Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/15

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3
THE TINDER-BOX

Now he opened the first door. Ugh! there sat the dog with eyes as big as tea-cups, staring at him. 'You're a nice fellow!' exclaimed the soldier; and he set him on the witch's apron, and took as many copper farthings as his pockets would hold, and then locked the chest, set the dog on it again, and went into the second chamber. Aha! there sat the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels.

'You should not stare so hard at me,' said the soldier; 'you might strain your eyes.' And he set the dog upon the witch's apron. When he saw the silver money in the chest, he threw away all the copper money he had, and filled his pockets and his knapsack with silver only. Then he went into the third chamber. Oh, but that was horrid! The dog there really had eyes as big as the round tower, and they turned round and round in his head like wheels.

'Good evening!' said the soldier; and he touched his cap, for he had never seen such a dog as that before. When he had looked at him a little more closely, he thought, 'That will, do,' and lifted him down to the floor, and opened the chest. Mercy! what a quantity of gold was there! He could buy with it the whole of Copenhagen, and the sugar-pigs of the cake-woman, and all the tin soldiers, whips, and rocking-horses in the whole world. Yes, that was a quantity of money! Now the soldier threw away all the silver coin with which he had filled his pockets and his knapsack, and took gold instead: yes, all his pockets, his knapsack, his boots, and his cap were filled, so that he could scarcely walk. Now indeed he had plenty of money. He put the dog on the chest, shut the door, and then called up through the tree, 'Now pull me up, you old witch.'

'Have you the tinder-box?' asked the witch.

'Plague on it!' exclaimed the soldier, 'I had clean forgotten that.' And he went and brought it.

The witch drew him up, and he stood on the high road again, with pockets, boots, knapsack, and cap full of gold.

'What are you going to do with the tinder-box!' asked the soldier.

'That's nothing to you,' retorted the witch. 'You've had your money—just give me the tinder-box.'