Fairy Tales Volume 2

of Hans Christian Anderson


THE present volume is the second

of the selected stories

from Hans Andersen.

Together the books include what,


of a larger number,

are the best

for children’s use.

The story-telling activity

of this inimitable genius covered a period

of more

than forty years.

Besides these shorter juvenile tales,

there are a few

which deserve

to survive.

“The Ice Maiden” is a standard,

if not a classic,

and “The Sandhills

of Jutland” was pronounced

by Ruskin the most perfect story

that he knew.

, , , , 

It adds a charm

to the little stories

of these two volumes

to know

that the genial author traveled widely

for a man

of his time

and everywhere was urged

to tell the tales himself.

This he did

with equal charm

in the kitchens

of the humble and

in the courts

and palaces

of nobles.

, , , , 

As was said

in the preface

to the first volume,


there are children

to read,

the stories

of Hans Christian Andersen

will be read

and loved.

, , , , 




























of WATER   
















THE flax was

in full bloom;

it had pretty little blue flowers,

as delicate

as the wings

of a moth.

The sun shone

on it

and the showers watered it;

and this was

as good

for the flax

as it is

for little children

to be washed


then kissed

by their mothers.

They look much prettier

for it,

and so did the flax.

, , , , 

“People say

that I look exceedingly well,”

said the flax,


that I am so fine

and long

that I shall make a beautiful piece

of linen.

How fortunate I am!

It makes me so happy

to know

that something

can be made

of me.

How the sunshine cheers me,


how sweet

and refreshing is the rain!

My happiness overpowers me;

no one

in the world

can feel happier

than I.”

, , , , 



no doubt,”

said the fern,

“but you do not know the world yet

as well

as I do,

for my sticks are knotty”;


then it sang quite mournfully:




Basse lurre.

The song is ended.”

, , , , 


it is not ended,”

said the flax.

“To-morrow the sun

will shine

or the rain descend.

I feel

that I am growing.

I feel

that I am

in full blossom.

I am the happiest

of all creatures,

for I may some day come

to something.”

, , , , 


one day some people came,

who took hold

of the flax

and pulled it up

by the roots,

which was very painful.

Then it was laid

in water,


if it were

to be drowned,

and after

that placed near a fire,


if it were

to be roasted.

All this was very shocking.

, , , , 

“We cannot expect

to be happy always,”

said the flax.

“By experiencing evil

as well

as good we become wise.”

And certainly

there was plenty

of evil

in store

for the flax.

It was steeped,

and roasted,

and broken,

and combed;


it scarcely knew

what was done

to it.

At last it was put

on the spinning wheel.



went the wheel,

so quickly

that the flax

could not collect its thoughts.

, , , , 


I have been very happy,”

it thought

in the midst

of its pain,

“and must be contented

with the past.”

And contented it remained,

till it was put

on the loom

and became a beautiful piece

of white linen.

All the flax,


to the last stalk,

was used

in making this one piece.

, , , , 


this is quite wonderful,”

said the flax.


could not have believed

that I

should be so favored

by fortune.

The fern was not wrong

when it sang,




Basse lurre.’

, , , , 

But the song is not ended yet,

I am sure;

it is only just beginning.

How wonderful it is that,

after all I have suffered,

I am made something


at last!

I am the luckiest person

in the world

--so strong

and fine.


how white

and long I am!

This is far better

than being a mere plant

and bearing flowers.

Then I had no attention,

nor any water

unless it rained;

now I am watched

and cared for.

Every morning the maid turns me over,

and I have a shower bath

from the watering-pot every evening.


and the clergyman’s wife noticed me

and said I was the best piece

of linen

in the whole parish.

I cannot be happier

than I am now.”

, , , , 

After some time the linen was taken

into the house,


there cut

with the scissors

and torn

into pieces


then pricked

with needles.

This certainly was not pleasant,


at last it was made

into twelve garments

of the kind

that everybody wears.

“See now,


said the flax,

“I have become something

of importance.

This was my destiny;

it is quite a blessing.

Now I shall be

of some use

in the world,

as every one ought

to be;

it is the only way

to be happy.

I am now divided

into twelve pieces,

and yet the whole dozen is all one

and the same.

It is most extraordinary good fortune.”

, , , , 

Years passed away,


at last the linen was so worn it

could scarcely hold together.

“It must end very soon,”

said the pieces

to each other.


would gladly have held together a little longer,

but it is useless

to expect impossibilities.”


at length they fell

into rags

and tatters

and thought it was all over

with them,

for they were torn

to shreds

and steeped

in water

and made

into a pulp

and dried,

and they knew not

what besides,

till all

at once they found themselves beautiful white paper.



this is a surprise

--a glorious surprise too,”

said the paper.

“Now I am finer

than ever,



can tell

what fine things I may have written upon me?

This is wonderful luck!”

And so it was,

for the most beautiful stories

and poetry were written upon it,

and only once was

there a blot,

which was remarkable good fortune.

Then people heard the stories

and poetry read,

and it made them wiser

and better;

for all

that was written had a good

and sensible meaning,

and a great blessing was contained

in it.

, , , , 

“I never imagined anything

like this

when I was only a little blue flower growing

in the fields,”

said the paper.


could I know

that I

should ever be the means

of bringing knowledge

and joy

to men?

I cannot understand it myself,

and yet it is really so.

Heaven knows

that I have done nothing myself


what I was obliged

to do

with my weak powers

for my own preservation;

and yet I have been promoted

from one joy

and honor

to another.

Each time I think

that the song is ended,


then something higher

and better begins

for me.

I suppose now I shall be sent out

to journey

about the world,


that people may read me.

It cannot be otherwise,

for I have more splendid thoughts written upon me

than I had pretty flowers

in olden times.

I am happier

than ever.”

, , , , 

But the paper did not go

on its travels.

It was sent

to the printer,

and all the words written upon it were set up

in type

to make a book,

--or rather many hundreds

of books,

--for many more persons

could derive pleasure

and profit

from a printed book than

from the written paper;


if the paper had been sent

about the world,


would have been worn out

before it had half finished its journey.

, , , , 


this is certainly the wisest plan,”

said the written paper;

“I really did not think

of this.

I shall remain

at home

and be held

in honor

like some old grandfather,

as I really am

to all these new books.


will do some good.


could not have wandered about

as they can,

yet he

who wrote all this has looked

at me

as every word flowed

from his pen upon my surface.

I am the most honored

of all.”

, , , , 

Then the paper was tied

in a bundle

with other papers

and thrown

into a tub

that stood

in the washhouse.

, , , , 

“After work,

it is well

to rest,”

said the paper,

“and a very good opportunity

to collect one’s thoughts.

Now I am able,

for the first time,

to learn

what is

in me;


to know one’s self is true progress.


will be done

with me now,

I wonder?

No doubt I shall still go forward.

I have always progressed hitherto,

I know quite well.”

, , , , 

Now it happened one day

that all the paper

in the tub was taken out

and laid

on the hearth

to be burned.

People said it

could not be sold

at the shop,

to wrap up butter

and sugar,

because it had been written upon.

The children

in the house stood round the hearth

to watch the blaze,

for paper always flamed up so prettily,

and afterwards,

among the ashes,

there were so many red sparks

to be seen running one after the other,


and there,

as quick

as the wind.

They called it seeing the children come out

of school,

and the last spark,

they said,

was the schoolmaster.


would often think the last spark had come,

and one

would cry,

“There goes the schoolmaster,”

but the next moment another spark

would appear,


and beautiful.

How they wanted

to know

where all the sparks went to!

Perhaps they

will find out some day.

, , , , 

The whole bundle

of paper had been placed

on the fire

and was soon burning.


cried the paper

as it burst

into a bright flame;


It was certainly not very pleasant

to be burned.


when the whole was wrapped

in flames,

the sparks mounted up

into the air,


than the flax had ever been able

to raise its little blue flowers,

and they glistened

as the white linen never

could have glistened.

All the written letters became quite red

in a moment,

and all the words

and thoughts turned

to fire.

, , , , 

“Now I am mounting straight up

to the sun,”

said a voice

in the flames;

and it was


if a thousand voices echoed the words

as the flames darted up

through the chimney

and went out

at the top.

Then a number

of tiny beings,

as many

as the flowers

on the flax had been,

and invisible

to mortal eyes,


above the children.

They were

even lighter

and more delicate

than the blue flowers


which they were born;


as the flames died out

and nothing remained

of the paper

but black ashes,

these little beings danced upon it,

and wherever they touched it,

bright red sparks appeared.

, , , , 

“The children are all out

of school,

and the schoolmaster was the last

of all,”

said the children.

It was good fun,

and they sang

over the dead ashes:




Basse lurre.

The song is ended.”

, , , , 

But the little invisible beings said,

“The song is never ended;

the most beautiful is yet

to come.”

, , , , 

But the children

could neither hear nor understand this;


should they,

for children must not know everything.

, , , , 



NOW listen.


in the country,


by the roadside,

stood a pleasant house;

you have seen one

like it,

no doubt,

very often.

In front lay a little fenced-in garden,


of blooming flowers.

Near the hedge,

in the soft green grass,

grew a little daisy.

The sun shone

as brightly

and warmly upon her

as upon the large

and beautiful garden flowers,

so the daisy grew

from hour

to hour.

Every morning she unfolded her little white petals,

like shining rays round the little golden sun

in the center

of the flower.

She never seemed

to think

that she was unseen down

in the grass


that she was only a poor,

insignificant flower.

She felt too happy

to care

for that.

Merrily she turned

toward the warm sun,

looked up

to the blue sky,

and listened

to the lark singing high

in the air.

, , , , 

One day the little flower was

as joyful


if it had been a great holiday,

although it was only Monday.

All the children were

at school,


while they sat

on their benches learning their lessons,


on her little stem,

learned also

from the warm sun


from everything

around her

how good God is,

and it made her happy

to hear the lark expressing

in his song her own glad feelings.

The daisy admired the happy bird


could warble so sweetly

and fly so high,

and she was not

at all sorrowful

because she

could not do the same.

, , , , 


can see

and hear,”

thought she;

“the sun shines upon me,

and the wind kisses me;

what else do I need

to make me happy?”

, , , , 

Within the garden grew a number

of aristocratic flowers;

the less scent they had the more they flaunted.

The peonies considered it a grand thing

to be so large,

and puffed themselves out

to be larger

than the roses.

The tulips knew

that they were marked

with beautiful colors,

and held themselves bolt upright so

that they might be seen more plainly.

, , , , 

They did not notice the little daisy outside,

but she looked

at them

and thought:

“How rich

and beautiful they are!

No wonder the pretty bird flies down

to visit them.

How glad I am

that I grow so near them,

that I may admire their beauty!”


at this moment the lark flew down,

crying “Tweet,”

but he did not go

to the tall peonies

and tulips;

he hopped

into the grass near the lowly daisy.

She trembled

for joy


hardly knew what

to think.

The little bird hopped round the daisy,



what sweet,

soft grass,


what a lovely little flower,

with gold

in its heart

and silver

on its dress!”

For the yellow center

in the daisy looked

like gold,

and the leaves

around were glittering white,

like silver.

, , , , 

How happy the little daisy felt,

no one

can describe.

The bird kissed her

with his beak,


to her,


then flew up again

into the blue air above.

It was

at least a quarter

of an hour

before the daisy

could recover herself.

Half ashamed,

yet happy

in herself,

she glanced

at the other flowers;

they must have seen the honor she had received,


would understand her delight

and pleasure.

, , , , 

But the tulips looked prouder

than ever;


they were evidently quite vexed

about it.

The peonies were disgusted,


could they have spoken,

the poor little daisy

would no doubt have received a good scolding.


could see they were all out

of temper,

and it made her very sorry.

, , , , 

At this moment

there came

into the garden a girl

with a large,

glittering knife

in her hand.

She went straight

to the tulips

and cut off several

of them.

, , , , 

“O dear,”

sighed the daisy,

“how shocking!

It is all over

with them now.”

The girl carried the tulips away,

and the daisy felt very glad

to grow outside

in the grass and

to be only a poor little flower.

When the sun set,

she folded up her leaves

and went

to sleep.

She dreamed the whole night long

of the warm sun

and the pretty little bird.

, , , , 

The next morning,

when she joyfully stretched out her white leaves once more

to the warm air

and the light,

she recognized the voice

of the bird,

but his song sounded mournful

and sad.

, , , , 


he had good reason

to be sad:

he had been caught

and made a prisoner

in a cage

that hung close

by the open window.

He sang

of the happy time

when he

could fly

in the air,


and free;

of the young green corn

in the fields,


which he

would spring higher

and higher

to sing his glorious song

--but now he was a prisoner

in a cage.

, , , , 

The little daisy wished very much

to help him.



could she do?

In her anxiety she forgot all the beautiful things

around her,

the warm sunshine,

and her own pretty,


white leaves.



could think

of nothing

but the captive bird

and her own inability

to help him.

, , , , 

Two boys came out

of the garden;


of them carried a sharp knife

in his hand,

like the one


which the girl had cut the tulips.

They went straight

to the little daisy,


could not think

what they were going

to do.

, , , , 


can cut out a nice piece

of turf

for the lark here,”

said one

of the boys;

and he began

to cut a square piece round the daisy,


that she stood just

in the center.

, , , , 


So the daisy remained,

and was put

with the turf

in the lark’s cage.]

“Pull up the flower,”

said the other boy;

and the daisy trembled

with fear,


to pluck her up

would destroy her life

and she wished so much

to live and

to be taken

to the captive lark

in his cage.

, , , , 


let it stay

where it is,”

said the boy,

“it looks so pretty.”

So the daisy remained,

and was put

with the turf

in the lark’s cage.

The poor bird was complaining loudly

about his lost freedom,

beating his wings

against the iron bars

of his prison.

The little daisy

could make no sign

and utter no word

to console him,

as she

would gladly have done.

The whole morning passed

in this manner.

, , , , 

“There is no water here,”

said the captive lark;

“they have all gone out

and have forgotten

to give me a drop

to drink.

My throat is hot

and dry;

I feel


if I had fire

and ice within me,

and the air is so heavy.


I must die.

I must bid farewell

to the warm sunshine,

the fresh green,

and all the beautiful things

which God has created.”


then he thrust his beak

into the cool turf

to refresh himself a little

with the fresh grass,


as he did so,

his eye fell upon the daisy.

The bird nodded

to her

and kissed her

with his beak

and said:

“You also

will wither here,

you poor little flower!

They have given you

to me,

with the little patch

of green grass


which you grow,

in exchange

for the whole world

which was mine out there.

Each little blade

of grass is

to me

as a great tree,

and each

of your white leaves a flower.


you only show me

how much I have lost.”

, , , , 


if I

could only comfort him!”

thought the daisy,

but she

could not move a leaf.

The perfume

from her leaves was stronger

than is usual

in these flowers,

and the bird noticed it,

and though he was fainting

with thirst,


in his pain pulled up the green blades

of grass,

he did not touch the flower.

, , , , 

The evening came,

and yet no one had come

to bring the bird a drop

of water.

Then he stretched out his pretty wings

and shook convulsively;


could only sing “Tweet,


in a weak,

mournful tone.

His little head bent down

toward the flower;

the bird’s heart was broken

with want

and pining.

Then the flower

could not fold her leaves

as she had done the evening before

when she went

to sleep,



and sorrowful,


toward the earth.

, , , , 


till morning did the boys come,


when they found the bird dead,

they wept many

and bitter tears.

They dug a pretty grave

for him

and adorned it

with leaves

of flowers.

The bird’s lifeless body was placed

in a smart red box

and was buried

with great honor.

, , , , 

Poor bird!

while he was alive


could sing,

they forgot him

and allowed him

to sit

in his cage

and suffer want,

but now

that he was dead,

they mourned

for him

with many tears

and buried him

in royal state.

, , , , 

But the turf

with the daisy

on it was thrown out

into the dusty road.

No one thought

of the little flower

that had felt more

for the poor bird

than had any one else



would have been so glad

to help

and comfort him

if she had been able.

, , , , 



THERE were once five peas

in one shell;

they were green,

and the shell was green,

and so they believed

that the whole world must be green also,

which was a very natural conclusion.

, , , , 

The shell grew,

and the peas grew;


as they grew they arranged themselves all

in a row.

The sun shone without

and warmed the shell,

and the rain made it clear

and transparent;

it looked mild

and agreeable

in broad daylight

and dark

at night,


as it should.

And the peas,

as they sat there,

grew bigger

and bigger,

and more thoughtful

as they mused,

for they felt

there must be something

for them

to do.

, , , , 

“Are we

to sit here forever?”

asked one.

“Shall we not become hard,

waiting here so long?

It seems

to me

there must be something outside;

I feel sure

of it.”

, , , , 

Weeks passed by;

the peas became yellow,

and the shell became yellow.

, , , , 

“All the world is turning yellow,

I suppose,”

said they

--and perhaps they were right.

, , , , 

Suddenly they felt a pull

at the shell.

It was torn off

and held

in human hands;

then it was slipped

into the pocket

of a jacket,


with other full pods.

, , , , 

“Now we shall soon be let out,”

said one,


that was just

what they all wanted.

, , , , 


should like

to know which

of us

will travel farthest,”

said the smallest

of the five;

“and we shall soon see.”

, , , , 

“What is

to happen

will happen,”

said the largest pea.

, , , , 


went the shell,

and the five peas rolled out

into the bright sunshine.

There they lay

in a child’s hand.

A little boy was holding them tightly.

He said they were fine peas

for his pea-shooter,

and immediately he put one


and shot it out.

, , , , 

“Now I am flying out

into the wide world,”

said the pea.

“Catch me

if you can.”

And he was gone

in a moment.

, , , , 

“I intend

to fly straight

to the sun,”

said the second.

“That is a shell that

will suit me exactly,

for it lets itself be seen.”

And away he went.

, , , , 


will go

to sleep wherever we find ourselves,”

said the next two;

“we shall still be rolling onwards.”

And they did fall

to the floor

and roll about,

but they got

into the pea-shooter

for all that.


will go farthest

of any,”

said they.

, , , , 

“What is

to happen

will happen,”

exclaimed the last one,

as he was shot out

of the pea-shooter.

Up he flew

against an old board

under a garret window

and fell

into a little crevice

which was

almost filled

with moss

and soft earth.

The moss closed itself

about him,


there he lay

--a captive indeed,

but not unnoticed

by God.

, , , , 

“What is

to happen

will happen,”

said he

to himself.

, , , , 

Within the little garret lived a poor woman,

who went out

to clean stoves,

chop wood

into small pieces,

and do other hard work,

for she was both strong

and industrious.

Yet she remained always poor,


at home

in the garret lay her only daughter,

not quite grown up

and very delicate

and weak.

For a whole year she had kept her bed,

and it seemed


if she

could neither die nor get well.

, , , , 

“She is going

to her little sister,”

said the woman.

“I had only the two children,

and it was not an easy thing

to support them;

but the good God provided

for one

of them

by taking her home

to himself.

The other was left

to me,

but I suppose they are not

to be separated,

and my sick girl

will soon go

to her sister

in heaven.”

, , , , 

All day long the sick girl lay quietly

and patiently,

while her mother went out

to earn money.

, , , , 

Spring came,

and early one morning the sun shone

through the little window

and threw his rays mildly

and pleasantly

over the floor

of the room.


as the mother was going

to her work,

the sick girl fixed her gaze

on the lowest pane

of the window.


she exclaimed,



that little green thing be

that peeps


at the window?

It is moving

in the wind.”

, , , , 

The mother stepped

to the window

and half opened it.


she said,

“there is actually a little pea

that has taken root

and is putting out its green leaves.


could it have got

into this crack?



here is a little garden

for you

to amuse yourself with.”

So the bed

of the sick girl was drawn nearer

to the window,

that she might see the budding plant;

and the mother went forth

to her work.

, , , , 


I believe I shall get well,”

said the sick child

in the evening.

“The sun has shone

in here so bright

and warm to-day,

and the little pea is growing so fast,

that I feel better,


and think I shall get up

and go out

into the warm sunshine again.”

, , , , 

“God grant it!”

said the mother,

but she did not believe it

would be so.

She took a little stick

and propped up the green plant

which had given her daughter such pleasure,


that it might not be broken

by the winds.

She tied the piece

of string

to the window-sill and

to the upper part

of the frame,


that the pea tendrils might have something

to twine round.

And the plant shot up so fast

that one


almost see it grow

from day

to day.

, , , , 

“A flower is really coming,”

said the mother one morning.

At last she was beginning

to let herself hope

that her little sick daughter might indeed recover.

She remembered that

for some time the child had spoken more cheerfully,


that during the last few days she had raised herself

in bed

in the morning

to look

with sparkling eyes

at her little garden

which contained

but a single pea plant.

, , , , 

A week later the invalid sat up

by the open window a whole hour,

feeling quite happy

in the warm sunshine,

while outside grew the little plant,


on it a pink pea blossom

in full bloom.

The little maiden bent down

and gently kissed the delicate leaves.

This day was

like a festival

to her.

, , , , 

“Our heavenly Father himself has planted

that pea

and made it grow

and flourish,

to bring joy

to you

and hope

to me,

my blessed child,”

said the happy mother,

and she smiled

at the flower


if it had been an angel

from God.

, , , , 


On it a pink pea blossom  ...

in full bloom.]


what became

of the other peas?


the one

who flew out

into the wide world

and said,

“Catch me

if you can,”


into a gutter

on the roof

of a house

and ended his travels

in the crop

of a pigeon.

The two lazy ones were carried quite

as far

and were

of some use,

for they also were eaten

by pigeons;

but the fourth,

who wanted

to reach the sun,


into a sink

and lay there

in the dirty water

for days

and weeks,

till he had swelled

to a great size.

, , , , 

“I am getting beautifully fat,”

said the pea;

“I expect I shall burst

at last;

no pea

could do more

than that,

I think.

I am the most remarkable

of all the five

that were

in the shell.”

And the sink agreed

with the pea.

, , , , 

But the young girl,

with sparkling eyes

and the rosy hue

of health upon her cheeks,


at the open garret window and,

folding her thin hands

over the pea blossom,

thanked God


what He had done.

, , , , 



ON the last house

in the village

there lay a stork’s nest.

The mother stork sat

in it

with her four little ones,

who were stretching out their heads

with their pointed black bills

that had not yet turned red.

At a little distance,

on the top

of the roof,

stood the father stork,

bolt upright and

as stiff


could be.

That he might not appear quite idle

while standing sentry,

he had drawn one leg up

under him,

as is the manner

of storks.

One might have taken him

to be carved

in marble,

so still did he stand.

, , , , 

“It must look very grand

for my wife

to have a sentinel

to guard her nest,”

he thought.

“They can’t know

that I am her husband

and will,

of course,


that I am commanded

to stand here

by her nest.

It looks aristocratic!”


in the street,

a crowd

of children were playing.

When they chanced

to catch sight

of the storks,


of the boldest

of the boys began

to sing the old song

about the stork.

The others soon joined him,

but each sang the words

that he happened

to have heard.

This is one

of the ways:



fly away;

Stand not

on one leg to-day.

Thy dear wife sits

in the nest,

To lull the little ones

to rest.

, , , , 

“There’s a halter

for one,

There’s a stake

for another,

For the third there’s a gun,

And a spit

for his brother!”

“Only listen,”

said the young storks,


what the boys are singing.

Do you hear them say we’re

to be hanged

and shot?”

, , , , 

“Don’t listen


what they say;

if you

don’t mind,


won’t hurt you,”

said the mother.

, , , , 

But the boys went

on singing,

and pointed mockingly

at the sentinel stork.

Only one boy,

whom they called Peter,

said it was a shame

to make game

of animals,

and he

would not join

in the singing

at all.

, , , , 

The mother stork tried

to comfort her young ones.

“Don’t mind them,”

she said;


how quiet your father stands

on one leg there.”

, , , , 

“But we are afraid,”

said the little ones,

drawing back their beaks

into the nest.

, , , , 

The children assembled again

on the next day,

and no sooner did they see the storks

than they again began their song:

“The first

will be hanged,

The second be hit.”

, , , , 

“Tell us,

are we

to be hanged

and burned?”

asked the young storks.

, , , , 



certainly not,”

replied the mother.

“You are

to learn

to fly,


then we shall pay a visit

to the frogs.


will bow

to us

in the water

and sing ‘Croak!


and we shall eat them up,

and that

will be a great treat.”

, , , , 


then what?”

questioned the young storks.

, , , , 


then all the storks

in the land

will assemble,

and the autumn sports

will begin;


then one must be able

to fly well,


that is very important.

Whoever does not fly

as he should

will be pierced

to death

by the general’s beak,

so mind

that you learn well,

when the drill begins.”

, , , , 


but then,

after that,

we shall be killed,

as the boys say.


they are singing it again.”

, , , , 


to me

and not

to them,”

said the mother stork.

“After the great review we shall fly away

to warm countries,


from here,

over hills

and forests.

To Egypt we shall fly,

where are the three-cornered houses

of stone,

one point


which reaches

to the clouds;

they are called pyramids

and are older

than a stork

can imagine.


that same land

there is a river

which overflows its banks

and turns the whole country

into mire.

We shall go

into the mire

and eat frogs.”

, , , , 



exclaimed all the youngsters.

, , , , 


it is indeed a delightful place.

We need do nothing all day long

but eat;


while we are feasting

there so comfortably,

in this country

there is not a green leaf left

on the trees.

It is so cold here

that the very clouds freeze

in lumps

or fall down

in little white rags.”

It was hail

and snow

that she meant,

but she did not know how

to say it better.

, , , , 


will the naughty boys freeze

in lumps?”

asked the young storks.

, , , , 



will not freeze

in lumps,

but they

will come near it,

and they

will sit moping

and cowering

in gloomy rooms

while you are flying about

in foreign lands,

amid bright flowers

and warm sunshine.”

, , , , 

Some time passed,

and the nestlings had grown so large

and strong

that they

could stand upright

in the nest

and look all

about them.

Every day the father stork came

with delicious frogs,

nice little snakes,

and other such dainties

that storks delight in.

How funny it was

to see the clever feats he performed

to amuse them!


would lay his head right round upon his tail;

and sometimes he

would clatter

with his beak,


if it were a little rattle;

or he

would tell them stories,

all relating

to swamps

and fens.

, , , , 



said the mother stork one day,

“now you must learn

to fly.”

And all the four young storks had

to go out

on the ridge

of the roof.

How they did totter

and stagger about!

They tried

to balance themselves

with their wings,

but came very near falling

to the ground.

, , , , 


at me!”

said the mother.

“This is the way

to hold your head.

And thus you must place your feet.





that’s what

will help you on

in the world.”

, , , , 

Then she flew a little way,

and the young ones took a clumsy little leap.



down they fell,

for their bodies were still too heavy

for them.

, , , , 


will not fly,”

said one

of the young storks,

as he crept back

to the nest.


don’t care

about going

to warm countries.”

, , , , 

“Do you want

to stay here

and freeze

when the winter comes?

Will you wait

till the boys come

to hang,

to burn,


to roast you?



I’ll call them.”

, , , , 



cried the timid stork,

hopping back

to the roof

with the rest.

, , , , 

By the third day they actually began

to fly a little.

Then they had no doubt

that they

could soar

or hover

in the air,


by their wings.

And this they attempted

to do,

but down they fell,

flapping their wings

as fast

as they could.

, , , , 

Again the boys came

to the street,

singing their song,



fly home

and rest.”

, , , , 

“Shall we fly down

and peck them?”

asked the young ones.

, , , , 


leave them alone.


to me;

that’s far more important.




now we fly round

to the right.





to the left,

round the chimney.


that was very good.

That last flap

with your wings

and the kick

with your feet were so graceful

and proper

that to-morrow you shall fly

with me

to the marsh.


of the nicest stork families

will be there

with their children.

Let me see

that mine are the best bred

of all.

Carry your heads high

and mind you strut

about proudly,


that looks well

and helps

to make one respected.”

, , , , 

“But shall we not take revenge upon the naughty boys?”

asked the young storks.

, , , , 



let them scream away,

as much

as they please.

You are

to fly up

to the clouds

and away

to the land

of the pyramids,

while they are freezing


can neither see a green leaf nor taste a sweet apple.”

, , , , 

“But we

will revenge ourselves,”

they whispered one

to another.


then the training began again.

, , , , 

Among all the children down

in the street the one

that seemed most bent upon singing the song

that made game

of the storks was the boy

who had begun it,

and he was a little fellow

hardly more

than six years old.

The young storks,

to be sure,

thought he was

at least a hundred,

for he was much bigger

than their parents,



what did they know

about the ages

of either children

or grown men?

Their whole vengeance was

to be aimed

at this one boy.

It was always he

who began the song

and persisted

in mocking them.

The young storks were very angry,


as they grew larger they also grew less patient

under insult,

and their mother was

at last obliged

to promise them

that they might be revenged

--but not

until the day

of their departure.

, , , , 

“We must first see

how you carry yourselves

at the great review.

If you do so badly

that the general runs his beak

through you,

then the boys

will be

in the right

--at least

in one way.

We must wait

and see!”


you shall see!”

cried all the young storks;

and they took the greatest pains,

practicing every day,

until they flew so evenly

and so lightly

that it was a pleasure

to see them.

, , , , 

The autumn now set in;

all the storks began

to assemble,

in order

to start

for the warm countries

and leave winter

behind them.

And such exercises


there were!

Young fledglings were set

to fly

over forests

and villages,

to see

if they were equal

to the long journey

that was

before them.

So well did our young storks acquit themselves,


as a proof

of the satisfaction they had given,

the mark they got was,

“Remarkably well,”

with a present

of a frog

and a snake,

which they lost no time

in eating.

, , , , 


said they,


will be revenged.”

, , , , 



said their mother;

“and I have thought

of a way that

will surely be the fairest.

I know a pond

where all the little human children lie

till the stork comes

to take them

to their parents.

There lie the pretty little babies,

dreaming more sweetly

than they ever dream afterwards.

All the parents are wishing

for one

of these little ones,

and the children all want a sister

or a brother.

Now we’ll fly

to the pond

and bring back a baby

for every child

who did not sing the naughty song

that made game

of the storks.”

, , , , 

“But the very naughty boy

who was the first

to begin the song,”

cried the young storks,

“what shall we do

with him?”

, , , , 

“There is a little dead child

in the pond


that has dreamed itself

to death.


will bring that

for him.

Then he

will cry

because we have brought a little dead brother

to him.

, , , , 


that good boy,

--you have not forgotten him!

--the one

who said it was a shame

to mock

at the animals;

for him we

will bring both a brother

and a sister.


because his name is Peter,


of you shall be called Peter,


, , , , 

All was done

as the mother had said;

the storks were named Peter,

and so they are called

to this day.

, , , , 



FAR away,

in the land


which the swallows fly

when it is winter,

dwelt a king

who had eleven sons,

and one daughter,

named Eliza.

, , , , 

The eleven brothers were princes,

and each went

to school

with a star

on his breast

and a sword

by his side.

They wrote

with diamond pencils

on golden slates

and learned their lessons so quickly

and read so easily

that every one knew they were princes.

Their sister Eliza sat

on a little stool

of plate-glass

and had a book full

of pictures,

which had cost

as much

as half a kingdom.

, , , , 



were these children;

but they were not long

to remain so,

for their father,

the king,

married a queen

who did not love the children,


who proved

to be a wicked sorceress.

, , , , 

The queen began

to show her unkindness the very first day.

While the great festivities were taking place

in the palace,

the children played

at receiving company;

but the queen,


of sending them the cakes

and apples

that were left

from the feast,

as was customary,

gave them some sand

in a teacup

and told them

to pretend it was something good.

The next week she sent the little Eliza

into the country

to a peasant

and his wife.

Then she told the king so many untrue things

about the young princes

that he gave himself no more trouble

about them.

, , , , 

“Go out

into the world

and look after yourselves,”

said the queen.


like great birds without a voice.”

But she

could not make it so bad

for them

as she

would have liked,

for they were turned

into eleven beautiful wild swans.

, , , , 

With a strange cry,

they flew

through the windows

of the palace,

over the park,

to the forest beyond.

It was yet early morning

when they passed the peasant’s cottage

where their sister lay asleep

in her room.

They hovered

over the roof,

twisting their long necks

and flapping their wings,

but no one heard them

or saw them,

so they

at last flew away,

high up

in the clouds,


over the wide world they sped

till they came

to a thick,

dark wood,

which stretched far away

to the seashore.

, , , , 

Poor little Eliza was alone

in the peasant’s room playing

with a green leaf,

for she had no other playthings.

She pierced a hole

in the leaf,


when she looked

through it

at the sun she seemed

to see her brothers’ clear eyes,


when the warm sun shone

on her cheeks she thought

of all the kisses they had given her.

, , , , 

One day passed just

like another.

Sometimes the winds rustled

through the leaves

of the rosebush

and whispered

to the roses,


can be more beautiful

than you?”

And the roses

would shake their heads

and say,

“Eliza is.”


when the old woman sat

at the cottage door

on Sunday

and read her hymn book,

the wind

would flutter the leaves

and say

to the book,


can be more pious

than you?”


then the hymn book

would answer,


And the roses

and the hymn book told the truth.

, , , , 

When she was fifteen she returned home,


because she was so beautiful the witch-queen became full

of spite

and hatred

toward her.


would she have turned her

into a swan

like her brothers,

but she did not dare

to do so

for fear

of the king.

, , , , 

Early one morning the queen went

into the bathroom;

it was built

of marble

and had soft cushions trimmed

with the most beautiful tapestry.

She took three toads

with her,

and kissed them,


to the first,

“When Eliza comes

to bathe seat yourself upon her head,

that she may become

as stupid

as you are.”

To the second toad she said,

“Place yourself

on her forehead,

that she may become

as ugly

as you are,


that her friends may not know her.”


on her heart,”

she whispered

to the third;

“then she

will have evil inclinations

and suffer because

of them.”

So she put the toads

into the clear water,


at once turned green.

She next called Eliza

and helped her undress

and get

into the bath.

, , , , 

As Eliza dipped her head

under the water one

of the toads sat

on her hair,

a second

on her forehead,

and a third

on her breast.

But she did not seem

to notice them,


when she rose

from the water

there were three red poppies floating upon it.

Had not the creatures been venomous

or had they not been kissed

by the witch,


would have become red roses.

At all events they became flowers,

because they had rested

on Eliza’s head and

on her heart.

She was too good

and too innocent

for sorcery

to have any power

over her.

, , , , 

When the wicked queen saw this,

she rubbed Eliza’s face

with walnut juice,


that she was quite brown;

then she tangled her beautiful hair

and smeared it

with disgusting ointment

until it was quite impossible

to recognize her.

, , , , 

The king was shocked,

and declared she was not his daughter.

No one

but the watchdog

and the swallows knew her,

and they were only poor animals


could say nothing.

Then poor Eliza wept

and thought

of her eleven brothers

who were far away.

Sorrowfully she stole

from the palace

and walked the whole day

over fields

and moors,

till she came

to the great forest.

She knew not


what direction

to go,

but she was so unhappy

and longed so

for her brothers,


like herself,

had been driven out

into the world,

that she was determined

to seek them.

, , , , 

She had been

in the wood only a short time

when night came


and she quite lost the path;

so she laid herself down

on the soft moss,

offered up her evening prayer,

and leaned her head

against the stump

of a tree.

All nature was silent,

and the soft,

mild air fanned her forehead.

The light

of hundreds

of glowworms shone amidst the grass

and the moss

like green fire,


if she touched a twig

with her hand,

ever so lightly,

the brilliant insects fell down

around her

like shooting stars.

, , , , 

All night long she dreamed

of her brothers.

She thought they were all children again,

playing together.

She saw them writing

with their diamond pencils

on golden slates,

while she looked

at the beautiful picture book

which had cost half a kingdom.

They were not writing lines

and letters,

as they used

to do,

but descriptions

of the noble deeds they had performed and

of all

that they had discovered

and seen.

In the picture book,


everything was living.

The birds sang,

and the people came out

of the book

and spoke

to Eliza

and her brothers;


as the leaves were turned

over they darted back again

to their places,

that all might be

in order.

, , , , 

When she awoke,

the sun was high

in the heavens.


could not see it,

for the lofty trees spread their branches thickly overhead,

but its gleams here


there shone

through the leaves

like a gauzy golden mist.

There was a sweet fragrance

from the fresh verdure,

and the birds came near


almost perched

on her shoulders.

She heard water rippling

from a number

of springs,

all flowing

into a lake

with golden sands.

Bushes grew thickly round the lake,


at one spot,

where an opening had been made

by a deer,

Eliza went down

to the water.

, , , , 

The lake was so clear

that had not the wind rustled the branches

of the trees

and the bushes so

that they moved,


would have seemed painted

in the depths

of the lake;

for every leaf,


in the shade or

in the sunshine,

was reflected

in the water.

, , , , 

When Eliza saw her own face she was quite terrified

at finding it so brown

and ugly,

but after she had wet her little hand

and rubbed her eyes

and forehead,

the white skin gleamed forth once more;


when she had undressed

and dipped herself

in the fresh water,

a more beautiful king’s daughter

could not have been found anywhere

in the wide world.

, , , , 

As soon

as she had dressed herself again

and braided her long hair,

she went

to the bubbling spring

and drank some water out

of the hollow

of her hand.

Then she wandered far

into the forest,

not knowing whither she went.

She thought

of her brothers and

of her father

and mother

and felt sure

that God

would not forsake her.

It is God

who makes the wild apples grow

in the wood

to satisfy the hungry,

and He now showed her one

of these trees,

which was so loaded

with fruit

that the boughs bent

beneath the weight.

Here she ate her noonday meal,


then placing props

under the boughs,

she went

into the gloomiest depths

of the forest.

, , , , 

It was so still

that she

could hear the sound

of her own footsteps,

as well

as the rustling

of every withered leaf

which she crushed

under her feet.

Not a bird was

to be seen,

not a sunbeam

could penetrate the large,

dark boughs

of the trees.

The lofty trunks stood so close together that

when she looked

before her it seemed


if she were enclosed within trelliswork.

Here was such solitude

as she had never known before!

The night was very dark.

Not a glowworm was glittering

in the moss.

Sorrowfully Eliza laid herself down

to sleep.

After a

while it seemed

to her


if the branches

of the trees parted

over her head

and the mild eyes

of angels looked down upon her

from heaven.

, , , , 

In the morning,

when she awoke,

she knew not whether this had really been so

or whether she had dreamed it.

She continued her wandering,

but she had not gone far

when she met an old woman

who had berries

in her basket


who gave her a few

to eat.

Eliza asked her

if she had not seen eleven princes riding

through the forest.

, , , , 


replied the old woman,

“but I saw yesterday eleven swans

with gold crowns

on their heads,


in the river close by.”

Then she led Eliza a little distance

to a sloping bank,

at the foot


which ran a little river.

The trees

on its banks stretched their long leafy branches

across the water

toward each other,


where they did not meet naturally the roots had torn themselves away

from the ground,


that the branches might mingle their foliage

as they hung

over the water.

, , , , 

Eliza bade the old woman farewell

and walked

by the flowing river

till she reached the shore

of the open sea.

And there,

before her eyes,

lay the glorious ocean,

but not a sail appeared

on its surface;


even a boat

could be seen.

How was she

to go farther?

She noticed

how the countless pebbles

on the shore had been smoothed

and rounded

by the action

of the water.





that lay

there mingled together,

had been shaped

by the same power

until they were

as smooth

as her own delicate hand.

, , , , 

“The water rolls

on without weariness,”

she said,

“till all

that is hard becomes smooth;


will I be unwearied

in my task.


for your lesson,

bright rolling waves;

my heart tells me you

will one day lead me

to my dear brothers.”

, , , , 


Eliza asked her

if she had not seen eleven princes riding

through the forest ....]

On the foam-covered seaweeds lay eleven white swan feathers,

which she gathered

and carried

with her.


of water lay upon them;

whether they were dewdrops

or tears no one

could say.

It was lonely

on the seashore,

but she did not know it,

for the ever-moving sea showed more changes

in a few hours

than the most varying lake

could produce

in a whole year.

When a black,

heavy cloud arose,

it was


if the sea said,


can look dark

and angry too”;


then the wind blew,

and the waves turned

to white foam

as they rolled.

When the wind slept

and the clouds glowed

with the red sunset,

the sea looked

like a rose leaf.

Sometimes it became green

and sometimes white.


however quietly it lay,

the waves were always restless

on the shore

and rose

and fell

like the breast

of a sleeping child.

, , , , 

When the sun was about

to set,

Eliza saw eleven white swans,

with golden crowns

on their heads,


toward the land,


behind the other,

like a long white ribbon.

