Amrita Deb

Little Ida’s Flowers 2

“I was in the garden out there yesterday with my mother,” said Ida, “but all the leaves were off the trees, and there was not a single flower left. Where are they? I used to see so many in the summer.”   “They are in the castle,” replied the student. “You must know that as …

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Little Ida’s Flowers 1

My poor flowers are quite dead,” said little Ida, “they were so pretty yesterday evening, and now all the leaves are hanging down quite withered. What do they do that for,” she asked, of the student who sat on the sofa; she liked him very much, he could tell the most amusing stories, and cut …

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The Princess and the Pea 2

“Well, we’ll soon find that out,” thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses. On this …

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The Princess and the Pea 1

Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real …

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The Ugly Duckling 14

“See,” cried the youngest, “there is a new one;” and the rest were delighted, and ran to their father and mother, dancing and clapping their hands, and shouting joyously, “There is another swan come; a new one has arrived.”   Then they threw more bread and cake into the water, and said, “The new one …

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The Ugly Duckling 13

“I will fly to those royal birds,” he exclaimed, “and they will kill me, because I am so ugly, and dare to approach them; but it does not matter: better be killed by them than pecked by the ducks, beaten by the hens, pushed about by the maiden who feeds the poultry, or starved with …

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The Ugly Duckling 12

Early in the morning, a peasant, who was passing by, saw what had happened. He broke the ice in pieces with his wooden shoe, and carried the duckling home to his wife. The warmth revived the poor little creature; but when the children wanted to play with him, the duckling thought they would do him …

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The Ugly Duckling 11

“I believe I must go out into the world again,” said the duckling.   “Yes, do,” said the hen. So the duckling left the cottage, and soon found water on which it could swim and dive, but was avoided by all other animals, because of its ugly appearance. Autumn came, and the leaves in the …

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The Ugly Duckling 10

  “What an absurd idea,” said the hen. “You have nothing else to do, therefore you have foolish fancies. If you could purr or lay eggs, they would pass away.”   “But it is so delightful to swim about on the water,” said the duckling, “and so refreshing to feel it close over your head, …

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The Ugly Duckling 9

“What is that noise about?” said the old woman, looking round the room, but her sight was not very good; therefore, when she saw the duckling she thought it must be a fat duck, that had strayed from home. “Oh what a prize!” she exclaimed, “I hope it is not a drake, for then I …

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The Ugly Duckling 8

“Pop, pop,” sounded in the air, and the two wild geese fell dead among the rushes, and the water was tinged with blood. “Pop, pop,” echoed far and wide in the distance, and whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the rushes. The sound continued from every direction, for the sportsmen surrounded the moor, …

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The Ugly Duckling 7

“They are afraid of me because I am ugly,” he said. So he closed his eyes, and flew still farther, until he came out on a large moor, inhabited by wild ducks. Here he remained the whole night, feeling very tired and sorrowful.   In the morning, when the wild ducks rose in the air, …

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The Ugly Duckling 6

“The other ducklings are graceful enough,” said the old duck. “Now make yourself at home, and if you can find an eel’s head, you can bring it to me.”   And so they made themselves comfortable; but the poor duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and looked so ugly, was …

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The Ugly Duckling 5

The ducklings did as they were bid, but the other duck stared, and said, “Look, here comes another brood, as if there were not enough of us already! and what a queer looking object one of them is; we don’t want him here,” and then one flew out and bit him in the neck.   …

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The Ugly Duckling 4

“Oh,” said the mother, “that is not a turkey; how well he uses his legs, and how upright he holds himself! He is my own child, and he is not so very ugly after all if you look at him properly. Quack, quack! come with me now, I will take you into grand society, and …

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The Ugly Duckling 3

At last the large egg broke, and a young one crept forth crying, “Peep, peep.” It was very large and ugly. The duck stared at it and exclaimed, “It is very large and not at all like the others. I wonder if it really is a turkey. We shall soon find it out, however when …

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The Ugly Duckling 2

“Well, how are you getting on?” asked an old duck, who paid her a visit. “One egg is not hatched yet,” said the duck, “it will not break. But just look at all the others, are they not the prettiest little ducklings you ever saw? They are the image of their father, who is so …

