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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Ole, the Tower Keeper"

Ole, the Tower Keeper

Bright sparks could be seen glittering among them - there were the borrowed thoughts they had used, which now cut themselves loose and flew up like fireworks.

"A game called 'the stick burns' was played; and the younger poets played 'heartburns.' The jesters told their jokes, and the jokes rang out like empty pots being thrown against doors. My niece said it was most amusing; she told me a good deal more, too malicious to mention, but very funny. So you see, since I know so much about this midnight festival, it's only natural I should be interested in watching for it every New Year's Eve.

"But this year I forgot all about it. I was rolling through millions of years with my rocks, watching them break loose up in the North, drift along on icebergs ages before the building of Noah's ark, sink to the bottom of the sea, then mount again on a reef, and at last peer up through the water and say, 'This shall be Zealand!' I saw them become the homes of many different birds whose species we don't know, and the homes of savage chieftains we don't know either, until the ax hewed out in Runic letters the names of a few that can thus take a place in our histories. I had gone beyond all lapse of time and had become a nonentity.

"Then three or four beautiful shooting stars fell; they shone brightly, and started my thoughts off in an entirely different direction. Does anybody know what a shooting star really is? The learned do not know! But I have my own idea about them, and this is it:

"How often is it that not a single word of thanks or blessing is given for a generous action or beautiful work that rejoices all who witness it! Yes, often that gratitude is voiceless, but still it doesn't fall wasted to the ground. I can fancy it is caught up by the sunshine, and eventually the sunbeams carry it away and shower it over the head of the benefactor. Sometimes the thanks of a whole nation are thus due; they may come late, but at last they do come like a bouquet, when a shooting stars falls over the grave of some hero or statesman.

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