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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' THERE IS A DIFFERENCE '              417
1 Poor despised herbs !' said the Apple Branch. ' There is certainly a difference ! And how unfeappy they must feel, if indeed that kind can feel like myself and my equals. Certainly there is a difference, and distinctions must be made, or we should all be equal.'
And the Apple Branch looked down with a species of pity, especially upon a certain kind of flower of which great numbers are found in the fields and in ditches. No one bound them into a nosegay, they were too common ; for they might be found even among the paving-stones, shoot­ing up everywhere like the rankest weeds, and they had the ugly name of ' dandelion ', or ' the devil's milk-pail'.
' Poor despised plants ! ' said the Apple Branch. ' It is not your fault that you are what you are, that you are so common, and that you received the ugly name you bear. But it is with plants as with men—there must be a dif­ference ! *
' A difference ? ' said the Sunbeam ; and he kissed the blooming Apple Branch, but also kissed the yellow dande­lions out in the field—all the brothers of the Sunbeam kissed them, the poor flowers as well as the rich.
Now the Apple Branch had never thought of the bound­less beneficence of Providence in creation towards every­thing that lives and moves and has its being ; he had never thought how much that is beautiful and good may be hidden, but not forgotten ; but that, too, was quite like human nature.
The Sunbeam, the ray of light, knew better, and said,
1 You don't see far and you don't see clearly. What is the despised plant that you especially pity ? '
' The dandelion,' replied the Apple Branch. ' It is never received into a nosegay ; it is trodden under foot. There are too many of them ; and when they run to seed, they fly away like little pieces of wool over the roads, and hang and cling to people's dress. They are nothing but weeds— but it is right there should be weeds too. Oh, I'm really very thankful that I was not created one of those flowers.'
But there came across the fields a whole troop of children, the youngest of whom was so small that it was carried by the rest, and when it was set down in the grass among the yellow flowers it laughed aloud with glee, kicked out with
ANDERSEN                                               p