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

The Cripple

"We are our Lord's children, says the pastor. Why such a difference, then?"

"That comes from the fall of man!" said Kirsten.

In the evening they talked about it again, while Cripple-Hans was reading his book of fairy tales. Hard times, work, and toil had made the parents not only hard in the hands but also hard in their judgment and opinion.

They couldn't understand, and consequently couldn't explain, the matter clearly, and as they talked they became more peevish and angry.

"Some people are prosperous and happy; others live in poverty. Why should we suffer because of our first parents' curiosity and disobedience! We would not have behaved as those two did!"

"Yes, we would!" said Cripple-Hans all of a sudden. "It is all here in this book!"

"What's in the book?" asked the parents.

And Hans read for them the old fairy tale about the woodcutter and his wife. They, too, argued about Adam's and Eve's curiosity, which was the cause of their misfortune also. The king of the country then came by. "Follow me home," he said, "and you shall be as well off as I, with a seven-course dinner and a course for display. That course is in a closed tureen, and you must not touch it, for if you do, your days of leisure are over!" "What can there be in the tureen?" said the wife. "That's none of our business," said the husband. "Well, I'm not inquisitive," said the woman, "but I would like to know why we don't dare lift the lid; it must be something delicious!" "I only hope there is nothing mechanical about it," said the man, "such as a pistol shot, which goes off and awakens the whole house!" "Oh, my!" said the woman, and she didn't touch the tureen. But during the night she dreamed that the lid lifted itself, and from the tureen came an odor of the most wonderful punch, such as is served at weddings and funerals. In it lay a large silver coin bearing the following inscription, "If you drink of this punch, you will become the two richest people in the world, and all other people will become beggars!

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