Сказки Ганса Христиана Андерсена на английском
There was once upon a time a Prince who wanted to marry a Princess, but she must be a true Princess. So he traveled through the whole world to find one, but there was always something against each. There were plenty of Princesses, but he could not find out if they were true Princesses. In every case there was some little defect, which showed the genuine article was not yet found. So he came home again in very low spirits, for he had wanted very much to have a true Princess. One night there was a dreadful storm; it thundered and lightened and the rain streamed down in torrents. It was fearful! There was a knocking heard at the Palace gate, and the old King went to open it.
There stood a Princess outside the gate; but oh, in what a sad plight she was from the rain and the storm! The water was running down from her hair and her dress into the points of her shoes and out at the heels again. And yet she said she was a true Princess!
‘Well, we shall soon find that!’ thought the old Queen. But she said nothing, and went into the sleeping-room, took off all the bed-clothes, and laid a pea on the bottom of the bed. Then she put twenty mattresses on top of the pea, and twenty eider-down quilts on the top of the mattresses. And this was the bed in which the Princess was to sleep.
The next morning she was asked how she had slept.
‘Oh, very badly!’ said the Princess. ‘I scarcely closed my eyes all night! I am sure I don’t know what was in the bed. I laid on something so hard that my whole body is black and blue. It is dreadful!’
Now they perceived that she was a true Princess, because she had felt the pea through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down quilts.
No one but a true Princess could be so sensitive.
So the Prince married her, for now he knew that at last he had got hold of a true Princess. And the pea was put into the Royal Museum, where it is still to be seen if no one has stolen it. Now this is a true story.
There was once a merchant who was so rich that he could have paved the whole street, and perhaps even a little side-street besides, with silver. But he did not do that; he knew another way of spending his money. If he spent a shilling he got back a florin-such an excellent merchant he was till he died.
Now his son inherited all this money. He lived very merrily; he went every night to the theatre, made paper kites out of five-pound notes, and played ducks and drakes with sovereigns instead of stones. In this way the money was likely to come soon to an end, and so it did.
At last he had nothing left but four shillings, and he had no clothes except a pair of slippers and an old dressing-gown.
His friends did not trouble themselves any more about him; they would not even walk down the street with him.
But one of them who was rather good-natured sent him an old trunk with the message, ‘Pack up!” That was all very well, but he had nothing to pack up, so he got into the trunk himself.
It was an enchanted trunk, for as soon as the lock was pressed it could fly. He pressed it, and away he flew in it up the chimney, high into the clouds, further and further away. But whenever the bottom gave a little creak he was in terror lest the trunk should go to pieces, for then he would have turned a dreadful somersault-just think of it!
In this way he arrived at the land of the Turks. He hid the trunk in a wood under some dry leaves, and then walked into the town. He could do that quite well, for all the Turks were dressed just as he was-in a dressing-gown and slippers.
He met a nurse with a little child.
‘Halloa! you Turkish nurse,’ said he, ‘what is that great castle there close to the town? The one with the windows so high up?’
‘The sultan’s daughter lives there,’ she replied. ‘It is prophesied that she will be very unlucky in her husband, and so no one is allowed to see her except when the sultan and sultana are by.’
‘Thank you,’ said the merchant’s son, and he went into the wood, sat himself in his trunk, flew on to the roof, and crept through the window into the princess’s room.
She was lying on the sofa asleep, and was so beautiful that the young merchant had to kiss her. Then she woke up and was very much frightened, but he said he was a Turkish god who had come through the air to see her, and that pleased her very much.
They sat close to each other, and he told her a story about her eyes. They were beautiful dark lakes in which her thoughts swam about like mermaids. And her forehead was a snowy mountain, grand and shining. These were lovely stories.
Then he asked the princess to marry him, and she said yes at once.
‘But you must come here on Saturday,’ she said, ‘for then the sultan and the sultana are coming to tea with me. They will be indeed proud that I receive the god of the Turks. But mind you have a really good story ready, for my parents like them immensely. My mother likes something rather moral and high-flown, and my father likes something merry to make him laugh.’
‘Yes, I shall only bring a fairy story for my dowry,’ said he, and so they parted. But the princess gave him a sabre set with gold pieces which he could use.
Then he flew away, bought himself a new dressing-gown, and sat down in the wood and began to make up a story, for it had to be ready by Saturday, and that was no easy matter.
When he had it ready it was Saturday.
The sultan, the sultana, and the whole court were at tea with the princess.
