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THE WILD SWANS

By Leslie Carpenter,2014-12-01 17:04
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    ????µ??úÒ?Ôº?é??Ö?ÖÎÁÆÈ?µÃÍ?ÆÆÐÔ?øÕ? ÖÎÓúÂÊÌá?ß2????ÌÚÑ?Å?ÐÔ?? ????http://lady.qq.com/a/20121123/000210.htm

    ?????à??Ö?ÖÎÁÆÐÂ?øÕ? TPGÁÆ??ÖÎÁÆ?ùÍ??à??Ö?ºä??Ò?Ñ???ÌÚÑ?Å?ÐÔ?? ????http://lady.qq.com/a/20121123/000215.htm FAIRY TALES OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN THE WILD SWANS by Hans Christian Andersen FAR away in the land to which the swallows fly when it iswinter, dwelt a king who had eleven sons, and one daughter, namedEliza. The eleven brothers were princes, and each went to schoolwith a star on his breast, and a sword by his side. They wrote withdiamond pencils on gold slates, and learnt their lessons so quicklyand read so easily that every one might know they were princes.Their sister Eliza sat on a little stool of plate-glass, and had abook full of pictures, which had cost as much as half a kingdom. Oh,these children were indeed happy, but it was not to remain soalways. Their father, who was king of the country, married a verywicked queen, who did not love the poor children at all. They knewthis from the very first day after the wedding. In the palace therewere great festivities, and the children played at receivingcompany; but instead of having, as usual, all the cakes and applesthat were left, she gave them some sand in a tea-cup, and told them topretend it was cake. The week after,

    she sent little Eliza into thecountry to a peasant and his wife, and then she told the king somany untrue things about the young princes, that he gave himself nomore trouble respecting them. "Go out into the world and get your own living," said the queen."Fly like great birds, who have no voice." But she could not make themugly as she wished, for they were turned into eleven beautiful wildswans. Then, with a strange cry, they flew through the windows ofthe palace, over the park, to the forest beyond. It was earlymorning when they passed the peasant's cottage, where their sisterEliza lay asleep in her room. They hovered over the roof, twistedtheir long necks and flapped their wings, but no one heard them or sawthem, so they were at last obliged to fly away, high up in the clouds;and over the wide world they flew till they came to a thick, darkwood, which stretched far away to the seashore. Poor little Elizawas alone in her room playing with a green leaf, for she had noother playthings, and she pierced a hole through the leaf, andlooked through it at the sun, and it was as if she saw her brothers'clear eyes, and when the warm sun shone on her cheeks, she thoughtof all the kisses they had given her. One day passed just likeanother; sometimes the winds rustled through the leaves of therose-bush, and would whisper to the roses, "Who can be morebeautiful than you!" But the roses would shake their heads, and say,"Eliza is." And when the old woman sat at the cottage door onSunday, and read her hymn-book, the wind would flutter the leaves, andsay to the book, "Who can be more pious than you?" and then thehymn-book would answer "Eliza." And the roses and the hymn-book toldthe real truth. At fifteen she returned home, but when the queen sawhow beautiful she was, she became full of spite and hatred towardsher. Willingly would she have turned her into a swan, like herbrothers, but she did not dare to do so yet, because the king wishedto see his daughter. Early one morning the queen went into thebath-room; it was built of marble, and had soft cushions, trimmed withthe most beautiful tapestry. She took three toads with her, and kissedthem, and said to one, "When Eliza comes to the bath, seat yourselfupon her head, that she may become as stupid as you are." Then shesaid to another, "Place yourself on her forehead, that she maybecome as ugly as you are, and that her father may not know her.""Rest on her heart," she whispered to the third, "then she will haveevil inclinations, and suffer in consequence." So she put the toadsinto the clear water, and they turned green immediately. She nextcalled Eliza, and helped her to undress and get into the bath. AsEliza dipped her head under the water, one of the toads sat on herhair, a second on her forehead, and a third on her breast, but she didnot seem to notice them, and when she rose out of the water, therewere three red poppies floating upon it. Had not the creatures beenvenomous or been kissed by the witch, they would have been changedinto red roses. At all events they became

