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

The Flax

I wonder what's going to happen to me now! At any rate, I know I'll go forward again; I'm always going forward."

At last the paper was taken out to the stove-it was to be burnt, for everybody said it wouldn't be proper to sell that paper to the huckster for wrapping butter and powdered sugar. And all the children in the house flocked around, for they wanted to see the blaze and count the many tiny red sparks as they died out, one after another. They call these sparks "the children going out of school," and the last spark of all is the "schoolmaster." Sometimes they think he has gone, but then comes another-the schoolmaster always come a little behind the rest.

So the big bundle of paper was laid on the fire. "Oh!" it cried, as it suddenly burst into flame. It rose higher into the air than the flax had ever been able to send its little blue blossoms, and it shone more brilliantly than the linen had ever been able to shine. Instantly the letters written on it became fiery red, and the words and thoughts of the writer vanished in the flame.

I'm going straight up to the sun!" said a voice in the flame. It was as if a thousand voices cried this together, as the flames burst through the chimney and out at the top. And brighter than the flames, but still invisible to mortal eyes, little tiny beings hovered, just as many as there had been blossoms on the flax long ago. They were lighter even than the flame which gave them birth, and when that flame had died away and nothing was left of the paper but black ashes, they danced over the embers again. Wherever their feet touched, their footprints, the tiny red sparks, could be seen. Thus the children came out of school, and the schoolmaster came last. It was a pleasure to watch, and the children of the house sang over the dead ashes:

Snip, snap, snurre,

Basse lurre!

The ballad is over!

But the tiny invisible beings cried, "The ballad is never over! That is the best of all! We know that, and therefore none are so happy as we!

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