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 WICKED PRINCE
643
a thousand bullets flew out on all sides, while the gun barrels were reloaded immediately. Hundreds of eagles were harnessed in front of the ship, and in this way he now flew towards the sun. Deep lay the earth below him ! With its mountains and forests, it seemed but a ploughed field where the green peeps out from the overturned grass turf ; soon it appeared only like a flat map ; and at last it lay completely hidden in mist and cloud. Ever higher flew the eagles, up into the air ; then one of the innumerable angels appeared. The wicked Prince hurled thousands of bullets against him ; but the bullets sprang back from the angel's shining pinions, and fell down like hail-stones ; but a drop of blood, one single drop, fell from one of the white wing-feathers, and this drop fell upon the ship in which the Prince sat, and burned its way deep into the ship, and weighing like a thousand hundredweight of lead, dragged down the ship in headlong fall towards the earth ; the strongest pinions of the eagles broke ; the wind roared round the Prince's head, and the cloudsóformed from the smoke of burned citiesódrew themselves together in threatening shapes, like huge sea-crabs stretching forth their claws and nippers towards him, like rolling masses of rock and fire-vomiting dragons, till the Prince lay half dead in the ship, which at last remained hanging in the thick branches of a forest.
' I will conquer Heaven ! ' said the Prince. ' I have sworn it, and my will must be done ! '
And for seven years he caused his men to work at making ships for sailing through the air, and had thunder≠bolts made of the hardest steel, for he wished to storm the fortress of Heaven ; out of all his dominions he gathered armies together, so that when they were drawn up in rank and file they covered a space of several miles. The armies went on board the ships, and the Prince approached his own vessel. Then there was sent out against him a swarm of gnats, a single swarm of little gnats. The swarm buzzed round the Prince, and stung his face and hands : raging with anger, he drew his sword and struck all round him ; but he only struck the empty air, for he could not hit the gnats. Then he commanded his people to bring costly hangings, and to wrap them around him, so that no gnat