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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town"

The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town

"Will she ever knock at my door again?" said the man, and gazed at the door until black spots appeared before his eyes and on the floor, and he didn't know if it was blood or mourning crape from the dark and dismal days of yore.

As he sat there, the thought came to him that perhaps the fairy tale had hidden itself, like the princess in the very old tale, and if he should now go in search of it, and find it, it would shine in new splendor, lovelier than ever. "Who knows? Perhaps it is hidden in the discarded straw lying near the edge of the well. Careful, careful! Perhaps it's hidden in a faded flower, shut up in one of the big books on the shelf! "

So the man went to one of the newest books and opened it to find out, but there was no flower there. It was a book about Holger Danske, and the man read how the whole story had been invented and put together by a French monk, that it was only a romance, "translated and printed in the Danish language," and that since Holger Danske had never really lived he could never come again, as we have sung and wanted to believe. As with Holger Danske, so it was with William Tell; both were only popular legends, nothing we could depend on. Here it was all written down in a very learned manner.

"Yes, but I shall believe my own beliefs," said the man. "No road grows where no foot has trod!"

So he closed the book, put it back on the shelf, and walked over to the fresh flowers on the window sill; perhaps the fairy tale had hidden itself in the red tulips with the golden-yellow edges, or in the fresh roses, or in the brilliantly colored camellias. But only sunshine lay among the flowers - no fairy tale.

"The flowers which grew here in the days of misery were much more beautiful; but one after another was cut off, woven into wreaths, and laid in coffins, with the flag placed over them. Perhaps the fairy tale was buried with them; but then the flowers would have known of it, and the coffin would have heard of it, and every little blade of grass that shot up would have told of it.

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