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 SHADOW                              371
indeed very lively in the street. Only in one house, just opposite to that in which the learned man dwelt, it was quite quiet, and yet somebody lived there, for there were flowers upon the balcony, blooming beautifully in the hot sun, and they could not have done this if they had not been watered, so that some one must have watered them ; therefore, there must be people in that house. Towards evening the door was half opened, but it was dark, at least in the front room ; farther back, in the interior, music was heard. The strange learned man thought this music very lovely, but it was quite possible that he only imagined this, for out there in the hot countries he found everything exquisite, if only there had been no sun. The stranger's landlord said that he did not know who had taken the opposite house—one saw nobody there, and so far as the music was concerned, it seemed very monotonous to him.
' It was just,' he said, ' as if some one sat there, always practising a piece that he could not manage—always the same piece. He seemed to say, " I shall manage it, after all;' but he did not manage it, however long he played.'
The stranger was asleep one night. He slept with the balcony door open : the wind lifted up the curtain before it, and he fancied that a wonderful radiance came from the balcony of the house opposite ; all the flowers appeared like flames of the most gorgeous colours, and in the midst, among the flowers, stood a beautiful slender maiden : it seemed as if a radiance came from her also. His eyes were quite dazzled ; but he had only opened them too wide just when he awoke out of his sleep. With one leap he was out of bed ; quite quietly he crept behind the curtain ; but the maiden was gone, the splendour was gone, the flowers gleamed no longer, but stood there as beautiful as ever. The door was ajar, and from within sounded music, so lovely, so charming, that one fell into sweet thought at the sound. It was just like magic work. But who lived there ? Where was the real entrance ? for towards the street and towards the lane at the side the whole ground floor was shop by shop, and the people could not always run through there.
One evening the stranger sat up on his balcony ; in the room just behind him a light was burning, and so it was quite natural that his Shadow fell upon the wall of the