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                            375
asked the {Shadow. * That was the most glorious of all; it was Poetry ! I was there for three wgfeks, and that was just as if one had lived there a thousand years, and could read all that has been written and composed. For this I say, and it is truth, I have seen everything, and I know everything ! '
I Poetry ! ' cried the learned man. ' Yes, she often lives as a hermit in great cities. Poetry ! Yes, I myself saw her for one single brief moment, but sleep was heavy on my eyes : she stood on the balcony, gleaming as the Northern Light gleams. Tell me ! tell me ! You were upon the balcony. You went through the door, and then------'
' Then I was in the ante-room,' said the Shadow. ' You sat opposite, and were always looking across at the ante­room. There was no light ; a kind of twilight reigned there ; but one door after another in a whole row of halls and rooms stood open, and there it was light ; and the mass of light would have killed me if I had got as far as to where the maiden sat. But I was deliberate, I took my time ; and that 's what one must do.'
' And what didst thou see then ? ' asked the learned man.
' I saw everything, and I will tell you what; but—it is really not pride on my part—as a free man, and with the acquirements I possess, besides my good position and my remarkable fortune, I wish you would say you to me.'
II  beg your pardon,' said the learned man. ' This thou is an old habit, and old habits are difficult to alter. You are perfectly right, and I will remember it. But now tell me everything you saw.'
' Everything,' said the Shadow ; ' for I saw everything, and I know everything.'
• How did things look in the inner room ? ' asked the learned man. ' Was it there as in the fresh wood ? Was it there as in a holy temple ? Were the chambers like the starry sky, when one stands on the high mountains ? '
f Everything was there,' said the Shadow. ' I was cer­tainly not quite inside ; I remained in the front room, in the darkness ; but I stood there remarkably well. I saw everything and know everything. I have been in the ante-room at the Court of Poetrv.'