She went down the slope

from the shore

and hid herself

behind the bushes.

The swans alighted quite close

to her,

flapping their great white wings.

As soon

as the sun had disappeared

under the water,

the feathers

of the swans fell off

and eleven beautiful princes,

Eliza’s brothers,

stood near her.

, , , , 

She uttered a loud cry,


although they were very much changed,

she knew them immediately.

She sprang

into their arms

and called them each

by name.

Very happy the princes were

to see their little sister again;

they knew her,

although she had grown so tall

and beautiful.

They laughed

and wept

and told each other

how cruelly they had been treated

by their stepmother.

, , , , 

“We brothers,”

said the eldest,

“fly about

as wild swans

while the sun is

in the sky,


as soon

as it sinks

behind the hills we recover our human shape.

Therefore we must always be near a resting place

before sunset;


if we were flying

toward the clouds

when we recovered our human form,


should sink deep

into the sea.

, , , , 

“We do not dwell here,


in a land just

as fair

that lies far

across the ocean;

the way is long,


there is no island upon

which we

can pass the night


but a little rock rising out

of the sea,

upon which,

even crowded together,


can scarcely stand

with safety.

If the sea is rough,

the foam dashes

over us;

yet we thank God

for this rock.

We have passed whole nights upon it,

or we

should never have reached our beloved fatherland,

for our flight

across the sea occupies two

of the longest days

in the year.

, , , , 

“We have permission

to visit our home once every year and

to remain eleven days.

Then we fly

across the forest

to look once more

at the palace

where our father dwells


where we were born,


at the church

beneath whose shade our mother lies buried.

The very trees

and bushes here seem related

to us.

The wild horses leap

over the plains

as we have seen them

in our childhood.

The charcoal burners sing the old songs


which we have danced

as children.

This is our fatherland,


which we are drawn

by loving ties;

and here we have found you,

our dear little sister.

Two days longer we

can remain here,


then we must fly away

to a beautiful land

which is not our home.


can we take you

with us?

We have neither ship nor boat.”

, , , , 


can I break this spell?”

asked the sister.

And they talked

about it nearly the whole night,

slumbering only a few hours.

, , , , 

Eliza was awakened

by the rustling

of the wings

of swans soaring

above her.

Her brothers were again changed

to swans.

They flew

in circles,


and wider,

till they were far away;

but one

of them,

the youngest,

remained behind

and laid his head

in his sister’s lap,

while she stroked his wings.

They remained together the whole day.

, , , , 

Towards evening the rest came back,


as the sun went down they resumed their natural forms.


said one,

“we shall fly away,


to return again

till a whole year has passed.

But we cannot leave you here.

Have you courage

to go

with us?

My arm is strong enough

to carry you

through the wood,


will not all our wings be strong enough

to bear you

over the sea?”

, , , , 


take me

with you,”

said Eliza.

They spent the whole night

in weaving a large,

strong net

of the pliant willow

and rushes.

On this Eliza laid herself down

to sleep,


when the sun rose

and her brothers again became wild swans,

they took up the net

with their beaks,

and flew up

to the clouds

with their dear sister,

who still slept.

When the sunbeams fell

on her face,


of the swans soared

over her head so

that his broad wings might shade her.

, , , , 

They were far

from the land

when Eliza awoke.

She thought she must still be dreaming,

it seemed so strange

to feel herself being carried high

in the air

over the sea.

By her side lay a branch full

of beautiful ripe berries

and a bundle

of sweet-tasting roots;

the youngest

of her brothers had gathered them

and placed them there.

She smiled her thanks

to him;

she knew it was the same one

that was hovering

over her

to shade her

with his wings.

They were now so high

that a large ship

beneath them looked

like a white sea gull skimming the waves.

A great cloud floating

behind them appeared

like a vast mountain,

and upon it Eliza saw her own shadow

and those

of the eleven swans,

like gigantic flying things.

Altogether it formed a more beautiful picture

than she had ever

before seen;


as the sun rose higher

and the clouds were left behind,

the picture vanished.

, , , , 

Onward the whole day they flew

through the air

like winged arrows,

yet more slowly

than usual,

for they had their sister

to carry.

The weather grew threatening,

and Eliza watched the sinking sun

with great anxiety,

for the little rock

in the ocean was not yet

in sight.

It seemed

to her


if the swans were exerting themselves

to the utmost.


she was the cause

of their not advancing more quickly.

When the sun set they

would change

to men,


into the sea,

and be drowned.

, , , , 

Then she offered a prayer

from her inmost heart,

but still no rock appeared.

Dark clouds came nearer,

the gusts

of wind told

of the coming storm,


from a thick,

heavy mass

of clouds the lightning burst forth,

flash after flash.

The sun had reached the edge

of the sea,

when the swans darted down so swiftly

that Eliza’s heart trembled;

she believed they were falling,

but they again soared onward.

, , , , 



by this time the sun was half hidden

by the waves,

she caught sight

of the rock just below them.

It did not look larger

than a seal’s head thrust out

of the water.

The sun sank so rapidly that

at the moment their feet touched the rock it shone only

like a star,


at last disappeared

like the dying spark

in a piece

of burnt paper.

Her brothers stood close

around her

with arms linked together,


there was not the smallest space

to spare.

The sea dashed

against the rock

and covered them

with spray.

The heavens were lighted up

with continual flashes,

and thunder rolled

from the clouds.

But the sister

and brothers stood holding each other’s hands,

and singing hymns.

, , , , 

In the early dawn the air became calm

and still,


at sunrise the swans flew away

from the rock,

bearing their sister

with them.

The sea was still rough,


from their great height the white foam

on the dark-green waves looked

like millions

of swans swimming

on the water.

As the sun rose higher,

Eliza saw

before her,


in the air,

a range

of mountains

with shining masses

of ice

on their summits.

In the center rose a castle

that seemed a mile long,

with rows

of columns rising one

above another,


around it palm trees waved

and flowers

as large

as mill wheels bloomed.

She asked

if this was the land


which they were hastening.

The swans shook their heads,


what she beheld were the beautiful,

ever-changing cloud-palaces

of the Fata Morgana,


which no mortal

can enter.

, , , , 

Eliza was still gazing

at the scene,

when mountains,


and castles melted away,

and twenty stately churches rose

in their stead,

with high towers

and pointed Gothic windows.


even fancied she

could hear the tones

of the organ,

but it was the music

of the murmuring sea.

As they drew nearer

to the churches,

these too were changed

and became a fleet

of ships,

which seemed

to be sailing

beneath her;


when she looked again she saw only a sea mist gliding

over the ocean.

, , , , 

One scene melted

into another,


at last she saw the real land


which they were bound,

with its blue mountains,

its cedar forests,

and its cities

and palaces.


before the sun went down she was sitting

on a rock

in front

of a large cave,

the floor


which was overgrown

with delicate green creeping plants,

like an embroidered carpet.

, , , , 

“Now we shall expect

to hear

what you dream

of to-night,”

said the youngest brother,

as he showed his sister her bedroom.

, , , , 

“Heaven grant

that I may dream how

to release you!”

she replied.

And this thought took such hold upon her mind

that she prayed earnestly

to God

for help,

and even

in her sleep she continued

to pray.

Then it seemed

to her

that she was flying high

in the air

toward the cloudy palace

of the Fata Morgana,


that a fairy came out

to meet her,


and beautiful,

yet much

like the old woman

who had given her berries

in the wood,


who had told her

of the swans

with golden crowns

on their heads.

, , , , 

“Your brothers

can be released,”

said she,

“if you only have courage

and perseverance.

Water is softer

than your own delicate hands,

and yet it polishes

and shapes stones.

But it feels no pain such

as your fingers

will feel;

it has no soul

and cannot suffer such agony

and torment

as you

will have

to endure.

Do you see the stinging nettle

which I hold

in my hand?


of the same sort grow round the cave


which you sleep,

but only these,

and those

that grow

on the graves

of a churchyard,

will be

of any use

to you.

These you must gather,


while they burn blisters

on your hands.

Break them

to pieces

with your hands

and feet,

and they

will become flax,


which you must spin

and weave eleven coats

with long sleeves;

if these are

then thrown

over the eleven swans,

the spell

will be broken.

But remember well,


from the moment you commence your task

until it is finished,

even though it occupy years

of your life,

you must not speak.

The first word you utter

will pierce the hearts

of your brothers

like a deadly dagger.

Their lives hang upon your tongue.

Remember all

that I have told you.”

, , , , 


as she finished speaking,

she touched Eliza’s hand lightly

with the nettle,

and a pain as

of burning fire awoke her.

, , , , 

It was broad daylight,

and near her lay a nettle

like the one she had seen

in her dream.

She fell

on her knees

and offered thanks

to God.

Then she went forth

from the cave

to begin work

with her delicate hands.

She groped

in amongst the ugly nettles,

which burned great blisters

on her hands

and arms,

but she determined

to bear the pain gladly

if she

could only release her dear brothers.

So she bruised the nettles

with her bare feet

and spun the flax.

, , , , 

At sunset her brothers returned,

and were much frightened

when she did not speak.

They believed her

to be

under the spell

of some new sorcery,


when they saw her hands they understood

what she was doing

in their behalf.

The youngest brother wept,


where his tears touched her the pain ceased

and the burning blisters vanished.

Eliza kept

to her work all night,

for she

could not rest

till she had released her brothers.

During the whole

of the following day,

while her brothers were absent,

she sat

in solitude,

but never

before had the time flown so quickly.

, , , , 

One coat was already finished

and she had begun the second,

when she heard a huntsman’s horn

and was struck

with fear.

As the sound came nearer

and nearer,

she also heard dogs barking,

and fled

with terror

into the cave.

She hastily bound together the nettles she had gathered,

and sat upon them.

In a moment

there came bounding

toward her out

of the ravine a great dog,


then another

and another;

they ran back

and forth barking furiously,


in a few minutes all the huntsmen stood

before the cave.

The handsomest

of them was the king

of the country,


when he saw the beautiful maiden,


toward her,


“How did you come here,

my sweet child?”

, , , , 

Eliza shook her head.

She dared not speak,

for it

would cost her brothers their deliverance

and their lives.

And she hid her hands

under her apron,


that the king might not see

how she was suffering.

, , , , 


with me,”

he said;

“here you cannot remain.

If you are

as good

as you are beautiful,


will dress you

in silk

and velvet,


will place a golden crown

on your head,

and you shall rule

and make your home

in my richest castle.”

Then he lifted her

onto his horse.

She wept

and wrung her hands,

but the king said:

“I wish only your happiness.

A time

will come

when you

will thank me

for this.”

, , , , 

He galloped away

over the mountains,

holding her

before him

on his horse,

and the hunters followed

behind them.

As the sun went down they approached a fair,

royal city,

with churches

and cupolas.

On arriving

at the castle,

the king led her

into marble halls,

where large fountains played


where the walls

and the ceilings were covered

with rich paintings.

But she had no eyes

for all these glorious sights;


could only mourn

and weep.

Patiently she allowed the women

to array her

in royal robes,

to weave pearls

in her hair,


to draw soft gloves

over her blistered fingers.

As she stood arrayed

in her rich dress,

she looked so dazzlingly beautiful

that the court bowed low

in her presence.

, , , , 

Then the king declared his intention

of making her his bride,

but the archbishop shook his head

and whispered

that the fair young maiden was only a witch,

who had blinded the king’s eyes

and ensnared his heart.

The king

would not listen

to him,


and ordered the music

to sound,

the daintiest dishes

to be served,

and the loveliest maidens

to dance

before them.

, , , , 

Afterwards he led her

through fragrant gardens

and lofty halls,

but not a smile appeared

on her lips

or sparkled

in her eyes.

She looked the very picture

of grief.

Then the king opened the door

of a little chamber


which she was

to sleep.

It was adorned

with rich green tapestry

and resembled the cave


which he had found her.

On the floor lay the bundle

of flax

which she had spun

from the nettles,


under the ceiling hung the coat she had made.

These things had been brought away

from the cave

as curiosities,

by one

of the huntsmen.

, , , , 

“Here you

can dream yourself back again

in the old home

in the cave,”

said the king;

“here is the work


which you employed yourself.


will amuse you now,

in the midst

of all this splendor,

to think


that time.”

, , , , 

When Eliza saw all these things

which lay so near her heart,

a smile played

around her mouth,

and the crimson blood rushed

to her cheeks.

The thought

of her brothers

and their release made her so joyful

that she kissed the king’s hand.

Then he pressed her

to his heart.

, , , , 

Very soon the joyous church bells announced the marriage feast;

the beautiful dumb girl

of the woods was

to be made queen

of the country.

A single word

would cost her brothers their lives,

but she loved the kind,

handsome king,

who did everything

to make her happy,


and more each day;

she loved him

with her whole heart,

and her eyes beamed

with the love she dared not speak.


if she

could only confide

in him

and tell him

of her grief.

But dumb she must remain

till her task was finished.

, , , , 


at night she crept away

into her little chamber

which had been decked out

to look

like the cave

and quickly wove one coat after another.


when she began the seventh,

she found she had no more flax.

She knew

that the nettles she wanted

to use grew

in the churchyard


that she must pluck them herself.


should she get out there?


what is the pain

in my fingers

to the torment

which my heart endures?”

thought she.

“I must venture;

I shall not be denied help

from heaven.”

, , , , 


with a trembling heart,


if she were about

to perform a wicked deed,

Eliza crept

into the garden

in the broad moonlight,

and passed

through the narrow walks

and the deserted streets

till she reached the churchyard.

She prayed silently,

gathered the burning nettles,

and carried them home

with her

to the castle.

, , , , 

One person only had seen her,


that was the archbishop

--he was awake

while others slept.

Now he felt sure

that his suspicions were correct;

all was not right

with the queen;

she was a witch

and had bewitched the king

and all the people.

Secretly he told the king

what he had seen


what he feared,


as the hard words came

from his tongue,

the carved images

of the saints shook their heads


if they

would say,

“It is not so;

Eliza is innocent.”

, , , , 

But the archbishop interpreted it

in another way;

he believed

that they witnessed

against her

and were shaking their heads

at her wickedness.

Two tears rolled down the king’s cheeks.

He went home

with doubt

in his heart,


at night pretended

to sleep.

But no real sleep came

to his eyes,

for every night he saw Eliza get up

and disappear

from her chamber.


by day his brow became darker,

and Eliza saw it,


although she did not understand the reason,

it alarmed her

and made her heart tremble

for her brothers.

Her hot tears glittered

like pearls

on the regal velvet

and diamonds,

while all

who saw her were wishing they

could be queen.

, , , , 

In the meantime she had

almost finished her task;

only one

of her brothers’ coats was wanting,

but she had no flax left

and not a single nettle.

Once more only,


for the last time,

must she venture

to the churchyard

and pluck a few handfuls.

She went,

and the king

and the archbishop followed her.

The king turned away his head

and said,

“The people must condemn her.”

Quickly she was condemned

to suffer death

by fire.

, , , , 


from the gorgeous regal halls she was led

to a dark,

dreary cell,

where the wind whistled

through the iron bars.


of the velvet

and silk dresses,

they gave her the ten coats

which she had woven,

to cover her,

and the bundle

of nettles

for a pillow.

But they

could have given her nothing


would have pleased her more.

She continued her task

with joy

and prayed

for help,

while the street boys sang jeering songs

about her

and not a soul comforted her

with a kind word.

, , , , 

Toward evening she heard

at the grating the flutter

of a swan’s wing;

it was her youngest brother.

He had found his sister,

and she sobbed

for joy,

although she knew

that probably this was the last night she had

to live.


she had hope,

for her task was

almost finished

and her brothers were come.

, , , , 

Then the archbishop arrived,

to be

with her during her last hours

as he had promised the king.

She shook her head

and begged him,

by looks

and gestures,


to stay;


in this night she knew she must finish her task,

otherwise all her pain

and tears

and sleepless nights

would have been suffered

in vain.

The archbishop withdrew,

uttering bitter words

against her,

but she knew

that she was innocent

and diligently continued her work.

, , , , 

Little mice ran

about the floor,

dragging the nettles

to her feet,

to help

as much

as they could;

and a thrush,

sitting outside the grating

of the window,


to her the whole night long

as sweetly

as possible,

to keep up her spirits.

, , , , 

It was still twilight,


at least an hour

before sunrise,

when the eleven brothers stood

at the castle gate

and demanded

to be brought

before the king.

They were told it

could not be;

it was yet night;

the king slept


could not be disturbed.

They threatened,

they entreated,

until the guard appeared,


even the king himself,


what all the noise meant.

At this moment the sun rose,

and the eleven brothers were seen no more,

but eleven wild swans flew away

over the castle.

, , , , 

Now all the people came streaming forth

from the gates

of the city

to see the witch burned.

An old horse drew the cart


which she sat.

They had dressed her

in a garment

of coarse sackcloth.

Her lovely hair hung loose

on her shoulders,

her cheeks were deadly pale,

her lips moved silently

while her fingers still worked

at the green flax.


on the way

to death she

would not give up her task.

The ten finished coats lay

at her feet;

she was working hard

at the eleventh,

while the mob jeered her

and said:

“See the witch;

how she mutters!

She has no hymn book

in her hand;

she sits there

with her ugly sorcery.

Let us tear it

into a thousand pieces.”

, , , , 

They pressed

toward her,

and doubtless

would have destroyed the coats had not,


that moment,

eleven wild swans flown

over her

and alighted

on the cart.

They flapped their large wings,

and the crowd drew back

in alarm.

, , , , 

“It is a sign

from Heaven

that she is innocent,”

whispered many

of them;

but they did not venture

to say it aloud.

, , , , 

As the executioner seized her

by the hand

to lift her out

of the cart,

she hastily threw the eleven coats

over the eleven swans,

and they immediately became eleven handsome princes;

but the youngest had a swan’s wing instead

of an arm,

for she had not been able

to finish the last sleeve

of the coat.

, , , , 

“Now I may speak,”

she exclaimed.

“I am innocent.”

, , , , 



on the way

to death she

would not give up her task.]

Then the people,

who saw

what had happened,


to her


before a saint;

but she sank unconscious

in her brothers’ arms,


with suspense,


and pain.

, , , , 


she is innocent,”

said the eldest brother,

and related all

that had taken place.

While he spoke,

there rose

in the air a fragrance


from millions

of roses.

Every piece

of fagot

in the pile made

to burn her had taken root,

and threw out branches

until the whole appeared

like a thick hedge,


and high,


with roses;


above all bloomed a white,

shining flower

that glittered

like a star.

This flower the king plucked,


when he placed it

in Eliza’s bosom she awoke

from her swoon

with peace

and happiness

in her heart.

Then all the church bells rang

of themselves,

and the birds came

in great flocks.

And a marriage procession,


as no king had ever

before seen,


to the castle.

, , , , 




IN THE forest,

high up

on the steep shore

and not far

from the open seacoast,

stood a very old oak tree.

It was just three hundred

and sixty-five years old,


that long time was

to the tree

as the same number

of days might be

to us.

We wake

by day

and sleep

by night,


then we have our dreams.

It is different

with the tree;

it is obliged

to keep awake

through three seasons

of the year

and does not get any sleep

till winter comes.

Winter is its time

for rest

--its night after the long day

of spring,


and autumn.

, , , , 

During many a warm summer,

the Ephemeras,

which are flies

that exist

for only a day,

had fluttered

about the old oak,

enjoyed life,

and felt happy.

And if,

for a moment,


of the tiny creatures rested

on the large,

fresh leaves,

the tree

would always say:

“Poor little creature!

your whole life consists


but a single day.

How very short!

It must be quite melancholy.”

, , , , 


what do you mean?”

the little creature

would always reply.

“Why do you say that?


around me is so wonderfully bright

and warm

and beautiful

that it makes me joyous.”

, , , , 

“But only

for one day,


then it is all over.”

, , , , 


repeated the fly;

“what is the meaning

of ‘all over’?

Are you ‘all over’ too?”

, , , , 


I shall very likely live

for thousands

of your days,

and my day is whole seasons long;


it is so long

that you

could never reckon it up.”

, , , , 


then I

don’t understand you.

You may have thousands

of my days,

but I have thousands

of moments


which I

can be merry

and happy.

Does all the beauty

of the world cease

when you die?”

, , , , 


replied the tree;


will certainly last much longer,

infinitely longer

than I

can think of.”

, , , , 



said the little fly,

“we have the same time

to live,

only we reckon differently.”

And the little creature danced

and floated

in the air,


in its delicate wings

of gauze

and velvet,


in the balmy breezes laden

with the fragrance

from the clover fields

and wild roses,

elder blossoms

and honeysuckle,


from the garden hedges

of wild thyme,


and mint.

The perfume

of all these was so strong

that it

almost intoxicated the little fly.

The long

and beautiful day had been so full

of joy

and sweet delights,


when the sun sank,

the fly felt tired

of all its happiness

and enjoyment.

Its wings

could sustain it no longer,

and gently

and slowly it glided down

to the soft,

waving blades

of grass,

nodded its little head

as well

as it could,

and slept peacefully

and sweetly.

The fly was dead.

, , , , 

“Poor little Ephemera!”

said the oak;

“what a short life!”

And so

on every summer day the dance was repeated,

the same questions were asked

and the same answers given,


there was the same peaceful falling asleep

at sunset.

This continued

through many generations

of Ephemeras,

and all

of them felt merry

and happy.

, , , , 

The oak remained awake

through the morning

of spring,

the noon

of summer,

and the evening

of autumn;

its time

of rest,

its night,

drew near

--its winter was coming.

Here fell a leaf


there fell a leaf.

Already the storms were singing:

“Good night,

good night.


will rock you

and lull you.


to sleep,


to sleep.


will sing you

to sleep,

and shake you

to sleep,

and it

will do your old twigs good;



even crackle

with pleasure.

Sleep sweetly,

sleep sweetly,

it is your three hundred

and sixty-fifth night.

You are still very young

in the world.

Sleep sweetly;

the clouds

will drop snow upon you,


will be your coverlid,


and sheltering

to your feet.

Sweet sleep

to you,

and pleasant dreams.”

, , , , 


there stood the oak,


of all its leaves,


to rest during the whole

of a long winter,


to dream many dreams

of events

that had happened,


as men dream.

, , , , 

The great tree had once been small;


in its cradle it had been an acorn.


to human reckoning,

it was now

in the fourth century

of its existence.

It was the largest

and best tree

in the forest.

Its summit towered

above all the other trees


could be seen far out

at sea,


that it served

as a landmark

to the sailors.

It had no idea

how many eyes looked eagerly

for it.

In its topmost branches the wood pigeon built her nest,

and the cuckoo sang his well-known song,

the familiar notes echoing

among the boughs;


in autumn,

when the leaves looked

like beaten copper plates,

the birds

of passage came

and rested

on the branches

before beginning their flight

across the sea.

, , , , 

But now

that it was winter,

the tree stood leafless,


that every one

could see

how crooked

and bent were the branches

that sprang forth

from the trunk.


and rooks came

by turns

and sat

on them,

and talked

of the hard times

that were beginning,


how difficult it was

in winter

to obtain a living.

, , , , 

It was just

at the holy Christmas time

that the tree dreamed a dream.

The tree had doubtless a feeling

that the festive time had arrived,


in its dream fancied it heard the bells

of the churches ringing.

And yet it seemed

to be a beautiful summer’s day,


and warm.

The tree’s mighty summit was crowned

with spreading,

fresh green foliage;

the sunbeams played

among its leaves

and branches,

and the air was full

of fragrance

from herb

and blossom;

painted butterflies chased each other;

the summer flies danced

around it


if the world had been created merely

that they might dance

and be merry.


that had happened

to the tree during all the years

of its life seemed

to pass

before it

as if

in a festive pageant.

, , , , 

It saw the knights

of olden times

and noble ladies ride

through the wood

on their gallant steeds,

with plumes waving

in their hats


with falcons

on their wrists,

while the hunting horn sounded

and the dogs barked.

It saw hostile warriors,

in colored dress

and glittering armor,

with spear

and halberd,

pitching their tents

and again taking them down;

the watchfires blazed,

and men sang

and slept

under the hospitable shelter

of the tree.

It saw lovers meet

in quiet happiness near it

in the moonshine,

and carve the initials

of their names

in the grayish-green bark

of its trunk.

, , , , 


It saw lovers meet

in quiet happiness near it

in the moonshine ....]


but long years had passed

since then,


and Æolian harps had been hung

on its boughs

by merry travelers;

now they seemed

to hang

there again,

and their marvelous notes sounded again.

The wood pigeons cooed

as if

to express the feelings

of the tree,

and the cuckoo called out

to tell it

how many summer days it had yet

to live.

, , , , 

Then it appeared

to it

that new life was thrilling

through every fiber

of root

and stem

and leaf,

rising even

to its highest branches.

The tree felt itself stretching

and spreading out,


through the root

beneath the earth ran the warm vigor

of life.

As it grew higher

and still higher

and its strength increased,

the topmost boughs became broader

and fuller;


in proportion

to its growth its self-satisfaction increased,


there came a joyous longing

to grow higher

and higher

--to reach even

to the warm,

bright sun itself.

, , , , 

Already had its topmost branches pierced the clouds,

which floated

beneath them

like troops

of birds

of passage

or large white swans;

every leaf seemed gifted

with sight,


if it possessed eyes

to see.

The stars became visible

in broad daylight,


and sparkling,

like clear

and gentle eyes.

They brought

to the tree’s memory the light

that it had seen

in the eyes

of a child and

in the eyes

of lovers

who had once met

beneath the branches

of the old oak.

, , , , 

These were wonderful

and happy moments

for the old oak,


of peace

and joy;

and yet amidst all this happiness,

the tree felt a yearning desire

that all the other trees,



and flowers

beneath it might also be able

to rise higher,

to see all this splendor

and experience the same happiness.

The grand,

majestic oak

could not be quite happy

in its enjoyment

until all the rest,

both great

and small,

could share it.

And this feeling

of yearning trembled

through every branch,

through every leaf,

as warmly

and fervently


through a human heart.

, , , , 

The summit

of the tree waved


and fro

and bent downwards,

as if

in its silent longing it sought something.


there came

to it the fragrance

of thyme

and the more powerful scent

of honeysuckle

and violets,

and the tree fancied it heard the note

of the cuckoo.

, , , , 

At length its longing was satisfied.


through the clouds came the green summits

of the forest trees,

and the oak watched them rising higher

and higher.


and herb shot upward,

and some

even tore themselves up

by the roots

to rise more quickly.

The quickest

of all was the birch tree.

Like a lightning flash the slender stem shot upwards

in a zigzag line,

the branches spreading round it

like green gauze

and banners.

Every native

of the wood,


to the brown

and feathery rushes,


with the rest,

while the birds ascended

with the melody

of song.

On a blade

of grass

that fluttered

in the air

like a long green ribbon sat a grasshopper cleaning its wings

with its legs.

May beetles hummed,

bees murmured,

birds sang


in its own way;

the air was filled

with the sounds

of song

and gladness.

, , , , 


where is the little blue flower

that grows

by the water,

and the purple bellflower,

and the daisy?”

asked the oak.

“I want them all.”

, , , , 

“Here we are;

here we are,”

came the reply

in words and

in song.

, , , , 

“But the beautiful thyme

of last summer,

where is that?


where are the lilies

of the valley

which last year covered the earth

with their bloom,

and the wild apple tree

with its fragrant blossoms,

and all the glory

of the wood,

which has flourished year after year?


where is even

what may have

but just been born?”

, , , , 

“We are here;

we are here,”

sounded voices high up

in the air,


if they had flown

there beforehand.

, , , , 


this is beautiful,

too beautiful

to be believed,”

cried the oak

in a joyful tone.

“I have them all here,

both great

and small;

not one has been forgotten.

Can such happiness be imagined?

It seems

almost impossible.”

, , , , 

“In heaven

with the Eternal God it

can be imagined,

for all things are possible,”

sounded the reply

through the air.

, , , , 

And the old tree,

as it still grew upwards

and onwards,


that its roots were loosening themselves

from the earth.

, , , , 

“It is right so;

it is best,”

said the tree.

“No fetters hold me now.


can fly up

to the very highest point

in light

and glory.

And all I love are

with me,

both small

and great.


--all are here.”

, , , , 

Such was the dream

of the old oak

at the holy Christmas time.


while it dreamed,

a mighty storm came rushing

over land

and sea.

The sea rolled

in great billows

toward the shore.

A cracking

and crushing was heard

in the tree.

Its roots were torn

from the ground,


at the moment when

in its dream it was being loosened

from the earth.

It fell;

its three hundred

and sixty-five years were ended

like the single day

of the Ephemera.

, , , , 

On the morning

of Christmas Day,

when the sun rose,

the storm had ceased.

From all the churches sounded the festive bells,


from every hearth,


of the smallest hut,

rose the smoke

into the blue sky,

like the smoke

from the festive thank-offerings

on the Druids’ altars.

The sea gradually became calm,


on board a great ship

that had withstood the tempest during the night,

all the flags were displayed

as a token

of joy

and festivity.

, , , , 

“The tree is down!

the old oak

--our landmark

on the coast!”

exclaimed the sailors.

“It must have fallen

in the storm

of last night.


can replace it?


no one.”

This was the old tree’s funeral oration,


but well said.

, , , , 

There it lay stretched

on the snow-covered shore,


over it sounded the notes

of a song

from the ship

--a song

of Christmas joy,

of the redemption

of the soul

of man,


of eternal life

through Christ.

, , , , 

Sing aloud

on this happy morn,

All is fulfilled,

for Christ is born;

With songs

of joy let us loudly sing,


to Christ our King.”

, , , , 

Thus sounded the Christmas carol,

and every one

on board the ship felt his thoughts elevated

through the song

and the prayer,


as the old tree had felt lifted up

in its last beautiful dream


that Christmas morn.

, , , , 



A DUCK once arrived

from Portugal.

There were some

who said she came

from Spain,


that is

almost the same thing.

At all events,

she was called the Portuguese duck,

and she laid eggs,

was killed

and cooked,


that was the end

of her.

, , , , 

The ducklings

which crept forth

from her eggs were also called Portuguese ducks,

and about


there may be some question.


of all the family only one remained

in the duck yard,

which may be called a farmyard,

since the chickens were admitted

to it

and the cock strutted about

in a very hostile manner.

, , , , 

“He annoys me

with his loud crowing,”

said the Portuguese duck,

“but still,

he’s a handsome bird,

there’s no denying that,


if he is not a duck.

He ought

to moderate his voice,

like those little birds

who are singing

in the lime trees

over there

in our neighbor’s garden


that is an art only acquired

in polite society.

How sweetly they sing there;

it is quite a pleasure

to listen

to them!

I call it Portuguese singing.

If I only had such a little singing bird,

I’d be

as kind

and good

to him

as a mother,

for it’s

in my Portuguese nature.”

, , , , 

While she was speaking,


of the little singing birds came tumbling head

over heels

from the roof

into the yard.

The cat was after him,

but he had escaped

from her

with a broken wing

and so came fluttering

into the yard.

“That’s just

like the cat;

she’s a villain,”

said the Portuguese duck.

“I remember her ways

when I had children

of my own.


can such a creature be allowed

to live

and wander

about upon the roofs?


don’t think they allow such things

in Portugal.”

, , , , 

She pitied the little singing bird,

and so did all the other ducks,

who were not Portuguese.

, , , , 

“Poor little creature!”

they said,

one after another,

as they came up.

“We can’t sing,


but we have a sounding board,

or something

of the kind,

within us,

though we

don’t talk

about it.”

, , , , 

“But I

can talk,”

said the Portuguese duck.

“I’ll do something

for the little fellow;

it’s my duty.”

So she stepped

into the watering trough

and beat her wings upon the water so strongly

that the little bird was nearly drowned.

But the duck meant it kindly.

“That is a good deed,”

she said;

“I hope the others

will take example

from it.”

, , , , 



said the little bird.


of his wings was broken

and he found it difficult

to shake himself,

but he quite understood

that the bath was meant kindly,

so he said,

“You are very kind-hearted,


But he did not wish

for a second bath.

, , , , 

“I have never thought

about my heart,”

replied the Portuguese duck;

“but I know

that I love all my fellow creatures,

except the cat,

and nobody

can expect me

to love her,

for she ate up two

of my ducklings.

But pray make yourself

at home;

it is easy

to make oneself comfortable.

I myself am

from a foreign country,

as you may see

by my bearing

and my feathery dress.

My husband is a native

of these parts;

he’s not

of my race,

but I am not proud


that account.

If any one here

can understand you,

I may say positively

that I am

that person.”

, , , , 

“She’s quite full

of _portulak_,”

said a little common duck,

who was witty.

All the common ducks considered the word “portulak” a good joke,

for it sounded

like “Portugal.”

They nudged each other

and said,


that was witty!”

Then the other ducks began

to notice the newcomer.

“The Portuguese has certainly a great flow

of language,”

they said

to the little bird.

“For our part,


don’t care

to fill our beaks

with such long words,

but we sympathize

with you quite

as much.

If we

don’t do anything else,


can walk about

with you everywhere;

that is the best we

can do.”

, , , , 

“You have a lovely voice,”

said one

of the eldest ducks;

“it must be a great satisfaction

to you

to be able

to give

as much pleasure

as you do.

I am certainly no judge

of your singing,

so I keep my beak shut,

which is better

than talking nonsense

as others do.”

, , , , 

“Don’t plague him so,”

interrupted the Portuguese duck;

“he requires rest

and nursing.

My little singing bird,

do you wish me

to prepare another bath

for you?”

, , , , 




pray let me be dry,”

implored the little bird.

, , , , 

“The water cure is the only remedy

for me

when I am not well,”

said the Portuguese.



is very beneficial.

The fowls

from the neighborhood

will soon be here

to pay you a visit.

There are two Cochin-Chinese

among them;

they wear feathers

on their legs

and are well educated.

They have been brought

from a great distance,

and consequently I treat them

with greater respect

than I do the others.”

, , , , 

Then the fowls arrived,

and the cock was polite enough

to keep

from being rude.

“You are a real songster,”

he said,

“and you do

as much

with your little voice

as it is possible

to do;

but more noise

and shrillness is necessary

if one wishes others

to know

who he is.”

, , , , 

The two Chinese were quite enchanted

with the appearance

of the singing bird.

His feathers had been much ruffled

by his bath,


that he seemed

to them quite

like a tiny Chinese fowl.

“He’s charming,”

they said

to each other,

and began a conversation

with him

in whispers,

using the most aristocratic Chinese dialect.

, , , , 

“We are

of the same race

as yourself,”

they said.

“The ducks,

even the Portuguese,

are all aquatic birds,

as you must have noticed.

You do not know us yet

--very few,


of the fowls,

know us

or give themselves the trouble

to make our acquaintance,

though we were born

to occupy a higher position

in society

than most

of them.


that does not disturb us;

we quietly go our way

among them.

Their ideas are certainly not ours,

for we look

at the bright side

of things

and only speak


what is good,


that is sometimes difficult

to find

where none exists.

Except ourselves

and the cock,

there is not one

in the yard


can be called talented

or polite.

It cannot be said even

of the ducks,

and we warn you,

little bird,


to trust

that one yonder,

with the short tail feathers,

for she is cunning.

Then the curiously marked one,

with the crooked stripes

on her wings,

is a mischief-maker

and never lets any one have the last word,

though she is always

in the wrong.

The fat duck yonder speaks evil

of every one,


that is

against our principles;

if we have nothing good

to tell,

we close our beaks.

The Portuguese is the only one

who has had any education


with whom we

can associate,

but she is passionate

and talks too much

about Portugal.”

, , , , 

“I wonder

what those two Chinese are whispering about,”

whispered one duck

to another.

“They are always doing it,

and it annoys me.

We never speak

to them.”

, , , , 

Now the drake came up,

and he thought the little singing bird was a sparrow.



don’t understand the difference,”

he said;

“it appears

to me all the same.

He’s only a plaything,


if people

will have playthings,

why let them,

I say.”

, , , , 

“Don’t take any notice


what he says,”

whispered the Portuguese;

“he is very well

in matters

of business,


with him business is first.

Now I shall lie down

and have a little rest.

It is a duty we owe

to ourselves,


that we shall be nice

and fat

when we come

to be embalmed

with sage

and onions

and apples.”

, , , , 

So she laid herself down

in the sun

and winked

with one eye.

She had a very comfortable place

and felt so

at ease

that she fell asleep.

The little singing bird busied himself

for some time

with his broken wing,


at last he too lay down,

quite close

to his protectress.

The sun shone warm

and bright,

and he found it a very good place.

But the fowls

of the neighborhood were all awake,


to tell the truth,

they had paid a visit

to the duck yard solely

to find food

for themselves.

The Chinese were the first

to leave,

and the other fowls soon followed them.

, , , , 

The witty little duck said

of the Portuguese

that “the old lady” was getting

to be quite a “doting ducky.”

All the other ducks laughed

at this.

“‘Doting ducky,’” they whispered;


that’s too witty!”

Then they repeated the joke

about “portulak”

and declared it was most amusing.


that they all lay down

to have a nap.

, , , , 

They had been lying asleep

for quite a while,

when suddenly something was thrown

into the yard

for them

to eat.

It came down

with such a bang

that the whole company started up

and clapped their wings.

The Portuguese awoke,


and rushed over

to the other side

of the yard.

In doing this she trod upon the little singing bird.

, , , , 


he cried;

“you trod very hard upon me,


, , , , 



why do you lie

in my way?”

she retorted.

“You must not be so touchy.

I have nerves

of my own,

but I do not cry ‘Tweet.’”

“Don’t be angry,”

said the little bird;

“the ‘Tweet’ slipped out

of my beak

before I knew it.”

, , , , 

The Portuguese did not listen

to him,

but began eating

as fast

as she could,

and made a good meal.

When she had finished she lay down again,

and the little bird,

who wished

to be amiable,


to sing:


and twitter,

The dewdrops glitter,

In the hours

of sunny spring;

I’ll sing my best,

Till I go

to rest,

With my head

behind my wing.”

, , , , 

“Now I want rest after my dinner,”

said the Portuguese.

“You must conform

to the rules

of the place

while you are here.

I want

to sleep now.”

, , , , 

The little bird was quite taken aback,

for he meant it kindly.

When madam awoke afterwards,

there he stood

before her

with a little corn he had found,

and laid it

at her feet;


as she had not slept well,

she was naturally

in a bad temper.

“Give that

to a chicken,”

she said,


don’t be always standing

in my way.”

, , , , 

“Why are you angry

with me?”

replied the little singing bird;

“what have I done?”

, , , , 


repeated the Portuguese duck;

“your mode

of expressing yourself is not very polite.

I must call your attention


that fact.”

, , , , 

“There was sunshine here yesterday,”

said the little bird,

“but to-day it is cloudy

and the air is heavy.”

, , , , 

“You know very little

about the weather,

I fancy,”

she retorted;

“the day is not

over yet.

Don’t stand

there looking so stupid.”

, , , , 

“But you are looking

at me just

as the wicked eyes looked

when I fell

into the yard yesterday.”

, , , , 

“Impertinent creature!”

exclaimed the Portuguese duck.

“Would you compare me

with the cat

--that beast

of prey?

There’s not a drop

of malicious blood

in me.

I’ve taken your part,

and now I’ll teach you better manners.”

So saying,

she made a bite

at the little singing-bird’s head,

and he fell

to the ground dead.

“Now whatever is the meaning

of this?”

she said.

“Could he not bear

even such a little peck

as I gave him?



he was not made

for this world.

I’ve been

like a mother

to him,

I know that,

for I’ve a good heart.”

, , , , 

Then the cock

from the neighboring yard stuck his head


and crowed

with steam-engine power.

, , , , 

“You’ll kill me

with your crowing,”

she cried.

“It’s all your fault.

He’s lost his life,

and I’m very near losing mine.”

, , , , 

“There’s not much

of him lying there,”

observed the cock.

, , , , 


of him

with respect,”

said the Portuguese duck,

“for he had manners

and education,

and he

could sing.

He was affectionate

and gentle,

and those are

as rare qualities

in animals as

in those

who call themselves human beings.”

, , , , 

Then all the ducks came crowding round the little dead bird.

Ducks have strong passions,

whether they feel envy

or pity.

There was nothing

to envy here,

so they all showed a great deal

of pity.

So also did the two Chinese.

“We shall never again have such a singing bird

among us;

he was

almost a Chinese,”

they whispered,


then they wept

with such a noisy,

clucking sound

that all the other fowls clucked too.

But the ducks went about

with redder eyes afterwards.

“We have hearts

of our own,”

they said;


can deny that.”

, , , , 


repeated the Portuguese.

“Indeed you have


as tender

as the ducks

in Portugal.”

