because of her delicious voice ; but he said nothing, for he was a sedate
A short time before, he had dug a long passage through the earth
from his own house to theirs ; and Thumbeliua and the Field Mouse
obtained leave to walk in this passage as much as they wished. But he
begged them not to be afraid of the dead bird which was lying in the
passage. It was an entire bird, with wings and a beak. It certainly
must have died only a short time before, and was now buried just where
the Mole had made his passage.
The Mole took a bit of decayed wood in his mouth, and it glimmered
like fire in the dark ; and then he went first and lighted them through
the long dark passage. When they came where the dead bird lay, the
Mole thrust up his broad nose against the ceiling, so that a great hole
was made, through which the daylight could shine down. In the middle
of the floor lay a dead Swallow, his beautiful wings pressed closft against
his sides, and his head and feet drawn back under his feathers: the poor
bird had certainly died of cold. Thumbelina was very sorry for this ;
she was very fond of all the little birds, who had sung and twittered so
prettily before her through the summer ; but the Mole gave him a push
with his crooked legs, and said, " Xow he doesn't pipe any more. It
must be miserable to be born a little bird. I 'in thankful that none of
my children can be that : such a bird has nothing but his ' tweet-tweet,'
and has to starve in the winter !"
" Tes, you may well say that, as a clever man," observed the Field
Mouse. *' Of what use is all this ' tweet-tweet ' to a bird when the
winter comes ? He must starve and freeze. But they say that 's very
Thumbelina said nothing ; but when the two others turned their
backs on the bird, she bent down, put the feathers aside which covered
his head, and kissed him upon his closed eyes.
" Perhaps it was he who sang so prettily before me in the summer,"
she thought. " How much pleasure he gave me, the dear beautiful bird ! "
The Mole now closed up the hole through which the daylight shone
in, and accompanied the ladies home. But at night Thumbelina could
not sleep at all ; so she got up out of her bed, and wove a large beau-
tiful carpet of hay, and carried it and spread it over the dead bird,
and laid the thin stamens of flowers, soft as cotton, and which she had
found in the Field Mouse's room, at the bird's sides, so that he might lie
soft in the ground.
" Farewell, you pretty little bird ! " said she. " Farewell ! and thanss
to you for your beautiful song in the summer, when all the trees were
green, and the sun shone down warmly upon us." And then she laid the
bird's head upon her heart. But the bird was not dead ; he was only
lying there torpid with, cold ; and now he had been warmed, and came
to life again.
In autumn all the swallows fly away to warm countries ; but if one
happens to be belated, it becomes so cold that it falls down as if dead,
and lies where it fell, and then the cold snow covers it.
Thumbelina fairly trembled, she was so startled ; for the bird was
large, very large, compared with her, who was only an inch in height.
But she took courage, laid the cotton closer round the poor bird, and
brought a leaf that she had used as her own coverlet, and laid it over
the bird's head.
The next night she crept out to him again and now he was alive,
but quite weak; he could only open his eyes for a moment, and look
at Thumbelina, who stood before him with a bit of decayed wood in
her hand, for she had not a lantern.
" I thank you, you pretty little child," said the sick Swallow ; " I
have been famously warmed. Soon I shall get my strength back again,
and I shall be able to fly about in the warm sunshine."
JO Atones for the Household.
" Oh," she said, "it is so cold without. It snows and freezes. Stay
in your warm bed, and I will nurse you."
Then she brought the Swallow water in the petal of a flower ; and the
Swallow drank, and told her how he had torn one of his wings in a
thorn bush, and thus had not been able to fly so fast as the other sw r al-
lows, which, had sped away, far away, to the warm countries. So at
last he had fallen to the ground, but he could remember nothing more,
and did not know at all how he had come where she had found him.
The whole winter the Swallow remained there, and Thumbelina nursed
and tended him heartily. Neither the Field Mouse nor the Mole heard
anything about it, for they did not like the poor Swallow. So soon as
the spring came, and the sun warmed the earth, the Swallow bade
Thumbelina farewell, and she opened the hole which the Mole had made
in the ceiling. The sun shone in upon them gloriously, and the Swallow
asked if Thumbelina would go with him ; she could sit upon his back,
and they would fly away far into the green wood. But Thumbelina
knew r that the old Field Mouse would be grieved if she left her.
