The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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THE LITTLE SEA MAID                    89
you have by good works raised yourself to the world of spirits, and can gain an immortal soul after three hundred years.'
And the little sea maid lifted her bright arms towards God's sun, and for the first time she felt tears. On the ship there was again life and noise. She saw the prince and his bride searching for her ; then they looked mourn­fully at the pearly foam, as if they knew that she had thrown herself into the waves. Invisible, she kissed the forehead of the bride, smiled to the prince, and mounted with the other children of the air on the rosy cloud which floated through the ether.
1 After three hundred years we shall thus float into Paradise !'
' And we may even get there sooner,' whispered one. 1 Invisibly we float into the houses of men where children are, and for every day on which we find a good child that brings joy to its parents and deserves their love, our time of probation is shortened. The child does not know when we fly through the room ; and when we smile with joy at the child's conduct, a year is counted off from the three hundred ; but when we see a naughty or a wicked child, we shed tears of grief, and for every tear a day is added to our time of trial.'
Many years ago there lived an emperor, who cared so enormously for beautiful new clothes that he spent all his money upon them, that he might be very fine. He did not care about his soldiers, nor about the theatre, nor about driving in the park except to show his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day ; and just as they say of a king, ' He is in council,' one always said of him, 1 The emperor is in the wardrobe.'
In the great city in which he lived it was always very merry; every day a number of strangers arrived there. One day two cheats came : they gave themselves out as weavers, and declared that they could weave the finest