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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There is a street in Copenhagen that has this strange name—* Hysken Strsede.' Whence comes this name and what is its meaning ? It is said to be German ; but injustice has been done to the Germans in this matter, for it would have to be ' Hauschen', and that means little houses. For here stood, once upon a time, and indeed for a great many years, a few little houses, which were little more than wooden booths, just as we see now in the market-places at fair-time. They were, perhaps, a little larger, and had windows; but the panes were of horn or bladder, for glass was then too expensive to be used in every house. But then we are speaking of a long time ago—so long since, that grandfather's grandfather, when he talked about it, used to speak of it as ' the old times '—in fact, it is several centuries ago.
The rich merchants in Bremen and Liibeck carried on trade with Copenhagen. They did not come here themselves, but sent their clerks, who lived in the wooden booths in the street of the small houses, and sold beer and spices. The German beer was good, and there were many kinds of it—Bremen, and Pryssing, Emser, and even Brunswick mumm ; and quantities of spices were sold—saffron, and aniseed, and ginger, and especially pepper. Yes, pepper was the chief article here ; and so it happened that the German clerks got the nickname, ' pepper gentry'; and there was a condition which they had to enter into at home, that they would not marry at Copenhagen, and many of them became very old. They had to care for themselves, and to look after their own comforts, and to put out their own fires—when they had any ; and some of them became very solitary old boys, with eccentric ideas and eccentric habits. From them, all unmarried men who have attained a certain age are called in Denmark * pepper gentry ' ; and this must be understood by all who wish to comprehend this history.
The ' pepper gentleman' becomes a butt for ridicule, and