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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Gate Key"

The Gate Key

The Pharmacist was key ignorant.

The Councilor made progress in his key knowledge; the key was his diversion and channel of wisdom.

One evening, as the Councilor was getting ready to go to bed, and was half undressed, there was a knock on the front door. It was the shopkeeper from downstairs who was calling at this late hour; he, too, was half undressed, but he had suddenly had a thought, he said, which he was afraid he would not be able to retain through the night.

"It is my daughter Lotte-Lene I must talk about. She is a beautiful girl, and has been confirmed, and now I would like to see her well provided for."

"But I am not as yet a widower!" said the Councilor, and chuckled, "and I have no son to offer her."

"You must understand me, Councilor," said the man from downstairs. "She can play the piano, and she can sing; you must be able to hear her upstairs. You have no idea of all the things that little girl is able to do; she can talk and entertain people. She is made for the stage, and that is a good course for pretty girls of good families to take; they may even have an opportunity to marry a count, though neither I nor Lotte-Lene are thinking of that. She can indeed sing and play the piano, so the other day I took her up to the singing school. She sang; but she doesn't have a beer bass, as I call it in women, nor does she shriek those very high canary-bird notes which they now demand in singers, and so they advised her strongly against pursuing that career. Well, I thought, if she can't become a singer, she can always become an actress; that only requires the ability to speak. Today I talked about it to the Instructor as they call him. 'Is she well read?' he asked. 'No, ' I said, 'not at all.' 'But it is necessary for an actress to be well read!' said he. She still has time for that, was my opinion; and then I went home. She can go to a rental library and read what is to be had there, I thought.

"But then tonight, while I was undressing, it occurred to me - why rent books when one can borrow them?

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