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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THE NIGHTINGALE                       237
build my nest in the palace to dwell in it, but let me come when I feel the wish ; then I will sit in the evening on the spray yonder by the window, and sing you something, so that you may be glad and thoughtful at once. I will sing of those who are happy and of those who suffer. I will sing of the good and the evil that remains hidden round about you. The little singing bird flies far around, to the poor fisherman, to the peasant's roof, to every one who dwells far away from you and from your court. I love your heart more than your crown, and yet the crown has an air of sanctity about it. I will come and sing to you—but one thing you must promise me.'
' Everything ! ' said the Emperor ; and he stood there in his imperial robes, which he had put on himself, and pressed the sword which was heavy with gold to his heart.
1 One thing I beg of you: tell no one that you have a little bird who tells you everything. Then it will go all the better.'
And the Nightingale flew away.
The servants came in to look at their dead Emperor, and—yes, there they stood, and the Emperor said 'Good morning !'
A Whip-top and a Ball were together in a drawer among some other toys ; and the Top said to the Ball,
' Shall we not be bridegroom and bride, as we live together in the same box ? '
But the Ball, which had a coat of morocco leather, and was just as conceited as any fine lady, would make no answer to such a proposal.
Next day the little boy came to whom the toys belonged : he painted the top red and yellow, and hammered a brass nail into it; and it looked splendid when the top turned round !
1 Look at me ! ' he cried to the Ball. ' What do you say now ? Shall we not be engaged to each other ? We suit one another so well! You jump and I dance ! No one could be happier than we two should be.'
1 Indeed ? Do you think so ? ' replied the Ball. ' Perhaps