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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

Yes, Holger Danske will return again!

As he stood thinking, something struck heavily against the window. Was it a bird, an owl or a bat? We don't let those creatures in even when they knock. But the window burst open by itself, and an old woman looked in on the man.

"What is this?" he said. "What do you want? Who are you? Why, she's looking in at the second-floor window! Is she standing on a ladder?"

"You have a four-leaved clover in your pocket," she replied. "Or rather you have seven, but one of them has six leaves."

"Who are you?" asked the man.

"The Woman of the Marsh," she said, "the Woman of the Marsh, who brews. I was busy at my brewing. The tap was in the cask, but one of those mischievous little marsh imps pulled it out and threw it over here, where it hit your window. Now the beer's running out of the barrel, and nobody can make money that way!"

"Please tell me," said the man.

"Yes, but wait a little," said the Woman of the Marsh. "I have something else to do right now." Then she was gone.

But as the man was about to close the window, the Woman stood before him again.

"Now it's fixed," she said, "but I'll have to brew half the beer over again tomorrow - that is, if it's good weather. Well, what did you want to know? I came back, for I always keep my word, and besides, you have seven four-leaved clovers in your pocket, one of which has six leaves; that demands respect, for that type grows beside the roadside, and not many people find them. What did you want to ask me? Don't stand there looking foolish; I have to go back to my tap and my barrel very quickly."

Then the man asked her about the fairy tale, and if she had met it in her journeys. "For the love of my big brewing vat!" said the Woman. "Haven't you told enough fairy tales? I certainly think most people have had enough of them. There are plenty of other things for you to do and take care of. Even the children have outgrown fairy tales! Give the small boys a cigar, and the little girls a new dress; they'll like that much better.

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