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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Galoshes of Fortune"

The Galoshes of Fortune

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Two minutes later he was seated in a cab, and well on his way to Christian's Harbour. As he recalled all the past terror and distress to which he had been subjected, he wholeheartedly approved of the present, our own happy age. With all its shortcomings it was far preferable to that age into which he had recently stumbled. And that, thought the Councilor of Justice, was good common sense.

III. THE WATCHMAN'S ADVENTURE

"Why, I declare! There's a pair of galoshes," said the watchman. They must belong to the lieutenant who lives up there on the top floor, for they are lying in front of the door." A light still burned upstairs, and the honest fellow was perfectly willing to ring the bell and return the overshoes. But he didn't want to disturb the other tenants in the house, so he didn't do it.

"It must be quite comfortable to wear a pair of such things," he said. "How soft the leather feels." They fitted his feet perfectly. "What a strange world we live in. The lieutenant might be resting easy in his soft bed, yet there he goes, pacing to and fro past his window. There's a happy man for you! He has no wife, and he has no child, and every night he goes to a party. Oh, if I were only in his place, what a happy man I would be."

Just as he expressed his wish, the galoshes transformed him into the lieutenant, body and soul, and there he stood in the room upstairs. Between his fingers he held a sheet of pink paper on which the lieutenant had just written a poem. Who is there that has not at some time in his life felt poetic? If he writes down his thoughts while this mood is on him, poetry is apt to come of it. On the paper was written:

IF ONLY I WERE RICH

If only I were rich; I often said in prayer

When I was but a tiny lad without much care

If only I were rich, a soldier I would be

With uniform and sword, most handsomely;

At last an officer I was, my wish I got

But to be rich was not my lot;

But You, oh Lord, would always help.

I sat one eve, so happy, young and proud;

A darling child of seven kissed my mouth

For I was rich with fairy tales, you see

With money I was poor as poor can be,

But she was fond of tales I told

That made me rich, but - alas - not with gold;

But You, oh Lord, You know!

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