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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526                        THE JEWISH GIRL
that of the child sitting upon the schoolroom bench and listening with thoughtful eyes.
Every Sunday there pealed from the church the sounds of the organ and the song of the congregation. The strains penetrated into the house where the Jewish girl, industrious and faithful in all things, stood at her work.
1 Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath-day,' said a voice within her, the voice of the Law ; but her Sabbath-day was a working day among the Christians, and she could keep it holy only in her heart, which she did not think was sufficient. But then the thought arose in her soul: * Doth God reckon by days and hours ? ' And on the Sunday of the Christians the hour of prayer remained undisturbed ; and when the sound of the organ and the songs of the congregation sounded across to her as she stood in the kitchen at her work, then even that place seemed to become a sacred one to her. Then she would read in the Old Testament, the treasure and possession of her people, and it was only in this one she could read ; for she kept faithfully in the depths of her heart the words her father had said to herself and the teacher when she was taken away from the school, and the promise given to her dying mother, that she should never receive Christian baptism, or desert the faith of her ancestors. The New Testament was to be a sealed book to her ; and yet she knew much of it, and the Gospel echoed faintly among the recollections of her youth.
One evening she was sitting in a corner of the living-room. Her master was reading aloud ; and she might listen to him, for it was not the Gospel that he read, but an old story-book, therefore she might stay. The book told of a Hungarian knight who was taken prisoner by a Turkish pasha, who caused him to be yoked with his oxen to the plough, and driven with blows of the whip till he almost sank under the pain and ignominy he endured. The wife of the knight at home parted with all her jewels, and pledged castle and land. The knight's friends contributed large sums, for the ransom demanded was almost unattainably high; but it was collected at last, and the knight was freed from servitude and misery. Sick and exhausted, he reached his home. But soon another summons came to war against the foes