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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760
THE BEETLE
In the meantime the Beetle had been journeying on, and had sailed across the ditch on a cabbage leaf. In the morning two persons came to the ditch. When they saw him, they took him up, and turned him over and over; they were very learned, especially one of them—a boy.
1 Allah sees the black beetle in the black stone and in the black rock. Is not that written in the Koran % ' Then he translated the Beetle's name into Latin, and enlarged upon the creature's nature and history. The older scholar voted against carrying him home. He said they had just as good specimens ; and this seemed an uncivil speech to our Beetle, and in consequence he flew suddenly out of the speaker's hand. As he had now dry wings, he flew a con­siderable distance, and reached a hothouse, where a sash of the glass roof was partly open, so he quietly slipped in and buried himself in the warm earth.
' Very comfortable it is here/ said he.
Soon after he went to sleep, and dreamed that the Emperor's horse had fallen, and that Mr. Beetle had got its golden shoes, with the promise that he should have two more.
That was all very charming. When the Beetle woke up, he crept forth and looked around him. What splendour was in the hothouse ! Great palm trees growing up on high ; the sun made them look transparent; and beneath them what a luxuriance of green, and of beaming flowers, red as fire, yellow as amber, or white as fresh-fallen snow !
1 This is an incomparable show of plants,' cried the Beetle. ' How good they will taste when they are decayed ! A capital store-room this ! There must certainly be relations of mine living here. I will just see if I can find any one with whom I may associate. I'm proud, certainly, and I'm proud of being so.'
And so he prowled about in the earth, and thought what a pleasant dream that was about the dead horse, and the golden shoes he had inherited.
Suddenly a hand seized the Beetle, and pressed him, and turned him round and round.
The gardener's little son and a companion were in the hothouse, had espied the Beetle, and wanted to have their fun with him. First he was wrapped in a vine leaf, and then