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62 Works of Hans Christian Andersen

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The Little Match Girl

Story type: Literature

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Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening–the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of […]

The Naughty Boy

Story type: Literature

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Along time ago, there lived an old poet, a thoroughly kind old poet. As he was sitting one evening in his room, a dreadful storm arose without, and the rain streamed down from heaven; but the old poet sat warm and comfortable in his chimney-comer, where the fire blazed and the roasting apple hissed. “Those […]

The Red Shoes

Story type: Literature

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There was once a little girl who was very pretty and delicate, but in summer she was forced to run about with bare feet, she was so poor, and in winter wear very large wooden shoes, which made her little insteps quite red, and that looked so dangerous! In the middle of the village lived […]

The Shadow

Story type: Literature

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It is in the hot lands that the sun burns, sure enough! there the people become quite a mahogany brown, ay, and in the HOTTEST lands they are burnt to Negroes. But now it was only to the HOT lands that a learned man had come from the cold; there he thought that he could […]

The Story Of A Mother

Story type: Literature

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A mother sat there with her little child. She was so downcast, so afraid that it should die! It was so pale, the small eyes had closed themselves, and it drew its breath so softly, now and then, with a deep respiration, as if it sighed; and the mother looked still more sorrowfully on the […]

The Dream Of Little Tuk

Story type: Literature

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Ah! yes, that was little Tuk: in reality his name was not Tuk, but that was what he called himself before he could speak plain: he meant it for Charles, and it is all well enough if one does but know it. He had now to take care of his little sister Augusta, who was […]

The False Collar

Story type: Literature

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There was once a fine gentleman, all of whose moveables were a boot-jack and a hair-comb: but he had the finest false collars in the world; and it is about one of these collars that we are now to hear a story. It was so old, that it began to think of marriage; and it […]

The Old House

Story type: Literature

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In the street, up there, was an old, a very old house-it was almost three hundred years old, for that might be known by reading the great beam on which the date of the year was carved: together with tulips and hop-binds there were whole verses spelled as in former times, and over every window […]

The Leap-Frog

Story type: Literature

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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 who chose 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 […]

The Happy Family

Story type: Literature

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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 […]

The Elderbush

Story type: Literature

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Once upon a time there was a little boy who had taken cold. He had gone out and got his feet wet; though nobody could imagine how it had happened, for it was quite dry weather. So his mother undressed him, put him to bed, and had the tea-pot brought in, to make him a […]

The Bell

Story type: Literature

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People said “The Evening Bell is sounding, the sun is setting.” For a strange wondrous tone was heard in the narrow streets of a large town. It was like the sound of a church-bell: but it was only heard for a moment, for the rolling of the carriages and the voices of the multitude made […]

The Fir Tree

Story type: Literature

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Out in the woods stood a nice little Fir Tree. The place he had was a very good one: the sun shone on him: as to fresh air, there was enough of that, and round him grew many large-sized comrades, pines as well as firs. But the little Fir wanted so very much to be […]

The Real Princess

Story type: Literature

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There was once a Prince who wished to marry a Princess; but then she must be a real Princess. He travelled all over the world in hopes of finding such a lady; but there was always something wrong. Princesses he found in plenty; but whether they were real Princesses it was impossible for him to […]

The Swineherd

Story type: Literature

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There was once a poor Prince, who had a kingdom. His kingdom was very small, but still quite large enough to marry upon; and he wished to marry. It was certainly rather cool of him to say to the Emperor’s daughter, “Will you have me?” But so he did; for his name was renowned far […]

Many years ago, there was an Emperor, who was so excessively fond of new clothes, that he spent all his money in dress. He did not trouble himself in the least about his soldiers; nor did he care to go either to the theatre or the chase, except for the opportunities then afforded him for […]

The Psyche

Story type: Literature

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A large star beams in the dawn of morning in the red sky–the clearest star of the morning–its rays tremble upon the white wall, as if they wished to write down and relate, the scenes which they had witnessed during many centuries. Listen to one of these stories! A short time ago–(this not long ago […]