" No, I cannot !" said Thumbelina.
"Farewell, farewell, you good, pretty girl !"' said the Swallow; and
he flew out into the sunshine. Thumbelina looked after him, and tin-
tears came into her eyes, for she was heartily and sincerely foud of the
" Tweet-weet ! tweet-weet!" sang the bird, and flew into the green
forest. Thumbelina felt very sad. She did not get permission to go
out into the warm sunshine. The corn which was sown in the field
over the house of the Field Mouse grew up high into the air ; it was
quite a thick wood for the poor girl, wlio was only an inch in height.
" You are betrothed now, Thumbelina," said the Field Mouse. " My
neighbour has proposed for you. What great fortune for a poor child
like you ! Now you must work at your outfit, woollen and linen clothes
both ; for you must lack nothing when you have become the Mole's
Thumbelina had to turn the spindle, and the Mole hired four spiders
to weave for her day and night. Every evening the Mole paid her a
visit ; and he was always saying that when the summer should draw to
a close, the sun would not shine nearly so hot, for that now it burned
the earth almost as hard a.s a stone. Yes, Avhen the summer should
have gone, then he would keep his wedding day with Thumbelina. But
she was not glad at all, for she did not like the tiresome Mole. Every
morning when the sun rose, and every evening when it went down, she
crept out at the door ; and when the wind blew the corn ears apart, so
that she could see the blue sky, she thought how bright and beautiful
it was out here, and wished heartily to see her dear Swallow again. But
the Swallow did not come back ; he had doubtless flown far away, in the
fair green forest. "When autumn came on, Thumbeliua had all her
" In four weeks you shall celebrate your wedding," said the Field
Mouse to her.
But Thumbelina wept, and declared she would not have the tiresome
" Nonsense," said the Field Mouse; "don't be obstinate, or I will
bite jou with my white teeth. He is a very fine man whom you will
marry. The Queen herself has not such a black velvet fur ; and his
kitchen and cellar are full. Be thankful for your good fortune."
Now the wedding was to be held. The Mole had already come to
fetch Thumbeliua ; she was to live with him, deep under the earth, and
never to come out into the warm sunshine, for that he did not like. The
poor little thing was very sorrowful ; she was now to say farewell to the
glorious sun, which, after all, she had been allowed by the Field Mouse
to see from the threshold of the door.
THCilBELIN.V'S JOURNEY ON THE SWALLOW'S BACK.
"Farewell, thou bright sun!" she said, and stretched out her arms
towards it, and walked a little way forth from the house of the Field
Mouse, for now the corn had been reaped, and only the dry stubble stood
in the fields. " Farewell !" she repeated, twining her arms round a little
red flower which still bloomed there. " Greet the little Swallow from
me, if you see her again."
" Tweet-weet ! tweet-weet ! " a voice suddenly sounded over her head.
She looked up ; it was the little Swallow, who was just flying by. AVhen
he saw Thumbelina he was very glad ; and Thumbelina told him how
loth she was to have the ugly Mole for her husband, and that she was to
live deep under the earth, where the sun never shone. And she could
not refrain from weeping.
" The cold winter is coining now," said the Swallow ; " I am going to
fly far away into the warm countries. "Will you come with me ? You
42 Stories for the Household.
can sit upon my back, then we shall fly from the ugly Mole and his dark
room away, far away, over the mountains, to the warm countries, where
the sun shines warmer than here, where it is always summer, and there
are lovely flowers. Only fly with me, you dear little Thumbeliua, you
who have saved my life when I lay frozen in the dark earthy passage."
" Yes, I will go with you ! " said Thumbeliua, and she seated herself
on the bird's back, with her feet on his outspread wing, and bound her
girdle fast to one of his strongest feathers ; then the Swallow flew up
into the air over forest and over sea, high up over the great mountains,
where the snow always lies ; and Thumbeliua felt cold in the bleak air,
but then she hid under the bird's warm feathers, and only put out her
little head to admire all the beauties beneath her.
