continued to stand on one leg without losing her balance.
AVhen the evening came, all the other tin soldiers were put into their
box, and the people in the house went to bed. Xow the toys began to
play at " visiting," and at " war," and " giving balls." The tin soldiers
rattled in their box, for they wanted to join, but could not lift the lid.
The nutcracker threw somersaults, and the pencil amused itself on the
table : there was so much noise that the canary woke up, and began to
speak too, and even in verse. The only two who did not stir from their
places were the Tin Soldier and the dancing lady : she stood straight up
on the point of one of her toes, and stretched out both her arms ; and
he was just as enduring on his one leg ; and he never turned his eyes
away from her.
Xow the clock struck twelve and, bounce ! the lid flew off the
snuff-box ; but there was not snuff in it, but a little black Goblin : you
see it was a trick.
" Tin Soldier !" said the Goblin, " don't stare at things that don't con-
But the Tin Soldier pretended not to hear him.
" Just you wait till to-morrow !" said the Goblin.
But when the morning came, and the children got up, the Tin Soldier
was placed in the window ; and whether it was the Goblin or the draught
that did it, all at once the window flew open, and the Soldier fell head
over heels out of the third storey. That was a terrible passage ! He
put his leg straight up, and stuck vrith his helmet downwards and his
bayonet between the paving-stones.
The servant-maid and the little boy came down directly to look for
him, but though they almost trod upon him they could not see him. If
the Soldier had cried out "Here I am!" they wouLl have found him;
but he did not think it fitting to call out loudly, because he was in uni-
The Hardy Tin Soldier. 87
Now it began to rain ; the drops soon fell thicker, and at last it came
down in a complete stream. AVhen the rain was past, two street boys
" Just look ! " said one of them, " there lies a tin soldier. He must
come out and ride in the boat."
And they made a boat out of a newspaper, and put the Tin Soldier in
the middle of it ; and so he sailed down the gutter, and the two boys
ran beside him and clapped their hands. Goodness preserve us ! how
the waves rose in that gutter, and how fast the stream raa ! But then
it had been a heavy rain. The paper boat rocked up and down, and
sometimes turned round so rapidly that the Tin Soldier trembled ; but
he remained firm, and never changed countenance, and looked straight
before him, and shouldered his musket.
All at once the boat went into a long drain, and it became as dark as
if he had been in his box.
" "Where am I going now ? " he thought. " Tes, yes, that 's the
Goblin's fault. Ah ! if the little lady only sat here with me in the boat,
it might be twice as dark for what I should care."
Suddenly there came a great Water Eat, which lived under the drain.
" Have you a passport ? " said the Eat. " Give me your passport."
But the Tin Soldier kept silence, and held his musket tighter than ever.
The boat went on, but the Eat came after it. Hu ! how he gnashed
his teeth, and called out to the bits of straw and wood,
" Hold him ! hold him ! he hasn't paid toll he hasn't shown his pass-
But the stream became stronger and stronger. The Tin Soldier could
see the bright daylight where the arch ended ; but he heard a roaring
noise, which might well frighten a bolder man. Only think just where
the tunnel ended, the drain ran into a great canal ; and for him that
would have been as dangerous as for us to be carried down a great
Now he was already so near it that he could not stop. The boat was
carried out, the poor Tin Soldier stiffening himself as much as he could,
and no one could say that he moved an eyelid. The boat whirled round
three or four times, and was full of water to the very edge it must
sink. The Tin Soldier stood up to his neck in water, and the boat sank
deeper and deeper, and the paper was loosened more and more ; and now
the water closed over the Soldier's head. Then he thought of the pretty
little dancer, and how he should never see her again ; and it sounded in
the soldier's ears :
" Farewell, farewell, thou warrior bravo,
For this day thou must die ! "
And now the paper parted, and the Tin Soldier fell out ; but at that
moment he was snapped up by a great fish.
Oh, how dark it was in that fish's body ! It was darker yet than in
the drain tunnel ; and then it was very narrow too. But the Tin Soldier
remained unmoved, and lay at full length shouldering his musket.
