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                               585
experienced, though this token is not'often seen. I knew it, and a shuddering came upon me. tEwice in my life I have seen the same thing ; and I knew there would be an awful tempest, and a spring flood, which would overwhelm the poor people who were now drinking and dancing and rejoicing—young and old, the whole town had issued forth : who was to warn them, if no one saw what was coming yonder, or knew, as I did, what it meant ? I was dreadfully alarmed, and felt more lively than I had done for a long time. I crept out of bed, and got to the window, but could not crawl farther, I was so exhausted. But I managed to open the window. I saw the people outside running and jumping about on the ice ; I could see the beautiful flags that waved in the wind. I heard the boys shouting ' hurrah ! " and the servant men and maids singing. There were all kinds of merriment going on. But the white cloud with the black spot rose higher and higher ! I cried out as loud as I could, but no one heard me ; I was too far from the people. Soon the storm would burst, and the ice would break, and all who were upon it would be lost without remedy. They could not hear me, and I could not come out to them. Oh, if I could only bring them ashore ! Then kind Heaven inspired me with the thought of setting fire to my bed, and rather to let the house burn down, than that all those people should perish so miserably. I succeeded in lighting up a beacon for them. The red flame blazed up on high, and I escaped out of the door, but fell down exhausted on the threshold, and could get no farther. The flames rushed out towards me, flickered through the window, and rose high above the roof. All the people on the ice yonder beheld it, and ran as fast as they could, to give aid to a poor old woman who, they thought, was being burned to death. Not one remained behind. I heard them coming; but I also became aware of a rushing sound in the air ; I heard a rumbling like the sound of heavy artillery ; the spring flood was lifting the covering of ice, which broke in pieces. But the people succeeded in reaching the sea wall where the sparks were flying over me—I saved them all ! But I fancy I could not bear the cold and the fright, and so I came up here to the gates of Paradise. I am told they are opened to poor creatures like me—and now I have