Then suddenly the bell began to ring in the forest with such a deep
and solemn sound that four or five determined to go still deeper into
the wood. The leaves hung very close, and it was really difficult to get
forward ; lilies of the valley and anemones grew thick, and blooming
convolvulus and blackberry bushes stretched in long garlands from tree
to tree, where the nightingales sang and the sunbeams played. It was
splendid ; but the path was not practicable for girls they would have
torn their clothes. There lay great blocks of stone covered with mosses
of all colours ; the fresh spring water gushed forth, and it sounded
strangly, almost like " luck, luck."
" That cannot be the bell !" said one of the party, and he laid himself
down and listened. " That should be properly studied ! "
And he remained there, and let the others go on.
They came to a house built of the bark of trees and of twigs : a great
tree laden with wild apples stretched out its branches over the dwelling,
as though it would pour its whole blessing upon the roof, which was
covered with blooming roses, the long branches turned about the gabler.
And from the gable hung a little bell. Could that be the bell they had
The Bdl. 219
heard ? They all agreed that it was, except one : this dissentient said
that the bell was far too small and too delicate to be heard at such a
distance, and that they were quite different sounds that had so deeply
moved the human heart. He who spoke thus was a King's son, and the
others declared that a person of that kind always wanted to be wiser
than every one else.
Therefore they let him go alone, and as he went his mind was more
and more impressed with the solitude of the forest, but still he heard
the little bell, at which the others were rejoicing ; and sometimes, when
the wind carried towards him sounds from the pastrycook's abode, he
could hear how the party there were singing at their tea. But the deep
tones of the bell sounded louder still ; sometimes it was as if an organ
were playing to it ; the sound came from the left, the side in w r hich the
heart is placed.
Now there was a rustling in the bushes, and a little boy stood before
the Prince, a boy with wooden shoes, and such a short jacket that one
could plainly see what long wrists he had. They knew one another. The
boywas the youngster who had been confirmed that day, and had not-
been able to come with the rest because he had to go home and give up
the borrowed coat and boots to his landlord's son. This he had done,
and had then wandered away alone in his poor clothes and his wooden
shoes, for the bell sounded so invitingly, he had been obliged to come
" "We can go together," said the Prince.
But the poor lad in the wooden shoes was quite embarrassed. He
pulled at the short sleeves of his jacket, and said he was afraid he could
not come quickly enough ; besides, he thought the bell must be sought
on the right hand, for there the place was great and glorious.
" But then we shall not meet at all," said the Prince ; and he nodded
to the poor boy, who went away into the darkest, deepest part of the
forest, where the thorns tore his shabby garments and scratched his
face, his feet, and his hands. The Prince also had two or three brave
rents, but the sun shone bright on his path ; and it is he whoir we will
follow, for he was a brisk companion.
" I must and will find the bell," said he, " though I have to go to the
end of the world."
Ugly apes sat up in the trees, and grinned and showed their teeth.
" Shall we beat him ?" said they. " Shall we smash him ? He 's a
King's son !"
But he went contentedly farther and farther into the forest, where
the most wonderful trees grew : there stood white star-lilies with blood-
red stamens, sky-blue tulips that glittered in the breeze, and apple trees
whose apples looked completely like great shining soap bubbles : only
think how those trees must have gleamed in the sunbeams ! All around
lay the most beautiful green meadows, where hart and hind played in the
grass, and noble oaks and beech trees grew there ; and when the bark of
any tree split, grass and long climbing plants grew out of the rifts ;
there were also great wooded tracts with quiet lakes, on which white
220 Stories for the Household.
swans floated and flapped their wings. The Prince often stood still and
listened ; often he thought that the bell sounded upwards to him from
one of the deep lakes ; but soon he noticed that the sound did not come
from thence, but that the bell was sounding deeper in the wood.
Now the sun went down. The sky shone red as fire ; it became quite
quiet in the forest, and he sank on his knees, sang his evening hymn,
" I shall never find what I seek, now the sun is going down, and the
night, the dark night, is coming. But perhaps I can once more see the
round sun before he disappears beneath the horizon. I will climb upon
the rocks, for they are higher than the highest trees."
