersen's bitterest enemy, Herz, the author of the
" Letters of the Wandering Ghost," arrived in Rome; and, as might
xx THE LIFE OF
often be the case, would literary enemies only condescend to a personal
knowledge of each other, no sooner did these two men meet than they
became fast friends. This was a bright event to the warm heart of
Andersen. They travelled together to Naples, and ascended Vesuvius
during a splendid eruption. They visited Pa stum and the Grotto
Azurra together; of all of which we have such an exquisite reflex in
" The Improvisatore."
In the following year Andersen returned home through Venice,
Vienna, and Munich, making in the two last cities the acquaintance of
the first German poets and artists. Immediately after his return he
published his novel, The Improvisatore," which was received with
universal applause-which was read and re-read, and which the public
never tired of reading. That a work of such singular originality and
beauty was universally admired was not at all remarkable; but an
extraordinary effect was produced which, it seems to me, tells greatly
to the honour of the Danish heart. Not only did Andersen's friends,
and the public generally, acknowledge the merit of his work, but they
who had treated the poet with severity came now forward and offered
him the hand of congratulation; among these was the rector of the
school, the hard-hearted teacher of the poor youth, who had taken all
possible means to crush into the dust the talent which God had given
him. He now came forward, acknowledged his fault, and deplored it,
which touched the good heart of Andersen not a little. This, however,
is but one of the many instances of generous enthusiasm which was
excited by this beautiful work towards its author.
From this moment the tide began to turn ; sharp criticism and
personal attacks wounded, from time to time, the keen susceptibilities
of the poet ; but the day was gone by when it could be seriously
discussed among literary men whether or no Andersen had mistaken
his vocation. I turned," said the delighted author, in speaking of
the acknowledgment of his success, like a sick man towards the
sunshine." The "Improvisatore" was followed by another novel, entitled
"O. T.," and considered by some critics to be the best of Andersen's
novels ; the author did not himself share their opinion, and the
English press, when the translation of the story first appeared, spoke
of it as being on the whole inferior to the former one, though full of
charming and tender pictures of Northern life.
A few years later another novel, The Old Fiddler," was brought
out. Andersen speaks of it as a novel with a purpose: I wished,"
he says, to show that talent is not genius." Some time afterwards
he heard, to his great delight, that a wealthy lady in Saxony, having
read his story, was so impressed by it as to exclaim, in the hearing of
a celebrated musician, that if ever she happened to meet with a child of
musical talents, unable from stress of circumstances to have them
cultivated and developed, she would defray the cost of his or her
education, lest another genius should perish for lack of aid, as the
unfortunate hero of Andersen's tale had done. The musician took
her at her word, and shortly after brought to her house two boys, of
whose gifts he spoke warmly, and who claimed her promise. The
children were sent by their patroness to the Conservatoire, and when
the kindly poet heard them play, he felt that his talent had borne just
the kind of fruit most acceptable to his generous, unselfish nature.
HANS CHRISTIA N ANDERSEN. xxr
The same thing might have happened," he exclaimed, modestly, if
my book had never been written; but, as it is, my story forms a link
in the chain of their happiness."
The genial, hero-worshipping nature of the man was now to find
abundant material for its exercise in the number of valuable and close
friendships which he was privileged to form. The latter part of his
life is rich in such ties; hardly a name famous in any department of
art or literature was merely a name, and nothing more, to the rising
author. The mixture of pride, shyness, and self-consciousness which
makes it so difficult for an Englishman to initiate or respond gracefully
to sudden enthusiastic friendships, was utterly unknown to the Danish
poet. He sought, as a matter of course, the personal friendship of
every one whose gifts, whether in art, science, or letters, had won his
admiration, and there was such an irresistible charm in his direct
simplicity that his advances were never misunderstood and the friend-
ship sought so frankly never withheld.
It is pleasant to see how nature the most opposite from his own
yielded unconsciously to his sweetness and honesty; even the gifted,
but most unhappy Heine, whose bitter pen was at once the terror and
the admiration of his countrymen, showed to the- author of the Fairy
Tales a side of his nature undreamt of by any other of his contem-
poraries. As for Andersen, he knew Heine to be a poet, a word which
for him always meant a worshipper of all that was highest and noblest,
and he could see in him neither malignity nor irreverence. He was
so friendly and so natural to me," he says, "that I felt no timidity in
showing myself to him as I really was." As usual, the fearless trust
of the poet met its reward ; Heine was a gentler and better man in his
presence, listened with pleasure to' the charming story of the Stead-
fast Tin Soldier," and the visit passed off pleasantly, with children
playing about in the room,"
The pressure of pecuniary anxiety which had for so long fettered and
cramped Andersen's powers was now removed. A moderate pension
was granted to him, sufficient to supply all his modest requirements.
It may excite surprise that this should have been necessary in the
case of an author of Andersen's position and standing; but although the
Danish public was upon the whole infinitely more favourable towards
him than were the critics, as is proved by the ready sale of works which
had been rather severely handled in the reviews, yet the reading world
of Denmark is, or rather was, extremely circumscribed, and, in spite of
Andersen's rising fame and the consequent advance in the price he
received for his works, it was not until the pension was assured to him
that he writes I am no longer forced to write in order to live; a
constant sunshine has entered my heart; I feel within myself repose
It may be added that Andersen was by no means the only literary
man in Denmark who enjoyed a similar grant from the royal bounty.
All our most important poets," he writes, have a share in this
assistance-Oehlenschlager, Winther, Ingemann," &c. Singularly
enough his former critic and subsequent friend, Hertz, received a pen-
sion at about the same time.
Andersen's next efforts were directed to the drama. The old
ineradicable love of the stage which had led the lonely child to find the
xxii THE LIFE OF
delight of his life in the mimic joys and sorrows of his marionettes,
and drawn the half confident, half despairing youth to wander round
the closed theatre of Copenhagen as round the paradise which
attracted him by a magnetic, irresistible force, now made him attempt
to win within it as author the place which he had failed to gain as
actor or opera singer. It cannot be said that he was wholly successful
" The Mulatto was his first important play; the plot was taken from
Madame Reybaud's story, "Les Epaves," and the drama was written
in rhyme. After some favourable and some adverse criticism the work
was accepted and the parts given out; considerable excitement pre-
vailed in the city on the day fixed for the first representation, and
Andersen was rejoiced to see expectant crowds besieging the theatre
doors, when the sudden boom of the minute-guns proclaimed the death
of King Frederick and delayed for a while the author's failure oi
Two months later the theatre was re-opened and the new play
brought out. It was received with great applause and ran for many
nights. The success was not confined to Copenhagen : a translation
of the play appeared in Stockholm and was received with equal
warmth. Andersen himself was at the time staying with some friends
in Sweden, and was gratified by receiving there the first public recog-
nition of his talents which had been granted to him in a foreign
country. It came to him in a form at once novel and picturesque:
some students at the University of Lund invited him to a public dinner,
and, after many flattering toasts and speeches, welcomed the distin-
guished stranger with a serenade. Andersen's affectionate heart and
keen imagination were touched to the quick. As the troop, with their
blue caps, approached the house arm-in-arm," he says, and suddenly
uncovered their heads as I appeared upon the balcony, I had need of
all my thoughts to avoid bursting into tears."
The poet did not meet with such kindly treatment in his own town,
and he resented the attacks of the reviewers with too much bitterness.
His great sensitiveness to praise and blame was, perhaps, an inevitable
accompaniment of the delicacy of perception, keen insight, and deeply
affectionate feeling which made him what he was, both as a writer
and a man; but in a character of less simplicity and unselfishness
it would have been a serious blemish. As it was, his English critics
have sometimes charged him with a want of dignity and self-respect.
" When a poet has written his best," says the writer who reviewed
some of his earlier works in Blackwood, he has no other answer to
oppose to the attacks of criticism, and silence is his sole resource."
But Andersen had little or none of our English reticence, and he did
not even attempt to conceal his mortification. He was unfortunate,
too, in his intercourse with the actors and actresses for whom his plays
were written; a quarrel or misunderstanding arose between the author
and Heiberg, an actor for whom Andersen always professed the highest
esteem. A second play, the Moorish Maiden," was prefaced by a
prologue written under the inspiration of deeply-wounded feeling, and
added to the existing irritation. In the summer of 1839 a sparkling
vaudeville, entitled The Invisible One on Sprogo," was brought
out, and its success surpassed all the expectations of the author and
his friends, in spite of its having been put on the stage with the
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xxiii
scenery belonging to another piece which had proved a failure. But
neither this success nor the banquet given to the writer by Oehlen-
schlager and the students of Copenhagen was sufficient to atone for
the irritation under which he was suffering. He prepared for another
journey in search of the health and rest he so greatly needed, and in
the autumn of 1840 he quitted his country in distress."
A glimpse of the direction in which his true strength lay had already
dawned upon him, for in the midst of his theatrical troubles he dashed
off the Picture Book without Pictures," better known in England
as "What the Moon Saw." This work was at once translated into
Swedish and German, and was soon to be followed by what all allow
to be the masterpiece of the Danish writer, the Fairy Tales for
This journey led the poet once more to Rome, and afterwards to
Greece and Constantinople. His reminiscences of the scenes through
which he passed are preserved in a poem entitled The Poet's Bazaar."
But amid all the beauties of the South his heart remained deeply
impressed with the wild and lovely scenery of Sweden. The place
and people seemed to be only second in his love to those of his
native land; Stockholm always remained associated in his mind with
the kindly welcome and recognition of its inhabitants; and perhaps
gratitude and personal affection have a little influenced the poet when
he asserts so strongly the claims of certain parts of Sweden to greater
beauty than anything which he had seen in Switzerland or Italy.
While on his travels Andersen formed the acquaintance of Cornelius
and Schelling, and spent some happy hours among the art-life of
Munich. At Rome he found only cold weather and incessant rains; the
Tiber overflowed its banks and infectious fever was raging in the city.
The poet had no strength or elasticity to oppose to these depressing
influences, and the letters he received from home were not cheering.
His play, The Moorish Maiden," had been withdrawn from the stage,
and his old antagonist, Heiberg, had written a successful poem in
which Andersen was held up to ridicule.
The good-natured friends who thought it necessary to keep the poet
acquainted with all these unpleasant circumstances wrote only in
general terms of Heiberg's satire, and Andersen's keen imagination
fancied the attack far worse than it really was. When the book fell
into his hands the reality was a relief in comparison to the imaginary
slight which he had conjured up. Such as it was, however, it was
sufficient to embitter his stay in Rome, and, after wandering restlessly
through Naples, where the sun would not shine properly," he left it,
with fever in the blood," and embarked on a French steamer for
Here new scenes, with all their store of historic associations, suc-
ceeded in chasing away the memory of past annoyances. The literary
result of his stay in Athens is to be found in a poem entitled "Ahasu-
erus," and founded on the world-known legend of the Wandering Jew."
After celebrating his thirty-sixth birthday in the Acropolis he sailed to
Smyrna, and had the good fortune to see Constantinople illuminated
in honour of Mahomet's birthday. "The sight," he writes, com-
pletely transported me into the 'Thousand-and-One Nights.'"
Returning homeward up the Danube, Andersen reached Copen-
xxiv THE LIFE OF
hagen in the August of 1841. He brought back with him grateful
recollections of the kindness shown to him by Liszt and Thalberg; and
he needed them to console him under the adverse criticism of the
Copenhagen press, which dealt severely with his Poet's Bazaar."
" A whole Fool's Chronicle,'" says Andersen, might be written of the
shameless things which I have been compelled to bear."
In spite, however, of the press and its critics, Andersen found him-
self now admitted into a brilliant circle of distinguished friends. The
theatre, he writes, was his club. A seat in the court stalls was as-
signed to him, where he spent many a happy evening with his friends,
Oehlenschlager and Thorwaldsen, one on each side. Andersen had
made the acquaintance of the famous sculptor in his first visit to
Rome, and wrote for him several of his most beautiful tales. The one
entitled Ole Luk Oie," or Old Shut Eye," was an especial favourite
with the sculptor; and often, on summer nights, the whole family
would assemble in the garden to listen to The Ugly Duckling or
some other of the Fairy Tales."
The friendship was only ended by Thorwaldsen's sudden death in
Copenhagen. The two friends had just been planning a summer tour
in Italy, and Andersen had left to go to his own residence, when
he was recalled to the sculptor's house, too late to see him alive.
A slight dramatic sketch, entitled the Bird in the Pear Tree," was
brought out in 1842; but, in spite of the favourable reports of the
rehearsal, it was hissed on the first representation and withdrawn
from the stage. Shortly after this disappointment Andersen set out
once more on his travels, and reached Paris in the winter of 1843.
Here the whole world of literature was open to him; and, in spite
of his imperfect French, he derived great pleasure from the society of
the distinguished men who were ready to welcome him. Lamartine,
Victor Hugo, Dumas, Rachel, Balzac, Alfred de Vigny, and other
well-known names, were added to the long list of his valued friends.
Of all these, Lamartine seems to have impressed him with the keenest
admiration; his sympathy with Northern literature and politics, and
his extraordinary knowledge of names and places in Denmark, formed
a close bond of union between the two writers. When they parted he
wrote a little poem, which the enthusiastic Dane preserved as a costly
A greater contrast between the dreamy, polished author of "Jocelyn"
and "Les Confidences" and the irrepressible Alexander Dumas can
scarcely be imagined. Andersen found the great novelist -in bed, with
pen, ink, and paper, although it was long past mid-day. Sit down,"
he cried, nodding to his visitor; "I have just received a visit from
my muse," and not until that fertile goddess had taken her departure
did he spring out of bed and greet the stranger.
It was he who introduced Andersen to Rachel, then a young girl,
but in the height of her fame. In spite of Andersen's prejudice against
the French classical tragedy, he owns himself conquered by the
wonderful impersonations of the great actress. She is, indeed, the
tragic muse," he writes ; but the others are only poor human beings."
Rachel received Andersen with great kindness, and invited him to her
receptions. He was delighted to find in her rooms the works of his
favourite authors, Goethe, Schiller, Calderon, and Shakespeare.
HANS CHRISTIA'N ANDERSEN. xxv
It was well for Andersen that, among the manifold interests and
occupations of his busy life, he had not neglected the study of
languages. A genial, social disposition like his own would have
found itself at a sad disadvantage if it had been otherwise. As it
was, he records, when noting down the memories of this pleasant
visit to Paris, that, although he did not speak French well, he was
still able to interchange ideas with all the celebrities to whom he
was introduced, and his ready wit seems at times to have more than
compensated for his grammatical deficiencies. In alluding to his
nervousness about speaking French to Rachel, who, as he does not
forget, spoke the most beautiful French in all France," he relates
that, in reply to his apologies, the great artiste said to him, "When
you say such polite things as you have just been saying to me, no
Frenchwoman will admit that you speak bad French."
But neither kindness nor compliments could make the Northern
stranger lay aside his free judgment and clear-sighted criticism on the
French schools of literature and acting. A genuine romancist," as
became his Danish birth, Andersen never could be brought to admit
that the French classical drama, or its exponents on the stage, could
claim a comparison with the great German and English writers. He
candidly excepts Rachel, placing her above all criticism; but he looks
on her always as-" the young girl who chisels living statues out of
Racine's and Corneille's blocks of marble," and even her wonderful
impersonations cannot win his favour for the traditions of the
school in which she was trained.
It was at this time that Andersen made the acquaintance of David,
the famous sculptor, who won his heart at once by a fancied resem-
blance of manner to his lost friend, Thorwaldsen, and also by offering
to take his portrait in a marble bust. Kalkbrenner, the well-known
pianist and composer, stood high on the list of friends made by
Andersen in this journey; and it is noticeable that music in every
form seems always to have possessed an irresistible attraction for the
Danish poet. On reading the records of the enthusiasm which a
beautiful voice or a well-played solo awoke within him, it is easy to
see how much he must have suffered when his hopes of a musical
career were blighted by the loss of his voice. Traces of his passionate
love for the art appear not only in his autobiography and letters, but
in almost all his novels and smaller works; fame, literary success,
and freedom from money troubles seem scarcely to have had the power
of consoling him for his early disappointment at Copenhagen, and all
through his life he turns, as if to seek compensation for his failure, to
the society of every great name in musical art, and is never so happy
as when, by the ready response to his advances, he finds himself
admitted into musical circles and treated as one of the initiated. His
friendships with literary men are broken or clouded now and then by
misunderstandings, coldness, or adverse criticism, but no cloud seems
ever to have rested on the intercourse which existed between him and
the great artists of his day.
Before leaving Paris Andersen found himself, one evening, in
company with an old lady who seemed, by her spirituelle and kindly
manners, to be the centre of attraction to an animated group. To
his great delight he found that she was no other than Madame Rey-
xxvi THE LIFE OF
baud, whose novel had furnished him with the materials for his play
of "The Mulatto." He was presented to her, and she listened with
much interest to his account of his past struggles and of the success
of his play. From that time the lady took him under her special
protection," showing her kindness, among other ways, by correcting
his faulty French.
The Northern stranger was pleasantly reminded of the ill-omened
reception which befell him on his first visit to Paris in 1833, when he
found the anonymous letter containing a malicious criticism of his
works awaiting him. This time the unexpected letter arrived from
Germany, and contained a pressing invitation from a cultivated family
to spend some weeks with them on his return home.
His route led him down the Rhine, and, true to his kindly instincts,
he could not pass the home of Freiligrath without trying to discover
the house where the poet lived and thanking him for the pleasure he
had derived from his works. Accordingly he made inquiries at St.
Goar, and was directed to Freiligrath's house. The poet was sitting
at his writing-table, busily engaged with some literary work, and did not
seem particularly pleased with the interruption, as Andersen had
entered the room unannounced. He looked up as if to ask for an
explanation. We have one friend in common," said Andersen,
" Chamisso." "Ah! then you are Andersen," exclaimed Freiligrath,
throwing his arms, in true German fashion, round the neck of his
unexpected guest. And then occurred another of those stories which
seem to have delighted Andersen more than any amount of mere fame
or pecuniary success-a story of the happiness which his works had
unconsciously bestowed on the lives of those unknown to him.
You have many friends here in St. Goar," exclaimed Freiligrath,
" and one of them you must see now." On this he fetched in his wife
to introduce to their distinguished visitor, and told Andersen how his
novel, Only a Fiddler," had caused them to interchange letters, and
then led to an acquaintance between them which ended in a happy
marriage. Such a beginning naturally led Andersen to consider him-
self before long as an old and tried friend of the poet and his wife.
During his stay in Germany Andersen wrote several of his most
exquisite Fairy Tales," among others, The Little Mermaid" and the
" Swineherd," and on his return to Copenhagen he formed what was,
without question, the closest and noblest friendship of his life. It was
in the autumn of 1843 that he met, for the second time, Madame Gold-
schmidt, then Jenny Lind. A short interview which he had had with her
three years earlier had left but little impression upon him; and it was
not until he had listened to her marvellous rendering of Meyerbeer's
"Alice that he began to yield to the charm of her incomparable
singing. From this time Andersen had many opportunities of paying
homage, not only to the wonderful gifts of the Swedish artist, but to
her beautiful character and high intellectual attainments.
He is never tired of telling stories of her kindly deeds, or of quoting
the ready testimony of artists to her powers as a singer and an actress.
Frederika Bremer writes to him that, high as she stands in the world
of art, no one who knows her merely as an artist can understand her
full greatness ; and the poor tailor-poet of Berlin relates to his
sympathizing listener how he dressed himself as a Roman soldier, and,
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xxvii
disguised in helmet and long sword, stood on the stage to hear her
sing in Norma," and how, being a poet and not a mere stage super, he
wept aloud and was hurried off the stage in dire disgrace, to his
immense and unfeigned astonishment. They were angry with me
and would not let me go on again, for no one must weep on the stage,"
he confided to Andersen, with delicious naivete.
The following year Andersen again visited North Germany, and
renewed his acquaintanceship with the Mendelssohns; one of his
greatest pleasures was to listen to the exquisite playing of the author
of Elijah and Lieder ohne Worte," and to hear his verdict on the
young singer who was Andersen's ideal as artist and woman. There
will not be born in a whole century," Mendelssohn said to him,
"another being so gifted as she."
Only once in the course of a happy artist-life does Andersen seem to
have drawn back in timidity and distrust from personal intercourse
with the great writers of the time, and that once proved to be an
opportunity lost for ever. In 1831 Andersen found himself not far
from Weimar, where the great Goethe was still living. The young
writer, then comparatively unknown, feared to present himself to the
notice of the veteran poet, and determined to wait until he had written
some work which should make his name known in Germany. That
day was now come, translations of his novels and tales were to be found
in every German town-but Wolfgang Goethe was dead.
All that remained for Andersen was to pay a visit, or rather to go
on a pilgrimage to Weimar, the city associated with the names of
Goethe, Schiller, Wieland, and Herder. He was most cordially
received: the Grand Duke sent him a flattering invitation to be present
at his birthday festivities at Ettersburg, and showed him the tree in
whose bark the three great poets had cut their names. Every house
was open to the Danish stranger, and for the first time Andersen
ventured to read aloud in German, in the presence of a distinguished
literary circle, his story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier."