A hedge of hazel-nut bushes encircled the garden; without was field and meadow, with cows and sheep; but in the centre of the garden stood a rose-tree, and under it sat a snail–she had much within her, she had herself. “Wait, until my time comes,” said she, “I shall accomplish something more than putting forth […]

The Phoenix Bird

Story type: Literature

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In the Garden of Paradise, beneath the Tree of Knowledge, bloomed a rose bush. Here, in the first rose, a bird was born: his flight was like the flashing of light, his plumage was beauteous, and his song ravishing. But when Eve plucked the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, when she and […]

Great ships had been sent up towards the North Pole, to explore the most distant coasts, and to try how far men might penetrate up yonder. For more than a year they had already been pushing their way among ice, and snow, and mist, and their crews had endured many hardships; and now the winter […]

Far away in the land of India, far away towards the East, at the end of the world, stood the Tree of the Sun, a noble tree, such as we have never seen, and shall probably never see. The crown stretched out several miles around: it was really an entire wood; each of its smallest […]

The Butterfly

Story type: Literature

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The Butterfly wished for a bride; and, as may be imagined, he wanted to select a very pretty one from among the flowers; therefore he threw a critical glance at all the flower-beds, and found that every flower sat quietly and demurely on her stalk, just as a maiden ought to sit, before she is […]

The Pen And Inkstand

Story type: Literature

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In the room of a poet, where his inkstand stood upon the table, it was said, “It is wonderful what can come out of an inkstand. What will the next thing be? It is wonderful!” “Yes, certainly,” said the Inkstand. “It’s extraordinary–that’s what I always say,” he exclaimed to the pen and to the other […]

Soup On A Sausage-Peg

Story type: Literature

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I. “That was a remarkably fine dinner yesterday,” observed an old Mouse of the female sex to another who had not been at the festive gathering. “I sat number twenty-one from the old mouse king, so that I was not badly placed. Should you like to hear the order of the banquet? The courses were […]

There were two Cocks–one on the dunghill, the other on the roof. Both were conceited; but which of the two effected most? Tell us your opinion; but we shall keep our own nevertheless. The poultry-yard was divided by a partition of boards from another yard, in which lay a manure-heap, whereon lay and grew a […]

Two Maidens

Story type: Literature

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Have you ever seen a maiden? I mean what our paviours call a maiden, a thing with which they ram down the paving-stones in the roads. A maiden of this kind is made altogether of wood, broad below, and girt round with iron rings; at the top she is narrow, and has a stick passed […]

Snow Man

Story type: Literature

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“It’s so wonderfully cold that my whole body crackles!” said the Snow Man. “This is a kind of wind that can blow life into one; and how the gleaming one up yonder is staring at me.” He meant the sun, which was just about to set. “It shall not make me wink–I shall manage to […]

Our scene is in Northern Jutland, in the so called “wild moor.” We hear what is called the “Wester-wow-wow”–the peculiar roar of the North Sea as it breaks against the western coast of Jutland. It rolls and thunders with a sound that penetrates for miles into the land; and we are quite near the roaring. […]

This is a story from the sand-dunes or sand-hills of Jutland; though it does not begin in Jutland, the northern peninsula, but far away in the south, in Spain. The ocean is the high road between the nations–transport thyself thither in thought to sunny Spain. There it is warm and beautiful, there the fiery pomegranate […]

The story of the girl who trod on the loaf, to avoid soiling her shoes, and of the misfortunes that befell this girl, is well known. It has been written, and even printed. The girl’s name was Inge; she was a poor child, but proud and presumptuous; there was a bad foundation in her, as […]

In The Duck-yard

Story type: Literature

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A duck arrived from Portugal. Some said she came from Spain, but that’s all the same. At any rate she was called the Portuguese, and laid eggs, and was killed and cooked, and that was her career. But the ducklings which crept forth from her eggs were afterwards also called Portuguese, and there is something […]

Charming

Story type: Literature

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Alfred the sculptor–you know him? We all know him: he won the great gold medal, and got a travelling scholarship, went to Italy, and then came back to his native land. He was young in those days, and indeed he is young yet, though he is ten years older than he was then. After his […]

Anne Lisbeth

Story type: Literature

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Anne Lisbeth had a colour like milk and blood; young, fresh, and merry, she looked beautiful, with gleaming white teeth and clear eyes; her footstep was light in the dance, and her mind was lighter still. And what came of it all? Her son was an ugly brat! Yes, he was not pretty; so he […]

The Pigs

Story type: Literature

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Charles Dickens once told us about a pig, and since that time we are in a good humour if we only hear one grunt. St. Antony took the pig under his protection; and when we think of the prodigal son we always associate with him the idea of feeding swine; and it was in front […]

The Puppet Showman

Story type: Literature

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On board the steamer was an elderly man with such a merry face that, if it did not belie him, he must have been the happiest fellow in creation. And, indeed, he declared he was the happiest man; I heard it out of his own mouth. He was a Dane, a travelling theatre director. He […]

The Bell-Deep

Story type: Literature

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“Ding-dong! Ding-dong!” It sounds up from the “bell-deep,” in the Odense-Au. Every child in the old town of Odense, on the island of Fuenen, knows the Au, which washes the gardens round about the town, and flows on under the wooden bridges from the dam to the water-mill. In the Au grow the yellow water-lilies […]

In the forest, high up on the steep shore, hard by the open sea coast, stood a very old oak tree. It was exactly three hundred and sixty-five years old, but that long time was not more for the tree than just as many days would be to us men. We wake by day and […]

The storks tell their little ones very many stories, all of the moor and the marsh. These stories are generally adapted to the age and capacity of the hearers. The youngest are content if they are told “Kribble-krabble, plurre-murre” as a story, and find it charming; but the older ones want something with a deeper […]

There is a street in Copenhagen that has this strange name–“Hysken Straede.” Whence comes this name, and what is its meaning? It is said to be German; but injustice has been done to the Germans in this matter, for it would have to be “Haeuschen,” and not “Hysken.” For here stood, once upon a time, […]

The Old Gravestone

Story type: Literature

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In a little provincial town, in the time of the year when people say “the evenings are drawing in,” there was one evening quite a social gathering in the home of a father of a family. The weather was still mild and warm. The lamp gleamed on the table; the long curtains hung down in […]

An old story yet lives of the “Thorny Road of Honour,” of a marksman, who indeed attained to rank and office, but only after a lifelong and weary strife against difficulties. Who has not, in reading this story, thought of his own strife, and of his own numerous “difficulties?” The story is very closely akin […]

The Jewish Girl

Story type: Literature

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Among the children in a charity school sat a little Jewish girl. She was a good, intelligent child, the quickest in all the school; but she had to be excluded from one lesson, for she was not allowed to take part in the scripture-lesson, for it was a Christian school. In that hour the girl […]

The Dumb Book

Story type: Literature

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By the high-road in the forest lay a lonely peasant’s hut; the road went right through the farmyard. The sun shone down, and all the windows were open. In the house was bustle and movement; but in the garden, in an arbour of blossoming elder, stood an open coffin. A dead man had been carried […]

A Leaf From The Sky

Story type: Literature

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High up yonder, in the thin clear air, flew an angel with a flower from the heavenly garden. As he was kissing the flower, a very little leaf fell down into the soft soil in the midst of the wood, and immediately took root, and sprouted, and sent forth shoots among the other plants. “A […]

Good Humour

Story type: Literature

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My father left me the best inheritance; to wit–good humour. And who was my father? Why, that has nothing to do with the humour. He was lively and stout, round and fat; and his outer and inner man were in direct contradiction to his calling. And pray what was he by profession and calling in […]

The Bottle-neck

Story type: Literature

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In a narrow crooked street, among other abodes of poverty, stood an especially narrow and tall house built of timber, which time had knocked about in such fashion that it seemed to be out of joint in every direction. The house was inhabited by poor people, and the deepest poverty was apparent in the garret […]

Ole The Tower-keeper

Story type: Literature

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“In the world it’s always going up and down–and now I can’t go up any higher!” So said Ole the tower-keeper. “Most people have to try both the ups and the downs; and, rightly considered, we all get to be watchmen at last, and look down upon life from a height.” Such was the speech […]

