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

was another report. A great hunt was going on. The hunters were lying in wait all round the moor, and some were even sitting up in the branches of the trees, which spread far over the reeds. The blue smoke rose up like clouds among the dark trees, and was wafted far away across the water ; and the hunting dogs came—splash, splash !—into the swamp, and the rushes and the reeds bent down on every side. That was a fright for the poor Duckling ! It turned its head, and put it under its wing ; but at that moment a frightful great dog stood close by the Duckling. His tongue hung far out of his mouth and his eyes gleamed horrible and ugly ; he thrust out his nose close against the Duckling, showed his sharp teeth, and— splash, splash !—on he went, without seizing it.
' Oh, Heaven be thanked ! ' sighed the Duckling. ' I am so ugly, that even the dog does not like to bite me ! '
And so it lay quite quiet, while the shots rattled through the reeds and gun after gun was fired. At last, late in the day, silence was restored ; but the poor Duckling did not dare to rise up ; it waited several hours before it looked round, and then hastened away out of the marsh as fast as it could. It ran on over field and meadow ; there was such a storm raging that it was difficult to get from one place to another.
Towards evening the Duck came to a little miserable peasant's hut. This hut was so dilapidated that it did not know on which side it should fall; and that's why it remained standing. The storm whistled round the Duckling in such a way that the poor creature was obliged to sit down, to resist it; and the tempest grew worse and worse. Then the Duckling noticed that one of the hinges of the door had given way, and the door hung so slanting that the Duckling could slip through the opening into the room; and it did so.
Here lived an old woman, with her Tom Cat and her Hen. And the Tom Cat, whom she called Sonnie, could arch his back and purr, he could even give out sparks ; but for that one had to stroke his fur the wrong way. The Hen had quite little short legs, and therefore she was called Chickabiddy-shortshanks ; she laid good eggs, and the woman loved her as her own child.