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                安徒生童话08THE ELDERBUSH接骨木树妈妈





                THE ELDERBUSH

                Once upon a time there was a little boy who had taken cold. He had gone
                out and got his feet wet; though nobody could imagine how it had happened, for
                it was quite dry weather. So his mother undressed him, put him to bed, and
                had the tea-pot brought in, to make him a good cup of Elderflower tea.
                Just at that moment the merry old man came in who lived up a-top of the house
                all alone; for he had neither wife nor children--but he liked children very
                much, and knew so many fairy tales, that it was quite delightful.

                "Now drink your tea," said the boy's mother; "then, perhaps, you may hear a
                fairy tale."

                "If I had but something new to tell," said the old man. "But how did the child
                get his feet wet?"

                "That is the very thing that nobody can make out," said his mother.

                "Am I to hear a fairy tale?" asked the little boy.

                "Yes, if you can tell me exactly--for I must know that first--how deep the
                gutter is in the little street opposite, that you pass through in going to

                "Just up to the middle of my boot," said the child; "but then I must go into
                the deep hole."

                "Ah, ah! That's where the wet feet came from," said the old man. "I ought now
                to tell you a story; but I don't know any more."

                "You can make one in a moment," said the little boy. "My mother says that all
                you look at can be turned into a fairy tale: and that you can find a story in

                "Yes, but such tales and stories are good for nothing. The right sort come of
                themselves; they tap at my forehead and say, 'Here we are.'"

                "Won't there be a tap soon?" asked the little boy. And his mother laughed, put
                some Elder-flowers in the tea-pot, and poured boiling water upon them.

                "Do tell me something! Pray do!"

                "Yes, if a fairy tale would come of its own accord; but they are proud and
                haughty, and come only when they choose. Stop!" said he, all on a sudden. "I
                have it! Pay attention! There is one in the tea-pot!"

                And the little boy looked at the tea-pot. The cover rose more and more; and
                the Elder-flowers came forth so fresh and white, and shot up long branches.
                Out of the spout even did they spread themselves on all sides, and grew larger
                and larger; it was a splendid Elderbush, a whole tree; and it reached into the
                very bed, and pushed the curtains aside. How it bloomed! And what an odour! In
                the middle of the bush sat a friendly-looking old woman in a most strange
                dress. It was quite green, like the leaves of the elder, and was trimmed with
                large white Elder-flowers; so that at first one could not tell whether it was
                a stuff, or a natural green and real flowers.

                "What's that woman's name?" asked the little boy.

                "The Greeks and Romans," said the old man, "called her a Dryad; but that we do
                not understand. The people who live in the New Booths* have a much better name
                for her; they call her 'old Granny'--and she it is to whom you are to pay
                attention. Now listen, and look at the beautiful Elderbush.

                * A row of buildings for seamen in Copenhagen.

                "Just such another large blooming Elder Tree stands near the New Booths. It
                grew there in the corner of a little miserable court-yard; and under it sat,
                of an afternoon, in the most splendid sunshine, two old people; an old, old
                seaman, and his old, old wife. They had great-grand-children, and were soon to
                celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage; but they could not
                exactly recollect the date: and old Granny sat in the tree, and looked as
                pleased as now. 'I know the date,' said she; but those below did not hear her,
                for they were talking about old times.

                "'Yes, can't you remember when we were very little,' said the old seaman, 'and
                ran and played about? It was the very same court-yard where we now are, and we
                stuck slips in the ground, and made a garden.'

                "'I remember it well,' said the old woman; 'I remember it quite well. We
                watered the slips, and one of them was an Elderbush. It took root, put forth
                green shoots, and grew up to be the large tree under which we old folks are
                now sitting.'

                "'To be sure,' said he. 'And there in the corner stood a waterpail, where I
                used to swim my boats.'

                "'True; but first we went to school to learn somewhat,' said she; 'and then we
                were confirmed. We both cried; but in the afternoon we went up the Round
                Tower, and looked down on Copenhagen, and far, far away over the water; then
                we went to Friedericksberg, where the King and the Queen were sailing about in
                their splendid barges.'

                "'But I had a different sort of sailing to that, later; and that, too, for
                many a year; a long way off, on great voyages.'

                "'Yes, many a time have I wept for your sake,' said she. 'I thought you
                were dead and gone, and lying down in the deep waters. Many a night have I got
                up to see if the wind had not changed: and changed it had, sure enough; but
                you never came. I remember so well one day, when the rain was pouring down in
                torrents, the scavengers were before the house where I was in service, and I
                had come up with the dust, and remained standing at the door--it was dreadful
                weather--when just as I was there, the postman came and gave me a letter. It
                was from you! What a tour that letter had made! I opened it instantly and
                read: I laughed and wept. I was so happy. In it I read that you were in warm
                lands where the coffee-tree grows. What a blessed land that must be! You
                related so much, and I saw it all the while the rain was pouring down, and I
                standing there with the dust-box. At the same moment came someone who embraced

                "'Yes; but you gave him a good box on his ear that made it tingle!'

                "'But I did not know it was you. You arrived as soon as your letter, and you
                were so handsome--that you still are--and had a long yellow silk handkerchief
                round your neck, and a bran new hat on; oh, you were so dashing! Good heavens!
                What weather it was, and what a state the street was in!'

                "'And then we married,' said he. 'Don't you remember? And then we had our
                first little boy, and then Mary, and Nicholas, and Peter, and Christian.'

                "'Yes, and how they all grew up to be honest people, and were beloved by

                "'And their children also have children,' said the old sailor; 'yes, those
                are our grand-children, full of strength and vigor. It was, methinks about
                this season that we had our wedding.'

                "'Yes, this very day is the fiftieth anniversary of the marriage,' said old
                Granny, sticking her head between the two old people; who thought it was their
                neighbor who nodded to them. They looked at each other and held one another by
                the hand. Soon after came their children, and their grand-children; for they
                knew well enough that it was the day of the fiftieth anniversary, and had come
                with their gratulations that very morning; but the old people had forgotten
                it, although they were able to remember all that had happened many years ago.
                And the Elderbush sent forth a strong odour in the sun, that was just about to
                set, and shone right in the old people's faces. They both looked so
                rosy-cheeked; and the youngest of the grandchildren danced around them, and
                called out quite delighted, that there was to be something very splendid that
                evening--they were all to have hot potatoes. And old Nanny nodded in the bush,
                and shouted 'hurrah!' with the rest."

                "But that is no fairy tale," said the little boy, who was listening to the

                "The thing is, you must understand it," said the narrator; "let us ask old

                "That was no fairy tale, 'tis true," said old Nanny; "but now it's coming. The
                most wonderful fairy tales grow out of that which is reality; were that not
                the case, you know, my magnificent Elderbush could not have grown out of the
                tea-pot." And then she took the little boy out of bed, laid him on her bosom,
                and the branches of the Elder Tree, full of flowers, closed around her. They
                sat in an aerial dwelling, and it flew with them through the air. Oh, it was
                wondrous beautiful! Old Nanny had grown all of a sudden a young and pretty
                maiden; but her robe was still the same green stuff with white flowers, which
                she had worn before. On her bosom she had a real Elderflower, and in her
                yellow waving hair a wreath of the flowers; her eyes were so large and blue
                that it was a pleasure to look at them; she kissed the boy, and now they were
                of the same age and felt alike.

                Hand in hand they went out of the bower, and they were standing in the
                beautiful garden of their home. Near the green lawn papa's walking-stick was
                tied, and for the little ones it seemed to be endowed with life; for as soon
                as they got astride it, the round polished knob was turned into a magnificent
                neighing head, a long black mane fluttered in the breeze, and four slender yet
                strong legs shot out. The animal was strong and handsome, and away they went
                at full gallop round the lawn.

                "Huzza! Now we are riding miles off," said the boy. "We are riding away to
                the castle where we were last year!"

                And on they rode round the grass-plot; and the little maiden, who, we know,
                was no one else but old Nanny, kept on crying out, "Now we are in the country!
                Don't you see the farm-house yonder? And there is an Elder Tree standing
                beside it; and the cock is scraping away the earth for the hens, look, how he
                struts! And now we are close to the church. It lies high upon the hill,
                between the large oak-trees, one of which is half decayed. And now we are by
                the smithy, where the fire is blazing, and where the half-naked men are
                banging with their hammers till the sparks fly about. Away! away! To the
                beautiful country-seat!"

                And all that the little maiden, who sat behind on the stick, spoke of, flew by
                in reality. The boy saw it all, and yet they were only going round the
                grass-plot. Then they played in a side avenue, and marked out a little garden
                on the earth; and they took Elder-blossoms from their hair, planted them, and
                they grew just like those the old people planted when they were children, as
                related before. They went hand in hand, as the old people had done when they
                were children; but not to the Round Tower, or to Friedericksberg; no, the
                little damsel wound her arms round the boy, and then they flew far away
                through all Denmark. And spring came, and summer; and then it was autumn, and
                then winter; and a thousand pictures were reflected in the eye and in the
                heart of the boy; and the little girl always sang to him, "This you will never
                forget." And during their whole flight the Elder Tree smelt so sweet and
                odorous; he remarked the roses and the fresh beeches, but the Elder Tree had a
                more wondrous fragrance, for its flowers hung on the breast of the little
                maiden; and there, too, did he often lay his head during the flight.

