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 STONE OF THE WISE MEN            543
them what they saw in living pictures on the castle walls— the doings of men and the march of eve»ts in all the lands of the earth ; and often the sons expressed the wish that they could be present at all the great deeds and take part in them ; and their father then told them that out in the world it was difficult and toilsome—that the world was not quite what it appeared to them from their beauteous home. He spoke to them of the true, the beautiful, and the good, and told them that these three things held the world together, and that under the pressure they had to endure they became hardened into a precious stone, clearer than the water of the diamond—a jewel whose splendour had value with God, and whose brightness outshone everything, and which was called the ' Stone of the Wise'. He told them that just as one through created things could attain to the know­ledge of God, so through men themselves one could attain to the certainty that such a jewel as the ' Stone of the Wise ' existed. He could not tell them any more about it, for he knew no more. This narration would have exceeded the perception of other children, but these children under­stood it, and at length other children, too, will learn to comprehend its meaning.
They questioned their father concerning the true, the beautiful, and the good ; and he explained it to them, told them many things, and told them also that God, when He made man out of the dust of the earth, gave five kisses to His work—fiery kisses, heart kisses—which we now call the five senses. Through these the true, the beautiful, and the good is seen, perceived, and understood ; through these it is valued, protected, and furthered. Five senses have been given bodily and mentally, inwardly and outwardly, to body and soul.
The children reflected deeply upon all these things ; they meditated upon them by day and night. Then the eldest of the brothers dreamed a splendid dream. Strangely enough, the second brother had the same dream, and the third, and the fourth brother likewise ; all of them dreamed exactly the same thing—namely, that each went out into the world and found the ' Stone of the Wise ', which gleamed like a beaming light on his forehead when, in the morning dawn, he rode back on his swift horse over the velvety