88 Stories for the Household.
The fish swam to and fro ; he made the most wonderful movements,
aud then became quite still. At last something flashed through him
like lightning. The daylight shone quite clear, and a voice said aloud,
" The Tin Soldier!" The fish had been caught, carried to market, bought,
and taken into the kitchen, where the cook cut him open with a large
knife. She seized the Soldier round the body with both her hands, and
carried him into the room, where all were anxious to see the remarkable
man who had travelled about in the inside of a fish ; but the Tin Soldier
was not at all proud. They placed him on the table, and there no !
What curious things may happen in the world ! The Tin Soldier was in
the very room in which he had been before ! he saw the same children,
and the same toys stood on the table ; and there was the pretty castle
with the graceful little dancer. She was still balancing herself on one
leg, and held the other extended in the air. She was hardy too. That
moved the Tin Soldier : he was very nearly weeping tin tears, but that
would not have been proper. He looked at her, but they said nothing
to each other.
Then one of the little boys took the Tin Soldier and flung him into
the stove. He gave no reason for doing this. It must have been the
fault of the G-oblin in the snuff-box.
The Tin Soldier stood there quite illuminated, and felt a heat that was
terrible ; but whether this heat proceeded from the real fire or from love
he did not know. The colours hail quite gone oft' from him ; but whether
that had happened on the journey, or had been caused by grief, no one
could say. He looked at the little lady, she looked at him, and he felt
that he was melting; but he still stood firm, shouldering his musket.
Then suddenly the door flew open, and the draught of air caught the
dancer, and she flew like a sylph just into the stove to the Tin Soldier,
and flashed up in a flame, and she was gone. Then the Tin Soldier melted
down into a lump, and when the servant-maid took the ashes out next
day, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart. But of the dancer
nothing remained but the tinsel rose, and that was burned as black as
THE STORY OF A MOTHER.
A MOTHER sat by her little child : she was very sorrowful, and feared
that it would die. Its little face was pale, and its eyes were closed.
The child drew its breath with difficulty, and sometimes so deeply as if
it were sighing ; and then the mother looked more sorrowfully than
before on the little creature.
Then there was a knock at the door, and a poor old man came in,
wrapped up in something that looked like a great horse-cloth, for that
keeps warm ; and he required it, for it was cold winter. Without,
everything was covered with ice and snow, and the wind blew so sharply
that it cut one's face.
THE MOTHEK WATCHING HER SICK CHILD.
And as the old man trembled with cold, and the child was quiet for a
moment, the mother went and put some beer on the stove in a little pot,
to warm it for him. The old man sat down and rocked the cradle, and
the mother seated herself on an old chair by him, looked at her sick
child that drew its breath so painfully, and seized the little hand.
" You think I shall keep it, do you not ?" she asked. " The good God
will not take it from me ! "
And the old man he was Death nodded in such a strange way, that
it might just as well mean yes as no. And the mother cast down her
90 Stories for the Household.
eyes, and tears rolled down her cheeks. Her head became heavy : for
three days and three nights she had not closed her eyes ; and now she
slept, but only for a minute ; then she started up and shivered with cold.
" What is that ? " she asked, and looked round on all sides ; but the
old man was gone, and her little child was gone ; he had taken it with
him. And there in the corner the old clock was humming and whirring ;
the heavy leaden weight ran down to the floor plump ! and the clock
But the poor mother rushed out of the house crying for her child.
Out in the snow sat a woman in long black garments, and she said,
" Death has been with you in your room ; I saw him hasten away with
your child : he strides faster than the wind, and never brings back what
he has taken away."
" Only tell me which way he baa gone," said the mother. " Tell me
the way, and I will find him."
" I know him," said the woman in the black garments ; " but before I
tell you, you must sing me all the songs that you have sung to your
child. I love those songs ; I have heard them before. I am Xight, and
I saw your tears Avhen you sang them."
" I will sing them all, all ! " said the mother. " But do not detain
me, that I may overtake him, and find my child."
But Night sat dumb and still. Then the mother wrung her hands,
and sang and wept. And there were many songs, but yet more tears,
and then Xight said, " Go to the right into the dark fir Avood ; for I saw
Death take that path with your little child."
Deep in the forest there was a cross road, and she did not know which
way to take. There stood a Blackthorn Bush, with not a leaf nor a
blossom upon it ; for it was in the cold winter-time, and icicles hung
from the twigs.
