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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838                         THE ICE MAIDEN
Sun recline on the lofty mountains, and renew the song of the wanderer whose cloak the whirlwind once tore away, taking the garment but not the man.
There is a rosy gleam on the snow of the mountains, a rosy gleam in every heart in which dwells the thought, ' God lets that happen which is best for us ! ' But the cause is not always revealed to us, as it was revealed to Babette in her dream.
The Butterfly wished for a bride ; naturally, he wanted a very pretty one from among the flowers ; so he looked at them, and found that every flower sat quietly and demurely on her stalk, just as a maiden ought to sit before she is engaged ; but there were a great many of them, and the choice threatened to become wearisome. The Butterfly did not care to take much trouble, and so he flew off to the daisy. The French call this floweret ' Marguerite ', and they know that Marguerite can prophesy, when lovers pluck off its leaves, and ask of every leaf they pluck some question concerning their lovers. ' Heartily ? Painfully ? Loves me much ? A little ? Not at all ? ' and so on. Every one asks in his own language. The Butterfly also came to inquire ; but he did not pluck off her leaves : he kissed each of them, for he considered that most is to be done with kindness.
' Darling Marguerite daisy ! ' he said to her, ' you are the wisest woman among the flowers. Pray, pray tell me, shall I get this one or that ? Which will be my bride ? When I know that, I will directly fly to her and propose for her.'
But Marguerite did not answer him. She was angry that he had called her a ' woman ', when she was yet a girl; and there is a great difference. He asked for the second and for the third time, and when she remained dumb, and answered him not a word, he would wait no longer, but flew away to begin his wooing at once.