GODFATHER'S PICTURE-BOOK 975
sunshine is God ! Our Lord reigns over more than Copenhagen.'
So said Godfather, and gave me the book. His eyes shone, he was so certain of the thing. And I took the book so gladly, so proudly, and so carefully, just as I lately carried my little sister for the first time.
And Godfather said : : You are quite welcome to show your picture-book to one or another ; you may also say that I have made, pasted, and drawn the whole work. But it is a matter of life or death, that they know at once from where I have got the idea of it. You know it, so tell it them ! The idea is due to the old oil-lamps, who just, on the last evening they burned, showed for the town's gas-lights like a Fata Morgana, all that had been seen from the time the first lamp was lighted at the harbour, till this evening when Copenhagen was lighted both with oil and gas.
' You may show the book to whom you please, that is to say, to people with kind eyes and friendly hearts ; but if a death-horse should come, then close Godfather's Picture-book.'
Outside the factory lay heaps of clouts piled up in stacks, gathered together from far and wide ; every rag had its story, every one was telling his own tale, but one cannot listen to them altogether. Some rags were native, others came from foreign countries. Here a Danish rag lay close to a Norwegian rag; real Danish was the one, and thoroughly Norwegian the other, and that was the amusing thing about the two of them, every sensible Norwegian and Dane will say.
They knew each other by their speech, although each of these, said the Norwegian, was as different as French and Hebrew. ' We do our best to get ours raw and original, while the Dane makes his sickly-sweet flavourless language for himself.'
The rags talked, and a rag is a rag in every country; they only count for something in the cloth-heap.