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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told about the village, the vineyard, the wood, the old castle with the park, in which were canals and dams ; down there in the water, dwelt also living things, which in their own way could also fly from place to place under the water, beings with thought and knowledge ; they said nothing, so wise were they.
And the swallow, which had dipped down into the water, told about the lovely gold-fish, about the fat bream, the thick tench, and the old, moss-grown carp. The swallow gave a very good description, ' but one can see better for oneself,' she said; but how should the Dryad ever get to see these beings ? She must content herself with being able to look out over the beautiful landscape and see the busy activity of men. That was lovely, but most lovely of all, when the old priest stood here under the oak, and told about France, and about the great deeds of men and women, whose names are named with admiration throughout all times. The Dryad heard of the shepherdess Joan of Arc, of Charlotte Corday ; she heard of olden times, of the times of Henry IV, and of Napoleon I, and of greatness and talent, right up to the present day. She heard names, each of which rang in the hearts of the people. France is a world-wide land; a soil of intellect with a crater of freedom.
The village children listened devoutly, and the Dryad not less so; she was a school-child like the others. She saw in the forms of the sailing clouds picture after picture of what she had heard told. The cloudy sky was her picture-book.
She felt herself so happy in the lovely France ; but had still a feeling that the birds, and every animal which could fly, were much more favoured than she. Even the fly could look about himself, far and wide, much farther than the Dryad's horizon.
France was so extensive and so glorious, but she could only see a little bit of it; like a world, the country stretched out with vineyards, woods, and great towns, and of all of these Paris was the mightiest, and the most brilliant; thither the birds could go, but never she.
Amongst the village children was a little girl, so poor and so ragged, but lovely to look at; she was always