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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886                 THE GOLDEN TREASURE
The boy was taken to church; the boy was christened. There was nothing much to be said about his name ; he was called Peter. The whole town, and the Drum too, called him ' Peter the drummer's boy with the red hair '; but his mother kissed his red hair, and called him her golden treasure.
In the hollow way in the clayey bank, many had scratched their names as a remembrance.
' Celebrity is always something !' said the drummer ; and so he scratched his own name there, and his little son's name likewise.
And the swallows came : they had, on their long journey, seen more durable characters engraven on rocks, and on the walls of the temples in Hindostan, mighty deeds of great kings, immortal names, so old that no one now could read or speak them. Remarkable celebrity !
In the clayey bank the martins built their nest: they bored holes in the deep declivity, and the splashing rain and the thin mist came and crumbled and washed the names away, and the drummer's name also, and that of his little son.
! Peter's name remained, however, a year and a half!' said the father.
' Fool 1' thought the Fire-drum ; but it only said,' Dub, dub, dub, rub-a-dub !'
He was a boy full of life and gladness, this drummer's son with the red hair. He had a lovely voice : he could sing, and he sang like a bird in the woodland. There was melody, and yet no melody.
' He must become a choir-boy/ said his mother. ' He shall sing in the church, and stand under the beautiful gilded angels who are like him !'
' Fiery cat!' said some of the witty ones of the town.
The Drum heard that from the neighbours' wives.
1 Don't go home, Peter,' cried the street boys. ' If you sleep in the garret, there'll be a fire in the house, and the fire-drum will have to be beaten.'
1 Look out for the drumsticks,' replied Peter ; and, small as he was, he ran up boldly, and gave the foremost such a punch in the body with his fist that the fellow lost his legs