And he seized hold of roots and climbing plants, and clambered up
the wet stones, where the water snakes writhed and the toads seemed
to be barking at him ; but he managed to climb up before the sun, which
he could see from this elevation, had quite set. Oh, what splendour !
The sea, the great glorious sea, which rolled its great billows towards
the shore, lay stretched out before him, and the sun stood aloft like a
great flaming altar, there where the sea and sky met ; everything melted
together in glowing colours ; the wood sang, and his heart sang too. All
nature was a great holy church, in which trees and floating clouds were
the pillars and beams, flowers and grass the velvet carpet, and the
heavens themselves the vaulted roof. The red colours faded up there
when the sun sank to rest ; but millions of stars were lighted up and
diamond lamps glittered, and the Prince stretched forth his arms towards
heaven, towards the sea, and towards the forest. Suddenly there came
from the right hand the poor lad who had been confirmed, with his
short jacket and his wooden shoes : he had arrived here at the same
time, and had come his own way. And they ran to meet each other,
and each took the other's hand in the great temple of nature and of
poetry. And above them sounded the holy invisible bell ; and blessed
spirits surrounded them and floated over them, singing a rejoicing song
of praise !
LITTLE TUK'S MABVE1LOUS BIDE.
YES, that was little Tuk. His name was not really Tuk ; but when
he could not speak plainly, he used to call himself so. It was to mean
" Charley ; " and it does very well if one only knows it. Now, he was
to take care of his little sister Gustava, who was much smaller than he,
and at the same time he was to learn his lesson ; but these two things
would not suit well together. The poor boy sat there with his little
sister on his lap, and sang her all kinds of songs that he knew, and
every now and then he gave a glance at the geography-book that lay
open before him ; by to-morrow morning he was to know all the towns
in Zealand by heart, and to know everything about them that one can
Now his mother came home, for she had been out, and took little
Grustava in her arms. Tuk ran quickly to the window, and read so
zealously that he had almost read his eyes out, for it became darker
and darker ; but his mother had no money to buy candles.
222 Stories for the Household.
"There goes the old washerwoman out of the lane yonder," said his
mother, as she looked out of the window. " The poor woman can hardly
drag herself along, and now she has to carry the pail of water from the
well. Be a good boy, Tuk, and run across, and help the old woman.
Won't you ? "
And Tuk ran across quickly, and helped her ; but when he came back
into the room it had become quite dark. There was nothing said about
a candle, and now he had to go to bed, and his bed was an old settle.
There he lay, and thought of his geography lesson, and of Zealand, and
of all the master had said. He ought certainly to have read it again,
but he could not do that. So he put the geography-book under his
pillow, because he had heard that this is a very good way to learn one's
lesson ; but one cannot depend upon it. There lie lay, and' thought and
thought ; and all at once he fancied some one kissed him upon his eyes
and mouth. He slept, and yet he did not sleep ; it was just as if the
old washerwoman were looking at him with her kind eyes, and saying,
" It would be a great pity if you did not know your lesson to-morrow.
You have helped me, therefore now I will help you ; and Providence
will help us both."
All at once the book began to crawl, crawl about under Tuk's pillow.
" Kikeliki ! Put ! put ! " It was a Hen that came crawling up, and
she came from Kjoge. " I 'm a Kjdge hen ! " * she said.
And then she told him how many inhabitants were in the town, and
about the battle that had been fought there, though that was really
hardly worth mentioning.
" Kribli, kribli, plumps ! " Something fell down : it was a wooden
bird, the Parrot from the shooting match at Prastoe. He said that
there were just as many inhabitants yonder as he had nails in his body ;
and he was very proud. " Thorwaldsen lived close to me.f Plumps !
Here I lie very comfortably."
But now little Tuk no longer lay in bed ; on a sudden he was on
horseback. Gallop, gallop ! hop, hop ! and so he went on. A splen-
didly-attired knight, with flowing plume, held him on the front of his
saddle, and so they went riding on through the wood of the old town of
Wordingborg, and that was a great and very busy town. On the King's
castle rose high towers, and the radiance of lights streamed from every
window; within was song an-1 dancing, and King Waldemar and the
young gaily-dressed maids of honour danced together. Now the morn-
ing came on, and so soon as the sun appeared the whole city and the
King's castle suddenly sank down, one tower falling after another ; and
at last only one remained standing on the hill where the castle had
formerly been ; % and the town was very small and poor, and the school-
* Kjogp, a little town on Kjogc Bay. Lifting up children by putting the two hands to the
sides of their heads is called "showing them Kjoge hens."