He was most graciously received.
‘Will you tell us a story?’ said the sultana; ‘one that is thoughtful and instructive?’
‘But something that we can laugh at,’ said the sultan.
‘Oh, certainly,’ he replied, and began: ‘Now, listen attentively. There was once a box of matches which lay between a tinder-box and an old iron pot, and they told the story of their youth.
‘”We used to be on the green fir-boughs. Every morning and evening we had diamond-tea, which was the dew, and the whole day long we had sunshine, and the little birds used to tell us stories. We were very rich, because the other trees only dressed in summer, but we had green dresses in summer and in winter. Then the woodcutter came, and our family was split up. We have now the task of making light for the lowest people. That is why we grand people are in the kitchen.”
‘”My fate was quite different,” said the iron pot, near which the matches lay.
‘”Since I came into the world I have been many times scoured, and have cooked much. My only pleasure is to have a good chat with my companions when I am lying nice and clean in my place after dinner.”
‘”Now you are talking too fast,” spluttered the fire.
‘”Yes, let us decide who is the grandest!” said the matches.
‘”No, I don’t like talking about myself,” said the pot.
‘”Let us arrange an evening’s entertainment. I will tell the story of my life.
‘”On the Baltic by the Danish shore-”
‘What a beautiful beginning!” said all the plates. “That’s a story that will please us all.”
‘And the end was just as good as the beginning. All the plates clattered for joy.
‘”Now I will dance,” said the tongs, and she danced. Oh! how high she could kick!
‘The old chair-cover in the corner split when he saw her.
‘The urn would have sung but she said she had a cold; she could not sing unless she boiled.
‘In the window was an old quill pen. There was nothing remarkable about her except that she had been dipped too deeply into the ink. But she was very proud of that.
‘”If the urn will not sing,” said she, “outside the door hangs a nightingale in a cage who will sing.”
‘”I don’t think it’s proper,” said the kettle, “that such a foreign bird should be heard.”
‘”Oh, let us have some acting,” said everyone. “Do let us!”
‘Suddenly the door opened and the maid came in. Everyone was quite quiet. There was not a sound. But each pot knew what he might have done, and how grand he was.
‘The maid took the matches and lit the fire with them. How they spluttered and flamed, to be sure! “Now everyone can see,” they thought, “that we are the grandest! How we sparkle! What a light-”
‘But here they were burnt out.’
‘That was a delightful story!’ said the sultana. ‘I quite feel myself in the kitchen with the matches. Yes, now you shall marry our daughter.’
‘Yes, indeed,’ said the sultan, ‘you shall marry our daughter on Monday.’ And they treated the young man as one of the family.
The wedding was arranged, and the night before the whole town was illuminated.
Biscuits and gingerbreads were thrown among the people, the street boys stood on tiptoe crying hurrahs and whistling through their fingers. It was all splendid.
‘Now I must also give them a treat,’ thought the merchant’s son. And so he bought rockets, crackers, and all the kinds of fireworks you can think of, put them in his trunk, and flew up with them into the air.
Whirr-r-r, how they fizzed and blazed!
All the Turks jumped so high that their slippers flew above their heads; such a splendid glitter they had never seen before.
Now they could quite well understand that it was the god of the Turks himself who was to marry the princess.
As soon as the young merchant came down again into the wood with his trunk he thought, ‘Now I will just go into the town to see how the show has taken.’
And it was quite natural that he should want to do this.
Oh! what stories the people had to tell!
Each one whom he asked had seen it differently, but they had all found it beautiful.
‘I saw the Turkish god himself,’ said one. ‘He had eyes like glittering stars, and a beard like foaming water.’
‘He flew away in a cloak of fire,’ said another. They were splendid things that he heard, and the next day was to be his wedding day.
Then he went back into the wood to sit in his trunk; but what had become of it? The trunk had been burnt. A spark of the fireworks had set it alight, and the trunk was in ashes. He could no longer fly, and could never reach his bride.
She stood the whole day long on the roof and waited; perhaps she is waiting there still.
But he wandered through the world and told stories; though they are not so merry as the one he told about the matches.
A Flea, a Grasshopper, and a Leap-frog once wanted to see which could jump highest; and they invited the whole world, and everybody else besides to come to see the festival. Three famous jumpers were they, as everyone would say, when they all met together in the room.
“I will give my daughter to him who jumps highest,” exclaimed the King; “for a competition without a prize would not be so amusing.”
