The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

mad life as it might be called ; and at certain times he felt an inclination for it. He had warm blood, a strong imagina­tion, and could take part in the merry chat, and laugh aloud with the rest; but what they called " Raphael's merry life n disappeared before him like a vapour when he saw the divine radiance that beamed forth from the pictures of the great master ; and when he stood in the Vatican, before the forms of beauty which the masters had hewn out of marble, thousands of years since, his breast swelled, and he felt within himself something high, something holy, something elevating, great, and good, and he wished that he could produce similar forms from the blocks of marble. He wished to make a picture of that which was within him, stirring upward from his heart to the realms of the infinite ; but how, and in what form ? The soft clay was fashioned under his fingers into forms of beauty, but the next day he broke what he had fashioned, according to his wont.
' One day he walked past one of those rich palaces of which Rome has many to show. He stopped before the great open portal, and beheld a garden surrounded by cloistered walks. The garden bloomed with a goodly show of the fairest roses. Great white lilies with green juicy leaves shot upward from the marble basin in which the clear water was splashing ; and a form glided past, a young girl, the daughter of the princely house, graceful, delicate, and wonderfully fair. Such a form of female loveliness he had never before beheld—yet, stay : he had seen it, painted by Raphael, painted as a Psyche, in one of the Roman palaces. Yes, there she was painted ; but here she walked alive.
* The remembrance lived in his thoughts, in his heart. He went home to his humble room, and modelled a Psyche of clay. It was the rich young Roman girl, the noble maiden; and for the first time he looked at his work with satisfaction. It had a meaning for him, for it was she. And the friends who saw his work shouted aloud for joy; they declared that this work was a manifestation of his artistic power, of which they had long been aware, and that now the world should be made aware of it too.
■ The clay figure was lifelike and beautiful, but it had not the whiteness or the durability of marble. So they declared