, , , , 

“Let us think

of getting something

to satisfy our hunger,”

said the drake;

“that’s the most important business.

If one

of our toys is broken,


we have plenty more.”

, , , , 



“IT IS so delightfully cold

that it makes my whole body crackle,”

said the Snow Man.

“This is just the kind

of wind

to blow life

into one.


that great red thing up

there is staring

at me!”

He meant the sun,

which was just setting.

“It shall not make me wink.

I shall manage

to keep the pieces.”

, , , , 

He had two triangular pieces

of tile

in his head instead

of eyes,

and his mouth,

being made

of an old broken rake,

was therefore furnished

with teeth.

He had been brought

into existence amid the joyous shouts

of boys,

the jingling

of sleigh bells,

and the slashing

of whips.

, , , , 

The sun went down,

and the full moon rose,



and clear,


in the deep blue.

, , , , 

“There it comes again,

from the other side,”

said the Snow Man,

who supposed the sun was showing itself once more.


I have cured it

of staring.

Now it may hang up there

and shine,


that I may see myself.

If I only knew how

to manage

to move away

from this place


should so like

to move!

If I could,


would slide

along yonder

on the ice,

as I have seen the boys do;

but I

don’t understand how.

I don’t

even know how

to run.”

, , , , 



barked the old yard dog.

He was quite hoarse


could not pronounce “Bow-wow” properly.

He had once been an indoor dog

and lain

by the fire,

and he had been hoarse ever since.

“The sun

will make you run some day.

I saw it,

last winter,

make your predecessor run,

and his predecessor

before him.



They all have

to go.”

, , , , 


don’t understand you,


said the Snow Man.


that thing up yonder

to teach me

to run?

I saw it running itself,

a little

while ago,

and now it has come creeping up

from the other side.”

, , , , 

“You know nothing

at all,”

replied the yard dog.

“But then,

you’ve only lately been patched up.

What you see yonder is the moon,


what you saw

before was the sun.


will come again to-morrow

and most likely teach you

to run down

into the ditch

by the well,

for I think the weather is going

to change.


can feel such pricks

and stabs

in my left leg

that I am sure

there is going

to be a change.”

, , , , 


don’t understand him,”

said the Snow Man

to himself,

“but I have a feeling

that he is talking

of something very disagreeable.

The thing

that stared so hard just now,

which he calls the sun,

is not my friend;


can feel

that too.”

, , , , 



barked the yard dog,


then he turned round three times

and crept

into his kennel

to sleep.

, , , , 

There really was a change

in the weather.

Toward morning a thick fog covered the whole country

and a keen wind arose,


that the cold seemed

to freeze one’s bones.


when the sun rose,

a splendid sight was

to be seen.


and bushes were covered

with hoarfrost

and looked

like a forest

of white coral,


on every twig glittered frozen dewdrops.

The many delicate forms,


in summer

by luxuriant foliage,

were now clearly defined

and looked

like glittering lacework.

A white radiance glistened

from every twig.

The birches,


in the wind,


as full

of life as

in summer and

as wondrously beautiful.

Where the sun shone,

everything glittered

and sparkled


if diamond dust had been strewn about;

and the snowy carpet

of the earth seemed covered

with diamonds


which gleamed countless lights,

whiter even

than the snow itself.

, , , , 

“This is really beautiful,”

said a girl

who had come

into the garden

with a young friend;

and they both stood still near the Snow Man,

contemplating the glittering scene.

“Summer cannot show a more beautiful sight,”

she exclaimed,

while her eyes sparkled.

, , , , 

“And we can’t have such a fellow

as this

in the summer-time,”

replied the young man,


to the Snow Man.

“He is capital.”

, , , , 

The girl laughed

and nodded

at the Snow Man,

then tripped away

over the snow

with her friend.

The snow creaked

and crackled

beneath her feet,


if she had been treading

on starch.

, , , , 

“Who are those two?”

asked the Snow Man

of the yard dog.

“You have been here longer

than I;

do you know them?”

, , , , 

“Of course I know them,”

replied the yard dog;

“the girl has stroked my back many times,

and the young man has often given me a bone

of meat.

I never bite those two.”

, , , , 


what are they?”

asked the Snow Man.

, , , , 

“They are lovers,”

he replied.


will go

and live

in the same kennel,


and by,

and gnaw

at the same bone.



“Are they the same kind

of beings

as you

and I?”

asked the Snow Man.

, , , , 


they belong

to the master,”

retorted the yard dog.

“Certainly people know very little

who were only born yesterday.


can see that

in you.

I have age

and experience.

I know every one here

in the house,

and I know

there was once a time

when I did not lie out here

in the cold,


to a chain.



“The cold is delightful,”

said the Snow Man.

“But do tell me,

tell me;

only you must not clank your chain so,

for it jars within me

when you do that.”

, , , , 



barked the yard dog.

“I’ll tell you:

they said I was a pretty little fellow,


then I used

to lie

in a velvet-covered chair,


at the master’s house,

and sit

in the mistress’s lap;

they used

to kiss my nose,

and wipe my paws

with an embroidered handkerchief,

and I was called ‘Ami,

dear Ami,

sweet Ami.’

But after a

while I grew too big

for them,

and they sent me away

to the housekeeper’s room;

so I came

to live

on the lower story.


can look

into the room


where you stand,

and see

where I was once master

--for I was,



to the housekeeper.

It was a much smaller room

than those upstairs,

but I was more comfortable,

for I was not continually being taken hold


and pulled about

by the children,

as I had been.

I received quite

as good food


even better.

I had my own cushion,


there was a stove

--it is the finest thing

in the world

at this season

of the year.

I used

to go

under the stove

and lie down.


I still dream


that stove.



“Does a stove look beautiful?”

asked the Snow Man.

“Is it

at all

like me?”

, , , , 

“It is just the opposite

of you,”

said the dog.


as black

as a crow

and has a long neck

and a brass knob;

it eats firewood,


that makes fire spurt out

of its mouth.

One has

to keep

on one side


under it,

to be comfortable.


can see it

through the window


where you stand.”

, , , , 

Then the Snow Man looked,

and saw a bright polished thing

with a brass knob,

and fire gleaming

from the lower part

of it.

The sight

of this gave the Snow Man a strange sensation;

it was very odd,

he knew not

what it meant,

and he

could not account

for it.


there are people

who are not men

of snow

who understand

what the feeling is.


why did you leave her?”

asked the Snow Man,

for it seemed

to him

that the stove must be

of the female sex.


could you give up such a comfortable place?”

, , , , 

“I was obliged to,”

replied the yard dog.

“They turned me out

of doors

and chained me up here.

I had bitten the youngest

of my master’s sons

in the leg,

because he kicked away the bone I was gnawing.


for bone,’

I thought.

But they were very angry,

and since

that time I have been fastened

to a chain

and have lost my voice.

Don’t you hear

how hoarse I am?



I can’t talk

like other dogs any more.



That was the end

of it all.”

, , , , 

But the Snow Man was no longer listening.

He was looking

into the housekeeper’s room

on the lower story,

where the stove,

which was

about the same size

as the Snow Man himself,


on its four iron legs.

“What a strange crackling I feel within me,”

he said.

“Shall I ever get

in there?

It is an innocent wish,

and innocent wishes are sure

to be fulfilled.

I must go

in there

and lean

against her,


if I have

to break the window.”

, , , , 

“You must never go

in there,”

said the yard dog,


if you approach the stove,


will melt away,


, , , , 

“I might

as well go,”

said the Snow Man,

“for I think I am breaking up

as it is.”

, , , , 

During the whole day the Snow Man stood looking


through the window,


in the twilight hour the room became still more inviting,


from the stove came a gentle glow,


like the sun

or the moon;

it was only the kind

of radiance that

can come

from a stove

when it has been well fed.

When the door

of the stove was opened,

the flames darted out

of its mouth,

--as is customary

with all stoves,

--and the light

of the flames fell

with a ruddy gleam directly

on the face

and breast

of the Snow Man.


can endure it no longer,”

said he.

“How beautiful it looks

when it stretches out its tongue!”

The night was long,

but it did not appear so

to the Snow Man,

who stood

there enjoying his own reflections

and crackling

with the cold.

In the morning the window-panes

of the housekeeper’s room were covered

with ice.

They were the most beautiful ice flowers any Snow Man

could desire,

but they concealed the stove.

These window-panes

would not thaw,

and he

could see nothing

of the stove,

which he pictured

to himself


if it had been a beautiful human being.

The snow crackled

and the wind whistled

around him;

it was just the kind

of frosty weather a Snow Man ought

to enjoy thoroughly.

But he did not enjoy it.



could he enjoy anything

when he was so stove-sick?

, , , , 

“That is a terrible disease

for a Snow Man

to have,”

said the yard dog.

“I have suffered

from it myself,

but I got

over it.



he barked,


then added,

“The weather is going

to change.”

, , , , 

The weather did change.

It began

to thaw,


as the warmth increased,

the Snow Man decreased.

He said nothing

and made no complaint,

which is a sure sign.

, , , , 

One morning he broke

and sank down altogether;

and behold!

where he had stood,


that looked

like a broomstick remained sticking up

in the ground.

It was the pole round

which the boys had built him.

, , , , 


now I understand

why he had such a great longing

for the stove,”

said the yard dog.


there’s the shovel

that is used

for cleaning out the stove,


to the pole.

The Snow Man had a stove scraper

in his body;

that was

what moved him so.

But it is all

over now.



And soon the winter passed.



barked the hoarse yard dog,

but the girls

in the house sang:


from your fragrant home,

green thyme;

Stretch your soft branches,

willow tree;

The months are bringing the sweet spring-time,

When the lark

in the sky sings joyfully.


gentle sun,

while the cuckoo sings,

And I’ll mock his note

in my wanderings.”

, , , , 

And nobody thought any more

of the Snow Man.

, , , , 




THERE were once two cocks;


of them stood

on a dunghill,

the other

on the roof.

Both were conceited,

but the question is,


of the two was the more useful?

, , , , 

A wooden partition divided the poultry yard

from another yard,


which lay a heap

of manure sheltering a cucumber bed.

In this bed grew a large cucumber,

which was fully aware

that it was a plant


should be reared

in a hotbed.

, , , , 

“It is the privilege

of birth,”

said the Cucumber

to itself.

“All cannot be born cucumbers;

there must be other kinds

as well.

The fowls,

the ducks,

and the cattle

in the next yard are all different creatures,


there is the yard cock


can look up

to him

when he is

on the wooden partition.

He is certainly

of much greater importance

than the weathercock,

who is so highly placed,


who can’t

even creak,

much less crow


he has neither hens nor chickens,

and thinks only

of himself,

and perspires verdigris.

But the yard cock is something

like a cock.

His gait is

like a dance,

and his crowing is music,

and wherever he goes it is instantly known.

What a trumpeter he is!

If he

would only come

in here!


if he were

to eat me up,


and all,


would be a pleasant death.”

So said the Cucumber.

, , , , 

During the night the weather became very bad;




even the cock himself sought shelter.

The wind blew down

with a crash the partition

between the two yards,

and the tiles came tumbling

from the roof,

but the weathercock stood firm.

He did not

even turn round;

in fact,


could not,

although he was fresh

and newly cast.

He had been born full grown

and did not

at all resemble the birds,


as the sparrows

and swallows,

that fly

beneath the vault

of heaven.

He despised them

and looked upon them

as little twittering birds

that were made only

to sing.

The pigeons,

he admitted,

were large

and shone

in the sun

like mother-of-pearl.

They somewhat resembled weathercocks,

but were fat

and stupid

and thought only

of stuffing themselves

with food.


said the weathercock,

“they are very tiresome things

to converse with.”

, , , , 

The birds

of passage often paid a visit

to the weathercock

and told him tales

of foreign lands,

of large flocks passing

through the air,


of encounters

with robbers

and birds

of prey.

These were very interesting

when heard

for the first time,

but the weathercock knew the birds always repeated themselves,


that made it tedious

to listen.

, , , , 

“They are tedious,

and so is every one else,”

said he;

“there is no one fit

to associate with.


and all

of them are wearisome

and stupid.

The whole world is worth nothing

--it is made up

of stupidity.”

, , , , 

The weathercock was

what is called “lofty,”


that quality alone

would have made him interesting

in the eyes

of the Cucumber,

had she known it.

But she had eyes only

for the yard cock,

who had actually made his appearance

in her yard;

for the violence

of the storm had passed,

but the wind had blown down the wooden palings.

, , , , 

“What do you think

of that

for crowing?”

asked the yard cock

of his hens

and chickens.

It was rather rough,

and wanted elegance,

but they did not say so,

as they stepped upon the dunghill

while the cock strutted about


if he had been a knight.

“Garden plant,”

he cried

to the Cucumber.

She heard the words

with deep feeling,

for they showed

that he understood

who she was,

and she forgot

that he was pecking

at her

and eating her up

--a happy death!

Then the hens came running up,

and the chickens followed,


where one runs the rest run also.

They clucked

and chirped

and looked

at the cock

and were proud

that they belonged

to him.


crowed he;

“the chickens

in the poultry yard

will grow

to be large fowls

if I make my voice heard

in the world.”

, , , , 

And the hens

and chickens clucked

and chirped,

and the cock told them a great piece

of news.

“A cock

can lay an egg,”

he said.


what do you think is


that egg?


that egg lies a basilisk.

No one

can endure the sight

of a basilisk.

Men know my power,

and now you know

what I am capable of,



what a renowned bird I am.”


with this the yard cock flapped his wings,

erected his comb,

and crowed again,

till all the hens

and chickens trembled;

but they were proud

that one

of their race

should be

of such renown

in the world.

They clucked

and they chirped so

that the weathercock heard it;

he had heard it all,

but had not stirred.

, , , , 

“It’s all stupid stuff,”

said a voice within the weathercock.

“The yard cock does not lay eggs any more

than I do,

and I am too lazy.


could lay a wind egg

if I liked,

but the world is not worth a wind egg.

And now I

don’t intend

to sit here any longer.”

, , , , 

With that,

the weathercock broke off

and fell

into the yard.

He did not kill the yard cock,

although the hens said he intended

to do so.

, , , , 


what does the moral say?


to crow than

to be vainglorious

and break down

at last.”

, , , , 



THERE was once a pretty,

delicate little girl,

who was so poor

that she had

to go barefoot

in summer

and wear coarse wooden shoes

in winter,

which made her little instep quite red.

, , , , 

In the center

of the village

there lived an old shoemaker’s wife.

One day this good woman made,

as well

as she could,

a little pair

of shoes out

of some strips

of old red cloth.

The shoes were clumsy enough,

to be sure,

but they fitted the little girl tolerably well,

and anyway the woman’s intention was kind.

The little girl’s name was Karen.

, , , , 

On the very day

that Karen received the shoes,

her mother was

to be buried.

They were not

at all suitable

for mourning,

but she had no others,

so she put them

on her little bare feet

and followed the poor plain coffin

to its last resting place.

, , , , 



that time a large,

old-fashioned carriage happened

to pass by,

and the old lady

who sat

in it saw the little girl

and pitied her.

, , , , 

“Give me the little girl,”

she said

to the clergyman,

“and I

will take care

of her.”

, , , , 

Karen supposed

that all this happened because

of the red shoes,

but the old lady thought them frightful

and ordered them

to be burned.

Karen was

then dressed

in neat,

well-fitting clothes

and taught

to read

and sew.

People told her she was pretty,

but the mirror said,

“You are much more

than pretty

--you are beautiful.”

, , , , 

It happened not long afterwards

that the queen

and her little daughter,

the princess,


through the land.

All the people,


among the rest,


toward the palace

and crowded

around it,

while the little princess,


in white,


at the window

for every one

to see.

She wore neither a train nor a golden crown,


on her feet were beautiful red morocco shoes,


it must be admitted,

were prettier

than those the shoemaker’s wife had given

to little Karen.

Surely nothing

in the world

could be compared

to those red shoes.

, , , , 


that Karen was old enough

to be confirmed,


of course had

to have a new frock

and new shoes.

The rich shoemaker

in the town took the measure

of her little feet

in his own house,

in a room

where stood great glass cases filled

with all sorts

of fine shoes

and elegant,

shining boots.

It was a pretty sight,

but the old lady

could not see well

and naturally did not take so much pleasure

in it

as Karen.

Among the shoes were a pair

of red ones,


like those worn

by the little princess.


how gay they were!

The shoemaker said they had been made

for the child

of a count,

but had not fitted well.

, , , , 

“Are they

of polished leather,

that they shine so?”

asked the old lady.

, , , , 



they do shine,”

replied Karen.


since they fitted her,

they were bought.

But the old lady had no idea

that they were red,

or she

would never

in the world have allowed Karen

to go

to confirmation

in them,

as she now did.

Every one,

of course,


at Karen’s shoes;


when she walked up the nave

to the chancel it seemed

to her


even the antique figures

on the monuments,

the portraits

of clergymen

and their wives,

with their stiff ruffs

and long black robes,

were fixing their eyes

on her red shoes.


when the bishop laid his hand upon her head

and spoke

of her covenant

with God and

how she must now begin

to be a full-grown Christian,


when the organ pealed forth solemnly

and the children’s fresh,

sweet voices joined

with those

of the choir

--still Karen thought

of nothing

but her shoes.

, , , , 

In the afternoon,

when the old lady heard every one speak

of the red shoes,

she said it was very shocking

and improper

and that,

in the future,

when Karen went

to church it must always be

in black shoes,


if they were old.

, , , , 

The next Sunday was Karen’s first Communion day.

She looked

at her black shoes,

and then

at her red ones,

then again

at the black and

at the red

--and the red ones were put on.

, , , , 

The sun shone very brightly,

and Karen

and the old lady walked

to church

through the cornfields,

for the road was very dusty.

, , , , 

At the door

of the church stood an old soldier,

who leaned upon a crutch

and had a marvelously long beard

that was not white

but red.

He bowed almost

to the ground

and asked the old lady

if he might dust her shoes.


in her turn,

put out her little foot.

, , , , 



what smart little dancing pumps!”

said the old soldier.

“Mind you do not let them slip off

when you dance,”

and he passed his hands

over them.

The old lady gave the soldier a half-penny

and went

with Karen

into the church.

, , , , 

As before,

every one saw Karen’s red shoes,

and all the carved figures too bent their gaze upon them.

When Karen knelt

at the chancel she thought only

of the shoes;

they floated

before her eyes,

and she forgot

to say her prayer

or sing her psalm.

, , , , 

At last all the people left the church,

and the old lady got

into her carriage.

As Karen lifted her foot

to step in,

the old soldier said,


what pretty dancing shoes!”

And Karen,

in spite

of herself,

made a few dancing steps.

When she had once begun,

her feet went


of themselves;

it was

as though the shoes had received power

over her.

She danced round the church corner,


could not help it,

--and the coachman had

to run behind

and catch her

to put her

into the carriage.

Still her feet went

on dancing,


that she trod upon the good lady’s toes.

It was not

until the shoes were taken

from her feet

that she had rest.

, , , , 

The shoes were put away

in a closet,

but Karen

could not resist going

to look

at them every now

and then.

, , , , 

Soon after this the old lady lay ill

in bed,

and it was said

that she

could not recover.

She had

to be nursed

and waited on,

and this,

of course,

was no one’s duty so much

as it was Karen’s,

as Karen herself well knew.


there happened

to be a great ball

in the town,

and Karen was invited.

She looked

at the old lady,

who was very ill,

and she looked

at the red shoes.

She put them on,

for she thought


could not be any sin

in that,


of course

there was not

--but she went next

to the ball

and began

to dance.

, , , , 


to say,

when she wanted

to move

to the right the shoes bore her

to the left;


when she wished

to dance up the room the shoes persisted

in going down the room.

Down the stairs they carried her

at last,

into the street,

and out

through the town gate.

On and

on she danced,

for dance she must,

straight out

into the gloomy wood.


among the trees something glistened.

She thought it was the round,

red moon,

for she saw a face;

but no,

it was the old soldier

with the red beard,

who sat

and nodded,



what pretty dancing shoes!”

She was dreadfully frightened

and tried

to throw away the red shoes,

but they clung fast

and she

could not unclasp them.

They seemed

to have grown fast

to her feet.

So dance she must,

and dance she did,

over field

and meadow,

in rain and

in sunshine,

by night and

by day


by night it was

by far more dreadful.

, , , , 

She danced out

into the open churchyard,

but the dead

there did not dance;

they were

at rest

and had much better things

to do.


would have liked

to sit down

on the poor man’s grave,

where the bitter tansy grew,


for her

there was no rest.

, , , , 


She danced past the open church door ....]

She danced past the open church door,


there she saw an angel

in long white robes


with wings

that reached

from his shoulders

to the earth.

His look was stern

and grave,


in his hand he held a broad,

glittering sword.

, , , , 

“Thou shalt dance,”

he said,

“in thy red shoes,

till thou art pale

and cold,


till thy body is wasted

like a skeleton.

Thou shalt dance

from door

to door,

and wherever proud,

haughty children dwell thou shalt knock,


hearing thee,

they may take warning.

Dance thou shalt

--dance on!”


cried Karen;

but she did not hear the answer

of the angel,

for the shoes carried her past the door and


into the fields.

, , , , 

One morning she danced past a well-known door.

Within was the sound

of a psalm,

and presently a coffin strewn

with flowers was borne out.

She knew

that her friend,

the old lady,

was dead,


in her heart she felt

that she was abandoned

by all

on earth

and condemned

by God’s angel

in heaven.

, , , , 


on she danced

--for she

could not stop

--through thorns

and briers,

while her feet bled.


she danced

to a lonely little house

where she knew

that the executioner dwelt,

and she tapped

at the window,


“Come out,

come out!

I cannot come in,

for I must dance.”

, , , , 

The man said,

“Do you know

who I am


what I do?”

, , , , 


said Karen;

“but do not strike off my head,


then I

could not live

to repent

of my sin.

Strike off my feet,

that I may be rid

of my red shoes.”

, , , , 

Then she confessed her sin,

and the executioner struck off the red shoes,

which danced away

over the fields


into the deep wood.

To Karen it seemed

that the feet had gone

with the shoes,

for she had

almost lost the power

of walking.

, , , , 

“Now I have suffered enough

for the red shoes,”

she said;


will go

to the church,

that people may see me.”

But no sooner had she hobbled

to the church door

than the shoes danced

before her

and frightened her back.

, , , , 


that week she endured the keenest sorrow

and shed many bitter tears.

When Sunday came,

she said:

“I am sure I must have suffered

and striven enough

by this time.

I am quite

as good,

I dare say,

as many

who are holding their heads high

in the church.”

So she took courage

and went again.


before she reached the churchyard gate the red shoes were dancing there,

and she turned back again

in terror,

more deeply sorrowful

than ever

for her sin.

, , , , 


then went

to the pastor’s house

and begged

as a favor

to be taken

into the family’s service,


to be diligent

and faithful.

She did not want wages,

she said,

only a home

with good people.

The clergyman’s wife pitied her

and granted her request,

and she proved industrious

and very thoughtful.

, , , , 

Earnestly she listened when

at evening the preacher read aloud the Holy Scriptures.

All the children came

to love her,


when they spoke

of beauty

and finery,


would shake her head

and turn away.

, , , , 

On Sunday,

when they all went

to church,

they asked her

if she

would not go,


but she looked sad

and bade them go without her.

Then she went

to her own little room,


as she sat

with the psalm book

in her hand,

reading its pages

with a gentle,

pious mind,

the wind brought

to her the notes

of the organ.

She raised her tearful eyes

and said,

“O God,

do thou help me!”

Then the sun shone brightly,


before her stood the white angel

that she had seen

at the church door.

He no longer bore the glittering sword,


in his hand was a beautiful branch

of roses.

He touched the ceiling

with it,

and the ceiling rose,


at each place

where the branch touched it

there shone a star.

He touched the walls,

and they widened so

that Karen

could see the organ

that was being played

at the church.

She saw,


the old pictures

and statues

on the walls,

and the congregation sitting

in the seats

and singing psalms,

for the church itself had come

to the poor girl

in her narrow room,

or she

in her chamber had come

to it.

She sat

in the seat

with the rest

of the clergyman’s household,


when the psalm was ended,

they nodded

and said,

“Thou didst well

to come,


“This is mercy,”

said she.

“It is the grace

of God.”

, , , , 

The organ pealed,

and the chorus

of children’s voices mingled sweetly

with it.

The bright sunshine shed its warm light,

through the windows,

over the pew


which Karen sat.

Her heart was so filled

with sunshine,


and joy

that it broke,

and her soul was borne

by a sunbeam up

to God,


there was nobody

to ask

about the red shoes.

, , , , 



FAR out

in the ocean,

where the water is

as blue

as the prettiest cornflower and

as clear

as crystal,

it is very,

very deep;

so deep,


that no cable

could sound it,

and many church steeples,

piled one upon another,

would not reach

from the ground beneath

to the surface

of the water above.

There dwell the Sea King

and his subjects.

, , , , 

We must not imagine


there is nothing

at the bottom

of the sea

but bare yellow sand.




on this sand grow the strangest flowers

and plants,

the leaves

and stems


which are so pliant

that the slightest agitation

of the water causes them

to stir


if they had life.


both large

and small,


between the branches

as birds fly

among the trees here upon land.

, , , , 

In the deepest spot

of all stands the castle

of the Sea King.

Its walls are built

of coral,

and the long Gothic windows are

of the clearest amber.

The roof is formed

of shells

that open

and close

as the water flows

over them.

Their appearance is very beautiful,


in each lies a glittering pearl


would be fit

for the diadem

of a queen.

, , , , 

The Sea King had been a widower

for many years,

and his aged mother kept house

for him.

She was a very sensible woman,

but exceedingly proud

of her high birth,



that account wore twelve oysters

on her tail,

while others

of high rank were only allowed

to wear six.

, , , , 

She was,



of very great praise,


for her care

of the little sea princesses,

her six granddaughters.

They were beautiful children,

but the youngest was the prettiest

of them all.

Her skin was

as clear

and delicate

as a rose leaf,

and her eyes

as blue

as the deepest sea;


like all the others,

she had no feet

and her body ended

in a fish’s tail.

All day long they played

in the great halls

of the castle


among the living flowers

that grew out

of the walls.

The large amber windows were open,

and the fish swam in,


as the swallows fly

into our houses

when we open the windows;

only the fishes swam up

to the princesses,

ate out

of their hands,

and allowed themselves

to be stroked.

, , , , 

Outside the castle

there was a beautiful garden,


which grew bright-red

and dark-blue flowers,

and blossoms

like flames

of fire;

the fruit glittered

like gold,

and the leaves

and stems waved


and fro continually.

The earth itself was the finest sand,

but blue

as the flame

of burning sulphur.

Over everything lay a peculiar blue radiance,


if the blue sky were everywhere,


and below,


of the dark depths

of the sea.

In calm weather the sun

could be seen,


like a reddish-purple flower

with light streaming

from the calyx.

, , , , 


of the young princesses had a little plot

of ground

in the garden,

where she might dig

and plant

as she pleased.

One arranged her flower bed

in the form

of a whale;

another preferred

to make hers

like the figure

of a little mermaid;

while the youngest child made hers round,

like the sun,


in it grew flowers

as red

as his rays

at sunset.

, , , , 

She was a strange child,


and thoughtful.

While her sisters showed delight

at the wonderful things

which they obtained

from the wrecks

of vessels,

she cared only

for her pretty flowers,


like the sun,

and a beautiful marble statue.

It was the representation

of a handsome boy,

carved out

of pure white stone,

which had fallen

to the bottom

of the sea

from a wreck.

, , , , 

She planted

by the statue a rose-colored weeping willow.

It grew rapidly

and soon hung its fresh branches

over the statue,

almost down

to the blue sands.

The shadows had the color

of violet

and waved


and fro

like the branches,


that it seemed


if the crown

of the tree

and the root were

at play,


to kiss each other.

, , , , 

Nothing gave her so much pleasure as

to hear

about the world

above the sea.

She made her old grandmother tell her all she knew

of the ships and

of the towns,

the people

and the animals.

To her it seemed most wonderful

and beautiful

to hear

that the flowers

of the land had fragrance,

while those below the sea had none;

that the trees

of the forest were green;


that the fishes

among the trees

could sing so sweetly

that it was a pleasure

to listen

to them.

Her grandmother called the birds fishes,

or the little mermaid

would not have understood

what was meant,

for she had never seen birds.

, , , , 

“When you have reached your fifteenth year,”

said the grandmother,


will have permission

to rise up out

of the sea

and sit

on the rocks

in the moonlight,

while the great ships go sailing by.

Then you

will see both forests

and towns.”

, , , , 

In the following year,


of the sisters

would be fifteen,


as each was a year younger

than the other,

the youngest

would have

to wait five years

before her turn came

to rise up

from the bottom

of the ocean

to see the earth

as we do.


each promised

to tell the others

what she saw

on her first visit


what she thought was most beautiful.

Their grandmother

could not tell them enough

--there were so many things about

which they wanted

to know.

, , , , 


of them longed so much

for her turn

to come

as the youngest


who had the longest time

to wait


who was so quiet

and thoughtful.

Many nights she stood

by the open window,

looking up

through the dark blue water

and watching the fish

as they splashed about

with their fins

and tails.


could see the moon

and stars shining faintly,


through the water they looked larger

than they do

to our eyes.

When something

like a black cloud passed

between her

and them,

she knew

that it was either a whale swimming

over her head,

or a ship full

of human beings

who never imagined

that a pretty little mermaid was standing

beneath them,

holding out her white hands

towards the keel

of their ship.

, , , , 

At length the eldest was fifteen

and was allowed

to rise

to the surface

of the ocean.

, , , , 

When she returned she had hundreds

of things

to talk about.

But the finest thing,

she said,


to lie

on a sand bank

in the quiet moonlit sea,

near the shore,


at the lights

of the near-by town,

that twinkled

like hundreds

of stars,

and listening

to the sounds

of music,

the noise

of carriages,

the voices

of human beings,

and the merry pealing

of the bells

in the church steeples.

Because she

could not go near all these wonderful things,

she longed

for them all the more.

, , , , 


how eagerly did the youngest sister listen

to all these descriptions!

And afterwards,

when she stood

at the open window looking up

through the dark-blue water,

she thought

of the great city,

with all its bustle

and noise,


even fancied she

could hear the sound

of the church bells down

in the depths

of the sea.

, , , , 

In another year the second sister received permission

to rise

to the surface

of the water and

to swim


where she pleased.

She rose just

as the sun was setting,

and this,

she said,

was the most beautiful sight

of all.

The whole sky looked

like gold,

and violet

and rose-colored clouds,

which she

could not describe,


across it.

And more swiftly

than the clouds,

flew a large flock

of wild swans

toward the setting sun,

like a long white veil

across the sea.

She also swam

towards the sun,

but it sank

into the waves,

and the rosy tints faded

from the clouds


from the sea.

, , , , 

The third sister’s turn followed,

and she was the boldest

of them all,

for she swam up a broad river

that emptied

into the sea.

On the banks she saw green hills covered

with beautiful vines,

and palaces

and castles peeping out

from amid the proud trees

of the forest.

She heard birds singing

and felt the rays

of the sun so strongly

that she was obliged often

to dive

under the water

to cool her burning face.

In a narrow creek she found a large group

of little human children,

almost naked,

sporting about

in the water.

She wanted

to play

with them,

but they fled

in a great fright;


then a little black animal

--it was a dog,

but she did not know it,

for she had never seen one before


to the water

and barked

at her so furiously

that she became frightened

and rushed back

to the open sea.

But she said she

should never forget the beautiful forest,

the green hills,

and the pretty children


could swim

in the water

although they had no tails.

, , , , 

The fourth sister was more timid.

She remained

in the midst

of the sea,

but said it was quite

as beautiful there

as nearer the land.


could see many miles

around her,

and the sky

above looked

like a bell

of glass.

She had seen the ships,


at such a great distance

that they looked

like sea gulls.

The dolphins sported

in the waves,

and the great whales spouted water

from their nostrils

till it seemed


if a hundred fountains were playing

in every direction.

, , , , 

The fifth sister’s birthday occurred

in the winter,


when her turn came she saw

what the others had not seen the first time they went up.

The sea looked quite green,

and large icebergs were floating about,


like a pearl,

she said,

but larger

and loftier

than the churches built

by men.

They were

of the most singular shapes

and glittered

like diamonds.

She had seated herself

on one

of the largest

and let the wind play

with her long hair.

She noticed

that all the ships sailed past very rapidly,


as far away

as they could,


if they were afraid

of the iceberg.

Towards evening,

as the sun went down,

dark clouds covered the sky,

the thunder rolled,

and the flashes

of lightning glowed red

on the icebergs

as they were tossed about

by the heaving sea.

On all the ships the sails were reefed

with fear

and trembling,

while she sat

on the floating iceberg,

calmly watching the lightning

as it darted its forked flashes

into the sea.

, , , , 


of the sisters,

when first she had permission

to rise

to the surface,

was delighted

with the new

and beautiful sights.


that they were grown-up girls


could go

when they pleased,

they had become quite indifferent

about it.

They soon wished themselves back again,

and after a month had passed they said it was much more beautiful down below

and pleasanter

to be

at home.

, , , , 

Yet often,

in the evening hours,

the five sisters

would twine their arms

about each other

and rise

to the surface together.

Their voices were more charming

than that

of any human being,


before the approach

of a storm,

when they feared

that a ship might be lost,

they swam

before the vessel,

singing enchanting songs

of the delights

to be found

in the depths

of the sea

and begging the voyagers not

to fear

if they sank

to the bottom.

But the sailors

could not understand the song

and thought it was the sighing

of the storm.

These things were never beautiful

to them,


if the ship sank,

the men were drowned

and their dead bodies alone reached the palace

of the Sea King.

, , , , 

When the sisters rose,


in arm,

through the water,

their youngest sister

would stand quite alone,

looking after them,


to cry


since mermaids have no tears,

she suffered more acutely.

, , , , 


were I

but fifteen years old!”

said she.

“I know

that I shall love the world up there,

and all the people

who live

in it.”

, , , , 

At last she reached her fifteenth year.

, , , , 


now you are grown up,”

said the old dowager,

her grandmother.


and let me adorn you

like your sisters.”

And she placed

in her hair a wreath

of white lilies,


which every flower leaf was half a pearl.

Then the old lady ordered eight great oysters

to attach themselves

to the tail

of the princess

to show her high rank.

, , , , 

“But they hurt me so,”

said the little mermaid.

, , , , 


I know;

pride must suffer pain,”

replied the old lady.

, , , , 


how gladly she

would have shaken off all this grandeur

and laid aside the heavy wreath!

The red flowers

in her own garden

would have suited her much better.

But she

could not change herself,

so she said farewell

and rose

as lightly

as a bubble

to the surface

of the water.

, , , , 

The sun had just set

when she raised her head

above the waves.

The clouds were tinted

with crimson

and gold,


through the glimmering twilight beamed the evening star

in all its beauty.

The sea was calm,

and the air mild

and fresh.

A large ship

with three masts lay becalmed

on the water;

only one sail was set,

for not a breeze stirred,

and the sailors sat idle

on deck

or amidst the rigging.

There was music

and song

on board,


as darkness came on,

a hundred colored lanterns were lighted,


if the flags

of all nations waved

in the air.

, , , , 

The little mermaid swam close

to the cabin windows,

and now

and then,

as the waves lifted her up,


could look


through glass window-panes

and see a number

of gayly dressed people.

, , , , 

Among them,

and the most beautiful

of all,

was a young prince

with large,

black eyes.

He was sixteen years

of age,

and his birthday was being celebrated

with great display.

The sailors were dancing

on deck,


when the prince came out

of the cabin,


than a hundred rockets rose

in the air,

making it

as bright

as day.

The little mermaid was so startled

that she dived

under water,


when she again stretched out her head,

it looked


if all the stars

of heaven were falling

around her.

, , , , 

She had never seen such fireworks before.

Great suns spurted fire about,

splendid fireflies flew

into the blue air,

and everything was reflected

in the clear,

calm sea beneath.

The ship itself was so brightly illuminated

that all the people,


even the smallest rope,

could be distinctly seen.

How handsome the young prince looked,

as he pressed the hands

of all his guests

and smiled

at them,

while the music resounded

through the clear night air!

It was very late,

yet the little mermaid

could not take her eyes

from the ship


from the beautiful prince.

The colored lanterns had been extinguished,

no more rockets rose

in the air,

and the cannon had ceased firing;

but the sea became restless,

and a moaning,

grumbling sound

could be heard

beneath the waves.

Still the little mermaid remained

by the cabin window,

rocking up

and down

on the water,


that she

could look within.

After a

while the sails were quickly set,

and the ship went

on her way.

But soon the waves rose higher,

heavy clouds darkened the sky,

and lightning appeared

in the distance.

A dreadful storm was approaching.

Once more the sails were furled,

and the great ship pursued her flying course

over the raging sea.

The waves rose mountain high,


if they

would overtop the mast,

but the ship dived

like a swan

between them,

then rose again

on their lofty,

foaming crests.

To the little mermaid this was pleasant sport;

but not so

to the sailors.

At length the ship groaned

and creaked;

the thick planks gave way

under the lashing

of the sea,

as the waves broke

over the deck;

the mainmast snapped asunder

like a reed,


as the ship lay over

on her side,

the water rushed in.

, , , , 

The little mermaid now perceived

that the crew were

in danger;

even she was obliged

to be careful,

to avoid the beams

and planks

of the wreck

which lay scattered

on the water.

At one moment it was pitch dark so

that she

could not see a single object,


when a flash

of lightning came it revealed the whole scene;


could see every one

who had been

on board except the prince.

When the ship parted,

she had seen him sink

into the deep waves,

and she was glad,

for she thought he

would now be

with her.

Then she remembered

that human beings

could not live

in the water,

so that

when he got down

to her father’s palace he

would certainly be quite dead.

, , , , 


he must not die!

So she swam


among the beams

and planks

which strewed the surface

of the sea,


that they

could crush her

to pieces.

Diving deep

under the dark waters,


and falling

with the waves,


at length managed

to reach the young prince,

who was fast losing the power

to swim


that stormy sea.

His limbs were failing him,

his beautiful eyes were closed,

and he

would have died had not the little mermaid come

to his assistance.

She held his head

above the water

and let the waves carry them

where they would.

, , , , 

In the morning the storm had ceased,


of the ship not a single fragment

could be seen.

The sun came up red

and shining out

of the water,

and its beams brought back the hue

of health

to the prince’s cheeks,

but his eyes remained closed.

The mermaid kissed his high,

smooth forehead

and stroked back his wet hair.

He seemed

to her

like the marble statue

in her little garden,

so she kissed him again

and wished

that he might live.

, , , , 

Presently they came

in sight

of land,

and she saw lofty blue mountains


which the white snow rested


if a flock

of swans were lying upon them.

Beautiful green forests were near the shore,

and close

by stood a large building,

whether a church

or a convent she

could not tell.


and citron trees grew

in the garden,


before the door stood lofty palms.

The sea here formed a little bay,


which the water lay quiet

and still,

but very deep.

She swam

with the handsome prince

to the beach,

which was covered

with fine white sand,


there she laid him

in the warm sunshine,

taking care

to raise his head higher

than his body.

Then bells sounded

in the large white building,

and some young girls came

into the garden.

The little mermaid swam out farther

from the shore

and hid herself

among some high rocks

that rose out

of the water.

Covering her head

and neck

with the foam

of the sea,

she watched there

to see


would become

of the poor prince.

, , , , 

It was not long

before she saw a young girl approach the spot

where the prince lay.

She seemed frightened

at first,

but only

for a moment;

then she brought a number

of people,

and the mermaid saw

that the prince came

to life again

and smiled upon those

who stood

about him.


to her he sent no smile;

he knew not

that she had saved him.

This made her very sorrowful,


when he was led away

into the great building,

she dived down

into the water

and returned

to her father’s castle.

, , , , 

She had always been silent

and thoughtful,

and now she was more so

than ever.

Her sisters asked her

what she had seen during her first visit

to the surface

of the water,

but she

could tell them nothing.

Many an evening

and morning did she rise

to the place

where she had left the prince.

She saw the fruits

in the garden ripen

and watched them gathered;

she watched the snow

on the mountain tops melt away;

but never did she see the prince,

and therefore she always returned home more sorrowful

than before.

, , , , 

It was her only comfort

to sit

in her own little garden

and fling her arm

around the beautiful marble statue,

which was

like the prince.

She gave up tending her flowers,

and they grew

in wild confusion

over the paths,

twining their long leaves

and stems round the branches

of the trees so

that the whole place became dark

and gloomy.

