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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THE PSYCHE                             849
Brother Ignatius strengthened his longings, and the determination became firm within him. A child of the world became a servant of the Church—the young artist renounced the world, and retired into the cloister.
The brothers came forward affectionately to welcome him, and his inauguration was as a Sunday feast. Heaven seemed to him to dwell in the sunshine of the church, and to beam upon him from the holy pictures and from the cross. And when, in the evening, at the sunset hour, he stood in his little cell, and, opening the window, looked out upon old Rome, upon the desolated temples, and the great dead Coliseum—when he saw all this in its spring garb, when the acacias bloomed, and the ivy was fresh, and roses burst forth everywhere, and the citron and orange were in the height of their beauty, and the palm trees waved their branches—then he felt a deeper emotion than had ever yet thrilled through him. The quiet open Campagna spread itself forth towards the blue snow-covered mountains, which seemed to be painted in the air ; all the outlines melting into each other, breathing peace and beauty, floating, dreaming—and all appearing like a dream !
Yes, this world was a dream, and the dream lasts for hours, and may return for hours ; but convent life is a life of years—long years, and many years.
From within comes much that renders men impure. He felt the truth of this. What flames arose in him at times ! What a source of evil, of that which he would not, welled up continually ! He mortified his body, but the evil came from within.
One day, after the lapse of many years, he met Angelo, who recognized him.
' Man ! ' exclaimed Angelo. ' Yes, it is thou ! Art thou happy now ? Thou hast sinned against God, and cast away His boon from thee—hast neglected thy mission in this world ! Read the parable of the talents ! The Master, who spoke that parable, spoke truth ! What hast thou gained ? what hast thou found ? Dost thou not fashion for thyself a religion and a dreamy life after thine own idea, as almost all do ? Suppose all this is a dream, a fair delusion ! '