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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PETER, PETE, AND PETERKIN            911
There were thus three brothers, three shooting-stars cradled each in his own flower, laid under the water-lily leaf in the mill-dam, and brought from there to the family Peterson, whose house is at the corner, as you know.
They grew up both in body and soul, and then they wished to be something still greater than the two and thirty men.
Peter said that he would be a robber. He had seen the play of * Fra Diavolo ', and made up his mind for the robber-business as the most delightful in the world.
Pete would be a rattle-man, and Peterkin, who was such a good, sweet child, round and plump, but who bit his nails (that was his only fault), Peterkin would be ' Father \ That is what each of them said when any one asked what they wanted to be in the world.
And then they went to school. One became dux, and one became dunce, and one was betwixt and between ; but for all that they might be equally good and equally clever, and that they were, said their very clear-sighted parents.
They went to children's balls ; they smoked cigars when no one saw them ; they grew in learning and knowledge.
Peter was stubborn from his earliest days, as of course a robber must be; he was a very naughty boy, but his mother said that was because he suffered from worms ; naughty children have always worms ;ómud in the stomach. His self-will and stubbornness one day spent themselves on his mother's new silk dress.
'Don't push the coffee-table, my lamb,' she had said;
you might upset the cream-jug, and I should get a stain on my new silk dress.' And the 'lamb' took the cream-jug with a firm hand, and emptied it right into mother's lap, who could not help saying, ' My lamb, my lamb, that was not considerate of you, my lamb ! ' But the child had a will, she must admit. Will shows character, and that is so promising for a mother. He might certainly have become a robber, but he did not become it literally ; he only came to look like a robber ; went about with a soft hat, bare neck, and long, loose hair ; he was going to be an artist, but only got into the clothes of one, and also looked like a hollyhock ; all the people he drew, looked