The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES
Animal Sketches And Stories
Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS
CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES
FABLES FOR CHILDREN
FABLES FROM INDIA
FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS
FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
For Classes Ii. And Iii.
For Classes Iv. And V.
For Kindergarten And Class I.
FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
Good Little Henry
JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]
Jean De La Fontaine
King Alexander's Adventures
KINGS AND WARRIORS
LAND AND WATER FAIRIES
Lessons From Nature
LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG
MODERN FAIRY TALES
MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED
MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES
MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES
Myths And Legends
NEGLECT THE FIRE
ON POPULAR EDUCATION
PLACES AND FAMILIES
Poems Of Nature
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"
RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE
ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
Selections From The Bible
SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES
Some Children's Poets
Songs Of Life
STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
STORIES FROM BOTANY
STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
STORIES FROM IRELAND
STORIES FROM PHYSICS
STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA
STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers
The Little Grey Mouse
THE OLD FAIRY TALES
The Princess Rosette
THE THREE HERMITS
THE TWO OLD MEN
UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES
VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES
WHAT MEN LIVE BY
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO
from Hans Andersens Fairy Tales
LITTLE TUK! An odd name, to be sure! However, it was not the little
boy's real name. His real name was Carl; but when he was so young that
he could not speak plainly, he used to call himself Tuk. It would be
hard to say why, for it is not at all like "Carl"; but the name does as
well as any, if one only knows it.
Little Tuk was left at home to take care of his sister Gustava, who was
much younger than himself; and he had also to learn his lesson. Here
were two things to be done at the same time, and they did not at all
suit each other. The poor boy sat with his sister in his lap, singing to
her all the songs he knew, yet giving, now and then, a glance into his
geography, which lay open beside him. By to-morrow morning he must know
the names of all the towns in Seeland by heart, and be able to tell
about them all that could be told.
His mother came at last, and took little Gustava in her arms. Tuk ran
quickly to the window and read and read till he had almost read his eyes
out--for it was growing dark, and his mother could not afford to buy
"There goes the old washerwoman down the lane," said the mother, as she
looked out of the window. "She can hardly drag herself along, poor
thing; and now she has to carry that heavy pail from the pump. Be a good
boy, little Tuk, and run across to help the poor creature, will you
not?" And little Tuk ran quickly and helped to bear the weight of the
pail. But when he came back into the room, it was quite dark. Nothing
was said about a candle, and it was of no use to wish for one; he must
go to his little trundle-bed, which was made of an old settle.
There he lay, still thinking of the geography lesson, of Seeland, and of
all that the master had said. He could not read the book again, as he
should by rights have done, for want of a light. So he put the
geography-book under his pillow. Somebody had once told him that would
help him wonderfully to remember his lesson, but he had never yet found
that one could depend upon it.
There he lay and thought and thought, till all at once he felt as though
some one were gently sealing his mouth and eyes with a kiss. He slept
and yet did not sleep, for he seemed to see the old washerwoman's mild,
kind eyes fixed upon him, and to hear her say: "It would be a shame,
indeed, for you not to know your lesson to-morrow, little Tuk. You
helped me; now I will help you, and our Lord will help us both."
All at once the leaves of the book began to rustle under little Tuk's
head, and he heard something crawling about under his pillow.
"Cluck, cluck, cluck!" cried a hen, as she crept towards him. (She came
from the town of Kjoege.) "I'm a Kjoege hen," she said. And then she told
him how many inhabitants the little town contained, and about the battle
that had once been fought there, and how it was now hardly worth
mentioning, there were so many greater things.
Scratch, scratch! kribbley crabbley! and now a great wooden bird jumped
down upon the bed. It was the popinjay from the shooting ground at
Praestoe. He had reckoned the number of inhabitants in Praestoe, and found
that there were as many as he had nails in his body. He was a proud
bird. "Thorwaldsen lived in one corner of Praestoe, close by me. Am I not
a pretty bird, a merry popinjay?"
And now little Tuk no longer lay in bed. All in a moment he was on
horseback, and on he went, gallop, gallop! A splendid knight, with a
bright helmet and waving plume,--a knight of the olden time,--held him
on his own horse; and on they rode together, through the wood of the
ancient city of Vordingborg, and it was once again a great and busy
town. The high towers of the king's castle rose against the sky, and
bright lights were seen gleaming through the windows. Within were music
and merrymaking. King Waldemar was leading out the noble ladies of his
court to dance with him.
