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                1009
It was grey wet weather ; the wind blew cold, and a flock of black screaming birds flew over her, they were not so homeless as she.
First she went south, quite up to Germany ; a couple of gold rings with precious stones were turned into money; then she went east, and then turned again to the west ; she had no goal before her eyes, and was angry with every one, even with the good God Himself, so wretched was her mind ; soon her whole body became wretched too, and she could scarcely put one foot before another. The peewit flew up from its tussock when she fell over it : the bird screamed as it always does, ' You thief ! You thief ! ' She had never stolen her neighbour's goods, but birds' eggs and young birds she had had brought to her when she was a little girl ; she thought of that now\
From where she lay she could see the sand-hills by the shore ; fishermen lived there, but she could not get so far, she was so ill. The great white sea-mews came flying above her and screamed as the rooks and crows screamed over the garden at home. The birds flew very near her, and at last she imagined that they were coal-black, but then it became night before her eyes. When she again opened her eyes she was being carried ; a big, strong fellow had taken her in his arms. She looked straight into his bearded face ; he had a scar over his eye, so that the eyebrow appeared to be divided in two. He carried her, miserable as she was, to the ship, where he got a rating from the captain for it.
The day following, the ship sailed; Marie Grubbe was not put ashore, so she went with it. But she came back again, no doubt ? Yes, but when and where ?
The clerk could also tell about this, and it was not a story which he himself had put together. He had the whole strange story from a trustworthy old book ; we ourselves can take it out and read it.
The Danish historian, Ludwig Holberg, who has written so many useful books and the amusing comedies from which we can get to know his time and people, tells in his letters of Marie Grubbe, where and how he met her ; it is well worth hearing about, but we will not forget Poultry Meg, who sits so glad and comfortable in her grand hen-house.