Then came a happy evening spent in Leipzig in company with
Robert and Clara Schumann, and the hours passed away only too
quickly in music and literary conversation. More than one gifted
countryman came forward and made themselves known to the traveller.
Dahl, the landscape painter; Retsch, the clever illustrator of Goethe
and Shakespeare; the Countess Hahn-Hahn, and other distinguished
artists and writers. In Berlin he paid a mournful visit to the family
of his late friend, Chamisso. The little lads who used to rush up to
greet him from their childish play in the garden, now came forward as
stalwart young officers, wearing the Prussian uniform. Goethe's child-
friend, Bettina, was added to the long roll of his friends, and delighted
him by showing him her clever drawings, of which he had heard
Thorwaldsen speak in terms of the highest praise.
The trio, Cornelius, Tieck, and Schelling called upon him, and from
Tieck he learned that his novel, Only a Fiddler," had created great
interest at court. A flattering recall to Copenhagen cut short this
pleasant visit; a gracious invitation from the King and Queen of
Denmark to join their circle at F6hr, an island. in the North Sea, not
Jar from Schleswig.
Times had indeed changed since the lonely lad, penniless and well-
xxviii THE LIFE OF
nigh heart-broken, stood alone in the streets of Copenhagen ; twenty-
five years had passed by, and Andersen, recognized on all sides as one
of the illustrious names of Denmark, saw himself a guest at the royal
table, honoured and welcomed by the highest and noblest in the land.
The visit seems to have passed away like one of his own fantastic
fairy tales, with sudden changes from balls in the summer palace, or on
the deck of the royal steamer as she sailed through the northern
islands in all the splendid glow of a summer sunset, from court
concerts and promenades by moonlight along the shores of the wild
North Sea, to visits to the Halligs, whose desolate, poetic beauty seems
to have left a profound impression upon the delighted guest.
The Halligs," he writes, are only low islets covered with a dark
turf, on which a few flocks graze; when the sea rises flocks and
human beings alike are driven to the garrets of the houses, while the
sea rolls and tumbles between them and the shore. The houses are
built upon a platform, and nestle close together,-as if driven by sore
need and fear to seek each other's help. The windows are small, like
those in the cabin of a ship, and there the wife and daughter sit and
spin, and listen to some of their favourite books. Meanwhile the sea
rises round the house till it lies like a wrecked ship is mid ocean; and
sometimes a misguided ship, deceived by the lights within the windows,
drives down to her ruin and is stranded.
"Terrible disasters hang over the desolate spot, and yet the islanders
are passionately attached to their home, and pine away with home-
sickness if they are detained on the mainland. In 1825 a tide washed
away men and houses together. The wretched people clung to the
roofs for days, but no help could reach them either from the mainland
or from F6hr, and at last the roofs and their living freight disappeared
for ever. The churchyard is half washed away; the storms frequently
lay bare the coffins and the dead who lie within them; but nothing can
weaken the love that binds the people to their home."
Andersen describes the island maidens as showing traces of their
Greek descent in their beauty and in the half-Eastern style of their
dress. They wear the Greek fez, and twist their hair round it in long
plaits. When the royal party visited Oland they found only one man
in the island. The girls and women had erected triumphal arches
with flowers, which they had fetched from Fohr; their one solitary
rose-bush, a mere stunted shrub, they had cut down to strew before
Between Amrom and F&hr extend the sweep of desolate sand-hills,
bleached white by the burning sun, and mined and twisted by the
restless waves; no more desolate scene can possibly be imagined.
On his return from these interesting expeditions Andersen would be
summoned to the royal presence and begged to read or recite one of
his Fairy Tales." At the end of his visit King Christian spoke
kindly to the poet of his circumstances, and asked him if he had a
settled yearly income. Andersen reminded him of the pension, and
the king answered, That is not much." But I make something
by my writings," was the reply.
The poet's friends were not slow to upbraid him for his want of
worldly wisdom in not begging for an increase of his pension; but,
in the following year, the king, of his own free bounty, increased the
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xxix
stipend to a sum which not only relieved Andersen from care, but
assured him an honourable livelihood.
Another drama, The Flower of Fortune," once more brought
him into collision with Professor Heiberg, who pronounced it to be
unsuited for the stage. Some correspondence followed between the
author and the critic and ended in a personal interview between
them, which created a better understanding of each other's merits,
and during which Heiberg candidly admitted that he had not read all
the works on which he so recklessly passed judgment.
It may be that these perpetually recurring annoyances, slight
though they were, had something to do with Andersen's enthusiastic
love of foreign travel, the Medea draught which always makes one
young again." In the autumn of 1845 he again left Copenhagen,
and passed a few hours in his native town of Odensee, where he
says he felt himself more of a stranger than in the great cities of
Germany. About this time he wrote the story of "The Little Match
Girl," and made the acquaintance of Otto Speckter, the artist who
illustrated the Danish edition of his works.
Arrived at Oldenburg, the poet was kindly welcomed by Mosen,
whom he describes as a German edition of Alexander Dumas, and
whose little boy was so attached to the genial visitor that he wept
bitterly on parting from him and made him a present- of one of his
two tin soldiers. The Grand Duke followed the example set by the
child, so far, at least, as the present was concerned, for, when
Andersen's visit drew to an end, he presented him with a valuable
The poet's next resting-place was in Berlin, where he had been, on
a previous visit, rather disconcerted by finding that his name was
unknown by Grimm; now the two brothers welcomed him as an old
friend, and among his new acquaintances Andersen reckoned Rauch,
Alexander von Humboldt, Prince Radizmil, and many other persons
of distinction. He was almost overwhelmed with invitations, and
yet, strangely enough, he found himself on Christmas Eve alone in
his room at the hotel where he was staying. Every one had taken
for granted that he was invited somewhere, and the kind-hearted
poet complains that he felt solitude in its most oppressive form."
His sadness was, however, soon dispelled; Jenny Lind happened
to be in Berlin at the time, and, as soon as she heard of the lonely
evening which he had passed, she bought and decorated a little
Christmas-tree for his sole amusement, and on New Year's Eve he
found himself the only guest of the great singer. She, her attendant,
and Andersen-" three children of the north," as the poet says in
describing the scene-sat together round the Christmas-tree, with its
bright lights and beautiful presents, and the lonely hours of Christ-
mas Eve were entirely forgotten.
It was during this visit that Andersen was invited to dine with the
King of Prussia, the present Emperor of Germany, and once more
Andersen was begged to read a selection of his Fairy Tales." At
the expiration of his visit he received the order of the Red Eagle.
Passing through Weimar to Leipzig, Andersen made arrangements
with a publishing firm in that city for a complete edition of his works;
and there, too, he met with Auerbach, whose village stories had just
xxx THE LIFE OF
brought him into notice as a writer of power and originality.
Mendelssohn, also, was ready to welcome him as only he could do,
enchanting him by his wonderful playing and chatting with him
about the success of the Fairy Tales."
At Dresden Andersen found himself again the guest of royalty;
one of the little princesses appointed him at once to the office of her
special Fairy Tale Prince," and confided to him that on the very
last Christmas she, too, had a fir tree. From Dresden through
Bohemia to Vienna, where the writer of fairy tales listened to the
improvisation of Liszt, who draws his fantastic and lovely stories
from the ivory keys, and to the violin-playing of Ernst, "who," says
the enraptured listener, seized his violin and sang in tears the secret
of a human heart."
At Dresden Andersen had received from the Queen letters of intro-
duction to the Austrian Court, where the Archduchess Sophia and the
Empress Dowager listened to his reading of the "Fairy Tales."
In the spring of 1846 Andersen once more reached Rome, and,
amid all the raptures which the sight of the Eternal City drew from
him, he found time to regret the changes which thirteen years had
made. Everything," he exclaims, "is modernized." Driven re-
luctantly from Rome by the sirocco, Andersen wandered to Naples,
where the beauty of all around him drew forth from his pen many
an eloquent passage. An English reviewer, in speaking of his pic-
tures of Italian life and scenery, places him on a level with the great
masters who have handled the same subject, and links his name with
those of Shakespeare and Otway, of Schiller, Byron, and Radcliffe,
regretting, as Andersen himself has done, that the inevitable change
and progress of modern society is bringing about such an alteration
in the habits and manners of Italian life that, although the great
features of natural scenery and architecture remain unchanged, yet
many a scene of national life and character, described by these great
writers, will never be witnessed again.
Failing health drove Andersen once more to seek for change of air
and scene, and soon afterwards he found himself at Marseilles, enj oy-
ing the society of his friend, Ole Bull, the well-known violinist.
By this time, translations of Andersen's works had appeared in
French, German, Dutch, Frieslandish, and English, and everywhere
it was the fairy tales which were pronounced to be the author's master-
piece. Their great success in England was a source of much pleasure
to Andersen, who, although he spoke our language very imperfectly,
was well versed in our literature; Scott was, perhaps, his favourite
author, and next to him, Dickens. It was then like the realization of
a long-cherished dream when Andersen received an invitation to Gads-
hill, and the meeting between the two writers was fraught with interest
to both. A greater contrast than that presented by the Dane and the
Englishman can scarcely be imagined. Andersen looked up to his
host with boundless admiration; but his was scarcely the nature to
understand a man like Dickens. The versatility, keen perception and
quick sense of the ridiculous, so pre-eminent in the English novelist,
were utterly wanting in his guest; and there seem to have been only
two things which they held in common. One of these, the taste and
facility for modern languages, led them to a pleasant rivalry in giving
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN. xxxi
each other instruction ; the one speaking quickly in Danish, the other
in English, and, in nine cases out of ten, finding that the similarity
between the two languages led them to hit on a tolerably correct
The second link which bound the two men together was their great
success in reading their own works. Andersen's stories have not that
varied range of power and passion which gave such scope to Dickens's
magnificent powers as an actor and a reader; but within their limited
range the success was equal. All that was left to Andersen of his
musical studies was a rich and musical voice, and to that he joined a
graceful, unconscious play of hands and features which gave telling
effect to his readings.
Indeed, it was only in his readings that the word graceful could be
applied to him; in personal appearance, dress, and manners, the
children's poet was uncouth in the extreme.
Tall, and slouching in figure, with large, ill-made hands and feet,
and plain features, Andersen swathed in a shawl wrapped round his
shoulders, and with the dreamy gaze, so quick to see a hidden story in
tree or flower, so slow to understand the current persiflage and gossip
of ordinary society, looked like one of his own characters just stepped
out of a fairy tale and wandering on, untouched by care, through his
He never married'; and yet never was childless man less. lonely.
A recent number of the Spectator relates an amusing story of his
narrow escape from matrimony. A young peasant girl had made up
her mind that it would be a desirable thing for her and for the poet if
they were to marry, and she accordingly wrote him a love-letter, took
it to him herself, and calmly awaited the result. I would be so good
to you," she added, as a verbal postscript.
But, my good girl, I do not want to marry," said the bewildered
poet; and it is to be hoped that he succeeded at last in convincing the
enterprising young person of his right to be consulted in the matter.
Any one who reads the story of his life from first to last will be
struck by the slight effect produced upon him by outward circum-
stances. Few men have passed from extreme poverty to comparative
wealth, from utter loneliness to the society of the most brilliant men
of the day, from scanty means of education to more than a fair
acquaintance with modern European literature, without bearing some
trace of the influences of other minds, or of their own experiences.
But Andersen was from first to last a child, with all a child's faults and
excellences. Vain to a degree impossible to exaggerate, but so art-
lessly grateful for praise, that it was almost a cruelty to withhold it;
utterly careless of money, trustful, loving, and exacting, one looks it,
vain in his character for the manly virtues of self-restraint and endu-
rance. The paper above-mentioned says that one day Andersen had
the misfortune to run a thorn into his finger, upon which he not only
cried, rolled on the floor and screamed aloud, but after its extraction
refused to eat his dinner, and took it so completely for granted that no
one else could eat any that no dinner was served. He sat holding
the thorn between his finger and thumb, rolling it about and demand-
ing sympathy from every visitor, not one of whom was spared a recital
of his sufferings. In the midst of his harrowing story he suddenly
xxxii THE LIFE OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.
missed the thorn, and was seized with the idea that he had swallowed
it. "Will it be as painful here as there ? he exclaimed, with tears
in his eyes, pointing first to his stomach and then to his finger.
A few words may not be out of place as to the tales which have
made his name so famous. Before their originality, delicacy, and
humour, criticism lays down its pen. Some of them have become
household words among us. "The Ugly Duckling," "The Little
Mermaid," and the exquisite story of "The Shepherdess and the
Chimney Sweeper," will suggest themselves at once, not only as the
delight of the children for whom they were written, but of all who have
ever-and who has not ?-taken up the book.
On the second of last April Andersen completed his seventieth year,
and his birthday was celebrated in Copenhagen as a national festival.
The aged poet received a second decoration from the hands of his
sovereign, and was also gratified by the delicate compliment of having
a new edition of his works struck off in no less than fifteen languages.
A few months later the telegraph flashed across the continent the
news of his peaceful death, at a friend's house, near Copenhagen. The
day of his funeral was observed in that city with every sign of heartfelt
sorrow, alike by the noblest and the poorest. The King and the Crown
Prince of Denmark attended the funeral, and the Queen herself placed
upon the coffin a wreath of laurel and lilies, which was soon hidden
beneath a pile of the most beautiful flowers. The theatres and all the
places of business were closed until the sad ceremony was over, and
the highest civil and military authorities of the land followed the
" children's poet" to his grave.
When the news reached England, a gloom fell not only on many
hearts who had lost in Andersen a personal friend, but also on thousands
of unknown strangers who had followed him willingly into the quaint,
fantastic wonder-land of his creation, and the kindly memories and
loving sorrow of his numberless friends and readers linger round his
grave, and form a fitting sequel to his happy and beautiful life.
No better close to the present story of the poet's life and death can
be found than the reminding our readers of the graceful lines addressed
to Andersen by Mrs. Barrett Browning, a short time before her own
death. The two writers had become acquainted with each other in
Rome, and the lines were a parting gift from the poetess, and were
repeated again and again by Andersen in his imperfect English.
And oh! for a seer to discern the same !'
Sighed the South to the North;
SFor a poet's tongue of baptismal flame,
To call the tree or the flower by its name,'
Sighed the South to the North.
The North sent therefore a man of men,
As a grace to the South;
And thus to Rome came Andersen.
Alas but you must take him again I'
Said the South to the North."
r' Ijj ^ Biw ms EGue'- MN
ThSoe Fir T ^vp,,.e,
N a lovely forest nook, warmed by the sun and fanned
by the soft air, stood a dainty little fir tree; taller and
older play-fellows grew round it, pines as well as firs.
One thought filled its whole heart; the eager longing to
grow taller: it took no heed of the pleasant sunshine
and fresh air, nor of the little peasant children playing
and prattling round it when they came out to look for
wild strawberries and raspberries. Very often they
gathered a whole basketful, and then they would sit
down to thread strawberries on a straw, and say, What
a dear little tiny tree this one is and that made the fir
tree very angry. The next year it was taller by one ring, and
the year after that it reached another ring, for you can always
tell by the number of rings on a fir tree how many years it has
Oh if I were only a tall tree like the others," sighed the little
fir tree; then I could spread out my branches far and wide, and look
':ut from my crest into the wide world. The birds would build their
2 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
nests in my branches, and when the wind blew I could bow as grandly
as the others yonder!"
It found no pleasure in the sunshine, or the birds, or the rosy clouds
that sailed above it at dawn or sunset. Often, when the winter came,
and the snow lay white and glittering all around, a hare would come leap-
ing by and spring right over the little tree, to its great vexation. But two
winters passed away, and in the third the tree was so tall that the hare
was obliged to run round it. Oh! to grow, and grow, and be old and
tall! That is the one thing worth caring for in this world," thought the
fir tree. In the autumn woodcutters came and felled some of the tallest
trees. This happened every year, and the young fir tree, which was quite
grown up now, shuddered to see the tall, stately trees fall crashing to
the ground; their branches were stripped off, and they looked meagre,
wan, and bare, you could scarcely know them again. After that, they
were placed on wagons and drawn by horses out of the wood.
Whither were they going? What fate lay before them ? In the
spring, when the swallows and storks came, the fir tree asked them,
Don't you know whither they have been taken ? Have you not met
The swallows knew nothing at all, but the stork considered awhile,
nodded his head, and said, I believe I have. As I was flying home
from Egypt I met many new ships, and on the ships were stately
masts; I think those were they; they smelt like fir trees."
Oh, if I were only tall enough to sail across the sea! By the way,
what sort of a thing is the sea ? What does it look like ?" "That
would take much too long to explain," said the stork; and with that he
flew away. Rejoice in your youth said the sunbeams ; rejoice in
your fresh growth, and the young life within you."
And the wind kissed the tree, and the dew wept tears over it; but
the fir tree could not understand all that. When it drew near Christmas,
quite young trees were felled; trees not even as tall or as old as this
fir tree, who knew no rest nor peace, but was always longing to be away.
These young trees, and they were the very finest ones, kept on all their
branches; they too were placed on wagons and drawn by horses out
of the wood.
"Where do they go to?" asked the fir tree. They are no taller
than I; indeed one of them was much smaller! Why do they keep
on all their branches? Whither are they led away? "
We know, we know," twittered the sparrows; we have looked in
at the windows of the town down yonder. We know where they go to.
Oh! they attain to the greatest honour and splendour you can ima-
gine! We have looked through the windows, and seen them planted
in the middle of the warm room and decked out with the loveliest
things: gilt apples, sweet cakes, playthings, and hundreds of lighted
And then ?" asked the fir tree, trembling in all its branches; and
then ? What happens then ? "
"We did not see any more. It was beyond compare !"
Suppose I too am destined to tread this glorious path !" exulted the
fir tree. "That is even better than crossing the sea. I ache with
very longing! If it were only Christmas If I were only in the
THE FIR TREE. 3
wagon-or in the warm room with all the pomp and splendour! And
then-- Why, then comes something better and higher still, or else
why do they decorate us so richly? It must be something greater and
more splendid-but what? Ah, I long, and pine! I cannot tell how I feel."
Be happy with us," said the air and sunshine; rejoice in your
fresh youth, under the free heaven."
But the fir tree would not rejoice; it grew, and grew; winter and
summer through it stood there dark-green, tall, and stately; the people
who saw it said, That is a fine tree." And at Christmas-time it was
the very first to be felled. The axe struck deep through bark and
pith, the tree fell with a sigh to the earth; it felt a sharp pain and
faintness; it could not think about splendour; it was sad at having to
leave its home, and the spot where it had grown up; it knew very well
that it would never see its dear old companions again, nor the little
bushes and flowers; perhaps not even the birds. The parting was by no
means joyous. The tree did not recover itself till it was unloaded in a
yard with several others, and heard a man say, This is a splendid one !
We shall not want any others."
Then came up two servants in smart liveries and carried the tree into
a large and beautiful drawing-room. Pictures were hung round the
walls, and near the stove stood two large Chinese vases, with lions on
the lids: there were rocking-chairs, and silk-covered sofas near large
tables covered with picture-books and playthings worth a hundred times
a hundred dollars, at least that was what the children said. The fir tree
was placed in a large tub filled with sand; but no one could tell that it
was a tub, because it was covered with fine green cloth, and stood on
a rich, bright-coloured carpet. Oh! how the tree trembled What
would happen next? The servants and the young ladies helped to
decorate it. Along its branches they hung little nets cut out of coloured
paper and filled with sugar-plums; gilded apples and nuts hung down
as if they were growing; and hundreds of red, and blue, and white
tapers were fastened firmly to the branches. Dolls, that looked like
real men and women-the fir tree had never seen such things before-
swung among the leaves, and high above, on the top of the tree, was
placed a golden star. It was splendid indescribably splendid!
To-night," they said, to-night it will be lighted up."
Oh," thought the tree, if it were only night! If the tapers were
but lighted! And what will happen then ? I wonder whether the
trees will come out of the wood to look at me? or the sparrows fly
against the window-panes ? Or shall I stand here in splendour winter
and summer through ? "
It did not guess badly, but it had a downright bark-ache from sheei
ionging; and bark-ache for a tree is just as bad as headache is for us.
Now the tapers were lighted. What a glitter, and a blaze! The tree
trembled so in all its branches that one of the tapers caught a green
twig, and it was actually singed. Mercy on us!" cried the young
ladies, and put it out directly. After that the tree dared not even shiver.
It gave it such a fright! It was afraid of losing any of its finery,
and was quite dazzled by the glitter. And now two folding-doors were
thrown open, and a crowd of children rushed in as if they wanted to
upset the whole affair; the elder folk followed more deliberately. The
4 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
children stood quite silent; but only for one moment, then they shouted
with delight till the room rang again; they danced round the tree, and
one present after another was plucked off.
What are they doing ?" thought the tree. "What is going to
happen ?" The tapers burned down to the branches, and as each one
burned down it was put out. Then the children had permission to
strip the tree. Now they rushed upon it till it creaked in every branch!
If it had not been fastened by the gold star to the ceiling it must have
been knocked down. The children danced about with their beautiful
playthings. Nobody looked at the tree except the old nurse, who
came and peered among the branches, but that was only to see if a fig
or an apple had been forgotten.
"A story! a story !" cried the children, and they drew a plump
little man towards the tree ; he sat down right under the branches.
