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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THE DRYAD                             987
Outside the military school stretches the arena of war in times of peace ; the field without grass and stalk, a piece of sandy plain cut out of the African desert, where Fata Morgana shows her strange castles in the air and hanging gardens ; on the Field of Mars they now stand more brilliant and more wonderful, because genius had made them real.
' The present-day Palace of Aladdin is reared,' it was said. Day by day, and hour by hour, it unfolds its rich splendour more and more. Marble and colours adorn its endless halls. ' Master Bloodless ' here moves his steel and iron limbs in the great machinery-hall. Works of art in metal, in stone, in weaving, proclaim the mental life which is stirring in all the countries of the world. Picture-galleries, masses of flowers, everything that intellect and hand can create in the workshops of the craftsman is here displayed to view. Even relics of ancient days from old castles and peat-mosses have met here.
The overwhelmingly great and varied sight must be reduced and condensed to a toy in order to be reproduced, understood, and seen as a whole.
The Field of Mars, like a great Christmas table, had on it an Aladdin's Palace of industry and art, and round about it were little articles from all countries ; every nation found something to remind it of home. Here stood the Egyptian royal palace, here the caravanserai of the desert; the Bedouin coming from his sunny land swung past on his camel; here extended Russian stables with magnificent fiery steeds from the steppes. The little thatched farm-house from Denmark stood with its ' Danne-brog ' flag beside Gustav Vasa's beautifully carved wooden house from Dalarne in Sweden ; American huts ; English cottages, French pavilions, kiosks, churches, and theatres lay oddly strewn about, and amidst all that, the fresh green turf, the clear, running water, flowering shrubs, rare trees, glass-houses where one could imagine oneself in a tropical forest; whole rose-gardens, as if brought from Damascus, bloomed under the roof ; what colours, what fragrance ! Stalactite caves, artificially made, enclosing fresh and salt lakes, gave an exhibition from the kingdom of fish. One stood down on the bottom of the sea among fish and polypi.