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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Beetle"

The Beetle

Why, there isn't so much as a manure pile here!"

Then he went on and got into the shadow of a large Gillyflower. A Caterpillar was crawling along on it.

"How beautiful the world is!" said the Caterpillar. "The sun is so warm, and everything is so pleasant! And when my time comes and I must die, as people call it, I'll wake up again, and I'll be a butterfly!"

"What conceit!" said the Beetle. "You fly about like a butterfly, indeed! I'm from the stable of the Emperor, and no one there, not even the Emperor's favorite horse - who wears my castoff golden shoes - has any idea like that! Get wings! Fly! Why, I can fly already!" and then the Beetle flew away. "I don't really want to be annoyed, and yet I am annoyed."

Soon afterward he settled on a large lawn. Here he lay quietly for a while, and then he fell asleep.

My goodness! The rain came down in buckets! The noise woke up the Beetle, and he wanted to get down into the earth at once, but he couldn't. He tumbled over; sometimes he was swimming on his stomach, sometimes on his back, and it was out of the question to try to fly; would he ever escape from there with his life? So he just lay where he was and remained lying there.

When the rain had let up a little, and the Beetle had blinked the water from his eyes, he saw something gleaming white. It was linen that had been put out there to bleach; he managed to make his way to it and creep into a fold of the damp cloth. Certainly this place wasn't as comfortable as the warm stable, but there was nothing better, and so he stayed there for a whole day and a whole night, while the rain stayed, too. The next morning he crept out, very much annoyed with the weather.

Two frogs were sitting on the linen, their bright eyes shining with pleasure.

"What wonderful weather this is!" one of them said. "How refreshing! And this linen holds the water together so perfectly! My hind legs are tickling as if I were going to swim."

"I'd like to know," said the other Frog, "whether the swallow, who flies so far in her many trips to foreign countries, ever finds a better climate than ours.

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