" Now we are out in the greenwood I" he said; and the tree may
have the privilege of listening. But I shall only tell one tale. Shall it
be Ivede-Avede, or Humpty-Dumpty who fell down-stairs, and yet
came to honour and glory and married the Princess ?"
Ivede-Avede!" shouted some of the children; Humpty-
Dumpty !" c-ied the others, and there was a fine racket. The
fir tree stood perfectly still. Am not I to be in it ? it thought;
" shall not I have something to do in it ? But it had been in it, and
played out all the part set down for it.
The man told about Humpty-Dumpty who fell down-stairs, and yet
came to honour and glory and married the Princess. The children
clapped their hands and cried, Go on, go on They wanted the
story of Ivede-Avede as well; but they only got Humpty-Dumpty.
The fir tree kept very silent; never had the birds in the wood told such
a tale as that. Humpty-Dumpty fell down-stairs, and yet he
married the Princess. Yes ; that's the way things go on in the world,"
thought the fir tree; and it was sure it must be true, because it was
such a respectable man who told it. Yes! who can tell ? Perhaps
I shall fall down-stairs and marry a Princess." And it looked forward
with delight to being adorned again the next day with lights and play-
things, gold and fruits.
I will not tremble to-morrow," it thought. I will thoroughly
enjoy all my splendour. I shall hear again the tale of Humpty-
Dumpty, and perhaps Ivede-Avede as well." And the tree stood silent
and thoughtful the whole night through. In the morning the servant
men came in with the housemaid.
Now they are going to dress me up again," thought the tree. But
they dragged it out of the room and up the stairs to the garret, and
there they put it in a dark corner where no ray of daylight fell.
What is the meaning of this ? thought the tree. Whatever am
I to do here ? What can I possibly hear now ? It leaned against
the wall and thought. And it had plenty of time for thinking, for days
and nights passed by, Nobody came upstairs, and when some one did
come at last, it was only to put some large boxes in the corner. The tree
was now completely hidden; it was enough to made one think it was
quite forgotten. It is winter out of doors now," thought the tree; the
ground is hard and I cannot be planted yet. Perhaps I am kept safe
"THE FIR TREE. 5
here to wait for the spring. How considerate that is! How kind
people are to me! If it were only not quite so dark and lonely up
here. Not even a little hare How pretty it was out yonder in the
wood, when the snow lay round and the hare leapt by; yes, even when
it leapt over me-though I could not bear it then. It certainly is
dreadfully dull up here."
Piep! piep squeaked a little mouse stealing out; and then came
another little one. They sniffed round the fir-tree and slipped in
among the branches.
"Its fearfully cold," said the little mouse, br else it would be rather
comfortable here. Don't you think so, you old fir-tree ?"
I am not at all old," said the fir-tree; "there are many firs much
older than I."
Where do you come from ?" asked the mice; and what can you
tell us ?" They were dreadfully inquisitive. Can you tell us about
the, most beautiful place in the world ? Have you ever been there ?
Have you been in the pantry, where the cheeses lie on the shelves,
and hams hang from the ceiling ? Where one dances on tallow candles,
where one goes in lean and comes out fat ?"
I don't know that place," said the tree. But I know the wood
where the sun shines and the birds sing." And then it told them all
about its youth, and the little mice had never heard anything like it
before. They listened eagerly, and said, Dear me! What a number
of things you have seen! How fortunate you must have been! "
"I?" said the fir-tree, and it began to think over what it had just
been telling them. Well-yes; it was, on the whole, a happy time.
But then it told them about the Christmas-eve when it had been dressed
out with cakes and lighted tapers."
Oh !" cried the little mice, what a happy life you have had, you
I'm not at all old," said the fir-tree. I only came out of the
wood this winter. I'm a little backward in my growth, perhaps."
How nicely you tell tales !" said the little mice. And the next
night they came with four other mice, to hear what the fir-tree had to
say. The more it told them, the more clearly everything came back
to it. Yes," it thought, they were happy days, after all But they
may come again. Humpty-Dumpty fell down stairs, and yet he mar-
ried the princess; perhaps I shall marry a princess, too !" And it
thought of a lovely little birch-tree out in the woods, for the birch-tree
was a real and beautiful princess in the eyes of the fir-tree.
Who is Humpty-Dumpty ?" asked the mice. And then the fir-
tree told them the whole story; it could recollect every word of it,
and the little mice were ready to jump up to the top of the tree for joy.
The following night a great many more mice came, and on Sunday
two rats were present, but they did not think the story at all pretty,
and that vexed the little mice, and they cared less about listening than
they had done before.
Do you only kncw one story ?" asked the rats. Only that one,"
said the fir-tree; "I heard that on the happiest evening of my life.
I never thought then how happy I was."
It is a most contemptible story. Don't you know any aboat bacon
6 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
or tallow candles? No store-room story?" "No," said the tree.
"Then we have had enough, thank you," said the rats, and they went
back to their own friends.
The little mice, too, stayed away at last; and the tree sighed. It
was really very nice when they sat round me, those lively little mice,
and listened while I told them tales. But that is over now! Well, I
must look forward to the pleasure I shall have when I am fetched
away from here." Now, when did that happen ? Why, it was one
morning, when the people came up-stairs to set the garret to rights;
they moved away the boxes, and drew out the fir-tree, which they
threw rather roughly to the ground. A servant came up, then, and
dragged it to the stair-case, where it was all clear daylight. Now
my life will begin again!" thought the tree. It felt the soft air, and
the first sunbeams, and now it was out of doors in a court-yard. All
this happened so quickly, that the tree had no time to think of itself;
besides, there was so much to look at all round it. The yard was
close to a garden, where everything was in full bloom; roses hung
fresh and fragrant over the trellis, the lime trees were in blossom, and
the swallows were flying about and saying, Qui-viet-qui-viet! my
husband is come home! but they did not mean the fir-tree. Now
I begin to breathe again !" thought the tree, and spread out its branches
far and wide; but, alas they were all dry and yellow, and it was lying
in a corner among weeds and nettles. The gold-tinsel star was still on
the topmost bough, and it glittered in the sunshine.
In the yard some children were playing merrily; some of those very
children who had danced round the tree on Christmas eve, and thought
it so beautiful. One of the youngest ran up to it and tore off the gold
star. "Look what was left on the ugly old fir-tree ? he cried, and
trod upon the branches till they cracked again under his boots. And
the tree looked at all the freshness and beauty of the flower garden, and
then looked at itself, and wished it were back again in the dark garret.
It thought of its joyous youth, of the brilliant Christmas night, and of
the little mice who had listened so eagerly to the story of Humpty-
Too late too late said the old tree. If I had only been happy
while I could! Too late! too late! "
Then the servant came and chopped the tree into little pieces, there
was a whole bundle of them, and they flamed out brightly under the
large copper in the brewhouse; the branches sighed deeply, and every
sigh rang out like a shot, so that the children left their play and came
to sit down before the fire, looking into it, and crying out Puff!
puff But at every crack, which was a deep sigh, the tree thought
of a summer's day in the woods, or of a winter night when the stars
were shining; it thought of the Christmas-eve, and the story of
Humpty-Dumpty, the only one it had heard, or could tell again-and
by that time the tree was burned away.
The children played on in the garden, and the youngest wore on his
breast the gold star which the tree had worn on the happiest evening
of its life. Now that had passed away-and the tree had passed
away-and the story was ended-ended and gone-and that's the way
with all stories,
A r.. ......... .
THE P CE AND PRNCESS
STh10 e SwineUherd#
HERE was once a poor prince; he had a kingdom,
but it was a very little one. Still it was large
enough for him to marry upon, and married he was
determined to be.
SNow perhaps it was rather bold of him to ven-
ture to say to the emperor's daughter, Will you
have me? But he did venture, for his name was
Known far and wide, and there were hundreds of prin-
cesses who would gladly have said yes;" the question
was what would she say ?
Well, we shall see.
| On the grave of the prince's father grew a rose-tree-
Sa very lovely rose-tree. It only bloomed once in every five
I years, and then it bore only one rose-but what a rose! It
smelt so sweet that any one who smelt it forgot all his care
and sorrow. And the prince had a nightingale who could sing as if
all the beautiful melodies in the world were hidden in her little throat.
The princess was to have the rose and the nightingale, so they were
both packed in silver cases and sent to her.
The emperor had them brought before him into the throne room,
where the princess was playing at paying visits with her maids of
honour; and as soon as she saw the cases with the presents she
clapped her hands for joy.
If it is only a little pussy cat she said; but they brought out the
rose-tree with its glorious rose.
Oh, how prettily it is made cried the maids of honour.
It is more than pretty, it is charming," said the emperor.
But the princess felt it and was ready to cry.
"Fie! papa," she cried; "why it is not artificial at all-it is a
natural one "
Fie cried the court ladies; it is a natural one "
Let us see what is in the other case before we lose our tempers,"
said the emperor, and out came the nightingale who sang so sweetly
that for a moment no one could think of anything to say against it.
Superbe charmant said the court ladies, for they all spoke
French, one worse than the other.
How the bird reminds me of the snuff box of Her Imperial High-
ness the late lamented empress! said an old nobleman; "the same
tone-the same phrasing !"
Yes said the emperor, and began to cry like a child.
Now I do hope that's not a natural one said the princess.
Yes, it is," said the messenger who had brought it.
Then let it fly !" said the princess, and she would not hear of the
He, however, was not to be frightened; he stained his face a deep
brown, pulled his cap over his eyes, and knocked at the door. Good
8 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
morning, emperor," he said. Can I be taken on in your employ-
ment at the palace ? "
Perhaps," said the emperor; "but there are so many who come to
me for a place, that I do not know if I can manage it. Stay! it just
occurs to me that I want some one to keep the pigs-we have an
immense number of pigs here."
So the prince was appointed swineherd to His Imperial Majesty.
He was given a wretched little room close to the pigsties, and there
he had to stay; all day long, however, he was working hard, and by
nightfall he had made a pretty little pot with bells all round it, and
when the pot boiled the bells rang out the old tune-
"Ah my dearest Augustine,
All is gone by."
But the great beauty of it was, that when you held your finger in the
steam from the pot, you could smell in a moment every dinner that was
being cooked in every house in the town. That was certainly a very
different thing from the rose.
Now the princess came walking by one day, with all her maids of
honour, and when she heard the tune she stood still and looked quite
delighted; for she could play "Dearest Augustine" herself; it was the
only tune she knew, but she could play that with one finger.
Why that is the air I play she cried. He must be a gentle-
manly swineherd Listen : you go down to him and ask him what the
And one of the court ladies was obliged to go down, but first she put
oi wooden clogs.
"What do you want for that pot ? said the maid of honour.
I want ten kisses from the princess," answered the swineherd.
Goodness gracious said the maid of honour.
And I won't take less," said the swineherd.
Well, what did he say ? asked the princess.
I really dare not tell you," said the maid of honour.
You can whisper it in my ear. He is very rude," exclaimed the
princess, and she walked on.
But when she had gone a little way farther the bells rang out so
"Ah my dearest Augustine,
All is gone by-gone by-gone by."
Now, listen," said the princess, ask him if he will take ten kisses
from my maids of honour."
No, thank you," said the swineherd; ten kisses from the princess,
or I keep my pot."
"How tiresome it is!" said the princess. "Well, you must all
stand round me, so that no one can see."
The court ladies made a circle round them, spreading out their
dresses, and then the swineherd got his ten kisses and the princess
got her pot.
And highly delighted she was with it! All that night, and all the
Ut li I 1111111 ll ll IIi I II II ll ll I II
Ia IIII I I I o 1 11 T 1 IT I
THE SWINEHERD. 9
next day, the pot was kept boiling; there was not a single house in the
whole town where they did not know what was being cooked for dinner,
from the Lord Chamberlain's down to the shoemaker's. The court
ladies danced for joy, and clapped their hands.
We know who is going to have soup and pancakes, and who is
going to have porridge and cutlets. Is not it interesting ? "
Oh very! exclaimed the first lady-in-waiting.
"Yes, but keep quiet about it, for I am the emperor's daughter."
Certainly, certainly; of course we shall."
The swineherd, that is to say, the prince-though, for all they knew,
he was nothing but a swineherd-let no day go by without making
something, and once he made a rattle, which, when it was sprung,
played all the waltzes, jigs, and polkas that have been heard since the
Really that is superbe !" said the princess. I never heard a finer
composition. Listen: you go down to him and ask what the instru-
ment costs. Mind, I shall not kiss him again."
He wants a hundred kisses from the princess," said the maid of
honour, who had gone to inquire.
I think he is out of his mind," said the princess, and she walked
on. But when she had gone a little way farther she stood still. One
must encourage the fine arts," she said; I am the emperor's daughter.
Tell him he shall have ten kisses, as before; he can take the rest from
my maids of honour."
Oh but we would rather not," said the court ladies.
"Nonsense!" cried the princess. If I can kiss him, surely you
can. Remember I find you board and wages." And they were obliged
to go down to him again. One hundred kisses from the princess,"
he said, or each keeps his own."
Stand round us, then," said the princess. So the maids of honour
stood round them, and the swineherd kissed the princess.
What is all that uproar down by the pigsties ? said the emperor,
who was standing on the balcony. He rubbed his eyes, and put on
his spectacles. "Why, I declare, it is the maids of honour at their
tricks. I shall certainly have to go down to them." He slipped off
his house shoes-they were really shoes, but he had trodden them
down at heel, and made them into slippers.
Fire and fury! what a hurry he was in !
As soon as he reached the yard he walked very softly; and the maids
of honour were so busy counting the kisses and seeing fair play that
they never noticed the emperor. He raised himself on tiptoe.
What is that ? he cried, when he saw the kissing, and he let fly
one of his slippers on their heads, just as the swineherd was having
the eighty-sixth kiss.
"Be off!" said the ermperor, for he was angry. And the princess
and the swineherd were both driven out of his kingdom.
There she stood and cried, and the rain streamed down, and the
swineherd scolded. Oh miserable me cried the princess, "if I
had only accepted the handsome prince! Ah how unhappy I am !"
The swineherd stepped behind a tree, wiped off the brown stain from
his face, cast away his mean clothing, and stepped forward in his royal
10 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
robes, so handsome that the princess was fain to curtsey low before
him. I have got to this point," he said. I despise you. You
refused an honourable prince; you were not capable of understanding
the rose or the nightingale; but you could kiss a swineherd for a toy,
and this is what you get by it." Then he went into his kingdom, and
shut the door in her face. So she was left standing outside to sing-
"Ah my dearest Augustine,
All is gone by."
-, .---- .._, -': ----/ ," ,-.:--. -
Te h Ilf Naf \V' ijse 8 8
b =N the midst of a garden stood a rose-bush covered
Switch roses, and in one of the roses, the most beauti-
| ful of all, there lived an Elf. He was so very tiny
SIf' that no mortal eye could see him, and he had a
sleeping-room behind every rose leaf. He was as
beautifully made, and as fair as only a fairy can be,
and his wings fell down from his shoulders to his feet.
Ah! what fragrance breathed from his home; how soft
and sweet were the walls! They were all built of pale
S pink rose leaves. All the day long he basked in the
warm sunshine; flew from flower to flower, or danced on
the wings of flying butterflies. He measured how many steps
he must take to walk over all the roads and by-ways on a
single leaf on the linden tree. For what we call the leaf's veins, he
THE ELF OF THE ROSES. II
took for high roads and winding paths, and very long he found them.
Before he had finished his journey the sun set; he had begun a little
It grew very cold ; the dew fell, and the wind was rising: the best
thing left for him to do was to hasten homeward. He made all th'
haste he could, but his roses had closed for the night; not a single
flower was open. The poor little Elf was terribly frightened ; he had
never been out by night before, but had always slept sweetly among
the soft, warm rose leaves. Certainly this night would be the death of
him At the other end of the garden he knew there was an arbour
overgrown with beautiful honeysuckles, the flowers looked just like
great painted horns, and he made up his mind to alight on one of them
and sleep till morning. He flew towards them. Hush! in the arbour
were two mortals, a handsome young man and a lovely girl. They
were sitting close together, and wishing they need never part. They
loved each other, ah far better than the best child can love its father
Yet we must part! said the young man. Your brother hates us,
and that is why he is sending me on this business across seas and over
mountains. Farewell, my sweet betrothed, for so in very truth you are."
Then they kissed each other and the young girl gave him a rose.
But before she gave it, she kissed it so passionately that the flower
opened its petals, and in flew the little Elf, and leaned his weary head
against the fragrant walls. He heard how from the quivering leaves
was still re-echoing "farewell! farewell!" And then he felt that the
rose was laid against the young man's heart. Ah! how the heart was
beating. The little Elf could not sleep for its wild throbbing. But the
rose was not left there undisturbed. The youth took it from its resting
place, and as he wandered alone through the dark, dark forest, he kissed
it so often and so passionately that the tiny Elf was half stifled. He
could feel the hot lips through the trembling leaves, and the rose
opened wide, as if under the burning noonday sun. Then came up
another man, sullen and evil of heart; it was the fair girl's wicked
brother. He drew out a sharp knife, and, while the lover kissed the
rose, he stabbed him to the heart, cut off his head, and buried head and
body in the soft earth under the linden tree.
Now he is made away with," thought the wicked brother. He
can never return, and he will be forgotten. He was to take a long
journey over sea and mountain where lives are easily lost, and he has
lost his life. He can never return, and my sister dares not ask
questions of me." Then he scraped with his feet the withered leaves
over the loose earth, and went home again through the gloomy night.
But he did not go alone, as he thought, for the Elf was his companion.
The little creature sat in a dry, rolled-up leaf that had fallen from the
linden tree into the murderer's hair as he dug the grave. His hat was
over the leaf so that all was dark, and the Elf trembled with rage and
horror at the evil deed.
In the early dawn the wicked man reached his home; he took off his
hat and went into his sister's bedroom. There lay the lovely, blooming
maiden, dreaming of him whom she loved with all her heart, and who,
as she thought, was wandering far away over seas and mountains.
12 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
The wicked brother leaned over her and laughed an evil laugh, like
the laugh of a fiend. Then the withered leaf fell from his hair on to
the coverlet, but he did not notice it, and went out to sleep a little
before the sun rose. The Elf stole out of the fallen leaf, placed him-
self in the maiden's ear, and told her in a dream of the terrible murder,
describing the place where her lover lay slain by her brother's hand,
and whispering of the blossoming linden over-head. Lest you should
think it is all a dream," he said, you will find upon your bed a withered
leaf." And when she woke there lay the leaf!
Oh! what bitter tears she shed. Her window stood open all day
long. The Elf could easily have flown to his roses and the other
flowers in the garden, but he could not find it in his heart to leave the
grief-stricken maiden. In the window stood a little tree of monthly
roses; the Elf seated himself in one of them and watched the heart-
broken girl. Her brother often came into her room, and in spite of
his evil deed looked bold and gay; but she dared not say a word of
As soon as night came on, she stole out of the house, went through
the forest to the place where the linden tree' stood ; swept away the
leaves, removed the earth, and found the body of the murdered youth.
Oh how she wept, and prayed to God that she too might die soon.
She would gladly have carried the body home, but that she could not
do; so she took the pale head, with its closed eyes, kissed the cold lips,
and shook the earth out of the beautiful hair. I will keep this," she
said. And when she had replaced the earth and leaves over the body,
she took the head, and a little spray of jasmine that was growing close
by, and carried them to her home. When she reached her own room,
she took the largest flower-pot she could find, placed within it the
beloved head, covered it with earth, and planted above it the jasmine
Farewell, farewell! whispered the little Elf, for he could not bear
the sight of all this sorrow. He flew back to his roses in the garden,
but they were all faded, and only pale, dead leaves hung on the green
haws. Oh, how quickly the good and beautiful pass away sighed
the Elf. At last he found another rose, which he chose for his home,
and in its delicate, fragrant leaves he could abide and dwell.
Every morning he flew to the poor girl's window; she was always
standing weeping by the flower-pot. Her bitter tears fell on the slip
of jasmine, and while she grew paler and paler day by day, the plant
grew fresher and greener; one shoot after another sprang forth; tiny
white buds came out and blossomed, and she kissed them all. But
the wicked brother spoke harshly to her, asking her if she had lost her
senses; he could not bear to see her, nor could he understand why she
was for ever weeping by the flower-pot. He knew not of the closed
eyes slumbering there, nor of the red lips which had mingled with the
dust. One day the maiden bowed her head upon the flower-pot, and
the Elf of the roses found her sleeping. He stole softly into her ear
to whisper stories of the twilight in the grove, of the fragrance of the
roses, and of the loves of the elves. And she dreamed a strange,
sweet dream, and as she dreamed her spirit passed away-fading in
peaceful death, to meet him whom she loved in heaven. Then the
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES. 13
jasmine spray opened its great white bells, and poured out streams of
wondrous fragrance; it was its only way of weeping for the dead.
But the wicked brother saw the lovely, blossoming plant, and claimed
it for his own possession. He placed it in his chamber, close to his
bed, for it was beautiful to look upon, and its fragrance was rich and
sweet. The Elf of the roses followed it and flew from flower to
flower, in each of which dwelt a tiny soul; he told them the story of
the murdered youth whose head was now dust with their dust, and of
the wicked brother and the heart-broken maiden.
