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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supper ; and then the men began telling stories of the mysterious beings of the Alpine land : of the strange gigantic serpents that lay coiled in the deep lakes ; of the marvellous company of spirits that had been known to carry sleeping men by night through the air to the wonder­ful floating city, Venice ; of the wild shepherd who drove his black sheep across the mountain pastures, and how, though no man had seen him, the sound of the bell and the ghostly bleating of the flock had been heard by many. Rudy listened attentively, but without any feeling of fear, for he knew not what fear meant; and while he listened he seemed to hear the hollow, unearthly bleating and lowing ; and it became more and more audible, so that presently the men heard it too, and stopped in their talk to listen, and told Rudy he must not go to sleep. •
It was a ' Fohn ', the mighty whirlwind that hurls itself from the mountains into the valley, cracking the trees in its strength as if they were feeble reeds, and carrying the wooden houses from one bank of a river to the other as we move the figures on a chessboard.
After the lapse of about an hour, they told Rudy it was all over, and he might go to sleep ; and tired out with his long march, he went to sleep as at the word of command.
Very early next morning they resumed their journey. This day the sun shone on new mountains for Rudy, on fresh glaciers and new fields of snow : they had entered the Canton of Wallis, and had proceeded beyond the ridge which could be seen from the Grindelwald ; but they were still far from the new home. Other chasms came in view, new valleys, forests, and mountain paths, and new houses also came into view, and other people. But what strange-looking people were these ! They were deformed, and had fat, sallow faces ; and from their necks hung heavy, ugly lumps of flesh, like bags : they were cretins, dragging themselves languidly along, and looking at the strangers with stupid eyes ; the women especially were hideous in appearance. Were the people in his new home like these ?