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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nest different from the whole of Paris ! Mother Plague lived down here ; she killed people, but never rats. Robbers and smugglers breathed freely down here. Here was the place of refuge for the most interesting personages, who are now only seen in melodramas in the theatre up above. The time of romance is gone in our rat's nest too; we have got fresh air and petroleum down here.'
So squeaked the rat ! squeaked against the new times in favour of the old days with Mother Plague.
A carriage stood there, a kind of open omnibus with swift, little horses ; the party got into it, and rushed along the Boulevard Sebastopol, the subterranean one: right above stretched the well-known Parisian one full of people.
The carriage disappeared in the dim light; the Dryad also vanished, rose up into the gas-light and the fresh free air ; there, and not down in the crossing arches and their suffocating air, could the wonder be found, the Wonder of the World, that which she sought in her short night of life ; it must shine stronger than all the gas-lights up here, stronger than the moon which now glided forth. Yes, certainly ! and she saw it yonder, it beamed before her, it twinkled and glittered like the star of Venus in the sky.
She saw a shining gate, opening into a little garden, full of light and dancing melodies. Gas-jets shone here as borders round little quiet lakes and pools, where artificial water-plants, cut out of tin-plate bent and painted, glittered in the light, and threw jets of water yard-high out of their chalices. Beautiful weeping-willows, real weeping-willows of the spring-time, drooped their fresh branches like a green transparent yet concealing veil.
Here, amongst the bushes, blazed a bonfire ; its red glow shone over small, half-dark, silent arbours, permeated with tones, with a music thrilling to the ear, captivating, alluring, chasing the blood through the veins.
She saw young women, beautiful in festal attire, with trusting smiles, and the light laughing spirit of youth, a ' Marie', with e rose in the hair, but without carriage and footmen. How they floated, how they whirled in the wild dance ! As if bitten by the Tarantella, they sprang