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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Goblin and the Woman"

The Goblin and the Woman

You know the Goblin, but do you know the Woman-the Gardener's wife? She was very well read and knew poems by heart; yes, and she could write them, too, easily, except that the rhymes-"clinchings," as she called them-gave her a little trouble. She had the gift of writing and the gift of speech; she could very well have been a parson or at least a parson's wife.

"The earth is beautiful in her Sunday gown," she said, and this thought she had expanded and set down in poetic form, with "clinchings," making a poem that was so long and lovely.

The Assistant Schoolmaster, Mr. Kisserup (not that his name matters at all), was her nephew, and on a visit to the Gardener's he heard the poem. It did him good, he said, a lot of good. "You have soul, Madam," he said.

"Stuff and nonsense!" said the Gardener. "Don't be putting such ideas in her head! Soul! A wife should be a body, a good, plain, decent body, and watch the pot, to keep the porridge from burning."

"I can take the burnt taste out of the porridge with a bit of charcoal," said the Woman. "And I can take the burnt taste out of you with a little kiss. You pretend you don't think of anything but cabbage and potatoes, but you love the flowers, too." Then she kissed him. "Flowers are the soul!"

"Mind your pot!" he said, as he went off to the garden. That was his pot, and he minded it.

But the Assistant Schoolmaster stayed on, talking to the woman. Her lovely words, "Earth is beautiful," he made a whole sermon of, which was his habit.

"Earth is beautiful, and it shall be subject unto you! was said, and we became lords of the earth. One person rules with the mind, one with the body; one comes into the world like an exclamation mark of astonishment, another like a dash that denotes faltering thought, so that we pause and ask, why is he here? One man becomes a bishop, another just a poor assistant schoolmaster, but everything is for the best. Earth is beautiful and always in her Sunday gown. That was a thought-provoking poem, Madam, full of feeling and geography!

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