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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Mother and the whole family said it, but above all God­father, and he had experience, he was the oldest of them all, he knew all the stories, all the fairy tales, and he said, and that right out of his heart, ' Life is the loveliest fairy tale ! '
There was a little sea-fish of good family ; the name I cannot remember, you must get that from the learned. The little fish had eighteen hundred brothers and sisters all of the same age ; they did not know either their father or their mother ; they had just to take care of themselves at once and swim about, but that was a great delight to them.
They had plenty of water to drink—the whole of the sea; they did not think about food—that would come of itself ; every one would do just as he liked, every one would have his own story—but none of them thought about that either. The sun shone down into the water, and lighted it up round about them ; it was so clear, it was a world with the most wonderful creatures, and some frightfully big, with enormous mouths which could have swallowed the eighteen hundred brothers and sisters ; but they did not think of that either, for none of them had been swallo -ved yet.
The little ones swam about together, close up to each other, as herring and mackerel swim ; but as they swam about in the water, doing their very best and thinking of nothing, there sank from above right into the middle of them, with a frightful noise, a long, heavy thing that would not stop coming ; longer and longer it stretched itself, and every one of the little fishes which it struck, was squashed or got a blow which it could never get over. All the little fishes, and the big ones too, right from the surface of the sea down to the bottom, swam away in alarm : the heavy, monstrous thing sank deeper and deeper, and became longer and longer, miles in length—throughout the whole