, , , , 

At length she

could bear it no longer

and told one

of her sisters all

about it.

Then the others heard the secret,

and very soon it became known

to several mermaids,


of whom had an intimate friend

who happened

to know

about the prince.

She had also seen the festival

on board ship,

and she told them

where the prince came from


where his palace stood.

, , , , 


little sister,”

said the other princesses.

Then they entwined their arms

and rose together

to the surface

of the water,

near the spot

where they knew the prince’s palace stood.

It was built

of bright-yellow,

shining stone

and had long flights

of marble steps,



which reached quite down

to the sea.

Splendid gilded cupolas rose

over the roof,


between the pillars

that surrounded the whole building stood lifelike statues

of marble.

Through the clear crystal

of the lofty windows

could be seen noble rooms,

with costly silk curtains

and hangings

of tapestry

and walls covered

with beautiful paintings.

In the center

of the largest salon a fountain threw its sparkling jets high up

into the glass cupola

of the ceiling,


which the sun shone

in upon the water

and upon the beautiful plants

that grew

in the basin

of the fountain.

, , , , 


that the little mermaid knew

where the prince lived,

she spent many an evening

and many a night

on the water near the palace.


would swim much nearer the shore

than any

of the others had ventured,

and once she went up the narrow channel

under the marble balcony,

which threw a broad shadow

on the water.

Here she sat

and watched the young prince,

who thought himself alone

in the bright moonlight.

, , , , 

She often saw him evenings,


in a beautiful boat


which music sounded

and flags waved.

She peeped out


among the green rushes,


if the wind caught her long silvery-white veil,


who saw it believed it

to be a swan,

spreading out its wings.

, , , , 

Many a night,


when the fishermen set their nets

by the light

of their torches,

she heard them relate many good things

about the young prince.

And this made her glad

that she had saved his life

when he was tossed

about half dead

on the waves.

She remembered

how his head had rested

on her bosom and

how heartily she had kissed him,

but he knew nothing

of all this


could not

even dream

of her.

, , , , 

She grew more

and more


like human beings

and wished more

and more

to be able

to wander about

with those whose world seemed

to be so much larger

than her own.


could fly

over the sea

in ships

and mount the high hills

which were far

above the clouds;

and the lands they possessed,

their woods

and their fields,

stretched far away beyond the reach

of her sight.

There was so much

that she wished

to know!

but her sisters were unable

to answer all her questions.


then went

to her old grandmother,

who knew all

about the upper world,

which she rightly called “the lands

above the sea.”

, , , , 

“If human beings are not drowned,”

asked the little mermaid,

“can they live forever?

Do they never die,

as we do here

in the sea?”

, , , , 


replied the old lady,

“they must also die,

and their term

of life is

even shorter

than ours.

We sometimes live

for three hundred years,


when we cease

to exist here,

we become only foam

on the surface

of the water

and have not

even a grave

among those we love.

We have not immortal souls,

we shall never live again;

like the green seaweed

when once it has been cut off,


can never flourish more.

Human beings,

on the contrary,

have souls

which live forever,

even after the body has been turned

to dust.

They rise up

through the clear,

pure air,

beyond the glittering stars.

As we rise out

of the water

and behold all the land

of the earth,

so do they rise

to unknown

and glorious regions

which we shall never see.”

, , , , 

“Why have not we immortal souls?”

asked the little mermaid,



would gladly give all the hundreds

of years

that I have

to live,

to be a human being only

for one day and

to have the hope

of knowing the happiness


that glorious world

above the stars.”

, , , , 

“You must not think that,”

said the old woman.

“We believe

that we are much happier

and much better off

than human beings.”

, , , , 

“So I shall die,”

said the little mermaid,


as the foam

of the sea I shall be driven about,

never again

to hear the music

of the waves or

to see the pretty flowers

or the red sun?


there anything I

can do

to win an immortal soul?”

, , , , 


said the old woman;

“unless a man

should love you so much

that you were more

to him

than his father

or his mother,


if all his thoughts

and all his love were fixed upon you,

and the priest placed his right hand

in yours,

and he promised

to be true

to you here

and hereafter

--then his soul

would glide

into your body,

and you

would obtain a share

in the future happiness

of mankind.


would give

to you a soul

and retain his own

as well;

but this

can never happen.

Your fish’s tail,


among us is considered so beautiful,

on earth is thought

to be quite ugly.

They do not know any better,

and they think it necessary,

in order

to be handsome,

to have two stout props,

which they call legs.”

, , , , 

Then the little mermaid sighed

and looked sorrowfully

at her fish’s tail.

“Let us be happy,”

said the old lady,

“and dart

and spring

about during the three hundred years

that we have

to live,

which is really quite long enough.


that we

can rest ourselves all the better.

This evening we are going

to have a court ball.”

, , , , 

It was one

of those splendid sights

which we

can never see

on earth.

The walls

and the ceiling

of the large ballroom were

of thick

but transparent crystal.

Many hundreds

of colossal shells,


of a deep red,


of a grass green,

--with blue fire

in them,


in rows

on each side.

These lighted up the whole salon,

and shone

through the walls so

that the sea was also illuminated.

Innumerable fishes,


and small,

swam past the crystal walls;

on some

of them the scales glowed

with a purple brilliance,


on others shone

like silver

and gold.

Through the halls flowed a broad stream,


in it danced the mermen

and the mermaids

to the music

of their own sweet singing.

, , , , 

No one

on earth has such lovely voices

as they,

but the little mermaid sang more sweetly

than all.

The whole court applauded her

with hands

and tails,


for a moment her heart felt quite gay,

for she knew she had the sweetest voice either

on earth or

in the sea.

But soon she thought again

of the world

above her;


could not forget the charming prince,

nor her sorrow

that she had not an immortal soul

like his.

She crept away silently out

of her father’s palace,


while everything within was gladness

and song,

she sat

in her own little garden,


and alone.

Then she heard the bugle sounding

through the water

and thought:

“He is certainly sailing above,


in whom my wishes center and

in whose hands I

should like

to place the happiness

of my life.


will venture all

for him and

to win an immortal soul.

While my sisters are dancing

in my father’s palace I

will go

to the sea witch,

of whom I have always been so much afraid;


can give me counsel

and help.”

, , , , 

Then the little mermaid went out

from her garden

and took the road

to the foaming whirlpools,


which the sorceress lived.

She had never been

that way before.

Neither flowers nor grass grew there;


but bare,


sandy ground stretched out

to the whirlpool,

where the water,

like foaming mill wheels,

seized everything

that came within its reach

and cast it

into the fathomless deep.

Through the midst

of these crushing whirlpools the little mermaid was obliged

to pass

before she

could reach the dominions

of the sea witch.


for a long distance,

the road lay

across a stretch

of warm,

bubbling mire,


by the witch her turf moor.

, , , , 

Beyond this was the witch’s house,

which stood

in the center

of a strange forest,

where all the trees

and flowers were polypi,

half animals

and half plants.

They looked

like serpents

with a hundred heads,

growing out

of the ground.

The branches were long,

slimy arms,

with fingers

like flexible worms,

moving limb after limb

from the root

to the top.



could be reached

in the sea they seized upon

and held fast,


that it never escaped

from their clutches.

, , , , 

The little mermaid was so alarmed


what she saw

that she stood still

and her heart beat

with fear.

She came very near turning back,

but she thought

of the prince and

of the human soul


which she longed,

and her courage returned.

She fastened her long,

flowing hair round her head,


that the polypi

should not lay hold

of it.

She crossed her hands

on her bosom,


then darted forward

as a fish shoots

through the water,

between the supple arms

and fingers

of the ugly polypi,

which were stretched out

on each side

of her.

She saw

that they all held

in their grasp something they had seized

with their numerous little arms,

which were

as strong

as iron bands.

Tightly grasped

in their clinging arms were white skeletons

of human beings

who had perished

at sea

and had sunk down

into the deep waters;


of land animals;

and oars,


and chests,

of ships.

There was

even a little mermaid whom they had caught

and strangled,

and this seemed the most shocking

of all

to the little princess.

, , , , 

She now came

to a space

of marshy ground

in the wood,

where large,

fat water snakes were rolling

in the mire

and showing their ugly,

drab-colored bodies.

In the midst

of this spot stood a house,


of the bones

of shipwrecked human beings.

There sat the sea witch,

allowing a toad

to eat

from her mouth just

as people sometimes feed a canary

with pieces

of sugar.

She called the ugly water snakes her little chickens

and allowed them

to crawl all

over her bosom.

, , , , 

“I know

what you want,”

said the sea witch.

“It is very stupid

of you,

but you shall have your way,

though it

will bring you

to sorrow,

my pretty princess.

You want

to get rid

of your fish’s tail and

to have two supports instead,

like human beings

on earth,


that the young prince may fall

in love

with you

and so

that you may have an immortal soul.”


then the witch laughed so loud

and so disgustingly

that the toad

and the snakes fell

to the ground

and lay

there wriggling.

, , , , 

“You are

but just

in time,”

said the witch,

“for after sunrise to-morrow I

should not be able

to help you

till the end

of another year.


will prepare a draft

for you,


which you must swim

to land to-morrow

before sunrise;

seat yourself there

and drink it.

Your tail


then disappear,

and shrink up into

what men call legs.

, , , , 


will feel great pain,


if a sword were passing

through you.

But all

who see you

will say

that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw.


will still have the same floating gracefulness

of movement,

and no dancer

will ever tread so lightly.

Every step you take,


will be


if you were treading upon sharp knives and


if the blood must flow.

If you

will bear all this,


will help you.”

, , , , 


I will,”

said the little princess

in a trembling voice,

as she thought

of the prince

and the immortal soul.

, , , , 

“But think again,”

said the witch,


when once your shape has become

like a human being,


can no more be a mermaid.


will never return

through the water

to your sisters or

to your father’s palace again.


if you do not win the love

of the prince,


that he is willing

to forget his father

and mother

for your sake and

to love you

with his whole soul

and allow the priest

to join your hands

that you may be man

and wife,

then you

will never have an immortal soul.

The first morning after he marries another,

your heart

will break

and you

will become foam

on the crest

of the waves.”

, , , , 


will do it,”

said the little mermaid,

and she became pale

as death.

, , , , 

“But I must be paid,


said the witch,

“and it is not a trifle

that I ask.

You have the sweetest voice

of any

who dwell here

in the depths

of the sea,

and you believe

that you

will be able

to charm the prince

with it.

But this voice you must give

to me.

The best thing you possess

will I have

as the price

of my costly draft,

which must be mixed

with my own blood so

that it may be

as sharp

as a two-edged sword.”

, , , , 


if you take away my voice,”

said the little mermaid,

“what is left

for me?”

, , , , 

“Your beautiful form,

your graceful walk,

and your expressive eyes.


with these you

can enchain a man’s heart.


have you lost your courage?

Put out your little tongue,

that I may cut it off

as my payment;

then you shall have the powerful draft.”

, , , , 

“It shall be,”

said the little mermaid.

, , , , 

Then the witch placed her caldron

on the fire,

to prepare the magic draft.

, , , , 

“Cleanliness is a good thing,”

said she,

scouring the vessel

with snakes

which she had tied together

in a large knot.

Then she pricked herself

in the breast

and let the black blood drop

into the caldron.

The steam

that rose twisted itself

into such horrible shapes

that no one

could look

at them without fear.

Every moment the witch threw a new ingredient

into the vessel,


when it began

to boil,

the sound was

like the weeping

of a crocodile.


at last the magic draft was ready,

it looked

like the clearest water.

, , , , 

“There it is

for you,”

said the witch.

Then she cut off the mermaid’s tongue,


that she

would never again speak

or sing.

“If the polypi

should seize you

as you return

through the wood,”

said the witch,


over them a few drops

of the potion,

and their fingers

will be torn

into a thousand pieces.”

But the little mermaid had no occasion

to do this,

for the polypi sprang back

in terror

when they caught sight

of the glittering draft,

which shone

in her hand

like a twinkling star.

, , , , 

So she passed quickly

through the wood

and the marsh


between the rushing whirlpools.

She saw that

in her father’s palace the torches

in the ballroom were extinguished


that all within were asleep.

But she did not venture

to go


to them,

for now

that she was dumb

and going

to leave them forever she felt


if her heart

would break.

She stole

into the garden,

took a flower

from the flower bed

of each

of her sisters,

kissed her hand

towards the palace a thousand times,


then rose up

through the dark-blue waters.

, , , , 

The sun had not risen

when she came

in sight

of the prince’s palace

and approached the beautiful marble steps,

but the moon shone clear

and bright.

Then the little mermaid drank the magic draft,

and it seemed


if a two-edged sword went

through her delicate body.

She fell

into a swoon

and lay

like one dead.

When the sun rose

and shone

over the sea,

she recovered

and felt a sharp pain,


before her stood the handsome young prince.

, , , , 

He fixed his coal-black eyes upon her so earnestly

that she cast down her own


then became aware

that her fish’s tail was gone


that she had

as pretty a pair

of white legs

and tiny feet

as any little maiden

could have.

But she had no clothes,

so she wrapped herself

in her long,

thick hair.

The prince asked her

who she was

and whence she came.

She looked

at him mildly

and sorrowfully

with her deep blue eyes,


could not speak.

He took her

by the hand

and led her

to the palace.

, , , , 


Before her stood the handsome young prince ....]

Every step she took was

as the witch had said it

would be;

she felt


if she were treading upon the points

of needles

or sharp knives.

She bore it willingly,


and moved

at the prince’s side

as lightly

as a bubble,


that he

and all

who saw her wondered

at her graceful,

swaying movements.

She was very soon arrayed

in costly robes

of silk

and muslin

and was the most beautiful creature

in the palace;

but she was dumb


could neither speak nor sing.

, , , , 

Beautiful female slaves,


in silk

and gold,

stepped forward

and sang

before the prince

and his royal parents.

One sang better

than all the others,

and the prince clapped his hands

and smiled

at her.

This was a great sorrow

to the little mermaid,

for she knew

how much more sweetly she herself once

could sing,

and she thought,


if he

could only know

that I have given away my voice forever,

to be

with him!”

The slaves next performed some pretty fairy-like dances,

to the sound

of beautiful music.

Then the little mermaid raised her lovely white arms,


on the tips

of her toes,


over the floor,

and danced

as no one yet had been able

to dance.

At each moment her beauty was more revealed,

and her expressive eyes appealed more directly

to the heart

than the songs

of the slaves.

Every one was enchanted,

especially the prince,

who called her his little foundling.

She danced again quite readily,

to please him,

though each time her foot touched the floor it seemed


if she trod

on sharp knives.

, , , , 

The prince said she

should remain

with him always,

and she was given permission

to sleep

at his door,

on a velvet cushion.

He had a page’s dress made

for her,

that she might accompany him

on horseback.

They rode together

through the sweet-scented woods,

where the green boughs touched their shoulders,

and the little birds sang

among the fresh leaves.

She climbed

with him

to the tops

of high mountains,


although her tender feet bled so


even her steps were marked,

she only smiled,

and followed him

till they

could see the clouds

beneath them

like a flock

of birds flying

to distant lands.


at the prince’s palace,


when all the household were asleep,


would go

and sit

on the broad marble steps,

for it eased her burning feet

to bathe them

in the cold sea water.

It was then

that she thought

of all those below

in the deep.

, , , , 

Once during the night her sisters came up arm

in arm,

singing sorrowfully

as they floated

on the water.

She beckoned

to them,

and they recognized her

and told her

how she had grieved them;

after that,

they came

to the same place every night.

Once she saw

in the distance her old grandmother,

who had not been

to the surface

of the sea

for many years,

and the old Sea King,

her father,

with his crown

on his head.

They stretched out their hands

towards her,

but did not venture so near the land

as her sisters had.

, , , , 

As the days passed she loved the prince more dearly,

and he loved her

as one

would love a little child.

The thought never came

to him

to make her his wife.


unless he married her,


could not receive an immortal soul,


on the morning after his marriage

with another,


would dissolve

into the foam

of the sea.

, , , , 

“Do you not love me the best

of them all?”

the eyes

of the little mermaid seemed

to say

when he took her

in his arms

and kissed her fair forehead.

, , , , 


you are dear

to me,”

said the prince,

“for you have the best heart

and you are the most devoted

to me.

You are

like a young maiden whom I once saw,

but whom I shall never meet again.

I was

in a ship

that was wrecked,

and the waves cast me ashore near a holy temple

where several young maidens performed the service.

The youngest

of them found me

on the shore

and saved my life.

I saw her

but twice,

and she is the only one

in the world whom I

could love.

But you are

like her,

and you have

almost driven her image

from my mind.

She belongs

to the holy temple,

and good fortune has sent you

to me

in her stead.


will never part.

, , , , 


he knows not

that it was I

who saved his life,”

thought the little mermaid.

“I carried him

over the sea

to the wood

where the temple stands;

I sat

beneath the foam

and watched

till the human beings came

to help him.

I saw the pretty maiden

that he loves better

than he loves me.”

The mermaid sighed deeply,

but she

could not weep.

“He says the maiden belongs

to the holy temple,

therefore she

will never return

to the world


will meet no more.

I am

by his side

and see him every day.


will take care

of him,

and love him,

and give up my life

for his sake.”

, , , , 

Very soon it was said

that the prince was

to marry


that the beautiful daughter

of a neighboring king

would be his wife,

for a fine ship was being fitted out.

Although the prince gave out

that he intended merely

to pay a visit

to the king,

it was generally supposed

that he went

to court the princess.

A great company were

to go

with him.

The little mermaid smiled

and shook her head.

She knew the prince’s thoughts better

than any

of the others.

, , , , 

“I must travel,”

he had said

to her;

“I must see this beautiful princess.

My parents desire it,

but they

will not oblige me

to bring her home

as my bride.

I cannot love her,

because she is not

like the beautiful maiden

in the temple,

whom you resemble.

If I were forced

to choose a bride,


would choose you,

my dumb foundling,

with those expressive eyes.”

Then he kissed her rosy mouth,


with her long,

waving hair,

and laid his head

on her heart,

while she dreamed

of human happiness

and an immortal soul.

, , , , 

“You are not afraid

of the sea,

my dumb child,

are you?”

he said,

as they stood

on the deck

of the noble ship

which was

to carry them

to the country

of the neighboring king.

Then he told her

of storm and

of calm,

of strange fishes

in the deep

beneath them,



what the divers had seen there.

She smiled

at his descriptions,

for she knew better

than any one

what wonders were

at the bottom

of the sea.

, , , , 

In the moonlight night,

when all

on board were asleep except the man

at the helm,

she sat

on deck,

gazing down

through the clear water.

She thought she

could distinguish her father’s castle,

and upon it her aged grandmother,

with the silver crown

on her head,


through the rushing tide

at the keel

of the vessel.

Then her sisters came up

on the waves

and gazed

at her mournfully,

wringing their white hands.

She beckoned

to them,

and smiled,

and wanted

to tell them

how happy

and well off she was.

But the cabin boy approached,


when her sisters dived down,

he thought

what he saw was only the foam

of the sea.

, , , , 

The next morning the ship sailed

into the harbor

of a beautiful town belonging

to the king whom the prince was going

to visit.

The church bells were ringing,


from the high towers sounded a flourish

of trumpets.


with flying colors

and glittering bayonets,

lined the roads through

which they passed.

Every day was a festival,


and entertainments following one another.

But the princess had not yet appeared.

People said

that she had been brought up

and educated

in a religious house,

where she was learning every royal virtue.

, , , , 

At last she came.

Then the little mermaid,

who was anxious

to see whether she was really beautiful,

was obliged

to admit

that she had never seen a more perfect vision

of beauty.

Her skin was delicately fair,


beneath her long,

dark eyelashes her laughing blue eyes shone

with truth

and purity.

, , , , 

“It was you,”

said the prince,

“who saved my life

when I lay


if dead

on the beach,”

and he folded his blushing bride

in his arms.

, , , , 


I am too happy!”

said he

to the little mermaid;

“my fondest hopes are now fulfilled.


will rejoice

at my happiness,

for your devotion

to me is great

and sincere.”

, , , , 

The little mermaid kissed his hand

and felt


if her heart were already broken.

His wedding morning

would bring death

to her,

and she

would change

into the foam

of the sea.

, , , , 

All the church bells rang,

and the heralds rode

through the town proclaiming the betrothal.

Perfumed oil was burned

in costly silver lamps

on every altar.

The priests waved the censers,

while the bride

and the bridegroom joined their hands

and received the blessing

of the bishop.

The little mermaid,


in silk

and gold,

held up the bride’s train;

but her ears heard nothing

of the festive music,

and her eyes saw not the holy ceremony.

She thought

of the night

of death

which was coming

to her,


of all she had lost

in the world.

, , , , 

On the same evening the bride

and bridegroom went

on board the ship.

Cannons were roaring,

flags waving,


in the center

of the ship a costly tent

of purple

and gold had been erected.

It contained elegant sleeping couches

for the bridal pair during the night.

The ship,

under a favorable wind,

with swelling sails,

glided away smoothly

and lightly

over the calm sea.

, , , , 

When it grew dark,

a number

of colored lamps were lighted

and the sailors danced merrily

on the deck.

The little mermaid

could not help thinking

of her first rising out

of the sea,

when she had seen similar joyful festivities,

so she too joined

in the dance,

poised herself

in the air

as a swallow

when he pursues his prey,

and all present cheered her wonderingly.

She had never danced so gracefully before.

Her tender feet felt


if cut

with sharp knives,

but she cared not

for the pain;

a sharper pang had pierced her heart.

, , , , 

She knew this was the last evening she

should ever see the prince

for whom she had forsaken her kindred

and her home.

She had given up her beautiful voice

and suffered unheard-of pain daily

for him,

while he knew nothing

of it.

This was the last evening

that she

should breathe the same air

with him

or gaze

on the starry sky

and the deep sea.

An eternal night,

without a thought

or a dream,

awaited her.

She had no soul,

and now

could never win one.

, , , , 

All was joy

and gaiety

on the ship

until long after midnight.

She smiled

and danced

with the rest,

while the thought

of death was

in her heart.

The prince kissed his beautiful bride

and she played

with his raven hair

till they went arm

in arm

to rest

in the sumptuous tent.

Then all became still

on board the ship,

and only the pilot,

who stood

at the helm,

was awake.

The little mermaid leaned her white arms

on the edge

of the vessel

and looked

towards the east

for the first blush

of morning


that first ray

of the dawn

which was

to be her death.

She saw her sisters rising out

of the flood.

They were

as pale

as she,

but their beautiful hair no longer waved

in the wind;

it had been cut off.

, , , , 

“We have given our hair

to the witch,”

said they,

“to obtain help

for you,

that you may not die to-night.

She has given us a knife;


it is very sharp.

Before the sun rises you must plunge it

into the heart

of the prince.

When the warm blood falls upon your feet they

will grow together again

into a fish’s tail,

and you

will once more be a mermaid


can return

to us

to live out your three hundred years

before you are changed

into the salt sea foam.



either he

or you must die

before sunrise.

Our old grandmother mourns so

for you

that her white hair is falling,

as ours fell

under the witch’s scissors.

Kill the prince,

and come back.


Do you not see the first red streaks

in the sky?

In a few minutes the sun

will rise,

and you must die.”

, , , , 

Then they sighed deeply

and mournfully,

and sank

beneath the waves.

, , , , 

The little mermaid drew back the crimson curtain

of the tent

and beheld the fair bride,

whose head was resting

on the prince’s breast.

She bent down

and kissed his noble brow,

then looked

at the sky,


which the rosy dawn grew brighter

and brighter.

She glanced

at the sharp knife

and again fixed her eyes

on the prince,

who whispered the name

of his bride

in his dreams.

, , , , 

_She_ was

in his thoughts,

and the knife trembled

in the hand

of the little mermaid

--but she flung it far

from her

into the waves.

The water turned red

where it fell,

and the drops

that spurted up looked

like blood.

She cast one more lingering,

half-fainting glance

at the prince,

then threw herself

from the ship

into the sea

and felt her body dissolving

into foam.

, , , , 

The sun rose

above the waves,

and his warm rays fell

on the cold foam

of the little mermaid,

who did not feel


if she were dying.

She saw the bright sun,

and hundreds

of transparent,

beautiful creatures floating

around her


could see

through them the white sails

of the ships

and the red clouds

in the sky.

Their speech was melodious,


could not be heard

by mortal ears


as their bodies

could not be seen

by mortal eyes.

The little mermaid perceived

that she had a body

like theirs


that she continued

to rise higher

and higher out

of the foam.

“Where am I?”

asked she,

and her voice sounded ethereal,

like the voices

of those

who were

with her.

No earthly music

could imitate it.

, , , , 

“Among the daughters

of the air,”

answered one

of them.

“A mermaid has not an immortal soul,


can she obtain one

unless she wins the love

of a human being.

On the will

of another hangs her eternal destiny.

But the daughters

of the air,

although they do not possess an immortal soul,


by their good deeds,

procure one

for themselves.

We fly

to warm countries

and cool the sultry air

that destroys mankind

with the pestilence.

We carry the perfume

of the flowers

to spread health

and restoration.

, , , , 

“After we have striven

for three hundred years

to do all the good

in our power,

we receive an immortal soul

and take part

in the happiness

of mankind.


poor little mermaid,

have tried

with your whole heart

to do

as we are doing.

You have suffered

and endured,

and raised yourself

to the spirit world

by your good deeds,

and now,

by striving

for three hundred years

in the same way,

you may obtain an immortal soul.”

, , , , 

The little mermaid lifted her glorified eyes

toward the sun and,

for the first time,

felt them filling

with tears.

, , , , 

On the ship


which she had left the prince

there were life

and noise,

and she saw him

and his beautiful bride searching

for her.

Sorrowfully they gazed

at the pearly foam,


if they knew she had thrown herself

into the waves.

Unseen she kissed the forehead

of the bride

and fanned the prince,


then mounted

with the other children

of the air

to a rosy cloud

that floated above.

, , , , 

“After three hundred years,

thus shall we float

into the kingdom

of heaven,”

said she.

“And we may

even get

there sooner,”

whispered one

of her companions.

“Unseen we

can enter the houses

of men


there are children,


for every day


which we find a good child

that is the joy

of his parents

and deserves their love,

our time

of probation is shortened.

The child does not know,

when we fly

through the room,

that we smile

with joy

at his good conduct

--for we

can count one year less

of our three hundred years.


when we see a naughty

or a wicked child we shed tears

of sorrow,


for every tear a day is added

to our time

of trial.”

, , , , 




should chance,

after a tempest,

to cross a field

where buckwheat is growing,

you may observe

that it looks black

and singed,


if a flame

of fire had passed

over it.


should you ask the reason,

a farmer

will tell you,

“The lightning did that.”

, , , , 


how is it

that the lightning did it?

, , , , 


will tell you

what the sparrow told me,

and the sparrow heard it

from an aged willow

which stood

--and still stands


that matter


to the field

of buckwheat.

, , , , 

This willow is tall

and venerable,

though old

and crippled.

Its trunk is split clear

through the middle,

and grass

and blackberry tendrils creep out

through the cleft.

The tree bends forward,

and its branches droop

like long,

green hair.

, , , , 

In the fields

around the willow grew rye,


and oats

--beautiful oats that,

when ripe,


like little yellow canary birds sitting

on a branch.

The harvest had been blessed,

and the fuller the ears

of grain the lower they bowed their heads

in reverent humility.

, , , , 

There was also a field

of buckwheat lying just

in front

of the old willow.

The buckwheat did not bow its head,

like the rest

of the grain,

but stood erect

in stiff-necked pride.

, , , , 

“I am quite

as rich

as the oats,”

it said;



I am much more sightly.

My flowers are

as pretty

as apple blossoms.

It is a treat

to look

at me

and my companions.

Old willow,

do you know anything more beautiful

than we?”

, , , , 

The willow nodded his head,

as much as

to say,

“Indeed I do!”

But the buckwheat was so puffed

with pride

that it only said:

“The stupid tree!

He is so old

that grass is growing out

of his body.”

, , , , 


there came

on a dreadful storm,

and the flowers

of the field folded their leaves

or bent their heads

as it passed

over them.

The buckwheat flower alone stood erect

in all its pride.

, , , , 

“Bow your heads,

as we do,”

called the flowers.

, , , , 

“There is no need

for me

to do that,”

answered the buckwheat.

, , , , 

“Bow your head

as we do,”

said the grain.

“The angel

of storms comes flying hither.

He has wings

that reach

from the clouds

to the earth;


will smite you

before you have time

to beg

for mercy.”

, , , , 

“But I do not choose

to bow down,”

said the buckwheat.

, , , , 

“Close your flowers

and fold your leaves,”

said the old willow.

“Do not look

at the lightning

when the cloud breaks.

Even human beings dare not do that,


in the midst

of the lightning one may look straight

into God’s heaven.

The sight strikes human beings blind,

so dazzling is it.


would not happen

to us,

mere plants

of the field,

who are so much humbler,

if we

should dare do so?”

, , , , 

“So much humbler!



there is a chance,

I shall look right

into God’s heaven.”


in its pride

and haughtiness it did so.

The flashes

of lightning were so awful

that it seemed


if the whole world were

in flames.

, , , , 

When the tempest was over,

both the grain

and the flowers,

greatly refreshed

by the rain,

again stood erect

in the pure,

quiet air.

But the buckwheat had been burned

as black

as a cinder

by the lightning

and stood

in the field

like a dead,

useless weed.

, , , , 

The old willow waved his branches


and fro

in the wind,

and large drops

of water fell

from his green leaves,


if he were shedding tears.

The sparrows asked:

“Why are you weeping

when all

around seems blest?

Do you not smell the sweet perfume

of flowers

and bushes?

The sun shines,

and the clouds have passed

from the sky.

Why do you weep,

old tree?”

, , , , 

Then the willow told them

of the buckwheat’s stubborn pride and

of the punishment

which followed.

, , , , 


who tell this tale,

heard it

from the sparrows.

They told it

to me one evening

when I had asked them

for a story.

, , , , 




AROUND a lordly old mansion was a beautiful,

well-kept garden,


of all kinds

of rare trees

and flowers.

Guests always expressed their delight

and admiration

at the sight

of its wonders.

The people

from far

and near used

to come

on Sundays

and holidays

and ask permission

to see it.

Even whole schools made excursions

for the sole purpose

of seeing its beauties.

, , , , 

Near the fence

that separated the garden

from the meadow stood an immense thistle.

It was an uncommonly large

and fine thistle,

with several branches spreading out just

above the root,

and altogether was so strong

and full as

to make it well worthy

of the name “thistle bush.”

, , , , 

No one ever noticed it,

save the old donkey

that pulled the milk cart

for the dairymaids.

He stood grazing

in the meadow hard


and stretched his old neck

to reach the thistle,


“You are beautiful!


should like

to eat you!”

But the tether was too short

to allow him

to reach the thistle,

so he did not eat it.

, , , , 

There were guests

at the Hall,


aristocratic relatives

from town,


among them a young lady

who had come

from a long distance

--all the way

from Scotland.

She was

of old

and noble family

and rich

in gold

and lands

--a bride well worth the winning,

thought more

than one young man

to himself;


and their mothers thought so,


The young people amused themselves

on the lawn,

playing croquet

and flitting


among the flowers,

each young girl gathering a flower

to put

in the buttonhole

of some one

of the gentlemen.

, , , , 

The young Scotch lady looked about

for a flower,

but none

of them seemed

to please her,



to glance

over the fence,

she espied the fine,

large thistle bush,


of bluish-red,

sturdy-looking flowers.

She smiled

as she saw it,

and begged the son

of the house

to get one

of them

for her.

, , , , 

“That is Scotland’s flower,”

she said;

“it grows

and blossoms

in our coat

of arms.


that one yonder

for me,


, , , , 

And he gathered the finest

of the thistle flowers,

though he pricked his fingers

as much

in doing so


if it had been growing

on a wild rosebush.

, , , , 

She took the flower

and put it

in his buttonhole,

which made him feel greatly honored.


of the other young men

would gladly have given up his graceful garden flower

if he might have worn the one given

by the delicate hands

of the Scotch girl.

As keenly

as the son

of the house felt the honor conferred upon him,

the thistle felt

even more highly honored.

It seemed

to feel dew

and sunshine going

through it.

, , , , 

“It seems I am

of more consequence

than I thought,”

it said

to itself.

“I ought

by rights

to stand inside

and not outside the fence.

One gets strangely placed

in this world,

but now I have

at least one

of my flowers

over the fence

--and not only there,


in a buttonhole!”

To each one

of its buds

as it opened,

the thistle bush told this great event.

And not many days had passed

before it heard


from the people

who passed,

nor yet

from the twittering

of little birds,


from the air,

which gives out,


and wide,

the sounds

that it has treasured up

from the shadiest walks

of the beautiful garden


from the most secluded rooms

at the Hall,

where doors

and windows are left open

--that the young man

who received the thistle flower

from the hands

of the Scottish maiden had received her heart

and hand

as well.

, , , , 

“That is my doing!”

said the thistle,


of the flower she had given

to the buttonhole.

And every new flower

that came was told

of this wonderful event.

, , , , 

“Surely I shall now be taken

and planted

in the garden,”

thought the thistle.

“Perhaps I shall be put

into a flowerpot,


that is

by far the most honorable position.”

It thought

of this so long

that it ended

by saying

to itself

with the firm conviction

of truth,

“I shall be planted

in a flowerpot!”

It promised every little bud

that came

that it also

should be placed

in a pot

and perhaps have a place

in a buttonhole

--that being the highest position one

could aspire to.

But none

of them got

into a flowerpot,

and still less

into a gentleman’s buttonhole.

, , , , 

They lived

on light

and air,

and drank sunshine

in the day

and dew

at night.

They received visits

from bee

and hornet,

who came

to look

for the honey

in the flower,


who took the honey

and left the flower.

, , , , 

“The good-for-nothing fellows,”

said the thistle bush.


would pierce them

if I could!”

The flowers drooped

and faded,

but new ones always came.

, , , , 

“You come


if you had been sent,”

said the thistle bush

to them.

“I am expecting every moment

to be taken

over the fence.”

, , , , 

A couple

of harmless daisies

and a huge,

thin plant

of canary grass listened

to this

with the deepest respect,

believing all they heard.

The old donkey,

that had

to pull the milk cart,

cast longing looks

toward the blooming thistle

and tried

to reach it,

but his tether was too short.

And the thistle bush thought

and thought,

so much

and so long,

of the Scotch thistle

--to whom it believed itself related


at last it fancied it had come

from Scotland


that its parents had grown

into the Scottish arms.

, , , , 

It was a great thought,

but a great thistle may well have great thoughts.

, , , , 

“Sometimes one is

of noble race even

if one does not know it,”

said the nettle growing close by

--it had a kind

of presentiment

that it might be turned

into muslin,

if properly treated.

, , , , 

The summer passed,

and the autumn passed;

the leaves fell

from the trees;

the flowers came

with stronger colors

and less perfume;

the gardener’s lad sang

on the other side

of the fence:

“Up the hill

and down the hill,

That’s the way

of the world still.”

, , , , 

The young pine trees

in the wood began

to feel a longing

for Christmas,

though Christmas was still a long way off.

, , , , 

“Here I am still,”

said the thistle.

“It seems

that I am quite forgotten,

and yet it was I

who made the match.

They were engaged,

and now they are married

--the wedding was a week ago.

I do not make a single step forward,

for I cannot.”

, , , , 

Some weeks passed.

The thistle had its last,

solitary flower,

which was large

and full

and growing down near the root.

The wind blew coldly

over it,

the color faded,

and all its glory disappeared,

leaving only the cup

of the flower,

now grown

to be

as large

as the flower

of an artichoke

and glistening

like a silvered sunflower.

, , , , 

The young couple,

who were now man

and wife,


along the garden path,


as they passed near the fence,

the bride,


over it,



there stands the large thistle!

it has no flowers now.”

, , , , 


there is still the ghost

of the last one,”

said her husband,


to the silvery remains

of the last flower

--a flower

in itself.

, , , , 

“How beautiful it is!”

she said.

“We must have one carved

in the frame

of our picture.”

, , , , 

And once more the young man had

to get

over the fence,

to break off the silvery cup

of the thistle flower.

It pricked his fingers

for his pains,

because he had called it a ghost.


then it was brought

into the garden,


to the Hall,


into the drawing room.

There stood a large picture

--the portraits

of the two,


in the bridegroom’s buttonhole was painted a thistle.

They talked

of it and

of the flower cup they had brought


with them

--the last silver-shimmering thistle flower,

that was

to be reproduced

in the carving

of the frame.

, , , , 

The air took all their words

and scattered them about,


and wide.

, , , , 

“What strange things happen

to one!”

said the thistle bush.

“My first-born went

to live

in a buttonhole,

my last-born

in a frame!

I wonder

what is

to become

of me.”

, , , , 

The old donkey,


by the roadside,

cast loving glances

at the thistle

and said,


to me,

my sweetheart,

for I cannot go

to you;

my tether is too short!”

But the thistle bush made no answer.

It grew more

and more thoughtful,

and it thought

as far ahead

as Christmas,

till its budding thoughts opened

into flower.

, , , , 

“When one’s children are safely housed,

a mother is quite content

to stay beyond the fence.”

, , , , 

“That is true,”

said the sunshine;

“and you

will be well placed,

never fear.”

, , , , 

“In a flowerpot or

in a frame?”

asked the thistle.

, , , , 

“In a story,”

answered the sunshine.

And here is the story!




IN A POET’S room,

where his inkstand stood

on the table,

the remark was once made:

“It is wonderful what

can be brought out

of an inkstand.


will come next?

It is indeed wonderful.”

, , , , 



said the inkstand

to the pen and

to the other articles

that stood

on the table;


what I always say.

It is wonderful

and extraordinary

what a number

of things come out

of me.

It’s quite incredible,

and I really never know

what is coming next


that man dips his pen

into me.

One drop out

of me is enough

for half a page

of paper


what cannot half a page contain?

, , , , 

“From me all the works

of the poet are produced

--all those imaginary characters whom people fancy they have known

or met,

and all the deep feeling,

the humor,

and the vivid pictures

of nature.

I myself

don’t understand

how it is,

for I am not acquainted

with nature,

but it is certainly

in me.

From me have gone forth

to the world those wonderful descriptions

of charming maidens,


of brave knights

on prancing steeds;

of the halt

and the blind

--and I know not

what more,

for I assure you I never think

of these things.”

, , , , 

“There you are right,”

said the pen,

“for you

don’t think

at all.

If you did,


would see

that you

can only provide the means.

You give the fluid,

that I may place upon the paper

what dwells

in me


what I wish

to bring

to light.

It is the pen

that writes.

No man doubts that;

and indeed most people understand

as much

about poetry

as an old inkstand.”

, , , , 

“You have had very little experience,”

replied the inkstand.

“You have

hardly been

in service a week

and are already half worn out.

Do you imagine you are a poet?

You are only a servant,


before you came I had many

like you,


of the goose family

and others

of English manufacture.

I know a quill pen

as well

as I know a steel one.

I have had both sorts

in my service,

and I shall have many more

as long

as _he_ comes

--the man

who performs the mechanical part

--and writes down

what he obtains

from me.


should like

to know what

will be the next thing he gets out

of me.”

, , , , 


retorted the pen,


, , , , 


in the evening the poet returned home

from a concert,

where he had been quite enchanted

by the admirable performance

of a famous violin player.

, , , , 

The player had produced

from his instrument a richness

of tone

that sometimes sounded

like tinkling water drops

or rolling pearls,


like the birds twittering

in chorus,


then again,


and swelling

like the wind

through the fir trees.

The poet felt


if his own heart were weeping,


in tones

of melody,

like the sound

of a woman’s voice.

These sounds seemed

to come not only

from the strings


from every part

of the instrument.

It was a wonderful performance

and a difficult piece,

and yet the bow seemed

to glide

across the strings so easily

that one

would think any one

could do it.

The violin

and the bow seemed independent

of their master

who guided them.

It was


if soul

and spirit had been breathed

into the instrument.

And the audience forgot the performer

in the beautiful sounds he produced.

, , , , 

Not so the poet;

he remembered him

and wrote down his thoughts

on the subject:

“How foolish it

would be

for the violin

and the bow

to boast

of their performance,

and yet we men often commit

that folly.

The poet,

the artist,

the man

of science

in his laboratory,

the general

--we all do it,

and yet we are only the instruments

which the Almighty uses.

To Him alone the honor is due.

We have nothing

in ourselves


which we

should be proud.”


this is

what the poet wrote.

He wrote it

in the form

of a parable

and called it “The Master

and the Instruments.”

, , , , 

“That is

what you get,


said the pen

to the inkstand

when the two were alone again.