We know it, we know it! cried the souls of the flowers. Have
we not sprung from his eyes and lips ? We know it all !" And they
waved their heads in strange, mysterious fashion. The Elf of the
roses could not understand how they could be so calm ; he flew out to
the honey-bees and told them all the story. The bees told it to their
queen, and she commanded that on the next day the murderer should
be slain. But on that very night-it was the first night after the young
girl's death-as the brother lay sleeping in his bed, close to the jasmine
tree, the blossoms unfolded, and unseen, but armed with poisonous
stings, out streamed the souls of the flowers, placed themselves in his
ear, telling him fearful dreams, flew across his lips and stung his
tongue with their poison-darts.
Now we have avenged the dead! they cried, and flew back to
the white bells of the jasmine. When the morning came, and the
window was opened wide, in flew the Elf of the roses, the queen bee
and her swarm of warriors to slay the murderer. But he was already
dead. Round his bed stood frightened servants, and said, The scent
of the jasmine has killed him."
Then the Elf of the roses understood the vengeance of the flowers,
and told it to the queen bee, who buzzed with all her swarm round the
flower-pot. No one could drive the bees away. One of the men took
up the flower-pot to carry it out, and a bee stung his hand, so that
he let fall the pot, and it broke to pieces. Then they saw the whitened
skull, and knew that the dead man on the bed was a murderer.
The queen bee buzzed through the air, and sang of the vengeance
of the flowers and of the Elf of the roses; and how behind the
smallest petal lives one who can reveal and avenge all evil.
T h16e xmprarUs mew i lahts.
^ ;i' ANY years ago there lived an emperor, who thought so
Much of new clothes, that he spent all his money on
magnificent costumes. He cared nothing at all about
his army or the theatre; his only pleasure was walking
SA- out to show his new clothes. He had a coat for every
day in the year, and just as one says of a king, he is
in the council," so one always said of this emperor, he is in his
14 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
The great town where he lived was very lively; foreigners used to
arrive there every day. One day there came two swindlers, who gave
themselves out for weavers, and said that they could weave the most
beautiful cloth that could be imagined. It was not only that the colours
and patterns were so unusually beautiful, but that the clothes which
were made out of the material possessed the singular quality of being
invisible to any one who was either stupid or unfit for his office.
Those would indeed be valuable clothes," thought the emperor.
" If I had them on I should be able to get at the truth as to which
men in my kingdom are unfit for the office which they hold. I
could distinguish wise men from fools. Yes, the cloth must be woven
for me at once." And he gave the swindlers a great deal of money in
advance that they might set about their work. So they put up two
looms, and made as if they were weaving, but they had nothing what-
ever on the looms. They then demanded the finest silk and the richest
gold, all which they put in their own pockets, and worked away at the
empty looms till late in the night. I should very much like to know
how they are getting on with the cloth," thought the emperor;
but he felt positively nervous when he reflected that no one would be
able to see it, who was either stupid or unfit for his office. Now he
certainly took it for granted that he had nothing to fear for himself, but
still he preferred to send some one else first just to see how it was
getting on. All the townsfolk knew of the singular power of the cloth,
and every body was anxious to see how worthless and stupid his
I will send my worthy old minister to the weavers first," thought
the emperor. He can decide best Low the cloth looks, for he has
plenty of brains, and no one could be better fitted for his post than
Well, the good old minister entered the room where the two swindlers
sat working at their empty looms. Heaven preserve us !" thought
the old man, I can't see a mortal thing! But he did not say so.
The swindlers begged him to be so kind as to step nearer, and asked
him if it were not a beautiful design and colour.
Great heavens he thought to himself. ( Can I be stupid ? I
have never found it out, and no one else must either. Am I unfit for my
office ? Oh, it will never do for me to say I can't see the cloth! "
Have you nothing to say to it ? asked one of the weavers.
Very nice, very charming," answered the old minister, looking hard
through his spectacles. "The pattern and the colours are equally
wonderful. Yes, I shall tell the emperor that I am very pleased
We are glad of that," said the weavers; and then they mentioned
the names of the colours and explained the singular pattern. The old
minister paid great attention, so that he might repeat it all to the
emperor, which he did as soon as he got back. The swindlers then
demanded more money, more silk, and more gold, all of which they
pretended to use in the weaving. They pocketed all they received;
not a thread came on the looms, but they went on as before, working
busily at nothing.
Soon afterwards the emperor sent another honourable statesman to
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES. 15
see how the weaving was going on, and whether the cloth would soon
be ready, and he fared no better than the first. He looked, and looked,
but since there was nothing there but the empty looms, nothing could
Is it not a splendid piece of cloth ?" asked the two swindlers,
pointing out the beauties of the pattern which was not there at all.
I am not stupid," thought the statesman ; it must bo my good
office that I am not fit for. It is rather absurd, but I ii.ast keep mv
own counsel," and so he praised the cloth which he did not see, and
expressed his delight at the beautiful colours and tasteful pattern.
Yes, it is quite charming," he said to the emperor. All the town
was talking about the beautiful cloth. The emperor thought tnat he
should like to see it himself while it was still on the loom. Accom-
panied by a suite of distinguished men, among whom were the two
eminent statesmen who had been there before, he went to the two
cunning weavers, who were weaving away with might and main, but
without either fabric or thread.
Is it not magnificent ? cried the two old statesmen who had been
there before. Let your majesty deign to remark the pattern, the
colours," and tbChe pointed to the empty loom, for they thought that all
the others could see the cloth.
What! thought the emperor. I see nothing at all Oh, that is
dreadful! Am I a fool ? Am not I fit to be emperor ? That would
be the most shocking thing that has ever happened to me. Yes, it is
very pretty," he said; it has my imperial approval." And he nodded
in a condescending manner, and looked at the empty looms, for he
would not say that he could see nothing. The whole suite who were
with him looked, and looked, and could make no more of it than the
others, but they said after the emperor, Yes, it is very pretty." They
advised him to wear the magnificent dress for the first time in the
great procession which was about to take place. Charmingc elegant,
exquisite! was passed from mouth to mouth; every one seemed im-
mensely delighted, and the emperor granted the swindlers the title of
" weavers to the imperial court."
The whole night through, before the day when the procession was to
take place, the two swindlers were up and stirring. They had lighted
sixteen candles, and all the townspeople could see how hard they were
working to finish the emperor's new clothes. They pretended to take
the cloth down from the looms, they cut with great scissors in the air,
they sewed with needles which had no thread in them, and at last
they said The clothes are ready." The emperor came himself with
his most distinguished nobles; and the swindlers lifted up one arm high
in the air as if they were holding something, and said, Look! here
are the trousers, here is the coat, here is the mantle and so on. It
is as light and fine as cobweb, one would think one had nothing on,
but that is just the beauty of it! " Yes," said the noblemen; but
they could not see anything, because there was nothing to be seen.
" May it please your imperial majesty graciously to take off your
clothes," said the swindlers, and we will put on your new ies here
before the large mirror."
The emperor took off all his clothes, andthe swindlers pretended to put
16 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
on each separate article of the newly-finished suit, while the emperor
twisted and twirled about before the mirror.
How beautifully they sit !" exclaimed everybody. "What a
splendid fit What a pattern, and what colours. It is an exquisite
They are waiting outside with the canopy which is to be held
over your majesty in the procession," announced the master of the
Look, I am ready !" said the emperor; Doesn't it fit well ?"
and then he turned once more to the looking-glass, as if he were
carefully examining his new costume. The chamberlains who were to
bear his train pretended to lift up something from the floor, and walked
just as if they were holding a train in the air; they dared not let it
appear that they could see nothing.
So the emperor walked in procession under the splendid canopy, and
all the crowd, in the street and at the windows, exclaimed, Look how
incomparably beautiful the emperor's new clothes are! What a train
he has! and how extremely well they fit." No one would allow it for
a moment that he could see nothing.at all, for then he must either be
considered stupid or unfit for his office. .None of the emperor's clothes
had been such a success as these. But he has nothing on cried a
little child at last. "Just listen to this little innocent," said its father;
and one whispered to another what the child had said. But he has
nothing on shouted all the people at last. That struck the emperor,
for it appeared to him that they were right; but he thought to himself,
" I must go through with the procession now." And the chamberlains
walked more stiffly than ever, and held up the train which was not
there at all.
The StOru s.
N the last house in a little village was a stork's nest.
"The mother-stork sat in it with her four young ones,
who all stretched out their pointed black beaks which
had not had time to turn red yet. A little way off, on
the top of the pointed roof, stood the father-stork, erect
and stiff as could be. He had drawn up one leg under
' -m him, so as not to be entirely idle while he stood on guard.
N You would have thought he was cut out of wood, so still
he stood. It looks highly genteel for my wife to have a
sentinel near her nest," he thought; no one can tell that I
Sam her husband. People are sure to think that I have been
5f ordered to stand here. That looks so aristocratic !" And he
went on standing on one leg.
Down in the street below, a troop of children were playing, and as
soon as they saw the storks, one of the boldest began, and all the rest
THE STORKS. 17
joined in after him, to sing the old song about the storks. But they
only sang it as they could remember it:-
Stork, stork! fly home, I beg,
Leave off standing on one leg ;
Your wife is sitting in the nest,
Rocking the little ones to rest:-
But the first shall be hanged,
And the second stabbed instead,
And the third shall be roasted,
And the fourth shot dead! "
"Just listen to what those boys are singing cried the young storks;
"they say we shall be hanged and roasted." Never you trouble
about that," said the mother stork; "don't listen to it, and then it
wont hurt you."
But the boys went on singing, and they snapped their fingers at the
storks; one boy, however, whose name was Peter, said that it was
wicked to mock at dumb creatures, and would not play with them. Th=
mother-stork comforted the young ones. Don't pay any attention to
them," she said ; "just look at your father how quietly he stands, and
that on one leg " We are very frightened," said the young storks,
and they drew down their heads deep into the nest.
The next day, no sooner did the children come out to play again
and see the storks, than they began their song-
The first shall be hanged,
And the second stabbed instead."
Shall we be hanged and stabbed ? said the young storks. Cer-
tainly not," said the mother; you shall learn to fly; I shall drill you
nicely. Then we will fly out to the meadow and pay the frogs a visit.
I8 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
They will bow to us it. the water and sing, 'Ko-ax, ko-ax !' and then
we shall eat them up; it will be such fun." And what then ? asked
the young storks. "Then all the storks in this country will meet
together, and the grand autumn review will begin; everybody must
fly well; it is of the highest importance, for whoever cannot do it is
stabbed to death by the general's beak. So mind you try and learn
something when we begin our practice." "Then we shall be stabbed
after all, as the boys said, and just listen, they are singing it
Listen to me and not to them," said the mother-stork. After
the grand review, we shall fly to warm countries far from here, over
mountains and forests. We shall fly to Egypt, where there are three
cornered stone houses that run to a point, high above the clouds.
They are called pyramids, and are older than any stork can imagine.
There is a river, too, which overflows its banks, and turns the whole
country to mud. One walks about in the mud, and eats frogs."
Oh-h !" cried the young storks. Yes, it is most delightful. One
does nothing but eat all day long; and while we are enjoying ourselves
so much, there is not a green leaf on the trees in this country; it is so
cold that the clouds freeze in pieces and fall down in little white
rags." It was the snow she meant, but she could not describe it
Do the naughty boys freeze in pieces ? asked the young storks.
"No, they don't freeze quite in pieces, but they do very nearly.
They are obliged to sit and shiver in a dark room, while you are
flying about in foreign countries, where there are flowers and warm
Time passed on, and the young storks grew so tall that they could
stand upright in their nests, and look about far and wide. The father-
stork came every day with beautiful frogs and young snakes, and every
kind of stork dainties that he could find. And it was most amusing
when he showed them all his wonderful feats. He could lay his head
right on to his tail, and clap with his beak as if it were a little clapper;
and he told them stories all about the marshes. Now you must
learn to fly," said the mother-stork one day, and the four young ones
were obliged to go out on to the top of the roof. How they waddled
about, and balanced themselves with their wings, and after all were
near tumbling off ever so many times.
"Just look at me !" said the mother. "This is the way to hold
your head; this is the way to place your feet. One, two; one, two;
that's the way to get on in the world." Then she flew a short distance,
and the young ones gave a little helpless jump. Bump down they
came, for their bodies were so top-heavy.
I won't fly," said one of the young ones, creeping back into the
nest ; I don't care about going to warm countries."
Do you want to freeze here, then, when the winter comes ? Do
you want the boys to come and hang you, and burn you, and roast
you? Shall I call them now?" No, no !" cried the young stork,
and hopped out again on to the roof after the others. On the third
day they could fly a little way, and they thought they could hover
motionless in the air. They tried it; and bump, down they came, and
THE STORKS. 19
had to flutter their wings quickly. Then the boys came into the street
below, and sang-
Stork, stork, fly home, I beg."
Shall we not fly down and pick out their eyes ?" asked the young
No ; leave them alone," said the mother. Listen to me, that is
of much greater consequence. One, two, three now fly to the right:
one, two, three now fly to the left round the chimney. That was very
well. That last stroke with the feet was so graceful and true, that I
shall give you leave to fly with me to the marsh to-morrow. We shall
meet several nice stork families with their children ; let them see that
mine are the best bred, and that you can strut about nicely. It looks
well, and inspires respect."
But may we not revenge ourselves on those naughty boys ?"
asked the young storks.
Let them shout till they are tired. You will fly up to the clouds,
and go to the country of the pyramids, while they are being frozen and
have not even a green leaf or a sweet apple."
But we will have our revenge," they whispered one to another, and
then they were drilled again. Now, of all the boys in the street none was
fonder of singing the mocking song than the very one who had begun
it, and he was a little fellow, perhaps not more than six years old.
"The young storks, however, thought he was a hundred, because he
was so much taller than their father and mother, and what did they
know about the ages of children and grown-up people ? Their whole
vengeance was meant for this boy; he had begun it first, and he was
the one to keep it up. The young storks were furious, and as they
grew bigger they were less inclined to put up with it. The mother
was obliged to promise them at last that they should be revenged, but
not till the last (lav of their stay.
First, we must see how you behave at the grand review. If you
come off badly so that the general stabs you through the breast with
his beak, why the boys will be in the right, at least in one sense.
Now, let us see."
Yes, that you shall," cried the young storks, and from that time
they practised every day, and took such pains, that at last they flew so
gracefully and easily that it was a pleasure to see them. Autumn
came on; all the storks began to flock together and pass over into
warm countries during our winter. It was something like a review.
Over forests and villages they went, just to show how well they could
fly; for it was a long voyage that lay before them. The young storks
got through so capitally that they received the certificate Highly
commended," with frogs and mice. It was the first-class certificate,
and they might eat the frogs and mice. And so they did. Now we
will revenge ourselves," they said. Yes, certainly," said the mother-
stork. I have thought of just the very thing. I know where the pond
is where all the little children lie till the stork brings them to their
parents. The pretty little things sleep and dream more sweetly than
they will ever dream again. Every father and mother would like to
have such a child, and every child longs for a little brother or sister
20 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
Let us fly down to the pond and fetch one for every child who would
not sing the wicked song, nor mock at the storks."
But the one who began it-the wicked, ugly boy," screamed the
young storks, "what shall we do to him ? "
"In the pond there lies a little dead baby, who has dreamed itself
to death-we will take that for him, and he will cry because we have
brought him a little dead brother. But the good boy-you have not
forgotten him, I hope ?-the one that said it was wicked to mock at
dumb creatures, we will bring him a brother and a sister as well.
And since the boy was named Peter, you shall all be named Peter,
And everything was done as she said; all the storks were called
Peter, and are called so to this day.
HUMMING-TOP and a ball were lying together in a box
among many other playthings, and the top said to the ball,
Shall we not be engaged to each other, you and I, since
we are thrown together in the same box ? But the ball,
which was covered with morocco, and thought as much
of herself as any fine lady could do, would not even listen to such
The next day came the little boy who owned the playthings; he
painted the top red and yellow, and drove a brass nail into the middle
of it. It looked most brilliant when it spun round. Look at me,"
said the top to the ball; shan't we be engaged ? We suit each other
so exactly; you can leap and I can dance. No one could possibly
be happier than we should be." Indeed! That is your opinion,"
said the ball. You are probably not aware that my papa and mamma
were morocco slippers, and that I have a Spanish cork in my body."
"Well, I'm made of mahogany," said the top. The mayor himself
turned me; he has a lathe of his own, and he turned me just for his
amusement." May I depend upon that ?" asked the ball. May I
never be whipped if it's false! replied the top. "You know how
to plead your cause well," said the ball; but indeed I cannot, I am as
good as engaged to a swallow. Every time I fly up in the air he puts
his head out of his nest and says Will you ? And I have said yes in
my own mind, so that is as good as a half engagement. But I shall
never forget you." Much good that will do," said the top. And
they did not speak to each other again.
The next day the ball was taken out by the little boy. The top
watched it flying high into the air like a bird, till it flew right out of
sight. It came back again after a while, but it gave a great bounce
every time it touched the earth ; and that occurred either because of its
upward longings, or because it had a Spanish cork in its body. The
TWO LOVERS. 21
ninth time, however, the ball stayed away, and did not come down
again; the little boy looked and looked for it, but off it was. I know
very well where she is," sighed the top, She is in the swallow's
nest; she has married the swallow."
The more the top thought of her, the more desperately in love he
grew; the very fact that he could not marry her only increased his
affection, and the fact of her having accepted somebody else was
another peculiar feature in the case. The top danced about and spun
round, but his thoughts were always with the ball, who daily grew
fairer and fairer in his memory. Years passed away, and now it was
an old love. The top himself was no longer young. But behold!
one day he was gilt all over-never had he looked so handsome before;
he was a gold top now, and spun till he hummed again. That was
something like. But all at once he sprang up too high, and off he was.
They sought and sought for hini, even down into the cellar; but he
was not to be found. Where was he ?
He had jumped right into the dust-bin, among all kinds of things-
cabbage-stalks, sweepings, and dirt that had fallen down from the roof.
" Well, this is a pretty situation. I shall soon lose my fine gilding
here. What a low set I have fallen among." He glanced furtively at
a long, leafless cabbage-stalk, and at a queer-looking round thing, that
he took for an old apple. But it was no apple; it was a ball that had
lain for years in the roof-gutter, and been soaked through and through.
Thank goodness, here comes one of my own class, to whom I can
speak," said the ball, looking at the gilt top. I am really made of
morocco, sewn by the hands of ladies; and I have a Spanish cork in
my body, though no one would think so to look at me now. I was
once on the point of marrying a swallow, but I fell into the roof-gutter,
where I lay for five years, and was quite soaked through. Believe me,
that is a long time for a young ball."
But the top did not say a word; he thought of his old love, and the
more he heard the more certain he was that it was she. The servant-
girl came up just then to turn out the dust-bin. Hallo! why here is
the gold top," she cried.
And the top came once more to honour and distinction, but nothing
was ever heard of the ball. The top never spoke again of his old flame;
it dies out you see; when the beloved one has lain for five years in the
roof-gutter and been soaked through-one does not even speak when
one meets her in the dust-bin.
T was far on in January, a fearful snow-storm was
and rushed into each other's arms, where they held on tight
and were safe, at least for a while. Carriages and horses
J were powdered over as if with fine white sugar, the footmen
stood with their backs close against the carriage, and drove
with faces turned from the wind; the foot-passengers kept
in the shelter of the carriages, which moved slowly through the deep
snow, and when the storm was lulled at last, and a narrow footpath
had been shovelled away in front of the houses, people would stand
still on it when they met any one. No one liked to take the first step,
and tread aside in the deep snow, to let the other pass by. There they
stood, motionless, until, as if by a sudden, tacit agreement, each gave
up one leg for lost, and plunged it into the heap of snow.
Towards evening the wind had fallen, the sky looked as if it had
been newly swept, and made higher and more transparent; the stars
seemed brand-new, and some of them were wondrously bright and clear.
Everything froze till it cracked again, the topmost layer of snow was so
hard before morning, that it could bear the sparrows ; they hopped up
and down the snow heaps, but they could not find much to eat, and
they were terribly cold.
Tweet! said one to the other, call this a new year? Why, it's
THE YEAR'S STORY. 23
worse than the old one. We might just as well have kept the last. I
am dissatisfied, and I have a right to be so."
Yes ; and yet men are running about firing of shots in honour of
the new year," said a little frozen-out sparrow. They throw missiles
against the doors, and seem beside themselves for joy because the old
year is gone away. I was glad of it myself, for I hoped we should
have warm weather; but nothing of the kind, it is worse than ever.
The people must have made a mistake in their calculation of the
So they have," said a third, who was old and white-tailed. They
have what they call an almanack, entirely their own invention, and
everything has to take the time from that; but it is all wrong. The
year begins when the spring comes; that's the course of nature, and
that's the way I reckon."
But when does the spring come ? asked the others. It comes
when the stork returns, but that is very uncertain. In the town no
one knows anything definite about it; they know more in the country.
Shall we fly out there and wait? We shall certainly be nearer the
spring there, than we are here."
