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The Galoshes of Fortune

Author: Andersen Hans Christian | Genre: Tale | Year: | Catalogue: Global database Все варианты сказки на сайте

In a house in Copenhagen, not far from the
king’s new market, a very large party had assembled, the host and his family
expecting, no doubt, to receive invitations in return. One half of the company
were already seated at the card-tables, the other half seemed to be waiting the
result of their hostess’s question, “Well, how shall we amuse
ourselves?”

Conversation followed, which, after a while, began to prove
very entertaining. Among other subjects, it turned upon the events of the
middle ages, which some persons maintained were more full of interest than our
own times. Counsellor Knapp defended this opinion so warmly that the lady of
the house immediately went over to his side, and both exclaimed against
Oersted’s Essays on Ancient and Modern Times, in which the preference is given
to our own. The counsellor considered the times of the Danish king,
Hans,1 as the noblest and
happiest.

The conversation on this topic was only interrupted for a
moment by the arrival of a newspaper, which did not, however, contain much
worth reading, and while it is still going on we will pay a visit to the
ante-room, in which cloaks, sticks, and goloshes were carefully placed. Here
sat two maidens, one young, and the other old, as if they had come and were
waiting to accompany their mistresses home; but on looking at them more
closely, it could easily be seen that they were no common servants. Their
shapes were too graceful, their complexions too delicate, and the cut of their
dresses much too elegant. They were two fairies. The younger was not Fortune
herself, but the chambermaid of one of Fortune’s attendants, who carries about
her more trifling gifts. The elder one, who was named Care, looked rather
gloomy; she always goes about to perform her own business in person; for then
she knows it is properly done. They were telling each other where they had been
during the day. The messenger of Fortune had only transacted a few unimportant
matters; for instance, she had preserved a new bonnet from a shower of rain,
and obtained for an honest man a bow from a titled nobody, and so on; but she
had something extraordinary to relate, after all.

“I must tell you,” said she, “that to-day
is my birthday; and in honor of it I have been intrusted with a pair of
goloshes, to introduce amongst mankind. These goloshes have the property of
making every one who puts them on imagine himself in any place he wishes, or
that he exists at any period. Every wish is fulfilled at the moment it is
expressed, so that for once mankind have the chance of being happy.”

“No,” replied Care; “you may depend upon
it that whoever puts on those goloshes will be very unhappy, and bless the
moment in which he can get rid of them.”

“What are you thinking of?” replied the other.
“Now see; I will place them by the door; some one will take them instead
of his own, and he will be the happy man.”




  • This was the end of their conversation.

    What Happened to the Counsellor

    IT was late when Counsellor Knapp, lost in
    thought about the times of King Hans, desired to return home; and fate so
    ordered it that he put on the goloshes of Fortune instead of his own, and
    walked out into the East Street. Through the magic power of the goloshes, he
    was at once carried back three hundred years, to the times of King Hans, for
    which he had been longing when he put them on. Therefore he immediately set his
    foot into the mud and mire of the street, which in those days possessed no
    pavement.

    “Why, this is horrible; how dreadfully dirty it
    is!” said the counsellor; “and the whole pavement has vanished, and
    the lamps are all out.”

    The moon had not yet risen high enough to penetrate the
    thick foggy air, and all the objects around him were confused together in the
    darkness. At the nearest corner, a lamp hung before a picture of the Madonna;
    but the light it gave was almost useless, for he only perceived it when he came
    quite close and his eyes fell on the painted figures of the Mother and
    Child.

    “That is most likely a museum of art,” thought
    he, “and they have forgotten to take down the sign.”

    Two men, in the dress of olden times, passed by him.

    “What odd figures!” thought he; “they must
    be returning from some masquerade.”

    Suddenly he heard the sound of a drum and fifes, and then a
    blazing light from torches shone upon him. The counsellor stared with
    astonishment as he beheld a most strange procession pass before him. First came
    a whole troop of drummers, beating their drums very cleverly; they were
    followed by life-guards, with longbows and crossbows. The principal person in
    the procession was a clerical-looking gentleman. The astonished counsellor
    asked what it all meant, and who the gentleman might be.

    “That is the bishop of Zealand.”

    “Good gracious!” he exclaimed; “what in
    the world has happened to the bishop? what can he be thinking about?”
    Then he shook his head and said, “It cannot possibly be the bishop
    himself.”

    While musing on this strange affair, and without looking to
    the right or left, he walked on through East Street and over Highbridge Place.
    The bridge, which he supposed led to Palace Square, was nowhere to be found;
    but instead, he saw a bank and some shallow water, and two people, who sat in a
    boat.

    “Does the gentleman wish to be ferried over the
    Holm?” asked one.

