The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

her brothers, but she felt, as it were, a. fire burning in her
hand, but it did not hurt her, for it was Jfcjie jewel she was
bringing to her father. When she awoke, she thought for
a moment that she still held the stone, but it was the
knob of her distaff that she was grasping. During the
long nights she had spun incessantly, and round the distaff
was turned a thread, finer than the finest web of the spider ;
human eyes were unable to distinguish the separate threads.
She had wetted them with her tears, and the twist was strong
as a cable. She rose, and her resolution was taken : the
dream must be made a reality. It was night, and her father
slept. She pressed a kiss upon his hand, and then took her
distaff, and fastened the end of the thread to her father's
house. But for this, blind as she was, she would never
have found her way home ; to the thread she must hold
fast, and trust not to herself or to others. From the Tree
of the Sun she broke four leaves ; these she would confide
to wind and weather, that they might fly to her brothers
as a letter and a greeting, in case she did not meet them
in the wide world. How would she fare out there, she, the
poor blind child ? But she had the invisible thread to
which she could hold fast. She possessed a gift which all
the others lacked. This was thoroughness ; and in virtue
of this it seemed as if she had eyes at the tips of her fingers
and ears down in her very heart.
And quietly she went forth into the noisy, whirling,
wonderful world, and wherever she went the sky grew bright
—she felt the warm ray—the rainbow spread itself out from
the dark cloud through the blue air. She heard the song
of the birds, and smelt the scent of orange groves and
apple orchards so strongly that she seemed to taste it. Soft
tones and charming songs reached her ear, but also howling
and roaring, and thoughts and opinions sounded in strange
contradiction to each other. Into the innermost depths of
her heart penetrated the echoes of human thoughts and
feelings. One chorus sounded darkly—
The life of earth is a shadow vain, A night created for sorrow!
but then came another strain—
The life of earth is the scent of the rope, With its sunshine and its pleasure.