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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a fishwife, and who, as she tells me, supplies three respect­able newspapers with the terms of abuse they use, and she has herself been there as an invited guest; but she was carried out thither, for she does not own a quill pen, nor can she ride. She has told me all about it. Half of what she says is not true, but the half is quite enough. When she was out there, the festivities began with a song : each of the guests had written his own song, and each one sang his own song, for he thought that the best, and it was all one, all the same melody. Then those came marching up, in little bands, who are only busy with their mouths. There were ringing bells that sang alternately ; and then came the little drummers that beat their tattoo in the family circle ; and acquaintance was made with those who write without putting their names, which here means as much as using grease instead of patent blacking ; and then there was the hangman with his boy, and the boy was the smartest, otherwise he would not be noticed ; then too there was the good street-sweeper with his cart, who turns over the dust-bin, and calls it " good, very good, remarkably good." And in the midst of the pleasure there shot up out of the great dirt-heap a stem, a tree, an immense flower, a great mushroom, a perfect roof, which formed a sort of storehouse for the worthy company, for in it hung everything they had given to the world during the Old Year. Out of the tree poured sparks like flames of fire ; these were the ideas and thoughts, borrowed from others, which they had used, and which now got free and rushed away like so many fireworks. They played at ' the fuse burns," and the young poets played at " heart­burns," and the witlings played off their jests, and the jests rolled away with a thundering sound, as if empty pots were being shattered against doors. " It was very amus­ing ! " my niece said ; in fact, she said many things that were very malicious but very amusing, but I won't mention them, for a man must be good-natured and not a carping critic. But you will easily perceive that when a man once knows the rights of the festival out there, as I know them, it's quite natural that on the New Year's Eve one should look out to see the wild chase go by. If in the New Year I miss certain persons who used to be there,