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

900                           THE TEA-POT
who gave it, I know not, but given it was, a compensation for the Chinese leaves and the boiling water, a compensation for the broken-off handle and spout. And the bulb lay in the earth, the bulb lay in me, it became my heart, my living heart, and such a thing I had never had before. There was life in me, there was strength and vigour. The pulse beat, the bulb sprouted, it was bursting with thoughts and feelings; then it broke out in flower; I saw it, I carried it, I forgot myself in its loveliness ; it is a blessed thing to forget oneself in others ! It did not thank me ; it did not think about me: it was admired and praised. I was so glad about it; how glad must it have been then ! One day I heard it said that it deserved a better pot. They broke me through the middle ; it was frightfully painful; but the flower was put in a better pot, and I was thrown out into the yard; I lie there like an old potsherd,óbut I have the remembrance, that I cannot lose.
It is winter-time. The earth wears a snowy garment, and looks like marble hewn out of the rock; the air is bright and clear; the wind is sharp as a well-tempered sword, and the trees stand like branches of white coral or blooming almond twigs, and here it is keen as on the lofty Alps.
The night is splendid with the gleam of the Northern Lights, and with the glitter of innumerable twinkling stars.
The storms come ; the clouds arise and shake out their swan's-down ; the snow-flakes fly ; they cover road and house, open fields and closed-in streets. But we sit in the warm room, by the hot stove, and talk about the old times. And we listen to this story :
By the open sea was a grave-mound; and on it sat at midnight the spirit of the buried hero, who had been a king. The golden circlet gleamed on his brow, his hair fluttered in the wind, and he was clad in steel and iron. He bent his head mournfully, and sighed in deep sorrow, as an unquiet spirit might sigh.
And a ship came sailing by. The sailors lowered the