                "It is lovely here in spring!" said the young maiden. And they stood in a
                beech-wood that had just put on its first green, where the woodroof* at their
                feet sent forth its fragrance, and the pale-red anemony looked so pretty among
                the verdure. "Oh, would it were always spring in the sweetly-smelling Danish

                * Asperula odorata.

                "It is lovely here in summer!" said she. And she flew past old castles of
                by-gone days of chivalry, where the red walls and the embattled gables were
                mirrored in the canal, where the swans were swimming, and peered up into the
                old cool avenues. In the fields the corn was waving like the sea; in the
                ditches red and yellow flowers were growing; while wild-drone flowers, and
                blooming convolvuluses were creeping in the hedges; and towards evening the
                moon rose round and large, and the haycocks in the meadows smelt so sweetly.
                "This one never forgets!"

                "It is lovely here in autumn!" said the little maiden. And suddenly the
                atmosphere grew as blue again as before; the forest grew red, and green, and
                yellow-colored. The dogs came leaping along, and whole flocks of wild-fowl
                flew over the cairn, where blackberry-bushes were hanging round the old
                stones. The sea was dark blue, covered with ships full of white sails; and in
                the barn old women, maidens, and children were sitting picking hops into a
                large cask; the young sang songs, but the old told fairy tales of
                mountain-sprites and soothsayers. Nothing could be more charming.

                "It is delightful here in winter!" said the little maiden. And all the trees
                were covered with hoar-frost; they looked like white corals; the snow crackled
                under foot, as if one had new boots on; and one falling star after the other
                was seen in the sky. The Christmas-tree was lighted in the room; presents were
                there, and good-humor reigned. In the country the violin sounded in the room
                of the peasant; the newly-baked cakes were attacked; even the poorest child
                said, "It is really delightful here in winter!"

                Yes, it was delightful; and the little maiden showed the boy everything; and
                the Elder Tree still was fragrant, and the red flag, with the white cross, was
                still waving: the flag under which the old seaman in the New Booths had
                sailed. And the boy grew up to be a lad, and was to go forth in the wide
                world-far, far away to warm lands, where the coffee-tree grows; but at his
                departure the little maiden took an Elder-blossom from her bosom, and
                gave it him to keep; and it was placed between the leaves of his Prayer-Book;
                and when in foreign lands he opened the book, it was always at the place where
                the keepsake-flower lay; and the more he looked at it, the fresher it became;
                he felt as it were, the fragrance of the Danish groves; and from among the
                leaves of the flowers he could distinctly see the little maiden, peeping forth
                with her bright blue eyes--and then she whispered, "It is delightful here in
                Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter"; and a hundred visions glided before his

                Thus passed many years, and he was now an old man, and sat with his old wife
                under the blooming tree. They held each other by the hand, as the old
                grand-father and grand-mother yonder in the New Booths did, and they talked
                exactly like them of old times, and of the fiftieth anniversary of their
                wedding. The little maiden, with the blue eyes, and with Elder-blossoms in her
                hair, sat in the tree, nodded to both of them, and said, "To-day is the
                fiftieth anniversary!" And then she took two flowers out of her hair, and
                kissed them. First, they shone like silver, then like gold; and when they laid
                them on the heads of the old people, each flower became a golden crown. So
                there they both sat, like a king and a queen, under the fragrant tree, that
                looked exactly like an elder: the old man told his wife the story of "Old
                Nanny," as it had been told him when a boy. And it seemed to both of them it
                contained much that resembled their own history; and those parts that were
                like it pleased them best.

                "Thus it is," said the little maiden in the tree, "some call me 'Old Nanny,'
                others a 'Dryad,' but, in reality, my name is 'Remembrance'; 'tis I who sit in
                the tree that grows and grows! I can remember; I can tell things! Let me see
                if you have my flower still?"

                And the old man opened his Prayer-Book. There lay the Elder-blossom, as fresh
                as if it had been placed there but a short time before; and Remembrance
                nodded, and the old people, decked with crowns of gold, sat in the flush of
                the evening sun. They closed their eyes, and--and--! Yes, that's the end of
                the story!

                The little boy lay in his bed; he did not know if he had dreamed or not, or if
                he had been listening while someone told him the story. The tea-pot was
                standing on the table, but no Elder Tree was growing out of it! And the old
                man, who had been talking, was just on the point of going out at the door, and
                he did go.

                "How splendid that was!" said the little boy. "Mother, I have been to warm

                "So I should think," said his mother. "When one has drunk two good cupfuls of
                Elder-flower tea, 'tis likely enough one goes into warm climates"; and she
                tucked him up nicely, least he should take cold. "You have had a good sleep
                while I have been sitting here, and arguing with him whether it was a story or
                a fairy tale."

                "And where is old Nanny?" asked the little boy.

                "In the tea-pot," said his mother; "and there she may remain."

