ning little weaver, tliou dost teach me perseverance. Let them tear thy
web, and thou wilt begin it again, and complete it. Let them destroy
it again, and thou wilt resolutely begin to work again again ! That is
what we must do, and that will repay itself at last.'
" It was the morning of Easter-day. The bells sounded from the
neighbouring church, and the sun seemed to rejoice in the sky. The
master had watched through the night in feverish excitement, and had
been melting and cooling, distilling and mixing. I heard him sighing
! fke a soul in despair ; I heard him praying, and I noticed how he held
his breath. The lamp was burned out, but he did not notice it. I blew
at the fire of coals, and it threw its red glow upon his ghastly white
face, lighting it up with a glare, and his sunken eyes looked forth wildly
out of their deep sockets but they became larger and larger, as though
they would burst.
" Look at the alchymic glass ! It glows in the crucible, red-hot, and
pure and heavy ! He lifted it with a trembling hand, and cried with a
trembling voice, ' Gold ! gold ! '
" He was quite dizzy I could have blown him down," said the "Wind ;
"but I only fanned the glowing coals, and accompanied him through
the door to where his daughters sat shivering. His coat was powdered
300 Stories Jot' the Household.
with ashes, and there were ashes in his beard and in his tangled hair.
He stood straight up, and held his costly treasure ou high, in the brittle
glass ' Found, found ! Gold, gold ! ' he shouted, and again held aloft
the glass to let it flash in the sunshine ; but his hand trembled, and the
alchymic glass fell clattering to the ground, and broke into a thousand
pieces ; and the last bubble of his happiness had burst ! Hu-uh-ush !
rushing away ! and I rushed away from the gold-maker's house.
" Late in autumn, when the days are short, and the mist comes and
strews cold drops upon the berries and leafless branches, I came back in
fresh spirits, rushed through the air, swept the sky clear, and snapped
the dry twigs which is certainly no great labour, but yet it must be
done. Then there was another 'kind of sweeping clean at Waldernar
Daa's, in the mansion of Borreby. His 1 enemy, Owe Eaiuel, of Basrnis,
was there with the mortgage of the house and everything it contained
in his pocket. I drummed against the broken window-panes, beat against
the old rotten doors, and whistled through cracks and rifts huh-sh !
Mr. Owe Eainel did not like staying there. Ida and Anna Dorothea
wept bitterly ; Joanna stood pale and proud, and bit her thumb till it
bled but what could that avail ? Owe Eainel offered to allow Waldemar
Daa to remain in the mansion till the end of his life, but no thanks
were given him for his offer. I listened to hear what occurred. I saw the
ruined gentleman lift his head and throw it back prouder than ever, and
I rushed against the house and the old lime trees with such force, that
one of the thickest branches broke, one that was not decayed ; and the
branch remained lying at the entrance as a broom when any one wanted
to sweep the place out . and a grand sweeping out there was I thought
it would be so.
"It was hard on that day to preserve one's composure ; but their will
was as hard as their fortune.
" There was nothing they could call their own except the clothes they
wore : yes, there was one thing more the alchymist's glass, a new one
that had lately been bought, and filled with what had been gathered up
from the ground of the treasure which promised so much but never kept
its promise. Waldemar Daa hid the glass in his bosom, and taking his
stick in his hand, the once rich gentleman passed with his daughters
out of the house of Borreby. I blew cold upon his heated cheeks, 1
stroked his grey beard and his long white hair, and I sang as well as I
could, ' Huh-sh ! gone away ! gone away ! ' And that was the end of
the wealth and splendour.
"Ida walked on one side of the old man, and Ann Dorothea on the other.
Joanna turned round at the entrance why ? Fortune would not turn
because she did so. She looked at the old walls of what .had once been
the castle of Marsk Stig, and perhaps she thought of his daughters :
"'The eldest pave the youngest her hand.
And forth they went to the far-off laud."
Was she thinking of this old song ? Here were three of them, and
LEAVING THE OLD HOME.
their father was with them too. They walked along the road on which
they had once driven in their splendid carriage they walked forth as
beggars, with their father, and wandered out into the open field, and
into a mud hut, which they rented for a dollar and a half a year into
their new house with the empty rooms and empty vessels. Crows and
magpies fluttered above them, and cried, as if in contempt, ' Craw !
craw ! out of the nest ! craw ! craw ! ' as they had done in the wood at
Borreby when the trees were felled.