“Did you hear him read aloud

what I had written down?”

, , , , 


what I gave you

to write,”

retorted the inkstand.

“That was a cut

at you,


of your conceit.

To think

that you

could not understand

that you were being quizzed!

I gave you a cut

from within me.

Surely I must know my own satire.”

, , , , 

“Ink pitcher!”

cried the pen.

, , , , 

“Writing stick!”

retorted the inkstand.

And each

of them felt satisfied

that he had given a good answer.

It is pleasing

to be convinced

that you have settled a matter

by your reply;

it is something

to make you sleep well.

And they both slept well

over it.

, , , , 

But the poet did not sleep.

Thoughts rose within him,

like the tones

of the violin,


like pearls

or rushing

like the strong wind

through the forest.

He understood his own heart

in these thoughts;

they were

as a ray

from the mind

of the Great Master

of all minds.

, , , , 

“To Him be all the honor.”

, , , , 



THERE was once a proud teapot;

it was proud

of being porcelain,


of its long spout,


of its broad handle.

It had something before

and behind,

--the spout before

and the handle behind,


that was

what it talked about.

But it did not talk

of its lid,

which was cracked

and riveted;

these were defects,

and one does not talk

of one’s defects,


there are plenty

of others

to do that.

The cups,

the cream pot,

and the sugar bowl,

the whole tea service,

would think much oftener

of the lid’s imperfections

--and talk

about them


of the sound handle

and the remarkable spout.

The teapot knew it.

, , , , 

“I know you,”

it said within itself.

“I know,


my imperfection,

and I am well aware that


that very thing is seen my humility,

my modesty.

Imperfections we all have,

but we also have compensations.

The cups have a handle,

the sugar bowl a lid;

I have both,

and one thing besides,

in front,

which they

can never have.

I have a spout,


that makes me the queen

of the tea table.

I spread abroad a blessing

on thirsting mankind,


in me the Chinese leaves are brewed

in the boiling,

tasteless water.”

, , , , 

All this said the teapot

in its fresh young life.

It stood

on the table

that was spread

for tea;

it was lifted

by a very delicate hand,

but the delicate hand was awkward.

The teapot fell,

the spout snapped off,

and the handle snapped off.

The lid was no worse

to speak of;

the worst had been spoken

of that.

, , , , 

The teapot lay

in a swoon

on the floor,

while the boiling water ran out

of it.

It was a horrid shame,

but the worst was

that everybody jeered

at it;

they jeered

at the teapot

and not

at the awkward hand.

, , , , 

“I never shall forget

that experience,”

said the teapot,

when it afterward talked

of its life.

“I was called an invalid,

and placed

in a corner,

and the next day was given

to a woman

who begged

for victuals.

I fell

into poverty,

and stood dumb both outside

and in.

But then,


as I was,

began my better life.


can be one thing

and still become quite another.

, , , , 

“Earth was placed

in me.

For a teapot,

this is the same

as being buried,


in the earth was placed a flower bulb.

Who placed it there,

who gave it,

I know not;

but given it was,

and it became a compensation

for the Chinese leaves

and the boiling water,

a compensation

for the broken handle

and spout.

, , , , 

“And the bulb lay

in the earth,

the bulb lay

in me;

it became my heart,

my living heart,


as I had never

before possessed.

There was life

in me,


and might.

The heart pulsed,

and the bulb put forth sprouts;

it was the springing up

of thoughts

and feelings

which burst forth

into flower.

, , , , 

“I saw it,

I bore it,

I forgot myself

in its delight.

Blessed is it

to forget oneself

in another.

The flower gave me no thanks;

it did not think

of me.

It was admired

and praised,

and I was glad

at that.

How happy it must have been!

One day I heard some one say

that the flower deserved a better pot.

I was thumped hard

on my back,

which was a great affliction,

and the flower was put

into a better pot.

I was thrown out

into the yard,

where I lie

as an old potsherd.

But I have the memory,


that I

can never lose.”

, , , , 




“WE HAD such an excellent dinner yesterday,”

said an old lady-mouse

to another

who had not been present

at the feast.

“I sat number twenty-one below the mouse-king,

which was not a bad place.

Shall I tell you

what we had?

Everything was excellent

--moldy bread,

tallow candle,

and sausage.

, , , , 


when we had finished

that course,

the same came

on all

over again;

it was

as good

as two feasts.

We were very sociable,


there was

as much joking

and fun


if we had been all

of one family circle.

Nothing was left

but the sausage skewers,

and this formed a subject

of conversation till

at last some one used the expression,


from sausage sticks’;


as the people

in the neighboring country call it,


from a sausage skewer.’

, , , , 

“Every one had heard the expression,

but no one had ever tasted the soup,

much less prepared it.

A capital toast was drunk

to the inventor

of the soup,

and some one said he ought

to be made a relieving officer

to the poor.

Was not

that witty?

, , , , 

“Then the old mouse-king rose

and promised

that the young lady-mouse


should learn

how best

to prepare this much-admired

and savory soup

should be his queen,

and a year

and a day

should be allowed

for the purpose.”

, , , , 

“That was not

at all a bad proposal,”

said the other mouse;


how is the soup made?”

, , , , 


that is more

than I

can tell you.

All the young lady-mice were asking the same question.

They wish very much

to be the queen,

but they do not want

to take the trouble

to go out

into the world

to learn how

to make soup,

which it is absolutely necessary

to do first.

, , , , 

“It is not every one


would care

to leave her family

or her happy corner

by the fireside

at home,


to be made queen.

It is not always easy

in foreign lands

to find bacon

and cheese rind every day,


after all,

it is not pleasant

to endure hunger

and perhaps be eaten alive

by the cat.”

, , , , 

Probably some such thoughts

as these discouraged the majority

from going out

into the world

to collect the required information.

Only four mice gave notice

that they were ready

to set out

on the journey.

, , , , 

They were young

and sprightly,

but poor.


of them wished

to visit one

of the four divisions

of the world,

to see which

of them

would be most favored

by fortune.

Each took a sausage skewer

as a traveler’s staff and

to remind her

of the object

of her journey.

, , , , 

They left home early

in May,

and none

of them returned

till the first

of May

in the following year,


then only three

of them.

Nothing was seen

or heard

of the fourth,

although the day

of decision was close

at hand.



there is always some trouble mingled

with the greatest pleasure,”

said the mouse-king.

But he gave orders

that all the mice within a circle

of many miles

should be invited

at once.

, , , , 

They were

to assemble

in the kitchen,

and the three travelers were

to stand

in a row

before them,

and a sausage skewer covered

with crape was

to stand

in the place

of the missing mouse.

No one dared express an opinion

until the king spoke

and desired one

of them

to proceed

with her story.

And now we shall hear

what she said.

, , , , 




“When I first went out

into the world,”

said the little mouse,

“I fancied,

as so many

of my age do,

that I already knew everything

--but it was not so.

It takes years

to acquire great knowledge.

, , , , 

“I went

at once

to sea,

in a ship bound

for the north.

I had been told

that the ship’s cook must know how

to prepare every dish

at sea,

and it is easy enough

to do that

with plenty

of sides

of bacon,

and large tubs

of salt meat

and musty flour.

There I found plenty

of delicate food

but no opportunity

to learn how

to make soup

from a sausage skewer.

, , , , 

“We sailed


for many days

and nights;

the ship rocked fearfully,

and we did not escape without a wetting.

As soon

as we arrived

at the port


which the ship was bound,

I left it

and went

on shore

at a place far

towards the north.

It is a wonderful thing

to leave your own little corner

at home,

to hide yourself

in a ship


there are sure

to be some nice snug corners

for shelter,

then suddenly

to find yourself thousands

of miles away

in a foreign land.

, , , , 

“I saw large,

pathless forests

of pine

and birch trees,

which smelt so strong

that I sneezed

and thought

of sausage.

There were great lakes also,

which looked

as black

as ink

at a distance

but were quite clear

when I came close

to them.

Large swans were floating upon them,

and I thought

at first they were only foam,

they lay so still;


when I saw them walk

and fly,

I knew directly

what they were.

They belonged

to the goose species.


could see that

by their walk,

for no one

can successfully disguise his family descent.

, , , , 

“I kept

with my own kind

and associated

with the forest

and field mice,



knew very little

--especially about

what I wanted

to know


what had actually made me travel abroad.

, , , , 

“The idea

that soup

could be made

from a sausage skewer was so startling

to them

that it was repeated

from one

to another

through the whole forest.

They declared

that the problem

would never be solved

--that the thing was an impossibility.

How little I thought that

in this place,

on the very first night,


should be initiated

into the manner

of its preparation!

“It was the height

of summer,

which the mice told me was the reason

that the forest smelt so strong,


that the herbs were so fragrant,


that the lakes

with the white,

swimming swans were so dark

and yet so clear.

, , , , 

“On the margin

of the wood,

near several houses,

a pole

as large

as the mainmast

of a ship had been erected,


from the summit hung wreaths

of flowers

and fluttering ribbons.

It was the Maypole.


and lasses danced round it

and tried

to outdo the violins

of the musicians

with their singing.

They were

as gay

as ever

at sunset and

in the moonlight,

but I took no part

in the merrymaking.

What has a little mouse

to do

with a Maypole dance?

I sat

in the soft moss

and held my sausage skewer tight.

The moon shone particularly bright

on one spot

where stood a tree covered

with very fine moss.

I may

almost venture

to say

that it was

as fine

and soft

as the fur

of the mouse-king,

but it was green,

which is a color very agreeable

to the eye.

, , , , 


at once I saw the most charming little people marching

towards me.

They did not reach higher

than my knee,

although they looked

like human beings

but were better proportioned.

They called themselves elves,

and wore clothes

that were very delicate

and fine,

for they were made

of the leaves

of flowers,


with the wings

of flies

and gnats.

The effect was

by no means bad.

, , , , 

“They seemed

to be seeking something

--I knew not what,


at last one

of them espied me.

They came

towards me,

and the foremost pointed

to my sausage skewer,



that is just

what we want.


it is pointed

at the top;

is it not capital?’

The longer he looked

at my pilgrim’s staff the more delighted he became.

, , , , 


will lend it

to you,’

said I,

‘but not

to keep.’

, , , , 




won’t keep it!’ they all cried.

Then they seized the skewer,

which I gave up

to them,

and dancing

with it

to the tree covered

with delicate moss,

set it up

in the middle

of the green.

They wanted a Maypole,

and the one they now had seemed made especially

for them.

This they decorated so beautifully

that it was quite dazzling

to look at.

Little spiders spun golden threads

around it,

and it was hung

with fluttering veils

and flags,

as delicately white

as snow glittering

in the moonlight.

Then they took colors

from the butterfly’s wing,

sprinkling them

over the white drapery

until it gleamed


if covered

with flowers

and diamonds,

and I

could no longer recognize my sausage skewer.

Such a Maypole

as this has never been seen

in all the world.

, , , , 

“Then came a great company

of real elves.


could be finer

than their clothes.

They invited me

to be present

at the feast,

but I was

to keep

at a certain distance

because I was too large

for them.

Then began music

that sounded

like a thousand glass bells,

and was so full

and strong

that I thought it must be the song

of the swans.

I fancied also

that I heard the voices

of the cuckoo

and the blackbird,

and it seemed

at last


if the whole forest sent forth glorious melodies

--the voices

of children,

the tinkling

of bells,

and the songs

of the birds.

And all this wonderful melody came

from the elfin Maypole.

My sausage peg was a complete peal

of bells.


could scarcely believe

that so much

could have been produced

from it,

till I remembered into

what hands it had fallen.

I was so much affected

that I wept tears such

as a little mouse

can weep,

but they were tears

of joy.

, , , , 

“The night was far too short

for me;

there are no long nights there

in summer,

as we often have

in this part

of the world.

When the morning dawned

and the gentle breeze rippled the glassy mirror

of the forest lake,

all the delicate veils

and flags fluttered away

into thin air.

The waving garlands

of the spider’s web,

the hanging bridges

and galleries,

or whatever else they may be called,

vanished away


if they had never been.

Six elves brought me back my sausage skewer and

at the same time asked me

to make any request,

which they

would grant

if it lay

in their power.

So I begged them,

if they could,

to tell me how

to make soup

from a sausage skewer.

, , , , 

“‘How do we make it?’

asked the chief

of the elves,

with a smile.


you have just seen us.

You scarcely knew your sausage skewer again,

I am sure.’

, , , , 

“‘They think themselves very wise,’

thought I

to myself.

Then I told them all

about it,


why I had traveled so far,

and also

what promise had been made

at home

to the one


should discover the method

of preparing this soup.

, , , , 

“‘What good

will it do the mouse-king

or our whole mighty kingdom,’

I asked,

‘for me

to have seen all these beautiful things?

I cannot shake the sausage peg

and say,


here is the skewer,

and now the soup

will come.”


would only produce a dish

to be served

when people were keeping a fast.’

, , , , 

“Then the elf dipped his finger

into the cup

of a violet

and said,



will anoint your pilgrim’s staff,

so that

when you return

to your home

and enter the king’s castle,

you have only

to touch the king

with your staff

and violets

will spring forth,


in the coldest winter time.

I think I have given you something worth carrying home,

and a little more

than something.’”

Before the little mouse explained

what this something more was,

she stretched her staff

toward the king,


as it touched him the most beautiful bunch

of violets sprang forth

and filled the place

with their perfume.

The smell was so powerful

that the mouse-king ordered the mice

who stood nearest the chimney

to thrust their tails

into the fire


there might be a smell

of burning,

for the perfume

of the violets was overpowering

and not the sort

of scent

that every one liked.

, , , , 


what was the something more,


which you spoke just now?”

asked the mouse-king.

, , , , 


answered the little mouse,

“I think it is

what they call ‘effect.’” Thereupon she turned the staff round,

and behold,

not a single flower was

to be seen

on it!

She now held only the naked skewer,

and lifted it up

as a conductor lifts his baton

at a concert.

, , , , 


the elf told me,”

continued the mouse,


for the sight,

the smell,

and the touch;

so we have only

to produce the effect

of hearing

and tasting.”


as the little mouse beat time

with her staff,

there came sounds

of music;

not such music

as was heard

in the forest,

at the elfin feast,

but such

as is often heard

in the kitchen

--the sounds

of boiling

and roasting.

It came quite suddenly,

like wind rushing

through the chimneys,

and it seemed


if every pot

and kettle were boiling over.

, , , , 

The fire shovel clattered down

on the brass fender,

and then,


as suddenly,

all was still,


could be heard

but the light,

vapory song

of the teakettle,

which was quite wonderful

to hear,

for no one

could rightly distinguish whether the kettle was just beginning

to boil

or just going

to stop.

And the little pot steamed,

and the great pot simmered,

but without any regard

for each other;


there seemed no sense

in the pots

at all.

As the little mouse waved her baton still more wildly,

the pots foamed

and threw up bubbles

and boiled over,

while again the wind roared

and whistled

through the chimney,


at last

there was such a terrible hubbub

that the little mouse let her stick fall.

, , , , 

“That is a strange sort

of soup,”

said the mouse-king.

“Shall we not now hear

about the preparation?”

, , , , 

“That is all,”

answered the little mouse,

with a bow.

, , , , 

“That all!”

said the mouse-king;

“then we shall be glad

to hear

what information the next may have

to give us.”

, , , , 



“I was born

in the library,

at a castle,”

said the second mouse.

“Very few members

of our family ever had the good fortune

to get

into the dining room,

much less

into the storeroom.


and while

on my journey are the only times I have ever seen a kitchen.

We were often obliged

to suffer hunger

in the library,

but we gained a great deal

of knowledge.

The rumor reached us

of the royal prize offered

to those


should be able

to make soup

from a sausage skewer.

, , , , 

“Then my old grandmother sought out a manuscript,

--which she herself

could not read,

to be sure,

but she had heard it read,


in it were written these words,


who are poets

can make soup

of sausage skewers.’

She asked me

if I was a poet.

I told her I felt myself quite innocent

of any such pretensions.

Then she said I must go out

and make myself a poet.

I asked again

what I

should be required

to do,

for it seemed

to me quite

as difficult as

to find out how

to make soup

of a sausage skewer.

My grandmother had heard a great deal

of reading

in her day,

and she told me

that three principal qualifications were necessary



and feeling.

‘If you

can manage

to acquire these three,


will be a poet,

and the sausage-skewer soup

will seem quite simple

to you.’

, , , , 

“So I went forth

into the world

and turned my steps

toward the west,

that I might become a poet.

Understanding is the most important matter

of all.

I was sure

of that,

for the other two qualifications are not thought much of;

so I went first

to seek understanding.

Where was I

to find it?

, , , , 


to the ant

and learn wisdom,’

said the great Jewish king.

I learned this

from living

in a library.

So I went straight


till I came

to the first great ant hill.

There I set myself

to watch,

that I might become wise.

The ants are a very respectable people;

they are wisdom itself.

All they do is

like the working

of a sum

in arithmetic,

which comes right.

‘To work,


to lay eggs,’

say they,


to provide

for posterity,


to live out your time properly.’

This they truly do.

They are divided

into clean

and dirty ants,

and their rank is indicated

by a number.

The ant-queen is number ONE.

Her opinion is the only correct one

on everything,

and she seems

to have

in her the wisdom

of the whole world.

This was just

what I wished

to acquire.

She said a great deal

that was no doubt very clever

--yet it sounded

like nonsense

to me.

She said the ant hill was the loftiest thing

in the world,

although close

to the mound stood a tall tree

which no one

could deny was loftier,

much loftier.

Yet she made no mention

of the tree.

, , , , 

“One evening an ant lost herself

on this tree.

She had crept up the stem,

not nearly

to the top

but higher

than any ant had ever ventured,

and when

at last she returned home she said

that she had found something

in her travels much higher

than the ant hill.

The rest

of the ants considered this an insult

to the whole community,

and condemned her

to wear a muzzle

and live

in perpetual solitude.

, , , , 

“A short time afterwards another ant got

on the tree

and made the same journey

and the same discovery.

But she spoke

of it cautiously

and indefinitely,


as she was one

of the superior ants

and very much respected,

they believed her.


when she died they erected an egg-shell

as a monument

to her memory,

for they cultivated a great respect

for science.

, , , , 

“I saw,”

said the little mouse,

“that the ants were always running


and fro

with their burdens

on their backs.

Once I saw one

of them,

who had dropped her load,

try very hard

to raise it again,

but she did not succeed.

Two others came up

and tried

with all their strength

to help her,

till they nearly dropped their own burdens.

Then they were obliged

to stop a moment,

for every one must think

of himself first.

The ant-queen remarked

that their conduct

that day showed

that they possessed kind hearts

and good understanding.

‘These two qualities,’

she continued,

‘place us ants

in the highest degree

above all other reasonable beings.

Understanding must therefore stand out prominently

among us,

and my wisdom is greatest.’

So saying,

she raised herself

on her two hind legs,

that no one else might be mistaken

for her.


could not,


have made a mistake,

so I ate her up.

We are

to go

to the ants

to learn wisdom,

and I had secured the queen.

, , , , 

“I now turned

and went nearer

to the lofty tree already mentioned,

which was an oak.

It had a tall trunk,

with a wide-spreading top,

and was very old.

I knew

that a living being dwelt here,

a dryad,

as she is called,

who is born

with the tree

and dies

with it.

I had heard this

in the library,

and here was just such a tree and

in it an oak maiden.

She uttered a terrible scream

when she caught sight

of me so near

to her.

Like women,

she was very much afraid

of mice,

and she had more real cause

for fear

than they have,

for I might have gnawed

through the tree


which her life depended.

, , , , 

“I spoke

to her

in a friendly manner

and begged her

to take courage.

At last she took me up

in her delicate hand,

and I told her

what had brought me out

into the world.

She told me

that perhaps


that very evening she

would be able

to obtain

for me one

of the two treasures


which I was seeking.

She told me

that Phantæsus,

the genius

of the imagination,

was her very dear friend;

that he was

as beautiful

as the god

of love;

that he rested many an hour

with her

under the leafy boughs

of the tree,


then rustled

and waved more

than ever.

He called her his dryad,

she said,

and the tree his tree,

for the grand old oak

with its gnarled trunk was just

to his taste.

The root,

which spread deep

into the earth,

and the top,

which rose high

in the fresh air,

knew the value

of the drifting snow,

the keen wind,

and the warm sunshine,

as it ought

to be known.


continued the dryad,

‘the birds sing up above

in the branches

and talk

to each other

about the beautiful fields they have visited

in foreign lands.

On one

of the withered boughs a stork has built his nest

--it is beautifully arranged,



it is pleasant

to hear a little

about the land

of the pyramids.

All this pleases Phantæsus,

but it is not enough

for him.

I am obliged

to relate

to him

of my life

in the woods and

to go back

to my childhood,

when I was little

and the tree so small

and delicate

that a stinging nettle

could overshadow it,

and I have

to tell everything

that has happened since


until now,

when the tree is so large

and strong.

Sit you down now

under the green bindwood

and pay attention.

When Phantæsus comes I

will find an opportunity

to lay hold

of his wing and

to pull out one

of the little feathers.

That feather you shall have.

A better was never given

to any poet,

and it

will be quite enough

for you.’

, , , , 


when Phantæsus came the feather was plucked,”

said the little mouse,

“and I seized

and put it

in water

and kept it there

till it was quite soft.

It was very heavy

and indigestible,

but I managed

to nibble it up

at last.

It is not so easy

to nibble oneself

into a poet,

there are so many things

to get through.



I had two

of them,


and imagination,


through these I knew

that the third was

to be found

in the library.

, , , , 

“A great man has said

and written


there are novels whose sole

and only use appears

to be

to attempt

to relieve mankind

of overflowing tears

--a kind

of sponge,

in fact,

for sucking up feelings

and emotions.

I remembered a few

of these books.

They had always appeared tempting

to the appetite,

for they had been much read

and were so greasy

that they must have absorbed no end

of emotions

in themselves.

, , , , 

“I retraced my steps

to the library

and literally devoured a whole novel

--that is,

properly speaking,

the interior,

or soft part

of it.

The crust,

or binding,

I left.

When I had digested not only this,

but a second,

I felt a stirring within me.


then ate a small piece

of a third romance

and felt myself a poet.

I said it

to myself

and told others the same.

I had headache

and backache

and I cannot tell

what aches besides.

I thought

over all the stories

that may be said

to be connected

with sausage pegs;

and all

that has ever been written

about skewers,

and sticks,

and staves,

and splinters came

to my thoughts

--the ant-queen must have had a wonderfully clear understanding.

I remembered the man

who placed

in his mouth a white stick,


which he

could make himself

and the stick invisible.

I thought

of sticks

as hobbyhorses,


of music

or rime,

of breaking a stick

over a man’s back,


of Heaven knows

how many more phrases

of the same sort,


to sticks,


and skewers.

All my thoughts ran

on skewers,


of wood,

and staves.

As I am

at last a poet

and have worked terribly hard

to make myself one,

I can

of course make poetry

on anything.

I shall therefore be able

to wait upon you every day

in the week

with a poetical history

of a skewer.


that is my soup.”

, , , , 


that case,”

said the mouse-king,


will hear

what the third mouse has

to say.”

, , , , 



cried a little mouse

at the kitchen door.

It was the fourth,

and not the third,

of the four

who were contending

for the prize,

the one whom the rest supposed

to be dead.

She shot


like an arrow

and overturned the sausage peg

that had been covered

with crape.

She had been running day

and night,


although she had traveled

in a baggage train,

by railway,

yet she had arrived

almost too late.

She pressed forward,

looking very much ruffled.

, , , , 

She had lost her sausage skewer

but not her voice,

and she began

to speak

at once,


if they waited only

for her


would hear her only


if nothing else

in the world were

of the least consequence.

She spoke out so clearly

and plainly,

and she had come

in so suddenly,

that no one had time

to stop her or

to say a word

while she was speaking.

This is

what she said.

, , , , 



before THE THIRD,



“I started off

at once

to the largest town,”

said she,

“but the name

of it has escaped me.

I have a very bad memory

for names.

I was carried

from the railway,

with some goods


which duties had not been paid,

to the jail,


on arriving I made my escape,


into the house

of the keeper.

He was speaking

of his prisoners,


of one

who had uttered thoughtless words.

These words had given rise

to other words,


at length they were written down

and registered.

‘The whole affair is

like making soup

of sausage skewers,’

said he,

‘but the soup may cost him his neck.’

, , , , 

“Now this raised

in me an interest

for the prisoner,”

continued the little mouse,

“and I watched my opportunity

and slipped

into his apartment,


there is a mousehole

to be found

behind every closed door.

, , , , 

“The prisoner,

who had a great beard

and large,

sparkling eyes,

looked pale.

There was a lamp burning,

but the walls were so black

that they only looked the blacker

for it.

The prisoner scratched pictures

and verses

with white chalk

on the black walls,

but I did not read the verses.

I think he found his confinement wearisome,


that I was a welcome guest.

He enticed me

with bread crumbs,

with whistling,


with gentle words,

and seemed so friendly

towards me that

by degrees I gained confidence

in him

and we became friends.

He divided his bread

and water

with me

and gave me cheese

and sausage,

and I began

to love him.


I must own

that it was a very pleasant intimacy.

He let me run about

on his hand,

on his arm,

into his sleeve,

and even

into his beard.

He called me his little friend,

and I forgot


what I had come out

into the world;

forgot my sausage skewer,

which I had laid

in a crack

in the floor,

where it is still lying.

I wished

to stay

with him always,

for I knew that

if I went away,

the poor prisoner

would have no one

to be his friend,

which is a sad thing.

, , , , 

“I stayed,

but he did not.

He spoke

to me so mournfully

for the last time,

gave me double

as much bread

and cheese

as usual,

and kissed his hand

to me.

Then he went away

and never came back.

I know nothing more

of his history.

, , , , 

“The jailer took possession

of me now.

He said something

about soup

from a sausage skewer,

but I

could not trust him.

He took me

in his hand,


but it was

to place me

in a cage

like a treadmill.


how dreadful it was!

I had

to run round

and round without getting any farther,

and only

to make everybody laugh.

, , , , 

“The jailer’s granddaughter was a charming little thing.

She had merry eyes,

curly hair

like the brightest gold,

and such a smiling mouth.

, , , , 

“‘You poor little mouse,’

said she one day,

as she peeped

into my cage,


will set you free.’


then drew forth the iron fastening,

and I sprang out

on the window-sill,


from thence

to the roof.



that was all I

could think of,

and not

of the object

of my journey.

, , , , 

“It grew dark,


as night was coming

on I found a lodging

in an old tower,

where dwelt a watchman

and an owl.

I had no confidence

in either

of them,


of all

in the owl,

which is

like a cat

and has a great failing,

for she eats mice.

One may,


be mistaken sometimes,

and I was now,

for this was a respectable

and well-educated old owl,

who knew more

than the watchman

and even

as much

as I did myself.

The young owls made a great fuss

about everything,

but the only rough words she

would say

to them were,

‘You had better go

and try

to make some soup

from sausage skewers.’

She was very indulgent

and loving

to her own children.

Her conduct gave me such confidence

in her


from the crack

where I sat I called out ‘Squeak.’

, , , , 

“This confidence pleased her so much

that she assured me she

would take me

under her own protection


that not a creature

should do me harm.

The fact was,

she wickedly meant

to keep me

in reserve

for her own eating

in the winter,

when food

would be scarce.

Yet she was a very clever lady-owl.

She explained

to me

that the watchman

could only hoot

with the horn

that hung loose

at his side


that he was so terribly proud

of it

that he imagined himself an owl

in the tower,


to do great things,

but only succeeded

in small


from a sausage skewer.

, , , , 

“Then I begged the owl

to give me the recipe

for this soup.


from a sausage skewer,’

said she,

‘is only a proverb amongst mankind

and may be understood

in many ways.

Each believes his own way the best,


after all,

the proverb signifies nothing.’

‘Nothing!’ I exclaimed.

I was quite struck.

Truth is not always agreeable,

but truth is

above everything else,

as the old owl said.

I thought

over all this

and saw quite plainly that

if truth was really so far

above everything else,

it must be much more valuable

than soup

from a sausage skewer.

So I hastened

to get away,

that I might be

in time

and bring

what was highest

and best


above everything


the truth.

, , , , 

“The mice are enlightened people,

and the mouse-king is

above them all.

He is therefore capable

of making me queen

for the sake

of truth.”

, , , , 

“Your truth is a falsehood,”

said the mouse

who had not yet spoken.


can prepare the soup,

and I mean

to do so.”

, , , , 


“I did not travel,”

said the third mouse,

“I stayed

in this country;

that was the right way.

One gains nothing

by traveling.


can be acquired here quite

as easily,

so I stayed

at home.

I have not obtained

what I know

from supernatural beings;

I have neither swallowed it nor learned it

from conversing

with owls.

I have gained it all

from my own reflections

and thoughts.

Will you now set the kettle

on the fire


Now pour the water in,

quite full up

to the brim;

place it

on the fire;

make up a good blaze;

keep it burning,

that the water may boil,

for it must boil over

and over.


now I throw

in the skewer.

Will the mouse-king be pleased now

to dip his tail

into the boiling water

and stir it round

with the tail?

The longer the king stirs it the stronger the soup

will become.

Nothing more is necessary,


to stir it.”

, , , , 

“Can no one else do this?”

asked the king.

, , , , 


said the mouse;


in the tail

of the mouse-king is this power contained.”

, , , , 

And the water boiled

and bubbled,

as the mouse-king stood close beside the kettle.

It seemed rather a dangerous performance,

but he turned round

and put out his tail,

as mice do

in a dairy

when they wish

to skim the cream

from a pan

of milk

with their tails

and afterwards lick it off.

But the mouse-king’s tail had only just touched the hot steam

when he sprang away

from the chimney

in a great hurry,




by all means,

you must be my queen.


will let the soup question rest

till our golden wedding,

fifty years hence,


that the poor

in my kingdom

who are then

to have plenty

of food

will have something

to look forward


for a long time,

with great joy.”

, , , , 

And very soon the wedding took place.


of the mice,


as they were returning home,


that the soup

could not be properly called “soup

from a sausage skewer,”

but “soup

from a mouse’s tail.”

They acknowledged

that some

of the stories were very well told,

but thought

that the whole might have been managed differently.

, , , , 




will tell you a story

that was told

to me

when I was a little boy.

Every time I think

of this story it seems

to me more

and more charming;

for it is

with stories

as it is

with many people

--they become better

as they grow older.

, , , , 

I have no doubt

that you have been

in the country

and seen a very old farmhouse,

with thatched roof,

and mosses

and small plants growing wild upon it.

There is a stork’s nest

on the ridge

of the gable,

for we cannot do without the stork.

The walls

of the house are sloping,

and the windows are low,

and only one

of the latter is made

to open.

The baking oven sticks out

of the wall

like a great knob.

An elder tree hangs

over the palings,


beneath its branches,

at the foot

of the paling,

is a pool

of water


which a few ducks are sporting.

There is a yard dog,


that barks

at all comers.

, , , , 

Just such a farmhouse

as this stood

in a country lane,


in it dwelt an old couple,

a peasant

and his wife.


as their possessions were,

they had one thing they

could not do without,


that was a horse,

which contrived

to live upon the grass found

by the side

of the highroad.

The old peasant rode

into the town upon this horse,

and his neighbors often borrowed it

of him

and paid

for the loan

of it

by rendering some service

to the old couple.

Yet after a time the old people thought it

would be

as well

to sell the horse

or exchange it

for something

which might be more useful

to them.



should this _something_ be?

, , , , 


will know best,

old man,”

said the wife.

“It is fair day to-day;

so ride

into town

and get rid

of the horse

for money

or make a good exchange.

Whichever you do

will please me;

so ride

to the fair.”

, , , , 

She fastened his neckerchief

for him,

for she

could do

that better

than he could

and she

could also tie it very prettily

in a double bow.

She also smoothed his hat round

and round

with the palm

of her hand

and gave him a kiss.

Then he rode away upon the horse

that was

to be sold,

or bartered

for something else.


the goodman knew

what he was about.

The sun shone

with great heat,

and not a cloud was

to be seen

in the sky.

The road was very dusty,

for many people,

all going

to the fair,

were driving,


or walking upon it.

There was no shelter anywhere

from the hot sun.

Among the crowd a man came trudging along,

driving a cow

to the fair.

The cow was

as beautiful a creature

as any cow

could be.

, , , , 

“She gives good milk,

I am certain,”

said the peasant

to himself.


would be a very good exchange:

the cow

for the horse.

Halloo there!


with the cow,”

he said.

“I tell you what,

I dare say a horse is

of more value

than a cow;

but I

don’t care

for that.

A cow

will be more useful

to me,


if you

like we’ll exchange.”

, , , , 

“To be sure I will,”

said the man.

, , , , 



then our peasant  ...

continued his way.]

Accordingly the exchange was made.

When the matter was settled the peasant might have turned back,

for he had done the business he came

to do.

But having made up his mind

to go

to the fair,

he determined

to do so,

if only

to have a look

at it.


on he went

to the town

with his cow.

Leading the animal,

he strode

on sturdily,


after a short time,

overtook a man

who was driving a sheep.

It was a good fat sheep,

with a fine fleece

on its back.

, , , , 


should like

to have

that fellow,”

said the peasant

to himself.

“There is plenty

of grass

for him

by our palings,


in the winter we

could keep him

in the room

with us.

Perhaps it

would be more profitable

to have a sheep

than a cow.

Shall I exchange?”

, , , , 

The man

with the sheep was quite ready,

and the bargain was quickly made.


then our peasant continued his way

on the highroad

with his sheep.

Soon after this,

he overtook another man,

who had come

into the road

from a field,

and was carrying a large goose

under his arm.

, , , , 

“What a heavy creature you have there!”

said the peasant.

“It has plenty

of feathers

and plenty

of fat,


would look well tied

to a string,

or paddling

in the water

at our place.


would be very useful

to my old woman;


could make all sorts

of profit out

of it.

How often she has said,

‘If we only had a goose!’ Now here is an opportunity,


if possible,


will get it

for her.

Shall we exchange?


will give you my sheep

for your goose,

and thanks

into the bargain.”

, , , , 

The other had not the least objection,

and accordingly the exchange was made,

and our peasant became possessor

of the goose.

By this time he had arrived very near the town.

The crowd

on the highroad had been gradually increasing,


there was quite a rush

of men

and cattle.

The cattle walked

on the path and

by the palings,


at the turnpike gate they

even walked

into the toll keeper’s potato field,

where one fowl was strutting about

with a string tied

to its leg,

lest it

should take fright

at the crowd

and run away

and get lost.

The tail feathers

of this fowl were very short,

and it winked

with both its eyes,

and looked very cunning

as it said,



What were the thoughts

of the fowl

as it said this I cannot tell you,


as soon

as our good man saw it,

he thought,


that’s the finest fowl I ever saw

in my life;

it’s finer

than our parson’s brood hen,

upon my word.


should like

to have

that fowl.


can always pick up a few grains

that lie about,


almost keep themselves.

I think it

would be a good exchange

if I

could get it

for my goose.

Shall we exchange?”

he asked the toll keeper.

, , , , 


repeated the man.



would not be a bad thing.”

, , , , 

So they made an exchange;

the toll keeper

at the turnpike gate kept the goose,

and the peasant carried off the fowl.

Now he really had done a great deal

of business

on his way

to the fair,

and he was hot

and tired.

He wanted something

to eat,

and a glass

of ale

to refresh himself;

so he turned his steps

to an inn.

He was just about

to enter,

when the ostler came out,

and they met

at the door.

The ostler was carrying a sack.

“What have you


that sack?”

asked the peasant.

, , , , 

“Rotten apples,”

answered the ostler;

“a whole sackful

of them.


will do

to feed the pigs with.”

, , , , 



will be terrible waste,”

the peasant replied.


should like

to take them home

to my old woman.

Last year the old apple tree

by the grassplot bore only one apple,

and we kept it

in the cupboard

till it was quite withered

and rotten.

It was property,

my old woman said.

Here she

would see a great deal

of property

--a whole sackful.


should like

to show them

to her.”

, , , , 


will you give me

for the sackful?”

asked the ostler.

, , , , 


will I give?



will give you my fowl

in exchange.”

, , , , 

So he gave up the fowl

and received the apples,

which he carried

into the inn parlor.

He leaned the sack carefully

against the stove,


then went

to the table.

But the stove was hot,

and he had not thought

of that.

Many guests were present



and two Englishmen.

The Englishmen were so rich

that their pockets bulged

and seemed ready

to burst;

and they

could bet too,

as you shall hear.







What could

that be

by the stove?

The apples were beginning

to roast.

“What is that?”

asked one.

, , , , 


do you know--” said our peasant,


then he told them the whole story

of the horse,

which he had exchanged

for a cow,

and all the rest

of it,


to the apples.

, , , , 


your old woman

will give it

to you

when you get home,”

said one

of the Englishmen.


there be a noise?”

, , , , 


Give me what?”

said the peasant.



will kiss me,

and say,

‘What the goodman does is always right.’”

“Let us lay a wager

on it,”

said the Englishman.

“We’ll wager you a ton

of coined gold,

a hundred pounds

to the hundredweight.”

, , , , 


a bushel

will be enough,”

replied the peasant.


can only set a bushel

of apples

against it,

and I’ll throw myself

and my old woman

into the bargain.


will pile up the measure,

I fancy.”

, , , , 



and so the bet was made.

, , , , 

Then the landlord’s coach came

to the door,

and the two Englishmen

and the peasant got in,

and away they drove.

Soon they had stopped

at the peasant’s hut.

“Good evening,

old woman.”

, , , , 

“Good evening,

old man.”

, , , , 

“I’ve made the exchange.”

, , , , 



you understand

what you’re about,”

said the woman.

Then she embraced him,

and paid no attention

to the strangers,

nor did she notice the sack.

, , , , 

“I got a cow

in exchange

for the horse.”

, , , , 


how delightful!”

said she.

“Now we shall have plenty

of milk,

and butter,

and cheese

on the table.

That was a capital exchange.”

, , , , 


but I changed the cow

for a sheep.”

, , , , 


better still!”

cried the wife.

“You always think

of everything;

we have just enough pasture

for a sheep.

Ewe’s milk

and cheese,

woolen jackets

and stockings!

The cow

could not give all these,

and her hairs only fall off.

How you think

of everything!”

“But I changed away the sheep

for a goose.”

, , , , 

“Then we shall have roast goose

to eat this year.

You dear old man,

you are always thinking

of something

to please me.

This is delightful.


can let the goose walk about

with a string tied

to her leg,


that she

will get fatter still

before we roast her.”

, , , , 

“But I gave away the goose

for a fowl.”

, , , , 

“A fowl!


that was a good exchange,”

replied the woman.

“The fowl

will lay eggs

and hatch them,

and we shall have chickens.

We shall soon have a poultry yard.


this is just

what I was wishing for!”


but I exchanged the fowl

for a sack

of shriveled apples.”

, , , , 


I must really give you a kiss

for that!”

exclaimed the wife.

“My dear,

good husband,

now I’ll tell you something.

Do you know,


as soon

as you left me this morning,

I began thinking


what I

could give you nice

for supper this evening,


then I thought

of fried eggs

and bacon,

with sweet herbs.

I had eggs

and bacon

but lacked the herbs,

so I went over

to the schoolmaster’s.

I knew they had plenty

of herbs,

but the schoolmistress is very mean,

although she

can smile so sweetly.

I begged her

to lend me a handful

of herbs.

‘Lend!’ she exclaimed,

‘I have nothing

to lend.


could not

even lend you a shriveled apple,

my dear woman.’

But now I

can lend her ten,

or a whole sackful,


which I’m very glad.

It makes me laugh

to think

of it.”

Then she gave him a hearty kiss.

, , , , 



like all this,”

said both the Englishmen;

“always going down the hill

and yet always merry.

It’s worth the money

to see it.”

So they paid a hundredweight

of gold

to the peasant who,

whatever he did,

was not scolded

but kissed.

, , , , 


it always pays best

when the wife sees

and maintains

that her husband knows best


that whatever he does is right.

, , , , 

This is a story

which I heard

when I was a child.

And now you have heard it,


and know

that “What the goodman does is always right.”

, , , , 



DID you ever hear the story

of the old street lamp?

It is not remarkably interesting,


for once you may

as well listen

to it.

, , , , 

It was a most respectable old lamp,

which had seen many,

many years

of service

and now was

to retire

with a pension.

It was this very evening

at its post

for the last time,

giving light

to the street.

Its feelings were something

like those

of an old dancer

at the theater

who is dancing

for the last time

and knows that

on the morrow she

will be

in her garret,


and forgotten.

