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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters"

The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters

She was a tenderhearted child, and when an old half-dead tree, on whose bare branches a black stork had built his nest, was to be cut down, it saddened her so to see the helpless young ones thrusting their heads out in the terror that she begged with tears in her eyes that this one tree be spared. So the tree with the black stork's nest was left standing.

"There was much hammering and sawing as the three-deck ship was being built. The master shipbuilder was a fine-looking young fellow, though of lowly birth, his eyes sparkling with life and his brow thoughtful. Valdemar Daae liked to hear him talk, and so did little Ide, his eldest daughter, who was now fifteen years old. And while he built the ship for her father, he built many a castle in the air besides, and saw himself and little Ide sitting there as man and wife. That might actually have come to pass if the castle had been of walled stone, with ramparts and moat, forest and gardens. But with all his skill, the builder was only a common bird, and what business did a sparrow have among a flock of cranes? Whew, whew, whew! I flew away and he flew away, and little Ide forgot it, as forget she must.

"In the stable the beautiful black horses neighed. They were worth looking at, and they were looked at. The admiral was sent by the king himself to inspect the new warship and to discuss buying it. He was loud in admiration for the splendid horses. I heard him well," said the Wind. "I followed the gentlemen through the open stable door and scattered about their feet wisps of straw, yellow as gold. Gold! That was what Valdemar Daae wanted, and the admiral wanted the black horses he admired so greatly, but all their discussion came to nothing. The horses weren't bought, and neither was the ship! It was left on the shore with planks over it, a Noah's ark that was never to float on water. Whew, whew, whew! It was a pity!

"In the winter, when the fields were covered with snow and ice floes choked the Belt," said the Wind, "flocks of black ravens and crows came and perched on the lifeless, solitary ship as it stood on the shore.

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