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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668                OLE THE TOWER-KEEPER
a pity one can't read the first volumes of it, because they're written in a language that we don't understand. One must read in the different strata, in the pebble-stones, for each separate period. And it is only in the sixth volume that the human personages first appear, Adam and Eve ; that is a little too late for some readers, they would like to have them at once, but it is all the same to me. Yes, it is a romance, a very wonderful romance, and we all have our place in it. We grope and ferret about, and yet remain where we are, but the ball keeps turning, without emptying the ocean over us ; the crust we walk upon holds together, and does not let us through. And then it's a story that has been acting for millions of years, with constant pro­gress. My best thanks for the book about the cobble­stones. Those are fellows indeed ! they could tell us something worth hearing, if they only knew how to talk. It's really a pleasure, now and then to become a mere nothing, especially when a man is as highly placed as I am. And then to think that we all, even with patent lacquer, are nothing more than insects of a moment on that ant­hill the earth, though we may be insects with stars and garters, places and offices ! One feels quite a novice beside these venerable million-year-old cobble-stones. On last New Year's Eve I was reading the book, and had lost myself in it so completely, that I forgot my usual New Year's diversion, namely, the wild hunt to Amager. Ah, you don't know what that is !
' The journey of the witches on broomsticks is well enough known—that journey is taken on St. John's Eve, to the Brocken ; but we have a wild journey also, which is national and modern, and that is the journey to Amager on the eve of the New Year. All indifferent poets and poetesses, musicians, newspaper writers, and artistic nota­bilities, I mean those who are no good, ride in the New Year's Eve through the air to Amager. They sit astride on their painting brushes or quill pens, for steel pens won't bear them, they're too stiff. As I told you, I see it every New Year's Eve, and could mention most of them by name, but I should not like to draw their enmity upon myself, for they don't like people to talk about their ride to Amager on quill pens. I've a kind of niece, who is