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

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

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

THE BOND OF FRIENDSHIP               193
water; but in a moment Aphtanides had sprung in after her, and was holding her up to me ! ^We took off her clothes, wrung out the water, and then dressed her again ; Aphtanides did the same for himself, and we remained on the water till they were dry ; and no one knew what a fright we had had for our little adopted sister, in whose life Aphtanides now had a part.
The summer came. The sun burned so hot that the leaves turned yellow on the trees. I thought of our cool mountains, and of the fresh water they contained ; my mother, too, longed for them ; and one evening we wandered home. What peace, what silence ! We walked on through the thick thyme, still fragrant though the sun had scorched its leaves. Not a single herdsman did we meet, not one solitary hut did we pass. Everything was quiet and deserted ; but a shooting star announced that in heaven tnere was yet life. I know not if the clear blue air gleamed with light of its own, or if the radiance came from the stars ; but we could see the outlines of the mountains quite plainly. My mother lighted a fire, roasted some roots she had brought with her, and I and my little sister slept among the thyme, without fear of the ugly Smidraki,1 from whose throat fire spurts forth, or of the wolf and jackal; for my mother sat beside us, and I thought that was enough.
We reached our old home ; but the hut was a heap of ruins, and a new one had to be built. A few women lent my mother their aid, and in a few days walls were raised, and covered with a new roof of oleander branches. My mother made many bottle-cases of bark and skins ; I kept the priest's little flock,2 and Anastasia and the little tortoises were my playmates.
Once we had a visit from our beloved Aphtanides, who said he had greatly longed to see us, and who stayed with us two whole happy days.
A month afterwards he came again, and told us that he
1  According to the Greek superstition, this is a monster generated from the unopened entrails of slaughtered sheep, which are thrown away in the fields.
2  A peasant who can read often becomes a priest; he is then called * very holy Sir,' and the lower orders kiss the ground on which he has stepped.
ANDERSEN                                              tt