Suddenly the morning dawned, the lamps grew pale, the sun rose, the
outlines of the buildings faded away, and at last one high tower alone
remained to mark the spot where the royal castle had stood. The vast
city had shrunk into a poor, mean-looking little town. The schoolboys,
coming out of school with their geography-books under their arms, said,
"Two thousand inhabitants"; but that was a mere boast, for the town had
not nearly so many.
And little Tuk lay in his bed. He knew not whether he had been dreaming
or not, but again there was some one close by his side.
"Little Tuk! little Tuk!" cried a voice; it was the voice of a young
sailor boy. "I am come to bring you greeting from Korsoer. Korsoer is a
new town, a living town, with steamers and mail coaches. Once people
used to call it a low, ugly place, but they do so no longer.
"'I dwell by the seaside,' says Korsoer; 'I have broad highroads and
pleasure gardens; and I have given birth to a poet, a witty one, too,
which is more than all poets are. I once thought of sending a ship all
round the world; but I did not do it, though I might as well have done
so. I dwell so pleasantly, close by the port; and I am fragrant with
perfume, for the loveliest roses bloom round about me, close to my
And little Tuk could smell the roses and see them and their fresh green
leaves. But in a moment they had vanished; the green leaves spread and
thickened--a perfect grove had grown up above the bright waters of the
bay, and above the grove rose the two high-pointed towers of a glorious
old church. From the side of the grass-grown hill gushed a fountain in
rainbow-hued streams, with a merry, musical voice, and close beside it
sat a king, wearing a gold crown upon his long dark hair. This was King
Hroar of the springs; and hard by was the town of Roskilde (Hroar's
Fountain). And up the hill, on a broad highway, went all the kings and
queens of Denmark, wearing golden crowns; hand in hand they passed on
into the church, and the deep music of the organ mingled with the clear
rippling of the fountain. For nearly all the kings and queens of Denmark
lie buried in this beautiful church. And little Tuk saw and heard it
"Don't forget the towns," said King Hroar.
Then all vanished; though where it went he knew not. It seemed like
turning the leaves of a book.
And now there stood before him an old peasant woman from Soroe, the quiet
little town where grass grows in the very market place. Her green linen
apron was thrown over her head and back, and the apron was very wet, as
if it had been raining heavily.
"And so it has," she said. And she told a great many pretty things from
Holberg's comedies, and recited ballads about Waldemar and Absalon; for
Holberg had founded an academy in her native town.
All at once she cowered down and rocked her head as if she were a frog
about to spring. "Koax!" cried she; "it is wet, it is always wet, and it
is as still as the grave in Soroe." She had changed into a frog. "Koax!"
and again she was an old woman. "One must dress according to the
weather," she said.
"It is wet! it is wet! My native town is like a bottle; one goes in at
the cork, and by the cork one must come out. In old times we had the
finest of fish; now we have fresh, rosy-cheeked boys at the bottom of
the bottle. There they learn wisdom--Greek, Greek, and Hebrew! Koax!"
It sounded exactly as if frogs were croaking, or as if some one were
walking over the great swamp with heavy boots. So tiresome was her tone,
all on the same note, that little Tuk fell fast asleep; and a very good
thing it was for him.
But even in sleep there came a dream, or whatever else it may be called.
His little sister Gustava, with her blue eyes and flaxen ringlets, was
grown into a tall, beautiful girl, who, though she had no wings, could
fly; and away they now flew over Seeland--over its green woods and blue
"Hark! Do you hear the cock crow, little Tuk? 'Cock-a-doodle-do!' The
fowls are flying hither from Kjoege, and you shall have a farmyard, a
great, great poultry yard of your own! You shall never suffer hunger or
want. The golden goose, the bird of good omen, shall be yours; you shall
become a rich and happy man. Your house shall rise up like King
Waldemar's towers and be richly decked with statues like those of
Thorwaldsen at Praestoe.
"Understand me well; your good name shall be borne round the world, like
the ship that was to sail from Korsoer, and at Roskilde you shall speak
and give counsel wisely and well, little Tuk, like King Hroar; and when
at last you shall lie in your peaceful grave you shall sleep as
"As if I lay sleeping in Soroe," said Tuk, and he woke. It was a bright
morning, and he could not remember his dream, but it was not necessary
that he should. One has no need to know what one will live to see.
And now he sprang quickly out of bed and sought his book, that had lain
under his pillow. He read his lesson and found that he knew the towns
And the old washerwoman put her head in at the door and said, with a
friendly nod: "Thank you, my good child, for yesterday's help. May the
Lord fulfill your brightest and most beautiful dreams! I know he will."
Little Tuk had forgotten what he had dreamed, but it did not matter.
There was One above who knew it all.
Next: The Ugly Duckling
Previous: The Fir Tree