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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560                  SOUP ON A SAUSAGE-PEG
whistled through the chimney. Oh ! it became so terrible that the little Mouse lost her stick at last.
' That was a heavy soup ! ' said the Mouse King. ' Shall we not soon hear about the preparation ? '
' That was all,' said the little Mouse, with a bow.
' That all! Then we should be glad to hear what the next has to relate,' said the Mouse King.
What the Second little Mouse had to tell
* I was born in the palace library,' said the second Mouse. * I and several members of our family never knew the happiness of getting into the dining-room, much less into the store-room; on my journey, and here to-day, are the only times I have seen a kitchen. We have indeed often been compelled to suffer hunger in the library, but we got a good deal of knowledge. The rumour penetrated even to us, of the royal prize offered to those who could cook soup upon a sausage-peg ; and it was my old grandmother who thereupon ferreted out a manuscript, which she certainly could not read, but which she had heard read out, and in which it was written : ' Those who are poets can boil soup upon a sausage-peg." She asked me if I were a poet. I felt quite innocent of that, and then she told me I must go out, and manage to become one. I again asked what was required for that, for it was as difficult for me to find that out as to prepare the soup ; but grandmother had heard a good deal of reading, and she said that three things were especially necessary: " Understanding, imagination, feeling—if you can go and get these into you, you are a poet, and the sausage-peg affair will be quite easy to you."
' And I went forth, and marched towards the west, away into the wide world, to become a poet.
' Understanding is the most important thing in every affair. I knew that, for the two other things are not held in half such respect, and consequently I went out first to seek understanding. Yes, where does that dwell? " Go to the ant and be wise," said the great King of the Jews ; I knew that from the library ; and I never stopped till