, , , , 

The lamp had very great anxiety

about the next day,

for it knew

that it had

to appear

for the first time

at the town hall

to be inspected

by the mayor

and the council,

who were

to decide whether it was fit

for further service;

whether it was good enough

to be used

to light the inhabitants

of one

of the suburbs,


in the country,

at some factory.

If the lamp

could not be used

for one

of these purposes,


would be sent

at once

to an iron foundry

to be melted down.

In this latter case it might be turned

into anything,

and it wondered very much whether it would

then be able

to remember

that it had once been a street lamp.

This troubled it exceedingly.

, , , , 

Whatever might happen,

it seemed certain

that the lamp

would be separated

from the watchman

and his wife,

whose family it looked upon

as its own.

The lamp had first been hung up

on the very evening

that the watchman,

then a robust young man,

had entered upon the duties

of his office.



it was a very long time

since one became a lamp

and the other a watchman.

His wife had some little pride

in those days;

she condescended

to glance

at the lamp only

when she passed by

in the evening


in the daytime.


in later years,

when all

of them

--the watchman,

the wife,

and the lamp

--had grown old,

she had attended

to it,

cleaning it

and keeping it supplied

with oil.

The old people were thoroughly honest;

they had never cheated the lamp

of a single drop

of the oil provided

for it.

, , , , 

This was the lamp’s last night

in the street,

and to-morrow it must go

to the town hall

--two very dark things

to think of.

No wonder it did not burn brightly.

How many persons it had lighted

on their way,


how much it had seen!

As much,

very likely,

as the mayor

and corporation themselves!


of these thoughts were uttered aloud,


for the lamp was good

and honorable


would not willingly do harm

to any one,


to those

in authority.

As one thing after another was recalled

to its mind,

the light

would flash up

with sudden brightness.

At such moments the lamp had a conviction

that it

would be remembered.

, , , , 

“There was a handsome young man,


thought the lamp;

“it is certainly a long

while ago,

but I remember

that he had a little note,


on pink paper

with a gold edge.

The writing was elegant,

evidently a lady’s.

Twice he read it through,

and kissed it,


then looked up

at me

with eyes

that said quite plainly,

‘I am the happiest

of men!’ Only he

and I know

what was written

on this,

his first letter

from his lady-love.




there was another pair

of eyes

that I remember;

it is really wonderful

how the thoughts jump

from one thing

to another!

A funeral passed

through the street.

A young

and beautiful woman lay

on a bier decked

with garlands

of flowers,

and attended

by torches

which quite overpowered my light.


along the street stood the people

from the houses,

in crowds,


to join the procession.


when the torches had passed


before me

and I

could look around,

I saw one person standing alone,


against my post

and weeping.

Never shall I forget the sorrowful eyes

that looked up

at me.”

, , , , 


and similar reflections occupied the old street lamp

on this the last time

that its light

would shine.

The sentry,

when he is relieved

from his post,


at least,


will be his successor,

and may whisper a few words

to him.

But the lamp did not know its successor,

or it might have given him a few hints respecting rain

or mist

and might have informed him

how far the moon’s rays

would reach,



which side the wind generally blew,

and so on.

, , , , 

On the bridge

over the canal stood three persons

who wished

to recommend themselves

to the lamp,

for they thought it

could give the office

to whomsoever it chose.

The first was a herring’s head,


could emit light

in the darkness.

He remarked

that it

would be a great saving

of oil

if they placed him

on the lamp-post.

Number two was a piece

of rotten wood,

which also shines

in the dark.

He considered himself descended

from an old stem,

once the pride

of the forest.

The third was a glowworm,


how he found his way

there the lamp

could not imagine;


there he was,


could really give light

as well

as the others.

But the rotten wood

and the herring’s head declared most solemnly,

by all they held sacred,

that the glowworm only gave light

at certain times

and must not be allowed

to compete

with them.

The old lamp assured them

that not one

of them

could give sufficient light

to fill the position

of a street lamp,

but they

would believe nothing

that it said.

When they discovered

that it had not the power

of naming its successor,

they said they were very glad

to hear it,

for the lamp was too old

and worn out

to make a proper choice.

, , , , 

At this moment the wind came rushing round the corner

of the street


through the air-holes

of the old lamp.

“What is this I hear?”

it asked.

“Are you going away to-morrow?

Is this evening the last time we shall meet?

Then I must present you

with a farewell gift.


will blow

into your brain,

so that

in future not only shall you be able

to remember all

that you have seen

or heard

in the past,

but your light within shall be so bright

that you

will be able

to understand all

that is said

or done

in your presence.”

, , , , 


that is really a very,

very great gift,”

said the old lamp.

“I thank you most heartily.

I only hope I shall not be melted down.”

, , , , 

“That is not likely

to happen yet,”

said the wind.


will also blow a memory

into you,

so that,

should you receive other similar presents,

your old age

will pass very pleasantly.”

, , , , 

“That is,

if I am not melted down,”

said the lamp.


should I,


that case,

still retain my memory?”

, , , , 

“Do be reasonable,

old lamp,”

said the wind,

puffing away.

, , , , 

At this moment the moon burst forth

from the clouds.


will you give the old lamp?”

asked the wind.

, , , , 


can give nothing,”

she replied.

“I am

on the wane,

and no lamps have ever given me light,

while I have frequently shone upon them.”

With these words the moon hid herself again

behind the clouds,

that she might be saved

from further importunities.


then a drop fell upon the lamp

from the roof

of the house,

but the drop explained

that it was a gift

from those gray clouds

and perhaps the best

of all gifts.

“I shall penetrate you so thoroughly,”

it said,

“that you

will have the power

of becoming rusty,


if you wish it,

can crumble

into dust

in one night.”

, , , , 

But this seemed

to the lamp a very shabby present,

and the wind thought so,


“Does no one give any more?

Will no one give any more?”

shouted the breath

of the wind,

as loud

as it could.

Then a bright,

falling star came down,

leaving a broad,

luminous streak

behind it.

, , , , 

“What was that?”

cried the herring’s head.

“Did not a star fall?

I really believe it went

into the lamp.


when such high-born personages try

for the office we may

as well go home.”

, , , , 

And so they did,

all three,

while the old lamp threw a wonderfully strong light all around.

, , , , 

“This is a glorious gift,”

it said.

“The bright stars have always been a joy

to me

and have always shone more brilliantly

than I ever

could shine,

though I have tried

with my whole might.

Now they have noticed me,

a poor old lamp,

and have sent me a gift that

will enable me

to see clearly everything

that I remember,


if it still stood

before me,


to let it be seen

by all those

who love me.

And herein lies the truest happiness,

for pleasures

which we cannot share

with others are only half enjoyed.”

, , , , 

“That sentiment does you honor,”

said the wind;


for this purpose wax lights

will be necessary.

If these are not lighted

in you,

your peculiar faculties

will not benefit others

in the least.

The stars have not thought

of this.

They suppose

that you

and every other light must be a wax taper.

But I must go down now.”

So it laid itself

to rest.

, , , , 

“Wax tapers,


said the lamp;

“I have never yet had these,

nor is it likely I ever shall.

If I

could only be sure

of not being melted down!”

The next day


perhaps we had better pass

over the next day.

The evening had come,

and the lamp was resting

in a grandfather’s chair;

and guess where!


at the old watchman’s house.

He had begged

as a favor

that the mayor

and corporation

would allow him

to keep the street lamp

in consideration

of his long

and faithful service,

as he had himself hung it up

and lighted it

on the day he first commenced his duties,


and twenty years ago.

He looked upon it almost

as his own child.

He had no children,

so the lamp was given

to him.

, , , , 

There lay the lamp

in the great armchair near the warm stove.

It seemed almost

to have grown larger,

for it appeared quite

to fill the chair.

The old people sat

at their supper,

casting friendly glances

at it,


would willingly have admitted it

to a place

at the table.

It is quite true

that they dwelt

in a cellar two yards below ground,

and had

to cross a stone passage

to get

to their room.

But within,

it was warm

and comfortable,

and strips

of list had been nailed round the door.

The bed

and the little window had curtains,

and everything looked clean

and neat.

On the window seat stood two curious flowerpots,

which a sailor named Christian had brought

from the East

or West Indies.

They were

of clay,


in the form

of two elephants

with open backs;

they were filled

with earth,


through the open space flowers bloomed.

In one grew some very fine chives

or leeks;

this was the kitchen garden.

The other,

which contained a beautiful geranium,

they called their flower garden.

On the wall hung a large colored print,

representing the Congress

of Vienna

and all the kings

and emperors.

A clock

with heavy weights hung

on the wall

and went “tick,


steadily enough;

yet it was always rather too fast,



the old people said was better

than being too slow.

They were now eating their supper,

while the old street lamp,

as we have heard,


in the grandfather’s armchair near the stove.

, , , , 

It seemed

to the lamp


if the whole world had turned round.

But after a

while the old watchman looked

at the lamp

and spoke


what they had both gone

through together

--in rain and

in fog,

during the short,

bright nights

of summer or

in the long winter nights,

through the drifting snowstorms

when he longed

to be

at home

in the cellar.

Then the lamp felt

that all was well again.

It saw everything

that had happened quite clearly,


if the events were passing

before it.

Surely the wind had given it an excellent gift!

The old people were very active

and industrious;

they were never idle


even a single hour.

On Sunday afternoons they

would bring out some books,

generally a book

of travels

which they greatly liked.

The old man

would read aloud

about Africa,

with its great forests

and the wild elephants,

while his wife

would listen attentively,

stealing a glance now

and then

at the clay elephants

which served

as flowerpots.



almost imagine I am seeing it all,”

she said.

, , , , 


how the lamp wished

for a wax taper

to be lighted

in it,


then the old woman

would have seen the smallest detail

as clearly

as it did itself;

the lofty trees,

with their thickly entwined branches,

the naked negroes

on horseback,

and whole herds

of elephants treading down bamboo thickets

with their broad,

heavy feet.

, , , , 

“What is the use

of all my capabilities,”

sighed the old lamp,

“when I cannot obtain any wax lights?

They have only oil

and tallow here,

and these

will not do.”

One day a great heap

of wax-candle ends found their way

into the cellar.

The larger pieces were burned,

and the smaller ones the old woman kept

for waxing her thread.


there were now candles enough,

but it never occurred

to any one

to put a little piece

in the lamp.

, , , , 

“Here I am now,

with my rare powers,”

thought the lamp.

“I have faculties within me,

but I cannot share them.

They do not know

that I

could cover these white walls

with beautiful tapestry,

or change them

into noble forests or,


to anything else they might wish.”

, , , , 

The lamp,


was always kept clean

and shining

in a corner,

where it attracted all eyes.

Strangers looked upon it

as lumber,

but the old people did not care

for that;

they loved it.

One day

--it was the watchman’s birthday

--the old woman approached the lamp,


to herself,

and said,


will have an illumination to-day,

in honor

of my old man.”

The lamp rattled

in its metal frame,

for it thought,


at last I shall have a light within me.”


after all,

no wax light was placed

in the lamp

--only oil,

as usual.

, , , , 

The lamp burned

through the whole evening

and began

to perceive too clearly

that the gift

of the stars

would remain a hidden treasure all its life.

Then it had a dream;


to one

with its faculties,

dreaming was not difficult.

It dreamed

that the old people were dead


that it had been taken

to the iron foundry

to be melted down.

This caused the lamp quite

as much anxiety as

on the day

when it had been called upon

to appear

before the mayor

and the council

at the town hall.

But though it had been endowed

with the power

of falling

into decay

from rust

when it pleased,

it did not make use

of this power.

It was therefore put

into the melting furnace

and changed into

as elegant an iron candlestick

as you

could wish

to see

--one intended

to hold a wax taper.

The candlestick was

in the form

of an angel holding a nosegay,

in the center


which the wax taper was

to be placed.

It was

to stand

on a green writing table

in a very pleasant room,


there were many books scattered about

and splendid paintings

on the walls.

, , , , 

The owner

of the room was a poet

and a man

of intellect.

Everything he thought

or wrote was pictured

around him.

Nature showed herself

to him sometimes

in the dark forests,


in cheerful meadows

where the storks were strutting about,


on the deck

of a ship sailing

across the foaming sea,

with the clear,

blue sky above,


at night

in the glittering stars.

, , , , 

“What powers I possess!”

said the lamp,


from its dream.



almost wish

to be melted down;

but no,

that must not be

while the old people live.

They love me

for myself alone;

they keep me bright

and supply me

with oil.

I am

as well off

as the picture

of the Congress,


which they take so much pleasure.”

And from

that time it felt

at rest

in itself,

and not more so

than such an honorable old lamp really deserved

to be.

, , , , 




HAVE you ever seen an old wooden cabinet,

quite worn black

with age,

and ornamented

with all sorts

of carved figures

and flourishes?

, , , , 

Just such a one stood

in a certain parlor.

It was a legacy

from the great-grandmother,

and was covered

from top

to bottom

with carved roses

and tulips.

The most curious flourishes were

on it,



between them peered forth little stags’ heads,

with their zigzag antlers.

On the door panel had been carved the entire figure

of a man,

a most ridiculous man

to look at,

for he grinned


could not call it smiling

or laughing

--in the drollest way.


he had crooked legs,

little horns upon his forehead,

and a long beard.

, , , , 

The children used

to call him the “crooked-legged field-marshal-major-general-corporal-sergeant,”

which was a long,

hard name

to pronounce.

Very few

there are,


in wood or

in stone,


could get such a title.


to have cut him out

in wood was no trifling task.


there he was.

His eyes were always fixed upon the table below,


toward the mirror,

for upon this table stood a charming little porcelain shepherdess,

her mantle gathered gracefully

about her

and fastened

with a red rose.

Her shoes

and hat were gilded,

and her hand held a shepherd’s crook;

she was very lovely.


by her stood a little chimney sweep,


of porcelain.

He was

as clean

and neat

as any other figure.


he might

as well have been made a prince

as a sweep,

since he was only make-believe;

for though everywhere else he was

as black

as a coal,

his round,

bright face was

as fresh

and rosy

as a girl’s.

This was certainly a mistake

--it ought

to have been black.

, , , , 

There he stood so prettily,

with his ladder

in his hand,

quite close

to the shepherdess.

From the first he had been placed there,

and he always remained

on the same spot;

for they had promised

to be true

to each other.

They suited each other exactly

--they were both young,


of the same kind

of porcelain,

and both equally fragile.

, , , , 


to them stood another figure three times

as large

as themselves.

It was an old Chinaman,

a mandarin,


could nod his head.

He was

of porcelain,


and he said he was the grandfather

of the shepherdess;

but this he

could not prove.

He insisted

that he had authority

over her,

and so

when the crooked-legged field-marshal-major-general-corporal-sergeant made proposals

to the little shepherdess,

he nodded his head,

in token

of his consent.

, , , , 


will have a husband,”

said the old mandarin

to her,

“a husband who,

I verily believe,


of mahogany wood.


will be the wife

of a field-marshal-major-general-corporal-sergeant,

of a man

who has a whole cabinet full

of silver plate,

besides a store

of no one knows what

in the secret drawers.”

, , , , 


will never go into

that dismal cabinet,”

declared the little shepherdess.

“I have heard it said


there are eleven porcelain ladies already imprisoned there.”

, , , , 


rejoined the mandarin,


will be the twelfth,

and you

will be

in good company.

This very night,

when the old cabinet creaks,

we shall keep the wedding,

as surely

as I am a Chinese mandarin.”

And upon this he nodded his head

and fell asleep.

, , , , 

But the little shepherdess wept,

and turned

to the beloved

of her heart,

the porcelain chimney sweep.

, , , , 

“I believe I must ask you,”

she said,

“to go out

with me

into the wide world,

for here it is not possible

for us

to stay.”

, , , , 


will do

in everything

as you wish,”

replied the little chimney sweep.

“Let us go

at once.

I am sure I

can support you

by my trade.”

, , , , 

“If we were only down

from the table,”

said she.

“I shall not feel safe

till we are far away out

in the wide world

and free.”

, , , , 

The little chimney sweep comforted her,

and showed her how

to set her little foot

on the carved edges,


on the gilded foliage twining round the leg

of the table,


at last they both reached the floor.



for a last look

at the old cabinet,

they saw

that everything was

in commotion.

All the carved stags stretched their heads farther out

than before,

raised their antlers,

and moved their throats,

while the crooked-legged field-marshal-major-general-corporal-sergeant sprang up

and shouted

to the old Chinese mandarin,


they are eloping!

they are eloping!”

They were not a little frightened

at this,

and jumped quickly

into an open drawer

in the window seat.

, , , , 

Here lay three

or four packs

of cards

that were not quite complete,

and a little doll’s theater,

which had been set up

as nicely


could be.

A play was going on,

and all the queens sat

in the front row,

and fanned themselves

with the flowers

which they held

in their hands,


behind them stood the knaves,


with two heads,

one above

and one below,

as playing cards have.

The play was

about two persons

who were not allowed

to marry,

and the shepherdess cried,

for it seemed so

like her own story.

, , , , 

“I cannot bear this!”

she said.

“Let us leave the drawer.”

, , , , 


when she had again reached the floor she looked up

at the table

and saw

that the old Chinese mandarin was awake,


that he was rocking his whole body


and fro

with rage.

, , , , 

“The old mandarin is coming!”

cried she,

and down she fell

on her porcelain knees,

so frightened was she.

, , , , 

“I have thought

of a plan,”

said the chimney sweep.

“Suppose we creep

into the jar

of perfumes,

the potpourri vase

which stands

in the corner.

There we

can rest upon roses

and lavender,

and throw salt

in his eyes

if he comes near.”

, , , , 


will not do

at all,”

she said.


I know

that the old mandarin

and the potpourri vase were once betrothed;

and no doubt some slight friendship still exists

between them.


there is no help

for it;

we must wander forth together

into the wide world.”

, , , , 

“Have you really the courage

to go out

into the wide world

with me?”

asked the chimney sweep.

“Have you considered

how large it is,

and that

if we go,


can never come back?”

, , , , 

“I have,”

replied she.

, , , , 

And the chimney sweep looked earnestly

at her

and said,

“My way lies

through the chimney.

Have you really the courage

to go

with me

through the stove,

and creep

through the flues

and the tunnel?

Well do I know the way!

we shall come out

by the chimney,


then I shall know how

to manage.

We shall mount so high

that they

can never reach us,


at the top

there is an opening

that leads out

into the wide world.”

, , , , 

And he led her

to the door

of the stove.

, , , , 


how black it looks!”

she said.

Still she went


with him,

through the stove,

the flues,

and the tunnel,

where it was

as dark

as pitch.

, , , , 

“Now we are

in the chimney,”

said he;

“and see

what a lovely star shines

above us.”

, , , , 

There actually was a star

in the sky,

that was shining right down upon them,

as if

to show them the way.

Now they climbed

and crept

--a frightful way it was,

so steep

and high!

But he went first

to guide,


to smooth the way

as much

as he could.

He showed her the best places

on which

to set her little china foot,


at last they came

to the edge

of the chimney

and sat down

to rest,

for they were very tired,

as may well be supposed.

, , , , 

The sky

and all its stars were

above them,

and below lay all the roofs

of the town.

They saw all

around them the great,

wide world.

It was not


what the poor little shepherdess had fancied it,

and she leaned her little head upon her chimney sweep’s shoulder

and wept so bitterly

that the gilding was washed

from her golden sash.

, , , , 

“This is too much,”

said she;

“it is more

than I

can bear.

The world is too large!

I wish I were safe back again upon the little table

under the mirror.

I shall never be happy

till I am

there once more.

I have followed you out

into the wide world.


if you really love me,


will follow me back.”

, , , , 

The chimney sweep tried

to reason

with her.

He reminded her

of the old mandarin,

and the crooked-legged field-marshal-major-general-corporal-sergeant,

but she wept so bitterly,

and kissed her little chimney sweep so fondly,

that he

could not do otherwise than

as she wished,


as it was.

, , , , 

So they climbed down the chimney,


with the greatest difficulty,


through the flues,


into the stove,

where they paused

to listen

behind the door,

to discover

what might be going on

in the room.

, , , , 

All was quiet,

and they peeped out.



on the floor lay the old mandarin.

He had fallen

from the table

in his attempt

to follow the runaways,

and had broken

into three pieces.

His whole back had come off

in a single piece,

and his head had rolled

into a corner.

The crooked-legged field-marshal-major-general-corporal-sergeant stood

where he had always stood,

reflecting upon

what had happened.

, , , , 

“This is shocking!”

said the little shepherdess.

“My old grandfather is broken

in pieces,

and we are the cause

of it,”

and she wrung her little hands.

, , , , 


can be riveted,”

said the chimney sweep;


can certainly be riveted.

Do not grieve so!

If they cement his back

and put a rivet

through his neck,


will be just

as good

as new,


will be able

to say

as many disagreeable things

to us

as ever.”

, , , , 

“Do you really think so?”

asked she.

Then they climbed again up

to the place

where they had stood before.

, , , , 

“How far we have been,”

observed the chimney sweep,


since we have got no farther

than this,

we might have saved ourselves all the trouble.”

, , , , 

“I wish grandfather were mended,”

said the shepherdess;

“I wonder

if it

will cost very much.”

, , , , 

Mended he was.

The family had his back cemented

and his neck riveted,


that he was

as good

as new,

only he

could not nod.

, , , , 

“You have become proud

since you were broken

to shivers,”

observed the crooked-legged field-marshal-major-general-corporal-sergeant,

“but I must say,

for my part,


don’t see much

to be proud of.

Am I

to have her,

or am I not?

Just answer me that.”

, , , , 

The chimney sweep

and the shepherdess looked most piteously

at the old mandarin.

They were so afraid

that he

would nod his head.

But he

could not,

and it

would have been

beneath his dignity

to have confessed

to having a rivet

in his neck.

So the young porcelain people always remained together,

and they blessed the grandfather’s rivet

and loved each other

till they were broken

in pieces.

, , , , 




YOU know,


what the microscope is

--that wonderful little glass

which makes everything appear a hundred times larger

than it really is.

, , , , 

If you look

through a microscope

at a single drop

of ditch water,


will see a thousand odd-looking creatures,


as you never

could imagine dwelled

in water.

They do not look unlike a whole plateful

of shrimps,

all jumping

and crowding upon each other.

So fierce are these little creatures

that they

will tear off each other’s arms

and legs without the least mercy,

and yet after their fashion they look merry

and happy.

, , , , 


there was once an old man,

whom his neighbors called Cribbley Crabbley

--a curious name,

to be sure,

which meant something

like “creep-and-crawl.”

He always liked

to make the most

of everything,


when he

could not manage it

in the ordinary way,

he tried magic.

, , , , 

One day he sat looking

through his microscope

at a drop

of water

that had been brought

from a neighboring ditch.

What a scene

of scrambling

and swarming it was,

to be sure!

All the thousands

of little imps

in the water jumped

and sprang about,

devouring each other,

or tearing each other

to bits.

, , , , 

“Upon my word this is really shocking.

There must surely be some way

to make them live

in peace

and quiet,


that each attends only

to his own concerns.”

And he thought

and thought,

but still

could not hit upon any plan,

so he must needs have recourse

to conjuring.

, , , , 

“I must give them color so

that they may be seen more plainly,”

said he.

Accordingly he poured something

that looked

like a drop

of red wine

--but which

in reality was witch’s blood

--upon the drop

of water.

Immediately all the strange little creatures became red all over,

and looked

for all the world

like a whole town full

of naked red Indians.

, , , , 


what have you here?”

asked another old magician,

who had no name

at all,

which made him

even more remarkable

than Cribbley Crabbley.

, , , , 

“If you

can find out

what it is,”

replied Cribbley Crabbley,


will give it you;

but I warn you you’ll not do so easily.”

, , , , 

The conjurer without a name looked

through the microscope,

and it seemed

to him

that the scene

before him was a whole town,


which the people ran

about naked

in the wildest way.

It was quite shocking!

Still more horrible was it

to see

how they kicked

and cuffed,


and fought,




and swallowed,

each his neighbor.


that were

under wanted

to be

at the top,

while those

that chanced

to be

at the top must needs thrust themselves underneath.

, , , , 

“And now look,

his leg is longer

than mine,

so off

with it!”

one seemed

to be saying.

Another had a little lump

behind his ear,

--an innocent little lump enough,

--but it seemed

to pain him,

and therefore the others seemed determined

that it

should pain him more.

So they hacked

at it,

and dragged the poor thing about,


at last ate him up,


on account

of the little lump.

One only

of the creatures was quiet,

a modest little maid,

who sat

by herself evidently wishing

for nothing

but peace

and quietness.

The others

would not have it so,


They soon pulled the little damsel forward,


and tore her,


then ate her up.

, , , , 

“This is uncommonly droll

and amusing!”

said the nameless magician.

, , , , 



what do you think it is?”

asked Cribbley Crabbley.

“Can you make it out?”

, , , , 

“It is easy enough

to guess,

to be sure,”

was the reply

of the nameless magician;

“easy enough.

It is either Paris

or Copenhagen,

or some other great city;


don’t know which,

for they are all alike.

It is some great city,

of course.”

, , , , 

“It is a drop

of ditch-water,”

said Cribbley Crabbley.

, , , , 



THERE was once a poor prince

who had a kingdom,

but it was a very small one.

Still it was quite large enough

to admit

of his marrying,

and he wished

to marry.

, , , , 

It was certainly rather bold

of him

to say,

as he did,

to the emperor’s daughter,

“Will you have me?”

But he was renowned far

and wide,


there were a hundred princesses


would have answered,



“Thank you kindly.”

We shall see

what this princess said.


It happened


where the prince’s father lay buried

there grew a rose tree,

a most beautiful rose tree,

which blossomed only once

in five years,

and even

then bore only one flower.



that was a rose!

It smelled so sweet

that all cares

and sorrows were forgotten

by those

who inhaled its fragrance!


the prince had a nightingale


could sing

in such a manner

that it seemed


if all sweet melodies dwelt

in her little throat.

Now the princess was

to have the rose

and the nightingale;

and they were accordingly put

into large silver caskets

and sent

to her.

, , , , 

The emperor had them brought

into a large hall,

where the princess

and the ladies

of the court were playing

at “Visiting.”

When she saw the caskets

with the presents,

the princess clapped her hands

for joy.

, , , , 


if it

should be a little pussy cat,”

exclaimed she.


the rose tree,

with its beautiful rose,


to view.

, , , , 


how prettily it is made!”

said all the court ladies.

, , , , 

“It is more

than pretty,”

said the emperor;

“it is charming.”

, , , , 

The princess touched it

and was ready

to cry.



said she,

“it is not made

at all.

It is natural!”


said all the court ladies;

“it is natural!”

“Let us see

what the other casket contains

before we get

into bad humor,”

proposed the emperor.

So the nightingale came forth,

and sang so delightfully that

at first no one

could say anything ill-humored

of her.

, , , , 


charmant!_” exclaimed the ladies,

for they all used

to chatter French,

and each worse

than her neighbor.

, , , , 

“How much the bird reminds me

of the musical box

that belonged

to our blessed empress!”

remarked an old knight.



these are the same tunes,

the same execution.”

, , , , 



said the emperor,


at the remembrance he wept

like a child.

, , , , 

“I still hope it is not a real bird,”

said the princess.

, , , , 


it is a real bird,”

said those

who had brought it.

, , , , 



let the bird fly,”

returned the princess.

And she positively refused

to see the prince.

, , , , 


he was not

to be discouraged.

He stained his face brown

and black,

pulled his cap

over his ears,

and knocked

at the door

of the castle.

, , , , 

“Good day

to my lord the emperor,”

said he.

“Can I have employment here

at the palace?”

, , , , 



said the emperor.

“It just occurs

to me

that I want some one

to take care

of the pigs,

there are so many

of them.”

, , , , 

So the prince came

to be the imperial swineherd.

, , , , 

He had a miserable little room,


by the pigsty,

and here he was obliged

to stay;

and he sat the whole day long

and worked.

By evening he had made a pretty little saucepan.

Little bells were hung all

around it;


when the pot was boiling,

the bells tinkled

in the most charming manner,

and played the old melody,


du lieber Augustin,

Alles ist weg,



, , , , 


what was still more curious,

whoever held his finger

in the smoke

of this saucepan,

at once smelled all the dishes

that were cooking

on every hearth

of the city.


you see,

was something quite different

from the rose.

, , , , 

Now the princess happened

to walk

that way

with her court ladies,


when she heard the tune she stood quite still

and seemed pleased,

for she

could play “Dearest Augustine.”

It was the only piece she knew,

and she played it

with one finger.

, , , , 


that is the piece

that I play

on the piano!”

said the princess.

“That swineherd must certainly have been well educated.



and ask him the price

of the instrument.”

, , , , 

So one

of the court ladies had

to go in,

but she drew

on wooden slippers first.

, , , , 


will you take

for the saucepan?”

inquired the lady.

, , , , 

“I must have ten kisses

from the princess,”

said the swineherd.

, , , , 

“Heaven preserve us!”

exclaimed the maid

of honor.

, , , , 

“I cannot sell it

for less,”

answered the swineherd.

, , , , 


what does he say?”

asked the princess.

, , , , 

“I cannot tell you,


replied the lady.

“It is too dreadful.”

, , , , 

“Then you may whisper it.”

So the lady whispered it.

, , , , 

“He is an impudent fellow,”

said the princess,

and she walked on.


when she had gone a little way,

the bells again tinkled prettily,


thou dearest Augustine,

All is gone,



, , , , 


said the princess.

“Ask him

if he

will have ten kisses

from the ladies

of my court.”

, , , , 


thank you!”

answered the swineherd.

“Ten kisses

from the princess,

or I keep the saucepan myself.”

, , , , 

“How tiresome!

That must not be either!”

said the princess;

“but do you all stand

before me,

that no one may see us.”

, , , , 

The court ladies placed themselves

in front

of her,

and spread out their dresses.

So the swineherd got ten kisses,

and the princess got the saucepan.

, , , , 

That was delightful!

The saucepan was kept boiling all the evening

and the whole

of the following day.

They knew perfectly well

what was cooking

on every hearth

in the city,

from the chamberlain’s

to the cobbler’s.

The court ladies danced

and clapped their hands.

, , , , 

“We know

who has soup,


who has pancakes

for dinner to-day;

who has cutlets,


who has eggs.

How interesting!”


but keep my secret,

for I am an emperor’s daughter.”

, , , , 

The prince

--that is,

the swineherd,

for no one knew

that he was other

than an ill-favored swineherd

--let not a day pass without working

at something.

At last he constructed a rattle,


when it was swung round

and round,

played all the waltzes

and jig tunes

which have been heard

since the creation

of the world.

, , , , 


that is _superbe_!”

said the princess,

when she passed by.

“I have never heard prettier compositions.



and ask him the price

of the instrument.

But mind,

he shall have no more kisses.”

, , , , 


will have a hundred kisses

from the princess,”

said the lady

who had been

to ask.

, , , , 

“He is not

in his right senses,”

said the princess,

and walked on.


when she had gone a little way she stopped again.

“One must encourage art,”

said she;

“I am the emperor’s daughter.

Tell him he shall,


on yesterday,

have ten kisses

from me,

and may take the rest

from the ladies

of the court.”

, , , , 


but we

should not

like that

at all,”

said the ladies.

, , , , 

“What are you muttering?”

asked the princess.

“If I

can kiss him,

surely you can!

Remember I give you food

and wages.”

, , , , 

“A hundred kisses

from the princess,”

said he,

“or else let every one keep his own.”

, , , , 

“Stand round,”

said she,

and all the ladies stood round

as before.

, , , , 


can be the reason

for such a crowd close

by the pigsty?”

asked the emperor,

who happened just then

to step out

on the balcony.

He rubbed his eyes

and put

on his spectacles.

, , , , 

“They are the ladies

of the court.

I must go

and see

what they are about.”

So he pulled up his slippers

at the heel,

for he had trodden them down.

, , , , 

As soon

as he had got

into the courtyard he moved very softly,

and the ladies were so much engrossed

with counting the kisses

that they did not perceive the emperor.

He rose

on his tiptoes.

, , , , 

“What is all this?”

said he,

when he saw

what was going on,

and he boxed the princess’s ear

with his slipper,


as the swineherd was taking the eighty-sixth kiss.

, , , , 

“Be off

with you!

March out!”

cried the emperor,

for he was very angry.

Both princess

and swineherd were thrust out

of the city,

and the princess stood

and wept,

while the swineherd scolded,

and the rain poured down.

, , , , 


unhappy creature

that I am!”

said the princess.

“If I had

but married the handsome young prince!


how unfortunate I am!”

The swineherd went

behind a tree,

washed the black

and brown

from his face,

threw off his dirty clothing,

and stepped forth

in his princely robes.

He looked so noble

that the princess

could not help bowing

before him.

, , , , 

“I have come

to despise thee,”

said he.

“Thou wouldst not have an honorable prince!

Thou couldst not prize the rose

and the nightingale,

but thou wast ready

to kiss the swineherd

for the sake

of a trumpery plaything.

Thou art rightly served.”

, , , , 


then went back

to his own little kingdom,

where he shut the door

of his palace

before her very eyes.

Now she might well sing,


thou dearest Augustine,

All is gone,



, , , , 



IN THE city

of Florence,

not far

from the Piazza del Granduca,

runs a little cross street called Porta Rosa.

In this street,


in front

of the market place

where vegetables are sold,

stands a pig,


of brass

and curiously formed.

The color has been changed

by age

to dark green,

but clear,

fresh water pours

from the snout,

which shines


if it had been polished

--and so indeed it has,

for hundreds

of poor people

and children seize it

in their hands

as they place their mouths close

to the mouth

of the animal

to drink.

It is quite a picture

to see a half-naked boy clasping the well-formed creature

by the head

as he presses his rosy lips

against its jaws.

Every one

who visits Florence

can very quickly find the place;

he has only

to ask the first beggar he meets

for the Metal Pig,

and he

will be told

where it is.

, , , , 

It was late

on a winter evening.

The mountains were covered

with snow,

but the moon shone brightly,

and moonlight

in Italy is

as good

as the light

of gray winter’s day

in the north.


it is better,

for the clear air seems

to raise us

above the earth;


in the north a cold,


leaden sky appears

to press us down

to earth,


as the cold,

damp earth shall one day press

on us

in the grave.

, , , , 

In the garden

of the grand duke’s palace,

under the roof

of one

of the wings,

where a thousand roses bloom

in winter,

a little ragged boy had been sitting the whole day long.

The boy might serve

as a type

of Italy:


and smiling,

and yet suffering.

He was hungry

and thirsty,

but no one gave him anything;


when it became dark

and they were about

to close the gardens,

the porter turned him out.

A long time he stood musing

on the bridge

which crosses the Arno

and looking

at the glittering stars

that were reflected

in the water

which flowed

between him

and the wonderful marble bridge Delia Trinità.


then walked away

towards the Metal Pig,

half knelt down,

clasped it

with his arms,


putting his mouth

to the shining snout,

drank deep draughts

of the fresh water.


by lay a few salad leaves

and two chestnuts,

which were

to serve

for his supper.

No one was

in the street

but himself.

It belonged only

to him.

He boldly seated himself

on the pig’s back,

leaned forward so

that his curly head

could rest

on the head

of the animal,


before he was aware,

fell asleep.

, , , , 

It was midnight.

The Metal Pig raised himself gently,

and the boy heard him say quite distinctly,

“Hold tight,

little boy,

for I am going

to run”;

and away he started

for a most wonderful ride.

First they arrived

at the Piazza del Granduca,

and the metal horse

which bears the duke’s statue neighed aloud.

The painted coats

of arms

on the old council house shone

like transparent pictures,

and Michelangelo’s “David” swung his sling.

It was


if everything had life.

The metallic groups

of figures,


which were “Perseus”

and “The Rape

of the Sabines,”


like living persons,

and cries

of terror sounded

from them all

across the noble square.

By the Palazzo degli Uffizi,

in the arcade

where the nobility assembled

for the carnival,

the Metal Pig stopped.

“Hold fast,”

said the animal,

“hold fast,

for I am going upstairs.”

, , , , 

The little boy said not a word.

He was half pleased

and half afraid.

They entered a long gallery,

where the boy had been before.

The walls were resplendent

with paintings,

and here


there stood statues

and busts,


in a clear light


if it were day.

The grandest sight appeared

when the door

of a side room opened.

The little boy

could remember

what beautiful things he had seen there,

but to-night everything shone

in its brightest colors.

Here stood the figure

of a beautiful woman,

as radiantly beautiful

as nature

and the art

of one

of the great masters

could make her.

Her graceful limbs appeared

to move;

dolphins sprang

at her feet,

and immortality shone

from her eyes.

The world called her the “Venus de’ Medici.”

By her side were statues

of stone,


which the spirit

of life breathed;


of men,


of whom whetted his sword

and was named “The Grinder”;

fighting gladiators,

for whom the sword had been sharpened,


who strove

for the goddess

of beauty.

The boy was dazzled

by so much glitter,

for the walls were gleaming

with bright colors.


and movement were

in everything.

, , , , 

As they passed

from hall

to hall,

beauty showed itself

in whatever they saw;


as the Metal Pig went step

by step

from one picture

to another,

the little boy

could see it all plainly.

One glory eclipsed another;


there was one picture

that fixed itself

on the little boy’s memory more especially,


of the happy children it represented;

for these the little boy had seen

in daylight.

Many pass this picture

with indifference,

and yet it contains a treasure

of poetic feeling.

It represents Christ descending

into Hades.

It is not those

who are lost

that one sees,

but the heathen

of olden times.

, , , , 

The Florentine,

Angiolo Bronzino,

painted this picture.

Most beautiful is the expression

on the faces

of two children

who appear

to have full confidence

that they shall reach heaven

at last.

They are embracing each other,

and one little one stretches out his hand

towards another

who stands below them,

and points

to himself


if he were saying,

“I am going

to heaven.”

The older people stand


if uncertain yet hopeful,

and bow

in humble adoration

to the Lord Jesus.

On this picture the boy’s eyes rested longer than

on any other,

and the Metal Pig stood still

before it.

A low sigh was heard.

Did it come

from the picture


from the animal?

The boy raised his hands

toward the smiling children,


then the pig ran off

with him

through the open vestibule.

, , , , 

“Thank you,

thank you,

you beautiful animal,”

said the little boy,

caressing the Metal Pig

as it ran down the steps.

, , , , 


to yourself also,”

replied the Metal Pig.

“I have helped you

and you have helped me,

for it is only

when I have an innocent child

on my back

that I receive the power

to run.


as you see,



even venture

under the rays

of the lamp

in front

of the picture

of the Madonna,

but I must not enter the church.


from without,


while you are upon my back,

I may look


through the open door.

Do not get down yet,


if you do,

then I shall be lifeless,

as you have seen me

in the daytime

in the Porta Rosa.”

, , , , 


will stay

with you,

my dear creature,”

said the little boy.

So they went


at a rapid pace

through the streets

of Florence,

till they came

to the square

before the church

of Santa Croce.

The folding doors flew open,

and lights streamed

from the altar,

through the church,

into the deserted square.

A wonderful blaze

of light streamed

from one

of the monuments

in the left aisle,

and a thousand moving stars formed a kind

of glory round it.

Even the coat

of arms

on the tombstone shone,

and a red ladder

on a blue field gleamed

like fire.

It was the grave

of Galileo.

The monument is unadorned,

but the red ladder is an emblem

of art


that the way

to glory leads up a shining ladder,


which the great prophets rise

to heaven

like Elijah

of old.

In the right aisle

of the church every statue

on the richly carved sarcophagi seemed endowed

with life.

Here stood Michelangelo;

there Dante,

with the laurel wreath

around his brow;


and Machiavelli;

for here,


by side,

rest the great men,

the pride

of Italy.

, , , , 

The church itself is very beautiful,

even more beautiful

than the marble cathedral

at Florence,

though not so large.

It seemed


if the carved vestments stirred,



if the marble figures

which they covered raised their heads higher

to gaze upon the brightly colored,

glowing altar,

where the white-robed boys swung the golden censers amid music

and song;

and the strong fragrance

of incense filled the church

and streamed forth

into the square.

The boy stretched out his hands

toward the light,


at the same moment the Metal Pig started again,

so rapidly

that he was obliged

to cling tightly

to him.

The wind whistled

in his ears.

He heard the church door creak

on its hinges

as it closed,

and it seemed

to him


if he had lost his senses;

then a cold shudder passed

over him,

and he awoke.

, , , , 

It was morning.

The Metal Pig stood

in its old place

on the Porta Rosa,

and the boy found

that he had nearly slipped off its back.


and trembling came upon him

as he thought

of his mother.

