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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Who is the best marksman in the Canton of Wallis ? The chamois knew well enough, and said to each other, ' Beware of Rudy.' Who is the handsomest marksman ? ' Why, Rudy,' said the girls ; but they did not add,' Beware of Rudy.' Nor did even the grave mothers pronounce such a warning, for Rudy nodded at them just as kindly as at the young maidens. How quick and merry he was ! His cheeks were browned, his teeth regular and white, and his eyes black and shining ; he wras a handsome lad, and only twenty years old. The icy water could not harm him when he swam ; he could turn and twist in the water like a fish, and climb better than any man in the moun­tains ; he could cling like a snail to the rocky ledge, for he had good sinews and muscles of his own ; and he showed that in his power of jumping, an art he had learned first from the Cat and afterwards from the goats. Rudy was the safest guide to whom any man could trust himself, and might have amassed a fortune in that calling ; his uncle had also taught him the craft of tub-making ; but he did not take to that occupation, preferring chamois hunting, which also brought in money. Rudy was what might be called a good match, if he did not look higher than his station. And he was such a dancer that the girls dreamed of him, and indeed more than one of them carried the thought of him into her waking hours.
1 He kissed me once at the dance ! ' said the school­master's daughter Annette to her dearest girl-friend ; but she should not have said that, even to her dearest friend. A secret of that kind is hard to keep—it is like sand in a sieve, sure to run out ; and soon it was known that Rudy, honest lad though he was, kissed his partner in the dance ; and yet he had not kissed the one whom he would have liked best of all to kiss.
' Yes,' said an old hunter, ' he has kissed Annette. He has begun with A, and will kiss his way through the whole alphabet.'
A kiss at the dance was all that the busy tongues could
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