Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/423
THE LAST DREAM OF THE OLD OAK TREE
of thank-offerings. The sea became gradually calm, and on board a great ship in the offing, that had fought successfully with the tempest, all the flags were displayed, as a token of joy suitable to the festive day.
'The Tree is down—the old Oak Tree, our landmark on the coast!' said the sailors. 'It fell in the storm of last night. Who can replace it? No one can.'
This was the funeral oration, short but well meant, that was given to the Tree, which lay stretched on the snowy covering on the sea-shore; and over its prostrate form sounded the notes of a song from the ship, a carol of the joys of Christmas, and of the redemption of the soul of man by the blood of Christ, and of eternal life.
Sing, sing aloud, this blessed morn—
Thus sounded the old psalm tune, and every one on board the ship felt lifted up in his own way, through the song and the prayer, just as the old Tree had felt lifted up in its last, its most beauteous, dream in the Christmas night.
THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER
The storks tell their little ones very many stories, all of the swamp and the marsh. These stories are generally adapted to the age and capacity of the hearers. The youngest are content if they are told 'Cribble-crabble, plurry-murry' as a story, and find it charming; but the older ones want something with a deeper meaning, or at any rate something relating to the family. Of the two oldest and longest stories that have been preserved among the storks we all know the one, namely, that of Moses, who was exposed by his mother on the banks of the Nile, and whom the King's daughter found, and who afterwards became a great man and the place of whose burial is unknown. That story is very well known.The second is not known yet, perhaps because it is quite