Fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen (Walker)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen (1914)
by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by [[Author:Dugald Stewart Walker|Dugald Stewart Walker]]
1922670Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen1914Hans Christian Andersen

She would have nothing besides the rosy flowers like the sun up above, except a statue of a beautiful boy


Illustrations & Decorations

Coyright, 1914, by

Doubleday, Page & Company



I have never been anywhere except Richmond, Virginia, and New York, because I have always been told that only grown-up people were allowed to travel. But the good East Wind and the kindly Moon have taken me on rapturous journeys high above the world to get an enchanted view of things. In this book I have put some of my discoveries, but if you are looking here for real likeness of the things that any one could see if he were grown up, you had better close the covers now. You cannot expect me to draw an exact picture of the North Pole or of a Chinese lady's feet or of a sea-cucumber. But if you are interested in what the East Wind or the Father Stork or the Moon told me, then look with my eyes and you will not mind very much if the courtiers in the ogre's court, or the dock leaves in the Garden of Paradise, are not just as a grown-up person thinks they should be. After all is said and done, what the young ones say about it is the all-important matter.

Publisher's Note

Mr. Walker saw much more in these inimitable stories of Hans Christian Andersen than most people dream of. His imagination, taking flight from the words of the tale, soared into a distant fairy-land. Some things Dugald Stewart Walker has told us of his adventures in elfland, and these stories of his pictures, so charmed us that we persuaded him to write some of them down. The following is a description, in the artist's own words, of nine of his pictures.


FAIRY children are never bad until their second teeth come; and no one knows they are bad then except their mother. She thinks it is very pretty, but of course she pretends she doesn't. If she had a corner she would stand them in it, but as she hasn't, she takes her naughty child's chin in her hand, very gently, and she says: "Child, you have lost your nose. Go look for it at once. And if you don't stick your finger in the hole where your nose used to be before you find it, you will find a pot of gold at the same time." Now fairies, you know, never think; for if they did they would see they could not use a pot of gold if they found one. So before they stop to think, off sails each naughty fairy up into the air to look for its nose with its hands for oars, so that it can't stick its fingers into the hole where its nose used to be. And fanning its wings, it sails straight up into the air, and on still wings drifts down again—and up and down again it sails, looking all over the sky for its nose, which is another proof that it doesn't think, for what, pray, should its nose be doing there? Until by and by it forgets all about the pot of gold and forgets it is using its hands for oars. And then! Well, of course you know what it does at once. Just what you did with your tongue when you lost your tooth.


The merchant's son told the king's daughter about the storks which bring little children up out of the river. But, of course, they weren,t in the river in the first place. They come from away up behind the stars, where the Spring comes from. And up there, sits One (I can't remember much about her, only that she made me think of a dewdrop—not such a dewdrop as you and I can see, but a dewdrop if it were as large as the whole world) and all the children are in her lap. And each one has a little harness made of ribbon. And there are faun babies, and fairy babies, and human babies. The faun's harness is purple like grapes, and the fairies' is silver like bubbles in moonlight, and the human babies' is just pink and blue; and that's how the stork knows which is which. Now, the storks fly up there (it's wonderful, the distance storks can fly) and each one takes a baby in his beak by the loop at the top of the harness. And down he starts, and all the way down the baby practices kicking. But before they start, the One who is like a dewdrop would be if it were as large as the whole world, gives to each baby a dandelion. And she says "When you reach the lowest circle of stars this dandelion will have gone to seed. Then you must blow on it and see what time you will be born." So when they come to the lowest circle of stars, puff! puff! blow all the babies on the dandelions which have gone to seed, to see when they will be born. But the down of the dandelion sometimes gets into the storks eyes, and as they haven't any memory to speak of, they make sad mistakes in the places they leave the babies. Sometimes fairies are left with human beings, and some times even fauns—though of that I am not quite sure.


"Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on."

There was a bed with four posts and a boy named Robin slept in it. Long ago he grew too big to sleep in that bed. And since the new bed he slept in had no posts, he thought there were no saints. But some kind of saints every one must have, of course. And one day he saw a glass bowl with four goldfish and he took it home and put it by his new bed, and he called the goldfish Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But he did not think that he was calling them after the saints, only after the four posts he was used to in his old bed. One Spring day this grown up boy's four goldfish died. Many years afterward, as I sat and painted the picture of the angel who came to take little Karen to heaven—the angel who touched the air with a green branch and filled it everywhere with stars—this Robin said to me: "Oh, little Karen's bed is like my old one with the four posts, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Have your angel put a gold halo around each post in memory of my four fish."


"For he that has his own world,
Has many worlds more."

A boy called Robin once upon a time asked me to tell him all I knew of the fairies and I told him all I had learned from them. Then he asked: "How did the angel of the flower in this picture get the lovely blue spots that are on his legs and wings?" I showed him a cornflower growing out of a zigzag crack in a garden path that was spotted with sunshine as it came sifting through the branches of a cedar tree. In the tree many birds slept at night. One night six seeds of a cornflower were dropped by a goldfinch out of this tree as he was eating them. The fairy was sleeping under the cedar tree and they fell upon his wings and legs. Just then his mother came along and saw them. Admiring the effect, she whipped out her needle and thread and sewed them on at once so that he might wear them all the time.


