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17.09.13The Naughty Boy, by Hans Christian Andersen
There was once upon a time an old poet, such a really good old poet! One evening, he sat at home—it was dreadful weather out of doors—the rain poured down; but the old poet sat so comfortably, and in such a good humor, beside his stove, where the fire was burning brightly, and his apples were merrily roasting.
“There will not be a dry thread on the poor souls who are out in this weather!” said he; for he was such a good old poet.
“O let me in! I am freezing, and I am so wet!” cried the voice of a little child outside. It cried and knocked at the door, while the rain kept pouring down, and the wind rattled at all the windows.
“Poor little soul!” said the old poet, and got up to open the door. There stood a little boy; he had not any clothes on, and the rain ran off from his long yellow hair. He shook with the cold; if he had not been taken in, he would most surely have died of that bad weather.
“Thou poor little soul!” said the kind old poet, and took him by the hand; “come in, and I will warm thee! and thou shalt have some wine, and a nice roasted apple, for thou art a pretty little boy!”
And so he was. His eyes were like two bright stars, and, although the water ran down from his yellow hair, yet it curled so beautifully. He looked just like a little angel; but he was pale with the cold, and his little body trembled all over. In his hand he carried a pretty little bow; but it was quite spoiled with the rain, and all the colors of his beautiful little arrows ran one into another with the wet.
The good old poet seated himself by the stove, and took the little boy upon his knee; he wrung the rain out of his hair, warmed his little hands in his, and made some sweet wine warm for him; by this means the rosy color came back into his cheeks, he jumped down upon the floor, and danced round and round the old poet.
“Thou art a merry lad,” said the poet; “what is thy name?”
“They call me Love,” replied the boy; “dost thou not know me? There lies my bow; I shoot with it, thou mayst believe! See, now, the weather clears up; the moon shines!”
“But thy bow is spoiled,” said the old poet.
“That would be sad!” said the little boy, and took it up to see if it were. “Oh, it is quite dry,” said he; “it is not hurt at all! The string is quite firm: now I will try it!”
And with that he strung it, laid an arrow upon it, took his aim, and shot the good old poet right through the heart!
“Thou canst now see that my bow is not spoiled!” said he; and laughing as loud as he could, ran away. What a naughty boy! to shoot the good old poet who had taken him into the warm room; who had been so kind to him, and given him nice wine to drink, and the very best of his roasted apples!
The poor poet lay upon the floor and wept, for he was actually shot through the heart, and he said, “Fy! what a naughty boy that Love is! I will tell all good little children about him, that they may drive him away before he makes them some bad return!”
All good children, boys and girls, to whom he told this, drove away that naughty little lad; but for all that he has made fools of them all, for he is so artful! When students go from their lectures, he walks by their side with a book under his arm, and they fancy that he too is a student, and so he runs an arrow into their breasts. When young girls go to church, and when they stand in the aisle of the church, he too has followed them. Yes, he is always following people!
He sits in the great chandelier in the theatre, and burns with a bright flame, and so people think he is a lamp, but afterwards they find something else! He runs about the king’s garden, and on the bowling-green! Yes! he once shot thy father and mother through the heart! Ask them about it, and then thou wilt hear what they say. Yes, indeed, he is a bad boy, that Love; do thou never have any thing to do with him!—he is always running after people! Only think! once upon a time, he even shot an arrow at thy good old grandmother!—but that is a long time ago, and it is past. But thus it is, he never forgets anybody!
Fy, for shame, naughty Love! But now thou knowest him, and knowest what a bad boy he is!
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