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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406                                THE FLAX
and softened and boiled; yes, they themselves did not know all that was done to them ; and then they became beautiful white paper.
1 Now, that is a surprise, and a glorious surprise ! ' said the Paper. ' Now I'm finer than before, and I shall be written on : that is remarkably good fortune/
And really the most beautiful stories and verses were written upon it, and the people heard what was upon it; it was sensible and good, and made people much more sensible and good : there was a great blessing in the words that were on this Paper.
1 That is more than I ever imagined when I was a little blue flower in the fields. How could I fancy that I should ever spread joy and knowledge among men ? I can't yet understand it myself, but it is really so. I have done nothing myself but what I was obliged with my weak powers to do for my own preservation, and yet I have been promoted from one joy and honour to another. Each time when I think " the song is done," it begins again in a higher and better way. Now I shall certainly be sent about to journey through the world, so that all people may read me. That is the only probable thing. I've splendid thoughts, as many as I had pretty flowers in the old times. I'm the happiest of beings/
But the Paper was not sent on its travels, it was sent to the printer, and everything that was written upon it was set up in type for a book, or rather for many hundreds of books, for in this way a very far greater number could derive pleasure and profit from the book than if the one paper on which it was written had run about the world, to be worn out before it had got half-way.
4 Yes, that is certainly the wisest way,' thought the Written Paper. ' I really did not think of that. I shall stay at home, and be held in honour, just like an old grandfather. It was on me the writing was done ; the words flowed from the pen right into me. I remain here and the books run about. Now something can really be done. I am the happiest of all/
Then the Paper was tied together in a bundle, and put on a shelf.
1 It's good resting after work,' said the Paper. ' It is