Ib And Christine

Story type: Literature

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Not far from the clear stream Gudenau, in North Jutland, in the forest which extends by its banks and far into the country, a great ridge of land rises and stretches along like a wall through the wood. By this ridge, westward, stands a farmhouse, surrounded by poor land; the sandy soil is seen through […]

When the wind sweeps across the grass, the field has a ripple like a pond, and when it sweeps across the corn the field waves to and fro like a high sea. That is called the wind’s dance; but the wind does not dance only, he also tells stories; and how loudly he can sing […]

I will tell you a story which was told to me when I was a little boy. Every time I thought of the story, it seemed to me to become more and more charming; for it is with stories as it is with many people–they become better as they grow older. I take it for […]

The Beetle

Story type: Literature

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The emperor’s favourite horse was shod with gold. It had a golden shoe on each of its feet. And why was this? He was a beautiful creature, with delicate legs, bright intelligent eyes, and a mane that hung down over his neck like a veil. He had carried his master through the fire and smoke […]

Under The Willow Tree

Story type: Literature

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The region round the little town of Kjoege is very bleak and bare. The town certainly lies by the sea shore, which is always beautiful, but just there it might be more beautiful than it is: all around are flat fields, and it is a long way to the forest. But when one is very […]

Something

Story type: Literature

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“I want to be something!” said the eldest of five brothers. “I want to do something in the world. I don’t care how humble my position may be in society, if I only effect some good, for that will really be something. I’ll make bricks, for they are quite indispensable things, and then I shall […]

Far in the interior of the country lay an old baronial hall, and in it lived an old proprietor, who had two sons, which two young men thought themselves too clever by half. They wanted to go out and woo the king’s daughter; for the maiden in question had publicly announced that she would choose […]

The Bond Of Friendship

Story type: Literature

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We have just taken a little journey, and already we want to take a longer one. Whither? To Sparta, to Mycene, to Delphi? There are a hundred places at whose names the heart beats with the desire of travel. On horseback we go up the mountain paths, through brake and through brier. A single traveller […]

In A Thousand Years

Story type: Literature

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Yes, in a thousand years people will fly on the wings of steam through the air, over the ocean! The young inhabitants of America will become visitors of old Europe. They will come over to see the monuments and the great cities, which will then be in ruins, just as we in our time make […]

There was once a regular student: he lived in a garret, and nothing at all belonged to him; but there was also once a regular huckster: he lived on the ground floor, and the whole house was his; and the goblin kept with him, for on the huckster’s table on Christmas Eve there was always […]

It is more than a hundred years ago. Behind the wood, by the great lake, stood the old baronial mansion. Round about it lay a deep moat, in which grew reeds and grass. Close by the bridge, near the entrance-gate, rose an old willow tree that bent over the reeds. Up from the hollow lane […]

"There Is A Difference"

Story type: Literature

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It was in the month of May. The wind still blew cold, but bushes and trees, field and meadow, all alike said the spring had come. There was store of flowers even in the wild hedges; and there spring carried on his affairs, and preached from a little apple tree, where one branch hung fresh […]

The mayor stood at the open window. His shirt-frill was very fine, and so were his ruffles; he had a breast-pin stuck in his frill, and was uncommonly smooth-shaven–all his own work; certainly he had given himself a slight cut, but he had stuck a bit of newspaper on the place. “Hark ‘ee, youngster!” he […]

The Story Of The Year

Story type: Literature

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It was far in January, and a terrible fall of snow was pelting down. The snow eddied through the streets and lanes; the window-panes seemed plastered with snow on the outside; snow plumped down in masses from the roofs: and a sudden hurry had seized on the people, for they ran, and flew, and fell […]

What The Moon Saw

Story type: Literature

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“It was in a little provincial town,” the Moon said; “it certainly happened last year, but that has nothing to do with the matter. I saw it quite plainly. To-day I read about it in the papers, but there it was not half so clearly expressed. In the taproom of the little inn sat the […]