" Daa and his daughters could not help hearing it. I blew about
their ears, for what use would it be that they should listen ?
" And they went to live in the mud hut on the open field, and I
wandered away over moor and field, through bare bushes and leafless
forests, to the open waters, the free shores, to other lands huh-uh-ush !
away, away ! year after year ! "
And how did Waklemar Daa and his daughters prosper ? The Wind
tell us :
302 Stories for the Household.
" The one I saw last, yes, for the last time, was Anna Dorothea, the
pale hyacinth : then she was old and bent, for it was fifty years after-
wards. She lived longer than the rest ; she knew all.
" Yonder on the heath, by the Jutland town of Wiborg, stood the
fine new house of the canon, built of red bricks with projecting gables;
the smoke came up thickly from the chimney. The canon's gentle lady
and her beautiful daughters sat in the bay window, and looked over the
hawthorn hedge of the garden towards the brown heath. What were
they looking at ? Their glances rested upon the stork's nest without,
and on the hut, which was almost falling in ; the roof consisted of moss
and houseleek, in so far as a roof existed there at all the stork's nest
covered the greater part of it, and that alone was in proper condition,
for it was kept in order by the stork himself.
" That is a house to be looked at, but not to be touched : I must deal
gently with it," said the "Wind. " For the sake of the stork's nest the
hut has been allowed to stand, though it was a blot upon the landscape.
They did not like to drive the stork away, therefore the old shed was
left standing, and the poor woman who dwelt in it was allowed to stay :
she had the Egyptian bird to thank for that ; or was it perchance her
reward, because she had once interceded for the nest of its black brother
in the forest of Borreby ? At that time she, the poor woman, was a
young child, a pale hyacinth in the rich garden. She remembered all
that right well, did Anna Dorothea.
" ' Oh ! oh ! ' Yes, people can sigh like the wind moaning in the
rushes and reeds. ' Oh ! oh ! ' she sighed, ' no bells sounded at thy
burial, Waldemar Daa! The poor schoolboys did not even sing a psalm
when the former lord of Borreby was laid in the earth to rest ! Oh,
everything has an end, even misery. Sister Ida became the wife of a
peasant. That was the hardest trial that befell our father, that the
husband of a daughter of his should be a miserable serf, whom the pro-
prietor could mount on the wooden horse for punishment ! I suppose
he is under the ground now. And thou, Ida ? Alas, alas ! it is not
ended yet, wretch that I am ! Grant me that I may die, kind Heaven ! '
" That was Anna Dorothea's prayer in the wretched hut which was
left standing for the sake of the stork.
" I took pity on the fairest of the sisters," said the Wind. " Her
courage was like that of a man, and in man's clothes she took service as
a sailor on board of a ship. She was sparing of words, and of a dark
countenance, but willing at her work. But she did not know how to
climb ; so I blew her overboard before anybody found out that she was
a woman, and, according to my thinking, that was well done ! " said the
" On such an Easter morning as that on which "Waldemar Daa had
fancied that he had found the red gold, I heard the tones of a psalm
under the stork's nest, among the crumbling walls it was Anna
Dorothea's last song.
There was no window, only a hole in the wall. The sun rose up like
Five out of One Shell. 303
a mass of gold, and looked through. What a splendour he diffused !
Her eyes and her heart were breaking but that they would have done,
even if the sun had not shone that morning on Anna Dorothea.
" The stork covered her hut till her death. I sang at her grave ! "
said the Wind. " I sang at her father's grave ; I know where his grave
is, and where hers is, and nobody else knows it.
" New times, changed times ! The old high road now runs through
cultivated fields ; the new road winds among the trim ditches, and soon
the railway will come with its train of carriages, and rush over the
graves which are forgotten like the names hu-ush ! passed away!
passed away !
"That is the story of Waldemar Daa and his daughters. Tell it
tetter, any of you, if you know how," said the Wind, and turned away
and he was gone.
FIVE OUT OF ONE SHELL.