The Flea was the first to step forward. He had exquisite manners, and bowed to the company on all sides; for he had noble blood, and was, moreover, accustomed to live close to human beings; and that makes a great difference.
Then came the Grasshopper. He was considerably heavier, but he was well-mannered, and wore a green uniform, which he had by right of birth; he said, moreover, that he belonged to a very ancient Egyptian family. The fact was, he had been just brought out of the fields, and put in a cardboard box.. “I sing so well,” said he, “that sixteen native grasshoppers grew thin from sheer envy when they heard me.
And that is how the Flea and the Grasshopper introduced themselves, and thought they were quite good enough to marry a Princess.
The Leap-frog said nothing; but because he said nothing, people thought he was all the cleverer. ; and when the housedog snuffed at him with his nose, he decided the Leap-frog was of good family. The old councillor asserted that the Leap-frog was a prophet; for one could see on his back, if there would be a severe or mild winter.
“I say nothing,” exclaimed the King; “but I have my own opinion, nonetheless.”
Now the contest was to take place. The Flea jumped so high that nobody could see where he went to; so they all said he had not jumped at all; and that he had cheated.
The Grasshopper jumped only half as high; but he leaped into the King’s face, and that was ill-mannered.
The Leap-frog stood still for a long time lost in thought; People began to think that he would not jump at all.
“I only hope he is not unwell,” said the house-dog; when, pop! he made a jump into the lap of the Princess, who was sitting on a little golden stool close by.
At this, the King said, “There is nothing above my daughter; therefore nobody should jump higher than her. But for this, one must possess understanding, and the Leap-frog has shown that he has understanding. He is brave and intellectual.”
And so he won the Princess.
“It’s all the same to me,” said the Flea. “She may have the old Leap-frog, for all I care. I jumped the highest; but in this world merit seldom meets its reward. Looks is what people appreciate now-a-days.”
The Flea then went to serve abroad in the army, where, it is said, he was killed.
The Grasshopper sat on a green bank, and reflected on worldly things; and he said too, “Yes, looks are everything. A fine appearance is what people care about.” And then he began chirping his peculiar melancholy song, from which we have taken this story; and which may, very possibly, be all untrue.
A soldier came marching along the high road–left, right! A left, right! He had his knapsack on his back and a sword by his side, for he had been to the wars and was now returning home.
An old Witch met him on the road. She was very ugly to look at: her bottom-lip hung down to her breast.
‘Good evening, Soldier!’ she said. ‘What a fine sword and knapsack you have! You are the very picture of a fine soldier! You ought to have as much money as you can carry!’
‘Thank you, old Witch,’ said the Soldier.
‘Do you see that great tree there?’ said the Witch, pointing to a tree beside them. ‘It is hollow within. You must climb up to the top, and then you will see a hole through which you can let yourself down into the tree. I will tie a rope round your waist, so that I may be able to pull you up again when you call.’
‘What shall I do down there?’ asked the Soldier.
‘Get money!’ answered the Witch. ‘Listen! When you reach the bottom of the tree you will find yourself in a large hall; it is light there, for there are more than three hundred lamps burning. Then you will see three doors, which you can open–the keys are in the locks. If you go into the first room, you will see a great chest in the middle of the floor with a dog sitting upon it; he has eyes as large as saucers, but you needn’t trouble about him. I will give you my blue-check apron, which you must spread out on the floor, and then go back quickly and fetch the dog and set him upon it; open the chest and take as much money as you like. It is copper there. If you would rather have silver, you must go into the next room, where there is a dog with eyes as large as mill-wheels. But don’t take any notice of him; just set him upon my apron, and help yourself to the money. If you prefer gold, you can get that too, if you go into the third room, and as much as you like to carry. But the dog that guards the chest there has eyes as large as the Round Tower at Copenhagen! He is a savage dog, I can tell you; but you needn’t be afraid of him either. Only, put him on my apron and he won’t touch you, and you can take out of the chest as much gold as you like!’
‘Come, this is not bad!’ said the Soldier. ‘But what am I to give you, old Witch; for surely you are not going to do this for nothing?’
‘Yes, I am!’ replied the Witch. ‘Not a single farthing will I take! For me you shall bring nothing but an old tinder-box which my grandmother forgot last time she was down there.’
‘Well, tie the rope round my waist! ‘said the Soldier.
‘Here it is,’ said the Witch, ‘and here is my blue-check apron.’
