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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1010               POULTRY MEG'S FAMILY
The ship sailed away with Marie Grubbe ; it was there we left off.
Years and years went past.
The plague was raging in Copenhagen ; it was in the year 1711. The Queen of Denmark went away to her German home, the king quitted the capital, every one who could, hastened away. The students, even if they had board and lodging free, left the city. One of them, the last who still remained at the so-called Borch's College, close by Regensen, also went away. It was two o'clock in the morning ; he came with his knapsack, which was filled more with books and manuscripts than with clothes. A damp, clammy mist hung over the town ; not a creature was to be seen in the whole street; round about on the doors and gates crosses were marked to show that the plague was inside, or that the people were dead. No one was to be seen either in the broader, winding Butcher's Row, as the street was called which led from the Round Tower to the King's Castle. A big ammunition wagon rumbled past; the driver swung his whip and the horses went off at a gallop, the wagon was full of dead bodies. The young student held his hand before his face, and smelt at some strong spirits which he had on a sponge in a brass box.
From a tavern in one of the streets came the sound of singing and unpleasant laughter, from people who drank the night through, to forget that the plague stood before the door and would have them to accompany him in the wagon with the other corpses. The student turned his steps towards the castle bridge, where one or two small ships lay; one of them was weighing anchor to get away from the plague-stricken city.
' If God spares our lives and we get wind for it, we are going to Gronsund in Falster,' said the skipper, and asked the name of the student who wished to go with him.
1 Ludwig Holberg,' said the student, and the name sounded like any other name ; now the sound is one of the proudest names in Denmark; at that time he was only a young, unknown student.
The ship glided past the castle. It was not yet clear morning when they came out into the open water. A light