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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404
THE FLAX
The Flax stood in blossom ; it had pretty little blue flowers, smooth as a moth's wings, and even more delicate. The sun shone on the Flax, and the rain clouds moistened it, and this was just as good for it as it is for little children when they are washed, and afterwards get a kiss from their mother ; they become much prettier, and so did the Flax.
' The people say that I stand uncommonly well,' said the Flax, c and that I'm fine and long, and shall make a capital piece of linen. How happy I am ! I'm certainly the happiest of beings. How well off I am ! And I may come to something ! How the sunshine gladdens, and the rain tastes good and refreshes me ! I'm wonderfully happy ; I'm the happiest of beings.'
: Yes, yes, yes ! ' said the Hedge-stake. ' You don't know the world, but we do, for we have knots in us ; ' and then it creaked out mournfully,
' Snip-snap-snurre, Basse-lurre ! The song is done.'
1 No, it is not done,' said the Flax. ' To-morrow the sun will shine, or the rain will refresh us. I feel that I'm growing, I feel that I'm in blossom ! I'm the happiest of beings.'
But one day the people came and took the Flax by the head and pulled it up by the root. That hurt; and it was laid in water as if they were going to drown it, and then put on the fire as if it was going to be roasted. It was quite fearful!
I One can't always have good times,' said the Flax. 1 One must make one's experiences, and so one gets to know something.'
But bad times certainly came. The Flax was bruised and scutched, and broken and hackled. Yes, it did not even know what the operations were called that they did with it. It was put on the spinning-wheel—whirr ! whirr ! whirr !—it was not possible to collect one's thoughts.
II  have been uncommonly happy ! ' it thought in all