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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much jealousy, and where they would not have her. She would begin her artistic career (as the chamberlain called it) in one of the bigger provincial towns.
Now it was quite miraculous, that it was just the very same place where the young apothecary had settled himself as the town's youngest, if not the only, apothecary.
The long-looked-for evening came when Lotte-Lena should make her first appearance and win victory and fortune, as the key had said. The chamberlain was not there, he was ill in bed and his wife nursed him ; he had to have warm bandages and camomile tea ; the bandages on the stomach and the tea in the stomach.
The couple were not present themselves at the perform­ance of ' Dyveke ', but the apothecary was there and wrote a letter about it to his relative the chamberlain's wife.
1 If the chamberlain's key had been in my pocket,' he wrote, ' I would have taken it out and whistled in it; she deserved that, and the door-key deserved it, which had so shamefully lied to her with its " Victory and Fortune ".'
The chamberlain read the letter. The whole thing was malice, said he—hatred of the key—which vented itself on the innocent girl.
And as soon as he rose from his bed, and was himself again, he sent a short but venomous letter to the apothecary, who answered it as if he had not found anything but jest and good humour in the whole epistle.
He thanked him for that as for every future, benevolent contribution to the publication of the key's incomparable worth and importance. Next, he confided to the chamber­lain, that he, besides his work as apothecary, was writing a great key romance, in which all the characters were keys; without exception, keys. ' The door-key ' was naturally the leading person, and the chamberlain's door-key was the model for him, endowed with prophetic vision and divination. All the other keys must revolve round it; the old chamber­lain's key, which knew the splendour and festivities of the court; the clock-key, little, fine, and elegant, costing three­pence at the ironmonger's ; the key of the pulpit, which reckons itself among the clergy, and has, by sitting through the night in the key-hole, seen ghosts. The dining-room, the wood-house and the wine-cellar keys all appear, curtsy, and