At last they came to the warm countries. There the sun shone far
brighter than here ; the sky seemed twice as high ; in ditches and on
the hedges grew the most beautiful blue and green grapes ; lemons and
oranges hung in the woods ; the air was fragrant with myrtles and bal-
sams, and on the roads the loveliest children ran about, playing with the
gay butterflies. But the Swallow flew still farther, and it became more
and more beautiful. Under the most glorious green trees by the blue-
lake stood a palace of dazzling white marble, from the olden time. Tines
clustered around the lofty pillars ; at the top were many swallows' nests,
and in one of these the Swallow lived Avho carried Thumbelina.
" That is my house," said the Swallow ; " but it is not right that you
should live there. It is not yet properly arranged by a great deal, and
you will not be content with it. Select for yourself one of the splendid
flowers which grow down yonder, then I will put you into it, and you
shall have everything as nice as you can wish."
" That is capital," cried she, and clapped her little hands.
A great marble pillar lay there, which had fallen to the ground and
had been broken into three pieces ; but between these pieces grew the
most beautiful great white flowers. The Swallow flew down with Thum-
belina, and set her upon one of the broad leaves. But what was the
little maid's surprise ? There sat a little man in the midst of the flower,
as white and transparent as if he had been made of glass : he wore the
neatest of gold crowns on his head, and the brightest wings on his
shoulders ; he himself was not bigger than Thumbelina. He was the
angel of the flower. In each of the flowers dwelt such a little man or
woman, but this one was king over them all.
"Heavens! how beautiful he is!" whispered Thumbelina to the
The little prince was very much frightened at the Swallow ; for it was
quite a gigantic bird to him, who was so small. But when he saw
Thumbelina, he became very glad ; she was the prettiest maiden he bad
ever seen. Therefore he took off his golden crown, and put it upon her.
asked her name, and if she would be his wife, and then she should be
queen of all the flowers. Xow this was truly a different kind of man
to the son of the Toad, and the Mole with the black velvet fur. She
therefore said, " Yes " to the charming prince. And out of every flower
The Naughty Boy. 43
came a lady or a lord, so pretty to behold that it was a delight : each one
brought Thumbelina a present ; but the best gift was a pair of beautiful
wings which had belonged to a great white fly ; these were fastened to
Thumbelina's back, and now she could fly from flower to flower. Then
there was much rejoicing ; and the little Swallow sat above them in her
nest, and was to sing the marriage song, which she accordingly did as
well as she could ; but yet in her heart she was sad, for she was so fond,
oh ! so fond of Thumbelina, and would have liked never to part from her.
" You shall not be called Thumbelina," said the Flower Angel to her ;
" that is an ugly name, and you are too fair for it we will call you
" Farewell, farewell ! " said the little Swallow, with a heavy heart ; and
she flew away again from the warm countries, far away back to Denmark.
There she had a little nest over the window of the man who can tell
fairy tales. Before him she sang, " Tweet- weet ! tweet-weet !" and from
him we have the whole story.
THE NAUGHTY BOY.
THERE was once an old poet a very good old poet. One evening, as
he sat at home, there was dreadfully bad weather without. The rain
streamed down : but the old poet sat comfortably by his stove, where the
fire was burning and the roasting apples were hissing.
" There won't be a dry thread left on the poor people who are out in
this weather !" said he, for he was a good old poet.
" Oh, open to me ! I am cold and quite wet," said a little child out-
side ; and it cried, and knocked at the door, while the rain streamed
down, and the wind made all the casements rattle.
" You poor little creature !" said the poet ; and he went to open the
door. There stood a little boy ; he was quite naked, and the water ran
in streams from his long fair curls. He was shivering with cold, and
had he not been let in, he would certainly have perished in the bad
" You little creature ! " said the poet, and took him by the hand,
"come to me, and I will warm you. You shall have wine and an apple,
for you are a capital boy."
And so he was. His eyes sparkled like two bright stars, and though
the water ran down from his fair curls, they fell in beautiful ringlets.
He looked like a little angel-child, but was white with cold and trembled
all over. In his hand he carried a famous bow, but it looked quite
spoiled by the wet ; all the colours in the beautiful arrows had been
blurred together by the rain.
The old poet sat down by the stove, took the little boy on his knees,
pressed the water out of the long curls, warmed his hands in his own,
and made him some sweet whine-whey ; then the boy recovered himself,
'';.;;. r ;' : ~
THE OLD POET SHOT THROUGH THE HEART BY CUPID.
and his cheeks grew red, and he jumped to the floor and danced round
the old poet.