That is all very well," said one of the sparrows, who had been
chirping and hopping about for a long time without saying anything;
" but I have found one or two comforts in the town that I should
be afraid of missing out there. Up a court near here there lives a
family of people who have had the sensible idea of putting three or
four flower-pots outside the window, with the round holes in the
bottom of the pots turned outward to the street. Now these holes are
just large enough for me to fly in and out. I and my husband have
our nest inside, and all our young ones have been brought up from the
same place. Of course the people arranged the whole affair, so that
they might have the pleasure of seeing us, or else they would never
have thought of it. And for their own amusement they throw out
bread crumbs, so that we get our meals regularly, and are quite
provided for. I think, therefore, that I and my husband will stay,
although we are very dissatisfied, still we shall stay." And we shall
fly off to the country," said the others, "to see if the spring is not
coming !" So off they flew.
Out in the country the winter was sharp indeed. It froze many
degrees harder than in the town; the keen wind swept across the snow
covered plains; the peasant sat in his sleigh with great driving gloves
on, and beat his arms smartly across his chest, to keep the cold out;
the whip lay on his knees; the lean horses ran till they smoked again;
the snow crackled; the sparrows hopped about in the wheel ruts and
shivered. Tweet! when will the spring come? It is a long while
coming." Very long !" sounded from the nearest snow covered hill
across the field. It might have been an echo, or the voice of the
strange old man who sat there on the piled up snow, out in the wind
and weather. He was all in white, like a peasant in a coarse smock
frock, with white hair, pale face, and great clear eyes.
"Who is the old man yonder ? asked the sparrows.
I know," said an old raven, who was sitting on the finger-post, and
was condescending enough to acknowledge that they were all little
24 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
birds in the sight of God, and therefore deigned to talk and explain
things to the sparrows: "It is winter, the old man of last year; he is
not dead as the almanack says, but he is guardian to the little spring
who is coming. Yes, winter still rules the year. Ugh aren't you
cold, you little things? "
Now, is it not just as I said? exclaimed the youngest; the
almanack is a mere human invention, and not at all according to
nature. They ought to have left that to us who are more delicately
One week, two weeks, passed away. The frozen lake lay stark and
looked like molten lead, and there came damp, ice-cold mists that hung
over the earth; the great black crows flew off in long, silent files. It
was as if all was sleeping. Then a sunbeam darted across the lake,
which glittered like burnished silver. The snow upon the fields no
longer sparkled, but the white figure, winter himself, sat still there,
his eyes turned fixedly southwards; he did not see how the snow-carpet
sank suddenly into the earth, and here and there a green spot came to
light. All at once the air was filled with sparrows. Tweet, tweet!
is the spring coming now ? "
"The spring!" re-echoed over field and plain, and through the dark
brown woods where the moss glittered bright green on the tree-stems;
up from the south came the first storks flying through the air, on the
back of each sat a lovely little child, a boy and girl. The children
kissed the earth as if in greeting, and wherever they set their feet,
there sprang up white flowers through the snow. Hand in hand they
came to the old ice-man, winter, and nestled in tender greeting close
to his breast, when in a moment all three, and the whole landscape
with them, were shrouded in thick, damp vapour, veiling all around.
Gradually the wind rose-rose to a roar, and with wild fury drove
away the mist. The sun shone warm; the winter had vanished, and
spring's fair children sat upon the New.Year's throne.
This I do call a new year! said the sparrows. Now we shall
doubtless obtain our due, and get some compensation for the hard
Wherever the two children turned, there broke forth green buds on
bush and tree; the grass shot up, the seed grew greener in the fields.
The little girl strewed flowers all around; they lay piled up in her dress,
and though she threw them out in showers, the dress was always full,
till in her eagerness she scattered a perfect snow-storm of blossoms on
the apple and peach-trees so that they stood out in full glory, even
before they had put forth their green leaves. Then she clapped her
hands, and so did the little boy, on which flocks of birds came flying
up, no one knew from whence, and all of them twittered and sang,
The spring is come "
It was beautiful to see! Many a poor old woman crept out of her
cottage door into the sunshine, to stretch herself comfortably, and cast
a look on the yellow flowers that bloomed so proudly in the fields.
All around her looked as it used to do in her own young days long ago;
the world itself looked young again. It is a blessed day out of doors,
to-day," she said. The woodroffe was already there, fresh and fragrant;
violets in abundance, primulas and anemones were coming up, and
"THE YEAR'S STORY. '25
every blade of grass was full of life and sap; it was a royal carpet on
which one felt obliged to sit and rest. There, too, sat the children of
the spring, hand in hand; sang, laughed, and grew taller day by day.
_ -- _ --__- ._ __-__ -
T" . -,. v- ^ ~' ' ,- '- ,
A soft rain fell upon them, but they did not feel it; rain drops and
joyous tears were mingled in one. Bride and bridegroom, they kissed
each other, and at their kiss the forest trees burst into leaf. When
the sun rose it found the woodlands green.
Hand in hand walked the bridal pair under the fresh green roof of
leaves, where only the play of light and shadow brought out the ever-
varying colours. What virgin purity, what refreshing fragrance
breathed from the delicate leaves! Clear and sparkling rippled brook
and streamlet between the velvet sedge, over the coloured pebbles. All
nature breathed of eternal peace and plenty. The cuckoo sang, and
26 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
the lark trilled; it was a glorious spring; but the willows would wear
woollen gloves over their blossoms, they are so very prudent; it is
quite tiresome of them.
Days-weeks passed away; the warmth came steadily downwards;
waves of hot air surged through the corn, which grew more golden
day by day. The white water-lily, the lotus of the north, spread out
its wide green leaves upon the mirror of the woodland lakes, and the
fishes sought its cool shadow. On the sheltered side of the wood,
where the sun caught the walls of the peasants' houses and warmed
the unfolded roses, and the cherry-trees which were loaded with black,
juicy, sun-filled fruit, there sat the wife, she whom we have seen as
child and bride; her glance rested on the dark, soaring clouds, which,
violet-tinged, heavy and shaped like mountain crests, rose higher and
higher. They came from three sides, ever-increasing like a petrified,
inverted sea; they sank down towards the woods, where all lay hushed
as in a trance. Not a breath of air was stirring, the birds were silent,
awe and expectation thrilled the landscape; but along the roads and
by-ways carriage, horse, and foot-passengers hurried along to seek for
shelter. Then suddenly it flamed out as if the sun had blazed from
the sky-blinding, dazzling, devouring-and the darkness closed in
again with a roar and a crash. The water poured down in streams ;
light followed dark, and thunder chased the silence.
The young, brown, feathery reeds on the moor rose and fell in steady
waves; the tree-sprays in the forest were veiled in rainy mist; dark-
ness came; light broke in; silence and tumult followed each other.
The grass and corn lay as if trodden down, and washed away never to
rise again. Suddenly the rain dwindled to solitary drops; the sun
shone out, and on blade and leaf the raindrops sparkled like pearls.
The birds sang, fishes darted to and fro across the surface of the
water. Swarms of gnats danced in the air, and far out on a rock in
the salt, lashing waters of the sea, sat the summer himself-the stately
man with stalwart limbs and wet, dripping hair-made young again
by his fresh bath, he sat there in the warm sunshine. All nature had
won back her youth; all around was lovely, strong, luxuriant. It was
summer-bright, glorious summer!
Pleasant and sweet rose the fragrance from the swelling clover-
fields; the bees were humming round the ruined temple of the old
gods; blackberry tendrils wound round the stone altar, newly washed
by the rain, and glittering in the sun; thither flew the queen bee
with her swarm, and made ready wax and honey. None saw it but
the summer and his queenly wife; for them was the altar-table spread,
and decked with nature's offering.
The sunset sky burned like gold; no cathedral dome sparkles with
such lustre, and the moon shone from dusk to sunrise-it was
Days passed-weeks passed away. The bare scythes of the reapers
gleamed in the corn-fields ; the heavy boughs of the apple trees bent low
under the red and yellow fruit; the hops breathed fragrance from their
hanging clusters, and underneath the hazel bushes where the nuts hung
in rich bunches, man and wife were resting-the Summer with his
THE YEAR'S STORY. 27
", What lavish wealth! she said, all round the blessing has spread;
everywhere it is sweet and homelike, and yet-I know not why-I long
for rest, for peace; I cannot find the word. See, they are ploughing
again in yonder field. Men are always trying to gain more and more.
At a little distance behind the plough come flocks of storks, the birds
of Egypt, who carried us hither through the air. Do you remember
how we children came up to the northern land ? We brought with us
flowers, and pleasant sunshine, and green woodlands. The wind has
dealt hardly with them; they darken and turn brown like the trees of
the south, but unlike them they bear no golden fruits."
Do you wish to see the golden fruit ? cried the Summer; rejoice
then! He raised his hand and the woodland leaves turned red and
golden; a glory of colour fell on every forest; the hedges flamed out
with scarlet hips and haws; the elder trees hung heavy with dark
rich clusters; wild chestnuts burst from their green shells, and in
the woods the violets bloomed a second time.
But the queen of the year grew paler and more silent. It blows
cold," she said ; "the night brings chill mists. I long for the home
of my childhood." She watched the storks each and all as they flew
away, and stretched out her hands after them. She looked up to the
nests which were standing empty; in one of them grew the long
stemmed cornflower, in another the yellow rapeseed, as if the nest was
only there for their comfort and shelter, and the sparrows flew into the
storks' nests. Tweet! Where are the good people of the house ?
I dare say they cannot bear the cold, and so have left the country. A
pleasant journey to them "
The forest leaves grew yellower, and one after another fell to the
earth; the autumn wind blew stormily; the season was far advanced;
at the fall of the yellow leaf the queen of the year stood gazing with
soft eyes at the shining stars ; her husband by her side. A gust of wind
whirled through the leaves, they fell in showers, but the queen had
vanished, and only one white butterfly, the last of the year, flew through
the chilly air.
Damp mists came, the icy wind blew, and the long, dark nights drew
on. The ruler of the year stood there with snow white locks; he knew
it not; he thought it was the snow flakes falling from the clouds, for a
thin covering lay over the green field. And the church bells rang out
The bells of the nativity are ringing," said the king of the year,
" soon will the new royal pair be born, and I shall rest with my queen,
rest in the shining stars."
And in the dark green fir woods, where the snow lay, came the
Christmas angel to bless the young trees which were to adorn the
"Joy in the home and under the green boughs," said the ruler of the
year; in a few weeks he had changed into an old, old white haired
man. My time of rest is at hand, the young children will take the
crown and sceptre."
The power is still thine," said the Christmas angel; the power,
but not the rest. Let the snow lie warmly over the young seed ; learn to
see another receive homage while yet the rule is thine. Learn to be
"28 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
forgotten and yet to live. The hour of thy freedom comes when the
When will the spring come ? asked the Winter.
It will come when the stork returns."
And the Winter sat with snow white hair and beard; ice-cold, and
aged, and bent; but strong with ice and storm-high on the snow
drift of the hill, and looked southwards-as he had sat and looked before.
The ice cracked, and the snow crackled, the sledges circled on the
shining lakes; ravens and crows stood out sharply from the white
ground, no wind breath stirred. In the frost-bound air the winter
clenched his hands, and the ice lay fathom thick between land and
Then the sparrows came again from the town and asked, Who is
the old man yonder ? And the raven sat there again, or his son, which
is the same thing, answered them and said, It is the Winter; the old
man of last year. He is not dead, as the almanacks say, but he is the
guardian of the coming spring."
"When will the spring come? asked the sparrows. "Then we
shall be well off and have better food. The old year wasn't worth
And in silent thought the Winter nodded towards the black, leafless
woods where every bough showed its graceful form and tracery against
the sky. During the winter sleep, damp vapours floated slowly from
the clouds; the old man dreamed of his youth and manhood, and
towards daybreak the whole wood stood glorious in shining hoar frost;
that was the winter's summer dream ; the sunshine scattered rime upon
When will the spring come ?" asked the sparrows.
Spring! sounded like an echo from the hills where the snow lay.
The sun seemed warmer, the snow melted, the birds sang, Spring is
And high through the air came the first stork, the second following;
each carried a lovely child, who bent down on the open field and kissed
the earth ; they kissed, too, the silent old man, and like Moses on the
mount he vanished, borne away by the encircling cloud.
The Year's Story was ended.
"That is very accurate," said the sparrows, "and very beautiful
too; but it is not according to the almanack, and so it is all wrong
i 2 ~---o- --
NE or two great lizards were running to and fro in the
clefts of an old tree; they understood each other perfectly,
Because they both spoke the lizard tongue. What a
Racket and to-do there is in the old elfin hill!" said
the one lizard. I have not been able to close an eye
these two nights for the noise. I might just as well have had the
toothache, for then I could not sleep.
THE ELFIN HILL. 29
Something is going on inside," said the other lizard. They have
the whole hill raised on four stakes till the cockcrowing; it is thoroughly
ventilated, and the elfin daughters have learned new dances. Some-
thing is certainly in the wind "
"Yes, I have been speaking to an earthworm of my acquaintance,"
said the third lizard; he came straight out of the hill where he had
been groping day and night in the earth, and had overheard a good deal;
he can't see, the miserable creature, but he is very clever at groping
about and listening. They are expecting friends in the elfin hill,
distinguished friends, but who they were the earthworm either could not
or would not say. All the will-o'-the-wisps are engaged to form a torch
light procession, as they call it; and the silver and gold, they have
plenty of that in the hill, is being rubbed up and set out in the moon-
Who can the guests be ? cried all the lizards. Whatever can
be going on ? Listen what a disturbance just listen what a noise "
At that moment the elf hill opened, and an old elf-maid, hollow at
the back, came tripping out; she was the elf-king's housekeeper, a
distant connection of the family, and wore an amber heart on her fore-
head. Her legs moved so nimbly, trot, trot; gracious, how she did
trot along, right down to the sea to find the night raven.*
"You are invited to the elfin hill this very night," she said; "but
will you first do us a great favour and go round with the invitations ?
You ought to do something of the kind, since you have no house of
your own. We expect a few very distinguished friends, magicians who
have something to say for themselves, and so the elf-king wants to
make a display."
"Who is to be invited ? asked the night raven.
Anybody may come to the great ball-even men if they walk in
their sleep or do anything else in our line. But the first festival is to be
very select; we shall only have the most distinguished company. I
have had a dispute with the elf-king, for I thought we ought not even
to admit ghosts. The merman and his daughter are to be invited first;
they won't perhaps altogether like to come on dry land, but they shall
have a wet stone or perhaps something better to sit on, and then I think
they will not refuse. All the old demons of the first class, with tails, the
witch queen, and the kobolds we must have, and I think we should not
forget the grave pig, the death horse,t and the church dwarf. Certainly
they belong to the clergy, but that is only as far as their office is con-
cerned ; they are close connections of ours, and quite on visiting terms."
Croak," said the night raven, and off he flew to give out the invita-
The elfin maidens were dancing already on the hill; they danced
Formerly, when a ghost appeared, the priest cast it out into the earth. When this was
done a stake was driven into the place. At midnight the cry Let go was heard, the
stake was withdrawn, and the exorcised spirit flew away in the shape of a raven with a
hole in the left wing. This bird was called the night raven.
t It is a popular superstition in Denmark that a living horse, and in some cases a living
pig, should be buried under the foundation of every church. The ghosts of these animals
are called the death horse, or the grave pig. The death horse hobbles nightly on three
legs to the door of those about to die.
30 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
with shawls woven out of mist and moonshine, and that looks very nice
for any one who likes that sort of thing. The great hall in the midst of
the elfin hill was beautifully decorated; the floor was washed with moon-
beams, and the walls were rubbed with witch ointment till they glittered
in the light like tulip leaves. In the kitchen there were plenty of frogs
on the spit, snails' skins with children's fingers inside, salad of mush-
room spawn, cold mouse, muzzles, hemlock, beer brewed by the marsh
queen, and sparkling saltpetre wine from the churchyard vaults.
Everything was solid and good; rusty nails and church-window glass
were among the sweet-meats. The old elf king had his gold crown
polished with powdered slate-pencil; it was first form pencil, which
is very difficult for an elf king to get. In the bed-rooms curtains were
hung and fastened with snail-slime. There was a pretty hurry and
Now, I must have this perfumed with burnt horc,-nair and pig's
bristles, and then, I think, I shall have done my part," said the elf maid.
"Father, dear," said the youngest daughter; "now, may I know
who our grand visitors are to be ? "
Well, yes," he said, I may as well tell you. Two of my daughters
must be prepared for their weddings; for married two of them will
certainly be. The old Kobold, from Norway, who lives in the Dovre
Mountains, and owns so many castles of rock crystal, and a gold
mine, which is better than people think-the old Kobold is coming down
here with his two sons, who are both looking out for wives. The
father is a downright genuine old Norwegian, jovial and straightfor-
ward ; I know him of old, for we have drunk brotherhood together. He
came down here to fetch his wife; she is dead now; she was a
daughter of the king of the chalk cliffs of Moen. He took his wife
from the chalk, as folks say. I do long to see that old Norwegian
Kobold again The sons, they say, are rather ill-bred, forward young
fellows, but I dare say they have had injustice done them; at any rate
they will be all right as they grow older. Let me see that they are
shown what good breeding is."
And when are they coming ?" said his daughter.
"That depends on wind and weather," said the erl king. They
travel very economically. They generally come with a passenger
ship. I wanted them to come round by Sweden, but the old man
would not hear of trying that way; he does not keep up with the
Times. That's the only thing I don't like about him."
Two will-o'-the-wisps now came leaping up, one faster than the
other, so that was why one got there first.
They're coming they're coming! they cried.
Give me my crown, and let me stand in the moonlight," said the
The daughters held the shawls aloft, and curtseyed to the ground.
There stood the old Kobold from Norway, with his crown of sparkling
ice and polished fir cones; he wore a bear-skin and high, warm boots;
his sons on the contrary were bare-necked, and wore trousers without
braces, for they were stalwart fellows.
Is that a hill? asked the younger of the boys, pointing to the
THE ELFIN HILL. 31
In Norway we should call it a hole "
Boys said the old man: "holes go in, and hills stand out-
have you no eyes in your head ? "
The only wonderful thing about the place, they said, was that they
could understand the language at once. "Don't disgrace yourselves! "
said the old Kobold : people will think you are not half baked."
Then they went into the elfin'hill where the really select company
was already assembled, and that so quickly that it seemed as if they
had been blown together. But there was elegant and suitable accom-
modation for all. The seafolk sat up to table in great tubs and made
themselves quite at home. Every one observed the strictest rules of
etiquette; except indeed the two young Norwegian Kobolds, who put
their feet right on to the table and seemed to think that everything
became them. Feet off the table cried the old Kobold, and they
obeyed, but not at once. They tickled the ladies who sat next them
with fir cones that they had brought in their pockets, and then they
pulled off their boots to make themselves more comfortable, and gave
them to the ladies to hold for them. But their father, the old Kobold
was very different; he spoke so beautifully about the stately northern
rocks, the waterfalls that crashed foaming down with the sound of
organs and the roll of thunder, the salmon that leap high out of the
foaming water when the Reck plays on his golden harp; about
brilliant winter nights when the sleigh bells ring out, and the young
men run with burning torches over the ice-ice so transparent, that
they can see the fishes start with fright beneath their feet. Yes; he
could describe so that you saw the very scene before you; it was as
if the saw-mills were set working, and the lads and lasses sang and
danced the old Norwegian dance-hurrah all at once the Kobold gave
the old elf maid a sounding kiss-something like a kiss-and yet they
were no relations whatever!
Then the elfin maidens danced-singly, and with stamped cadence;
they did it beautifully; and then came the figure and solo dances.
Goodness how they could stretch out their legs, you could hardly tell
where they began and where they ended, or which were arms and
which legs, everything spun round like shavings from a saw mill, and
then they twirled and twisted till the death horse and the grave pig
felt ill, and had to be led from the table.
Prrrr !" cried the old Kobold: "that's one way of managing one's
legs But what else can they do, besides dance, and stretch out their
legs and raise a whirlwind ? "
You shall soon see that," said the erl king. He called forward
the youngest daughter. She was as light and clear as moonlight; the
most delicate of all the sisters. She put a white shaving in her mouth
and away she was-quite out of sight. That was her trick. But the
old Kobold said he shouldn't like his wife to have that trick, and he
did not think his sons cared about it either. The other daughter
could walk by her own side just as if she had a shadow, a thing no
The third was quite different; she had studied cookery with the
marsh elf, and she knew how to stuff alder tree buds with glow worms.
"She will make a good housewife," said the old Kobold; and he
32 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
drank to her with his eyes, for he did not wish to drink too
Then came the fourth and brought her harp: when she struck the
first chord every one lifted their left leg, for the Kobolds are all left
footed; and when she struck the second chord every one was obliged
to do whatever she wished.
She is a dangerous woman," said the old Kobold; but the two sons
went out of the hill, for they had had enough of it.
And what can the next do ? said the old Kobold.
I have learned to love all that is Norwegian," she said ; and I will
never marry unless I can go to Norway." But the youngest whispered
to the Kobold, That's only because she has heard a Norwegian song
that says how when the world sinks away the northern cliffs will be left
for monuments; that's why she wants to go up there. She is so
dreadfully afraid of sinking down."
Ho ho!" cried the old Kobold, "is that the meaning of it ?
Well, what can the seventh and last do ? "
The sixth comes before the seventh," said the elf king, for he could
count; but the sixth would not come forward.
