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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218                         THE SWINEHERD
Superbe ! charmant! ' said the maids of honour, for they all spoke French, the one worse than the other.
' How that bird reminds me of the late Empress's musical snuff-box,' said an old cavalier. ' Yes, it is the same tone, the same expression.'
1 Yes,' said the Emperor ; and then he wept like a little child.
' I really hope it is not a natural bird,' said the Princess.
' Yes, it is a natural bird,' said they who had brought it.
' Then let the bird fly away,' said the Princess ; and she would by no means allow the Prince to come.
But the Prince was not at all dismayed. He stained his face brown and black, drew his hat down over his brows, and knocked at the door.
1 Good day, Emperor,' he said : ' could I not be employed here in the castle ? '
* Well,' replied the Emperor, ' but there are so many who want places ; but let me see, I want some one who can keep the pigs, for we have many of them.'
So the Prince was appointed the Emperor's swineherd. He received a miserable small room down by the pig-sty, and here he was obliged to stay ; but all day long he sat and worked, and when it was evening he had finished a neat little pot, with bells all round it, and when the pot • boiled these bells rang out prettily and played the old melody—
Oh, my darling Augustine,
All is lost, all is lost.
But the cleverest thing about the whole arrangement was, that by holding one's finger in the steam from the pot, one could at once smell what food was being cooked at every hearth in the town. That was quite a different thing from the rose.
Now the Princess came with all her maids of honour, and when she heard the melody she stood still and looked quite pleased ; for she, too, could play ' Oh, my darling Augustine.' It was the only thing she could play, but then she played it with one finger.
Why, that is what I play ! ' she cried. ' He must be an educated swineherd ! Hark-ye : go down and ask the price of the instrument.'