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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794                        THE ICE MAIDEN
sportsman had shot the Fowl's tail away, looking upon the bird as a bird of prey.
' Rudy wants to go across the mountains,' said one of the Fowls.
' He 's always in a hurry,' said the other, ' and I don't like saying good-bye.'
And with this they both tripped away.
To the Goats he also said farewell; and they bleated * Meek ! meek ! ' which made him feel very sorrowful.
Two brave guides from the neighbourhood, who wanted to go across the mountains to the other side of the Gemmi, took him with them, and he followed them on foot. It was a tough march for such a little fellow, but Rudy was a strong boy, and his courage never gave way.
The Swallows flew with them for a little distance. * We and ye ! we and ye ! ' sang they. The road led across the foaming Lutschine, which pours forth in many little streams from the black cleft of the Grindelwald glacier and fallen trunks of trees and blocks of stone serve for a bridge. When they had reached the forest opposite, they began to ascend the slope where the glacier had slipped away from the mountain, and now they strode across and around ice blocks over the glacier. Rudy some­times had alternately to crawl and to walk for some dis­tance : his eyes gleamed with delight, and he trod so firmly in his spiked climbing-shoes that it seemed as if he wished to leave a trace behind him at every footstep. The black earth which the mountain stream had strewn over the glacier gave the great mass a swarthy look, but the bluish-green glassy ice nevertheless peered through. They had to make circuits round the numerous little lakes which had formed among the great blocks of ice, and now and then they passed close to a great stone that lay totter­ing on the edge of a crack in the ice, and sometimes the stone would overbalance, and roll crashing down, and a hollow echo sounded forth from the deep dark fissures in the glacier.
Thus they continued climbing. The glacier itself ex­tended upwards like a mighty river of piled-up ice masses, shut in by steep rocks. Rudy thought for a moment of the tale they had told him, how he and his mother had