    flowers, because they hadrested on Eliza's head, and on her heart. She was too good and tooinnocent for witchcraft to have any power over her. When the wickedqueen saw this, she rubbed her face with walnut-juice, so that she wasquite brown; then she tangled her beautiful hair and smeared it withdisgusting ointment, till it was quite impossible to recognize thebeautiful Eliza. When her father saw her, he was much shocked, and declared she wasnot his daughter. No one but the watch-dog and the swallows knewher; and they were only poor animals, and could say nothing. Then poorEliza wept, and thought of her eleven brothers, who were all away.Sorrowfully, she stole away from the palace, and walked, the wholeday, over fields and moors, till she came to the great forest. Sheknew not in what direction to go; but she was so unhappy, and longedso for her brothers, who had been, like herself, driven out into theworld, that she was determined to seek them. She had been but ashort time in the wood when night came on, and she quite lost thepath; so she laid herself down on the soft moss, offered up herevening prayer, and leaned her head against the stump of a tree. Allnature was still, and the soft, mild air fanned her forehead. Thelight of hundreds of glow-worms shone amidst the grass and the moss,like green fire; and if she touched a twig with her hand, ever solightly, the brilliant insects fell down around her, likeshooting-stars. All night long she dreamt of her brothers. She and they werechildren again, playing together. She saw them writing with theirdiamond pencils on golden slates, while she looked at the beautifulpicture-book which had cost half a kingdom. They were not writinglines and letters, as they used to do; but descriptions of the nobledeeds they had performed, and of all they had discovered and seen.In the picture-book, too, everything was living. The birds sang, andthe people came out of the book, and spoke to Eliza and herbrothers; but, as the leaves turned over, they darted back again totheir places, that all might be in order. When she awoke, the sun was high in the heavens; yet she could notsee him, for the lofty trees spread their branches thickly over herhead; but his beams were glancing through the leaves here and there,like a golden mist. There was a sweet fragrance from the fresh greenverdure, and the birds almost perched upon her shoulders. She heardwater rippling from a number of springs, all flowing in a lake withgolden sands. Bushes grew thickly round the lake, and at one spot anopening had been made by a deer, through which Eliza went down tothe water. The lake was so clear that, had not the wind rustled thebranches of the trees and the bushes, so that they moved, they wouldhave appeared as if painted in the depths of the lake; for everyleaf was reflected in the water, whether it stood in the shade orthe sunshine. As soon as Eliza saw her own face, she was quiteterrified at finding it so brown and ugly; but when she wetted herlittle hand, and rubbed her eyes and forehead, the white skingleamed forth once more;

    and, after she had undressed, and dippedherself in the fresh water, a more beautiful king's daughter could notbe found in the wide world. As soon as she had dressed herselfagain, and braided her long hair, she went to the bubbling spring, anddrank some water out of the hollow of her hand. Then she wanderedfar into the forest, not knowing whither she went. She thought ofher brothers, and felt sure that God would not forsake her. It isGod who makes the wild apples grow in the wood, to satisfy the hungry,and He now led her to one of these trees, which was so loaded withfruit, that the boughs bent beneath the weight. Here she held hernoonday repast, placed props under the boughs, and then went intothe gloomiest depths of the forest. It was so still that she couldhear the sound of her own footsteps, as well as the rustling ofevery withered leaf which she crushed under her feet. Not a bird wasto be seen, not a sunbeam could penetrate through the large, darkboughs of the trees. Their lofty trunks stood so close together, that,when she looked before her, it seemed as if she were enclosed withintrellis-work. Such solitude she had never known before. The nightwas very dark. Not a single glow-worm glittered in the moss. Sorrowfully she laid herself down to sleep; and, after a while, itseemed to her as if the branches of the trees parted over her head,and that the mild eyes of angels looked down upon her from heaven.When she awoke in the morning, she knew not whether she had dreamtthis, or if it had really been so. Then she continued her wandering;but she had not gone many steps forward, when she met an old womanwith berries in her basket, and she gave her a few to eat. ThenEliza asked her if she had not seen eleven princes riding throughthe forest. "No," replied the old woman, "But I saw yesterday eleven swans,with gold crowns on their heads, swimming on the river close by." Thenshe led Eliza a little distance farther to a sloping bank, and atthe foot of it wound a little river. The trees on its banksstretched their long leafy branches across the water towards eachother, and where the growth prevented them from meeting naturally, theroots had torn themselves away from the ground, so that the branchesmight mingle their foliage as they hung over the water. Eliza bade theold woman farewell, and walked by the flowing river, till shereached the shore of the open sea. And there, before the youngmaiden's eyes, lay the glorious ocean, but not a sail appeared onits surface, not even a boat could be seen. How was she to go farther?She noticed how the countless pebbles on the sea-shore had beensmoothed and rounded by the action of the water. Glass, iron,stones, everything that lay there mingled together, had taken itsshape from the same power, and felt as smooth, or even smoother thanher own delicate hand. "The water rolls on without weariness," shesaid, till all that is hard becomes smooth; so will I be unweariedin my task. Thanks for your lessons, bright rolling waves; my hearttells me you will lead me to my dear brothers."

