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Edited byJ. H. Stickney
Illustrated by Edna F. Hart
Originally Published By
Ginn and CompanyBoston—New York—Chicago—London
Resurrected ByAbela Publishing, London
Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Typographical arrangement of this edition
© Abela Publishing 2018
This book may not be reproduced in its current format in any manner in any media, or transmitted by any means whatsoever, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, or mechanical ( including photocopy, file or video recording, internet web sites, blogs, wikis, or any other information storage and retrieval system) except as permitted by law without the prior written permission of the publisher.
The Publisher acknowledges the work that
did in writing and publishing this First Volume of
Folklore and Fairy Tales
in a time well before any electronic media was in use.
* * * * * * *
10% of the net from the sale from this book
will be donated to Charities.
HE present volume is the second of the selected stories from Hans Andersen. Together the books include what, out 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, wherever there are children to read, the stories of Hans Christian Andersen will be read and loved.
THE PEA BLOSSOM
THE WILD SWANS
THE LAST DREAM OF THE OLD OAK
THE PORTUGUESE DUCK
THE SNOW MAN
THE FARMYARD COCK AND THE WEATHERCOCK
THE RED SHOES
THE LITTLE MERMAID
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE THISTLE
THE PEN AND THE INKSTAND
SOUP FROM A SAUSAGE SKEWER
WHAT THE GOODMAN DOES IS ALWAYS RIGHT
THE OLD STREET LAMP
THE SHEPHERDESS AND THE CHIMNEY SWEEP
THE DROP OF WATER
THE METAL PIG
THE FLYING TRUNK
THE GOBLIN AND THE HUCKSTER
EVERYTHING IN ITS RIGHT PLACE
THE REAL PRINCESS
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES
GREAT CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS
HE 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 and 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, "and 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, and how sweet and refreshing is the rain! My happiness overpowers me; no one in the world can feel happier than I."
"Ah, yes, no doubt," said the fern, "but you do not know the world yet as well as I do, for my sticks are knotty"; and then it sang quite mournfully:
"Snip, snap, snurre,Basse lurre.
The song is ended."
"No, 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 someday come to something."
Well, 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, as if it were to be drowned, and after that placed near a fire, as 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; indeed, it scarcely knew what was done to it. At last it was put on the spinning wheel. "Whir, whir," went the wheel, so quickly that the flax could not collect its thoughts.
"Well, 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, even to the last stalk, was used in making this one piece.
"Well, this is quite wonderful," said the flax. "I could not have believed that I should be so favored by fortune. The fern was not wrong when it sang,
'Snip, snap, snurre,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 of at last! I am the luckiest person in the world—so strong and fine. And 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. Yes, 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, and there cut with the scissors and torn into pieces and then pricked with needles. This certainly was not pleasant, but at last it was made into twelve garments of the kind that everybody wears. "See now, then," 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 everyone 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, and at last the linen was so worn it could scarcely hold together. "It must end very soon," said the pieces to each other. "We would gladly have held together a little longer, but it is useless to expect impossibilities." And 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. "Well, now, this is a surprise—a glorious surprise too," said the paper. "Now I am finer than ever, and who 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. "How 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 but 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, and then something higher and better begins for me. I suppose now I shall be sent out to journey about the world, so 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; and if the paper had been sent about the world, it would have been worn out before it had half finished its journey.
"Yes, 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. They will do some good. I 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; and to know one's self is true progress. What 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, here 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. They would often think the last spark had come, and one would cry, "There goes the schoolmaster," but the next moment another spark would appear, bright 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. "Ugh!" cried the paper as it burst into a bright flame; "ugh!" It was certainly not very pleasant to be burned. But when the whole was wrapped in flames, the sparks mounted up into the air, higher 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 as 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, floated above the children. They were even lighter and more delicate than the blue flowers from which they were born; and 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:
"Snip, snap, snurre,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; nor should they, for children must not know everything.
OW listen. Out in the country, close 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, full 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 or 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 as if it had been a great holiday, although it was only Monday. All the children were at school, and while they sat on their benches learning their lessons, she, on her little stem, learned also from the warm sun and 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 who could warble so sweetly and fly so high, and she was not at all sorrowful because she could not do the same.
"I 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!"
Just 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 and hardly knew what to think. The little bird hopped round the daisy, singing, "Oh, what sweet, soft grass, and 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, sang to her, and 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, and would understand her delight and pleasure.
But the tulips looked prouder than ever; indeed, they were evidently quite vexed about it. The peonies were disgusted, and could they have spoken, the poor little daisy would no doubt have received a good scolding. She 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.
Alas! 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, joyous and free; of the young green corn in the fields, from 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. But what could she do? In her anxiety she forgot all the beautiful things around her, the warm sunshine, and her own pretty, shining, white leaves. Alas! she could think of nothing but the captive bird and her own inability to help him.
