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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106             THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE
the houses of our friends dwelling in the same town and even living close together. Yet this electric shock costs us the life of the body here below, unless, like the watch­man, we have the magic goloshes on.
In a few seconds the watchman had traversed the dis­tance of two hundred and sixty thousand miles to the moon, which body, as we know, consists of a much lighter material than that of our earth, and is, as we should say, soffc as new-fallen snow. He found himself on one of the many ring mountains with which we are familiar from Dr. Madler's great map of the moon. Within the ring a great bowl-shaped hollow went down to the depth of a couple of miles. At the base of the hollow lay a town, of whose appearance we can only form an idea by pouring the white of an egg into a glass of water : the substance here was just as soft as white of egg, and formed similar towers, and cupolas, and terraces like sails, transparent and floating in the thin air. Our earth hung over his head like a great fiery red ball.
He immediately became aware of a number of beings, who were certainly what we call ' men', but their appear­ance was very different from ours. They had also a lan­guage, but no one could expect that the soul of the watchman should understand it. But it did understand, nevertheless.
Thus the watchman's soul understood the language of the people in the moon very well. They disputed about this earth, and doubted if it could be inhabited ; the air, they asserted, must be too thick for a sensible moon-man to live there. They considered that the moon alone was peopled ; for that, they said, was the real body in which the old-world people dwelt. They also talked of politics.
But let us go down to the East Street, and see how it fared with the body of the watchman.
He sat lifeless upon the stairs. His pike had fallen out of his hand, and his eyes stared up at the moon, after his honest soul which was going about up there.
1 What 's o'clock, watchman ? ' asked a passer-by. But the man who didn't answer was the watchman. Then the passenger tweaked him quite gently by the nose, and then he lost his balance. There lay the body stretched out at