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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Every key has its story, and there are many keys ; the chamberlain's key, the clock-key, St. Peter's key ; we could tell about all the keys, but now we shall only tell about the chamberlain's door-key.
It came into being at a locksmith's, but it could well believe that it was at a blacksmith's, it was hammered and filed so much. It was too big for the trousers pocket, so it had to be carried in the coat pocket. Here it lay for the most part in the dark, but it also had its appointed place on the wall, by the side of the chamberlain's portrait from childhood's days, in which he looked like a force-meat ball with a frill on.
They say that every person has in his character and conduct something of the constellation he was born under, the bull, the virgin, or the scorpion, as they are called in the almanac. The chamberlain's wife named none of these, but said her husband was born under the ' sign of the wheelbarrow', because he had always to be shoved forward.
His father pushed him into an office, his mother pushed him into marriage, and his wife pushed him up to be chamberlain, but she did not say so, she was an excellent discreet woman, who was silent in the right place, and talked and pushed in the right place.
Now he was up in years, ' well proportioned,' as he said himself, a man with education, good humour, and a knowledge of keys as well, something which we shall understand better presently.
He was always in a good humour, every one thought much of him and liked to talk with him. If he went into the town, it was difficult to get him home again if mother was not with him to push him along. He must talk with every acquaintance he met. He had many acquaintances, and the result was bad for the dinner.
His wife watched from the window. ' Now he is coming !' said she to the servant, ' put on the pot! Now he is stopping to talk to some one, so take off the pot, or the food will be cooked too much ! Now he is coming ! Yes, put the pot on again ! ' But he did not come for all that.