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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1076             WHAT OLD JOHANNA TOLD
and the starling had also gone, the faithful creatures ; Johanna the shoemaker's daughter had not gone ; she overtook him on the way and accompanied him a little bit.
' Pull yourself together, Rasmus ! '
What good can that do ? ' said he.
' That is a bad motto you have ! ' said she. ' Remember your mother's words : " Hold to yourself and our Lord ! " You don't do that, Rasmus ! that one ought, and that one shall. Never say " What good can that do ? " for then you pull up the root of all your actions.'
She accompanied him to the door of his house, and there she left him. He did not stay inside, but went and sat himself on part of the fallen milestone.
The wind moaned in the branches of the tree, it was like a song, it was like a talk. Rasmus answered it; he talked aloud, but no one heard it, except the tree and the moaning wind.
11 am getting cold ! It is time to go to bed. Sleep! sleep!'
And he went, not towards the house but to the pool, where he stumbled and fell. The rain poured down, the wind was icy cold, but he did not notice it: but when the sun rose, and the crows flew over the pool, he wakened, half-dead. If he had laid his head where his feet lay, he would never have got up again, the green duck-weed would have been his shroud.
Later in the day Johanna came to the tailor's house ; she was his help ; she got him taken to the hospital.
' We have known each other from childhood,' said she ; ' your mother has given me both meat and drink, I can never repay her for it ! You will get your health again, you will be able to live yet.'
And our Lord willed it that he should live, but it was up and down with the health and the mind. The swallows and the starlings came and went and came again ; Rasmus became old before his time. Lonely he sat in the house, which became more and more dilapidated. He was poor, poorer now than Johanna.
1 You have no faith,' said she, ' and if we have not our Lord, what have we ? You should go to communion ! you have not been there since your confirmation.'
' Well, what good can that do ?' said he.