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

Godfather's Picture Book

We think of the struggles of those ages, and of the hero who sprang to the defense of Denmark from the mountains of Norway - Peder Tordenskjold.

Across the surging sea his name thunders from country to country.

Lightning flashed through the powder dust;

A thunderbolt roared through the whispering age.

A tailor's boy jumped down from the tailor's table;

From Norway's coast he sailed a little sloop.

And over Northern seas there flew again

The viking spirit, youthful, and clad in steel.

"Then a fresh breeze blew from the coast of Greenland, bringing a gentle fragrance, as if from the land of Bethlehem; it brought tidings of the Gospel light kindled by Hans Egede and his wife.

"So this half page has a golden ground; but the other half, which means sorrow, is ashen gray with black specks, as from fire and disease and pestilence.

"The plague is raging in Copenhagen. The streets are empty. The doors are barred, and where crosses are chalked on them the plague is inside, but where the cross is black all within are dead.

"The bodies are carried away by night, with no tolling bell; the half dead in the streets are taken with them. Funeral wagons rumble, piled with corpses. But from the taverns sound the horrid songs and wild shrieks of the drunkards. They try to forget their bitter in drink; they want to forget, and end - end! Yes, everything comes to an end. The page ends here, with the second time of distress and trial for Copenhagen.

"King Frederick IV is still alive. The course of the years has turned his hair gray. From the window of his palace he looks out on the stormy weather of late winter.

"In a little house near the Westgate a boy is playing with his ball; it bounces up into the loft. The child takes a candle and goes up to seek it, but he sets fire to the little house - to the whole street. The fire leaps into the air so that the clouds themselves reflect it! See how the flames grow higher! There is food for the fire - hay and straw, bacon and tar, piles of firewood for winter - and it all burns.

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