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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1104
AUNTIE TOOTHACHE
and I am not a poet, I have only attacks of composing, attacks as of toothache; go away, go away !'
1 Do you recognize, then, that I am mightier than poetry, philosophy, mathematics, and music ?' said she. * Mightier than all these painted and carved marble conceptions! I am older than all of them together. I was born close by the garden of Paradise, outside where the wind blew, and the damp toad-stools grew. I got Eve to clothe herself in the cold weather, and Adam too. You can believe that there was strength in the first toothache.'
' I believe everything ! ' said I; ' go away, go away ! '
1 Yes, if you will give up being a poet, never set verse on paper, slate, or any kind of writing material; then I shall let you go, but I will come again if you make verses.'
' I swear !' said I. * Let me only never see or think of you again.'
' See me you shall, but in a fuller, and to you a dearer . shape than I am now ! You shall see me as Auntie Milly ; and I will say, " Versify, my sweet boy ! You are a great poet—the greatest, perhaps, that we have ! " but believe me, and begin to make poetry, then I will set your verse to music, and play it on the mouth-harp! You sweet child ! Remember me, when you see Auntie Milly.'
Then she vanished.
I got a glowing awl-prick in the jawbone as a parting shot; but it soon subsided, I seemed to glide on the soft water, saw the white water-lilies with the broad green leaves bend themselves and sink down under me, wither and decay, and I sank with them, was dissolved in rest and peace.
- Die, melt like the snow ! ' it sang and sounded in the water, ' evaporate in the cloud, disappear like the cloud.' Down to me, through the water, shone great, illuminating names, inscriptions on waving banners, the patent of immortality written on the wings of ephemeral flies.
The sleep was deep, sleep without dreams. I neither heard the whistling wind, the banging gate, the neighbour's door-bell, nor the lodger's heavy gymnastics.
Blessedness ! Happiness !
Then there came a gust of wind and the unlocked door into Auntie's room burst open. Auntie sprang up and came in to me,