THE HARDY TIN SOLDIER 131
sink. The tin soldier stood up to his neck in water, and the boat sank deeper and deeper, aruj the paper was loosened more and more ; and now the water closed over the soldier's head. Then he thought of the pretty little dancer, and how he should never see her again ; and it sounded in the soldier's ears :
Farewell, farewell, thou warrior brave, For this day thou must die !
And now the paper parted, and the tin soldier fell out ; but at that moment he was snapped up by a great fish.
Oh, how dark it was in that fish's body ! It was darker yet than in the drain tunnel ; and then it was very narrow too. But the tin soldier remained unmoved, and lay at full length shouldering his musket.
The fish swam to and fro ; he made the most wonderful movements, and then became quite still. At last something flashed through him like lightning. The daylight shone quite clear, and a voice said aloud, ' The tin soldier ! ' The fish had been caught, carried to market, bought, and taken into the kitchen, where the cook cut him open with a large knife. She seized the soldier round the body with both her hands, and carried him into the room, where all were anxious to see the remarkable man who had travelled about in the inside of a fish ; but the tin soldier was not at all proud. They placed him on the table, and there— no ! What curious things may happen in the world ! The tin soldier was in the very room in which he had been before ! he saw the same children, and the same toys stood on the table ; and there was the pretty castle with the graceful little dancer. She was still balancing herself on one leg, and held the other extended in the air. She was hardy too. That moved the tin soldier : he was very nearly weeping tin tears, but that would not have been proper. He looked at her and she at him, but they said nothing to each other.
Then one of the little boys took the tin soldier and flung him into the stove. He gave no reason for doing this. It must have been the fault of the goblin in the snuff-box.
The tin soldier stood there quite illuminated, and felt a heat that was terrible ; but whether this heat proceeded