On the river that flows by the little thatched house the fairies have water-lilies growing under the branches of the cherry trees that hang out over the water. The lily-pads catch the cherries that would otherwise fall and be lost. For cherries are the most delightful food for fairies, and all other irresponsible creatures. When those fairies that are transparent have eaten cherries, their stomachs get red outside as well as in. Then they tilt their noses higher than it is safe for human beings to tilt theirs, because they have weights in their heels. When they have stuffed themselves as round as marbles, they say, "Cherries are good for the wholesome." No one but a fairy knows where this organ is located, and I fancy they only pretend they have one, to excuse their greediness.


Fairies say: "To play that you are doing something is as nice as doing it." They have a play called L'Envoi, that is quite the nicest of all plays; that is, if you are a fairy. One has a flower whose blooms hang from the stalk like little bells, the others follow in a line that flutters from one side to the other. The leader holds her flower high and calls, "L'Envoi! L'Envoi! L'Envoi!" And whichever side she dips the little bells in, the fairies march in that direction. After they have marched several inches, they lie down and quickly jump up again. Then the leader goes to the end of the line, and the next one becomes leader, then the third, then the fourth, and so on until each fairy has been the leader once. It sounds very stupid, but if you are a fairy, it is the most delightful play in the whole world. If only human beings weren't so dignified, there are many delightful things they could learn from the fairies. L'Envoi. L'Envoi!


This is a picture of father stork hastening to tell Mrs. Stork the upsetting scandal. Look closely and you will see fairies sleeping on the waterlily-pads. They never sleep except when they have danced their hands hot—which is very seldom. Then, with a little wince, they stick their hands under a frog's stomach to keep them cool, just as on cold winter nights we stick our hands under the pillows to keep them warm.


The dragon who posed for this picture had no name; the wiggly thing that grows on his back from his head to his tail is his comb. It wiggled so while he was posing that the fairies discovered that it would make a delightful door-mat. If one stood on it only for a second it wiggled all the mud off his feet and so they gave him a name. It was Diplo-door-mat. He rather liked this name, for all his life he had been called just Dragon, which made him feel as though he were in the insurance business and sat on a high stool and wrote in a big book all day.


Instead of second teeth the birds get second feathers, and because they are friends with the fairies they can feather oftener than we can get new teeth. When the feathering time comes the birds have no grown-ups to tie strings to their feathers and pull them out, as they do our teeth, so the fairies pull those that are stubborn and will not fall out. Here stands a gay and debonair creature who pulled the stubborn feathers from the peacock's tail. He left one feather which forms a magic circle. This is a wish of good fortune from the fairies to you. This creature is not conceited, though he looks so. He belongs to the tribe of fairies who eat worms and has just eaten two. That is what gives his stomach its arrogant tilt, and it is in utter defiance of no one at all that he says airily: "The book is finished. I don't care; I'll do another!"



List of Colour Illustrations

She would have nothing besides the rosy flowers like the sun up above, except a statue of a beautiful boy Frontispiece
She stood all day on the roof waiting for him; she is waiting for him still, but he wanders around the world telling stories 40
Her soul flew with the sunshine to heaven and no one there asked about the red shoes 50
"You shall not be called Thumbelisa, that is such an ugly name, and you are so pretty. We will call you May" 64
Tears of sorrow shed by a mother for her child will always reach it; but they do not bring healing, they burn and make the torment fifty times worse 70
"Little nightingale!" called the kitchen maid quite loud, "our gracious emperor wishes you to sing to him!" 86
The Fairy of the Garden now advanced to meet them; her garments shone like the sun, and her face beamed like that of a happy mother 102
She was always picking flowers and herbs, those she knew her father could use for healing drinks and potions 114
An old, old woman came out of the house . . . she wore a big sun hat which was covered with beautiful painted flowers 150
Her thoughts wandered from her home and sought the Temple, but not for the sake of God! Poor Pé! Poor Soui-houng! 192
"The Day-spring from on high hath visited us. To give light to them that sit in darkness, and to guide their feet into the way of peace" 236
The courtiers looked most grand and proper. . . . Numbers of tiny little elves danced around the hall 264

List of Black and White Illustrations

She held his head above the water and let the waves drive them whithersoever they would 5
Then she saw her sisters rise from the water, they were as pale as she was 21
And he told her all about the storks, which bring beautiful children up out of the river 33
"I saw the prophet myself . . . his eyes were like shining stars, and his beard like foaming water" 37
She wanted to sit down on a pauper's grave where the bitter wormwood grew 43
"You can't know who I am." I chop the bad people's heads off, and I see that my axe is quivering" 47
She was so happy now, because the toad could not reach her and she was sailing through such lovely scenes 57
"Heavens, how beautiful it is!" he said, but then he had to attend to his business and forgot it 81
The eagle in the great forest flew swiftly, but the Eastwind flew more swiftly still 95
There she lay asleep already, beautiful as only the Fairy in the Garden of Paradise can be 105
"Look! the white bees are swarming" 123
The biggest snowflake became the figure of a woman. She was delicately lovely, but all ice, glittering, dazzling ice 141
She then said that she was sitting on "The Mirror of Reason," and that it was the best and only one in the world 155
If the public had seen their favorite how they would have shouted, "Bravo! Bravissimo! Punchinello" 179
She who is related to the fairies! 201
"You shouldn't even tell me anything of the sort just now, it might have a bad effect upon the eggs" 205
The great dragon hoarding his treasures, raised his head to look at them 223
Great spiders spun their webs from branch to branch . . . and the fairies swung hand in hand upon the big dewdrops which covered the leaves and the long grass 249
Oh what a flight that was through the air; the wind caught her cloak and the moon shone through it 259
Endpiece 268

Fairy Tales From

Hans Christian Andersen

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse