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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into the bargain, as in my case ; and then I'm sure you would not sing. But after all it is well that there should be somebody at least who is merry. I've no reason to sing, and, moreover, I can't sing. Yes, when I was a whole bottle, I sang out well if they rubbed me with a cork. They used to call me a perfect lark, a magnificent lark ! Ah, when I was out at a picnic with the tanner's family, and his daughter was betrothed ! Yes, I remember it as if it had happened only yesterday. I have gone through a great deal, when I come to recollect. I've been in the fire and the water, have been deep in the black earth, and have mounted higher than most of the others ; and now I'm hanging here, outside the birdcage, in the air and the sunshine ! Oh, it would be quite worth while to hear my history ; but I don't speak aloud of it, because I can't.'
And now the Bottle-neck told its story, which was sufficiently remarkable. It told the story to itself, or only thought it in its own mind ; and the little bird sang his song merrily, and down in the street there was driving and hurrying, and every one thought of his own affairs, or perhaps of nothing at all; but the Bottle-neck did think. It thought of the flaming furnace in the manu­factory, where it had been blown into life ; it still re­membered that it had been quite warm, that it had glanced into the hissing furnace, the home of its origin, and had felt a great desire to leap directly back again ; but that gradually it had become cooler, and had been very com­fortable in the place to which it was taken. It had stood in a rank with a whole regiment of brothers and sisters, all out of the same furnace ; some of them had certainly been blown into champagne bottles, and others into beer bottles, and that makes a difference. Later, out in the world, it may well happen that a beer bottle may contain the most precious wine, and a champagne bottle be filled with blacking ; but even in decay there is always something left by which people can see what one has been—nobility is nobility, even when filled with blacking.
All the bottles were packed up, and our bottle was among them. At that time it did not think to finish its career as a bottle-neck, or that it should work its way up to be a bird's glass, which is always an honourable thing,