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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here ; one was at the bottom of the deep pool, one was down in the ocean, in a diving-bell. The water pressed against the thick glass walls above and around. The polypi, fathom-long, flexible, winding, quivering, living arms, clutched, heaved, and grew fast to the bottom of the sea.
A great flounder lay thoughtfully close by, stretched itself out in comfort and ease: the crab crawled like an enormous spider over it, whilst shrimps darted about with a haste, a swiftness, as if they were the moths and butter­flies of the sea.
In the fresh water grew water-lilies, sedges, and rushes. The gold-fishes had placed themselves in rows, like red cows in the field, all with the heads in the same direction, so as to get the current in their mouths. Thick fat tench stared with stupid eyes towards the glass walls ; they knew that they were at the Paris Exhibition ; they knew that they had made the somewhat difficult journey hither, in barrels filled with water, and had been land-sick on the railway, just as people are sea-sick on the sea. They had come to see the Exhibition, and so they saw it from their own fresh or salt water box, saw the throng of men which moved past from morning to night. All the countries of the world had sent and exhibited their natives, so that the old tench and bream, the nimble perch and the moss-grown carp should see these beings and give their opinions upon the species.
' They are shell-fish !' said a muddy little bleak. ' They change their shells two or three times in the day, and make sounds with their mouths—talking, they call it. We don't change, and we make ourselves understood in an easier way ; movements with the corners of the mouth, and a stare with the eyes ! We have many points of superiority over mankind ! '
'They have learnt swimming, though,' said a little fresh­water fish. ' I am from the big lake ; men go into the water in the hot season there, but first they put off their shells, and then they swim. The frogs have taught them that, they push with the hind-legs, and paddle with the fore-legs ; they can't keep it up long. They would like to imitate us, but they don't get near it. Poor men ! '