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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Little Tuck"

Little Tuck

Yes, that was little Tuck. As a matter of fact, his name wasn't really Tuck, but before he could speak plainly he called himself Tuck. That was supposed to mean " Carl," but "Tuck" does just as well if one only knows it.

Now he had to learn his lessons and at the same time take care of his sister Gustava, who was much smaller than he; and it was pretty hard to manage the two things at once. So the poor boy sat with his little sister on his lap, and sang to her all the songs he knew, at the same time glancing into his geography book, which was open before him. By the next morning he was supposed to know all the towns in the counties of Seeland by heart, and everything there was to know about them.

Then his mother returned, for she had been away, and took little Gustava herself. Tuck ran quickly to the window and studied until he almost read his eyes out, for it was getting darker and darker, and his poor mother could not afford candles.

Suddenly his mother looked out of the window. "There goes the old washerwoman from down the lane," she said. "She can hardly drag herself along, and she has to carry a pail of water from the well, too! Be a good boy, Tuck, and run over and help the old woman."

And little Tuck jumped up and ran to help the old woman, but when he got home again it was quite dark. Nothing was said about candles, so all he could do was go to bed-and his bed was an old folding bench. He lay there thinking about Seeland, and his geography lesson, and everything the teacher had said. He should certainly have studied that lesson some more, but of course he couldn't do that now.

So he put his geography book under his pillow, because he had heard that this helps a great deal when you want to learn a lesson. But you can't depend on that!

There he lay, thinking and thinking, then all of a sudden it seemed as if someone kissed his eyes and lips. He slept and yet he didn't sleep, and he felt as if the old washerwoman was looking at him out of the kind eyes and saying, "It would be a great shame if you didn't know your lesson tomorrow.

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