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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WHO WAS THE LUCKIEST ?               981
looked upon that as a distinction. A butterfly flew down upon it, and kissed its leaves. This was a wooer ; she let him fly away again. There came an immensely big grass­hopper ; he sat himself certainly upon another rose, and rubbed his shin-bone in amorous mood—that is the sign of love with grasshoppers. The rose he sat qn did not under­stand it, but the rose with the distinction did, for the grass­hopper looked at her with eyes which said, ' I could eat you up out of sheer love !' and no farther can love ever go; then the one is absorbed by the other ! But the rose would not be absorbed by the jumper. The nightingale sang in the clear starry night.
' It is for me alone ! ' said the rose with the blemish or distinction. ' Why should I thus in every respect be distinguished above all my sisters ? Why did I get this peculiarity, which makes me the luckiest ? '
Then two gentlemen smoking cigars came into the garden; they talked about roses and about tobacco ; roses, it was said, could not stand smoke, they lose their colour and become green ; it was worth trying. They had not the heart to take one of the very finest roses, they took the one with the blemish.
' What a new distinction ! ' it said, ' I am exceedingly lucky ! The very luckiest 1'
And it became green with self-consciousness and tobacco smoke.
One rose, still half-blown, perhaps the finest on the tree, got the place of honour in the gardener's tastefully arranged bouquet; it was brought to the young, lordly master of the house, and drove with him in the carriage ; it sat as a flower of beauty among other flowers and lovely green leaves ; it went to a splendid gathering, where men and women sat in fine attire illuminated by a thousand lamps; music sounded ; it was in the sea of light which filled the theatre ; and when amidst the storm of applause the celebrated young dancer fluttered forward on the stage, bouquet after bouquet flew like a rain of flowers before her feet. There fell the bouquet in which the lovely rose sat like a gem. It felt the fullness of its indescribable good fortune, the honour and splendour into which it floated ; and as it touched the floor, it danced too, it sprang, and