She had sent him out the day before

to get some money,

but he had not been able

to get any,

and now he was hungry

and thirsty.

Once more he clasped the neck

of his metal steed,

kissed its nose,

and nodded farewell

to it.

Then he wandered away

into one

of the narrowest streets,


there was scarcely room

for a loaded donkey

to pass.

A great iron-bound door stood ajar;


passing through,

he climbed a brick staircase

with dirty walls,

and a rope

for balustrade,

till he came

to an open gallery hung

with rags.

From here a flight

of steps led down

to a court,


from a fountain water was drawn up

by iron rollers

to the different stories

of the house.

Many water buckets hung side

by side.

Sometimes the roller

and the bucket danced

in the air,

splashing the water all

over the court.

Another broken-down staircase led

from the gallery,

and two Russian sailors running down it

almost upset the poor boy.

They were coming

from their nightly carousal.

A woman,

not very young,

with an unpleasant face

and a quantity

of black hair,

followed them.

“What have you brought home?”

she asked

when she saw the boy.

, , , , 

“Don’t be angry,”

he pleaded.

“I received nothing,

I have nothing

at all”;

and he seized his mother’s dress


would have kissed it.

Then they went

into a little room.

I need not describe it,

but only say


there stood

in it an earthen pot

with handles,


for holding fire,


in Italy is called a _marito_.

This pot she took

in her lap,

warmed her fingers,

and pushed the boy

with her elbow.

, , , , 

“Certainly you must have some money,”

she said.

The boy began

to cry,


then she struck him

till he cried aloud.

, , , , 

“Be quiet,

or I’ll break your screaming head.”

She swung

about the fire pot

which she held

in her hand,

while the boy crouched

to the earth

and screamed.

Then a neighbor came in,

who also had a _marito_

under her arm.


she said,

“what are you doing

to the child?”

, , , , 

“The child is mine,”

she answered;


can murder him

if I like,

and you too,


, , , , 

Then again she swung the fire pot about.

The other woman lifted hers up

to defend herself,

and the two pots clashed so violently

that they were dashed

to pieces

and fire

and ashes flew

about the room.

, , , , 

The boy rushed out

at the sight,


across the courtyard,

and fled

from the house.

The poor child ran

till he was quite out

of breath.

At last he stopped

at the church the doors


which were opened

to him the night before,

and went in.

Here everything was bright,

and the boy knelt down

by the first tomb

on his right hand,

the grave

of Michelangelo,

and sobbed


if his heart

would break.

People came

and went;

the service went on,

but no one noticed the boy except an elderly citizen,

who stood still

and looked

at him

for a moment


then went away

like the rest.


and thirst overpowered the child,

and he became quite faint

and ill.

At last he crept

into a corner

behind the marble monuments

and went

to sleep.

Towards evening he was awakened

by a pull

at his sleeve.

He started up,

and the same old citizen stood

before him.

, , , , 

“Are you ill?

Where do you live?

Have you been here all day?”

were some

of the questions asked

by the old man.

After hearing his answers,

the old man took him

to a small house

in a back street close by.

They entered a glovemaker’s shop,

where a woman sat sewing busily.

A little white poodle,

so closely shaved

that his pink skin

could plainly be seen,


about the room

and gamboled

over the boy.

, , , , 

“Innocent souls are soon intimate,”

said the woman,

as she caressed both the boy

and the dog.

, , , , 

These good people gave the child food

and drink,

and said he

should stay

with them all night,


that the next day the old man,

who was called Giuseppe,

would go

and speak

to his mother.

A simple little bed was prepared

for him,


to him

who had so often slept

on the hard stones it was a royal couch,

and he slept sweetly

and dreamed

of the splendid pictures,


of the Metal Pig.

Giuseppe went out the next morning,

and the poor child was not glad

to see him go,

for he knew

that the old man had gone

to his mother,


that perhaps he

would have

to return.

He wept

at the thought,


then played

with the lively little dog

and kissed it,

while the old woman looked kindly

at him

to encourage him.

, , , , 

What news did Giuseppe bring back?

At first the boy

could not find out,

for the old man talked

to his wife,

and she nodded

and stroked the boy’s cheek.

Then she said,

“He is a good lad,

he shall stay

with us.

He may become a clever glovemaker,

like you.


what delicate fingers he has.

Madonna intended him

for a glovemaker.”

, , , , 

So the boy stayed

with them,

and the woman herself taught him

to sew.

He ate well,

and slept well,

and became very merry.


at last he began

to tease Bellissima,

as the little dog was called.

This made the woman angry,

and she scolded him

and threatened him,

which made him unhappy,

and he went

and sat

in his own room,


of sad thoughts.

This chamber looked out upon the street,


which hung skins

to dry,


there were thick iron bars

across his window.

That night he lay awake,


of the Metal Pig.


it was always

in his thoughts.

Suddenly he fancied he heard feet outside going pitapat.

He sprang out

of bed

and went

to the window.

Could it be the Metal Pig?


there was nothing

to be seen.

Whatever he had heard had passed already.

, , , , 

“Go help the gentleman

to carry his box

of colors,”

said the woman the next morning

when their neighbor,

the artist,

passed by,

carrying a paint box

and a large roll

of canvas.

The boy instantly took the box

and followed the painter.

They walked


till they reached the picture gallery,

and mounted the same staircase up

which he had ridden

that night

on the Metal Pig.

He remembered all the pictures

and statues,

especially the marble Venus,

and again he looked

at the Madonna

with the Saviour

and St. John.

They stopped

before the picture

by Il Bronzino,


which Christ is represented

as standing

in the lower world,

with the children smiling

before him

in the sweet expectation

of entering heaven.

The poor boy smiled,


for here was his heaven.

, , , , 

“You may go home now,”

said the painter,

while the boy stood watching him

till he had set up his easel.

, , , , 

“May I see you paint?”

asked the boy.

“May I see you put the picture

on this white canvas?”

, , , , 

“I am not going

to paint,”

replied the artist,

bringing out a piece

of chalk.

His hand moved quickly,

and his eye measured the great picture,

and though nothing appeared

but a faint line,

the figure

of the Saviour was

as clearly visible as

in the colored picture.

, , , , 


don’t you go?”

said the painter.

Then the boy wandered home silently,

and seated himself

on the table,

and learned

to sew gloves.

But all day long his thoughts were

in the picture gallery,

and so he pricked his fingers

and was awkward.

But he did not tease Bellissima.

When evening came,

and the house door stood open,

he slipped out.

It was a bright,


starlight evening,

but rather cold.

Away he went

through the already deserted streets,

and soon came

to the Metal Pig.

He stooped down

and kissed its shining nose,


then seated himself

on its back.

, , , , 

“You happy creature,”

he said;

“how I have longed

for you!

We must take a ride to-night.”

, , , , 

But the Metal Pig lay motionless,

while the fresh stream gushed forth

from its mouth.

The little boy still sat astride its back,

when he felt something pulling

at his clothes.

He looked down,


there was Bellissima,

little smooth-shaven Bellissima,



if she

would have said,

“Here I am,


Why are you sitting there?”

, , , , 

A fiery dragon

could not have frightened the little boy so much

as did the little dog

in this place.


in the street

and not dressed!

as the old lady called it.


would be the end

of this?

The dog never went out

in winter,

unless she was attired

in a little lambskin coat,

which had been made

for her.

It was fastened round the little dog’s neck

and body

with red ribbons,

and decorated

with rosettes

and little bells.

The dog looked almost

like a little kid

when she was allowed

to go out

in winter

and trot after her mistress.


here she was

in the cold,

and not dressed.



would it end?

All his fancies were quickly put

to flight;

yet he kissed the Metal Pig once more,


then took Bellissima

in his arms.

The poor little thing trembled so

with cold

that the boy ran homeward

as fast

as he could.

, , , , 

“What are you running away

with there?”

asked two

of the police whom he met,


at whom the dog barked.

“Where have you stolen

that pretty dog?”

they asked,

and took it away

from him.

, , , , 


I have not stolen it.

Do give it back

to me,”

cried the boy,


, , , , 

“If you have not stolen it,

you may say

at home

that they

can send

to the watch-house

for the dog.”

Then they told him

where the watch-house was,

and went away

with Bellissima.

, , , , 

Here was trouble indeed.

The boy did not know whether he had better jump

into the Arno

or go home

and confess everything.


would certainly kill him,

he thought.

, , , , 



would gladly be killed,”

he reasoned;


then I

should die

and go

to heaven.”

And so he went home,

almost hoping

for death.

, , , , 

The door was locked,

and he

could not reach the knocker.

No one was

in the street,

so he took up a stone


with it made a tremendous noise

at the door.

, , , , 

“Who is there?”

asked somebody

from within.

, , , , 

“It is I,”

said he.

“Bellissima is gone.

Open the door,


then kill me.”

, , , , 



there was a great panic,

for madam was so very fond

of Bellissima.

She immediately looked

at the wall

where the dog’s dress usually hung;


there was the little lambskin.

, , , , 


in the watch-house!”

she cried.

“You bad boy!

How did you entice her out?

Poor little delicate thing,

with those rough policemen!

And she’ll be frozen

with cold.”

, , , , 

Giuseppe went off

at once,

while his wife lamented

and the boy wept.


of the neighbors came in,


among them the painter.

He took the boy

between his knees

and questioned him.

Soon he heard the whole story,


in broken sentences,

and also

about the Metal Pig

and the wonderful ride

to the picture gallery,

which was certainly rather incomprehensible.

The painter,


consoled the little fellow,

and tried

to soften the woman’s anger,

but she

would not be pacified

till her husband returned

from the police

with Bellissima.


there was great rejoicing,

and the painter caressed the boy

and gave him a number

of pictures.

, , , , 


what beautiful pictures those were


with funny heads!



of all,

the Metal Pig was there,



could be more delightful!

By means

of a few strokes it was made

to appear

on the paper;


even the house

that stood

behind it had been sketched.


if he

could only draw

and paint!



could do this

could conjure all the world

before him.

The first leisure moment during the next day the boy got a pencil,


on the back

of one

of the other drawings he attempted

to copy the drawing

of the Metal Pig,

and he succeeded.

Certainly it was rather crooked,

rather up

and down,

one leg thick,

and another thin.

Still it was

like the copy,

and he was overjoyed


what he had done.

The pencil

would not go quite

as it ought,

he had found,

but the next day he tried again.

A second pig was drawn

by the side

of the first,

and this looked a hundred times better.

The third attempt was so good

that everybody

could see

what it was meant

to represent.

, , , , 

And now the glovemaking went


but slowly.

The orders given

by the shops

in the town were not finished quickly;

for the Metal Pig had taught the boy

that all objects may be drawn upon paper,

and Florence is a picture book

in itself

for any one

who chooses

to turn

over its pages.

On the Piazza della Trinità stands a slender pillar,

and upon it is the goddess

of justice blindfolded,

with her scales

in her hand.

She was soon represented

on paper,

and it was the glovemaker’s boy

who placed her there.

His collection

of pictures increased,


as yet they were only copies

of lifeless objects,

when one day Bellissima came gamboling

before him.

“Stand still,”

cried he,

“and I

will draw you beautifully,

to put

in my collection.”

, , , , 


would not stand still,

so she must be bound fast

in one position.

He tied her head

and tail,

but she barked

and jumped

and so pulled

and tightened the string

that she was nearly strangled.

And just

then her mistress walked in.

, , , , 

“You wicked boy!

The poor little creature!”

was all she

could utter.

, , , , 

She pushed the boy

from her,

thrust him away

with her foot,

called him a most ungrateful,


wicked boy,

and forbade him

to enter her house again.

Then she wept,

and kissed her little half-strangled Bellissima.

At this moment the painter entered the room

--and here is the turning point

of the story.

, , , , 

In the year 1834

there was an exhibition

in the Academy

of Arts

at Florence.

Two pictures,

placed side

by side,

attracted many people.

The smaller

of the two represented a little boy sitting

at a table drawing.

Before him was a little white poodle,

curiously shaven,


as the animal

would not stand still,

its head

and tail had been fastened

with a string,

to keep it

in one position.

The truthfulness

and life

in this picture interested every one.

The painter was said

to be a young Florentine,

who had been found

in the streets

when a child

by an old glovemaker,

who had brought him up.

The boy had taught himself

to draw.

It was also said

that a young artist,

now famous,

had discovered this talent

in the child just

as he was about

to be sent away

for having tied up madam’s favorite little dog

to use

as a model.

, , , , 

The glovemaker’s boy had become a really great painter,

as the picture proved;

but the larger picture

by its side was a still greater proof

of his talent.

It represented a handsome boy asleep,


in rags

and leaning

against the Metal Pig,

in the street

of the Porta Rosa.

All the spectators knew the spot well.

The child’s arms were round the neck

of the Pig,

and he was

in a deep sleep.

The lamp

before the picture

of the Madonna threw a strong light

on the pale,

delicate face

of the child.

It was a beautiful picture.

A large gilt frame surrounded it,


on one corner

of the frame a laurel wreath had been hung.

But a black band,

twined unseen

among the green leaves,

and a streamer

of crape hung down

from it;

for within the last few days the young artist had


, , , , 



THERE was once a merchant

who was so rich

that he

could have paved a whole street

with gold,


would even

then have had enough left

for a small alley.

He did not do so;

he knew the value

of money better than

to use it

in this way.

So clever was he

that every shilling he put out brought him a crown,

and so it continued

as long

as he lived.

, , , , 

His son inherited his wealth,

and lived a merry life

with it.

He went

to a masquerade every night,

made kites out

of five-pound notes,

and threw pieces

of gold

into the sea instead

of stones,

making ducks

and drakes

of them.

, , , , 

In this manner he soon lost all his money.

At last he had nothing left

but a pair

of slippers,

an old dressing gown,

and four shillings.

And now all his companions deserted him.


would not walk

with him

in the streets,

but one

of them,

who was very good-natured,

sent him an old trunk

with this message,

“Pack up!”


he said,

“it is all very well

to say ‘pack up.’”

but he had nothing left

to pack,

therefore he seated himself

in the trunk.

, , , , 

It was a very wonderful trunk,

for no sooner did any one press

on the lock

than the trunk

could fly.

He shut the lid

and pressed the lock,

when away flew the trunk up the chimney,

with him

in it,

right up

into the clouds.

Whenever the bottom

of the trunk cracked he was

in a great fright,


if the trunk had fallen

to pieces,


would have turned a tremendous somersault

over the trees.


he arrived safely

in Turkey.

He hid the trunk

in a wood

under some dry leaves


then went

into the town.

This he

could do very well,


among the Turks people always go about

in dressing gowns

and slippers,


as he was.

, , , , 

He happened

to meet a nurse

with a little child.

“I say,

you Turkish nurse,”

cried he,

“what castle is

that near the town,

with the windows placed so high?”

, , , , 

“The Sultan’s daughter lives there,”

she replied.

“It has been prophesied

that she

will be very unhappy

about a lover,

and therefore no one is allowed

to visit her

unless the king

and queen are present.”

, , , , 

“Thank you,”

said the merchant’s son.

So he went back

to the wood,

seated himself

in his trunk,

flew up

to the roof

of the castle,

and crept

through the window

into the room

where the princess lay asleep

on the sofa.

She awoke

and was very much frightened,

but he told her he was a Turkish angel

who had come down

through the air

to see her.

This pleased her very much.

He sat down

by her side

and talked

to her,

telling her

that her eyes were

like beautiful dark lakes,


which the thoughts swam about

like little mermaids;


that her forehead was a snowy mountain

which contained splendid halls full

of pictures.

He related

to her the story

about the stork,

who brings the beautiful children

from the rivers.

These stories delighted the princess,


when he asked her

if she

would marry him,

she consented immediately.

, , , , 


“Will you tell us a story?”

said the queen ....]

“But you must come

on Saturday,”

she said,


then my parents

will take tea

with me.


will be very proud

when they find

that I am going

to marry a Turkish angel.

But you must think

of some very pretty stories

to tell them,

for they like

to hear stories better

than anything.

My mother prefers one

that is deep

and moral,

but my father likes something funny,

to make him laugh.”

, , , , 

“Very well,”

he replied,

“I shall bring you no other marriage portion

than a story”;

and so they parted.

But the princess gave him a sword studded

with gold coins,

and these he

could make useful.

, , , , 

He flew away

to the town

and bought a new dressing gown,

and afterwards returned

to the wood,

where he composed a story so as

to be ready

by Saturday;


that was no easy matter.

It was ready,


when he went

to see the princess

on Saturday.

The king

and queen

and the whole court were

at tea

with the princess,

and he was received

with great politeness.

, , , , 

“Will you tell us a story?”

said the queen;


that is instructive

and full

of learning.”

, , , , 



with something

in it

to laugh at,”

said the king.

, , , , 


he replied,

and commenced

at once,

asking them

to listen attentively.

, , , , 

“There was once a bundle

of matches

that were exceedingly proud

of their high descent.

Their genealogical tree

--that is,

a great pine tree


which they had been cut


at one time a large old tree

in the wood.

The matches now lay

between a tinder box

and an old iron saucepan

and were talking

about their youthful days.


then we grew

on the green boughs,’

said they,

‘and every morning

and evening we were fed

with diamond drops

of dew.

Whenever the sun shone we felt his warm rays,

and the little birds

would relate stories

to us

in their songs.

We knew

that we were rich,

for the other trees only wore their green dresses

in summer,

while our family were able

to array themselves

in green,


and winter.

But the woodcutter came

like a great disaster,

and our family fell

under the ax.

The head

of the house obtained a situation

as mainmast

in a very fine ship


can sail round the world whenever he will.

Other branches

of the family were taken

to different places,

and our own office now is

to kindle a light

for common people.

This is

how such highborn people

as we came

to be

in a kitchen.’

, , , , 

“‘Mine has been a very different fate,’

said the iron pot,

which stood

by the matches.

‘From my first entrance

into the world I have been used

to cooking

and scouring.

I am the first

in this house

when anything solid

or useful is required.

My only pleasure is

to be made clean

and shining after dinner and

to sit

in my place

and have a little sensible conversation

with my neighbors.


of us excepting the water bucket,

which is sometimes taken

into the courtyard,

live here together within these four walls.

We get our news

from the market basket,

but it sometimes tells us very unpleasant things

about the people

and the government.


and one day an old pot was so alarmed

that it fell down

and was broken

in pieces.’

, , , , 

“‘You are talking too much,’

said the tinder box;

and the steel struck

against the flint

till some sparks flew out,


‘We want a merry evening,

don’t we?’

, , , , 


of course,’

said the matches.

‘Let us talk

about those

who are the highest born.’

, , , , 



don’t like

to be always talking


what we are,’

remarked the saucepan.

‘Let us think

of some other amusement;


will begin.


will tell something

that has happened

to ourselves;


will be very easy,

and interesting

as well.

On the Baltic Sea,

near the Danish shore


“‘What a pretty commencement!’ said the plates.

‘We shall all like

that story,

I am sure.’

, , , , 



in my youth I lived

in a quiet family

where the furniture was polished,

the floors scoured,

and clean curtains put up,

every fortnight.’

, , , , 

“‘What an interesting way you have

of relating a story,’

said the carpet broom.

‘It is easy

to perceive

that you have been a great deal

in society,

something so pure runs through

what you say.’

, , , , 

“‘That is quite true,’

said the water bucket;

and it made a spring

with joy

and splashed some water

on the floor.

, , , , 

“Then the saucepan went


with its story,

and the end was

as good

as the beginning.

, , , , 

“The plates rattled

with pleasure,

and the carpet broom brought some green parsley out

of the dust hole

and crowned the saucepan.

It knew this

would vex the others,

but it thought,

‘If I crown him to-day,


will crown me to-morrow.’

, , , , 

“‘Now let us have a dance,’

said the fire tongs.


how they danced

and stuck one leg

in the air!

The chair cushion

in the corner burst

with laughter

at the sight.

, , , , 

“‘Shall I be crowned now?’

asked the fire tongs.

So the broom found another wreath

for the tongs.

, , , , 

“‘They are only common people after all,’

thought the matches.

The tea urn was now asked

to sing,

but she said she had a cold


could not sing

unless she felt boiling heat within.

They all thought this was affectation;

they also considered it affectation

that she did not wish

to sing except

in the parlor,


on the table

with the grand people.

, , , , 

“In the window sat an old quill pen,


which the maid generally wrote.

There was nothing remarkable

about the pen,


that it had been dipped too deeply

in the ink;

but it was proud

of that.

, , , , 

“‘If the tea urn

won’t sing,’

said the pen,

‘she needn’t.

There’s a nightingale

in a cage outside,


can sing.

She has not been taught much,


but we need not say anything this evening

about that.’

, , , , 

“‘I think it highly improper,’

said the teakettle,

who was kitchen singer

and half brother

to the tea urn,

‘that a rich foreign bird

should be listened

to here.

Is it patriotic?

Let the market basket decide

what is right.’

, , , , 

“‘I certainly am vexed,’

said the basket,

‘inwardly vexed,


than any one

can imagine.

Are we spending the evening properly?

Would it not be more sensible

to put the house

in order?

If each were

in his own place,


would lead a game.


would be quite another thing.’

, , , , 

“‘Let us act a play,’

said they all.

At the same moment the door opened

and the maid came in.

Then not one stirred;

they remained quite still,


there was not a single pot

among them

that had not a high opinion

of himself and


what he

could do

if he chose.

, , , , 


if we had chosen,’


of them thought,

‘we might have spent a very pleasant evening.’

, , , , 

“The maid took the matches

and lighted them,

and dear me,

how they spluttered

and blazed up!

“‘Now then,’

they thought,

‘every one

will see

that we are the first.

How we shine!

What a light we give!’



while they spoke their lights went out.”

, , , , 

“What a capital story!”

said the queen.

“I feel


if I were really

in the kitchen


could see the matches.


you shall marry our daughter.”

, , , , 


said the king,

“thou shalt have our daughter.”

The king said “thou”

to him

because he was going

to be one

of the family.

The wedding day was fixed,


on the evening before,

the whole city was illuminated.


and sweetmeats were thrown

among the people.

The street boys stood

on tiptoe

and shouted “Hurrah,”

and whistled

between their fingers.

Altogether it was a very splendid affair.

, , , , 


will give them another treat,”

said the merchant’s son.

So he went

and bought rockets

and crackers

and every kind

of fireworks


could be thought of,

packed them

in his trunk,

and flew up

with it

into the air.

What a whizzing

and popping they made

as they went off!

The Turks,

when they saw the sight,

jumped so high

that their slippers flew

about their ears.

It was easy

to believe after this

that the princess was really going

to marry a Turkish angel.

, , , , 

As soon

as the merchant’s son had come down

to the wood after the fireworks,

he thought,


will go back

into the town now

and hear

what they think

of the entertainment.”

It was very natural

that he

should wish

to know.


what strange things people did say,

to be sure!

Every one whom he questioned had a different tale

to tell,

though they all thought it very beautiful.

, , , , 

“I saw the Turkish angel myself,”

said one.

“He had eyes

like glittering stars

and a head

like foaming water.”

, , , , 

“He flew

in a mantle

of fire,”

said another,

“and lovely little cherubs peeped out

from the folds.”

, , , , 

He heard many more fine things

about himself


that the next day he was

to be married.

After this he went back

to the forest

to rest himself

in his trunk.

It had disappeared!

A spark

from the fireworks

which remained had set it

on fire.

It was burned

to ashes.

So the merchant’s son

could not fly any more,

nor go

to meet his bride.

She stood all day

on the roof,


for him,

and most likely she is waiting

there still,

while he wanders

through the world telling fairy tales

--but none

of them so amusing

as the one he related

about the matches.

, , , , 



THERE was once a butterfly

who wished

for a bride;


as may be supposed,

he wanted

to choose a very pretty one


among the flowers.

He glanced

with a very critical eye

at all the flower beds

and found

that the flowers were seated quietly

and demurely

on their stalks,


as maidens

should sit.


there was a great number

of them,

and it appeared


if making his choice

would become very wearisome.

The butterfly did not like

to take too much trouble,

so he flew off

on a visit

to the daisies.

, , , , 

The French call this flower Marguerite

and say

that it

can prophesy.

Lovers pluck off the leaves,


as they pluck each leaf they ask a question

about their sweethearts,


“Does he

or she love me?



Very much?

A little?


at all?”

and so on.

Each one speaks these words

in his own language.

, , , , 

The butterfly came,


to Marguerite

to inquire,

but he did not pluck off her leaves;

he pressed a kiss

on each

of them,

for he thought

there was always more

to be done

by kindness.

, , , , 

“Darling Marguerite daisy,”

he said

to her,

“you are the wisest woman

of them all.

Pray tell me which

of the flowers I shall choose

for my wife.


will be my bride?

When I know,


will fly directly

to her

and propose.”

, , , , 

But Marguerite did not answer him.

She was offended

that he

should call her a woman

when she was only a girl;

there is a great difference.

He asked her a second time,


then a third,

but she remained dumb,

answering him not

at all.

Then he

would wait no longer,

but flew away

to commence his wooing

at once.

It was

in the early spring,

when the crocus

and the snowdrop were

in full bloom.

, , , , 

“They are very pretty,”

thought the butterfly;

“charming little lasses,

but they are rather stiff

and formal.”

, , , , 


as young lads often do,

he looked out

for the older girls.

He next flew

to the anemones,

but these were rather sour

to his taste.

The violet was a little too sentimental;

the lime blossoms were too small



there was such a large family

of them.

The apple blossoms,

though they looked

like roses,

bloomed to-day,

but might fall off to-morrow

with the first wind

that blew;

and he thought a marriage

with one

of them might last too short a time.

The pea blossom pleased him most

of all.

She was white

and red,


and slender,

and belonged

to those domestic maidens

who have a pretty appearance,


can be useful

in the kitchen.

He was just about

to make her an offer when,


by her,

he saw a pod,

with a withered flower hanging

at the end.

, , , , 

“Who is that?”

he asked.

, , , , 

“That is my sister,”

replied the pea blossom.

, , , , 



and you

will be

like her some day,”

said he.


at once he flew away,

for he felt quite shocked.

, , , , 

A honeysuckle hung forth

from the hedge,

in full bloom;


there were so many girls

like her,

with long faces

and sallow complexions!


he did not

like her.


which one did he like?

, , , , 

Spring went by,

and summer drew

toward its close.

Autumn came,

but he had not decided.

The flowers now appeared

in their most gorgeous robes,

but all

in vain

--they had not the fresh,

fragrant air

of youth.

The heart asks

for fragrance even

when it is no longer young,


there is very little

of that

to be found

in the dahlias

or the dry chrysanthemums.

Therefore the butterfly turned

to the mint

on the ground.

This plant,

you know,

has no blossom,

but is sweetness all over;

it is full

of fragrance

from head

to foot,

with the scent

of a flower

in every leaf.

, , , , 


will take her,”

said the butterfly;

and he made her an offer.

But the mint stood silent

and stiff

as she listened

to him.

At last she said:


can give you friendship

if you like,

nothing more.

I am old,

and you are old,

but we may live

for each other just the same.


to marrying,




would appear ridiculous

at our age.”

, , , , 

And so it happened

that the butterfly got no wife

at all.

He had been too long choosing,

which is always a bad plan,

and became

what is called an old bachelor.

, , , , 

It was late

in the autumn,

with rainy

and cloudy weather.

The cold wind blew

over the bowed backs

of the willows,


that they creaked again.

It was not the weather

for flying about

in summer clothes,

but fortunately the butterfly was not out

in it.

By a happy chance he had got a shelter.

It was

in a room heated

by a stove and

as warm

as summer.


could live here,

he said,

well enough.

, , , , 

“But it is not enough merely

to exist,”

said he.

“I need freedom,


and a little flower

for a companion.”

, , , , 

So he flew

against the window-pane

and was seen

and admired

by those

in the room,

who caught him

and stuck him

on a pin

in a box

of curiosities.


could not do more

for him.

, , , , 

“Now I am perched

on a stalk

like the flowers,”

said the butterfly.

“It is not very pleasant,


I imagine it is something

like being married,

for here I am stuck fast.”


with this thought he consoled himself a little.

, , , , 

“That seems very poor consolation,”

said one

of the plants

in the room,

that grew

in a pot.

, , , , 


thought the butterfly,

“one can’t very well trust these plants

in pots;

they have had too much

to do

with human beings.”

, , , , 




THERE was once a regular student,

who lived

in a garret

and had no possessions.


there was also a regular huckster,

to whom the house belonged,


who occupied the ground floor.

A goblin lived

with the huckster because

at Christmas he always had a large dishful

of jam,

with a great piece

of butter

in the middle.

The huckster

could afford this,

and therefore the goblin remained

with him

--which was very shrewd

of the goblin.

, , , , 

One evening the student came

into the shop

through the back door

to buy candles

and cheese

for himself;

he had no one

to send,

and therefore he came himself.

He obtained

what he wished,


then the huckster

and his wife nodded good evening

to him.

The huckster’s wife was a woman


could do more

than merely nod,

for she usually had plenty

to say

for herself.

The student nodded also,

as he turned

to leave,

then suddenly stopped

and began reading the piece

of paper


which the cheese was wrapped.

It was a leaf torn out

of an old book;

a book

that ought not

to have been torn up,

for it was full

of poetry.

, , , , 

“Yonder lies some more

of the same sort,”

said the huckster.

“I gave an old woman a few coffee berries

for it;

you shall have the rest

for sixpence

if you will.”

, , , , 

“Indeed I will,”

said the student.

“Give me the book instead

of the cheese;


can eat my bread

and butter without cheese.


would be a sin

to tear up a book

like this.

You are a clever man

and a practical man,

but you understand no more

about poetry than

that cask yonder.”

, , , , 

This was a very rude speech,


against the cask,

but the huckster

and the student both laughed,

for it was only said

in fun.

The goblin,


felt very angry

that any man

should venture

to say such things

to a huckster

who was a householder

and sold the best butter.

As soon

as it was night,

the shop closed,

and every one

in bed except the student,

the goblin stepped softly

into the bedroom

where the huckster’s wife slept,

and took away her tongue,


of course she did not

then want.

Whatever object

in the room he placed this tongue upon,

immediately received voice

and speech

and was able

to express its thoughts

and feelings

as readily

as the lady herself

could do.


could only be used

by one object

at a time,

which was a good thing,

as a number speaking

at once

would have caused great confusion.

The goblin laid the tongue upon the cask,


which lay a quantity

of old newspapers.

, , , , 

“Is it really true,”

he asked,

“that you do not know

what poetry is?”

, , , , 

“Of course I know,”

replied the cask.

“Poetry is something

that always stands

in the corner

of a newspaper

and is sometimes cut out.

And I may venture

to affirm

that I have more

of it

in me

than the student has,


if I am only a poor tub

of the huckster’s.”

, , , , 

Then the goblin placed the tongue

on the coffee mill,


how it did go,

to be sure!

Then he put it

on the butter-tub,

and the cash-box,

and they all expressed the same opinion

as the waste-paper tub.

A majority must always be respected.

, , , , 

“Now I shall go

and tell the student,”

said the goblin.

With these words he went quietly up the back stairs

to the garret,

where the student lived.

The student’s candle was burning still,

and the goblin peeped

through the keyhole

and saw

that he was reading

in the torn book

which he had bought out

of the shop.


how light the room was!

From the book shot forth a ray

of light

which grew broad

and full

like the stem

of a tree,


which bright rays spread upward


over the student’s head.

Each leaf was fresh,

and each flower was

like a beautiful female head


with dark

and sparkling eyes

and others

with eyes

that were wonderfully blue

and clear.

The fruit gleamed

like stars,

and the room was filled

with sounds

of beautiful music.

The little goblin had never imagined,

much less seen

or heard of,

any sight so glorious

as this.

He stood still

on tiptoe,

peeping in,

till the light went out.

The student no doubt had blown out his candle

and gone

to bed,

but the little goblin remained standing there,


to the music

which still sounded,


and beautiful

--a sweet cradle song

for the student

who had lain down

to rest.

, , , , 

“This is a wonderful place,”

said the goblin;

“I never expected such a thing.


should like

to stay here

with the student.”

Then the little man thought it over,

for he was a sensible sprite.

At last he sighed,

“But the student has no jam!”

So he went downstairs again

to the huckster’s shop,

and it was a good thing he got back

when he did,

for the cask had

almost worn out the lady’s tongue.

He had given a description

of all

that he contained

on one side,

and was just about

to turn himself over

to the other side

to describe

what was there,

when the goblin entered

and restored the tongue

to the lady.


that time forward,

the whole shop,

from the cash-box down

to the pine-wood logs,

formed their opinions

from that

of the cask.

They all had such confidence

in him

and treated him

with so much respect

that when,

in the evening,

the huckster read the criticisms

on theatricals

and art,

they fancied it must all come

from the cask.

, , , , 


what he had seen,

the goblin

could no longer sit

and listen quietly

to the wisdom

and understanding downstairs.

As soon

as the evening light glimmered

in the garret,

he took courage,

for it seemed

to him

that the rays

of light were strong cables,

drawing him up

and obliging him

to go

and peep

through the keyhole.

While there,

a feeling

of vastness came

over him,


as we experience

by the ever-moving sea

when the storm breaks forth,

and it brought tears

into his eyes.

He did not himself know

why he wept,

yet a kind

of pleasant feeling mingled

with his tears.

“How wonderfully glorious it

would be

to sit

with the student

under such a tree!”


that was out

of the question;

he must be content

to look

through the keyhole

and be thankful


even that.

, , , , 

There he stood

on the cold landing,

with the autumn wind blowing down upon him

through the trapdoor.

It was very cold,

but the little creature did not really feel it

till the light

in the garret went out

and the tones

of music died away.


how he shivered

and crept downstairs again

to his warm corner,

where he felt

at home

and comfortable!


when Christmas came again

and brought the dish

of jam

and the great lump

of butter,

he liked the huckster best

of all.

, , , , 

Soon after,

the goblin was waked

in the middle

of the night

by a terrible noise

and knocking

against the window shutters

and the house doors and

by the sound

of the watchman’s horn.

A great fire had broken out,

and the whole street seemed full

of flames.

Was it

in their house

or a neighbor’s?

No one

could tell,

for terror had seized upon all.

The huckster’s wife was so bewildered

that she took her gold earrings out

of her ears

and put them

in her pocket,

that she might save something

at least.

The huckster ran

to get his business papers,

and the servant resolved

to save her black silk mantle,

which she had managed

to buy.

All wished

to keep the best things they had.

The goblin had the same wish,


with one spring he was upstairs

in the student’s room.

He found him standing

by the open window

and looking quite calmly

at the fire,

which was raging

in the house

of a neighbor opposite.

, , , , 

The goblin caught up the wonderful book,

which lay

on the table,

and popped it

into his red cap,

which he held tightly

with both hands.

The greatest treasure

in the house was saved,

and he ran away

with it

to the roof

and seated himself

on the chimney.

The flames

of the burning house opposite illuminated him

as he sat

with both hands pressed tightly

over his cap,


which the treasure lay.

It was then

that he understood

what feelings were really strongest

in his heart

and knew exactly

which way they tended.


when the fire was extinguished

and the goblin again began

to reflect,

he hesitated,

and said

at last,

“I must divide myself

between the two;

I cannot quite give up the huckster,


of the jam.”

, , , , 

This is a representation

of human nature.

We are

like the goblin;

we all go

to visit the huckster,


of the jam.”

, , , , 





than a hundred years ago,

behind the wood and

by a deep lake,

stood an old baronial mansion.

Round it lay a deep moat,


which grew reeds

and rushes,

and close

by the bridge,

near the entrance gate,

stood an old willow

that bent itself

over the moat.

, , , , 

From a narrow lane one day sounded the clang

of horns

and the trampling

of horses.

The little girl

who kept the geese hastened

to drive them away

from the bridge

before the hunting party came galloping up

to it.

They came,


with such haste

that the girl was obliged

to climb up

and seat herself

on the parapet

of the bridge,

lest they

should ride

over her.

She was scarcely more

than a child,

with a pretty,

delicate figure,

a gentle expression

of face,

and two bright blue eyes



which the baron took no note of;


as he galloped past,

he reversed the whip held

in his hand,


in rough play gave the little goose-watcher such a push

with the butt end

that she fell backward

into the ditch.

, , , , 


in its right place,”

cried he.

“Into the puddle

with you!”


then he laughed aloud


what he called his own wit,

and the rest joined

with him.

The whole party shouted

and screamed,

and the dogs barked loudly.

, , , , 


for herself,

the poor girl

in falling caught hold

of one

of the overhanging branches

of the willow tree,


which she was able

to keep herself

from falling

into the muddy pool.

As soon

as the baron,

with his company

and his dogs,

had disappeared

through the castle gate,

she tried

to raise herself

by her own exertions;

but the bough broke off

at the top,

and she

would have fallen backwards

among the reeds

if a strong hand had not


that moment seized her

from above.

It was the hand

of a peddler,


at a short distance,

had witnessed the whole affair

and hastened up

to give assistance.

, , , , 


in its right place,”

he said,

imitating the noble baron,

as he drew the little maiden up

on dry ground.


would have restored the bough

to the place


which it had been broken off,

but “everything

in its right place” is not always so easy

to arrange,

so he stuck the bough

in the soft earth.


and prosper

as much

as you can,”

said he,

“till you produce a good flute

for some

of them

over there.

With the permission

of the noble baron

and his family,

I should

like them

to hear my challenge.”

, , , , 

So he betook himself

to the castle,

but not

into the noble hall;

he was too humble

for that.

He went

to the servants’ apartments,

and the men

and maids examined

and turned

over his stock

of goods,


from above,

where the company were

at table,

came sounds

of screaming

and shouting

which they called singing

--and indeed they did their best.

Loud laughter,


with the howling

of dogs,


through the open windows.

All were feasting

and carousing.


and strong ale foamed

in the jugs

and glasses;

even the dogs ate

and drank

with their masters.

The peddler was sent for,

but only

to make fun

for them.

The wine had mounted

to their heads,

and the sense had flown out.

They poured wine

into a stocking

for him

to drink

with them


of course

--and this was considered a rare jest

and occasioned fresh bursts

of laughter.

At cards,

whole farms,

with their stock

of peasants

and cattle,

were staked

on a card

and lost.

, , , , 


in its right place,”

said the peddler,

when he

at last escaped


what he called the Sodom

and Gomorrah up there.

“The open highroad is my right place;

that house did not suit me

at all.”

As he stepped along,

he saw the little maiden keeping watch

over the geese,

and she nodded

to him

in a friendly way.

, , , , 


and weeks passed,

and it soon became evident

that the willow branch

which had been stuck

in the ground

by the peddler,


to the castle moat,

had taken root,

for it remained fresh

and green

and put forth new twigs.

, , , , 

The little girl saw

that the branch must have taken root,

and she was quite joyful

about it.

“This tree,”

she said,

“must be my tree now.”

, , , , 

The tree certainly flourished,


at the castle,


with feasting

and gambling,

everything went

to ruin;

for these two things are

like rollers,


which no man

can possibly stand securely.

Six years had not passed away

before the noble baron wandered out

of the castle gate a poor man,

and the mansion was bought

by a rich dealer.

This dealer was no other

than the man

of whom he had made fun


for whom he had poured wine

into a stocking

to drink.

But honesty

and industry are

like favorable winds

to a ship,

and they had brought the peddler

to be master

of the baron’s estates.


that hour no more card playing was permitted there.

, , , , 

The new proprietor took

to himself a wife,



should it be

but the little goose-watcher,

who had always remained faithful

and good,


who looked

as beautiful

and fine

in her new clothes


if she had been a highly born lady.


would be too long a story

in these busy times

to explain

how all this came about,

but it really did happen,

and the most important part is

to come.

, , , , 

It was pleasant

to live

in the old court now.

The mistress herself managed the housekeeping within,

and the master superintended the estate.

Their home overflowed

with blessings,


where rectitude leads the way,

prosperity is sure

to follow.

The old house was cleaned

and painted,

the moat dried up,

and fruit trees planted

in it.

The floors

of the house were polished

as smoothly

as a draftboard,

and everything looked bright

and cheerful.

, , , , 

During the long winter evenings the lady

of the house sat

with her maidens

at the spinning wheel

in the great hall.

Her husband,

in his old age,

had been made a magistrate.

Every Sunday evening he read the Bible

with his family,

for children had come

to him

and were all instructed

in the best manner,

although they were not all equally clever

--as is the case

in all families.

In the meantime,

the willow branch

at the castle gate had grown

into a splendid tree

and stood free

and unrestrained.

, , , , 

“That is our genealogical tree,”

said the old people,

“and the tree must therefore be honored

and esteemed,


by those

who are not very wise.”

, , , , 

A hundred years passed away,

and the place presented a much-changed aspect.