" You are a merry boy," said the old poet. " What is your name ?"
" My name is Cupid," he replied ; " don't you know me ? There lies
my bow I shoot with that, you may believe me ! See, now the weather
is clearing up outside, and the moon shines."
" But your bow is spoiled," said the old poet.
" That would be a pity," replied the little boy ; and he took the bow
and looked at it. " Oh, it is quite dry, and has suffered no damage ; the
string is quite stiff I will try it !" Then he bent it, and laid an arrow
across, aimed, and shot the good old poet straight through the heart.
" Do you see now that my bow was not spoiled P" said he, and laughed
out loud and ran away. What a naughty boy to shoot at the old poet
in that way, who had admitted him into the warm room, and been so
kind to him, and given him the best wine and the best apple !
The Travelling Companion. 45
The good poet lay upon the floor and wept ; he was really shot straight
into the heart. " Fie !" he cried, " what a naughty boy this Cupid is !
I shall tell that to all good children, so that they may take care, and
never play with him, for he will do them a hurt !"
All good children, girls and hoys, to whom he told this, took good
heed of this naughty Cupid ; but still he tricked them, for he is very
cunning. When the students come out from the lectures, he runs at
their side with a book under his arm, and has a black coat on. They
cannot recognize him at all. And. then they take his arm and fancy he
is a student too ; but he thrusts the arrow into their breasts. Yes, he
is always following people ! He sits in the great chandelier in the
theatre and burns brightly, so that the people think he is a lamp ; but
afterwards they see their error. He runs about in the palace garden and
on the promenades. Tes, he once shot your father and your mother
straight through the heart ! Only ask them, and you will hear what
they say. Oh, he is a bad boy, this Cupid ; you must never have any-
thing to do with him. He is after every one. Only think, once he shot
an arrow at old grandmamma ; but that was a long time ago. The
wound has indeed healed long since, but she will never forget it. Fie
on that wicked Cupid ! But now you know him, and what a naughty
boy he is.
THE TRAVELLING COMPANION.
POOR John was in great tribulation, for his father was very ill, and
could not get well again. Except these two, there was no one at all in
the little room : the lamp on the table was nearly extinguished, and it
was quite late in the evening.
" You have been a good son, John," said the sick father. " Providence
will help you through the world." And he looked at him with mild
earnest eyes, drew a deep breath, and died : it was just as if he slept.
But John wept ; for now he had no one in the world, neither father nor
mother, neither sister nor brother. Poor John ! He lay on his knees
before the bed, kissed his dead father's hand, and shed very many bitter
tears ; but at last his eyes closed, and he went to sleep, lying with his
head against the hard bed-post.
Then he dreamed a strange dream : he saw the sun and moon shine
upon him, and he beheld his father again, fresh and well, and he heard
his father laugh as he had always laughed when he was very glad. A
beautiful girl, with a golden crown upon her long shining hair, gave him
her hand ; and his father said, " Do you see what a bride you have
gained ? She is the most beautiful in the whole world !" Then he
awoke, and all the splendour was gone. His father was lying dead and
cold in the bed, and there was no one at all with them. Poor John !
In the next, week the dead man was buried. The son walked close
46 Stories for the Household.
behind the coffin, and could now no longer see the good father who had
loved him so much. He heard how they threw the earth down upon the
coffin, and stopped to see the last corner of it ; but the next shovel-full
of earth hid even that ; then he felt just as if his heart would burst into
pieces, so sorrowful was he. Around him they were singing a psalm ;
those were sweet holy tones that arose, and the tears came into John's
eyes ; he wept, and that did him good in his sorrow. The sun shone
magnificently on the green trees, just as it would have said, " You may
no longer be sorrowful, John ! Do you see how beautiful the sky is ?
Your father is up there, and prays to the Father of all that it may be
always well with you."
J01i>( AT THE DEATH-BED OF HIS TATIILK
" I will always do right, too," said John, " then I shall go to heaven
to my father ; and what joy that will be when we see each other again !
