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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318
THE ELF-HILL
The old Elf King had one of his crowns polished with powdered slate pencil; it was slate pencil from the first form, and it's very difficult for the Elf King to get first form slate pencil ! In the bedroom, curtains were hung up, and fastened with snail slime. Yes, there was a humming and murmuring there !
* Now we must burn horse-hair and pigs' bristles as incense here,' said the Elf King, ' and then I think I shall have done my part.'
' Father dear 1' said the youngest of the daughters, 1 shall I hear now who the distinguished strangers are ? '
1 Well,' said he, ' I suppose I must tell it now. Two of my daughters must hold themselves prepared to be married; two will certainly be married. The old gnome from Norway yonder, he who lives in the Dovre mountain, and possesses many rock castles of granite, and a gold mine which is better than one thinks, is coming with his two sons, who want each to select a wife. The old gnome is a true old honest Norwegian veteran, merry and straightforward. I know him from old days, when Ave drank brotherhood with one another. He was down here to fetch his wife; now she is dead,she was a daughter of the King of the Chalk-rocks of Moen. He took his wife upon chalk, as the saying is. Oh, how I long to see the old Norwegian gnome! The lads, they say, are rather rude, forward lads; but perhaps they are belied, and they'll be right enough when they grow older. Let me see that you can teach them manners.'
' And when will they come ? ' asked one of the daughters.
' That depends on wind and weather,' said the Elf King. 'They travel economically: they come when there's a chance by a ship. I wanted them to go across Sweden, but the old one would not incline to that wish. He does not advance with the times, and I don't like that.'
Then two Will-o'-the-wisps came hopping up, one quicker than the other, and so one of them arrived first.
' They're coming ! they're coming !' they cried.
1 Give me my crown, and let me stand in the moonshine,' said the Elf King.
And the daughters lifted up their shawls and bowed down to the earth.