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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It was in the beginning of spring ; the crocus and the snowdrop were blooming around.
' They are very pretty,' thought the Butterfly. ' Charming little lasses, but a little too much of the schoolgirl about them.' Like all young lads, he looked out for the elder girls.
Then he flew off to the anemones. These were a little too bitter for his taste; the violet somewhat too sentimental; the tulips too showy; the eastern lilies too plebeian; the lime blossoms were too small, and, moreover, they had too many relations ; the apple blossoms—they looked like roses, but they bloomed to-day, to fall off to-morrow, to fall beneath the first wind that blew ; and he thought that a marriage with them would last too short a time. The Pease Blossom pleased him best of all : she was white and red, and graceful and delicate, and belonged to the domestic maidens who look well, and at the same time are useful in the kitchen. He was just about to make his offer, when close by the maiden he saw a pod at whose end hung a withered flower.
' Who is that ? ' he asked.
' That is my sister,' replied the Pease Blossom.
' Oh, indeed ; and you will get to look like her !' he said.
And away he flew, for he felt quite shocked.
The honeysuckle hung forth blooming from the hedge, but there were a number of girls like that, with long faces and sallow complexions. No, he did not like her.
But which one did he like 1
The spring went by, and the summer drew towards its close ; it was autumn, but he was still undecided.
And now the flowers appeared in their most gorgeous robes, but in vain—they had lost the fresh fragrant air of youth. But the heart demands fragrance, even when it is no longer young, and there is very little of that to be found among the dahlias and dry chrysanthemums, therefore the Butterfly turned to the Mint on the ground.
This plant has no blossom ; but indeed it is blossom all over, full of fragrance from head to foot, with flower scent in every leaf.
' I shall take her,' said the Butterfly.
And he made an offer to her.