    On the foam-coveredsea-weeds, lay eleven white swan feathers, which she gathered up andplaced together. Drops of water lay upon them; whether they weredew-drops or tears no one could say. Lonely as it was on thesea-shore, she did not observe it, for the ever-moving sea showed morechanges in a few hours than the most varying lake could produce duringa whole year. If a black heavy cloud arose, it was as if the sea said,"I can look dark and angry too;" and then the wind blew, and the wavesturned to white foam as they rolled. When the wind slept, and theclouds glowed with the red sunlight, then the sea looked like a roseleaf. But however quietly its white glassy surface rested, there wasstill a motion on the shore, as its waves rose and fell like thebreast of a sleeping child. When the sun was about to set, Eliza saweleven white swans with golden crowns on their heads, flying towardsthe land, one behind the other, like a long white ribbon. Then Elizawent down the slope from the shore, and hid herself behind the bushes.The swans alighted quite close to her and flapped their great whitewings. As soon as the sun had disappeared under the water, thefeathers of the swans fell off, and eleven beautiful princes,Eliza's brothers, stood near her. She uttered a loud cry, for,although they were very much changed, she knew them immediately. Shesprang into their arms, and called them each by name. Then, howhappy the princes were at meeting their little sister again, forthey recognized her, although she had grown so tall and beautiful.They laughed, and they wept, and very soon understood how wickedlytheir mother had acted to them all. "We brothers," said the eldest,"fly about as wild swans, so long as the sun is in the sky; but assoon as it sinks behind the hills, we recover our human shape.Therefore must we always be near a resting place for our feet beforesunset; for if we should be flying towards the clouds at the time werecovered our natural shape as men, we should sink deep into thesea. We do not dwell here, but in a land just as fair, that liesbeyond the ocean, which we have to cross for a long distance; there isno island in our passage upon which we could pass, the night;nothing but a little rock rising out of the sea, upon which we canscarcely stand with safety, even closely crowded together. If thesea is rough, the foam dashes over us, yet we thank God even forthis rock; we have passed whole nights upon it, or we should neverhave reached our beloved fatherland, for our flight across the seaoccupies two of the longest days in the year. We have permission tovisit out home once in every year, and to remain eleven days, duringwhich we fly across the forest to look once more at the palace whereour father dwells, and where we were born, and at the church, whereour mother lies buried. Here it seems as if the very trees andbushes were related to us. The wild horses leap over the plains aswe have seen them in our childhood. The charcoal burners sing theold songs, to which we have danced as children. This is ourfatherland, to