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The Ugly Duckling 1

It was a lovely summer weather in the country, and the golden corn, the green oats, and the haystacks piled up in the meadows looked beautiful. The stork walking about on his long red legs chattered in the Egyptian language, which he had learnt from his mother. The corn-fields and meadows were surrounded by large …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 20

“No, now, don’t be too fierce about it!” said Little Claus, as they walked on towards the river. When they approached it, the cattle, who were very thirsty, saw the stream, and ran down to drink. “See what a hurry they are in,” said Little Claus, “they are longing to get down again,” “Come, help …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 17

“And I, poor fellow,” said the drover, “I who am so old already, cannot get there.” “Open the sack,” cried Little Claus; “creep into it instead of me, and you will soon be there.” “With all my heart,” replied the drover, opening the sack, from which sprung Little Claus as quickly as possible. “Will you …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 16

“You shall pay for this,” said Great Claus, as soon as he got into the highroad, “that you shall, Little Claus.” So as soon as he reached home he took the largest sack he could find and went over to Little Claus. “You have played me another trick,” said he. “First, I killed all my …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 14

“Hallo!” cried Little Claus, rushing out of the door, and seizing hold of the landlord by the throat; “you have killed my grandmother; see, here is a great hole in her forehead.” “Oh, how unfortunate,” said the landlord, wringing his hands. “This all comes of my fiery temper. Dear Little Claus, I will give you …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 11

“What does this mean?” said Great Claus; so he ran off directly to Little Claus, and asked, “Where did you get so much money?” “Oh, for my horse’s skin, I sold it yesterday.” “It was certainly well paid for then,” said Great Claus; and he ran home to his house, seized a hatchet, and knocked …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 10

“Why, that is another matter,” said Little Claus, opening the chest. The sexton crept out, pushed the empty chest into the water, and went to his house, then he measured out a whole bushel full of gold for Little Claus, who had already received one from the farmer, so that now he had a barrow …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 9

“Farewell,” said Little Claus, as he went off with his money and the great chest, in which the sexton lay still concealed. On one side of the forest was a broad, deep river, the water flowed so rapidly that very few were able to swim against the stream. A new bridge had lately been built …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 6

  “Hallo! What have you got in your sack!” asked the farmer.   “Oh, it is a conjuror,” said Little Claus; “and he says we need not eat porridge, for he has conjured the oven full of roast meat, fish, and pie.”   “Wonderful!” cried the farmer, starting up and opening the oven door; and …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 5

“Is any one up there?” asked the farmer, looking up and discovering Little Claus. “Why are you lying up there? Come down, and come into the house with me.” So Little Claus came down and told the farmer how he had lost his way and begged for a night’s lodging.   “All right,” said the …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 4

At this moment he heard some one riding down the road, towards the farmhouse. It was the farmer returning home. He was a good man, but still he had a very strange prejudice,—he could not bear the sight of a sexton. If one appeared before him, he would put himself in a terrible rage. In …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 2

“You must not say that,” said Big Claus; “for only one of them belongs to you.” But Little Claus soon forgot what he ought to say, and when any one passed he would call out, “Gee-up, my five horses!”   “Now I must beg you not to say that again,” said Big Claus; “for if …

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Little Claus and Big Claus 1

In a village there once lived two men who had the same name. They were both called Claus. One of them had four horses, but the other had only one; so to distinguish them, people called the owner of the four horses, “Great Claus,” and he who had only one, “Little Claus.” Now we shall …

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The Emperor’s New Suit 7

The master of the ceremonies announced that the bearers of the canopy, which was to be carried in the procession, were ready.   “I am ready,” said the emperor. “Does not my suit fit me marvellously?” Then he turned once more to the looking-glass, that people should think he admired his garments.   The chamberlains, …

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The Emperor’s New Suit 6

The whole night previous to the day on which the procession was to take place, the swindlers pretended to work, and burned more than sixteen candles. People should see that they were busy to finish the emperor’s new suit. They pretended to take the cloth from the loom, and worked about in the air with …

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The Emperor’s New Suit 5

Everybody in the whole town talked about the precious cloth. At last the emperor wished to see it himself, while it was still on the loom. With a number of courtiers, including the two who had already been there, he went to the two clever swindlers, who now worked as hard as they could, but …

