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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908                BROWNIE AND THE DAME
Sigh in the Night", " My Evening-Red ", and " When I got Klemmensen ", my husband. You can pass over that, although it has feeling and thought. " The House-wife's Duties " is the best piece ! all very melancholy, in that lies my strength. Only one piece is jocular ; it contains some lively thoughts, such as one may also have, thoughts about, —you must not laugh at me—about being a poetess ! It is only known to myself and my drawer, and now also to you, Mr. Kisserup! I am very fond of poetry, it comes over me, it teases, and rules, and reigns over me. I have expressed it in the title, " Little Brownie." You know the old peasant belief in the brownie, who is always playing tricks in the house. I have imagined that I myself was the house, and that poetry, the feeling within me, was the brownie, the spirit which rules in me. His power and greatness I have sung in " The little Brownie ", but you must promise me with hand and mouth, never to disclose it to my husband or any one. Read it aloud, so that I can hear if you understand my writing !'
And the student read, and the dame listened, and the little brownie listened too ; he was eavesdropping, you know, and had just come when the title ' The little Brownie ' was read.
' That concerns me,' said he ; * what can she have written about me ? Oh! I shall pinch her, pinch her eggs, pinch her chickens, hound the fat off her fat calf. What a dame ! *
And he listened with pursed-up mouth and long ears, but as he heard about Brownie's glory and power, and his lordship over the dame (it was Poetry, you know, that she meant, but the brownie took it literally) the little fellow smiled more and more, his eyes sparkled with joy, there came something of a superior air into the corners of his mouth, he lifted his heels and stood on his toes, and became a whole inch taller than before ; he was delighted with what was said about the little brownie.
' The dame has soul and great breeding ! I have done the woman great injustice. She has set me in her " Clinch-ings ", which will be printed and read. Now, the cat will not get leave to drink her cream, I will do that myself! One drinks less than two, that is always a saving, and that I will introduce, and respect and honour the dame.'