THE PUPPET SHOWMAN
they killed me. I found myself lying on my bed in my room ; and how I got there, and how I got away at all from the Polytechnic candidate, he may perhaps know, for I don't. The moon shone upon the floor where the box lay open, and the dolls all in a confusion together—great and small all scattered about; but I was not slow. Out of bed I jumped, and into the box they all had to go, some on their heads, some on their feet, and I shut down the lid and seated myself upon the box. " Now you'll just have to stay there," said I, " and I shall beware how I wish you flesh and blood again." I felt quite light; my good humour had come back, and I was the happiest of mortals. The Polytechnic student had fully purified me. I sat as happy as a king, and went to sleep on the box. The next morning—strictly speaking it was noon, for I slept wonderfully late that day—I was still sitting there, happy and conscious that my former wish had been a foolish one. I inquired for the Polytechnic candidate, but he was gone, like the Greek and Roman gods ; and from that time I've been the happiest of men. I am a happy director : none of my company ever grumble, nor my public either, for they are always merry. I can put my pieces together just as I please. I take out of every comedy what pleases me best, and no one is angry at it. Pieces that are neglected nowadays at the great theatres, but which the public used to run after thirty years ago, and at which it used to cry till the tears ran down its cheeks, these pieces I now take up : I put them before the little ones, and the little ones cry just as papa and mamma used to cry ; but I shorten them, for the youngsters don't like a long palaver of a love story ; what they want is something mournful, but quick. Now I have travelled through all Denmark in every manner of way ; I know all people and am known in return ; now I am on my way to Sweden, and if I am successful there, and make money out of it, I shall be a zealous Scandinavian —not otherwise ; I tell you that because you are my countryman.'
And I, being his countryman, of course immediately tell it again, just for the pleasure of telling it.