THERE were five peas in one shell : they were green, and the pod was
green, and so they thought all the world was green ; and that was just
as it should be ! The shell grew, and the peas grew ; they accommodated
themselves to circumstances, sitting all in a row. The sun shone with-
out, and warmed the husk, and the rain made it clear and transparent ;
it was mild and agreeable in the bright day and in the dark night, just
as it should be, and the peas as they sat there became bigger and
bigger, and more and more thoughtful, for something they must do.
"Are we to sit here everlastingly?" asked one. "I'm afraid we
shall become hard by long sitting. It seems to me there must be some-
thing outside I have a kind of inkling of it."
And weeks went by. The peas became yellow, and the pod also.
" All the world's turning yellow," said they ; and they had a right
to say it.
Suddenly they felt a tug at the shell. The shell was torn off, passed
through human hands, and glided down into the pocket of a jacket, in
company with other full pods.
" JSTow we shall soon be opened! " they said; and that is just what
they were waiting for.
" I should like to know who of us will get farthest ! " said the smallest
of the five. "Yes, now it will soon show itself."
" What is to be will be," said the biggest.
" Crack ! " the pod burst, and all the five peas rolled out into the
bright sunshine. There they lay in a child's hand. A Little boy was
clutching them, and said they were fine peas for his pea-shooter ; and
he put one in directly and shot it out.
" Now I 'm flying out into the wide world, catch me if you can !" And
he was gone.
304 Stones for the Household.
" I," said the second, " I shall fly straight into the sun. That 's a
shell worth looking at, and one that exactly suits me." And away he \vent.
" We '11 go to sleep wherever we arrive," said the two next, " but we
shall roll on all the same." And they certainly rolled and tumbled down
on the ground before they got into the pea-shooter ; but they were put
in for all that. " We shall go farthest," said they.
" What is to happen will happen," said the last, as he was shot forth
out of the pea-shooter ; and he flew up against the old board under the
garret window, just into a crack which was filled up with moss and soft
mould ; and the moss closed round him ; there he lay, a prisoner indeed,
but not forgotten by provident nature.
" What is to happen will happen," said he.
Within, in the little garret, lived a poor woman, who went out in the
day to clean stoves, chop wood small, and to do other hard work of the
same kind, for she was strong and industrious too. But she always
remained poor ; and at home in the garret lay her half-grown only
daughter, who was very delicate and weak ; for a whole year she had
kept her bed, and it seemed as if she could neither live nor die.
"She is going to her little sister," the woman said. "I had only the
two children, and it was not an easy thing to provide for both, but the
good God provided for one of them by taking her home to Himself;
now I should be glad to keep the other that was left me ; but I suppose
they are not to remain separated, and my sick girl will go to her sister
'But the sick girl remained where she was. She lay quiet and patient
all day long while her mother went to earn money out of doors. It was
spring, and early in the morning, just as the mother was about to go out
to work, the sun shone mildly and pleasantly through the little window,
and threw its rays across the floor ; and the sick girl fixed her eyes on
the lowest pane in the window.
" What may that green thing be that looks in at the window ? It is
moving in the wind."
And the mother stepped to the window, and half opened it. " Oh ! "
said she, " on my word, that is a little pea which has taken root here,
and is putting out its little leaves. How can it have got here into the
crack ? That is a little garden with which you can amuse yourself."
And the sick girl's bed was moved nearer to the window, so that she
could always see the growing pea ; and the mother went forth to her
" Mother, I think I shall get well," said the sick child in the evening.
'The sun shone in upon me to-day delightfully warm. The little pea
is prospering famously, and I shall prosper too. and get up, and go out
into the warm sunshine."
" G-od grant it ! " said the mother, but she did not believe it would be
so ; but she took care to prop with a little stick the green plant which
had given her daughter the pleasant thoughts of life, so that it might
not be broken by the wind ; she tied a piece of string to the window-
sill and to the upper part of the frame, so that the pea might have
THE POOR WOMAN AND SEE SICK DAU0HTEE.
something round which it could twine, when it shot up : arid it did
shoot up indeed one could see how it grew every day.
" Really, here is a flower coming ! " said the woman one day ; and now
she began to cherish the hope that her sick daughter would recover.
