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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grass ; and there he stood ; and the sun shone upon him through the branches of the trees. He ran to the water, and seated himself in a little boat which lay there ; it was painted red and white, the sails gleamed like silver, and six swans, each with a gold circlet round its neck and a bright blue star on its forehead, drew the boat past the great wood, where the trees told of robbers and witches, and the flowers told of the graceful little elves, and of what the butterflies had told them.
Gorgeous fishes, with scales like silver and gold, swam after their boat; sometimes they gave a spring, so that it splashed in the water ; and birds, blue and red, little and great, flew after them in two long rows ; the gnats danced, and the cockchafers said, ' Boom ! boom ! ' They all wanted to follow Hjalmar, and each one had a story to tell.
That was a pleasure voyage. Sometimes the forest was thick and dark, sometimes like a glorious garden full of sunlight and flowers ; and there were great palaces of glass and of marble ; on the balconies stood Princesses, and these were all little girls whom Hjalmar knew well—he had already played with them. Each one stretched forth her hand, and held out the prettiest sugar heart which ever a cake-woman could sell; and Hjalmar took hold of each sugar heart as he passed by, and the Princess held fast, so that each of them got a piece—she the smaller share, and Hjalmar the larger. At each palace little Princes stood sentry. They shouldered golden swords, and caused raisins and tin soldiers to shower down : one could see that they were real Princes. Sometimes Hjalmar sailed through forests, sometimes through great halls or through the midst of a town. He also came to the town where his nurse lived, who had carried him in her arms when he was quite a little boy, and who had always been so kind to him ; and she nodded and beckoned, and sang the pretty verse she had made herself and had sent to Hjalmar.
I've loved thee, and kissed thee, Hjalmar, dear boy;
IVe watched thee waking and sleeping; May the good Lord guard thee in sorrow, in joy,
And have thee in His keeping.