+ Prastoe, a still smaller town. A few hundred paces from it lies the estate of Xysoe, when;
Thorwaldsun usually lived while he was in Denmark, and where he executed many immortal
t Wordingborg, in King Waldemar's time a considerable town, now a place of no importance
Only a lonely tower and a few remains of a wall show where the castle once stood.
Little Tuk. 223
boys came with their books under their arms, and said, " Two thousand
inhabitants ; " but that was not true, for the town had not so many.
And little Tuk lay in his bed, as if he dreamed, and yet as if he did
not dream ; but some one stood close beside him.
" Little Tuk ! little Tuk ! " said the voice. It was a seaman, quite a
little personage, as small as if he had been a cadet ; but he was not a
cadet. " I 'in to bring you a greeting from Corsor ; * that is a town
which is just in good progress a lively town that has steamers and
mail coaches. In times past they used always to call it ugly, but that
is now no longer true.
" ' I lie by the sea shore,' said Corsor. 'I have high roads and plea-
sure gardens ; and I gave birth to a poet who was witty and entertain-
ing, and that cannot be said of all of them. I wanted once to fit out a
ship that was to sail round the world ; but I did not do that, though I
might have done it. But I smell deliciously, for close to my gates the
loveliest roses bloom."
Little Tuk looked, and it seemed red and green before his eyes ; but
when the confusion of colour had a little passed by, it changed all at
once into a wooded declivity close by a bay, and high above it stood a
glorious old church with two high pointed towers. Out of this hill
flowed springs of water in thick columns, so that there was a continual
splashing, and close by sat an old King with a golden crown upon his
white head : that was King Hroar of the springs, close by the town ot
Eoeskilde, as it is now called. And up the hill into the old church
went all the Kings and Queens of Denmark, hand in hand, all with
golden crowns ; and the organ played, and the springs plashed. Little
Tuk saw all and heard all.
" Don't forget the towns," f said King Hroar.
At once everything had vanished, and whither ? It seemed to him
like turning a leaf in a book. And now stood there an old peasant
woman, who came from Soroe, where grass grows in the market-place ;
she had an apron of grey cotton thrown over her head and shoulders,
and the apron was very wet ; it must have been raining.
" Yes, that it has ! " said she ; and she knew many pretty things out
of Holberg's plays, and about Waldemar and Absalom. But all at once
she cowered down, and wagged her head as if she were about to spring.
"Koax!" said she; "it is wet! it is wet! There is a very agreeable
death-silence in Soroe! "| Now she changed all at once into a frog
" Koax ! " and then she became an old woman again. " One must dress
according to the weather," she said. "It is wet ! it is wet ! My town
* Corsor, on the Great Belt, used to be called the most tiresome of Danish towns before the
establishment of steamers : for in those days travellers had often to wait there for a favourable
wind. The poet Bagsre^cn was born there.
t Roeskilde (Roesquelle, Rose-spring, falsely called Rothschild), once the capital of Denmark.
The town took its name from King Hroar and from the many springs in the vicinity. In the
beautiful cathedral most of the Kings and Queens of Denmark are buried. In Roeskilde the
Danish Estates used to assemble.
J Soroe, a very quiet little town, in a fine situation, surrounded by forests and lakes. Holberg,
the Moliere of Denmark, here founded a noble academy. The poets Hanch and Ingnian were
224 Stories for the Household.
is just like a bottle : one goes in at the cork, and must come out again
at the rock. In old times I had capital fish, and now I 've fresh red-
cheeked boys in the bottom of the bottle, and they learn wisdom
Hebrew, Greek. Koax ! "
That sounded just like the croak of the frogs, or the sound of some
one marching across the moor in great boots ; always the same note, so
monotonous and wearisome that little Tuk fairly fell asleep, and that
could not hurt him at all.
But even in this sleep came a dream, or whatever it was. His little
sister Gustava with the blue eyes and the fair curly hair was all at once
a tall slender maiden, and without having wings she could fly ; and now
they flew over Zealand, over the green forests and the blue lakes.
