The Swineherd 5

“The ladies of the court are up to some mischief, I think. I shall have to go down and see.”

He pulled up his shoes, for they were down at the heels, and he was very quick about it.

 

When he had come down into the courtyard he walked quite softly, and the ladies were so busily engaged in counting the kisses, that all should be fair, that they did not notice the emperor. He raised himself on tiptoe.

 

“What does this mean?” he said, when he saw that his daughter was kissing the swineherd, and then hit their heads with his shoe just as the swineherd received the sixty-eighth kiss.

 

“Go out of my sight,” said the emperor, for he was very angry; and both the princess and the swineherd were banished from the empire. There she stood and cried, the swineherd scolded her, and the rain came down in torrents.

 

“Alas, unfortunate creature that I am!” said the princess, “I wish I had accepted the prince. Oh, how wretched I am!”

 

The swineherd went behind a tree, wiped his face, threw off his poor attire and stepped forth in his princely garments; he looked so beautiful that the princess could not help bowing to him.

 

“I have now learnt to despise you,” he said. “You refused an honest prince; you did not appreciate the rose and the nightingale; but you did not mind kissing a swineherd for his toys; you have no one but yourself to blame!”

And then he returned into his kingdom and left her behind. She could now sing at her leisure:

“A jolly old sow once lived in a sty,

Three little piggies has she,” &c.

 

 

By: Hans Christian Andersen

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