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

The Psyche

At dawn, when the clouds are red, a great star shines, the beautiful morning star. Her beams tremble on the white wall, as if she would like to write there the story of all she has seen during the thousands of years she has watched our revolving earth.

Listen to one of her stories.

A little while ago - a few centuries ago, which, though a long time to you men, is just a little while to me - my beams watched a young artist. He lived in the papal state, in one of the world's great cities, Rome. Many things there have changed since those days, but they haven't changed as quickly as the human being changes from childhood to old age. The eternal city was then, as it is now, a city of ruins. The fig tree and the laurel tree grew among the overturned marble columns and over the destroyed baths, their walls still inlaid with gold. The Coliseum was a ruin. Church bells rang, and fragrant incense filled the air, while processions with magnificent canopies and lighted candles passed through the streets. It was a beautiful church service honoring the great and inspired arts. The world's greatest painter, Raphael, and the greatest sculptor of his time, Michelangelo, lived in Rome then. The Pope himself admired them both and honored them with his visits. Indeed, art was acknowledged, honored, and rewarded; but not all great and noble things were known and seen in those days, any more than they are now.

In a little, narrow street stood and old house that had formerly been a temple, and here lived a young artist; he was poor, and he was unknown. Of course, he had plenty of friends, other artists, young in mind and thought, who kept telling him he was blessed with ability and talent and that he was a fool for having no more self-confidence. Anything he formed out of clay he always broke into pieces; he was never satisfied with what he did; nor did he ever finish anything, which, of course, one must do to become known, acclaimed, and to earn money.

"You're a dreamer!" his friends said.

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