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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Bottle Neck"

The Bottle Neck

For twenty years it was left in the attic, and it might have remained there still longer if the house had not been rebuilt. The roof was torn down; the Bottle was found, and remarks were made about it, but it still couldn't understand the language; one doesn't learn a language by standing in an attic, even in twenty years. "If only I had stayed in the parlor downstairs," it thought, "I would have learned it!"

It now was washed and rinsed out, and it needed cleaning badly. It felt itself once more quite clear and transparent; it felt young in its old age. But the note it had carried had been destroyed in the washing. Now it was filled with seed corn - what sort, it didn't know - was well packed, and corked up tightly; it could see neither lamp nor candle, not to mention sun or moon. "One should be able to see something when one goes on a journey," thought the Bottle. But while it saw nothing, it did something - and that is of far greater importance. It traveled, and at last came to its destination, where it was unpacked.

"What a lot of trouble those foreigners have gone to with that!" it was said. "And yet it's probably cracked!" But the Bottle wasn't cracked. It understood all that was said here, for every word was spoken in the language it had heard on coming out of the furnace at the factory, and at the wine merchant's, and in the woods, and aboard the ship - the only language that was right, the good, old language that one could understand. The Bottle had come home to its own country; to hear the language was a welcome greeting in itself, and in its joy it nearly jumped from the hands that held it! It was barely aware that its cork was pulled out and that it was emptied of its contents and sent down to the cellar - there to be kept and forgotten; however, there is no place like home, even in the cellar! It never gave thought to how long a time it lay there, for it lay in comfort; it was there for many years. Then, finally, one day people came down and took the bottles away, ours among them.

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