Then the Soldier climbed up the tree, let himself down through the hole, and found himself standing, as the Witch had said, underground in the large hall, where the three hundred lamps were burning.
Well, he opened the first door. Ugh! there sat the dog with eyes as big as saucers glaring at him.
‘You are a fine fellow!’ said the Soldier, and put him on the Witch’s apron, took as much copper as his pockets could hold; then he shut the chest, put the dog on it again, and went into the second room. Sure enough there sat the dog with eyes as large as mill-wheels.
‘You had better not look at me so hard!’ said the Soldier. ‘Your eyes will come out of their sockets!’
And then he set the dog on the apron. When he saw all the silver in the chest, he threw away the copper he had taken, and filled his pockets and knapsack with nothing but silver.
Then he went into the third room. Horrors! the dog there had two eyes, each as large as the Round Tower at Copenhagen, spinning round in his head like wheels.
‘Good evening!’ said the Soldier and saluted, for he had never seen a dog like this before. But when he had examined him more closely, he thought to himself: ‘Now then, I’ve had enough of this!’ and put him down on the floor, and opened the chest. Heavens! what a heap of gold there was! With all that he could buy up the whole town, and all the sugar pigs, all the tin soldiers, whips and rocking-horses in the whole world. Now he threw away all the silver with which he had filled his pockets and knapsack, and filled them with gold instead–yes, all his pockets, his knapsack, cap and boots even, so that he could hardly walk. Now he was rich indeed. He put the dog back upon the chest, shut the door, and then called up through the tree:
‘Now pull me up again, old Witch!’
‘Have you got the tinder-box also?’ asked the Witch.
‘Botheration!’ said the Soldier, ‘I had clean forgotten it!’ And then he went back and fetched it.
The Witch pulled him up, and there he stood again on the high road, with pockets, knapsack, cap and boots filled with gold.
‘What do you want to do with the tinder-box?’ asked the Soldier.
‘That doesn’t matter to you,’ replied the Witch. ‘You have got your money, give me my tinder-box.’
‘We’ll see!’ said the Soldier. ‘Tell me at once what you want to do with it, or I will draw my sword, and cut off your head!’
‘No!’ screamed the Witch.
The Soldier immediately cut off her head. That was the end of her! But he tied up all his gold in her apron, slung it like a bundle over his shoulder, put the tinder-box in his pocket, and set out towards the town.
It was a splendid town! He turned into the finest inn, ordered the best chamber and his favourite dinner; for now that he had so much money he was really rich.
It certainly occurred to the servant who had to clean his boots that they were astonishingly old boots for such a rich lord. But that was because he had not yet bought new ones; next day he appeared in respectable boots and fine clothes. Now, instead of a common soldier he had become a noble lord, and the people told him about all the grand doings of the town and the King, and what a beautiful Princess his daughter was.
‘How can one get to see her?’ asked the Soldier.
‘She is never to be seen at all!’ they told him; ‘she lives in a great copper castle, surrounded by many walls and towers! No one except the King may go in or out, for it is prophesied that she will marry a common soldier, and the King cannot submit to that.’
‘I should very much like to see her,’ thought the Soldier; but he could not get permission.
Now he lived very gaily, went to the theatre, drove in the King’s garden, and gave the poor a great deal of money, which was very nice of him; he had experienced in former times how hard it is not to have a farthing in the world. Now he was rich, wore fine clothes, and made many friends, who all said that he was an excellent man, a real nobleman. And the Soldier liked that. But as he was always spending money, and never made any more, at last the day came when he had nothing left but two shillings, and he had to leave the beautiful rooms in which he had been living, and go into a little attic under the roof, and clean his own boots, and mend them with a darning-needle. None of his friends came to visit him there, for there were too many stairs to climb.
It was a dark evening, and he could not even buy a light. But all at once it flashed across him that there was a little end of tinder in the tinder-box, which he had taken from the hollow tree into which the Witch had helped him down. He found the box with the tinder in it; but just as he was kindling a light, and had struck a spark out of the tinder-box, the door burst open, and the dog with eyes as large as saucers, which he had seen down in the tree, stood before him and said:
‘What does my lord command?’
‘What’s the meaning of this?’ exclaimed the Soldier. ‘This is a pretty kind of tinder-box, if I can get whatever I want like this. Get me money!’ he cried to the dog, and hey, presto! he was off and back again, holding a great purse full of money in his mouth.
