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  1. The Complete Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen: 168 Fairy Tales in one volume
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But when the whole was wrapped in flames, the sparks mounted up into the air, higher than the flax had ever been able to raise its little blue flowers, and they glistened as the white linen never could have glistened. All the written letters became quite red in a moment, and all the words and thoughts turned to fire. Then a number of tiny beings, as many as the flowers on the flax had been, and invisible to mortal eyes, floated above the children.

They were even lighter and more delicate than the blue flowers from which they were born; and as the flames died out and nothing remained of the paper but black ashes, these little beings danced upon it, and wherever they touched it, bright red sparks appeared. It was good fun, and they sang over the dead ashes:.

But the children could neither hear nor understand this; nor should they, for children must not know everything. One day the little flower was as joyful as if it had been a great holiday, although it was only Monday. All the children were at school, and while they sat on their benches learning their lessons, she, on her little stem, learned also from the warm sun and from everything around her how good God is, and it made her happy to hear the lark expressing in his song her own glad feelings. The daisy admired the happy bird who could warble so sweetly and fly so high, and she was not at all sorrowful because she could not do the same.

Within the garden grew a number of aristocratic flowers; the less scent they had the more they flaunted. The peonies considered it a grand thing to be so large, and puffed themselves out to be larger than the roses. The tulips knew that they were marked with beautiful colors, and held themselves bolt upright so that they might be seen more plainly. They did not notice the little daisy outside, [14] but she looked at them and thought: "How rich and beautiful they are!

No wonder the pretty bird flies down to visit them. How glad I am that I grow so near them, that I may admire their beauty! Just at this moment the lark flew down, crying "Tweet," but he did not go to the tall peonies and tulips; he hopped into the grass near the lowly daisy. She trembled for joy and hardly knew what to think.

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The little bird hopped round the daisy, singing, "Oh, what sweet, soft grass, and what a lovely little flower, with gold in its heart and silver on its dress! How happy the little daisy felt, no one can describe. The bird kissed her with his beak, sang to her, and then flew up again into the blue air above.

It was at least a quarter of an hour before the daisy could recover herself. Half ashamed, yet happy in herself, she glanced at the other flowers; they must have seen the honor she had received, and would understand her delight and pleasure. But the tulips looked prouder than ever; indeed, they were evidently quite vexed about it. The peonies were disgusted, and could they have spoken, the poor little daisy would no doubt have received a good scolding.

She could see they were all out of temper, and it made her very sorry.

The Complete Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen: 168 Fairy Tales in one volume

At this moment there came into the garden a girl with a large, glittering knife in her hand. She went straight to the tulips and cut off several of them. It is all over with them now.

When the sun set, she folded up her leaves and went to sleep. She dreamed the whole night long of the warm sun and the pretty little bird. The next morning, when she joyfully stretched out her white leaves once more to the warm air and the light, she recognized the voice of the bird, but his song sounded mournful and sad. He sang of the happy time when he could fly in the air, joyous and free; of the young green corn in the fields, from which he would spring higher and higher to sing his glorious song—but now he was a prisoner in a cage. The little daisy wished very much to help him. But what could she do?

In her anxiety she forgot all the beautiful things around her, the warm sunshine, and her own pretty, shining, white leaves. Two boys came out of the garden; one of them carried a sharp knife in his hand, like the one with which the girl had cut the tulips. They went straight to the little daisy, who could not think what they were going to do. The poor bird was complaining loudly about his lost freedom, beating his wings against the iron bars of his prison. The little daisy could make no sign and utter no word to console him, as she would gladly have done.

The whole morning passed in this manner. My throat is hot and dry; I feel as if I had fire and ice within me, and the air is so heavy. I must die.

Hans Christian Andersen's Complete Fairy Tales - eBook -

I must bid farewell to the warm sunshine, the fresh green, and all the beautiful things which God has created. The bird nodded to her and kissed her with his beak and said: "You also will wither here, you [19] poor little flower! They have given you to me, with the little patch of green grass on which you grow, in exchange for the whole world which was mine out there. Each little blade of grass is to me as a great tree, and each of your white leaves a flower.

The perfume from her leaves was stronger than is usual in these flowers, and the bird noticed it, and though he was fainting with thirst, and in his pain pulled up the green blades of grass, he did not touch the flower. The evening came, and yet no one had come to bring the bird a drop of water. Then he stretched out his pretty wings and shook convulsively; he could only sing "Tweet, tweet," in a weak, mournful tone.

His little head bent down toward the flower; the bird's heart was broken with want and pining. Then the flower could not fold her leaves as she had done the evening before when she went to sleep, but, sick and sorrowful, drooped toward the earth. Not till morning did the boys come, and when they found the bird dead, they wept many and bitter tears.

They dug a pretty grave for him and adorned it with leaves of flowers. The bird's lifeless body was placed in a smart red box and was buried with great honor. Poor bird! But the turf with the daisy on it was thrown out into the dusty road. No one thought of the little flower that had felt more for the poor bird than had any one else and that would have been so glad to help and comfort him if she had been able. The shell grew, and the peas grew; and as they grew they arranged themselves all in a row.

The sun shone without and warmed the shell, and the rain made it clear and transparent; it looked mild and agreeable in broad daylight and dark at night, just as it should. And the peas, as they sat there, grew bigger and bigger, and more thoughtful as they mused, for they felt there must be something for them to do. It seems to me there must be something outside; I feel sure of it.

Suddenly they felt a pull at the shell. It was torn off and held in human hands; then it was slipped into the pocket of a jacket, together with other full pods. There they lay in a child's hand.

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A little boy was holding them tightly. He said they were fine peas for his pea-shooter, and immediately he put one in and shot it out. Up he flew against an old board under a garret window and fell into a little crevice which was almost filled with moss and soft earth. The moss closed itself about him, and there he lay—a captive indeed, but not unnoticed by God. Within the little garret lived a poor woman, who went out to clean stoves, chop wood into small pieces, and do other hard work, for she was both strong and industrious. Yet she remained always poor, and at home in the garret lay her [24] only daughter, not quite grown up and very delicate and weak.

For a whole year she had kept her bed, and it seemed as if she could neither die nor get well. The other was left to me, but I suppose they are not to be separated, and my sick girl will soon go to her sister in heaven. Spring came, and early one morning the sun shone through the little window and threw his rays mildly and pleasantly over the floor of the room.

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Just as the mother was going to her work, the sick girl fixed her gaze on the lowest pane of the window. It is moving in the wind.

What do you want to do?

The mother stepped to the window and half opened it. How could it have got into this crack? Well, now, here is a little garden for you to amuse yourself with.

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