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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376                             THE SHADOW
? But what did you see ? Did all the gods of antiquity march through the halls I Did the old heroes fight there % Did lovely children play there, and relate their dreams ?'
* I tell you that I have been there, and so you will easily understand that I saw everything that was to be seen. If you had got there you would not have become a man ; but I became one, and at the same time I learned to under­stand my inner being and the relation in which I stood to Poetry. Yes, when I was with you I did not think of these things ; but you know that whenever the sun rises or sets I am wonderfully great. In the moonshine I was almost more noticeable than you yourself. I did not then understand my inward being ; in the ante-room it was revealed to me. I became a man ! I came out ripe. But you were no longer in the warm countries. I was ashamed to go about as a man in the state I was then in : I required boots, clothes, and all this human varnish by which a man is known. I hid myself ; yes, I can confide a secret to you —you will not put it into a book. I hid myself under the cake-woman's gown ; the woman had no idea how much she concealed. Only in the evening did I go out: I ran about the streets by moonlight ; I stretched myself quite long up the wall : that tickled my back quite agreeably. I ran up and down, looked through the highest windows into the halls and through the roof, where nobody could see, and I saw what nobody saw and what nobody ought to see. On the whole it is a despicable world : I would not be a man if it were not commonly supposed that it is some­thing to be one. I saw the most incredible things going on among men, and women, and parents, and i dear incomparable children \ I saw what no one else knows, but what they all would be very glad to know, namely, bad goings on at their neighbours'. If I had written a news­paper, how it would have been read ! But I wrote directly to the persons interested, and there was terror in every town to which I came. They were so afraid of me that they were remarkably fond of me. The professor made me a professor ; the tailor gave me new clothes (I am well provided) ; the mint-master coined money for me ; the women declared I was handsome : and thus I became the man I am. And now, farewell ! Here is my card ; I live