                从前有一个很小的孩子,他☆患了伤风,病倒了。他到外面去过,把一双脚全打湿了。谁也不知道他ζ 是怎样打湿的,因为天气很︾干燥。现在他妈妈●把他的衣服脱掉,送他上床去睡,同时叫人把开水壶拿进来,为他泡了一杯很香的接骨木茶①,因为茶可以使人感到温暖。这时有一个很有趣的老人走到门口来;他一个人住在这屋子的最ω高一层楼上,非常孤独。因为他没有太太,也没有孩子。但是『他却非常喜欢小孩,而且知道很多童话和故事。听他讲故事是很愉快的。



                  “哎!我只希望我能讲一个新的故事!”老人说,和善地点了ω 点头。“不过这小家伙是在什么地方把一双脚弄湿了的呢?”他问。


















                  “‘是的,’老太婆回ζ 答说,‘我记得很≡清楚:我们在那些树枝上浇过水,它们之中〗有一根是接骨木树枝。这树枝生了根,发了绿芽,现在变◣成了这样一棵大树——我们老年人现在就在它下面坐着。’



                  “接着我们就受了坚信礼①;我们两个人都哭起来了。不过在下午我们就手挽着手爬到圆塔上去,我们把哥@ 本哈根和大海以外的这个广大世界凝望了好一会儿。于是我们又到佛列得里克斯堡公园②去——国王和王后常常在这儿的运河╳上驾着华丽的船航行。’







                  “‘接着我们↓就结婚了,’他说,‘你记得吗?接着我们就得了第一@ 个孩子,接着玛莉,接着尼尔斯,接着比得和汉斯·克利斯仙都出生了。’



                  “‘是的,今天是你们的结婚纪念日,’接骨木树妈妈说,同时卐把她的头伸到这两个老人的中间来。他们还以为这是隔壁的一位太太在向他们点头呢。他们互相▽望了一眼,同时彼〖此握着手。不一会儿,他们的儿子◎和孙子都来了;他们都知道这是金婚纪念日。他们早晨就已经来祝贺过,不过这对老夫妇却把这日子ξ 忘记了,虽然多少年以前发生的一切事情,他们还能记得很清楚。接骨木树发出强烈的香气。正在下沉的太阳照在这对老夫妇的脸上,弄得他们的双颊都泛出一阵红晕来。他们最小的孙子们围着他们跳舞,兴高采烈地叫着,说↑是今晚将有一个宴会——那时他们将会吃到热烘烘的土豆!接骨木树妈妈在树上点点头,跟大家♀一起喊着:‘好!’”




                  于是她把这孩子从床上抱起来,搂◥到自己的怀里,开满了花的接骨木树枝向他们合拢来,使他们好像坐在浓密的树荫里一样,而这片树荫带︼着他们一起在空中飞行。这真是说不出的美丽!接骨木树妈妈@ 立刻变成了一个漂亮的少女,不过她的衣服依然跟接骨木树妈妈所穿的一样,是用缀着白花的绿色料子做成的。她的胸前戴着一朵真正的ㄨ接骨木花,黄色的卷发上有一个用接骨木花做▂成的花圈;她的一双眼睛又大又蓝。啊,她的样子该是多么美丽。啊!她和这个男孩互相吻着,他∮们现在是同样的年纪,感觉到同样的快乐。





                  那个在他后◥面坐在手杖上的小姑娘所讲的东西,都一一在他们眼前出现了。虽然他们只不过在绕着一个草坪兜圈子,这男孩子却能把这些东西都看得清清楚楚。他们在人行道上玩耍,还在地上划出一个小花园来。于是她从她的头发上○取出接骨木树的花朵,把它们栽下,随后它们就长大起来,像那对老年夫妇小时在水手住宅区里所栽的树ω 一样↘——这事我们已经讲过了。他们手挽着手走着,完全像那对老年夫妇儿时的情形,不过他∏们不是走上圆塔,也不是走向佛列得里克斯堡公园去。——不是的,这小女孩子抱着这男孩子的腰,他们在整个丹麦飞来飞去。




                  他们站在长满了新叶子的山毛榉ξ 林里,绿色的车叶草在他们的脚下散发着香气;淡红的秋牡丹在这一片绿色中显得分外的华丽。



                  于是他们走过骑士时代的那些古宫。这些古宫的红墙和锯齿形的山形墙倒映在小河里——这儿有许多天鹅在游〓着,在了望那古老的〗林荫大道,在了望田野里的小麦『泛起一层波浪,好像这就是一个大海似的。田沟里长满了黄色和红色的花,篱笆□ 上长着野蛇麻①和盛╳开的牵牛花。月亮在黄昏的时候向上升,又圆又大;草坪上的干草堆发出甜蜜的香气。“人们永远也不会忘记这些东西!”



















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