Now the Soldier knew what a wonderful tinder-box this was. If he rubbed once, the dog that sat on the chest of copper appeared; if he rubbed twice, there came the dog that watched over the silver chest; and if he rubbed three times, the one that guarded the gold appeared. Now, the Soldier went down again to his beautiful rooms, and appeared once more in splendid clothes. All his friends immediately recognised him again, and paid him great court.
One day he thought to himself: ‘It is very strange that no one can get to see the Princess. They all say she is very pretty, but what’s the use of that if she has to sit for ever in the great copper castle with all the towers? Can I not manage to see her somehow? Where is my tinder-box?’ and so he struck a spark, and, presto! there came the dog with eyes as large as saucers.
‘It is the middle of the night, I know,’ said the Soldier; ‘but I should very much like to see the Princess for a moment.’
The dog was already outside the door, and before the Soldier could look round, in he came with the Princess. She was lying asleep on the dog’s back, and was so beautiful that anyone could see she was a real Princess. The Soldier really could not refrain from kissing her–he was such a thorough Soldier. Then the dog ran back with the Princess. But when it was morning, and the King and Queen were drinking tea, the Princess said that the night before she had had such a strange dream about a dog and a Soldier: she had ridden on the dog’s back, and the Soldier had kissed her.
‘That is certainly a fine story,’ said the Queen. But the next night one of the ladies-in-waiting was to watch at the Princess’s bed, to see if it was only a dream, or if it had actually happened.
The Soldier had an overpowering longing to see the Princess again, and so the dog came in the middle of the night and fetched her, running as fast as he could. But the lady-in-waiting slipped on soft rubber shoes and followed them. When she saw them disappear into a large house, she thought to herself: ‘Now I know where it is; ‘and made a great cross on the door with a piece of chalk. Then she went home and lay down, and the dog came back also, with the Princess. But when he saw that a cross had been made on the door of the house where the Soldier lived, he took a piece of chalk also, and made crosses on all the doors in the town; and that was very clever, for now the lady-in-waiting could not find the right house, as there were crosses on all the doors.
Early next morning the King, Queen, ladies-in-waiting, and officers came out to see where the Princess had been.
‘There it is!’ said the King, when he saw the first door with a cross on it.
‘No, there it is, my dear!’ said the Queen, when she likewise saw a door with a cross.
‘But here is one, and there is another!’ they all exclaimed; wherever they looked there was a cross on the door. Then they realised that the sign would not help them at all.
But the Queen was an extremely clever woman, who could do a great deal more than just drive in a coach. She took her great golden scissors, cut up a piece of silk, and made a pretty little bag of it. This she filled with the grains of porridge oats, and tied it round the Princess’ neck; this done, she cut a little hole in the bag, so that the grains would strew the whole road wherever the Princess went.
In the night the dog came again, took the Princess on his back and ran away with her to the Soldier, who was very much in love with her, and would have liked to have been a Prince, so that he might have had her for his wife.
The dog did not notice how the grains were strewn right from the castle to the Soldier’s window, where he ran up the wall with the Princess.
In the morning the King and the Queen saw plainly where their daughter had been, and they took the Soldier and put him into prison.
There he sat. Oh, how dark and dull it was there! And they told him: ‘To-morrow you are to be hanged.’ Hearing that did not exactly cheer him, and he had left his tinder-box in the inn.
Next morning he could see through the iron grating in front of his little window how the people were hurrying out of the town to see him hanged. He heard the drums and saw the soldiers marching; all the people were running to and fro. Just below his window was a shoemaker’s apprentice, with leather apron and shoes; he was skipping along so merrily that one of his shoes flew off and fell against the wall, just where the Soldier was sitting peeping through the iron grating.
‘Oh, shoemaker’s boy, you needn’t be in such a hurry!’ said the Soldier to him. ‘There’s nothing going on till I arrive. But if you will run back to the house where I lived, and fetch me my tinder-box, I will give you four shillings. But you must put your best foot foremost.’
The shoemaker’s boy was very willing to earn four shillings, and fetched the tinder-box, gave it to the Soldier, and–yes–now you shall hear.
Outside the town a great scaffold had been erected, and all round were standing the soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of people. The King and Queen were sitting on a magnificent throne opposite the judges and the whole council.
The Soldier was already standing on the top of the ladder; but when they wanted to put the rope round his neck, he said that the fulfilment of one innocent request was always granted to a poor criminal before he underwent his punishment. He would so much like to smoke a small pipe of tobacco; it would be his last pipe in this world.