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The Emperor’s New Suit 4

Soon afterwards the emperor sent another honest courtier to the weavers to see how they were getting on, and if the cloth was nearly finished. Like the old minister, he looked and looked but could see nothing, as there was nothing to be seen.   “Is it not a beautiful piece of cloth?” asked the …

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The Emperor’s New Suit 3

“Heaven preserve us!” he thought, and opened his eyes wide, “I cannot see anything at all,” but he did not say so. Both swindlers requested him to come near, and asked him if he did not admire the exquisite pattern and the beautiful colours, pointing to the empty looms. The poor old minister tried his …

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The Emperor’s New Suit 2

“That must be wonderful cloth,” thought the emperor. “If I were to be dressed in a suit made of this cloth I should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their places, and I could distinguish the clever from the stupid. I must have this cloth woven for me …

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The Emperor’s New Suit 1

Many many years ago lived an emperor, who thought so much of new clothes that he spent all his money in order to obtain them; his only ambition was to be always well dressed. He did not care for his soldiers, and the theatre did not amuse him; the only thing, in fact, he thought …

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The Tinder-Box 13

And the dogs fell upon the judges and all the councillors; seized one by the legs, and another by the nose, and tossed them many feet high in the air, so that they fell down and were dashed to pieces.   “I will not be touched,” said the king. But the largest dog seized him, …

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The Tinder-Box 12

The shoemaker’s boy liked the idea of getting the four shillings, so he ran very fast and fetched the tinder-box, and gave it to the soldier. And now we shall see what happened. Outside the town a large gibbet had been erected, round which stood the soldiers and several thousands of people. The king and …

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The Tinder-Box 11

So they felt it would be useless to search any farther. But the queen was a very clever woman; she could do a great deal more than merely ride in a carriage. She took her large gold scissors, cut a piece of silk into squares, and made a neat little bag. This bag she filled …

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The Tinder-Box 10

The soldier longed very much to see the princess once more, so he sent for the dog again in the night to fetch her, and to run with her as fast as ever he could. But the old lady put on water boots, and ran after him as quickly as he did, and found that …

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The Tinder-Box 9

After a while he began to think it was very strange that no one could get a look at the princess. “Every one says she is very beautiful,” thought he to himself; “but what is the use of that if she is to be shut up in a copper castle surrounded by so many towers. …

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The Tinder-Box 8

None of his friends came to see him, there were too many stairs to mount up. One dark evening, he had not even a penny to buy a candle; then all at once he remembered that there was a piece of candle stuck in the tinder-box, which he had brought from the old tree, into …

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The Tinder-Box 7

“Where can I see her?” asked the soldier.   “She is not to be seen at all,” they said; “she lives in a large copper castle, surrounded by walls and towers. No one but the king himself can pass in or out, for there has been a prophecy that she will marry a common soldier, …

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The Tinder-Box 6

“What are you going to do with the tinder-box?” asked the soldier.   “That is nothing to you,” replied the witch; “you have the money, now give me the tinder-box.”   “I tell you what,” said the soldier, “if you don’t tell me what you are going to do with it, I will draw my …

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The Tinder-Box 5

“Good morning,” said the soldier, touching his cap, for he had never seen such a dog in his life. But after looking at him more closely, he thought he had been civil enough, so he placed him on the floor, and opened the chest. Good gracious, what a quantity of gold there was! enough to …

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The Tinder-Box 4

“You’re a pretty fellow,” said the soldier, seizing him, and placing him on the witch’s apron, while he filled his pockets from the chest with as many pieces as they would hold.   Then he closed the lid, seated the dog upon it again, and walked into another chamber, And, sure enough, there sat the …

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The Tinder-Box 3

“This is not a bad story,” said the soldier; “but what am I to give you, you old witch? for, of course, you do not mean to tell me all this for nothing.”   “No,” said the witch; “but I do not ask for a single penny. Only promise to bring me an old tinder-box, …

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The Tinder-Box 2

“But what am I to do, down there in the tree?” asked the soldier.   “Get money,” she replied; “for you must know that when you reach the ground under the tree, you will find yourself in a large hall, lighted up by three hundred lamps; you will then see three doors, which can be …

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The Tinder-Box 1

A SOLDIER came marching along the high road: “Left, right—left, right.” He had his knapsack on his back, and a sword at his side; he had been to the wars, and was now returning home.   As he walked on, he met a very frightful-looking old witch in the road. Her under-lip hung quite down …

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