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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POULTRY MEG'S FAMILY               1007
* I would rather lie on coarse sacking, than in his silken bed !' said she ; 'I'd rather walk on my bare feet than drive with him in a carriage ! '
Late one evening in November, two women came riding into the town of Aarhus ; it was Lady Gyldenlowe and her maid: they came from Veile, where they had arrived from Copenhagen by ship. They rode up to Sir Grubbe's stone mansion. He was not delighted with the visit. She got hard words, but she got a bedroom as well; got nice food for breakfast, but not nice words, for the evil in her father was roused against her, and she was not accustomed to that. She was not of a gentle temper, and as one is spoken to, so one answers. She certainly did answer, and spoke with bitterness and hate about her husband, with whom she would not live ; she was too honourable for that.
So a year went past, but it did not pass pleasantly. There were evil words between father and daughter, and that there should never be. Evil words have evil fruit. What could be the end of this ?
'We two cannot remain under the same roof,' said the father one day. ' Go away from here to our old manor-house, but rather bite your tongue out than set lies going ! '
So these two separated; she went with her maid to the old manor-house, where she had been born and brought up, and where the gentle pious lady, her mother, lay in the church vault ; an old cowherd lived in the house, and that was the whole establishment. Cobwebs hung in the rooms, * dark and heavy with dust; in the garden everything was growing wild. Hops and other climbing plants twisted a net between the trees and bushes ; and hemlock and nettles grew larger and stronger. The copper beech was over­grown by the others and now stood in shade, its leaves were now as green as the other common trees, and its glory had departed. Rooks, crows, and daws flew in thick swarms over the high chestnut-trees, and there was a cawing and screaming, as if they had some important news to tell each other : now she is here again, the little one who had caused their eggs and their young ones to be stolen from them. The thief himself, who had fetched them, now climbed on a leafless tree, sat on the high mast, and got good blows from the rope's end if he did not behave himself.