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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134                        THE WILD SWANS
cushions and the most splendid tapestry; and she took three toads and kissed them, and said to the first,
' Sit upon Eliza's head when she comes into the bath, that she may become as stupid as you.—Seat yourself upon her forehead,' she said to the second, ' that she may become as ugly as you, and her father may not know her.— Rest on her heart,' she whispered to the third, ' that she may receive an evil mind and suffer pain from it.'
Then she put the toads into the clear water, which at once assumed a green colour ; and calling Eliza, caused her to undress and step into the water. And while Eliza dived, one of the toads sat upon her hair, and the second on her forehead, and the third on her heart ; but she did not seem to notice it; and as soon as she rose, three red poppies were floating on the water. If the creatures had not been poisonous, and if the witch had not kissed them, they would have been changed into red roses. But at any rate they became flowers, because they had rested on the girl's head, and forehead, and heart. She was too good and innocent for sorcery to have power over her.
When the wicked Queen saw that, she rubbed Eliza with walnut juice, so that the girl became dark brown, and smeared an evil-smelling ointment on her face, and let her beautiful hair hang in confusion. It was quite impossible to recognize the pretty Eliza.
When her father saw her he was much shocked, and declared this was not his daughter. No one but the yard dog and the swallows would recognize her ; but they were poor animals who had nothing to say in the matter.
Then poor Eliza wept, and thought of her eleven brothers who were all away. Sorrowfully she crept out of the castle, and walked all day over field and moor till she came into the great wood. She did not know whither she wished to go, only she felt very downcast and longed for her brothers : they had certainly been, like herself, thrust forth into the world, and she would seek for them and find them.
She had been only a short time in the wood when the night fell; she quite lost the path, therefore she lay down upon the soft moss, said her evening prayer, and leaned her head against the stump of a tree. Deep silence reigned