Stories of Hans Christian Andersen

A New Translation from the Danish

by Hans Christian Andersen, Diana Frank, Jeffrey Frank, Vilhelm Pedersen and Lorenz Froelich

Stories of Hans Christian Andersen

Paperback, 293 pages, Duke Univ Pr, List Price: $22.95 | purchase

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Excerpt: Stories Of Hans Christian Andersen

Stories of Hans Christian Andersen

The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen

A NEW TRANSLATION FROM THE DANISH


DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Copyright © 2005 Duke University Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8223-3693-8

Contents

Introduction: The Real H. C. Andersen......................................................1The Tinderbox  Fyrtxjet, 1835..............................................................39Little Claus and Big Claus  Lille Claus og store Claus, 1835...............................47The Princess on the Pea  Prinsessen paa Frten, 1835........................................61Thumbelisa  Tommelise, 1835................................................................64The Little Mermaid  Den lille Havfrue, 1837................................................78The Emperor's New Clothes  Kejserens nye Klœder, 1837......................................105The Wild Swans  De vilde Svaner, 1838......................................................111The Swineherd  Svinedrengen, 1842..........................................................131The Nightingale  Nattergalen, 1844.........................................................139The Sweethearts  Kfrestefolkene, 1844......................................................152The Ugly Duckling  Den grimme Flling, 1844.................................................156The Snow Queen  Snedronningen, 1845........................................................169The Red Shoes  De rxde Sko, 1845...........................................................207The Little Match Girl  Den lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne, 1845.............................215The Happy Family  Den lykkelige Familie, 1847..............................................220The Shadow  Skyggen, 1847..................................................................225By the Outermost Sea  Ved det yderste Hav, 1855............................................240Hopeless Hans  Klods-Hans, 1855............................................................244Kids' Talk  Bxrnesnak, 1859................................................................250Father's Always Right  Hvad Fatter gxr, det er altid det Rigtige, 1861.....................254The Gardener and the Aristocrats  Gartneren og Herskabet, 1872.............................260Auntie Toothache  Tante Tandpine, 1872.....................................................269ACKNOWLEDGMENTS............................................................................285BIBLIOGRAPHY...............................................................................287ABOUT THE TRANSLATION......................................................................295ABOUT THE ARTISTS..........................................................................295

Chapter One

The Tinderbox

A soldier came marching down the highway: one, two! one, two! His rucksack was on his back and his sword was by his side, because he had been in the war and now he was on his way home. Then he met an old witch on the road; she was very ugly - her lower lip hung all the way down to her chest. "Good afternoon, soldier," she said. "You have a nice-looking sword and a big rucksack - you're a real soldier, and now I'll give you as much money as you want."

"Thanks very much, you old witch," the soldier said.

"Do you see that big tree?" the witch asked and pointed at the tree, which was right next to them. "It's hollow. I want you to climb to the top, and there you'll see a hole you have to slide through. It'll take you deep into the tree. I'll tie a rope around your waist, so I can pull you back up when you call."

"What am I supposed to do in the tree?" the soldier asked.

"Get money," the witch said. "Let me explain: When you get to the bottom of the tree, you'll be in a big passageway. It's very bright, because there are more than a hundred lamps. You'll find three doors you can open because their keys are in the locks. When you go into the first room, you'll see a big chest in the middle of the floor. There's a big dog on top of it; his eyes are as big as teacups, but don't worry about that. I'll give you my checkered blue apron, which you spread out on the floor. Then just pick up the dog, put him on my apron, open up the chest, and take as many coins as you want.

"They're all copper, but if you'd rather have silver coins, you'll have to go into the next room. The dog in there has eyes as big as mill wheels, but don't worry - put him on my apron and help yourself to the money. On the other hand, if you'd rather have gold, you can have that too - as much as you can carry - when you go into the third room. The dog who sits on that money chest has eyes as big as the Round Tower. Believe me, that's a real dog! But don't worry - just put him on my apron. Then he won't bother you, and you can take as much gold from the chest as you want."

"Not bad," the soldier said. "But what do I have to give you, you old witch? Because you want something too, I'll bet."

"No," the witch replied, "I don't want a single penny. Just bring me the old tinderbox that my grandmother forgot the last time she was down there."

"Okay, then, tie the rope around my waist," the soldier said.

"There you are," the witch said, "and here's my blue-checkered apron."

Then the soldier climbed up the tree, let himself drop through the hole, and stood, as the witch had told him, in a big passageway with hundreds of lamps burning.

He opened up the first door. Uh-oh! There sat the dog, staring at him with eyes as big as teacups.

"You're quite something," the soldier said. He put the dog on the witch's apron, took as many copper coins as his pockets would hold, closed the chest, put the dog back, and went to the next room. Yikes! There was the dog with eyes as big as mill wheels.

"Don't keep looking at me," the soldier said. "Your eyes might get sore." He put the dog on the witch's apron, but when he saw all the silver in the chest, he threw away the copper coins and filled his pocket and his rucksack with silver. Then he went into the third room. It was terrifying. The dog in there really did have eyes as big as the Round Tower, and they turned like wheels in his head.

