THE GOBLIN AND THE GROCER1
There was once a hard-working student who lived in an attic, and he had nothing in the world of his own. There was also a hard-working grocer who lived on the first floor, and he had the whole house for his own.
The Goblin belonged to him, for every Christmas Eve there was waiting for him at the grocer's a dish of jam with a large lump of butter in the middle.
The grocer could afford this, so the Goblin stayed in the grocer's shop; and this teaches us a good deal. One evening the student came in by the back door to buy a candle and some cheese; he had no one to send, so he came himself.
He got what he wanted, paid for it, and nodded a good evening to the grocer and his wife (she was a woman who could do more than nod; she could talk).
When the student had said good night he suddenly stood still, reading the sheet of paper in which the cheese had been wrapped.
It was a leaf torn out of an old book — a book of poetry.
'There's more of that over there!' said the grocer. ' I gave an old woman some coffee for the book. If you like to give me twopence you can have the rest.'
' Yes,' said the student, 'give me the book instead of the cheese. I can eat my bread without cheese. It would be a shame to leave the book to be torn up. You
1 Translated from the German of Hans Andersen.