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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476               UNDER THE WILLOW TREE
more, and led a pious Christian life. To himself also it seemed as if Heaven had lifted the heavy burden from his heart.
His favourite pastime was to mount now and then upon the mighty marble church, which seemed to him to have been formed of the snow of his native land, fashioned into roofs, and pinnacles, and decorated open halls : from every corner and every point the white statues smiled upon him. Above him was the blue sky, below him the city and the widespreading Lombard plains, and towards the north the high mountains clad with perpetual snow ; and he thought of the church at Kjoge, with its red ivy-covered walls, but he did not long to go thither : here, beyond the mountains, he would be buried.
He had dwelt here a year, and three years had passed away since he left his home, when one day his master took him into the city, not to the circus where riders exhibited, but to the opera, where was a hall worth seeing. There were seven stories, from each of which beautiful silken curtains hung down, and from the ground to the dizzy height of the roof sat elegant ladies, with bouquets of flowers in their hands, as if they were at a ball, and the gentlemen were in full dress, and many of them decorated with gold and silver. It was as bright there as in the brilliant sunshine, and the music rolled gloriously through the building. Everything was much more splendid than in the theatre at Copenhagen, but then Joanna had been there,
while here------Yes, it was like magic—the curtain rose,
and Joanna appeared, dressed in silk and gold, with a crown upon her head : she sang as he thought none but angels could sing, and came far forward, quite to the front of the stage, and smiled as only Joanna could smile, and looked straight down at Knud. Poor Knud seized his master's hand, and called out aloud, ' Joanna ! ' but it could not be heard, the musicians played so loudly, and the master nodded and said, ' Yes, yes, her name is Joanna/
And he drew forth a printed playbill, and showed Knud her name—for the full name was printed there.
No, it was not a dream ! All the people applauded and threw wreaths and flowers to her, and every time she went away they called her back, so that she was always going and coming.