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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Death is, and remains, the most trustworthy official, in spite of his many small occupations. Have you never thought over this ?
' Death is the omnibus conductor, he is the passport-writer, he puts his name to our character book, and he is the director of the great savings bank of life. Can you understand it ? All the deeds of our earthly life, great and small, we put in the savings bank, and when Death comes with his removing-day omnibus, and we must go into it and drive to the land of eternity, then at the boundary he gives us our character-book as a passport. For pocket-money on the journey he takes out of the savings bank one or other of the deeds we have done, the one that most shows our worth. That may be delightful, but it may also be terrible.
' No one has escaped yet from the omnibus drive. They certainly tell about one who was not allowed to go with it—the shoemaker of Jerusalem, he had to run behind ; if he had got leave to come into the omnibus, then he would have escaped being a subject for the poets. Peep just once with your thoughts into the great omnibus of the removing-day ! It is a mixed company ! The king and the beggar sit side by side, the genius and the idiot ; they must set off, without goods or gold, only with their character-book and the savings bank pocket-money ; but which of one's deeds will be brought forward and sent with one ? Perhaps a very little one, as small as a pea, but the pea can send out a blossoming plant.
1 The poor outcast, who sat on the low stool in the corner, and got blows and hard words, will perhaps get his worn-out stool with him as a token and a help. The stool becomes a sedan-chair to carry him into the land of eternity; it raises itself there to a throne, shining like gold, and flower­ing like an arbour.
' One, who in this life always went about and tippled pleasure's spicy drink to forget other mischief he had done, gets his wooden keg with him and must drink from it on the omnibus journey; and the drink is pure and clear, so that the thoughts are cleared ; all good and noble feelings are awakened, he sees and feels what he did not care to see before, or could not see, and so he has his