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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1026                            THE COMET
The school-children said he was very wise, and knew so much ; knew history, and geography, and everything that is known about the heavenly bodies.
1 Everything comes round again !' said he ; ' only take notice of people and events, and you will find that they always come again, in another dress, in another country.'
The schoolmaster had just told about William Tell, who had to shoot an apple off his son's head, but before he shot the arrow, he hid in his breast another arrow with which to shoot the wicked Gesler in the heart. It was in Switzerland that that happened, but many years before, the same thing had happened in Denmark with Palnatoke ; he also had to shoot an apple off his son's head, and hid, like Tell, an arrow to avenge himself with ; and more than a thousand years farther back, the same story was recorded as having taken place in Egypt. The same things come again like the comet, they pass away, disappear, and come again.
And he talked about the comet which was expected, the comet he had seen as a little boy. The schoolmaster knew the heavenly bodies, and thought over them, but did not forget history and geography because of them.
He had laid out his garden in the shape of the map of Denmark. The plants and flowers were arranged according as they grow best in the different parts of the country. ' Bring me some peas ! ' said he, and one went to the bed which represented Lolland. ' Fetch me some buck-wheat,' and one went to Langeland. The lovely blue gentian and sweet-willow were to be found up in Skagen, the glistening holly over at Silkeborg. The towns themselves were marked with stone figures. Here stood St. Canute with the dragon, that signified Odense; Absalon with a bishop's staff signified Soro ; the little boat with the oars was the mark that here lay the town of Aarhus. From the schoolmaster's garden, one could learn the map of Denmark very well; but one must first be instructed by him, and that was so pleasant.
The comet was expected now, and he told what the people had said and thought about it, in the old days when it was here last. \ The comet-year is a good wine-year,' he said; ' one can dilute the wine with water, and it