" Do you hear the cock crow, little Tuk ? Kikeliki ! The fowls are
flying up out of Kjdge ! You shall have a poultry-yard a great, great
poultry-yard ! You shall not suffer hunger nor need ; and you shall hit
the bird, as the saying is ; you shall become a rich and happy man.
Your house shall rise up like King Waldemar's tower, and shall be
richly adorned with marble statues, like those of Prastoe. You under-
stand me well. Your name shall travel with fame round the whole
world, like the ship that was to sail from Corsor."
"Don't forget the towns," said King Hroar. " You will speak well
and sensibly, little Tuk ; and when at last you descend to your grave,
you shall sleep peacefully "
" As if I lay in Soroe," said Tuk, and he awoke. It was bright morn-
ing, and he could not remember his dream. But that was not necessary,
for one must not know what is to happen.
Now he sprang quickly out of his bed, and read his book, and all at
once he knew his whole lesson. The old washerwoman, too, put her
head in at the door, nodded to him in a friendly way, and said,
" Thank you, you good child, for your help. May your beautiful
dreams come true ! "
Little Tuk did not know at all what he had dreamed, but there was One
above who knew it.
THE Flax stood in blossom ; it had pretty little blue flowers, delicate
as a moth's wings, and eveu more delicate. The sun shone on the Flax,
and the rain clouds moistened it, and this was just as good for it as it is
for little children when they are washed, and afterwards get a kiss from
their mother ; they become much prettier, aud so did the Flax.
"The people say that I stand uncommonly well," said the Flax, "and
that I 'm fine and long, and shall make a capital piece of linen. How
happy I am ! I 'm certainly the happiest of beings. How well I am
off! And I may come to something ! How the sunshine gladdens, and
THE ilOTHEK SPIJfXIXG THE FLAX.
tlie rain tastes good and refreshes me ! I 'm wonderfully happy ; I 'm
the happiest of beings."
" Tes, yes, yes ! " said the Hedge-stake. " You don't know the world,
but we do, for we have knots in us ; " and then it creaked out mourn-
The song is done."
" No, it is not done," said the Flax. " To-morrow the sun will shine,
or the rain will refresh us. I feel that I 'm growing, I feel that I 'm in
blossom ! I 'm the happiest of beings."
But one day the people came and took the Flax by the head and
pulled it up by the root. That hurt ; and it was laid ill water as if they
were going to drown it, and then put on the fire as if it was going to be
roasted. It was quite fearful !
" One can't always have good times," said the Flax. ' : One must
make one's experiences, and so one gets to know something."
226 Stori.es for the Household.
But bad times certainly came. The Flax -was moistened and roasted,
and broken and hackled. Tes, it did not even know what the opera-
tions were called that they did with it. It was put on the spinning-
wheel whirr! whirr! whirr! it was not possible to collect one's
" I have been uncommonly happy ! " it thought in all its pain. " One
must be content with the good one has enjoyed ! Contented ! contented !
Oh !" And it continued to say that when it was put into the loom, and
till it became a large beautiful piece of linen. All the flax, to the last
stalk, was used in making one piece.
" But this is quite remarkable ! I should never have believed it !
How favourable fortune is to me ! The Hedge-stake was well informed,
truly, with its
The song is not done by any means. Xow it 's beginning in earnest.
That 's quite remarkable ! If I 've suffered something, I 've been made
into something ! I 'm the happiest of all ! How strong and fine I am,
how white and long ! That 's something different from being a mere
plant : even if one bears flowers, one is not attended to, and only gets
watered when it rains. Xow I 'm attended to and cherished ; the maid
turns me over every morning, and I get a shower bath from the watering-
pot every evening. Tes, the clergyman's wife has even made a speech
about me, and says I 'm the best piece in the whole parish. I cannot be
Now the Linen was taken into the house, and put under the scissors :
how they cut and tore it, and then pricked it with needles ! That was
not pleasant ; but twelve pieces of body linen of a kind not often men-
tioned by name, but indispensable to all people, were made of it a
whole dozen !
