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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474               UNDER THE WILLOW TREE
master with whom Knud worked; and over the little garret window where he slept the elder waved its branches.
Here he lived through a summer and a winter ; but when the spring came again he could bear it no longer. The elder was in blossom, and its fragrance reminded him so of home, that he fancied himself back in the garden at Kjoge ; and therefore Knud went away from his master, and dwelt with another, farther in the town, over whose house no elder bush grew.
His workshop was quite close to one of the old stone bridges, by a low water-mill, that rushed and foamed always. Without, rolled the roaring stream, hemmed in by houses, whose old decayed gables looked ready to topple down into the water. No elder grew here—there was not even a flower-pot with its little green plant; but just opposite the workshop stood a great old willow tree, that seemed to cling fast to the house, for fear of being carried away by the water, and which stretched forth its branches over the river, just as the willow at Kjoge spread its arms , across the streamlet by the gardens there.
Yes, he had certainly gone from the ' Elder-mother' to the ' Willow-father'. The tree here had something, especially on moonlight evenings, that went straight to his heart— and that something was not in the moonlight, but in the old tree itself.
Nevertheless, he could not remain. Why not ? Ask the willow tree, ask the blooming elder ! And therefore he bade farewell to his master in Nuremberg, and journeyed onward.
To no one did he speak of Joanna—in his secret heart he hid his sorrow ; and he thought of the deep meaning in the story of the two cakes. Now he understood why the man had a bitter almond in his breast—he himself felt the bitterness of it; and Joanna, who was always so gentle and kind, was typified by the honey-cake. The strap of his knapsack seemed so tight across his chest that he could scarcely breathe ; he loosened it, but was not relieved. He saw but half the world around him ; the other half he carried about him and within himself. And thus it stood with him.
Not till he came in sight of the high mountains did the