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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Overhead, a little nearer heaven, as one says, when people live in the garret, lived Godfather. He was old, but to young in spirit, always in good humour, and he could also tell stories, many and long. He had travelled widely in the world, and lovely things from all the countries in the world stood in his room. There were pictures from floor to ceiling, and some of the window-panes were of red and some of yellow glass : if one looked through them, the whole world lay in sunshine, however grey the weather was outside. In a big glass case grew green plants, and in a part of it gold-fish swam about : they looked as if they knew so much that they would not talk about it. It always smelt of flowers here, even in winter, and then a big fire burned in the stove ; it was so nice to sit and look into it and hear how it crackled and sputtered. ; It repeats old memories to me,' said Godfather, and to little Mary it seemed as if many pictures showed themselves In the fire.
But in the big bookcase close by, stood the real books : one of these Godfather read very often, and he called it tho Book of books ; it was the Bible. There, in pictures was shown the whole history of man and of the world, the creation, the flood, the kings and the King of kings.
' All that has happened and will happen stands in this book ! ' said Godfather. ' So infinitely much in a little book ! think of it ! Everything that a man has to pray for, is said and put in few words in the Lord's Prayer. It is a drop of grace, a pearl of comfort from God. It is laid as a gift on the cradle of the child, at the child's heart. Little child, keep it carefully ! never lose it, however big you grow, and then you will not be left alone on the changing paths ! it will shine in on you and you will not be lost.'
Godfather's eyes shone at that; they beamed with joy. Once in earlier days they had wept, ' and that was also good,' he said, ' it was a time of trial when things looked grey. Now I have sunshine about mo and in me. The older one grows, the better one sees both in prosperity and adversity, that our Father is always with us, that life is the loveliest fairy tale, and only He can give us that, and it lasts into eternity.'
' It is lovely to live,' said little Mary.
The little and the big boys said so too ; Father and