The lake had been converted

into moorland,

and the old baronial castle had

almost disappeared.

A pool

of water,

the deep moat,

and the ruins

of some

of the walls were all

that remained.


by grew a magnificent willow tree,

with overhanging branches

--the same genealogical tree

of former times.

Here it still stood,



what beauty a willow

can attain

when left

to itself.

To be sure,

the trunk was split through,

from the root

to the top,

and the storm had slightly bent it;

but it stood firm

through all,


from every crevice

and opening


which earth had been carried

by the wind,

shot forth blossoms

and flowers.

Near the top,

where the large boughs parted,

the wild raspberry twined its branches

and looked

like a hanging garden.

Even the little mistletoe had here struck root,

and flourished,


and delicate,

among the branches

of the willow,

which were reflected

in the dark waters

beneath it.

Sometimes the wind

from the sea scattered the willow leaves.

A path led

through the field,


by the tree.

, , , , 

On the top

of a hill,

near the forest,

with a splendid prospect

before it,

stood the new baronial hall,

with panes

of such transparent glass

in the windows


there appeared

to be none.

The grand flight

of steps leading

to the entrance looked

like a bower

of roses

and broad-leaved plants.

The lawn was

as fresh

and green


if each separate blade

of grass were cleaned morning

and evening.

In the hall hung costly pictures.

The chairs

and sofas were

of silk

and velvet

and looked almost


if they

could move

of themselves.

There were tables

with white marble tops,

and books bound

in velvet

and gold.



resided wealthy people,


of rank

--the new baron

and his family.

, , , , 

Each article was made

to harmonize

with the other furnishings.

The family motto still was,


in its right place.”

Therefore the pictures

which were once the honor

and glory

of the old house now hung

in the passage leading

to the servants’ hall.

They were considered mere lumber;

especially two old portraits,


of a man

in a wig

and a rose-colored coat,

the other

of a lady

with frizzed

and powdered hair,

holding a rose

in her hand,

each surrounded

by a wreath

of willow leaves.

Both the pictures had many holes

in them,

for the little barons always set up the two old people

as targets

for their bows

and arrows;

and yet these were pictures

of the magistrate

and his lady,

from whom the present family were descended.

“But they did not properly belong

to our family,”

said one

of the little barons;

“he was a peddler,

and she kept the geese.

They were not

like papa

and mamma.”

So the pictures,

being old,

were considered worthless;

and the motto being “Each

in its right place,”

the great-grandfather

and the great-grandmother

of the family were sent

into the passage leading

to the servants’ hall.

, , , , 

The son

of the clergyman

of the place was tutor

at the great house.

One day he was out walking

with his pupils

--the little barons

--and their eldest sister,

who had just been confirmed.

They took the path

through the fields,

which led past the old willow tree.

While they walked,

the young lady made a wreath

of hedge blossoms

and wild flowers,


in its right place,”

and the wreath was,

as a whole,

very pretty.

At the same time she heard every word uttered

by the son

of the clergyman.

She liked very much

to hear him talk

of the wonders

of nature and

of the great men

and women

of history.

She had a healthy mind,

with nobility

of thought

and feeling,

and a heart full

of love

for all God’s creation.

, , , , 

The walking party halted

at the old willow tree;

the youngest

of the barons wanted a branch

from it

to make a flute,

as he had already made them

from other willows.

The tutor broke off a branch.


don’t do that,”

exclaimed the young baroness;

but it was already done.

“I am so sorry,”

she continued;

“that is our famous old tree,

and I love it very much.

They laugh

at me

for it

at home,

but I

don’t mind.

There is a story told about

that tree.”

, , , , 

Then she told him

what we already know:

about the old castle,


about the peddler

and the girl

with the geese,

who had met

at this spot

for the first time

and were the ancestors

of the noble family


which the young baroness belonged.

“The good old folks

would not be ennobled,”

said she.

“Their motto was ‘Everything

in its right place,’

and they thought it

would not be right

for them

to purchase a title

with money.

My grandfather,

the first baron,

was their son.

He was a very learned man,


and appreciated

by princes

and princesses,

and was present

at all the festivals

at court.

At home,

they all love him best,

but I scarcely know why.

There seems

to me something

in the first old pair

that draws my heart

towards them.

How sociable,

how patriarchal,

it must have been

in the old house,

where the mistress sat

at the spinning wheel

with her maids

while her husband read aloud

to them

from the Bible!”

“They must have been charming,

sensible people,”

said the tutor,


then the conversation turned upon nobles

and commoners.

It was almost


if the tutor did not belong

to an inferior class,

he spoke so wisely upon the purpose

and intention

of nobility.

, , , , 

“It is certainly good fortune

to belong

to a family

that has distinguished itself

in the world,


to inherit the energy

which spurs us


to progress

in everything noble

and useful.

It is pleasant

to bear a family name

that is

like a card

of admission

to the highest circles.

True nobility is always great

and honorable.

It is a coin

which has received the impression

of its own value.

It is a mistake

of the present day,


which many poets have fallen,

to affirm

that all

who are noble

by birth must therefore be wicked

or foolish,


that the lower we descend

in society the oftener we find great

and shining characters.

I feel

that this is quite false.

In all classes

can be found men

and women possessing kindly

and beautiful traits.

, , , , 

“My mother told me

of one,

and I

could tell you

of many more.

She was once

on a visit

to a nobleman’s house

in the town;

my grandmother,

I believe,

had been brought up

in the family.

One day,

when my mother

and the nobleman happened

to be alone,

an old woman came limping

into the court

on crutches.

She was accustomed

to come every Sunday

and always carried away a gift

with her.


there is the poor old woman,’

said the nobleman;

‘what pain it is

for her

to walk!’


before my mother understood

what he said,

he had left the room

and run downstairs

to the old woman.

Though seventy years old himself,

the old nobleman carried

to the woman the gift she had come

to receive,

to spare her the pain

of walking any farther.

This is only a trifling circumstance,


like the two mites given

by the widow

in the Bible,

it wakes an echo

in the heart.

, , , , 

“These are subjects


which poets

should write

and sing,

for they soften

and unite mankind

into one brotherhood.


when a mere sprig

of humanity,

because it has noble ancestors

of good blood,

rears up

and prances

like an Arabian horse

in the street

or speaks contemptuously

of common people,

then it is nobility

in danger

of decay

--a mere pretense,

like the mask

which Thespis invented.

People are glad

to see such persons turned

into objects

of satire.”

, , , , 

This was the tutor’s speech

--certainly rather a long one,

but he had been busily engaged

in cutting the flute

while he talked.

, , , , 

There was a large party

at the Hall

that evening.

The grand salon was crowded

with guests


from the neighborhood,


from the capital.

There was a bevy

of ladies richly dressed with,

and without,


a group

of the clergy

from the adjoining parishes,

in a corner together,

as grave

as though met

for a funeral.

A funeral party it certainly was not,


it was meant

for a party

of pleasure,

but the pleasure was yet

to come.


and song filled the rooms,

first one

of the party volunteering,

then another.

The little baron brought out his flute,

but neither he nor his father,

who tried it after him,

could make anything

of it.

It was pronounced a failure.

, , , , 

“But you are a performer,



said a witty gentleman,

addressing the tutor.

“You are

of course a flute player

as well

as a flute maker.

You are a universal genius,

I hear,

and genius is quite the rage nowadays


like genius.

Come now;

I am sure you

will be so good as

to enchant us

by playing

on this little instrument.”

He handed it over,


in a loud voice

that the tutor was going

to favor the company

with a solo

on the flute.

, , , , 

It was easy

to see

that these people wanted

to make fun

of him,

and he refused

to play.

But they pressed him so long

and so urgently that

at last,

in very weariness,

he took the flute

and raised it

to his lips.

, , , , 

It was a strange flute!

A sound issued

from it,



and vibrating,


that sent forth

by a steam engine


far louder.

It thrilled

through the house,

through garden

and woodland,

miles out

into the country;


with the sound came also a strong,

rushing wind,

its stormy breath clearly uttering the words,


in its right place!”

Forthwith the baron,

the master

of the Hall,

was caught up

by the wind,

carried out

at the window,

and was shut up

in the porter’s lodge

in a trice.

The porter himself was borne up,


into the drawing room



that he was not fit


into the servants’ hall,

where the proud lackeys

in their silk stockings shook

with horror

to see so low a person sit

at table

with them.

, , , , 


in the grand salon the young baroness was wafted

to the seat

of honor,

where she was worthy

to sit,

and the tutor’s place was

by her side.

There they sat together,

for all the world

like bride

and bridegroom.

An old count,


from one

of the noblest houses

in the land,

retained his seat,

not so much

as a breath

of air disturbing him,

for the flute was strictly just.

The witty young gentleman,

who had been the occasion

of all this tumult,

was whirled out headforemost

to join geese

and ganders

in the poultry yard.

, , , , 

Half a mile out

in the country the flute wrought wonders.

The family

of a rich merchant,

who drove

with four horses,

were all precipitated

from the carriage window.

Two farmers,

who had

of late grown too wealthy

to know their nearest relations,

were puffed

into a ditch.

It was a dangerous flute.


at the first sound it uttered,

it burst

and was

then put safely away

in the tutor’s pocket.


in its right place!”

Next day no more was said

about the adventure than


if it had never happened.

The affair was hushed up,

and all things were the same

as before,


that the two old portraits

of the peddler

and the goose girl continued

to hang

on the walls

of the salon,

whither the wind had blown them.

Here some connoisseur chanced

to see them,


because he pronounced them

to be painted

by a master hand,

they were cleaned

and restored

and ever after held

in honor.

Their value had not been known before.

, , , , 


in its right place!”

So shall it be,


in good time,

never fear.


in this world,



would be expecting rather too much.

, , , , 



THERE was once a prince

who wanted

to marry a princess.

But she must be a real princess,

mind you.

So he traveled all round the world,

seeking such a one,

but everywhere something was

in the way.



there was any lack

of princesses,

but he

could not seem

to make out whether they were real princesses;

there was always something not quite satisfactory.


home he came again,

quite out

of spirits,

for he wished so much

to marry a real princess.

, , , , 

One evening a terrible storm came on.

It thundered

and lightened,

and the rain poured down;


it was quite fearful.

In the midst

of it

there came a knock

at the town gate,

and the old king went out

to open it.

, , , , 

It was a princess

who stood outside.

But O dear,

what a state she was


from the rain

and bad weather!

The water dropped

from her hair

and clothes,

it ran


at the tips

of her shoes

and out

at the heels;

yet she insisted she was a real princess.

, , , , 

“Very well,”

thought the old queen;

“that we shall presently see.”

She said nothing,

but went

into the bedchamber

and took off all the bedding,

then laid a pea

on the sacking

of the bedstead.

Having done this,

she took twenty mattresses

and laid them upon the pea

and placed twenty eider-down beds

on top

of the mattresses.

, , , , 

The princess lay upon this bed all the night.

In the morning she was asked

how she had slept.

, , , , 


most miserably!”

she said.

“I scarcely closed my eyes the whole night through.

I cannot think



could have been

in the bed.

I lay upon something so hard

that I am quite black

and blue all over.

It is dreadful!”

It was now quite evident

that she was a real princess,


through twenty mattresses

and twenty eider-down beds she had felt the pea.


but a real princess

could have such delicate feeling.

, , , , 

So the prince took her

for his wife,

for he knew that

in her he had found a true princess.

And the pea was preserved

in the cabinet

of curiosities,

where it is still

to be seen

unless some one has stolen it.

, , , , 

And this,

mind you,

is a real story.

, , , , 



MANY years ago

there was an emperor

who was so fond

of new clothes

that he spent all his money

on them.

He did not give himself any concern

about his army;

he cared nothing

about the theater


for driving about

in the woods,


for the sake

of showing himself off

in new clothes.

He had a costume

for every hour

in the day,

and just

as they say

of a king

or emperor,

“He is

in his council chamber,”

they said

of him,

“The emperor is

in his dressing room.”

, , , , 

Life was merry

and gay

in the town

where the emperor lived,

and numbers

of strangers came

to it every day.

Among them

there came one day two rascals,

who gave themselves out

as weavers

and said

that they knew how

to weave the most exquisite stuff imaginable.

Not only were the colors

and patterns uncommonly beautiful,

but the clothes

that were made

of the stuff had the peculiar property

of becoming invisible

to every person

who was unfit

for the office he held


who was exceptionally stupid.

, , , , 

“Those must be valuable clothes,”

thought the emperor.

“By wearing them I

should be able

to discover which

of the men

in my empire are not fit

for their posts.


should distinguish wise men

from fools.


I must order some

of the stuff

to be woven

for me directly.”

And he paid the swindlers a handsome sum

of money

in advance,

as they required.

, , , , 


for them,

they put up two looms

and pretended

to be weaving,


there was nothing whatever

on their shuttles.

They called

for a quantity

of the finest silks and

of the purest gold thread,



which went

into their own bags,

while they worked

at their empty looms

till late

into the night.

, , , , 


should like

to know

how those weavers are getting


with the stuff,”

thought the emperor.

But he felt a little queer

when he reflected

that those

who were stupid

or unfit

for their office

would not be able

to see the material.

He believed,


that he had nothing

to fear

for himself,

but still he thought it better

to send some one else first,

to see

how the work was coming on.

All the people

in the town had heard

of the peculiar property

of the stuff,

and every one was curious

to see

how stupid his neighbor might be.

, , , , 


will send my faithful old prime minister

to the weavers,”

thought the emperor.


will be best capable

of judging

of this stuff,

for he is a man

of sense

and nobody is more fit

for his office

than he.”

, , , , 

So the worthy old minister went

into the room

where the two swindlers sat working the empty looms.

“Heaven save us!”

thought the old man,

opening his eyes wide.


I can’t see anything

at all!”

But he took care not

to say so aloud.

, , , , 

Both the rogues begged him

to step a little nearer

and asked him

if he did not think the patterns very pretty

and the coloring fine.

They pointed

to the empty loom

as they did so,

and the poor old minister kept staring

as hard

as he could

--but without being able

to see anything

on it,


of course

there was nothing there

to see.

, , , , 

“Heaven save us!”

thought the old man.

“Is it possible

that I am a fool?

I have never thought it,

and nobody must know it.

Is it true

that I am not fit

for my office?


will never do

for me

to say

that I cannot see the stuffs.”

, , , , 



do you say nothing

about the cloth?”

asked the one

who was pretending

to go


with his work.

, , , , 


it is most elegant,

most beautiful!”

said the dazed old man,

as he peered again

through his spectacles.

“What a fine pattern,


what fine colors!


will certainly tell the emperor

how pleased I am

with the stuff.”

, , , , 

“We are glad

of that,”

said both the weavers;


then they named the colors

and pointed out the special features

of the pattern.

To all

of this the minister paid great attention,


that he might be able

to repeat it

to the emperor

when he went back

to him.

, , , , 

And now the cheats called

for more money,

more silk,

and more gold thread,

to be able

to proceed

with the weaving,

but they put it all

into their own pockets,

and not a thread went

into the stuff,

though they went


as before,


at the empty looms.

, , , , 

After a little time the emperor sent another honest statesman

to see

how the weaving was progressing,


if the stuff

would soon be ready.

The same thing happened

with him


with the minister.

He gazed

and gazed,



there was nothing

but empty looms,


could see nothing else.

, , , , 

“Is not this an exquisite piece

of stuff?”

asked the weavers,


to one

of the looms

and explaining the beautiful pattern

and the colors

which were not there

to be seen.

, , , , 

“I am not stupid,

I know I am not!”

thought the man,

“so it must be

that I am not fit

for my good office.

It is very strange,

but I must not let it be noticed.”

So he praised the cloth he did not see

and assured the weavers

of his delight

in the lovely colors

and the exquisite pattern.

“It is perfectly charming,”

he reported

to the emperor.

, , , , 


in the town was talking

of the splendid cloth.

The emperor thought he

should like

to see it himself

while it was still

on the loom.

With a company

of carefully selected men,

among whom were the two worthy officials

who had been

there before,

he went

to visit the crafty impostors,

who were working

as hard

as ever

at the empty looms.

, , , , 

“Is it not magnificent?”

said both the honest statesmen.


your Majesty,

what splendid colors,


what a pattern!”

And they pointed

to the looms,

for they believed

that others,

no doubt,

could see

what they did not.

, , , , 


thought the emperor.

“I see nothing

at all.

This is terrible!

Am I a fool?

Am I not fit

to be emperor?

Why nothing more dreadful

could happen

to me!”


it is very pretty!

it has my highest approval,”

the emperor said aloud.

He nodded

with satisfaction

as he gazed

at the empty looms,

for he

would not betray

that he

could see nothing.

, , , , 

His whole suite gazed

and gazed,

each seeing no more

than the others;


like the emperor,

they all exclaimed,


it is beautiful!”


even suggested

to the emperor

that he wear the splendid new clothes

for the first time

on the occasion

of a great procession

which was soon

to take place.

, , , , 





from mouth

to mouth.

All were equally delighted

with the weavers’ workmanship.

The emperor gave each

of the impostors an order

of knighthood

to be worn

in their buttonholes,

and the title Gentleman Weaver

of the Imperial Court.

, , , , 

Before the day


which the procession was

to take place,

the weavers sat up the whole night,

burning sixteen candles,


that people might see

how anxious they were

to get the emperor’s new clothes ready.

They pretended

to take the stuff

from the loom,

they cut it out

in the air

with huge scissors,

and they stitched away

with needles

which had no thread

in them.

At last they said,

“Now the clothes are finished.”

, , , , 

The emperor came

to them himself

with his grandest courtiers,

and each

of the rogues lifted his arm


if he held something,



here are the trousers!

here is the coat!

here is the cloak,”

and so on.

“It is

as light

as a spider’s web.



almost feel


if one had nothing on,


that is the beauty

of it!”


said all the courtiers,

but they saw nothing,


there was nothing

to see.

, , , , 

“Will your Majesty be graciously pleased

to take off your clothes so

that we may put

on the new clothes here,

before the great mirror?”

, , , , 

The emperor took off his clothes,

and the rogues pretended

to put

on first one garment


then another

of the new ones they had pretended

to make.

They pretended

to fasten something round his waist and

to tie

on something.

This they said was the train,

and the emperor turned round

and round

before the mirror.

, , , , 

“How well his Majesty looks

in the new clothes!

How becoming they are!”

cried all the courtiers

in turn.

“That is a splendid costume!”

“The canopy

that is

to be carried

over your Majesty

in the procession is waiting outside,”

said the master

of ceremonies.

, , , , 


I am ready,”

replied the emperor.

“Don’t the clothes look well?”

and he turned round

and round again

before the mirror,

to appear


if he were admiring his new costume.

, , , , 

The chamberlains,

who were

to carry the train,


and put their hands near the floor


if they were lifting it;

then they pretended

to be holding something

in the air.


would not let it be noticed

that they

could see

and feel nothing.

, , , , 

So the emperor went along

in the procession,

under the splendid canopy,

and every one

in the streets said:

“How beautiful the emperor’s new clothes are!

What a splendid train!


how well they fit!”

No one wanted

to let it appear

that he

could see nothing,



would prove him not fit

for his post.


of the emperor’s clothes had been so great a success before.

, , , , 

“But he has nothing on!”

said a little child.

, , , , 

“Just listen

to the innocent,”

said its father;

and one person whispered

to another

what the child had said.

“He has nothing on;

a child says he has nothing on!”

“But he has nothing on,”

cried all the people.

The emperor was startled

by this,

for he had a suspicion

that they were right.

But he thought,

“I must face this out

to the end

and go


with the procession.”

So he held himself more stiffly

than ever,

and the chamberlains held up the train

that was not there

at all.

, , , , 





there once lived two men

of the same name.


of them were called Claus.


because one

of them owned four horses

while the other had

but one,

people called the one

who had the four horses Big,

or Great,


and the one

who owned

but a single horse Little Claus.

Now I shall tell you

what happened

to each

of them,

for this is a true story.

, , , , 

All the days

of the week Little Claus was obliged

to plow

for Great Claus and

to lend him his one horse;

then once a week,

on Sunday,

Great Claus helped Little Claus

with his four horses,

but always

on a holiday.

, , , , 


How Little Claus

would crack his whip

over the five,

for they were

as good

as his own


that one day.

, , , , 

The sun shone brightly,

and the church bells rang merrily

as the people passed by.

The people were dressed

in their best,

with their prayer books

under their arms,

for they were going

to church

to hear the clergyman preach.

They looked

at Little Claus plowing

with five horses,

and he was so proud

and merry

that he cracked his whip

and cried,


my fine horses.”

, , , , 

“You mustn’t say that,”

said Great Claus,

“for only one

of them is yours.”

, , , , 

But Little Claus soon forgot

what it was

that he ought not

to say,


when any one went

by he

would call out,


my fine horses.”

, , , , 

“I must really beg you not

to say

that again,”

said Great Claus

as he passed;


if you do,

I shall hit your horse

on the head so

that he

will drop down dead

on the spot,


then it

will be all over

with him.”

, , , , 


will certainly not say it again,

I promise you,”

said Little Claus.


as soon

as any one came by,

nodding good day

to him,

he was so pleased,

and felt so grand

at having five horses plowing his field,

that again he cried out,


all my horses.”

, , , , 

“I’ll gee-up your horses

for you,”

said Great Claus,

and he caught up the tethering mallet

and struck Little Claus’s one horse

on the head,


that it fell down dead.

, , , , 


now I haven’t any horse

at all!”

cried Little Claus,

and he began

to weep.

But after a

while he flayed the horse

and hung up the skin

to dry

in the wind.

, , , , 

Then he put the dried skin

into a bag,

and hanging it

over his shoulder,

went off

to the next town

to sell it.

He had a very long way

to go

and was obliged

to pass

through a great,

gloomy wood.

A dreadful storm came up.

He lost his way,


before he found it again,

evening was drawing on.

It was too late

to get

to the town,

and too late

to get home

before nightfall.

, , , , 

Near the road stood a large farmhouse.

The shutters outside the windows were closed,

but lights shone

through the crevices and

at the top.

“They might let me stay here

for the night,”

thought Little Claus.

So he went up

to the door

and knocked.

The door was opened

by the farmer’s wife,


when he explained

what it was

that he wanted,

she told him

to go away;

her husband,

she said,

was not

at home,

and she

could not let any strangers in.

, , , , 

“Then I shall have

to lie out here,”

said Little Claus

to himself,

as the farmer’s wife shut the door

in his face.

, , , , 


to the farmhouse stood a tall haystack,


between it

and the house was a small shed

with a thatched roof.


can lie up there,”

said Little Claus,

when he saw the roof.


will make a capital bed,

but I hope the stork

won’t fly down

and bite my legs.”

A stork was just

then standing near his nest

on the house roof.

, , , , 

So Little Claus climbed

onto the roof

of the shed

and proceeded

to make himself comfortable.

As he turned round

to settle himself,

he discovered

that the wooden shutters did not reach

to the tops

of the windows.


could look

over them straight

into the room,


which a large table was laid

with wine,

roast meat,

and a fine,

great fish.

The farmer’s wife

and the sexton were sitting

at the table all

by themselves,

and she was pouring out wine

for him,

while his fork was

in the fish,

which he seemed


like the best.

, , , , 

“If I

could only get some too,”

thought Little Claus,


as he stretched his neck

toward the window he spied a large,

beautiful cake.


what a glorious feast they had

before them.

, , , , 


that moment some one came riding down the road

towards the farm.

It was the farmer himself,


He was a good man enough,

but he had one very singular prejudice


could not bear the sight

of a sexton,


if he came

on one he fell

into a terrible rage.

This was the reason

that the sexton had gone

to visit the farmer’s wife during his absence

from home


that the good wife had put

before him the best she had.

, , , , 

When they heard the farmer they were frightened,

and the woman begged the sexton

to creep

into a large empty chest

which stood

in a corner.

He did so

with all haste,

for he well knew

how the farmer felt

toward a sexton.

The woman hid the wine

and all the good things

in the oven,


if her husband were

to see them,


would certainly ask

why they had been provided.

, , , , 

“O dear!”

sighed Little Claus,

on the shed roof,

as he saw the good things disappear.

, , , , 

“Is any one up there?”

asked the farmer,

looking up

where Little Claus was.

“What are you doing up there?

You had better come

with me

into the house.”

, , , , 

Then Little Claus told him

how he had lost his way,

and asked

if he might have shelter

for the night.

, , , , 


replied the farmer;

“but the first thing is

to have something

to eat.”

, , , , 

The wife received them both

in a friendly way,

and laid the table,


to it a large bowl

of porridge.

The farmer was hungry

and ate

with a good appetite.

But Little Claus

could not help thinking

of the capital roast meat,


and cake,

which he knew were hidden

in the oven.

, , , , 

He had put his sack

with the hide

in it

under the table

by his feet,


we must remember,

he was

on his way

to the town

to sell it.

He did not relish the porridge,

so he trod

on the sack

and made the dried skin squeak quite loudly.

, , , , 


said Little Claus

to his bag,

at the same time treading upon it again,

to make it squeak much louder

than before.

, , , , 



that you’ve got

in your bag?”

asked the farmer.

, , , , 


it’s a magician,”

said Little Claus,

“and he says we needn’t eat the porridge,

for he has charmed the oven full

of roast meat,


and cake.”

, , , , 


cried the farmer,

and he opened the oven

with all speed

and saw all the nice things the woman had hidden,


which he believed the magician had conjured up

for their special benefit.

, , , , 

The farmer’s wife did not say a word,

but set the food

before them;

and they both made a hearty meal

of the fish,

the meat,

and the cake.

Little Claus now trod again upon his sack

and made the skin squeak.

, , , , 

“What does he say now?”

inquired the farmer.

, , , , 

“He says,”

promptly answered Little Claus,

“that he has conjured up three bottles

of wine,

which are standing

in the corner near the stove.”

So the woman was obliged

to bring the wine

which she had hidden,

and the farmer

and Little Claus became right merry.

Would not the farmer like

to have such a conjurer

as Little Claus carried about

in his sack?

, , , , 

“Can he conjure up the Evil One?”

inquired the farmer.

“I shouldn’t mind seeing him now,

when I’m

in such a merry mood.”

, , , , 


said Little Claus,


will do anything

that I please”;

and he trod

on the bag

till it squeaked.

“You hear him answer,


only the Evil One is so ugly

that you had better not see him.’”


I’m not afraid.


will he look like?”

, , , , 



will show himself

to you

in the image

of a sexton.”

, , , , 


that’s bad indeed.

You must know

that I can’t abide a sexton.


it doesn’t matter,

for I know he’s a demon,

and I shan’t mind so much.

Now my courage is up!

Only he mustn’t come too close.”

, , , , 

“I’ll ask him

about it,”

said Little Claus,

putting his ear down

as he trod close

to the bag.

, , , , 

“What does he say?”

, , , , 

“He says you

can go along

and open the chest

in the corner,


there you’ll see him cowering

in the dark.

But hold the lid tight,


that he doesn’t get out.”

, , , , 

“Will you help me

to hold the lid,”

asked the farmer,

going along

to the chest


which his wife had hidden the sexton,

who was shivering

with fright.

, , , , 

The farmer opened the lid a wee little way

and peeped in.


he cried,

springing backward.

“I saw him,

and he looks exactly

like our sexton.

It was a shocking sight!”

They must needs drink after this,


there they sat

till far

into the night.

, , , , 

“You must sell me your conjurer,”

said the farmer.

“Ask anything you like

for him.


I’ll give you a bushel

of money

for him.”

, , , , 


I can’t do that,”

said Little Claus.

“You must remember

how much benefit I

can get

from such a conjurer.”

, , , , 


but I

should so like

to have him!”

said the farmer,

and he went

on begging

for him.

, , , , 


said Little Claus

at last,

“since you have been so kind as

to give me a night’s shelter,


won’t say nay.

You must give me a bushel

of money,

only I must have it full

to the brim.”

, , , , 

“You shall have it,”

said the farmer;

“but you must take

that chest away

with you.


won’t have it

in the house an hour longer.


could never know

that he might not still be inside.”

, , , , 

So Little Claus gave his sack

with the dried hide

of the horse

in it

and received a full bushel

of money

in return,

and the measure was full

to the brim.

The farmer also gave him a large wheelbarrow,

with which

to take away the chest

and the bushel

of money.

, , , , 


said Little Claus,

and off he went

with his money

and the chest

with the sexton

in it.

, , , , 

On the other side

of the forest was a wide,

deep river,

whose current was so strong

that it was

almost impossible

to swim

against it.

A large,

new bridge had just been built

over it,


when they came

to the middle

of the bridge Little Claus said

in a voice loud enough

to be heard

by the sexton:

“What shall I do

with this stupid old chest?

It might be full

of paving stones,

it is so heavy.

I am tired

of wheeling it.

I’ll just throw it

into the river.

If it floats down

to my home,


and good;

if not,


don’t care.


will be no great matter.”

And he took hold

of the chest

and lifted it a little,


if he were going

to throw it

into the river.

, , , , 



let be!”

shouted the sexton.

“Let me get out.”

, , , , 


said Little Claus,


to be frightened.


he is still inside.

Then I must heave it

into the river

to drown him.”

, , , , 





shouted the sexton;

“I’ll give you a whole bushelful

of money

if you’ll let me out.”

, , , , 


that’s another matter,”

said Little Claus,

opening the chest.

He pushed the empty chest

into the river


then went home

with the sexton

to get his bushelful

of money.

He had already had one

from the farmer,

you know,

so now his wheelbarrow was quite full

of money.

, , , , 

“I got a pretty fair price


that horse,

I must admit,”

said he

to himself,

when he got home

and turned the money out

of the wheelbarrow

into a heap

in the middle

of the floor.

“What a rage Great Claus

will be


when he discovers

how rich I am become

through my one horse.

But I

won’t tell him just

how it happened.”

So he sent a boy

to Great Claus

to borrow a bushel measure.

, , , , 


can he want

with it?”

thought Great Claus,

and he rubbed some tallow

on the bottom so

that some part

of whatever was measured might stick

to it.

And so it did,


when the measure came back,

three new silver threepenny bits were sticking

to it.

, , , , 

“What’s this!”

said Great Claus,

and he ran off

at once

to Little Claus.


on earth did you get all this money?”

he asked.

, , , , 



for my horse’s skin.

I sold it yesterday morning.”

, , , , 

“That was well paid for,


said Great Claus.

He ran home,

took an ax,

and hit all his four horses

on the head;

then he flayed them

and carried their skins off

to the town.

, , , , 



who’ll buy my hides?”

he cried

through the streets.

, , , , 

All the shoemakers

and tanners

in the town came running up

and asked him

how much he wanted

for his hides.

, , , , 

“A bushel

of money

for each,”

said Great Claus.

, , , , 

“Are you mad?”

they all said.

“Do you think we have money

by the bushel?”

, , , , 



who’ll buy them?”

he shouted again,

and the shoemakers took up their straps,

and the tanners their leather aprons,

and began

to beat Great Claus.

, , , , 



they called after him.


we’ll hide you

and tan you.


of the town

with him,”

they shouted.

And Great Claus made the best haste he could

to get out

of the town,

for he had never yet been thrashed

as he was being thrashed now.

, , , , 

“Little Claus shall pay

for this,”

he said,

when he got home.

“I’ll kill him

for it.”

, , , , 

Little Claus’s old grandmother had just died

in his house.

She had often been harsh

and unkind

to him,

but now

that she was dead he felt quite grieved.

He took the dead woman

and laid her

in his warm bed

to see

if she

would not come

to life again.

He himself intended

to sit

in a corner all night.

He had slept

that way before.

, , , , 

As he sat there

in the night,

the door opened and

in came Great Claus

with his ax.

He knew

where Little Claus’s bed stood,

and he went straight

to it

and hit the dead grandmother a blow

on the forehead,

thinking it was Little Claus.

, , , , 

“Just see

if you’ll make a fool

of me again,”

said he,


then he went home.

, , , , 

“What a bad,

wicked man he is!”

said Little Claus.

“He was going

to kill me.

What a good thing

that poor grandmother was dead already!


would have taken her life.”

, , , , 

He now dressed his grandmother

in her best Sunday clothes,

borrowed a horse

of his neighbor,

harnessed it

to a cart,

and set his grandmother

on the back seat,


that she

could not fall

when the cart moved.

Then he started off

through the woods.

When the sun rose,

he was just outside a big inn,

and he drew up his horse

and went


to get something

to eat.

, , , , 

The landlord was a very rich man

and a very good man,

but he was hot-tempered,


if he were made

of pepper

and snuff.

“Good morning!”

said he

to Little Claus;

“you have your best clothes

on very early this morning.”

, , , , 


said Little Claus,

“I’m going

to town

with my old grandmother.

She’s sitting out there

in the cart;

I can’t get her

to come in.

Won’t you take her out a glass

of beer?

You’ll have

to shout

at her,

she’s very hard

of hearing.”

, , , , 


that I’ll do,”

said the host,

and he poured a glass

and went out

with it

to the dead grandmother,

who had been placed upright

in the cart.

, , , , 

“Here is a glass

of beer your son has sent,”

said the landlord

but she sat quite still

and said not a word.

, , , , 

“Don’t you hear?”

cried he

as loud

as he could.

“Here is a glass

of beer

from your son.”

, , , , 

But the dead woman replied not a word,


at last he became quite angry

and threw the beer

in her face



that moment she fell backwards out

of the cart,

for she was only set upright

and not bound fast.

, , , , 


shouted Little Claus,

as he rushed out

of the inn

and seized the landlord

by the neck,

“you have killed my grandmother!

Just look

at the big hole

in her forehead!”


what a misfortune!”

cried the man,

“and all because

of my quick temper.

Good Little Claus,


will pay you a bushel

of money,

and I

will have your poor grandmother buried


if she were my own,

if only you

will say nothing

about it.

Otherwise I shall have my head cut off


that is so dreadful.”

, , , , 

So Little Claus again received a whole bushel

of money,

and the landlord buried the old grandmother


if she had been his own.

, , , , 

When Little Claus got home again

with all his money,

he immediately sent his boy

to Great Claus

to ask

to borrow his bushel measure.

, , , , 


said Great Claus,

“is he not dead?

I must go

and see

about this myself.”

So he took the measure over

to Little Claus himself.

, , , , 

“I say,

where did you get all

that money?”

asked he,

his eyes big

and round

with amazement


what he saw.

, , , , 

“It was grandmother you killed instead

of me,”

said Little Claus.

“I have sold her

and got a bushel

of money

for her.”

, , , , 

“That’s being well paid,


said Great Claus,

and he hurried home,

took an ax

and killed his own old grandmother.

, , , , 


then put her

in a carriage

and drove off

to the town

where the apothecary lived,

and asked him

if he

would buy a dead person.

, , , , 

“Who is it


where did you get him?”

asked the apothecary.

, , , , 

“It is my grandmother,

and I have killed her so as

to sell her

for a bushel

of money.”

, , , , 

“Heaven preserve us!”

cried the apothecary.

“You talk

like a madman.


don’t say such things,

you may lose your head.”

And he told him earnestly

what a horribly wicked thing he had done,


that he deserved punishment.

Great Claus was so frightened

that he rushed out

of the shop,


into his cart,

whipped up his horse,

and galloped home

through the wood.

The apothecary

and all the people

who saw him thought he was mad,

and so they let him drive away.

, , , , 

“You shall be paid

for this!”

said Great Claus,

when he got out

on the highroad.

“You shall be paid

for this,

Little Claus!”

Directly after he got home,

Great Claus took the biggest sack he

could find

and went over

to Little Claus.

, , , , 

“You have deceived me again,”

he said.

“First I killed my horses,


then my old grandmother.

That is all your fault;

but you shall never have the chance

to trick me again.”

And he seized Little Claus

around the body

and thrust him

into the sack;

then he threw the sack

over his back,

calling out

to Little Claus,

“Now I’m going

to the river

to drown you.”

, , , , 

It was a long way

that he had

to travel

before he came

to the river,

and Little Claus was not light

to carry.

The road came close

to the church,

and the people within were singing beautifully.

Great Claus put down his sack,

with Little Claus

in it,

at the church door.

He thought it

would be a very good thing

to go


and hear a psalm

before he went further,

for Little Claus

could not get out.

So he went in.

, , , , 

“O dear!

O dear!”

moaned Little Claus

in the sack,

and he turned

and twisted,

but found it impossible

to loosen the cord.


there came

by an old drover

with snow-white hair

and a great staff

in his hand.

He was driving a whole herd

of cows

and oxen

before him,

and they jostled

against the sack


which Little Claus was confined,


that it was upset.

, , , , 

“O dear,”

again sighed Little Claus,

“I’m so young

to be going directly

to the kingdom

of heaven!”

“And I,

poor fellow,”

said the drover,

“am so old already,

and cannot get

there yet.”

, , , , 

“Open the sack,”

cried Little Claus,

“and creep

into it

in my place,

and you’ll be

there directly.”

, , , , 

“With all my heart,”

said the drover,

and he untied the sack

for Little Claus,

who crept out

at once.

“You must look out

for the cattle now,”

said the old man,

as he crept in.

Then Little Claus tied it up

and went his way,

driving the cows

and the oxen.

, , , , 

In a little

while Great Claus came out

of the church.

He took the sack upon his shoulders

and thought

as he did so

that it had certainly grown lighter

since he had put it down,

for the old cattle-drover was not more

than half

as heavy

as Little Claus.

, , , , 

“How light he is

to carry now!

That must be

because I have heard a psalm

in the church.”

, , , , 

He went


to the river,

which was both deep

and broad,

threw the sack containing the old drover

into the water,

and called after him,

thinking it was Little Claus,

“Now lie there!


won’t trick me again!”

He turned

to go home,


when he came

to the place


there was a crossroad he met Little Claus driving his cattle.

, , , , 

“What’s this?”

cried he.

“Haven’t I drowned you?”

, , , , 


said Little Claus,

“you threw me

into the river,

half an hour ago.”

, , , , 


where did you get all those fine cattle?”

asked Great Claus.

, , , , 

“These beasts are sea cattle,”

said Little Claus,

“and I thank you heartily

for drowning me,

for now I’m

at the top

of the tree.

I’m a very rich man,


can tell you.

But I was frightened

when you threw me

into the water huddled up

in the sack.

I sank

to the bottom immediately,

but I did not hurt myself,

for the grass is beautifully soft down there.

I fell upon it,

and the sack was opened,

and the most beautiful maiden

in snow-white garments

and a green wreath upon her hair took me

by the hand,

and said

to me,

‘Have you come,

Little Claus?

Here are cattle

for you,

and a mile further up the road

there is another herd!’

“Then I saw

that she meant the river


that it was the highway

for the sea folk.


at the bottom

of it they walk directly

from the sea,


into the land

where the river ends.

Lovely flowers

and beautiful fresh grass were there.

The fishes

which swam

there glided

about me

like birds

in the air.

How nice the people were,


what fine herds

of cattle

there were,


on the mounds


about the ditches!”


why did you come up so quickly then?”

asked Great Claus.

“I shouldn’t have done that

if it was so fine down there.”

, , , , 


that was just my cunning.

You know,

I told you

that the mermaid said

there was a whole herd

of cattle

for me a mile further up the stream.


you see,

I know

how the river bends this way

and that,


how long a distance it

would have been

to go

that way.

If you

can come up

on the land

and take the short cuts,


across fields

and down

to the river again,

you save

almost half a mile

and get the cattle much sooner.”

, , , , 


you are a fortunate man!”

cried Great Claus.

“Do you think I

could get some sea cattle

if I were

to go down

to the bottom

of the river?”

, , , , 

“I’m sure you would,”

said Little Claus.

“But I cannot carry you.

If you

will walk

to the river

and creep

into a sack yourself,


will help you

into the water

with a great deal

of pleasure.”

, , , , 


said Great Claus.


if I do not find sea cattle there,

I shall beat you soundly,

you may be sure.”

, , , , 


do not be so hard

on me.”

, , , , 

And so they went together

to the river.

When the cows

and oxen saw the water,

they ran

to it

as fast

as they could.


how they hurry!”

cried Little Claus.

“They want

to get back

to the bottom again.”

, , , , 


but help me first

or I’ll thrash you,”

said Great Claus.


then crept

into a big sack,

which had been lying

across the back

of one

of the cows.

“Put a big stone


or I’m afraid I shan’t sink.”

, , , , 


that’ll be all right,”

said Little Claus,

but he put a big stone

into the sack

and gave it a push.



there lay Great Claus

in the river.

He sank

at once

to the bottom.

, , , , 

“I’m afraid he

won’t find the cattle,”

said Little Claus.

Then he drove homeward

with his herd.

, , , ,