"Have you not seen Death go by, with my little child ?"
" Yes," replied the Bush, " but I shall not tell you which way he
went unless you warm me on your bosom. I'm freezing to death here,
I'm turning to ice."
And she pressed the Blackthorn Bush to her bosom, quite close, that it
might be well warmed. And the thorns pierced into her flesh, and her
blood oozed out in great drops. But the Blackthorn shot out fresh
green leaves, and blossomed in the dark winter night : so warm is the
heart of a sorrowing mother ! And the Blackthorn Bush told her the
way that she should go.
Then she came to a great Lake, on which there were neither ships nor
boat. The Lake was not frozen enough to carry her, nor sufficiently
open to allow her to wade through, and yet she must cross it if she was
to find her child. Then she laid herself down to drink the Lake ; and
that was impossible for any one to do. But the sorrowing mother
thought that perhaps a miracle might be wrought.
"Xo, that can never succeed," said the Lake. ' : Let us rather see
how we can agi-ee. I'm fond of collecting pearls, and your eyes are
the two clearest I have ever seen : if you will weep them out into me I
The Story of a Mother. 91
will carry you over into the great green-bouse, where Death lives and
cultivates flowers and trees ; each of these is a human life."
"Oh, what would I not give to get my child!" said the afflicted
mother ; and she wept yet more, and her eyes fell into the depths of the
lake, and became two costly pearls. But the lake lifted her up, as if
she sat in a swing, and she was wafted to the opposite shore, Avhere
stood a wonderful bouse, miles in length. One could not tell if it was
a mountain containing forests and caves, or a place that had been built.
But the poor mother could not see it, for she bad wept her eyes out.
"Where shall I find Death, who went away with my little child ? '
" He has not arrived here yet," said an old grey-haired woman, who
was going about and watching the hothouse of Death. " How have
you found your way here, and who helped you ? "
"The good God has helped me," she replied. "He is merciful, and
you will be merciful too. Where shall I find my little child ? "
"I do not know it," said the old woman, "and you cannot see.
Many flowers and trees have faded this night, and death will soon
come and transplant them. You know very well that every human
being has his tree of life, or his flower of life, just as each is arranged.
They look like other plants, but their hearts beat. Children's hearts
can beat too. Think of this. Perhaps you may recognize the beating of
your child's heart. But what will you give me if I tell you what more
you must do ? "
" I have nothing more to give," said the afflicted mother. " But I
will go for you to the ends of the earth."
" I have nothing for you to do there," said the old woman, " but you
can give me your long black hair. You must know yourself that it is
beautiful, and it pleases me. You can take my white hair for it, and
that is always something."
" Do you ask for nothing more ? " asked she. " I will give you that
gladly." And she gave her beautiful hair, and received in exchange the
old woman's white hair.
And then they went into the great hothouse of death, where flowers
and trees were growing marvellously intertwined. There stood the fine
hyacinths under glass bells, some quite fresh, others somewhat sickly ;
water snakes were twining about them, and black crabs clung tightly to
the stalks. There stood gallant palm trees, oaks, and plantains, and
parsley and blooming thyme. Each tree and flower had its name ; each
was a human life : the people were still alive, one in China, another in
Greenland, scattered about in the world. There were great trees thrust
into little pots, so that they stood quite crowded, and were nearly burst-
ing the pots; there w r as also many a little weakly flower in rich earth,
with moss round about it, cared for and tended. But the sorrowful
mother bent down over all the smallest plants, and heard the human heart
beating in each, and out of millions she recognized that of her child.
"That is it!" she cried, and stretched out her hands over a little
crocus flower, which hung down quite sick and pale.
92 Stories for the Household.
" Do not touch the flo\ver," said the old dame ; " but place yourself
here ; and when Death comes I expect him every minute then don't
let him pull up the plant, but threaten him that you will do the same to
the other plants ; then he '11 be frightened. He has to account for them
all ; not one may be pulled up till he receives commission from Heaven."
And all at once there was an icy cold rush through the hall, and the
blind mother felt that Death was arriving.
"How did you find your way hither?" said he. "How have you
been able to come quicker than I ? "
" I am a mother," she answered.
