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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mother ; and bread and cake were thrown into the water ; and they all said, ' The new one is the most beautiful of all! so young and handsome ! ' and the old swans bowed their heads before him.
Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wings, for he did not know what to do ; he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He thought how he had been persecuted and despised ; and now he heard them saying that he was the most beautiful of all birds. Even the elder-tree bent its branches straight down into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and mild. Then his wings rustled, he lifted his slender neck, and cried rejoicingly from the depths of his heart,
11 never dreamed of so much happiness when I was still the ugly Duckling !'
Out in the forest stood a pretty little Fir Tree. It had a good place ; it could have sunlight, air there was in plenty, and all around grew many larger comrades—pines as well as firs. But the little Fir Tree was in such a hurry to grow. It did not care for the warm sun and the fresh air ; it took no notice of the peasant children, who went about talking together, when they had come out to look for strawberries and raspberries. Often they came with a whole pot-full, or had strung berries on a straw ; then they would sit down by the little Fir Tree and say, ' How pretty and small that one is ! ' and the Tree did not like to hear that at all.
Next year it had grown a great joint, and the following year it was longer still, for in fir trees one can always tell by the number of joints they have how many years they have been growing.
1 Oh, if I were only as great a tree as the others ! ' sighed the little Fir,' then I would spread my branches far around, and look out from my crown into the wide world. The birds would then build nests in my boughs, and when the wind blew I could nod just as grandly as the others yonder.'