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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shone on him, and he looked at the red blood in his fine fingers, as he held them up before his face, they would say, " Yes, to-day he has been out! " He knew the forest with its beautiful vernal green only from the fact that the neighbour's son brought him the first green branch of a beech tree, and he held that up over his head, and dreamed he was in the beech wood where the sun shone and the birds sang. On a spring day the neighbour's boy also brought him field flowers, and among these was, by chance, one to which the root was hanging ; and so it was planted in a flower-pot, and placed by the bed, close to the window. And the flower had been planted by a fortunate hand ; and it grew, threw out new shoots, and bore flowers every year. It became as a splendid flower garden to the sickly boy— his little treasure here on earth. He watered it, and tended it, and took care that it had the benefit of every ray of sunlight, down to the last that struggled in through the narrow window ; and the flower itself was woven into his dreams, for it grew for him and gladdened his eyes, and spread its fragrance about him ; and towards it he turned in death, when the Father called him. He has now been with the Almighty for a year ; for a year the flower has stood forgotten in the window, and is withered ; and thus, at the removal, it has been thrown out into the dust of the street. And this is the flower, the poor withered flower, which we have taken into our nosegay ; for this flower has given more joy than the richest flower in a Queen's garden ! '
' But how do you know all this ? ' asked the child which the angel was carrying to heaven.
11 know it,' said the angel, ' for I myself was that little boy who went on crutches ! I know my flower well! '
And the child opened his eyes and looked into the glorious happy face of the angel ; and at the same moment they entered the regions where there is peace and joy. And the Father pressed the dead child to His bosom, and then it received wings like the angel, and flew hand in hand with him. And the Almighty pressed all the flowers to His heart ; but He kissed the dry withered field flower, and it received a voice and sang with all the angels hovering around—some near, and some in wider circles, and some