I can only tell people the truth," she said; "nobody cares about
me, and I have enough to do to sew my shroud." Then came the
seventh and last; and what could she do ? Why she could tell fairy
tales, as many as she chose.
Here are my five fingers," said the old Kobold; "' tell me one for
She took hold of him by the wrist, and he laughed till he chuckled
again. When she came to the ring finger-it had a gold ring on then,
just as if it knew there was a betrothal about to happen-the old man
cried out, Hold on to that; the whole hand is yours. I shall take
you to wife myself."
The tale for the ring finger and the little finger are wanting yet,"
said the elfin maiden.
We will hear them in the winter," said the Kobold; and
about the birch tree, and the spectre gifts, and the ringing frost.
You shall tell them, for no one else knows how up there. We will sit
in the stone halls where the pine fire burns, and drink mead out of the
golden horns of the old Norwegian kings; the Reck has given me a
pair of them. While we sit there Nix will visit us, and sing us songs of
the shepherdesses on the mountains. That will be capital. The salmon
will leap in the waterfall and beat against the stone wall, but it cannot
come through. Yes, it is pleasant in dear old Norway. But where
are my lads ? "
Ah where are they ? Why running all over the fields, blowing out
the will-o'-the-wisps, who were kindly coming up with their torchlight
"( What's all the romping? cried the old Kobold. "I have chosen
a mother for you-now you may choose out two of your aunts."
But the youngsters said they would rather make speeches and drink
brotherhood; they did not care about marrying. So they made
speeches, and drank brotherhood, hanging up their empty horns to
show that not a drop was left. Then they took off the:- coats and
THE LOVELIEST ROSE IN THE WORLD. 33
went to sleep on the table, for they did not stand on any ceremony.
But the old Kobold danced about the room with his young wife, and
exchanged boots with her, which is much more genteel than exchanging
The cock crows! said the old elf maid, who saw to the house-
keeping; we must close the shutters or the sun will burn us up."
And the hill was closed.
But outside the lizards ran to and fro in the cloven tree, and one
said to the other, Well, I do like that old Norwegian Kobold !1"
"I like the lads the best," said the earthworm. But then he could
not see, poor creature.
~Th Lovtu irst Rosr in th, e WltU L
-.- HERE was once a queen, in whose garden bloomed the
most beautiful flowers all the year round, and from every
"quarter of the world. She loved the roses best, and she
S3had every kind, from the wild hedge rose, with the apple-
scented green leaves, to the rarest Provencal rose. They
grew up the castle wall, twined round columns and win-
dow frames, crept along the corridors and the ceilings
"of the palace chambers, and each had its own fragrance,
shape, and colour.
But within the palace reigned care and sorrow; the queen lay on
34 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
her sick bed., and the doctors said that she must die. There is one
thing that can save her," said the wisest of them. Bring her the love-
liest rose in the world; the one that tells of the highest and purest
love. Let her eyes rest on that before they close for ever, and she is
Young and old brought their roses from far and near; each chose
the loveliest in his garden, but none was the right one. The rose
must be brought from the garden of love-but which of all the roses
there told of the highest, purest love ?
The poets sang of the loveliest rose in the world ; each named his
own. Messages were sent through all the realm to every heart that
beat for love; messages to every class and every age. As yet, no
one has named the flower," said the wise physician. No one has
pointed to the place whence it sprang forth in all its glory. It is not
the rose from the tomb of Romeo and Juliet, nor from Walburga's
grave, although these roses will bloom for ever in song. It is not the
rose which sprang forth from Winkelried's blood-stained lances, from
the sacred blood which streams from the breast of the hero dying for
his fatherland, although no death is sweeter, no rose redder than the
blood so shed. Neither is it that wonder-flower, for whose sake men
offer up their fresh, bright life in weary days and years, in sleepless
nights spent in their lonely chamber-the magic rose of knowledge."
"I know where it blooms," cried a happy mother, bringing her little
child to the queen's sick bed. '" I know where the loveliest rose in the
world is found. The rose, which tells of the highest and purest love,
springs from the blooming cheeks of my sweet child, when refreshed
by sleep he uncloses his blue eyes, and smiles towards me with all his
wealth of love."
"Lovely is this rose, but there is a far lovelier," said the
Yes ; a far lovelier," said one of the women. I have seen it-
a holier, purer rose there cannot be, but it was pale as the petals of
the tea-rose. I saw it on the cheeks of our queen. She had laid
aside her royal crown, and was carrying her sick child to and fro in
the long, sorrowful night. She wept over it, kissed it, prayed to God
for it, as only a mother prays in her hour of need."
Holy, and wonderful in its strength, is the white rose of sorrow,
but it is not the rose we seek."
No; the loveliest rose is found before the altar of the Lord," said
the good old bishop. I saw it bloom as if an angel's countenance
were shining forth. The young maidens came near to the table of
the Lord to renew their baptismal vows, and the rose reddened and paled
on their fair cheeks. One young girl stood there and gazed towards
heaven with all the purity and love of her whole soul. That was the
rose that told of the highest, purest love."
Blessings rest on her! said the sage; but, as yet, no one has
named the loveliest rose in the world."
A little child stole into the room-the queen's own son; tears were
in his eyes and on his cheeks; he held in his arms a large open book,
bound in velvet with great silver clasps. Mother," cried the little
Jne, oh, listen to what I have just been reading!" He laid the
THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER. 35
book upon the bed, and read out of it the story of Him who gave
Himself up to the death of the cross for us men and for our salvation.
Greater love hath no man than this "
A rose-light crossed the pale cheeks of the queen, and her eyes
brightened, for she saw that out of the leaves of the book there sprang
forth the loveliest rose in the world-the rose that springs from the
blood of Christ on the tree of the cross.
I see it she cried; and he who sees this loveliest rose on earth
shall never die."
Thi Wlw Stcadfast Tin S l divr.
"HERE were once five-and-twenty tin soldiers, all
brothers, for they were all born out of the same
old tin spoon. They stood, musket on shoulder,
looking straight before them, and their uniform
Swas red and blue. The first words they heard in
this world, when the lid was taken off the box in
which they lay, was the cry, "Tin soldiers!"
It was said by a little boy, who was clapping his
"hands for joy. He had just received them as a
birthday present, and he set them up on the table.
^.. One soldier was exactly like another, except, in-
"deed, the youngest. He had been cast last of all,
1when the tin was running short, so that there was only enough for one
1e ; but he stood as firmly on his one leg as the others did on their
two, and he is the only one who became remarkable.
On the table where theywere set up were many otherplaythings. The
most striking of all was a prettily-made paper castle. You could see
through the tiny windows right into the rooms, and in front of the
entrance stood green trees, round a little mirror which looked like a
clear lake. W\axen swans swam upon it, and were reflected within it.
That was very pretty, but the prettiest of all was a little lady who
stood in the open doorway. She, too, was cut out of paper, but she wore
a dress of transparent cambric, with a narrow blue ribbon across her
shoulders like a scarf, fastened in front with a sparkling tinsel rose as large
as her face. The little lady stretched out both her arms for she was a
dancer, and then she lifted up one leg so high that the tin soldier
could not see it, and thought she had but one, like himself.
That would be the wife for me," he thought, "but she is so aris-
tocratic, she lives in a castle. I have only a box, and there are five-
and-twenty of us in that-it is no place for her. But I must make
her acquaintance He placed himself behind a snuff-box, which
stood on the table; he could see the little lady clearly from that
position. There she was, always on one leg, and never losing her
36 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
When the night came on, all the other tin soldiers were put in the
box, and the people of the house went to bed. Then the playthings
began to play-they played at war, and paying visits, and giving
balls. The tin soldiers rattled in their box, for they wanted to join in,
but they could not lift up the lid. The nut-cracker turned somersaults,
and the slate pencil amused itself on the table; they made such a
noise that the canary woke up and began to talk, in poetry, too. The
only two who never moved from their places were the tin soldier and the
dancer. She stood still on the very points of her toes, with both arms
outspread, and he was just as steadfast on his one leg, with his eyes
never moving from her face. The clock struck twelve-and crash!
up flew the lid of the snuff-box, but there was no snuff in it, only an
old hobgoblin-it was a toy. Tin soldier," said the goblin, don't
keep staring at what doesn't concern you."
But the tin soldier pretended not to hear him.
Very well! you just wait till to-morrow said the goblin.
The next day when the children got up the tin soldier was set up
in the window, and whether it was the goblin or the draught is not
known, but the window suddenly blew open, and the soldier fell head
I over heels down from the third story. It was a terrible journey. He
kept his leg stiffly in the air, and stuck with his shako and the point
4 of his bayonet between two paving stones. The servant girl and the
little boy ran down directly to look for him, but although they were
almost near enough to tread on him, they could not find him. If the
tin soldier had only cried out, Here I am they would most likely
have found him, but he did not consider it becoming to cry out, because
he was in uniform.
Soon it began to rain; the drops came thicker and faster, till at last
it was a perfect deluge. When it was over, two street boys ran up.
I say, look here cried one of them-" here is a tin soldier; let's
have him out, and put him to sail our boat."
They made a boat out of a piece of newspaper, placed the soldier
in the middle and launched it on the gutter: the two lads ran along by
the side and clapped their hands. Heaven preserve us how high the
waves ran in the gutter, and what a current there was-for it had been
a regular downpour. The paper boat rocked up and down, spinning
round every now and then till the tin soldier was giddy. He, however,
remained steadfast, moved not a muscle, but looked straight before
him, shouldering his musket. All at once the boat darted into a long
drain ; it was just as dark as if he had been in his box.
"Where can I be going to now? he thought. It is all the gob-
lin's doing. Ah if only the 'ttle lady were in my boat, it might be
twice as dark for all I should care."
Suddenly up came a great water-rat who lived in the drain. Have
you a passport ? said the rat : out with your passport But the
tin soldier did not speak, he only. held his musket more firmly.
The boat darted on and the rat followed it. Ugh! how he gnashed
his teeth and called out to the bits of straw and stick, Stop him-
stop him he has paid no toll! he hasn't shown his passport!"
The current grew stronger and stronger; the tin soldier could see
the daylight at the end of the drain, but at the same time he heard a
THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER. 37
roar and a rush that might have frightened the bravest man. Only
think, just where the tunnel ended, the drain emptied itself into a great
canal! It was as dangerous for him as it would be for us to be carried
down a mighty waterfall. He was so near it now that there was no
chance of stopping. The boat rushed through, the poor tin soldier
stood as firm as ever he could; no one should say of him that he
moved an eyelash. Three times-four times, the boat spun round; it
was filled to the very edge with water-it must go down now. The
tin soldier stood up to his neck in water ; the deeper the boat sank
the more the paper gave way, till the water closed above the soldier's
head. He thought of the sweet little dancer whom he would never
see again, and the song sounded in his ears-
Farewell, farewell, thou warrior bold,
March on to death and glory "
The paper split in two, the soldier sank down and was immediately
swallowed up by a large fish.
How dark it was inside the fish! darker than in the tunnel, and
much narrower too. But the tin soldier remained steadfast, and lay at
full length, shouldering his musket.
The fish darted to and fro-making the most alarming movements;
when at last he was quite still. A ray of light shot through him : it
grew clearer, and a voice cried out "The tin soldier! The fish had
been caught, taken to market, sold, and brought into the kitchen where
the cook cut it open with a large knife. She seized the soldier with
two fingers round the waist, and carried him into the parlour, for every
one to see the distinguished man who had travelled about the world
in the inside of a fish. But the tin soldier was not proud. They set
him up on the table-and-well! how strangely things do turn out in
this world !-there he was in the same room where he had lived before;
there were the same children, the same playthings on the table, the
lovely castle with the pretty little dancer! She was still standing on
one leg, holding the other high in the air; she too was steadfast. That
touched the tin soldier-he could have wept tin tears, only that would
not have been becoming. He looked at her, but she said nothing.
Then one of the little boys took up the tin soldier and threw him in
the fire ; he gave no reason whatever for doing so-it must have been
the fault of the goblin in the snuff-box.
The tin soldier stood there, lighted up by the flame; he felt a great
heat, but whether it came from the fire or from his love he did not
know. He had lost all his bright colour, perhaps on the journey,
perhaps from sorrow, nobody could be sure. He looked at the little
dancer, she looked at him; he felt that he was melting, but he re-
mained steadfast, shouldering his musket. Suddenly the door burst
open, the wind caught the dancer, and she flew like a sylph straight
to the tin soldier, flashed out into a flame-and vanished. Thereupon
the tin soldier melted away, and the next morning when the house-
maid raked out the ashes, she found him in the shape of a little heart.
Nothing was left of the dancer but the tinsel rose, and that was burnt
as black as a coal.
3S HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
i .ERY often when one passes by a field of buckwheat after
a storm one finds it blackened, scorched, and dead, as if
a flame of fire had swept over it. That comes from the
lightning," the farmer says, but this is what the sparrows
Told me. The sparrows heard the story from an old
willow which grows by a field of buckwheat, a wide-spreading stately
willow, but bent with age and cloven asunder in the midst. Out of
the cleft grow grasses and flowering brambles ; the tree leans forward
so that the branches touch the earth, and hang like long green hair.
Corn grows in all the neighboring fields, barley, and rye, and
graceful oats, which, when they are ripe, look like a flock of little canary
birds on a bough. The corn was rich and blessed; the fuller the
ears the lowlier they bent in thankful humility.
Right in front of the willow was a field of buckwheat. The buck-
wheat never bent like the other corn, but stood erect and haughty on
"I am certainly as rich as the corn!" it cried, "and far more
beautiful. My flowers are as lovely as the apple blossom; it is a
pleasure to look on me and mine. Do you know anything more
beautiful than me, you old willow ? "
The willow nodded as much as to say That I do !" But the buck-
Swheat shook itself out for very pride, and said, Stupid tree! It is so
old that the grass grows out of its body."
Storm came on-the field flowers folded their leaves and bowed their
littlee heads, as it rushed by, but the buckwheat stood erect and
Bow your head, as we do," said the flowers.
I do not see why I should," said the buckwheat.
Bow your head, as we do," cried the corn. "The angel of the
storm is coming. His pinions reach from the clouds to the earth, and
he will smite you down before you can beg for mercy."
I will not bow," said the buckwheat.
Close your flowers and fold your leaves," said the old willow tree;
" do not look at the lightning when the cloud opens : even men dare
not do that-for through the lightning one can see into heaven itself,
and that sight strikes even human beings blind: what then would
become of us-poor growth of the earth-if we ventured it-we who
are of so much less worth than they ? "
Of less worth ? said the buckwheat. "I will look straight into
heaven itself," and so it did in its pride and scorn. The lightning
came ; it was as if the whole world stood in flames.
When the storm was over, the flowers and corn stood in the fresh
pure air, revived by the rain; but the buckwheat was burnt black by
the lightning, and lay like a dead weed on the earth.
AT THE LAST DAY.
The old willow waved its branches in the air and wept; great drops
fell from the green leaves. Why do you weep ? asked the sparrows.
" It is so pleasant here see how the sun shines and the clouds sail
by. Can you not breathe the fragrance from flower and tree ? Why
do you weep ? "
Then the willow told them of the pride of the buckwheat, and of the
fall that followed on its pride.
I, who am writing, heard it all from the sparrows, one night when I
begged them to tell me a story.
At the Last Bau,
HE.greatest day of all days for us is the day of
our death-the sacred, awful day of the great
change. Have you ever seriously thought. over
this sure, inevitable, last hour of death ? There
was once a man-an orthodox believer, men
called him-a defender of the Word which to
him was law-a zealous servant of a jealous
' God. Death stood by his bedside-death with
--- :.-' stern, pale face. "Follow me-the hour is
come," he said; and touched with icy finger the man's feet: they
froze and stiffened: touched his forehead; then his heart, which ceased
to beat, and the soul followed the death-angel,
In the few seconds that elapsed between this consecration of his
40 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
feet and heart, all that had filled his past life rose before the dying
man like the great waves of a black, sullen sea. His glance shrunk
back in terror from the immeasurable depth; round him the myriads
of stars, worlds, and heavenly orbs whirled dizzily by in endless space.
At such a moment the sinner shudders, for there is nothing to which
he can cling. But the good man lays down his head in quiet trust,
saying the childlike prayer-" Thy will be done!" This dying man
had never known the childlike heart: he felt himself a man: he did
not shrink as a sinner, for he trusted in his creed. Every ordinance
of religion had been observed by him in all its strictness; millions
of souls, he knew, would tread the broad way of destruction, nay, he
would willingly have slain their bodies with fire and sword as their
souls must be slain hereafter. But his path led towards heaven, whose
gates were opened to him by the promised mercy.
The soul followed the angel of death, but it looked back once more
on the bed, where lay the form of clay, wrapped in its white shroud--
a strange copy of itself.
They flew through a wide hall, that yet looked something like a
forest. Nature was clipped and pruned, divided, set up in classes,
treated artificially as in a French garden-a masquerade was being held.
That is human life," said the angel of death.
All the makers were more or less disguised; they were not the
highest or the noblest who were dressed in gold and velvet; the
meanest and poorest did not wear the garb of poverty. It was a
strange masquerade; and it was wonderful to see how every one held
something closely hidden under the folds of his mantle, trying vainly
to hide it away out of sight. Vainly, for all he met tore open the
mantle and laid it bare: the head of some beast was then clearly
seen-with some, a mocking ape, with others, a hideous goat, a poison-
ous serpent, or a clammy fish.
It was the brute nature that lies deep in all our hearts; and it struggled
wildly to get free. All held the long cloak tightly over it, but the others
tore it asunder and cried, Look! this is the one-this is the one!"
each laying bare the other's misery.
What beast was hidden in me?" asked the soul; the angel pointed
to a haughty form in front; a glory of coloured rays shone round his
head, but the claw of a peacock grasped his heart, and the glory was
but the bird's outspread tail.
As they passed along, large birds screamed harshly from the branches
of the trees, with human voices. Wanderer of death, do you re-
member me? They were the evil thoughts and passions of his life-
time, crying aloud, Do you remember me ?"
For a moment the soul shuddered: it knew well every voice, every
dark thought and base desire that rose up thus in witness against him.
"No good thing dwells in our sinful flesh," he cried; "but my thoughts
never came to deeds ; the world never saw their evil fruit." He hastened
on to escape the hideous cries; but the great black birds flew round
him and screeched aloud for all the world to hear. He ran like the
hunted Indian, and at every step he struck against sharp-edged stones,
which cut and tore his feet. "What stones are these?" he cried;
"they cover the earth like fallen leaves."
AT THE LAST DAY. 41
"They are the sharp words you have let fall; they wounded the
heart of your fellow-men more deeply than they wound your feet now."
I did not think of it," cried the soul.
"Judge not, that ye be not judged," resounded through the air.
We are all sinners," said the soul. "I have kept the law and the
Gospel: I have done what I could: I am not as other men."
They stood at the gate of heaven, and the angel of the gateway
asked, What art thou ? Declare thy faith, and show it me by thy
"I have kept the Commandments. I have humbled myself in the
eyes of the world. I have hated and punished sin and sinners !"
Thou art, then, a follower of Mohammed ?" said the angel.
I ?-heaven forbid "
He who takes the sword shall perish by the sword," says the
Scripture; "that is not thy faith. Art thou one of the children of
Israel, who say, with Moses, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth ?'
who hold that God is God alone for them ? "
I am a Christian."
I cannot see it by thy works: the teaching of Christ is, pardon,
Mercy! re-echoed through the courts of heaven: the portals
opened wide, and the soul swept in towards the unveiled glory.
But the blaze of light was so keen and penetrating that it shrunk
back as from an unsheathed sword: melody softer and more thrilling
than earth may know resounded on every side. The soul trembled
and shrank farther and farther, but the heavenly light pierced it through
and through, and, for the first time, it felt the heavy, intolerable burden
of its pride, and harshness, and sin. The light had conquered.
"The good I did on earth, I did because I could not help it," cried
the soul; "the evil was my very own."
Blinded by the pure, dazzling light, the soul fell fainting, crushed
by its shame, unfit for heaven, trembling at the thought of God's
righteousness, helpless to stammer a prayer for mercy.
But mercy, unlooked-for mercy, came to its help. God's heaven
revealed itself, God's love received it into its inexhaustible fulness.
Holy, glorious, loving, and immortal, shalt thou be, soul of man !"
was sung around him.
We, too, at the last day, shall shrink, as this soul did, from the glory
and splendour of heaven-we shall sink down abashed, with humility
and shame. God grant that, supported by love and mercy, glorified,
ennobled, and fitted for His kingdom, we may tread the paths of the
new life and enter into the eternal light!
~; N r~ 7
Y father left me the best inheritance, namely-a good
temper. Who was my father ? That has nothing to
do with good temper; he was, however, plump and
lively, and round made; in looks and disposition the
very reverse of his trade. What was his trade ? what
-' was his position in the social scale ? Why, if I had
let it be written and printed at the beginning of this
story, you would have shut up the book and said-
" What an unpleasant title I don't like that kind of thing." And yet
my father was neither a knacker, nor an executioner; quite the con-
trary, his position placed him before the highest people in the land,
with no presumption on his part, he only kept his proper place: he
took precedence of the bishop, the prince of the blood-everybody.
He was a hearse-driver.
