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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582                               SOMETHING
Now, you see, this is only a little story ; but it will never end so long as the world lasts.
But did nothing further come of the five brothers ? For this was nothing at all.
Listen, it is a story in itself.
The eldest brother, who made bricks, became aware that every brick, when it was finished, produced for him a little coin, only of copper ; but many copper pennies laid one upon the other can become a shining dollar ; and wherever one knocks with such a dollar in one's hand, whether at the baker's, or the butcher's, or the tailor's—wherever it may be, the door flies open, and one gets what one wants. You see, that is what comes of bricks. Some certainly went to pieces, or broke in two, but there was a use even for these.
On the sea-dyke, Margaret, the poor woman, wished to build herself a little house. All the faulty bricks were given to her, and a few perfect ones into the bargain, for the eldest brother was a good-natured man, though he certainly did not achieve anything beyond the manufacture of bricks. The poor woman put together the house for herself. It was little and narrow, and the single window was quite crooked. The door was too low, and the thatched roof might have shown better workmanship. But after all it was a shelter ; and from the little house you could look far across the sea, whose waves broke vainly against the dyke. The salt billows spurted their spray over the whole house, which was still standing when he who had given the bricks was dead and gone.
The second brother knew better how to build a wall, for he had served an apprenticeship to it. When he had served his time and passed his examination, he packed his knapsack and sang the journeyman's song :
While I am young I'll wander, from place to place I'll roam, And everywhere build houses, until I come back home; And youth will give me courage, and my true love won't forget: Hurrah then for a workman's life ! I'll be a master yet!
And he carried his idea into effect. When he had come home and become a master, he built one house after another in the town. He built a whole street; and when the street was finished and had become an ornament to the place, the houses built a house for him in return, that was to be his