The King could not refuse him this, and so he took out his tinder-box, and rubbed it once, twice, three times. And lo, and behold I there stood all three dogs–the one with eyes as large as saucers, the second with eyes as large as mill-wheels, and the third with eyes each as large as the Round Tower of Copenhagen.
‘Help me now, so that I may not be hanged!’ cried the Soldier. And thereupon the dogs fell upon the judges and the whole council, seized some by the legs, others by the nose, and threw them so high into the air that they fell and were smashed into pieces.
‘I won’t stand this!’ said the King; but the largest dog seized him too, and the Queen as well, and threw them up after the others. This frightened the soldiers, and all the people cried: ‘Good Soldier, you shall be our King, and marry the beautiful Princess!’
Then they put the Soldier into the King’s coach, and the three dogs danced in front, crying ‘Hurrah!’ And the boys whistled and the soldiers presented arms.
The Princess came out of the copper castle, and became Queen; and that pleased her very much.
The wedding festivities lasted for eight days, and the dogs sat at table and made eyes at everyone.
ONCE upon a time there lived a poor prince; his kingdom was very small, but it was large enough to enable him to marry, and marry he would. It was rather bold of him that he went and asked the emperor’s daughter: “Will you marry me?” but he dared to do so, for his name was known far and wide, and there were hundreds of princesses who would have gladly accepted him, but would she do so? Now we shall see.
On the grave of the prince’s father grew a rose-tree, the most beautiful of its kind. It bloomed only once in five years, and then it had only one single rose upon it, but what a rose! It had such a sweet scent that anyone who smelt it instantly forgot all sorrow and grief. He had also a nightingale, which could sing as if every sweet melody was in its throat. He wanted to give this rose and the nightingale to the princess; and therefore both were put into big silver cases and sent to her.
The emperor ordered them to be carried into the great hall where the princess was just playing “Visitors are coming” with her ladies-in-waiting; when she saw the large cases with the presents inside, she clapped her hands for joy.
‘If only it were a little pussy cat!’ she said. But the rose-tree with the beautiful rose came out.
“Oh, how nicely it is made,” exclaimed the ladies.
“It is more than nice,” said the emperor, “it is charming.”
The princess touched it and nearly began to cry.
‘Ugh! Papa,’ she said, ‘it is not artificial, it is REAL!’
‘Ugh!’ said all the ladies-in-waiting, ‘it is real!’
“Let us first see what the other case contains before we are angry,” said the emperor; then the nightingale was taken out, and it sang so beautifully that no one could possibly say anything unkind about it.
“Superbe, charmant,” said the ladies of the court, for they all prattled French, one worse than the other.
“How much the bird reminds me of the musical box of the late lamented empress,” said an old courtier, “it has exactly the same tone, the same execution.”
“You are right,” said the emperor, and began to cry like a little child.
“I hope it is not real,” said the princess.
“Yes, certainly it is real,” replied those who had brought the presents.
“Then let it fly,” said the princess, and refused to see the prince.
But the prince was not discouraged. He painted his face, put on common clothes, pulled his cap over his forehead, and came back.
“Good day, emperor,” he said, “could you not give me a job at the court?”
‘Yes,’ said the Emperor, ‘but there are so many who ask for a place that I don’t know whether there will be one for you; but, still, I will remember you. But wait a moment, it has just occurred to me that I need someone to look after my pigs, for I have so very many of them.’
Thus the prince was appointed imperial swineherd, and he lived in a wretchedly small room near the pigsty; there he worked all day long, and when it was night he made a pretty little pot. There were little bells round the rim, and when the water began to boil in it, the bells began to play the old tune:
“Ah Dear Augustine!
All is Gone, gone gone !”
But there was something even more wonderful than that. When you put a finger into the steam rising from the pot, you could at once smell what meals were cooking on every fire in the whole town. That was indeed much more remarkable than the rose. When the princess with her ladies passed by and heard the tune, she stopped and looked quite pleased, for she also could play it—in fact, it was the only tune she could play on the piano, and she played it with one finger.
“That is the tune I know,” she exclaimed. “He must be a well-educated swineherd. Go and ask him how much the instrument is.”
One of the ladies had to go and ask. Before she went into the muddy field, she put wooden clogs on her feet.
“What will you take for your pot?” asked the lady.
“I will have ten kisses from the princess,” said the swineherd.
“God forbid,” said the lady.
“Well, I cannot sell it for less,” replied the swineherd.
“What did he say?” said the princess.
“I really cannot tell you,” replied the lady.
