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

Godfather's Picture Book

The poor man's children, from plow and workshop, can also come there, to live upon alms, to attain the long black gown, and sing before the doors of citizens.

"Near the hall of learning, where everything is in Latin, is a little house where Danish rules, in language and in customs. There is beer soup for early breakfast, and dinner is at ten o'clock in the morning. The sun shines through small panes onto cupboards and bookcases; on the shelves are written treasures - Master Mikkel's Rosary and Godly Comedies, Henrik Harpestreng's Leech-book, and Denmark's Rhyming Chronicle by Brother Niels of Sorö. 'Every Danish man should know these,' says the master of the house, and he is the one to make them known. He is the Dutchman, Gotfred van Gehmen, Denmark's first printer, who practices the divine black art of printing.

" And the books enter the castle of the King and the houses of the citizens. Proverbs and songs are given immortality. Things that men dare not say either in sorrow or in joy are sung by the Bird of Folklore, allegorically and yet clearly. For it flies free and wide through the common man's room and the knightly castle; it sits and twitters like a falcon on the hand of the noble lady; it steals in like a tiny mouse and squeaks in the dungeon of the enslaved peasant.

" 'Merely words - all of it!' says the sharp northeast wind.

" 'It's the spring!' say the sunbeams. 'See how the green buds are peeping out!'

"Now we'll turn more pages in our picture book," said Godfather.

"How radiant Copenhagen is! There are tournaments and sports and splendid processions! Look at the gallant knights in armor and the noble ladies in silk and gold! King Hans gives his daughter, Elizabeth, to the Elector of Brandenburg. How young she is, and how happy she is! She is treading on velvet; there is a whole future in her thoughts - a future of domestic happiness. Close beside her is her royal brother, Prince Christian, with the melancholy eyes and the hot, passionate blood. He is beloved by the commoners, for he knows their burdens; in his thoughts he has the poor man's future.

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