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

The Beetle

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"You don't know what you're talking about," replied the Beetle. "Can't you see I'm tied up?"

"I'm not a prisoner," said the Fly, and promptly flew away.

"Well, now I guess I know the world," the Beetle said. "And it's a mean place. I'm the only honest person in it. First, they won't give me my golden shoes, then I have to lie on wet linen and stand in a draft, and as a climax they hitch a wife to me. Then, when I made a quick move out into the world, and found out how people live, and how I ought to live, one of these human puppies comes and ties me up and leaves me to the mercy of the wild ocean, while the Emperor's horse prances about proudly in golden shoes. That's what annoys me more than anything else! But you mustn't expect sympathy in this world! My career has been very interesting, but what's the good of that, if nobody knows about it? The world doesn't deserve to know about it, for it should have given me golden shoes when the Emperor's horse was shod and I stretched out my feet to be shod, too. If they'd given me golden shoes I'd have been an honor to the stable. Now the stable has lost me, and the world has lost me! It's all over!"

But it wasn't all over yet. Some young girls came rowing up in a boat.

"There's an old wooden shoe sailing along over there!" said one of them.

"And there's a little animal tied fast in it!" said another.

Their boat came quite close to the wooden shoe, and they fished him out of the water. One of the girls took out a tiny pair of scissors and cut the woolen thread without hurting the Beetle; and when she stepped on shore she placed him down on the grass.

"Crawl, crawl, fly, fly away if you can!" she said. "Freedom is a precious thing!"

And the Beetle flew straight through the open window of a large building, and there he sank down, tired and exhausted, in the long, fine, soft mane of the Emperor's favorite horse, which was standing in the stable where he and the Beetle lived. He clung fast to the mane and sat there a little while until he had collected himself.

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