“You can whisper it into my ear.”
“It is very naughty,” said the princess, and walked off.
But when she had gone a little distance, the bells rang again so sweetly:
“Ah! Dear Augstine !
All is gone, gone, Gone!”
“Ask him,” said the princess, “if he will be satisfied with ten kisses from one of my ladies.”
“No, thank you,” said the swineherd: “ten kisses from the princess, or I keep my pot.”
“That is tiresome,” said the princess. “But you must stand before me, so that nobody can see it.”
The ladies placed themselves in front of her and spread out their dresses, and she gave the swineherd ten kisses and received the pot.
That was a pleasure! Day and night the water in the pot was boiling; there was not a single fire in the whole town of which they did not know what was preparing on it, the chamberlain’s as well as the shoemaker’s. The ladies danced and clapped their hands for joy.
“We know who will eat soup and pancakes; we know who will eat porridge and cutlets; oh, how interesting!”
“Very interesting, indeed,” said the mistress of the household. “But you must not betray me, for I am the emperor’s daughter.”
“Of course not,” they all said.
The swineherd—that is to say, the prince—but they believed that he was a real swineherd—did not waste a single day without doing something; he made a rattle, which, when turned quickly round, played all the dance tunes known since the creation of the world.
“But that is superb,” said the princess passing by. “I have never heard a more beautiful sound. Go down and ask him what the musical instrument costs; but I shall not kiss him again.”
“He will have a hundred kisses from the princess,” said the lady, who had gone down to ask him.
“I believe he is mad,” said the princess, and walked off, but soon she stopped. “One must encourage art,” she said. “I am the emperor’s daughter! Tell him I will give him ten kisses, as I did the other day; the remainder one of my ladies can give him.”
“But we do not like to kiss him” said the ladies.
“That is nonsense,” said the princess; “if I can kiss him, you can also do it. Remember that I give you food and employment.” And the lady had to go down once more.
“A hundred kisses from the princess,” said the swineherd, “or everybody keeps his own.”
“Place yourselves before me,” said the princess then. They did as they were ordered, and the princess kissed him.
“I wonder what that crowd near the pigsty means!” said the emperor, who had just come out on his balcony. He rubbed his eyes and put his spectacles on.
“The ladies of the court are up to some mischief, I think. I shall have to go down and see.” He pulled up his shoes, for they were down at the heels, and he was very quick about it. When he had come down into the courtyard he walked quite softly, and the ladies were so busily engaged in counting the kisses, that all should be fair, that they did not notice the emperor. He raised himself on tiptoe.
“What does this mean?” he said, when he saw that his daughter was kissing the swineherd, and then hit their heads with his shoe just as the swineherd received the sixty-eighth kiss.
“Go out of my sight,” said the emperor, for he was very angry; and both the princess and the swineherd were banished from the empire. There she stood and cried, the swineherd scolded her, and the rain came down in torrents.
“Alas, unfortunate creature that I am!” said the princess, “I wish I had accepted the prince. Oh, how wretched I am!”
The swineherd went behind a tree, wiped his face, threw off his poor attire and stepped forth in his princely clothes; he looked so beautiful that the princess could not help bowing to him.
“I have now learnt to look down on you,” he said. “You refused an honest prince; you did not appreciate the rose and the nightingale; but you did not mind kissing a swineherd for his toys; you have no one but yourself to blame!”
And then he returned into his kingdom and left her behind. She could now sing at her leisure:
“Ah Dear Augustine!
All is Gone, gone gone !”
Really, the largest green leaf in this country is a dockleaf; if one holds it before one, it is like a whole apron, and if one holds it over one's head in rainy weather, it is almost as good as an umbrella, for it is so immensely large. The burdock never grows alone, but where there grows one there always grow several: it is a great delight, and all this delightfulness is snails' food. The great white snails which persons of quality in former times made fricassees of, ate, and said, "Hem, hem! how delicious!" for they thought it tasted so delicate--lived on dockleaves, and therefore burdock seeds were sown.
Now, there was an old manor-house, where they no longer ate snails, they were quite extinct; but the burdocks were not extinct, they grew and grew all over the walks and all the beds; they could not get the mastery over them--it was a whole forest of burdocks. Here and there stood an apple and a plum-tree, or else one never would have thought that it was a garden; all was burdocks, and there lived the two last venerable old snails.
