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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' WILL-O'-THE-WISPS ARE IN THE TOWN ' 859
again close by the gravestone, as if to point out what grew there. Four-leaved clover grew there ; there were seven of them. When fortune comes, it comes in a heap. He plucked the clover leaves, and put them in his pocket.
' Fortune is as good as ready money, but a new, charming story would be better still,' thought the man ; but he could not find it here.
And the sun went down, red and large ; the meadow was covered with vapour : the Moor-woman was at her brewing.
It was evening : he stood alone in his room, and looked out upon the sea, over the meadow, over moor and coast. The moon shone bright, a mist was over the meadow, making it look like a great lake ; and, indeed, it was once so, as the legend tells—and in the moonlight there was evidence of the truth of the story.
Then the man thought of what he had been reading in the town, that William Tell and Holger the Dane never really lived, but yet live in popular story, like the lake yonder, a living evidence for such myths. Yes, Holger the Dane will return again !
As he stood thus and thought, something beat quite strongly against the window. Was it a bird, a bat, or an owl ? Those are not let in, even when they knock. The window flew open of itself, and an old woman looked in at the man.
' What's your pleasure ? ' said he. ' Who are you ? You're looking in at the first floor window. Are you stand­ing on a ladder ? '
' You have a four-leaved clover in your pocket,' she replied. ' Indeed, you have seven, and one of them is a six-leaved one.'
' Who are you ? ' asked the man again.
1 The Moor-woman,' she replied. ' The Moor-woman who brews. I was at it. The bung was in the cask, but one of the little moor-imps pulled it out in his mischief, and flung it up into the yard, where it beat against the window ; and now the beer 's running out of the cask, and that won't do good to anybody.' '* Pray tell me some more ! ' said the man.
' Ah, wait a little,' answered the Moor-woman. ' I've something else to do just now.' And she was gone.