She remembered that lately the child had spoken much more cheerfully
than before, that in the last few days she had risen up in bed of her own
accord, and had sat upr'ghfc, looking with delighted eyes at the little
garden in which only one plant grew. A week afterwards the invalid
for the first tim.3 sat up for a whole hour. Quite happy, she sat there
306 Stories for the Household.
in the warm sunshine ; the window was opened, and outside before it
stood a pink pea blossom, fully blown. The sick girl bent down and
gently kissed the delicate leaves. This day was like a festival.
" The Heavenly Father Himself has planted that pea, and caused it to
prosper, to be a joy to you, and to me also, my blessed child ! " said the
glad mother ; and she smiled at the flower, as if it had been a good
But about the other peas ? Why, the one who flew out into the wide
world and said, " Catch me if you can," fell into the gutter on the roof,
and found a home in a pigeon's crop ; the two lazy ones got just as far,
for they, too, were eaten up by pigeons, and thus, at any rate, they were
of some real use ; but the fourth, who wanted to go up into the sun, fell
into the sink, and lay there in the dirty water for weeks and weeks, and
" How beautifully fat I 'm growing ! " said the Pea. "I shall burst at
last ; and I don't think any pea can do more than that. I 'm the most
remarkable of all the five that were in the shell."
And the Sink said he was right.
But the young girl at the garret window stood there with gleaming
eyes, with the roseate hue of health on her cheeks, and folded her thin
hands over the pea blossom, and thanked Heaven for it.
" I," said the Sink, " stand up for my own pea."
THE METAL PIG.
IN the city of Florence, not far from the Piazza del GranJuca, there
runs a little cross street, I think it is called Porta Rosa. In this street,
in front of a kind of market hall where vegetables are sold, there lies a
Pig artistically fashioned of metal. The fresh clear water pours from
the jaws of the creature, which has become a blackish-green from age ;
only the snout shines as if it had been polished, and indeed it has been,
by many hundreds of children and lazzaroni, who seize it with their
hands, and place their mouths close to the mouth of the animal, to drink.
It is a perfect picture to see the well-shaped creature clasped by a half
naked boy, who lays his red lips against its jaw.
Every one who comes to Florence can easily find the place ; he need
only ask the first beggar he meets for the Metal Pig, and he will find it.
It was late on a winter evening. The mountains were covered with
snow; but the moon shone, and moonlight in Italy is just as good as
the light of a murky Northern winter's day ; nay, it is better, for the air
shines and lifts us up, while in the North the cold grey leaden covering
seems to press us downwards to the earth the cold damp earth, which
will once press down our coffin.
In the Grand Duke's palace garden, under a penthouse roof, where a
thousand roses bloom in winter, a little ragged b<jy had been sitting all
The Metal Piy.
day long, a boy who might serve as a type of Italy, pretty and smiling,
and yet suffering. He was hungry and thirsty, but no one gave him any-
thing ; and when it became dark, and the garden was to be closed, the
porter turned him out. Long he stood musing on the bridge that spans
the Arno, and looked at the stars, whose light glittered in the water
between him and the splendid marble bridge of Delia Trinita.
He took the way towards the Metal Pig, half knelt down, clasped his
arms round it, put his mouth against its shining snout, and drank the
fresh water in deep draughts. Close by lay a few leaves of salad and
one or two chestnuts ; these were his supper. No one was in the street
THE METAL PIG.
but himself it belonged to him alone and ; he boldly sat down on the
Pig's back, bent forward, so that his curly head rested on the head of the
animal, and before he was aware fell asleep.
It was midnight. The Metal Pig stirred, and he heard it say quite
distinctly, "Ton little boy, hold tight, for now I am going to run," and
away it ran with him. This was a wonderful ride. First they got to
the Piazza del Granduca, and the metal horse which carries the Duke's?
statue neighed aloud, the painted coats of arms on the old council-house
looked like transparent pictures, and Michael Angelo's " David " swang
his sling : there was a strange life stirring among them. The metal groups
representing persons, and the rape of the Sabines, stood there as if they
were alive : a cry of mortal fear escaped them, and resounded over the
By the Palazzo Degli Uffizi, in the arcade, where the nobility assemble
303 Stories for the Household.
for the Carnival amusements, the Metal Pig stopped. ' Hold tight,"
said the creature, " for now we are going up stairs.'' The little boy
spoke not a word, for he was half frightened half delighted.