How much I shall then have to tell him ! and he will show me so many
things, and explain to me the glories of heaven, just as he taught me
here on earth. Oh, how joyful that will be ! "
He pictured that to himself so plainly, that he smiled, while the tears
were still rolling down his cheeks. The little birds sat up in the
chestnut trees, and twittered, " Tvreet-weet ! tweet-v^eet !" They were
joyful and merry, though they had been at the burying, ] '_ ^hey seemed
to know that the dead man was now in heaven ; that he had wings, far
larger and more beautiful than theirs ; that he was now happy, because
he had been a good man upon earth, and they were glad at it. John saw
how they flew from the green tree out into the world, and he felt inclined
to fly too. But first he cut out a great cross of wood to put on his
The Travelling Companion. 47
father's grave ; and when he brought it there in the evening the grave
was decked with sand and flowers ; strangers had done this, for they were
all very fond of the good father who was now dead.
Early next morning John packed his little bundle, and put in his belt
his whole inheritance, which consisted of fifty dollars and a few silver
-hillings ; with this he intended to wander out into the world. But
first he went to the churchyard, to his father's grave, to say a prayer
and to bid him farewell.
Out in the field where he was walking all the flowers stood fresh and
beautiful in the warm sunshine ; and they nodded in the wind, just as if
they would have said, " Welcome to the green wood ! Is it not fine
here ? " But John turned back once more to look at the old church, in
which he had been christened when he was a little child, and where he
had been every Sunday with his father at the service, and had sung his
psalm ; then, high up in one of the openings of the tower, he saw the
ringer standing in his little pointed red cap, shading his face with his
bent arm, to keep the sun from shining in his eyes. John nodded a
farewell to him, and the little ringer waved his red cap, laid his hand on
his heart, and kissed his hand to John a great many times, to show that
he wished the traveller well and hoped he would have a prosperous
John thought what a number of fine things he would get to see in the
great splendid world ; and he went on farther farther than he had ever
been before. He did not know the places at all through which he came,
nor the people whom he met. Now he was far away in a strange region.
The first night he was obliged to lie down on a haystack in the field
to sleep, for he had no other bed. But that was very nice, he thought ;
the king could not be better off". There was the whole field, with the
brook, the haystack, and the blue sky above it ; that was certainly a
beautiful sleeping-room. The green grass with the little red and white
flowers was the carpet ; the elder bushes and the wild rose hedges were
garlands of flowers ; and for a wash-hand basin he had the whole brook
with the clear fresh water ; and the rushes bowed before him and wished
him " good evening " and " good morning." The moon was certainly a
great night-lamp, high up under the blue ceiling, and that lamp would
never set fire to the curtains with its light. John could sleep quite
safely, and he did so, and never woke until the sun rose and all the little
birds were singing around, " Good morning ! good morning ! Are you
not up yet ?"
The bells were ringing for church ; it was Sunday. The people went
to hear the preacher, and John followed them, and saag a psalm and
heard God's word. It seemed to him just as if he was in his own
church, where he had been christened and had sung psalms with his
Out in the churchyard were many graves, and on some of them the
grass grew high. Then he thought of his father's grave, which would at
last look like these, as he could not weed it and adorn it. So he sat
down and plucked up the long grass, set up the wooden crosses which
48 Stories for the Household.
'had fallen down, and put back in their places the wreaths which the
wind had blown away from the graves ; for he thought, " Perhaps some
one will do the same to my father's grave, as I cannot do it."
Outside the churchyard gate stood an old beggar, leaning upon his
crutch. John gave him the silver shillings which he had, and then went
away, happy and cheerful, into the wide world. Towards evening the
weather became terribly bad. He made haste to get under shelter, but
dark night soon came on ; then at last he came to a little church, which
lay quite solitary on a small hill.
" Here I will sit down in a corner," said he, and went in ; "I am quite
tired and require a little rest." Then he sat down, folded his hands,
and said his evening prayer ; and before he was aware of it he was asleep
and dreaming, while it thundered and lightened without.
When he woke it was midnight ; but the bad weather had passed by,
and the moon shone in upon him through the windows. In the midst
of the church stood an open coffin with a dead man in it who had not
yet been buried. John was not at all timid, for he had a good con-
science ; and he knew very well that the dead do not harm any one.
The living, who do evil, are bad men. Two such living bad men stood
close by the dead man, who had been placed here in the church till he
should'be buried. They had an evil design against him, and would not