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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1034                 GREAT-GRANDFATHER
horrible and nasty ; the stake, the wheel, and the shedding of blood, but all the horrible had something alluring and exciting about it. I learned about the Danish noblemen who gave the peasants their freedom, and Denmark's Crown Prince who abolished the slave-trade. It was delightful to hear Great-grandfather tell about all this, and to hear about the days of his youth. Still the time before that was the very best, so strong and so great.
' Rough it was,' said brother Frederick, ' God be praised that we are out of it,' and. he said this straight out to Great-grandfather. It was not nice to say that, but yet I had great respect for Frederick; he was my eldest brother, and he could have been my father, he said. He said so many funny things. He was a very successful student, and so diligent in my father's office that he would soon be able to go into the business. He was the one that Great-grandfather was most familiar with, but they always ended in disputing about something. These two did not understand each other, and never would, the family said; but little as I was, I soon noticed that these two could not do without each other.
Great-grandfather listened with shining eyes when Frederick spoke or read about progress in science, about the discoveries of the powers of nature, and about all the remarkable things of our time.
' People become wiser, but not better,' he said ; ' they invent the most terrible weapons of destruction against each other.'
' The quicker will war be past,' said Frederick ; ' one will not have to wait seven years for the blessings of peace! The world is full-blooded and must occasionally be bled ; it is necessary.'
One day Frederick told him something which had really happened in our time in a little town.
The Mayor's clock, the big one on the town-hall, set the time for the town and the people. The clock did not go quite correctly, but all the same the town ordered itself by it. By and by the railways came, and they are con­nected with all other countries, and so one must know the time exactly, or there will be collisions. The railway got a clock which was set by the sun and so kept good time ;