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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Godfather's Picture Book"

Godfather's Picture Book

Godfather could tell stories, so many of them and such long ones, and he could cut out paper figures and draw pictures. When it was nearly Christmas he would bring out a scrapbook with clean white pages, and on these he pasted pictures cut out of books and newspapers; and if there weren't enough for the story he was going to tell, he drew them himself. When I was a little boy I got several of these picture books, but the prettiest of them all was the one from "that memorable year when gas replaced the old oil lamps in Copenhagen" - and that was the inscription written on the first page.

"We must take great care of this book," said Father and Mother, "and only bring it out on important occasions."

But Godfather had written on the cover:

If you should tear the book, that's not a great wrong;

Other little friends have done worse for ever so long.

Best of all were the times when Godfather himself showed the book, read the verses and other writings in it, and told many things besides; then the story would become a very real one.

On the first page was a picture from "The Flying Post," showing Copenhagen with its Round Tower and Our Lady's Church. On its left was pasted an old lantern, on which was written, "Train oil," and on the right was a chandelier, with "Gas" written on it.

"See, that's the title page," said Godfather. "That's the beginning of the story you're going to hear. It could also be given as an entire play, if one could perform it. Train Oil and Gas; or , The Life and Times of Copenhagen. That's a very good title! At the bottom of the page is still another little picture; it's quite hard to understand, so I'll explain it to you. That is a hell horse. He shouldn't have come until the end of the book, but he has run on ahead to say that neither the beginning, nor the middle, nor the end is any good; he could have done it much better - if he could have done it at all. The hell horse, you see, stands hitched all day in the newspaper, and walks on the columns, they say.

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