"Good evening," the soldier said and took off his cap, because he'd never seen a dog like that before. But after he'd looked at the dog for a while, he thought: enough of that. He put him on the floor, opened the chest, and - good lord! There was so much gold. He would be able to buy all of Copenhagen and the baker ladies' sugar pigs, and every tin soldier, spinning top, and rocking horse in the world. Now this was real money! The soldier tossed out all the silver that had filled his pockets and rucksack and took the gold instead - yes, indeed, he filled all his pockets and his rucksack and even his boots, so he could hardly walk. Now he had money! He put the dog back on the chest, closed the door, and shouted up through the tree:

"Pull me up, you old witch!"

"Do you have the tinderbox?" the witch asked.

"Oh, right," the soldier said. "I completely forgot." And he went to fetch it. The witch pulled him up, and he was back on the highway with his pockets, rucksack, boots, and cap filled with money.

"What are you going to do with that tinderbox?" the soldier asked.

"None of your business," the witch replied. "You've got the money, so give me the tinderbox."

"Don't be silly," the soldier said. "Tell me right now what you're going to do with it, or I'll pull out my sword and cut off your head."

"I won't," the witch said.

So the soldier chopped off her head, and there she lay. He tied her apron around all the money, carried it in a bundle on his back, put the tinderbox in his pocket, and headed straight for the city.

It was a beautiful city. The soldier went to the most beautiful inn and ordered the very best room and his favorite food. He was rich now, because he had so much money.

The servant who was supposed to polish his boots thought that they were a peculiar pair of old boots for such a rich man, but the soldier had not gotten around to buying new ones. The next day he got some boots and some really nice clothes. The soldier became a distinguished gentleman, and people told him about all the attractions of their city, and about their king, and what a pretty princess his daughter was.

"How can you get to see her?" the soldier asked.

"It's not easy to get to see her," they all told him. "She lives in a big copper castle, surrounded by lots and lots of walls and towers. There's a prophecy that she's going to marry a simple soldier, but the king doesn't like that, so only the king dares to go in and out of her room."

"I'd sure like to get a look at her," the soldier thought, but of course he could never get permission.

The soldier lived it up, went to the theater, took the carriage to the King's Gardens, and gave away a lot of money to the poor - which was a nice thing to do. He remembered from the old days how awful it was not to have a penny. Now he was rich, had nice clothes, and made lots of friends. They all said that he was a good fellow, a true gentleman, and the soldier liked to hear all that. But because the money flowed out every day and nothing flowed in, he eventually had only two pennies left. He had to move out of the beautiful rooms where he had lived and into a tiny room just beneath the roof. He also had to polish his own boots and repair them with a darning needle, and none of his friends came to see him, because there were too many stairs to climb.

It was a very dark evening, and he couldn't even afford to buy a light, but he remembered that a little piece of candle was left inside the tinderbox - the one that the witch had helped him get inside the hollow tree. He took out the tinderbox and candle stump, but just as he fired it up and sparks flew from the flint, the door sprang open and the dog with eyes as big as teacups, the one he had seen beneath the tree, stood in front of him and said, "What does my master demand?"

"What on earth!" the soldier said. "That's sure a funny kind of tinderbox, if I can get whatever I want. Get me some money," he said to the dog. And in a flash the dog was gone, and in a flash he was back again, carrying a big bag of coins in his mouth.

Then the soldier realized what a wonderful tinderbox he had. If he clicked it once, the dog who sat on the chest full of copper coins showed up; if he clicked twice, the dog with the silver appeared; and if he clicked three times, there was the one with the gold. The soldier moved back into his beautiful rooms, put on good clothes, and all his friends recognized him right away - they were so fond of him. He had this thought: It's kind of strange that you can't get to see this princess. Everyone says she's so gorgeous, but what's the point when she's always inside the copper castle with all those towers? Isn't there some way I can get to see her? Where's my tinderbox? He lit it and, in a flash, there was the dog with eyes as big as teacups.

"I know it's the middle of the night," the soldier said. "But I really, really want to see the princess - just for a moment."

The dog was out the door instantly, and before the soldier had time to think, he was back with the princess. She slept on the dog's back and was so gorgeous that everybody could see that she was a real princess. The soldier couldn't help it: He had to kiss her, because he was a real soldier.

The dog took the princess back to the castle, but in the morning, when the king and queen poured tea, the princess said that she'd had such a strange dream during the night - about a dog and a soldier. She had ridden the dog, and the soldier had kissed her.

"Quite a story," the queen said.

The next night one of the old ladies-in-waiting was sent to watch over the princess's bed to see whether she was dreaming or what else it could be.

The soldier longed terribly to see the beautiful princess again. During the night the dog went to the princess, picked her up, and ran as fast as he could, but the old lady-in-waiting put on her waterproof boots and ran just as quickly after them. When she saw them disappear into a big house, she thought, "Now I know where it is," and she made a big cross on the door with a piece of chalk. The lady-in-waiting went home and lay down, and the dog returned with the princess. But when the dog saw a cross on the door where the soldier lived, he took a piece of chalk himself and drew crosses on all the doors in the city. That was a clever thing to do, because then the lady-in-waiting could not find the right door - not when there were crosses on all of them.

