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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Garden of Paradise"

The Garden of Paradise

The yellow stamens of each flower formed a small golden harp, which vibrated to the music of strings and flutes. The loveliest maidens, floating and slender, came dancing by, clad in such airy gauze that one could see how perfectly shaped they were. They sang of the happiness of life-they who would never die-and they sang that the Garden of Paradise would forever bloom.

The sun went down. The sky turned to shining gold, and in its light the lilies took on the color of the loveliest roses. The Prince drank the sparkling wine that the maidens offered him, and felt happier than he had ever been. He watched the background of the hall thrown open, and the Tree of Knowledge standing in a splendor which blinded his eyes. The song from the tree was as soft and lovely as his dear mother's voice, and it was as if she were saying, "My child, my dearest child."

The fairy then held out her hands to him and called most sweetly:

"Follow me! Oh, follow me!"

Forgetting his promise-forgetting everything, on the very first evening that she held out her hands and smiled-he ran toward her. The fragrant air around him became even more sweet, the music of the harps sounded even more lovely, and it seemed as though the millions of happy faces in the hall where the Tree grew nodded to him and sang, "One must know all there is to know, for man is the lord of the earth." And it seemed to him that the drops that fell from the Tree of Knowledge were no longer tears of blood, but red and shining stars.

"Follow me! Follow me!" the quivering voice still called, and at every step that the Prince took his cheeks flushed warmer and his pulse beat faster.

"I cannot help it," he said. "This is no sin. It cannot be wicked to follow beauty and happiness. I must see her sleeping. No harm will be done if only I keep myself from kissing her. And I will not kiss her, for I am strong. I have a determined will."

The fairy threw off her bright robe, parted the boughs, and was instantly hidden within them.

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