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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his key, ' Who has eaten the apple cake—the cat or the sweetheart ? ' and the door-key answered, ' The sweet­heart ! ' The chamberlain knew it before he asked, and the servant girl confessed : the cursed key knew everything.
' Yes, is it not remarkable ? ' said the chamberlain. ' The key ! the key ! and about Lotte-Lena it predicted " Victory and Fortune ! "—We shall see that yet—1 answer for it! '
' That is delightful,' said Lotte-Lena.
The chamberlain's wife was not so confident, but she did not express her doubt when her husband could hear it, but confided to Lotte-Lena that the chamberlain, when he was a young man, had been quite given up to the theatre. If any one at that time had pushed him, he would certainly have been trained as an actor, but the family pushed the other way. He insisted on going on the stage, and to get there he wrote a comedy.
' It is a great secret I confide to you, little Lotte-Lena. The comedy was not bad, it was accepted at the Royal Theatre and hissed off the stage, so that it has never been heard of since, and I am glad of it. I am his wife and know him. Now, you will go the same way ;—I wish you everything good, but I don't believe it will happen, I do not believe in the key ! '
Lotte-Lena believed in it; and the chamberlain agreed with her. Their hearts understood each other in all virtue and honour. The girl had several abilities which the chamber­lain appreciated. Lotte-Lena knew how to make starch from potatoes, to make silk gloves from old silk stockings, and to cover her silk dancing-shoes, although she had had the means to buy everything new. She had what the chandler called ' money in the table-drawer, and bonds in the bank'. The chamberlain's wife thought she would make a good wife for the apothecary, but she did not say so and did not let the key say it either. The apothecary was going to settle down soon, and have his own business in one of the nearest and biggest provincial towns.
Lotte-Lena constantly read the books she had borrowed from the chamberlain. She kept them for two years, but by that time she knew by heart all the parts of ' Dyveke ', but she only wished to appear in one of them, that of Dyveke herself, and not in the capital where there was so