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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What no other gardener had thought of planting in the flower-garden, he set here in the kind of soil each should have, and in shade or sunshine as every kind required. He tended it in love, and it grew in magnificence.
Snow-berry bushes from the heath in Jutland, in form and colour like Italian cypress; the smooth, prickly holly, always green, in winter's cold and summer's sun, stood there lovely to look at. In front grew ferns, many different kinds, some looked as if they were the children of palm trees, and some as if they were the parents of the fine, lovely plant we call Venus's hair. Here stood the slighted burdock, which in its freshness is so beautiful that it can be put in a bouquet. The burdock stood on dry ground, but lower down in the damper soil grew the colt's-foot, also a despised plant, and yet with its fine height and huge leaves so picturesquely beautiful. Fathom high, with flower above flower, like a huge, many-armed candelabrum, the cow's lung-wort lifted itself. Here stood the wood-ruff, the marsh-marigold, and the lily of the valley, the wild calla, and the fine three-leaved wood-sorrel. It was a delight to see.
In front, supported on wire fences, little French pear trees grew in rows ; they got sun and good care, and very soon they bore big, juicy fruit, as in the country they came from.
In place of the two leafless trees, there was a big flag­staff on which waved the Danish flag, and close beside it a pole, on which in summer and autumn hops with their sweet-smelling clusters twined themselves, but where in the winter, according to old custom, a sheaf of oats was raised that the birds of the air could have their meal at the joyous Christmas time.
1 The good Larsen is growing sentimental in his old age,' said the family ; ' but he is faithful and devoted to us.'
At New Year time, one of the illustrated papers of the capital had a picture of the old manor ; one saw the flag­staff and the sheaf of oats for the birds, and it was spoken of as a beautiful thought that an old custom should be brought into recognition and honour; so distinctive for the old manor.
' All that Larsen does,' said the family, ' they beat the drum for. He is a lucky man ! we must almost be proud that we have him ! '