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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SOMETHING                              581
high in point of intellect. I must begin at the bottom— I may as well say it straight out; so I-must begin as a carpenter's apprentice, and must go about with a cap, though I am accustomed to wear a silk hat. I shall have to fetch beer and spirits for the common journeymen, and they will call me " thou ", and that is insulting ! But I shall imagine to myself that the whole thing is only acting, and a kind of masquerade. To-morrow—that is to say, when I have served my time—I shall go my own way, and the others will be nothing to me. I shall go to the academy, and get instructions in drawing, and shall be called an architect. That's something! I may get to be called " sir ", and even " worshipful sir ", or even get a handle at the front or at the back of my name, and shall go on building and building, just as those before me have built. That will always be a thing to remember, and that's what / call something ! '
' But I don't care at all for that something,' said the fourth. ' / won't sail in the wake of others, and be a copyist. I will be a genius, and will stand up greater than all the rest of you together. I shall be the creator of a new style, and will give the plan of a building suitable to the climate and the material of the country, for the nationality of the people, for the development of the age—and an additional story for my own genius.'
' But supposing the climate and the material are bad,' said the fifth, ' that would be a disastrous circumstance, for these two exert a great influence ! Nationality, more­over, may expand itself until it becomes affectation, and the development of the century may run wild with your work, as youth often runs wild. I can quite well see that none of you will be anything real, however much you may believe in yourselves. But, do what you like, I will not resemble you : I shall keep on the outside of things, and criticize whatever you produce. To every work there is attached something that is not right; and I will ferret that out and find fault with it; and that will be doing something !'
And he kept his word ; and everybody said concerning this fifth brother, ' There is certainly something in him ; he has a good head, but he does nothing.' And by that very means they thought something of him !