And Death stretched out his long hands towards the little delicate
flower ; but she kept her hands tight about it, and held it fast ; and yet
she was full of anxious care lest he should touch one of the leaves.
Then Death breathed upon her hands, and she felt that his breath was
colder than the icy wind ; and her hands sank down powerless.
" You can do nothing against me," said Death.
" But the merciful God can," she replied.
" I only do what He commands," said Death. "I am His gardener.
1 take all His trees and flowers, and transplant them into the great
Paradise gardens, in the unknown land. But how they will flourish
there, and how it is there, I may not tell you."
" Give me back my child," said the mother ; and she implored and
wept. All at once she grasped two pretty flowers with her two hands,
and called to Death, "I '11 tear off' all your flowers, for I am in despair."
" Do not touch them," said Death. "You say you are so unhappy,
and no\v you would make another mother just as unhappy!"
"Another mother?" said the poor woman; and she let the flowers go.
" There are your eyes for you," said Death. " I have fished them up
out of the lake ; they gleamed up quite brightly. I did not know that
they were yours. Take them back they are clearer now than before
and then look down into the deep well close by. I will tell you the
names of the two flowers you wanted to pull up, and you will see what
you were about to frustrate and destroy."
And she looked down into the well, and it was a happiness to see how
one of them became a blessing to the world, how much joy and gladness
she diffused around her. And the woman looked at the life of the
other, and it was made up of care and poverty, misery and woe.
" Both are the will of God," said Death.
" Which of them is the flower of misfortune, and which the blessed
one?" she asked.
" That I may not tell you," answered Death ; " but this much you
shall hear, that one of these two flowers is that of your child. It was
the fate of your child that you saw the future of your OAvn child."
Then the mother screamed aloud for terror.
" Which of them belongs to my child ? Tell me that ! Release the
innocent child ! Let my child free from all that misery ! Kather carry
it away ! Carry it into God's kingdom ! Forget my tears, forget my
entreaties, and all that I have done ! "
The Daisy. 93
" I do not understand yon," said Death. " Will you have your child
back, or shall I carry it to that place that you know not ?"
Then the mother wrung her hands, and fell on her knees, and prayed
to the good God.
" Hear me not when I pray against Thy will, which is at all times the
best! Hear me not ! hear me not!" And she let her head sink down
on her bosom.
And Death went away witli her child into the unknown land.
Now YOU shall hear !
Out in the country, close by the road-side, there was a country house :
you yourself have certainly once seen it. Before it is a little garden
with flowers, and a paling which is painted. Close by it, by the ditch,
in the midst of the most beautiful green grass, grew a little Daisy. The
sun shone as warmly and as brightly upon it as on the great splendid
garden flowers, and so it grew from hour to hour. One morning it
stood in full bloom, with its little shining white leaves spreading like
rays round the little yellow sun in the centre. It never thought that
no man would notice it down in the grass, and that it was a poor de-
spised floweret ; no, it was very merry, and turned to the warm sun,
looked up at it, and listened to the Lark carolling high in the air.
The little Daisy was as happy as if it were a great holiday, aud yet it
was only a Monday. All the children were at school ; and while they sat
on their benches learning, it sat on its little green stalk, and learned also
from the warm sun, and from all around, how good God is. And the
Daisy was very glad that everything it silently felt was sung so loudly
and charmingly by the Lark. And the Daisy looked up with a kind of
respect to the happy bird who could sing and fly ; but it was not at all
sorrowful because it could not fly and sing also.
"I can see and hear," it thought: "the sun shines on me, and the
forest kisses me. Oh, how richly have I been gffted ! "
Within the palings stood many stiff, aristocratic flowers the less
scent they had the more they flaunted. The peonies blew themselves
out to be greater than the roses, but size will not do it ; the tulips had
the most splendid colours, and they knew that, and held themselves bolt
upright, that they might be seen more plainly. They did not notice the
little Daisy outside there, but the Daisy looked at them the more, and
thought, " How rich and beautiful they are ! Tes, the pretty bird flies
across to them and visits them. I am glad that I stand so near them,
fer at any rate 1 can enjoy the sight of their splendour !" And just as
she thought that " keevit ! " down came flying the Lark, but not down
to the peonies and tulips no, down into the grass to the lowly Daisy,
which started so with joy that it did not know what to think.
