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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THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER          631
along the ground, and runs round in a narrow circle. And this is a warning for us men, that in a}l our thoughts and schemes, in all our doings and devices, we should say, * God willing.' And Helga bowed her head thoughtfully, and looked at the circling ostrich, noticing its timid fear, and its stupid pleasure at sight of its own great shadow cast upon the white sunlit wall. And seriousness struck its roots deep into her mind and heart. A rich life in present and future happiness was given and won; and what was yet to come ? the best of all, ' God willing.'
In early spring, when the storks flew again towards the North, beautiful Helga took off her golden bracelet and scratched her name upon it ; and beckoning to the Stork -papa, she placed the golden hoop around his neck, and begged him to deliver it to the Viking woman, so that the latter might see that her adopted daughter was well, and had not forgotten her.
' That's heavy to carry,' thought the Stork-papa, when he had the golden ring round his neck ; ' but gold and honour are not to be flung on the highway. The stork brings good fortune ; they'll be obliged to acknowledge that up there.'
; You lay gold and I lay eggs,' said the Stork-mamma. ' But with you it's only once in a way, whereas I lay eggs every year ; but neither of us is appreciated—that's very disheartening.'
' Still one has one's inward consciousness, mother,' replied Stork-papa.
1 But you can't hang that round your neck,' Stork-mamma retorted, ' and it won't give you a good wind or a good meal.'
The little nightingale, singing in the tamarind tree, would soon be going north too. Helga the fair had often heard the sweet bird sing up yonder by the wild moss ; now she wanted to give it a message to carry, for she had learned the language of birds when she flew in the swan's plumage ; she had often conversed with stork and with swallow, and she knew the nightingale would understand her. So she begged the little bird to fly to the beech-wood on the peninsula of Jutland, where the grave-mound had been reared with stones and branches and asked the nightingale