    which we are drawn by loving ties; and here we havefound you, our dear little sister., Two days longer we can remainhere, and then must we fly away to a beautiful land which is not ourhome; and how can we take you with us? We have neither ship nor boat." "How can I break this spell?" said their sister. And then shetalked about it nearly the whole night, only slumbering for a fewhours. Eliza was awakened by the rustling of the swans' wings asthey soared above. Her brothers were again changed to swans, andthey flew in circles wider and wider, till they were far away; but oneof them, the youngest swan, remained behind, and laid his head inhis sister's lap, while she stroked his wings; and they remainedtogether the whole day. Towards evening, the rest came back, and asthe sun went down they resumed their natural forms. "To-morrow,"said one, "we shall fly away, not to return again till a whole yearhas passed. But we cannot leave you here. Have you courage to gowith us? My arm is strong enough to carry you through the wood; andwill not all our wings be strong enough to fly with you over the sea?" "Yes, take me with you," said Eliza. Then they spent the wholenight in weaving a net with the pliant willow and rushes. It wasvery large and strong. Eliza laid herself down on the net, and whenthe sun rose, and her brothers again became wild swans, they took upthe net with their beaks, and flew up to the clouds with their dearsister, who still slept. The sunbeams fell on her face, thereforeone of the swans soared over her head, so that his broad wings mightshade her. They were far from the land when Eliza woke. She thoughtshe must still be dreaming, it seemed so strange to her to feelherself being carried so high in the air over the sea. By her side laya branch full of beautiful ripe berries, and a bundle of sweetroots; the youngest of her brothers had gathered them for her, andplaced them by her side. She smiled her thanks to him; she knew it wasthe same who had hovered over her to shade her with his wings. Theywere now so high, that a large ship beneath them looked like a whitesea-gull skimming the waves. A great cloud floating behind themappeared like a vast mountain, and upon it Eliza saw her own shadowand those of the eleven swans, looking gigantic in size. Altogether itformed a more beautiful picture than she had ever seen; but as the sunrose higher, and the clouds were left behind, the shadowy picturevanished away. Onward the whole day they flew through the air like awinged arrow, yet more slowly than usual, for they had their sister tocarry. The weather seemed inclined to be stormy, and Eliza watched thesinking sun with great anxiety, for the little rock in the ocean wasnot yet in sight. It appeared to her as if the swans were making greatefforts with their wings. Alas! she was the cause of their notadvancing more quickly. When the sun set, they would change to men,fall into the sea and be drowned. Then she offered a prayer from herinmost heart, but still no appearance of the rock. Dark clouds

    camenearer, the gusts of wind told of a coming storm, while from athick, heavy mass of clouds the lightning burst forth flash afterflash. The sun had reached the edge of the sea, when the swansdarted down so swiftly, that Eliza's head trembled; she believedthey were falling, but they again soared onward. Presently shecaught sight of the rock just below them, and by this time the sun washalf hidden by the waves. The rock did not appear larger than a seal'shead thrust out of the water. They sunk so rapidly, that at the momenttheir feet touched the rock, it shone only like a star, and at lastdisappeared like the last spark in a piece of burnt paper. Then shesaw her brothers standing closely round her with their arms linkedtogether. There was but just room enough for them, and not thesmallest space to spare. The sea dashed against the rock, andcovered them with spray. The heavens were lighted up with continualflashes, and peal after peal of thunder rolled. But the sister andbrothers sat holding each other's hands, and singing hymns, from whichthey gained hope and courage. In the early dawn the air became calmand still, and at sunrise the swans flew away from the rock withEliza. The sea was still rough, and from their high position in theair, the white foam on the dark green waves looked like millions ofswans swimming on the water. As the sun rose higher, Eliza sawbefore her, floating on the air, a range of mountains, with shiningmasses of ice on their summits. In the centre, rose a castleapparently a mile long, with rows of columns, rising one aboveanother, while, around it, palm-trees waved and flowers bloomed aslarge as mill wheels. She asked if this was the land to which theywere hastening. The swans shook their heads, for what she beheldwere the beautiful ever-changing cloud palaces of the "FataMorgana," into which no mortal can enter. Eliza was still gazing atthe scene, when mountains, forests, and castles melted away, andtwenty stately churches rose in their stead, with high towers andpointed gothic windows. Eliza even fancied she could hear the tones ofthe organ, but it was the music of the murmuring sea which sheheard. As they drew nearer to the churches, they also changed into afleet of ships, which seemed to be sailing beneath her; but as shelooked again, she found it was only a sea mist gliding over the ocean.So there continued to pass before her eyes a constant change of scene,till at last she saw the real land to which they were bound, withits blue mountains, its cedar forests, and its cities and palaces.Long before the sun went down, she sat on a rock, in front of alarge cave, on the floor of which the over-grown yet delicate greencreeping plants looked like an embroidered carpet. "Now we shallexpect to hear what you dream of to-night," said the youngest brother,as he showed his sister her bedroom. "Heaven grant that I may dream how to save you," she replied.And this thought took such hold upon her mind that she prayedearnestly to God for help, and even in her sleep she continued topray. Then it appeared

