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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THE JEWISH GIRL                       525
book, or to do her sum for the next da'y ; but that was soon done ; and when she had mastered her lesson in geography, the book indeed remained open before her, but the little one read no more in it: she sat and listened, and the teacher soon became aware that she was listening more intently than almost any of the other children.
' Read your book,' the teacher said, in mild reproof ; but her dark beaming eye remained fixed upon him ; and once when he addressed a question to her, she knew how to answer better than any of the others could have done. She had heard, understood, and remembered.
When her father, a poor honest man, first brought the girl to the school, he had stipulated that she should be excluded from the lessons on the Christian faith. But it would have caused disturbance, and perhaps might have awakened discontent in the minds of the others, if she had been sent from the room during the hours in question, and consequently she stayed ; but this could not go on any longer.
The teacher betook himself to her father, and exhorted him either to remove his daughter from the school, or to consent that Sara should become a Christian.
' I can no longer bear to see these gleaming eyes of the child, and her deep and earnest longing for the words of the Gospel,' said the teacher.
Then the father burst into tears.
11 know but little of our own religion,' he said ; ' but her mother was a daughter of Israel, firm and steadfast in the faith, and I vowed to her as she lay dying that our child should never be baptized. I must keep my vow, for it is even as a covenant with God Himself.'
And accordingly the little Jewish maiden quitted the Christian school.
Years have rolled on.
In one of the smallest provincial towns there dwelt, as a servant in a humble household, a maiden who held the Mosaic faith. Her hair was black as ebony, her eye so dark, and yet full of splendour and light, as is usual with the daughters of the East. It was Sara. The expression in the countenance of the now grown-up maiden was still