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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AUNTIE                                   945
looked down into the tier underneath, it was empty, it was low, and it was near. Auntie, in her fear, felt herself so young and active ; she would jump down ; she got one leg over the balustrade and the other off the bench. There she sat astride, beautifully draped with her flowered skirt, with one long leg dangling out, a leg with a monster sledging-boot. That was a sight to see ! and when it was seen, Auntie was also heard, and saved from burning, for the theatre was not burnt after all.
That was the most memorable evening of her life, she said, and she was glad that she had not been able to see herself ; for then she would have died of shame.
Her benefactor, Mr. Sivertson, came constantly to her every Sunday, but it was a long time from Sunday to Sunday. Latterly, therefore, in the middle of the week she had a little child for ' the leavings ', that is to say, to enjoy what had been left over from dinner-time. This was a little child from the ballet, who was in need of food. The little one appeared on the stage both as a page and a fairy ; her hardest part was that of hind-legs for the lion in ' The Enchanted Whistle ', but she grew to be fore-legs in the lion. She only got a shilling for this, whereas for the back-legs she got two ; but there she had to go about stooping, and missed the fresh air. It was very interesting to know all this, Auntie thought.
She had deserved to live as long as the theatre lasted, but she was not able to do that ; she did not die there either, but respectably and quietly in her own bed. Her last words were full of meaning ; she asked, * What are they playing to-morrow ? '
She left behind her about five hundred rix-dollars : we infer that from the interest, which is twenty rix-dollars. Auntie had assigned these as a legacy for a worthy old maid without relatives ; they should be applied yearly to pay for a seat in the second tier, left side, and on Saturdays, for then they gave the best pieces. There was only one condition for the person who profited by the legacy ; every Saturday in the theatre, she must think of Auntie, who lay in her grave.
That was Auntie's religion.