Early the next morning the king and the queen, along with the old lady-in-waiting and all the officers, went to see where the princess had been.

"There it is," the king said, when he saw the first door with a cross on it.

"No, darling, it's there," replied the queen, who saw another door with a cross.

"But there's one - and there's one!" they all said whenever they saw a door with a cross. Then they realized that there was no point in searching.

But the queen was a very wise woman who could do more than ride around in a royal carriage. She took out her large gold scissors, cut a big piece of silk into pieces, and sewed a pretty little pouch. She filled it up with finely ground buckwheat, tied it to the princess's back, and cut a little hole in the pouch so that the buckwheat meal would sprinkle along the princess's path.

During the night the dog returned, put the princess on his back, and took her quickly to the soldier who loved her so. He wanted very much to be a prince so that she could be his wife.

The dog did not notice how the buckwheat dribbled all the way from the castle to the soldier's window, where the dog had climbed up the wall while carrying the princess. The next morning the king and queen realized where their daughter had been, and they seized the soldier and put him in jail.

There he was - ugh, it was so dark and dismal - and then they told him, "Tomorrow you'll be hanged." That wasn't much fun to hear, and he had left his tinderbox back at the inn. In the morning, through the iron bars of his little window, he could see people rushing out of the city to see him hanged. He heard the drums and saw the soldiers march by. Everyone was running along; among them was a cobbler boy wearing slippers and a leather apron. He hurried off at such a gallop that one slipper flew off and went all the way to the wall, where the soldier was looking out through the iron bars.

"Hey, cobbler boy, what's the hurry?" the soldier asked. "Nothing's going to happen before I show up. If you'll run over to where I was living and pick up my tinderbox, I'll give you four pennies. But you've got to be quick." The cobbler boy wanted the four pennies. He took off after the tinderbox, gave it to the soldier, and - now we'll hear what happened!

A large gallows had been erected outside the city, and soldiers and hundreds of thousands of people stood around it. The king and queen sat on a beautiful throne, right across from the judges and the entire council.

The soldier was already standing on the ladder, but just as they were about to put the rope around his neck, he said that before a sinner suffered his punishment, he was always allowed to make an innocent wish. He would really like to smoke a pipe, because it was the last smoke that he would be able to have in this world.

That was a wish that the king could not refuse, so the soldier took out his tinderbox and lit it - one, two, three! There were all the dogs: the one with eyes like teacups, the one with eyes like a pair of mill wheels, and the one whose eyes were as big as the Round Tower.

"Help me so I won't be hanged," the soldier asked them, and the dogs charged the judges and the whole council, grabbing one by the legs and another by the nose, throwing them high into the air so that when they fell down, they broke into pieces.

"Not me, not me!" the king said, but the biggest dog took him and the queen and threw them into the air like all the others. The soldiers were terrified, and all the people shouted, "Little soldier, we want you to be our king and marry the beautiful princess!"

They put the soldier into the royal carriage. All three dogs danced in front, shouting "Hooray!" as boys whistled and soldiers stood at attention. The princess came out of the copper castle and became queen, which she liked a lot. The wedding lasted eight days, and the dogs sat at the table, wide-eyed with wonder.

Little Claus and Big Claus

Two men who lived in a certain town had the same name - both were called Claus. But one of the men had four horses, and the other only owned a single horse. To tell them apart, people called the man with four horses Big Claus, and the owner of only one horse was Little Claus. Now let's hear what happened to them, for this is quite a story.

All week long Little Claus had to plow for Big Claus and lend him his only horse. In return, Big Claus let Little Claus use his four horses but just once a week - and that was on Sunday. Oh, boy! How Little Claus cracked his whip, because on that one day it was as if he owned all five horses. The sun shone prettily, and all the bells in the steeple rang for church; people got dressed up and carried their hymnals under their arms as they went to hear the parson preach. They looked at Little Claus, who plowed with five horses and was in such a good mood that he cracked the whip again and shouted, "Giddyap, all my horses!"

"Don't say that," Big Claus told him. "Only one of the horses is yours, you know."

But when people passed by again on their way to church, Little Claus forgot that he wasn't supposed to say that, and he shouted "Giddyap, all my horses!"

"I'm telling you to stop," Big Claus said. "If you say it one more time, I'll hit your horse so it falls down dead right there, and that'll be the end of him."

"Okay, I won't say it anymore," Little Claus promised. But he was very happy when people walked by and nodded to him; he thought how impressive it looked to have five horses plowing his field. So he cracked his whip and shouted, "Giddyap, all my horses!"

"I'll giddyap all your horses," Big Claus said. He picked up a mallet and clubbed Little Claus's only horse on the head, so that it fell down quite dead.

"Oh, no, now I don't have any horse at all," Little Claus said and started to cry. Later he skinned the horse and left the hide to dry in the wind; then he put the horsehide in a sack that he slung over his shoulder, and he went to town to sell it.

It was a very long way. He had to walk through a big dark forest, and the weather turned really nasty. He completely lost his way, and before he could get back on track it was evening; both the town and his home were too far away to reach before nightfall.

(Continues...)




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