Two boys came out of the garden; one of them carried a sharp knife in his hand, like the one with which the girl had cut the tulips. They went straight to the little daisy, who could not think what they were going to do.
"We 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, so that she stood just in the center.
"Pull up the flower," said the other boy; and the daisy trembled with fear, for 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.
"No, 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 as if I had fire and ice within me, and the air is so heavy. Alas! I must die. I must bid farewell to the warm sunshine, the fresh green, and all the beautiful things which God has created."
And then he thrust his beak into the cool turf to refresh himself a little with the fresh grass, and, 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 on 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. Alas! you only show me how much I have lost."
"Oh, 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, and 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; he could only sing "Tweet, 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, but, sick and sorrowful, drooped toward the earth.
Not till morning did the boys come, and 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 and 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 anyone else and that would have been so glad to help and comfort him if she had been able.
HERE 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; and 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, just 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, together with other full pods.
"Now we shall soon be let out," said one, and that was just what they all wanted.
"I 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.
"Crack!" 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 in 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.
"We 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. "We 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, and 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, and 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 as 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. Just as the mother was going to her work, the sick girl fixed her gaze on the lowest pane of the window. "Mother," she exclaimed, "what can that little green thing be that peeps in at the window? It is moving in the wind."
The mother stepped to the window and half opened it. "Oh!" she said, "there is actually a little pea that has taken root and is putting out its green leaves. How could it have got into this crack? Well, now, 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.
"Mother, 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, too, 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, so 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, so that the pea tendrils might have something to twine round. And the plant shot up so fast that one could 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, and 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, and 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 as if it had been an angel from God.
But what became of the other peas? Why, the one who flew out into the wide world and said, "Catch me if you can," fell 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, fell 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, stood at the open garret window and, folding her thin hands over the pea blossom, thanked God for what He had done.
N 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 as 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, conclude that I am commanded to stand here by her nest. It looks aristocratic!"
Below, in the street, a crowd of children were playing. When they chanced to catch sight of the storks, one 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:
"Stork, stork, 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, "to what the boys are singing. Do you hear them say we're to be hanged and shot?"
"Don't listen to what they say; if you don't mind, it 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; "see 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.
"No, no; certainly not," replied the mother. "You are to learn to fly, and then we shall pay a visit to the frogs. They will bow to us in the water and sing 'Croak! croak!' and we shall eat them up, and that will be a great treat."
"And then what?" questioned the young storks.
"Oh, then all the storks in the land will assemble, and the autumn sports will begin; only then one must be able to fly well, for 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."
"Yes, but then, after that, we shall be killed, as the boys say. Hark! they are singing it again."
"Attend to me and not to them," said the mother stork. "After the great review we shall fly away to warm countries, far from here, over hills and forests. To Egypt we shall fly, where are the three-cornered houses of stone, one point of which reaches to the clouds; they are called pyramids and are older than a stork can imagine. In 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."
"Oh! oh!" exclaimed all the youngsters.
"Yes, it is indeed a delightful place. We need do nothing all day long but eat; and 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.
"And will the naughty boys freeze in lumps?" asked the young storks.
"No, they 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! He would lay his head right round upon his tail; and sometimes he would clatter with his beak, as if it were a little rattle; or he would tell them stories, all relating to swamps and fens.
"Come, children," 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.
"Look at me!" said the mother. "This is the way to hold your head. And thus you must place your feet. Left! right! left! right! 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. Bump! plump! down they fell, for their bodies were still too heavy for them.
"I will not fly," said one of the young storks, as he crept back to the nest. "I 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, or to roast you? Well, then, I'll call them."
"Oh, no!" 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, upborne 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, "Storks, storks, fly home and rest."
"Shall we fly down and peck them?" asked the young ones.
"No, leave them alone. Attend to me; that's far more important. One—two—three! now we fly round to the right. One—two—three! now to the left, round the chimney. There! 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. Several 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, for that looks well and helps to make one respected."
"But shall we not take revenge upon the naughty boys?" asked the young storks.
"No, no; 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 and can neither see a green leaf nor taste a sweet apple."
"But we will revenge ourselves," they whispered one to another. And 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, and, besides, 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, and 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!"
"Yes, 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 as 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, that, 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.
"Now," said they, "we will be revenged."
"Yes, certainly," 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—one that has dreamed itself to death. We will bring that for him. Then he will cry because we have brought a little dead brother to him.
"But 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. And because his name is Peter, all of you shall be called Peter, too."
All was done as the mother had said; the storks were named Peter, and so they are called to this day.
AR away, in the land to 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 everyone 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.
Happy, indeed, 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, and who proved to be a wicked sorceress.