The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

This is a story from the sand-dunes of Jutland ; though it does not begin in Jutland, but far away in the south, in Spain. The ocean is the high road between the nations— transport thyself thither in thought to Spain. There it is warm and beautiful, there the fiery pomegranate blossoms flourish among the dark laurels ; from the mountains a cool refreshing wind blows down, upon, and over the orange gardens, over the gorgeous Moorish halls with their golden cupolas and coloured walls : through the streets go children in procession, with candles and with waving flags, and over them, lofty and clear, rises the sky with its gleaming stars. There is a sound of song and of castanets, and youths and maidens join in the dance under the blooming acacias, while the beggar sits upon the hewn marble stone, refreshing himself with the juicy melon, and dreamily enjoying life. The whole is like a glorious dream. And there was a newly married couple who completely gave themselves up to its charm ; moreover, they possessed the good things of this life, health and cheerfulness of soul, riches and honour.
' We are as happy as it is possible to be,' exclaimed the young couple, from the depths of their hearts. They had indeed but one step more to mount in the ladder of happiness in the hope that God would give them a child—a son like them in form and in spirit.
The happy child would be welcomed with rejoicing, would be tended with all care and love, and enjoy every advantage that wealth and ease possessed by an influential family could give.
And the days went by like a glad festival.
1 Life is a gracious gift of Providence, an almost inap­preciable gift! ' said the young wife, ' and yet they tell us that fullness of joy is found only in the future life, for ever and ever. I cannot compass the thought.'
' And perhaps the thought arises from the arrogance of men,' said the husband, ' It seems a great pride to believe that we shall live for ever, that we shall be as gods. Were