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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Under The Willow Tree"

Under The Willow Tree

Nuremberg is a strange old city, looking as if it had been cut out of an old-fashioned picture book. The streets seem to wander along just as they please. The houses did not like to stand in regular rows. Gables with little towers, arabesques, and pillars lean out over the walks, and from the queer peaked roofs water-spouts, shaped like dragons or long, slim dogs, push out far over the streets.

There in the Nuremberg market place stood Knud, his knapsack, on his back. He was beside one of the old fountains, where splendid bronze figures, scriptural and historical, rose up between the gushing jets of water. A pretty little servant girl was just filling her pails, and she gave Knud a refreshing drink; and as her hand was full of roses she gave him one of them, too, and he accepted that as a good sign.

From the church near by came the strains of an organ; they rang as familiar to him as the tones of the organ at home in Kjöge church, and he entered the great cathedral. The sunlight streamed in through the high stained-glass windows and down between the lofty, slender pillars. His spirit found rest.

And Knud found a good master in Nuremberg, and he lived in his house, and there learned to speak German.

The old moat around the town of Nuremberg has been converted into little kitchen gardens, but the high walls with their heavy towers are standing yet. The ropemaker twists his cords on a wooden gallery along the inside of the town wall, where elderbushes grow out of the cracks and clefts, spreading their green branches over the small, lowly houses below. In one of these houses Knud lived with his master; and over the little garret window where he slept the elder tree waved its branches.

Here he lived for a summer and winter. But when spring returned he could bear it no longer, for the elder was blooming and the fragrance of its blossoms carried him back to home and the garden at Kjöge. So Knud left that master and found another farther in town, over whose house no elderbush blossomed.

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Dolph Heyliger
Category: United States folktales
Read times: 6