There, now it's out! and I must say that when one saw my father
sit perched high up on the chariot of death, dressed in his long black
cloak and crape-trimmed, three-cornered hat, and then looked at his
round, red, jubilant face, beaming like the sun itself, it was impossible
"to think of death and mourning; the face said so plainly "Never
mind! never mind! it will turn out a great deal better than people
GOOD TEMPER 43
Well, I got my good temper from him, and my habit of going
a walk in the churchyard; a very amusing place when you go
there in a good temper; moreover I take in the Daily Intelligencer
as he did.
I am not young. I have neither wife nor child, nor library: but as
I said before, the Intelligencer is enough for me. It is my favourite
newspaper, and so it was my father's; it is very instructive, and con-
tains all that a man need care to know: who preaches in the churches,
and in the new books; all the charities; numbers of harmless poems,
matrimonial advertisements and appointments, all simple and straight-
forward. One can really live and die very comfortably and happily
when one takes in the Intelligencer; besides having at the end of
one's life paper enough to be buried on, if one does not like to lie on
The Intelligencer and the churchyard! Those are my two daily
paths for improving my mind: my seaside-watering places for re-
storing my good temper.
Any one can glance through the Intelligencer for himself ; but come
with me to the churchyard: we will go when the sun is shining and
the trees are green, and walk among the graves.
Each is like a book with the back turned uppermost, so that we can
read the title of what the book contains, but nothing further; but I can
see beyond that, and so could my father. I dot it all down in what I
call my grave book, and a.very instructive and amusing book it is:
the graves are all entered in it and a few more besides.
Here we are in the churchyard.
Here-behind this white railing, where a rose tree used to grow-it
is gone now, but a little spray of evergreen from the next grave
stretches out its green finger as if to make a little show-here rests a
most unhappy man, and yet while he lived he stood well as people
say. He had plenty to live upon, and more besides; but the world of
art was too much for him. When he went to the theatre and meant
to enjoy himself thoroughly, the machinist had only to turn on too
strong a light on one side of the moon, or the aerial effects to fall from
above the scenes instead of behind them, or a palm tree to crop up in
the Berlin Zoological Garden, or a cactus in the Tyrol, or a beech tree
in Norway, and he was furious. As if it signified Whoever would
fret about a thing like that ? and in a play, too, where one goes to be
amused! Sometimes the audience clapped too much for his liking,
sometimes too little. "A bundle of wet wood he used to say ; it
won't light to night ?" Then he would turn round to see what sort of
people they were; and if they laughed at the wrong time, he fumed and
fretted, and made himself really ill. He was a most unhappy man,
and now he rests in his grave.
Here lies a very fortunate man; a man, that is, of distinguished posi-
tion and high birth-a lucky thing for him, for he had nothing else to
recommend him; but everything is so wisely ordered in this world
that it is a pleasure to reflect upon it. He walked through life, all
stars, orders, and embroidery; just like the beautifully-worked pearl-
studded bell-pulls in fine drawing-rooms, which have a good thick rope
behind them to do all their work. He, too, had his good thick rope
44 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
at his back, a substitute who did all his work for him, and does
it still behind another new, embroidered, gold-starred bell-pull. All
things are so providentially ordered that it keeps one in a good
Here lies-ah! but this is really very sad! here lies a man, who
was trying for sixty-seven years to get a good idea; he only lived
for the hope of one day saying a good thing : at last, according to his
own estimation, he got his idea-but the rush of joy was too much for
him and he died-died of joy before a single creature was the better
for it, or had even heard it. I sometimes think his idea won't let him
rest in his grave; for suppose it was a joke that could be only brought
out at breakfast to have any effect, while he, as a dead man, cannot,
according to universal belief, show himself at any other time but mid-
night, the time is past, then the joke falls flat-no one laughs and the
poor man may get into his grave again, idea and all!
It is a melancholy thought!
Here rests a very miserly woman : during her lifetime she used
to get up in the night and mew, so that the neighbours might think
she kept cats; she was as miserly as that.
Here is a young lady of good family, who sang at every ball and
party; Mi manca la voce "* she used to sing, and that was the truest
thing she ever sang in her life.
Here lies a maiden of another class. When the voices of the heart
begin to sing, reason puts her fingers in her ears The pretty maid
was on the point of being married, when-it is an every-day story-
and there is a pretty saying, Let the dead rest."
Here rests a widow who carried honey on her lips and bitter
gall in her heart; and who used to go from house to house hunt-
ing up the faults of her neighbours as a sportsman hunts down
This is a family vault: and every member of this family held so
firmly together, that if the whole world and the newspaper into the
bargain said one thing, and the youngest boy came home from school
and said another, they would believe him against the whole set, because
he belonged to the family. And certain it is, that if the family cock
crowed at midnight, it was morning for them, if every clock and
watchman in the town cried midnight all together.
The great Goethe wrote under the last line of his Faust, "It may be
continued," and so, too, may our wanderings in the churchyard. I often
go there myself: whenever any of my friends or enemies is a little too
much for me, I go there and choose out a grave for them and bury him,
her, or them right off.
There they lie helpless and dead, till they come back better men.
I write down their life and deeds as they appear to me, in my
grave book, and that is what every sensible person ought to do.
It is no use getting into a passion when any one drives you wild;
bury him, bury him at once, keep your temper, and take in the
Intelligencer, that excellent paper, written by the people with a guided
"* My voice fails me."
GREAT CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUTS.
BIG CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS. 45
When the time comes for me and my life's story to be bound up in
the grave, let there be written above me the epitaph-
That is my story.
Nig )laus and little mlaus,.
"Wkr r HERE lived once in the same village two men of
the name of Claus; one of them owned four horses,
Sand the other had but one. The villagers used to
call the man with four horses Big Claus," and
the man with one horse Little Claus," in order to
know them apart. Now let us hear what happened
to each of them, for this is a true story.
The whole week through, Little Claus used to
plough for Big Claus and lend him his one horse,
in return for which Big Claus let him use all his
team, but only once a week, and that was on Sundays. Yoicks !
how Little Claus smacked his whip over the five horses! they were
as good as his own for that one day. The sun was shining, all
the bells in the belfry were ringing, the village folk dressed in their
Sunday best and carrying their hymn book in their hand, went walking
by to church, to listen to the preacher. On their way they stopped
to look at Little Claus, who was ploughing away with the five horses,
46 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
smacking his whip, and crying out in the joy of his heart, Gee-up, my
five horses !"
You must not say that," cried Big Claus; "only one of them
belongs to you." But the very next time any one passed by Little
Claus quite forgot what he was to say, and called out again, Gee-up,
my five horses "
Now you had better drop that," said Big Claus, for if you say it
once again I'll give your horse a rap over his head that will about
finish him !"
I really won't say it again," said Little Claus. But when some
more country folk came up and stopped to give him good-day, he
thought how well it looked to be ploughing his field with five horses,
and, with a loud crack of his whip, he cried out once again, Gee-up,
my five horses "
I'll gee-up your five horses for you! said Big Claus; and, taking
up an iron bar, he struck Little Claus's horse on the head so that it
dropped down dead on the spot.
Oh! now I've no horse left," said Little Claus, crying bitterly.
He flayed his horse, and hung up the skin to dry; then, slinging it
across his shoulder in a bag, he set out to walk to the neighboring
town and offer it for sale.
It was a long distance off, and the path lay through a wide, gloomy
forest; storm came on, Little Claus lost his way, and before he could
find it again he wandered so far from the town that it was impossible
for him either to get there or to reach home again before nightfall.
By the roadside he saw a large farmyard; all the shutters were up
at the house windows, but the light shone through the cracks.
" Perhaps I shall get leave to stay.the night here," thought Little
Claus, so he went on boldly and knocked at the door.
The farmer's wife opened it, but when she heard what he wanted she
told him to go about his business; her husband was not at home, and
she could not let in any strangers.
Well, then, I must stay out in the cold," said Little Claus; and
the farmer's wife shut the door in his face.
Not far off stood a large haystack, and between it and the house was
a little outhouse with a flat roof of thatch. I can sleep up there,"
thought Little Claus, looking at the roof; "it will make a capital bed,
if only the stork won't fly down and peck at my legs For on the
house roof over-head stood a live stork by the side of its nest.
Little Claus climbed up on to the outhouse, lay down, and made
himself comfortable. The wooden shutters outside the windows were
not quite closed, so that he could see right into the room within. A
large table, covered with wine and fish and roast meat, was what he
saw. At the table sat the sexton and the farmer's wife, and nobody
else; she filled up his glass, and he stuck his fork into the fish, which
was his favourite dainty.
"Ah, if one could only get at a little of all that! thought Claus,
stretching his head nearer toward the window. Heavens! what a pile
of rich cakes he saw lying ready It was something like a feast!
At the same moment he heard some one come riding along the turn-
pike-road to the house; it was the farmer himself, on his way home.
BIG CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS.. 47
He was a good sort of man, but he had one very singular quality-he
could not bear the sight of a sexton; it made him positively furious.
That was why the sexton always went to pay his respects to the
farmer's wife when he knew that her husband was away from home;
and that was why the good woman sat before him the best she had in
the house. Now, vhen the farmer's wife heard her husband coming,
she was terribly frightened, and she begged the sexton to get into a large,
empty cheat. He consented at once, because he knew very well that
the poor farmer could not endure the sight of a sexton. Then the
wife made haste to hide away all the supper in the large oven, for if
her husband had seen it he would have been sure to ask what it all
Oh, dear! sighed Little Claus, from his outhouse, as he saw all
the good things disappear.
Hallo! Who is up there ?" cried the farmer, looking round.
What are you lying there for ?" he said to Little Claus. Get down
and come in the house with me."
So Little Claus explained how he had lost his way, and begged that
he might spend the night there.
"Surely!" said the farmer; "but first we must have something
The mistress received them very pleasantly, laid the cloth, and set
before them a large dish of porridge. The farmer was very hungry
and began to eat with a good appetite, but Little Claus could not help
thinking of the nice roast meat and fish and cakes which he knew were
in the oven. He had thrown down the sack, with the skin he was
going to take to market, under the table at his feet; and, as he did not
like the porridge, he trod upon the sack, so that the dry skin squeaked
Hush cried Little Claus to the sack; but he trod on it again at
the same time, till it squeaked louder than before.
"Whatever have you got in your sack ? cried the farmer.
"Oh, it's only a conjuror," said Little Claus. He says we are not
to eat any more porridge, for he has conjured the oven full of roast
meat and fish and cakes."
You don't say so!" exclaimed the farmer, making haste to open the
oven-door. There, sure enough, were all the dainty dishes which his
wife had hidden, but which, he believed, the conjuror had brought there.
His wife dared not say a word; she set out all the dishes on the table,
and the two men ate up the fish and meat and cakes. Little Claus
trod again on the sack till the skin squeaked. "What does he say
now ? said the farmer.
He says he has conjured us up three bottles of wine. They are in
the corner behind the stove."
The woman was obliged to fetch out the hidden wine, and the farmer
drank and grew very merry.
He would have liked to have such a conjuror as Little Claus kept in
his sack. Can he raise the devil?" asked the farmer. "I should
like to see him now, I feel so merry."
Yes," said Little Claus; "my conjuror can do anything I ask of
him-can't you ? he cried, and he trod on the sack to make it squeak.
48 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
"There! did you hear that ? He says he can; but it is an ugly sight.
We had better let it alone."
Oh, I am not at all frightened. What does it look like ? "
"Just like a live sexton," said little Claus.
Ugh that is frightful. Do you know, I cannot abide the sight of a
sexton But, never mind; I shall know what it is, and so I shall be
able to bear it. Now I am ready. Only don't let him come too near
Well, I'll ask my conjuror," said Little Claus, treading on the
sack, and bending down his ear.
What does he sa ? "
"Why, he says if you open that chest in the corner yonder, you will
see him cowering down inside; but you must hold the lid tight, lest he
should slip out."
Will you help me to hold it ? said the farmer; and they went up
to the chest where the farmer's wife had hidden the sexton, who lay
there frightened to death.
The farmer opened the lid a little way, looked in, and jumped back
with a loud cry. "I've seen him!" he said; "he is the very image of
our sexton. That was a frightful sight !"
They were obliged to drink some more after that; and they drank
till far into the night.
You must sell me your conjuror," said the farmer; ask anything
you like for him. I will give you a bushelful of money, down."
Oh, I can't," said Little Claus ; "just consider what I can get by
I must have him said the farmer; and he went on begging.
"Well,' said Little Claus, at last, since you have done me a
kindness to-night, and given me shelter under your roof, it shall be as
you wish. You shall have the conjuror for a bushelful of money;
but I must have good measure."
So you shall," said the farmer, only you must take that chest
away with you; I won't have it left in the house for one moment.
Who knows, but that he may be in there now ? "
Little Claus then made over to the farmer his sack with the dried
skin, and received in exchange a bushelful of money, good measure.
The farmer also made him a present of a hand-cart, to wheel away his
money and the chest.
Good-bye said Little Claus; and drove off with his money and
the chest that held the sexton.
On the other side of the forest was a broad, deep river; the water
flowed so fast that it was hardly possible to swim against the stream.
A fine new bridge had been thrown across it, and in the middle of this
Little Claus stopped, saying, loud enough for the sexton in the chest
to hear, Now, what had I better do with this stupid chest ? It is as
heavy as if it were full of stones ; if I go on wheeling it alonc, I shall
only tire myself out. I'll just throw it in the river; if it swims home
after me, well and good ; and if not, it doesn't much signify."
He lifted up the chest with one hand, and made as though he were
going to throw it into the water. Put it down cried the sexton
from within ; let me out first."
BIG CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS. 49
"Oh! cried Little Claus, pretending to be afraid, he's in there
still! I had better throw him over at once and let him drown."
No, no !" said the sexton; I'll give you a whole bushelful of
money if you will let me out."
"That alters the case," said Little Claus, opening the chest. The
sexton hurried out and kicked the chest into the river. He then went
home, and Little Claus received his bushelful of money; he had had
one already from the farmer, so his cart was quite full.
I've sold my horse pretty well," he said to himself, as he turned
out all his money into a great heap on the floor of his room. "Big Claus
will be in a passion when he finds out how rich I have become with my
one horse; however, I need not tell him all the particulars."
The next day he sent across a boy to borrow a bushel measure
from Big Claus. "Now, what can he want with that ? thought Big
Claus, and he smeared a little tar at the bottom of the measure, so
that part of whatever was put into it might stick. It turned out as he
wished, for the measure came back with three large silver crowns at the
What is the meaning of this?" thought Big Claus. He went
straight to Little Claus and asked him where he had got his money
Oh, I got it for my horse's skin. I sold it yesterday evening."
"That's a good price to get," cried Big Claus. He hurried home,
took down an axe, killed all his four horses, skinned them, and drove off
tothetown. Skins! skins! who will buy ?" he cried alongthe streets.
The shoemakers and tanners came running out to know what he
wanted for them. "A bushelful of money for every one," said Big
Are you mad ? they cried out all together; do you think we
have money by the bushelful.? "
Skins skins who will buy ? he cried again ; and every one who
asked him the price got his answer, a bushelful of money apiece."
"( He's making game of us," they cried at last; and the shoemakers
took up their straps, and the tanners their leather aprons, and they
gave Big Claus a thorough beating.
Skins! skins! they called after him, jeeringly; "yes, we'll mark
your skin for you; you shall smart for this," and Big Claus had to run
for his life; he had never had such a beating since he was born.
"Ah !" he cried, when he got home, Little Claus shall pay for
this. I'll be the death of him, yet."
Now Little Claus's old grandmother lay dead in the house; she had
certainly been a very harsh, cruel woman to him, but still he grieved
for her loss, and he had laid her in his warm bed to see if that would
bring her back to life: there she lay the whole night through while he
slept on a chair in the chimney corner as he had done many a time
before. As he was sitting there, the door opened and Big Claus came
in with his sharp axe; he knew exactly where the bed stood, and he
crept up to it and gave the old grandmother a blow on the head with
his axe, thinking all the while it was Little Claus.
Take that! he cried, You will never make game of me any
more." And he went back to his home.
50 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
"Why! he's a downright villain said Little Claus. He actually
meant to kill me. It was lucky for my grandmother that she was dead
already, for he would have put an end to her life. He dressed his
dead grandmother in her Sunday best, borrowed a horse from his
neighbour, harnessed it to the trap, placed his grandmother on the
back seat, so that she could not fall out, and drove away with her
through the wood. By sunrise, they had reached a large inn, where
Little Claus pulled up and went in to get something to drink.
The landlord was a good-natured man, and very rich; but he was a
perfect pepper box for hot temper. "Good morning! he said to
Little Claus; "you're early astir to-day."
"Yes," said Little Claus. I'm going into the town with my old
grandmother; she's sitting outside in the trap; I can't bring her into
the room. Will you be so good as to take her a glass of mead from
me ? You must speak up, for she is rather hard of hearing."
Here is a glass of mead from your son," shouted the landlord ; but
the dead woman did not speak a word, and sat quite still.
Don't you hear ? called the landlord as loud as he could; here
is a glass of mead from your son." He repeated it once more; and
then again; and at last, as she never turned or moved, he lost his
temper and flung the glass of mead in her face. The old woman fell
backward into the cart, for she was only set upright, and had not been
tied in her place.
Hallo cried Little Claus, rushing out, and seizing the landlord by
the throat, "why you have killed my grandmother! Look, there is a
great hole in her forehead! "
"Oh what a dreadful accident!" cried the landlord, wringing his
hands: "that comes from my hot temper. Dear Little Claus! if you
will only keep the matter quiet, I will pay you a bushelful of gold, and
bury your poor grandmother as if she were my own ; but if you make
it known I shall lose my head, and that will be so unpleasant."
So Little Claus received his bushelful of gold, and the landlord
buried the old grandmother as if she had been his own. As soon as
Claus got home with all his money, he sent his boy across to Big
Claus to borrow a bushel measure.
"What's the meaning of that ? cried Big Claus. Haven't
I killed him ? I must see into this myself." So he went himself
with the bushel to Little Claus. "Well wherever did you get
all this money from ? he said, staring with open eyes at the pile of
Youkilled my grandmother instead of me," said Little Claus, and
I have sold her for a bushelful of gold."
And a good price, too !" said Big Claus. He hurried home, took
down an axe and killed his grandmother on the spot. Then he put
her in the cart, drove off to the apothecary in the town and asked him
if he wanted to buy a dead body.
",V Who is it ? and how did you come by it ? asked the apothecary.
It is my grandmother. I've just killed her to get a bushelful of
gold for her."
"Heaven preserve us cried the apothecary, you must be raving,
don't say such things as that ; you'll lose your head for it. And then
BIG CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS. 51
he tried to explain to him in detail what an awful crime he had
committed, and what a wicked man he was, and how he was certain
to be punished: all of which frightened Big Claus to that degree that
he rushed out of the shop, jumped into the cart, flogged his horse, and
galloped home. The apothecary and all the people thought he was
out of his mind, so they let him go.
You shall pay for this," said Big Claus, when he found himself on
the turnpike road-" you shall pay for this-Little Claus As soon
as he reached home he went over to Little Claus and said, "This is
the second time you have deceived me. First you made me kill my
four horses, and then my grandmother. It is all your fault; but you
shall never take me in again."
Thereupon he seized Little Claus round the body, put him in the
sack, lifted the sack on his back, and said now I'm going straight
off to drown you."
He had a long way to go before he reached the river, and Little
Claus was not very light to carry. The path lay close to the church
where the organ was playing and the choir singing sweetly. Big
Claus set down the sack and propped it up against the church door: it
would do him no harm he thought to go in and listen to a psalm before
he continued his journey. Little Claus could not get out, and every
one else was in church; so in he went.
Oh dear oh dear cried Little Claus in the sack ; he turned
and twisted about, but it was no use, he could not open it. Meanwhile
a poor old drover came by, a very feeble, white-haired man, with a
great stick in his hand: he was driving his herd of cows and oxen
before him, when one of them ran against the sack where Little Claus
lay and overturned it.
Oh dear! sighed Little Claus; "I am so young, and yet I
must go to heaven at once "
And I, poor creature," said the drover, I am so old, and yet I
cannot get there."
Open the sack, and get into my place said Little Claus; "and
you will soon be there.'
With all my heart" said the old man, untying the sack, out of
which Little Claus struggled nimbly. You will look after the cattle,
won't you ? said the old man, as he crept into the sack. Little Claus
tied it up firmly and walked away with the herd of cows.
Big Claus came out soon afterwards and shouldered his sack again;
he fancied it was not quite so heavy; for the old drover was not half
the weight of Little Claus. "I can carry it quite easily now," he
thought to himself; that's because I went in and listened to a psalm."
So he went to the river which was broad and deep, threw in the sack
with the old drover inside, and called out after him, for he made sure
he was speaking to Little Claus, "Now stop where you are; you
shall never play off any more tricks on me." He walked homewards,
but when he came to the place where the cross roads met, there he
saw Little Claus driving his herd of cattle.
Why what is the meaning of this ? cried Big Claus. Haven't I
drowned you ?" You threw me into the river, about half an hour
ago," replied Little Claus.
52 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
"Then wherever did you find these splendid cows and oxen?"
asked Big Claus.