" Just look ! Now something has really been made of me ! So, that
was my destiny. That 's a real blessing. Xow ] shall be of some use
in the world, and that 's right, that 's a true .pleasure ! We 've been
made into twelve things, but yet we're all one and the same ; we 're just
a dozen : how remarkably charming that is ! "
Tears rolled on, and now they would hold together no longer.
" It must be over one day," said each piece. " I would gladly have
held together a little longer, but one must not expect impossibilities."
They were now torn into pieces and fragments. They thought it was
all over now, for they were hacked to shreds, and softened and boiled ;
yes, they themselves did not know all that was done to them ; and then
they became beautiful white paper.
' Xow, that is a surprise, and a glorious surprise!" said the Paper.
: Xow I 'm finer than before, and I shall be written ou : that is remark-
able good fortune."
And really the most beautiful stories and verses were written upon it,
and only once there came a blot; that was certainly remarkable good
fortune. And the people heard what was upon it ; it was sensible and
The Flax. 227
good, and made people much more sensible and better : there was a
great blessing in the words that were on this Paper.
" That is more than I ever imagined when I was a little blue flower in
the fields. How could I fancy that I should ever spread joy and know-
ledge among men ? I can't yet understand it myself, but it is really so.
I have done nothing myself but what I was obliged with my weak powers
to do for my own preservation, and yet I have been promoted from one
joy and honour to another. Each time when I think ' the song is done,'
it begins again in a higher and better way. Now I shall certainly be
sent about to journey through the world, so that all people may read me.
That cannot be otherwise ; it 's the only probable thing. I 've splendid
thoughts, as many as I had pretty flowers in the old times. I 'm the
happiest of beings."
But the Paper was not sent on its travels, it was sent to the printer,
and everything that was written upon it was set up in type for a book,
or rather for many hundreds of books, for in this way a very far greater
number could derive pleasure and profit from the book than if the one
paper on which it was written had run about the world, to be worn out
before it had got half way.
" Yes, that is certainly the wisest way," thought the Written Paper.
<: I really did not think of that. I shall stay at home, and be held in
honour, just like an old grandfather ; and I am really the grandfather of
all these books. Now something can be effected ; I could not have
wandered about thus. He who wrote all this looked at me ; every word
llowed from his pen right into me. I am the happiest of all."
Then the Paper was tied together in a bundle, and thrown into a tub
that stood in the wash-house.
" It 's good resting after work," said the Paper. " It is very right that
one should collect one's thoughts. Now I 'in able for the first time to
think of what is in me, and to know oneself is true progress. What
will be done with me now ? At any rate I shall go forward again : I 'm
always going forward, I 've found that out."
Now, one day all the Paper was taken out and laid by on the hearth ;
:'t was to be burned, for it might not be sold to hucksters to be used for
covering for butter and sugar, they said. And all the children in the
house stood round about, for they wanted to see the Paper burn, that
flamed up so prettily, and afterwards one could see many red sparks
among the ashes, careering here and there. One after another faded
out quick as the wind, and that they called " seeing the children come
out of school," and the last spark was the schoolmaster : one of them
thought he had already gone, but at the next moment there came another
spark. "There goes the schoolmaster!" they said. Yes, they all knew
about it ; they should have known who it was who went there : we shall
get to know it, but they did not. All the old Paper, the whole bundle,
was laid upon the fire, and it was soon alight. " Ugh ! " it said, and
burst out into bright flame. Ugh ! that was not very agreeable, but
when the whole was wrapped in bright flames these mounted up higher
than the Flax had ever been able to lift its little blue flowers, and
228 Stories for the Household.
glittered as the white Linen had never been able to glitter. All the
written letters turned for a moment quite red, and all the words and
thoughts turned to flame.
" Now I 'm mounting straight up to the sun," said a voice in the flame ;
and it was as if a thousand voices said this in unison ; and the flames
mounted up through the chimney and out at the top, and more delicate
than the flames, invisible to human eyes, little tiny beings floated there,
as many as there had beeu blossoms on the Flax. They were lighter even
than the flame from which they were born ; and when the flame was
extinguished, and nothing remained of the Paper but black ashes, they
danced over it once more, and where they touched the black mass the
little red sparks appeared. The children came out of school, and the
schoolmaster was the last of all. That was fun ! and the children sang
over the dead ashes