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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540           THE STONE OF THE WISE MEN
geography as we have : but that also does not matter at the present time.
The Tree of the Sun was a noble tree, such as we have never seen and such as you will never see either. The crown stretched out several miles around ; it was really an entire wood ; each of its smallest branches formed, in its turn, a whole tree. Palms, beech trees, pines, plane trees, and various other kinds grew here, which are found scattered in all other parts of the world : they shot out like small branches from the great boughs, and these large boughs with their windings and knots formed, as it were, valleys and hills, clothed with velvety green and covered with flowers. Every branch was like a wide, blooming meadow, or like the most charming garden. The sun shone down on it with delightful rays, for it was the tree of the sun, and the birds from all quarters of the world assembled togetheróbirds from the primaeval forests of America, the rose gardens of Damascus, from the deserts of Africa, in which the elephant and the lion boast of being the only rulers. The Polar birds came flying hither, and of course the stork and the swallow were not absent; but the birds were not the only living beings : the stag, the squirrel, the antelope, and a hundred other beautiful and light-footed animals were at home. The crown of the tree was a wide≠spread fragrant garden, and in the midst of it, where the great boughs raised themselves like green hillocks, there stood a castle of crystal, with a view of all the lands of the world. Each tower was reared in the form of a lily. Through the stem one could ascend, for within it was a winding stair; one could step out upon the leaves as upon balconies ; and up in the calyx of the flower itself was the most beautiful, sparkling round hall, above which no other roof rose but the blue firmament with sun and stars.
Just as much splendour, though in another way, appeared below, in the wide halls of the castle. Here, on the walls, the whole world around was reflected. One saw everything that was done, so that there was no necessity for reading any papers, and indeed there were no papers there. Every≠thing was to be seen in living pictures, if one only wished to see it; for too much is still too much even for the wisest man ; and this man dwelt here. His name is very difficult