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

Ole, the Tower Keeper

Thus it's a great thrill to me when I see a shooting star, especially on New Year's Eve, and try to guess for whom that bouquet of gratitude can be meant. A short time ago a radiant shooting star fell in the southwest - now for whom could that have been intended? I am sure it fell right over the bank by the Flensborg Fiord, where the white-crossed flag of Denmark floats over the graves of Schleppegrell, Laessoe, and their comrades. Another one fell in the heart of Zealand, fell upon Sorö; I'm sure that was a bouquet for Holberg's grave, a thanksgiving from the multitude who during years past have laughed over his delightful plays.

"It is a great thought, a happy thought, to know that a shooting star like that will fall upon our own graves! Well, none will ever fall on mine; no sunbeam will bring me thanks, for I haven't done anything to be thanked for. I don't even merit polish for my boots," said Ole. "My lot in life has been only to get grease."


On another New Year's Day I went to the tower, and this time Ole talked about the "Skaal " toasts that had been drunk with the change of the old year to the new. Then he gave his story of the glasses, and there was sense in what he said.

"On New Year's Eve when the clock strikes twelve, people rise from the table with freshly filled glasses and drink a toast to the new year. So people begin the new year with a glass in their hands, and that's fine for people who like to drink; others start the year by going to bed, and that's first rate for lazybones! But then, sleep is sure to play a leading part in the coming year, and so is the glass.

"Do you know what lives in the glasses?" he asked. "Why, health, happiness, and joy live there! Misfortune and bitter misery dwell there! When I count up the glasses I can tell the gradations of the different people.

"You see, the first glass is the glass of health. In it grows the health herb. Stick that into your beam, and by the end of the year you may sit in the arbor of health.

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