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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800
THE ICE MAIDEN
many feet from them ; but the concussion of the air, the stormy wings of the avalanche, broke trees and shrubs all around as if they had been frail reeds, and scattered the fragments headlong down. Rudy lay crouched upon the earth, the trunk of the tree to which he clung was split through, and the crown hurled far away ; and there among the broken branches lay uncle, with his head shattered : his hand was still warm, but his face could no longer be recognized. Rudy stood by him pale and trembling ; it was the first fright of his life—the first time he felt a shudder run through him.
Late at night he brought the sorrowful news into his home, which was now a house of mourning. The wife could find no words, no tears for her grief ; at last, when the corpse was brought home, her sorrow found utterance. The poor cretin crept into his bed, and was not seen during the whole of the next day ; but at last, towards evening, he stole up to Rudy.
1 Write a letter for me,' he said. ' Saperli can't write, but Saperli can carry the letter to the post.'
1 A letter from you ? ' asked Rudy. ' And to whom ? '
' To the Lord.'
' To whom do you say ? '
And the simpleton, as they called the cretin, looked at Rudy with a moving glance, folded his hands, and said solemnly and slowly,
1 To the Saviour ! Saperli will send Him a letter, and beg that Saperli may lie dead, and not the man in the house here.'
Rudy pressed his hand, and said,
' The letter would not arrive, and it cannot restore him to us.'
But it was very difficult to make poor Saperli believe that this was impossible.
' Now thou art the prop of this house,' said the widow ; and Rudy became that.