94 Stories for the Household.
The little bird danced round about it, and sang,
" Oil, how soft the grass is ! and see what a lovely little flower, with
gold iu its heart and silver on its dress ! "
For the yellow point in the Daisy looked like gold, and the little
leaves around it shone silvery white.
How happy was the little Daisy no one can conceive how happy!
The bird kissed it with his beak, sang to it, and then flew up again into
the blue air. A quarter of an hour passed, at least, before the Daisy
could recover itself. Half ashamed, and yet inwardly rejoiced, it looked
at the other flowers in the garden ; for they had seen the honour and
happiness it had gained, and must understand what a joy it was. But
the tulips stood up twice as stiff as before, aucl they looked quite peaky
in the face and quite red, for they had been vexed. The peonies were
quite wrong-headed : it was well they could not speak, or the Daisy
would have received a good scolding. The poor little flower could see
very well that they were not in a good humour, and that hurt it sensibly.
At this moment there came into the garden a girl with a great sharp
shining knife ; she went straight up to the tulips, and cut off one after
another of them.
" Oh!" sighed the little Daisy, " this is dreadful ; now it is all over
Then the girl went away with the tulips. The Daisy was glad to
stand out in the grass, and to be only a poor little flower ; it felt very
grateful ; and when the sun went down it folded its leaves and went to
sleep, and dreamed all night long about the sun and the pretty little
Next morning, when the flower again happily stretched out all its
white leaves, like little arms, towards the air and the light, it recognized
the voice of the bird, but the song he was singing sounded mournfully.
Tes, the poor Lark had good reason to be sad : he was caught, and now
sat in a cage close by the open window. He sang of free and happy
roaming, sang of the young green corn in the fields, and of the glorious
journey he might make on his wings high through the air. The poor
Lark was not in good spirits, for there he sat a prisoner in a cage.
The little Daisy wished very much to help him. But what was it to
do ? Yes, that was difficult to make out. It quite forgot how every-
thing was beautiful around, how warm the sun shone, and how splendidly
white its own leaves were. Ah ! it could think only of the imprisoned
bird, and how it was powerless to do anything for him.
Just then two little boys came out of the garden. One of them
carried in his hand the knife which the girl had used to cut off the
tulips. They went straight up to the little Daisy, which could not at
all make out what they wanted.
" Here we may cut a capital piece of turf for the Lark," said one of
the boys ; and he began to cut oft' a square patch round about the Daisy,
so that the flower remained standing in its piece of grass.
" Tear oft' the flower!" said the other boy.
And the Daisy trembled with fear, for to be torn off would be to lose
THE LITTLE BOYS CUT THE TURF WITH THE DAISY OX IT.
its life ; and now it wanted particularly to live, as it was to be given
with the piece of turf to the captive Lark.
" JSTo, let it stay," said the other boy ; " it makes such a nice orna-
And so it remained, and was put into the Lark's cage. But the poor
bird complained aloud of his lost liberty, and beat his wings against the
wires of his prison ; and the little Daisy could not speak could say no
consoling word to him, gladly a3 it would have done so. And thus the
whole morning passed.
" Here is no water," said the captive Lark. " They are all gone out,
and have forgotten to give me anything to drink. My throat is dry and
burning. It is like fire and ice within me, and the air is so close. Oh,
I must die ! I must leave the warm sunshine, the fresh green, and all
the splendour that Grod has created ! "
And then he thrust his beak into the cool turf to refresh himself a
little with it. Then the bird's eye fell upon the Daisy, and he nodded
to it, and kissed it with his beak, and said,
96 Stories for the Household.
" You also must wither. ,in here, you poor little flower. They have
given you to me with the little patch of green grass on which you grow,
instead of the whole world which was mine out there ! Every little
blade of grass shall be a great tree for me, and every one of your fra-
grant leaves a great flower. Ah, you only tell me how much I have
" If I could only comfort him ! " thought the little Daisy.
It could not stir a leaf; but the scent which streamed forth from its
delicate leaves was 1'ar stronger than is generally found in these flowers ;