    to her as if she were flying high in the air,towards the cloudy palace of the "Fata Morgana," and a fairy cameout to meet her, radiant and beautiful in appearance, and yet verymuch like the old woman who had given her berries in the wood, and whohad told her of the swans with golden crowns on their heads. "Yourbrothers can be released," said she, "if you have only courage andperseverance. True, water is softer than your own delicate hands,and yet it polishes stones into shapes; it feels no pain as yourfingers would feel, it has no soul, and cannot suffer such agony andtorment as you will have to endure. Do you see the stinging nettlewhich I hold in my hand? Quantities of the same sort grow round thecave in which you sleep, but none will be of any use to you unlessthey grow upon the graves in a churchyard. These you must gathereven while they burn blisters on your hands. Break them to pieces withyour hands and feet, and they will become flax, from which you mustspin and weave eleven coats with long sleeves; if these are thenthrown over the eleven swans, the spell will be broken. Butremember, that from the moment you commence your task until it isfinished, even should it occupy years of your life, you must notspeak. The first word you utter will pierce through the hearts of yourbrothers like a deadly dagger. Their lives hang upon your tongue.Remember all I have told you." And as she finished speaking, shetouched her hand lightly with the nettle, and a pain, as of burningfire, awoke Eliza. It was broad daylight, and close by where she had been sleepinglay a nettle like the one she had seen in her dream. She fell on herknees and offered her thanks to God. Then she went forth from the caveto begin her work with her delicate hands. She groped in amongst theugly nettles, which burnt great blisters on her hands and arms, butshe determined to bear it gladly if she could only release her dearbrothers. So she bruised the nettles with her bare feet and spun theflax. At sunset her brothers returned and were very much frightenedwhen they found her dumb. They believed it to be some new sorcery oftheir wicked step-mother. But when they saw her hands theyunderstood what she was doing on their behalf, and the youngestbrother wept, and where his tears fell the pain ceased, and theburning blisters vanished. She kept to her work all night, for shecould not rest till she had released her dear brothers. During thewhole of the following day, while her brothers were absent, she sat insolitude, but never before had the time flown so quickly. One coat wasalready finished and she had begun the second, when she heard thehuntsman's horn, and was struck with fear. The sound came nearer andnearer, she heard the dogs barking, and fled with terror into thecave. She hastily bound together the nettles she had gathered into abundle and sat upon them. Immediately a great dog came boundingtowards her out of the ravine, and then another and another; theybarked loudly, ran back, and then came again. In a very few minutesall the huntsmen

    stood before the cave, and the handsomest of them wasthe king of the country. He advanced towards her, for he had neverseen a more beautiful maiden. "How did you come here, my sweet child?" he asked. But Eliza shookher head. She dared not speak, at the cost of her brothers' lives. Andshe hid her hands under her apron, so that the king might not seehow she must be suffering. "Come with me," he said; "here you cannot remain. If you are asgood as you are beautiful, I will dress you in silk and velvet, I willplace a golden crown upon your head, and you shall dwell, and rule,and make your home in my richest castle." And then he lifted her onhis horse. She wept and wrung her hands, but the king said, "I wishonly for your happiness. A time will come when you will thank me forthis." And then he galloped away over the mountains, holding herbefore him on this horse, and the hunters followed behind them. As thesun went down, they approached a fair royal city, with churches, andcupolas. On arriving at the castle the king led her into marble halls,where large fountains played, and where the walls and the ceilingswere covered with rich paintings. But she had no eyes for all theseglorious sights, she could only mourn and weep. Patiently sheallowed the women to array her in royal robes, to weave pearls inher hair, and draw soft gloves over her blistered fingers. As shestood before them in all her rich dress, she looked so dazzinglybeautiful that the court bowed low in her presence. Then the kingdeclared his intention of making

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