They themselves knew not how old they were, but they could remember very well that there had been many more; that they were of a family from foreign lands, and that for them and theirs the whole forest was planted. They had never been outside it, but they knew that there was still something more in the world, which was called the manor-house, and that there they were boiled, and then they became black, and were then placed on a silver dish; but what happened further they knew not; or, in fact, what it was to be boiled, and to lie on a silver dish, they could not possibly imagine; but it was said to be delightful, and particularly genteel. Neither the chafers, the toads, nor the earth-worms, whom they asked about it could give them any information--none of them had been boiled or laid on a silver dish.
The old white snails were the first persons of distinction in the world, that they knew; the forest was planted for their sake, and the manor-house was there that they might be boiled and laid on a silver dish.
"You must not scold him," said Mother Snail. "He creeps so carefully; he will afford us much pleasure--and we have nothing but him to live for! But have you not thought of it? Where shall we get a wife for him? Do you not think that there are some of our species at a great distance in the interior of the burdock forest?"
"Black snails, I dare say, there are enough of," said the old one. "Black snails without a house--but they are so common, and so conceited. But we might give the ants a commission to look out for us; they run to and fro as if they had something to do, and they certainly know of a wife for our little snail!"
"I know one, sure enough--the most charming one!" said one of the ants. "But I am afraid we shall hardly succeed, for she is a queen!"
"That is nothing!" said the old folks. "Has she a house?"
"She has a palace!" said the ant. "The finest ant's palace, with seven hundred passages!"
"I thank you!" said Mother Snail. "Our son shall not go into an ant-hill; if you know nothing better than that, we shall give the commission to the white gnats. They fly far and wide, in rain and sunshine; they know the whole forest here, both within and without."
"We have a wife for him," said the gnats. "At a hundred human paces from here there sits a little snail in her house, on a gooseberry bush; she is quite lonely, and old enough to be married. It is only a hundred human paces!"
"Well, then, let her come to him!" said the old ones. "He has a whole forest of burdocks, she has only a bush!"
And so they went and fetched little Miss Snail. It was a whole week before she arrived; but therein was just the very best of it, for one could thus see that she was of the same species
Now they lived a very lonely and happy life; and as they had no children themselves, they had adopted a little common snail, which they brought up as their own; but the little one would not grow, for he was of a common family; but the old ones, especially Dame Mother Snail, thought they could observe how he increased in size, and she begged father, if he could not see it, that he would at least feel the little snail's shell; and then he felt it, and found the good dame was right.
One day there was a heavy storm of rain.
"Hear how it beats like a drum on the dock-leaves!" said Father Snail.
"There are also rain-drops!" said Mother Snail. "And now the rain pours right down the stalk! You will see that it will be wet here! I am very happy to think that we have our good house, and the little one has his also! There is more done for us than for all other creatures, sure enough; but can you not see that we are folks of quality in the world? We are provided with a house from our birth, and the burdock forest is planted for our sakes! I should like to know how far it extends, and what there is outside!"
"There is nothing at all," said Father Snail. "No place can be better than ours, and I have nothing to wish for!"
"Yes," said the dame. "I would willingly go to the manorhouse, be boiled, and laid on a silver dish; all our forefathers have been treated so; there is something extraordinary in it, you may be sure!"
"The manor-house has most likely fallen to ruin!" said Father Snail. "Or the burdocks have grown up over it, so that they cannot come out. There need not, however, be any haste about that; but you are always in such a tremendous hurry, and the little one is beginning to be the same. Has he not been creeping up that stalk these three days? It gives me a headache when I look up to him!"
And then the marriage was celebrated. Six earth-worms shone as well as they could. In other respects the whole went off very quietly, for the old folks could not bear noise and merriment; but old Dame Snail made a brilliant speech. Father Snail could not speak, he was too much affected; and so they gave them as a dowry and inheritance, the whole forest of burdocks, and said--what they had always said--that it was the best in the world; and if they lived honestly and decently, and increased and multiplied, they and their children would once in the course of time come to the manor-house, be boiled black, and laid on silver dishes. After this speech was made, the old ones crept into their shells, and never more came out. They slept; the young couple governed in the forest, and had a numerous progeny, but they were never boiled, and never came on the silver dishes; so from this they concluded that the manor-house had fallen to ruins, and that all the men in the world were extinct; and as no one contradicted them, so, of course it was so. And the rain beat on the dock-leaves to make drum-music for their sake, and the sun shone in order to give the burdock forest a color for their sakes; and they were very happy, and the whole family was happy; for they, indeed were so.