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Ole Luk-oie
by [?]

(Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen)

In the whole world there is nobody who knows so many stories as Ole Luk-Oie. He really can tell stories.

It is in the evening, when the children are sitting nicely at table, or upon their stools, that Ole Luk-Oie comes. Softly he creeps up the stairs, for he walks in socks; opens the door very gently, and squirts sweet milk in the children’s eyes–whisk! just a tiny drop, but quite enough to prevent them from keeping their eyes open; and so they cannot see him.

Then he steals just behind them, and blows softly at the back of their necks, so that their heads become heavy. But of course it does not hurt them, for Ole Luk-Oie is fond of the children, and only wants them to be quiet. They are most quiet when they are in bed; and they have to be quiet indeed when Ole Luk-Oie tells them his stories.

When the children are nearly asleep, Ole Luk-Oie seats himself upon the bed. He is neatly dressed; his coat is of silk, but it is impossible to say of what color, for it shines green, red, and blue, according to which side he turns. Under each arm he carries an umbrella. One is lined with pictures, and this he spreads over the good children, so that they dream the most beautiful stories the whole night through; but on the other umbrella there are no pictures, and this he holds over the naughty children, so that they sleep heavily, and when they awake in the morning they have not dreamed at all.

We shall now hear how Ole Luk-Oie came to a little boy named Hjalmar, and what he told him.

Over the chest of drawers in Hjalmar’s room hung a large picture in a gilt frame. It was a landscape. One could see tall trees, and flowers in the grass. There was a great lake, and a river that flowed round the forest, past castles, and out and out into the sea.

Ole Luk-Oie touched the painting with his magic squirt, and the birds in it began to sing, the branches of the trees moved, and the clouds floated along. Then Ole Luk-Oie lifted little Hjalmar up to the frame, and Hjalmar put his feet into the picture, right into the high grass; and there he stood, with the sun shining upon him. He ran to the water and seated himself in a little boat that lay there; it was painted red and white, and the sails gleamed with silver. Six swans, wearing golden circlets around their necks and twinkling blue stars on their heads, drew the boat.

Gorgeous fishes, with scales of silver and gold, swam after the boat, sometimes springing high into the air and falling back with a splash into the water. They wanted all to follow Hjalmar, and each one had a story to tell.

It was really a beautiful voyage. At one time the forests were thick and dark, at another they looked like a glorious garden full of sunlight and flowers. There were great palaces of glass and marble; on the balconies stood Princesses, and they were all little girls whom Hjalmar knew well–he had played with them before. Each one stretched forth her hand, and held out the prettiest sugar pig that a cake-woman could sell. Hjalmar took hold of one end of the sugar pig as he passed by, but the Princess also held fast, so that each of them got a piece–she the smaller part, and Hjalmar the larger.

Before each palace stood little Princes as sentries. They presented arms with golden swords, and then it rained raisins and tin soldiers; they were real Princes. At one moment Hjalmar was sailing through forests, at another through great halls, or straight through the middle of a town.

Ole Luk-Oie had taken Hjalmar for a wonderful journey that night.