They came into a long gallery where the boy had already been. The
walls shone with pictures ; here stood statues and busts, all in the most
charming light, as if it had been broad day ; but the most beautiful of all
was when the door of a side room opened : the little boy could remember
the splendour that was there, but on this night everything shone in the
most glorious colours.
Here stood a beautiful woman, as radiant in beauty as nature and the
greatest master of sculpture could make her : she moved her graceful
limbs, dolphius sprang at her feet, and immortality shone out of her eyes.
The world calls her the Venus de Medici. By her side are statues in
which the spirit of life has been breathed into the stone ; they are hand-
some unclothed men. One was sharpening a sword, and was called the
Grinder ; the "Wrestling Gladiators formed another group ; and the sword
was sharpened, and they strove for the goddess of beauty.
The boy was dazzled by all this pomp : the walls gleamed with bright
colours, and everything was life and movement.
What splendour, what beauty shone from hall to hall ! and the little
boy saw everything plainly, for the Metal Pig went step by step from one
picture to another through all this scene of magnificence. Each fresh
glory effaced the last. One picture only fixed itself firmly in his soul
especially, through the very happy children introduced into it, for these
the little boy fancied he had greeted in the daylight.
Many persons pass by this picture with indifference, and yet it con-
tains a treasure of poetry. It represents the Saviour descending into
hell. But these are not the damned whom the spectator sees around
him, they are heathen. The Florentine Agniolo Bronzino painted this
picture. Most beautiful is the expression on the faces of the children,
the full confidence that they will get to heaven : two little beings are
already embracing, and one little one stretches out his hand towards
another who stands below him, and points to himself as if he were
saying, " I am going to heaven ! " The older people stand uncertain,
hoping, but bowing in humble adoration before the Lord Jesus. The
boy's eyes rested longer on this picture than on any other. The Metal
Pig stood still before it. A low sigh was heard : did it come from the
picture or from the animal ? The boy lifted up his hands towards the
smiling children ; then the Pig ran away with him, away through the
" Thanks and blessings to you, you dear thing ! " said the little boy,
and caressed the Metal Pig, as it sprang down the steps with him.
" Thanks and blessings to yourself," replied the Metal Pig. " I have
helped you, and you have helped me, for only with an innocent child on
my back do I receive power to run! Tes, you see, I may even step
into the rays of the lamp in front of the picture of the Madonna, onh
I may not go into the church. But from without, when you are with
me, I may look in through the open door. Do not get down from my
The Metal P'nj. 309
back ; if you do so, I shall lie dead as you see me in the day-time at the
Port a Eos a:'
" I will stay with you, my dear creature ! " cried the child.
So they went in hot haste through the streets of Florence, out into
the place before the church of Santa Groce. The folding doors flew open,
and lights gleamed out from the altar through the church into the
A wonderful blaze of light streamed forth from a monument in the
left aisle, and a thousand moving stars seemed to form a glory round it.
A coat of arms shone upon the grave, a red ladder in a blue field seemed
to glow like fire. It was the grave of Galileo. The monument is
unadorned, but the red ladder is a significant emblem, as if it were that
of art, for in art the way always leads up a burning ladder, towards
heaven. The prophets of mind soar upwards towards heaven, like Elias
To the right, in the aisle of the church, every statue on the richly
carved sarcophagi seemed endowed with life. Here stood Michael
Angelo, there Dante with the laurel wreath round his brow, Alfieri and
Machiavelli ; for here the great men, the pride of Italy, rest side by
side.* It is a glorious church, tar more beautiful than the marble
cathedral of Florence, though not so large.
It seemed as if the marble vestments stirred, as if the great forms
raised their heads higher and looked up, amid song and music, to the
bright altar glowing with colour, where the white-clad boys swing the
golden censers ; and the strong fragrance streamed out of the church
into the open square.
The boy stretched forth his hand towards the gleaming light, and in a
moment the Metal Pig resumed its headlong career : he was obliged to
cling tightly ; and the wind whistled about his ears ; he heard the church
door creak on its hinges as it closed ; but at the same moment his senses
seemed to desert him, he felt a cold shudder pass over him, and awoke.
It was morning, and he was still sitting on the Metal Pig, which
stood where it always stood on the Porta Rosa, and he had slipped half
off its back.
Fear and trembling filled the soul of the boy at the thought of her
whom he called mother, and who had yesterday sent him forth to bring