They are sea-cattle," said Little Claus. I will tell you the whole
story; I have great cause to be thankful to you, for now that I am on
dry land again, I am quite a rich man. I was dreadfully frightened
when you put me in the sack, and when the wind whistled through
my ears as you threw me off the bridge into the cold water. I sank
straight to the bottom at once, but I did not hurt myself, for I fell on
the soft rich grass which grows down there. The sack was im-
mediately opened by a beautiful maiden dressed all in white, with a
green wreath on her wet hair. She took me by the hand and said, Is
that you, Little Claus ? Here are some cattle for you to begin with:
and a mile farther down the road there is a whole flock that I will give
you as a present.' I began to see then that the river was as good as a
turnpike road to the sea folk. They walk and drive along its bed from
the sea to the hill where the river rises far away in the heart of the land.
It is a beautiful place down there, full of flowers; the grass is very
rich, and the fish swim above you in the water just like the birds in
the air. The people were very fine-looking, and oh! what famous
cattle there were grazing on the hills and in the valleys."
But why were you in such a hurry to come up here again ? said
Big Claus. "I shouldn't have been, if every thing is so beautiful
Well," said Little Claus, it was good policy in my case. You
heard what I told you about the sea maiden's saying that I should find
a herd of sea cattle a mile farther down the road-now by the road she
meant the river, for its only road she can take. But I knew how the
river bends and turns, first one way then another, so that it makes it
a good piece farther; while by coming up to the land again, and just
walking across the fields back to the river, I save almost half the
distance and get to my cattle so much the more quickly."
"You are a lucky fellow," said Big Claus. Do you think
I should get any sea cattle if I went down to the bottom of the
river ? "
I think so," said Little Claus; but I can't carry you in a sack to
the river, you're too heavy for me. If you like to walk there yourself,
and then get into the sack, I will throw you in with the greatest
"Thank you," said Big Claus. "But if I don't have any cattle
when I get down there, I'll thrash you within an inch of your life;
you may depend upon that."
No, no don't be so violent! said Little Claus. They walked on
to the river, and as soon as the thirsty cattle saw the water they ran
forward to reach its banks.
See how eager they are," said Little Claus, "they're in a hurry to
"Yes; but help me first, if you don't want your thrashing," said
Big Claus. He then crept into the large sack which was laid across
the back of an ox. "Put a stone in," he cried; I'm afraid of not
sinking down fast enough."
Oh, no danger," said Little Claus; but still he did put a large stone
THE NAUGHTY BOY. 53
in, tied the sack up tightly, and gave it a great push. Splash went Big
Claus into the river, where he sank down like lead.
I scarcely think he will find his cattle," said Little Claus as he
turned homewards with his herd.
The autghtj loj.
SHERE was once an old poet-such a dear, good
old poet. One night, he was sitting at home,
While the storm raged out of doors, and the heavy
rain came pouring down. He sat comfortably by
his fireside, the flame leaped merrily, and the rosy
.' '- apples hissed in the dish, as they lay roasting
before the fire.
The poor creatures out of doors in all this rain will not
S. have a dry thread on them !" he said.
"Oh let me in; I am cold and wet through," cried a
child's voice from without-the voice of a child who stood crying
and knocking at the door, while the rain poured down and the windows
rattled in the wind.
Poor little thing said the poet, and he got up to open the door.
There stood a little boy; he was naked, and the rain streamed from
his long fair hair. He was trembling with cold, and would certainly
have died in the storm if he had not been let in.
"Poor little thing! cried the old poet, taking him by the hand.
"' Come here to me, I will soon warm you. You shall have some wine
and a roasted apple, for you are a lovely little fellow."
He certainly was. His eyes shone like two clear stars, and although
the water was falling from his yellow hair, yet it hung in rich soft
curls. He looked like a little angel ; but he was white with cold, and
trembling from head to foot. In his hand he held a beautiful bow,
quite spoiled by the rain; the bright colours on the painted arrows
had all run together.
The old man sat down by the fire and lifted the little child on his
knee. He pressed the water out of his fair curls, warmed his little
hands between his own, and made him some hot spiced wine. Soon
the rich colour came back to the pale cheeks; the little one sprang to
the ground, and danced round the old man.
You are merry, little lad," said the poet;" what is your name ?"
My name is Cupid," he answered. Don't you know me ? Here
is my bow. I know how to shoot with it, I can tell you. Look the
storm is over now: the moon is shining.
But your bow is spoilt said the old poet.
That would be a pity," said the little lad, taking it up and looking
at it. "No, it is quite dry now; it has taken no harm: the string is
tight : I will try it." He bent the bow, took up an arrow, aimed, and
54 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
shot the good old poet through the heart. Now you know whether or
no my bow is spoilt," he cried, with a laugh, and off he ran.
The naughty boy, to shoot at the good old poet who had taken him
into his warm room and been so kind to him, giving him hot wine and
the best apple!
The old poet lay on the floor and wept; he was really shot through
the heart. Fie he cried, what a naughty boy that Cupid is I
shall tell all good children about him, that they may take care never
to play with him, for he will certainly do them some mischief."
All the good children, girls and boys, to whom the poet told this,
kept on their guard against Cupid, but it was not of much use ; he was
so very cunning. When the students come out of the lecture room,
he runs among them with a college cap on and a book under his arm;
they cannot possibly recognize him. So they take his arm thinking
he is a student, and he darts the arrow into their heart. He joins
the young maidens when they come from their confirmation class; he
runs after everybody. In the theatre he sits in the great chandelier
and shines so bright that the people take him for a lamp, but they find
out their mistake afterwards. He wanders through the public gardens
and the promenades-and once he shot your own father and mother
through the heart You just ask them,and hear what the will say. Oh !
he is a very naughty boy, this Cupid you must never have anything
to do with him. He leaves no one in peace. \hy, only think, he even
shot an arrow at your old grandmother It is long ago: the wound
is quite healed now; but she will never forget it. Fie naughty Cupid
But you have heard all about him now, and know what a naughty
boy he is.
IThe Wi}:tiht ):ale.
S DARESAY y-ou know that in China the Emperor
I Chinamen too. Now this happened many years ago-
but that is the more reason that the story should be
I heard before it is forgotten. The Emperor's Palace was
built entirely of the finest porcelain, very costly, but so
brittle, and so easily cracked, that one had to be careful how one
touched it. The garden was rich in wonderful flowers, and round the
most beautiful were wreaths of silver bells, which kept ringing lest any
one should pass by and forget to look at them. The same admirable
study of effect was to be found everywhere, and the garden was so large
that even the gardener did not know where it ended. If one did get
beyond it, one came out into a beautiful forest with deep lakes and lofty
trees. The forest stretched downwards to the sea, which sparkled blue
and clear; tall ships could sail up right under the branches of the trees,
r.-~ rs~ arC~2h~ 3_rp~ A:..40
THE NIGHTINGALE. 55
and among these branches there lived a nightingale. It sang so
gloriously that even the poor, hardworked fisherman held his breath to
listen when he sailed out by night to lower his nets into the sea.
" How beautiful it is !" he thought ; and then he was obliged to attend
to his work, and forgot all about the bird. But when he came again
the next night and the bird sang, he stopped again and said, how
beautiful it is."
Travellers came from every country in the world to admire the
Emperor's city, palace, and gardens; but when they heard the nightin-
gale they said, That is the best of all!"
They spoke of the bird when they returned to their homes, and
learned men wrote a great many books about the city and the garden,
not forgetting the nightingale, which they placed first of all. And
those who could write poetry, wrote the most beautiful verses about
the ni ghtingale in the woods by the deep sea.
The books were scattered all over the world, and one day some of
them fell into the hands of the Emperor. He sat on his golden throne
and read, and read, nodding approval at every page, for he liked
reading the glowing descriptions of the city, the garden, and the palace.
" But the nightingale is the best of all !" he read out of the book.
"The nightingale !" said the Emperor, I know of no nightingale.
Is there such a bird in my empire, in my Imperial garden indeed ?
and I never to have heard it To learn it for the first time out of a
Thereupon he sent for his first lord. This nobleman was so grand,
that when any one of lower rank than his own ventured to speak to
him, or ask him a question, he merely answered P," which has no
There is said to be a highly remarkable bird here, called the
nightingale," said the Emperor. It is spoken of as the best thing in
all my empire. How is it that I have never been told of it ?"
I have never even heard it mentioned," said the nobleman ; "it
has never been presented at court."
Let it be brought to sing before me this evening," said the
Emperor-" all the world knows better what I possess than I do
I never even heard it mentioned before," said the nobleman. I
will look for it and find it."
But where was it to be found! The first lord ran up and down the
stairs, through the halls and corridors, but not one of all the people he
met had ever heard of the nightingale. The nobleman went back to
the Emperor and said that it must certainly be a falsehood on the part
of those who wrote the books. "Your Imperial Majesty cannot
believe all that is written. The greater part of it is inventions-some-
thing that may be termed the black art."
But the book out of which I read this," said the Emperor, was
sent me by my Imperial brother, the Emperor of Japan, and therefore
it cannot be false. I will hear the nightingale. Let it be brought here
to-night. It has my most gracious favour, and if it is not here, I will
have the whole Court trampled under foot immediately after supper."
Tsing Pe !" cried the first lord, and off he ran again, upstairs and
56 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
downstairs, and through the halls, and corridors, and half the court ran
with him, for nobody wished to be trampled under foot. So there was
every one asking about this wonderful nightingale who was known to
the whole town, except to those who lived at Court. At last they ran
as far as the kitchen, and there they met a poor little scullery-maid
who said, "The Nightingale ? why I know it quite well! oh, how
sweetly it sings. Every evening I get leave to carry what is left from
the dinner-table to my poor, sick mother; she lives down by the sea,
and when I come back tired out, and sit down to rest in the wood, I
often hear the nightingale. The tears come into my eyes at her song
I feel as if my mother kissed me."
Little scullery maid," said the first lord, I will promote you to a
better place in the kitchen, and I will obtain permission for you to look
on when the Emperor dines if you can lead us to the nightingale, for
she is invited to the palace this evening." They set out together to the
wood where the nightingale sang; half the court followed them, and
when they were fairly on their way, a cow began to low.
"Now we've found her," cried one of the court pages ; "what
wonderful power for such a little animal I fancy I have heard her
No, no those are cows lowing," said the little scullery maid, we
are a long way off the place yet."
Some frogs croaked in the marsh. "Beautiful !" cried the court-
chaplain, I hear her distinctly : it sounds like little silver bells."
"Those are frogs," said the little scullery maid, "but I think we
shall soon hear her now."
The Nightingale began to sing. "There she is cried the little
girl: listen listen yonder she sits." And she pointed to a small
grey bird in the branches overhead.
Is it possible ?" said the first lord; I never imagined her like that.
How very plain she looks : she must have changed colour on seeing
so many people of quality."
Little Nightingale," cried the scullery maid aloud, our lord the
Emperor wishes you to sing before him."
With all my heart," said the little Nightingale, and sang so that it
was a joy to hear her.
It sounds just like little glass bells," said the first lord. "How
her little throat works It is most extraordinary that we have never
heard her before. She will be an immense success at Court."
Shall I sing again for the Emperor ? said the little nightingale,
who thought the Emperor was one of the group.
"My adorable little Nightingale," said the first lord, I have the
great pleasure of inviting you to the Court festival this evening, where
you may enchant His Imperial Highness with your charming song."
I sing better out in the woods," said the Nightingale, but she came
at once when she heard the Emperor wished it.
The palace was splendidly decorated, the porcelain walls and floors
glittered in the light of myriad golden lamps ; splendid flowers with
their chimes of silver bells were placed in the corridors. There was
such a hurry and draught, and ringing of bells, that one could scarcely
hear one's own voice.
THE NIGHTINGALE. 57
In the midst of the great hall where the Emperor sat on his throne
was a golden perch set up for the nightingale.
The whole Court was there, and the little scullery maid had leave to
stand behind the door, since she had been granted the title of Cook to
the Imperial Court. All were in full dress and every eye was turned
towards the little grey bird. The Emperor nodded, and the nightingale
began her song. She sang so gloriously that tears rose in the
Emperor's eyes and rolled down his cheeks ; then she sang more
sweetly still, and her voice thrilled every heart. The Emperor was so
delighted that he said the nightingale should wear his golden slipper
round her neck; but she thanked him, and said she was already
"( I have seen tears in my Emperor's eyes, and that is my great
reward. An Emperor's tears have special power. Heaven knows I
am repaid." And she sang once more with her sweet, lovely voice.
That is the most charming flattery I have ever heard," said the
ladies standing round; and they all held water in their mouths that
they might gurgle when they spoke to any one. They thought they
were nightingales then. Nay ; even the lacqueys and ladies' maids
gave out that they were satisfied, and that is saying a great deal, for
they are the hardest of all to please. In short, the Nightingale was a
She was obliged to live at court now ; she had her own cage and the
privilege of walking out twice a day and once at night. Twelve
servants attended her, and each of them held a silk ribbon which was
fastened round her leg. There was not much pleasure in such flying
about as that.
The whole town was talking of the wonderful bird, and when two
people met one of them was sure to say Night- and the other
to answer ingale."* And then they would sigh and understand
each other. And eleven pedler's children were named after her, but
not one of them had a good note in his voice.
One day the Emperor received a large parcel, on which was written
"-" The Nightingale." This must be a new book about our famous
bird," said the Emperor. But it was not a book; it was a little
mechanical toy in a box, an artificial nightingale, made like the living
bird but set with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. When it was
wound up it sang one of the very songs which the real nightingale
sung, moving its tail up and down in time to the music, and sparkling
with gold and silver. Round its neck was a ribbon with the inscrip-
tion, The Emperor of Japan's Nightingale is nothing compared to the
the Emperor of China's.
How exquisite !" cried all the court; and the messenger who had
brought the bird received at once the title of Imperial Chief Night-
Now they shall sing together : what a duet that will be So
they were set to sing together, but it was not a success, for the real
nightingale sang in her own way, and the artificial one knew nothing
"* There is a play upon words here, in the original Danish, the last syllable of nightin-
gale meaning mad.
58 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
but waltzes. This one is not in fault," said the conductor; it keeps
excellent time, quite according to my own method." Then the artificial
bird was made to sing alone. It was just as great a success as the
real one ; besides being much prettier to look at, for it sparkled like
bracelets and diamond brooches.
Thirty-three times it sang all through the same piece, and was not
tired then. The audience would have liked to hear it again, but the
Emperor said it was the real nightingale's turn now. But where
was she ? No one had noticed that she had flown away through the
open window to her own green woods.
Why, how is that ? cried the Emperor, and all the courtiers
blamed her severely, and called her a most ungrateful bird. How-
ever, the best is left," they said, and then they made the artificial bird
sing again : that was the thirty-fourth time they heard the same song.
They did not know it by heart yet, for all that-it was so very difficult.
The conductor praised the bird most highly ; he maintained that it
was better than a real nightingale, not only on account of its golden
plumage and valuable jewels, but of its musical talent. For consider
your Imperial Majesty and your Excellencies, with the real bird one
never knows what is coming next, while with this one all is according
to rule. It can be explained, opened, and shown to all men how the
waltzes are arranged, and which comes after the other."
That is just what we think," said the courtiers, and the conductor
obtained permission to exhibit the bird to the people on the following
Sunday. The Emperor gave orders that they should hear it sing;
they did so, and were so enraptured with it, that they felt as if they
were intoxicated with tea-drinking according to the Chinese fashion.
" Oh-h they all cried, holding up their forefingers and nodding to
the tunes. But the poor fisherman who had heard the real nightingale,
said, it sounds very pretty, and the tunes are like too : but there is
something wanting ; I don't know exactly what it is."
The real nightingale was banished from the Imperial realm.
The artificial bird was given a place on the silken cushions by the
Emperor's bedside ; all the presents of gold and jewels which it
received lay round it, and it held the title of Chief Singer of the Im-
perial Bedchamber-class one, on the left side, for the Emperor
considered that the most honourable side where the heart was ; and
even an Emperor has his heart on the left side. The conductor wrote
a work,in twenty-five volumes about the artificial nightingale; the
book ,was so long, so learned, so full of the hardest Chinese words,
that every one said he had read it and understood it, lest he should be
considered stupid, and perhaps trampled under foot.
A year passed away. The Emperor, the courtiers, and all the people
knew every trill in the nightingale's song by heart. They liked it all
the better for that, because now they could sing with it. The very
street boys sang, Zoo-zoo-zoo gluk-gluk--gluk and so did
the Emperor himself. It was delightful.
But one night when the nightingale was singing its best, and the
Emperor lay in bed listening to it, something inside the bird went
snap ; there was ancther catch. Whir-r-r-r-r-r it went The wheels
ran down ; the music stopped.
THE NIGHTINGALE. 59
The Emperor sprang out of bed, and summoned his physician-in-
ordinary, but what could he do ? Then they sent for the clockmaker,
and after a great deal of consulting and examination, he set the bird
to rights for a time. But he said it must be used very carefully. The
stops were almost worn out, and it would be impossible to put in new
ones without spoiling the music. There was great consternation at
Court. The bird was only allowed to be heard once a year, and some-
times that seemed almost too much for it. The conductor would then
make a short speech full of high flown words, to prove that it was just
as good as before : and so of course it was just as good as before.
Five years passed away and a great trouble fell on the land.
The Chinamen were really attached to their Emperor, and now he
lay ill, and was, so people said, at the point of death. A new Emperor
was already chosen, and the crowd stood out in the street asking the
first lord how the sick Emperor was.
P P !" he exclaimed, and shook his head.
Cold and pale lay the Emperor in his large state bed; the courtiers
thought that he was dead, and every one hastened away to greet the new
sovereign. The servants ran out to talk over the news, and the ladies'-
maids had a great tea-party downstairs. Cloth was laid down in all
the passages, so as to muffle every footfall, and the silence was un-
broken. The Emperor was not dead; he lay stiff and white on the
bed, with the heavy velvet curtains and the golden tassels ; before him,
through the open window, the moon shone down upon his face and
upon the golden bird.
He could scarcely breathe; he felt as if something were sitting on
his chest. He opened his eyes, and found that it was Death who sat
there, wearing his royal crown, and holding in one hand the Emperor's
sabre, in the other his embroidered banner. All around ghostly faces
looked out from the folds of the velvet curtains; some were hideous,
some mild and kindly. These were the Emperor's good and evil
deeds which looked him in the face, while death sat heavy on his
Do you remember me ?" "do you remember me ?" they asked,
one after the other; and as they spoke the cold perspiration stood on
the Emperor's brow.
"I never knew it!" he cried; Music music! sound the drums
and gongs to drown their voices!"
But they went on speaking, and Death nodded grimly at every word.
Music music !" cried the Emperor; "you little golden bird sing
to me now! I have loaded you with jewels and presents; I have hung
my golden slipper round your neck. Sing to me now "
But the bird was silent. There was no one there to wind it up; it
could not sing without that; and Death kept staring at the Emperor
with his hollow eyes through the dreadful stillness.
Suddenly a burst of song trilled from the open window-it was the
living nightingale who sat outside on the branch of a tree. She had
heard of the Emperor's need, and was come to sing of hope and con-
solation; as she sang the spectre faces faded; the blood ran more
freely through the sick man's feeble limbs, and Death himself listened,
and said, Sing on, little Nightingale sing on 1"
60 HANS ANDERSEN'S FAIRY TALES.
"Will you give me that beautiful sabre, and the silken banner, and
the Emperor's crown ?"
Death gave up each one in exchange for a song, and the nightingale
still went on singing. She sang of the quiet churchyard, where the
white roses grow, where the elder-flowers blossom, and the grass is
wet with mourners' tears. A longing for his peaceful garden stole
over Death as she sang, and he floated away out of the open window
like a cold white mist.
Thanks!" cried the Emperor; "you bird of heaven! I know you
now. I drove you from my land, and you have driven evil visions
from my bed, and death from my heart. How can I repay you ?"
I am repaid," said the nightingale. "I drew tears from your eyes
when I first sang to you. I shall never forget it; those are the jewels
that rejoice a singer's heart. But sleep now, and grow strong and
well; I will sing you a lullaby."
She sang, and the Emperor fell into a deep sleep, mild and
refreshing. The sun was shining through his windows as he woke,
strengthened and restored: none of his servants had returned, for they
believed him dead; but the nightingale was still singing.
Do not leave me again," said the Emperor; "you shall only sing
when you please, and I will break the golden bird in a thousand
Not so," said the nightingale; it served yoL as long as it could:
keep it here still. I cannot build my nest here in the palace. Let me
come and go as I will. In the evenings I will sit in this spray, and
sing to you till you are glad and thoughtful all in one. I will sing
of the happy and the suffering, of the good and evil, that lie hidden
around you. The little singing-bird flies far and wide, away from the
palace, to the hut of the poor fisherman, and the peasant's cottage. I
love your heart more than your crown, though the crown has a glory
and sacredness of its own. I will come and sing to you; but you
must promise me one thing."
Everything !" cried the Emperor. He stood dressed now in his
imperial robes, with the heavy golden sword at his side.
Only one thing. Let no one know you have a little bird who tells
you everything: it will be much better not."
The nightingale flew away.
In came the servants to look on their dead Emperor. They stood
still in amazement.
The Emperor said Good morning !"