    “To the Holm!” exclaimed the counsellor, not
    knowing in what age he was now existing; “I want to go to Christian’s
    Haven, in Little Turf Street.” The men stared at him. “Pray tell me
    where the bridge is!” said he. “It is shameful that the lamps are
    not lighted here, and it is as muddy as if one were walking in a marsh.”
    But the more he talked with the boatmen the less they could understand each
    other.

    “I don’t understand your outlandish talk,” he
    cried at last, angrily turning his back upon them. He could not, however, find
    the bridge nor any railings.

    “What a scandalous condition this place is in,”
    said he; never, certainly, had he found his own times so miserable as on this
    evening. “I think it will be better for me to take a coach; but where are
    they?” There was not one to be seen! “I shall be obliged to go back
    to the king’s new market,” said he, “where there are plenty of
    carriages standing, or I shall never reach Christian’s Haven.” Then he
    went towards East Street, and had nearly passed through it, when the moon burst
    forth from a cloud.

    “Dear me, what have they been erecting here?” he
    cried, as he caught sight of the East gate, which in olden times used to stand
    at the end of East Street. However, he found an opening through which he
    passed, and came out upon where he expected to find the new market. Nothing was
    to be seen but an open meadow, surrounded by a few bushes, through which ran a
    broad canal or stream. A few miserable-looking wooden booths, for the
    accommodation of Dutch watermen, stood on the opposite shore.

    “Either I behold a fata morgana, or I must be
    tipsy,” groaned the counsellor. “What can it be? What is the matter
    with me?” He turned back in the full conviction that he must be ill. In
    walking through the street this time, he examined the houses more closely; he
    found that most of them were built of lath and plaster, and many had only a
    thatched roof.

    “I am certainly all wrong,” said he, with a
    sigh; “and yet I only drank one glass of punch. But I cannot bear even
    that, and it was very foolish to give us punch and hot salmon; I shall speak
    about it to our hostess, the agent’s lady. Suppose I were to go back now and
    say how ill I feel, I fear it would look so ridiculous, and it is not very
    likely that I should find any one up.” Then he looked for the house, but
    it was not in existence.

    “This is really frightful; I cannot even recognize
    East Street. Not a shop to be seen; nothing but old, wretched, tumble-down
    houses, just as if I were at Roeskilde or Ringstedt. Oh, I really must be ill!
    It is no use to stand upon ceremony. But where in the world is the agent’s
    house. There is a house, but it is not his; and people still up in it, I
    can hear. Oh dear! I certainly am very queer.” As he reached the
    half-open door, he saw a light and went in. It was a tavern of the olden times,
    and seemed a kind of beershop. The room had the appearance of a Dutch interior.
    A number of people, consisting of seamen, Copenhagen citizens, and a few
    scholars, sat in deep conversation over their mugs, and took very little notice
    of the new comer.

    “Pardon me,” said the counsellor, addressing the
    landlady, “I do not feel quite well, and I should be much obliged if you
    will send for a fly to take me to Christian’s Haven.” The woman stared at
    him and shook her head. Then she spoke to him in German. The counsellor
    supposed from this that she did not understand Danish; he therefore repeated
    his request in German. This, as well as his singular dress, convinced the woman
    that he was a foreigner. She soon understood, however, that he did not find
    himself quite well, and therefore brought him a mug of water. It had something
    of the taste of seawater, certainly, although it had been drawn from the well
    outside. Then the counsellor leaned his head on his hand, drew a deep breath,
    and pondered over all the strange things that had happened to him.

    “Is that to-day’s number of the
    Day?2 he asked, quite
    mechanically, as he saw the woman putting by a large piece of paper. She did
    not understand what he meant, but she handed him the sheet; it was a woodcut,
    representing a meteor, which had appeared in the town of Cologne.

    “That is very old,” said the counsellor,
    becoming quite cheerful at the sight of this antique drawing. “Where did
    you get this singular sheet? It is very interesting, although the whole affair
    is a fable. Meteors are easily explained in these days; they are northern
    lights, which are often seen, and are no doubt caused by
    electricity.”

    Those who sat near him, and heard what he said, looked at
    him in great astonishment, and one of them rose, took off his hat respectfully,
    and said in a very serious manner, “You must certainly be a very learned
    man, monsieur.”

    “Oh no,” replied the counsellor; “I can
    only discourse on topics which every one should understand.”

    Modestia is a beautiful virtue,” said
    the man. “Moreover, I must add to your speech mihi secus videtur;
    yet in this case I would suspend my judicium”.

    “May I ask to whom I have the pleasure of
    speaking?”

    “I am a Bachelor of Divinity,” said the man.
    This answer satisfied the counsellor. The title agreed with the dress.

    “This is surely,” thought he, “an old
    village schoolmaster, a perfect original, such as one meets with sometimes even
    in Jutland.”

    “This is not certainly a locus docendi,” began
    the man; “still I must beg you to continue the conversation. You must be
    well read in ancient lore.”

    “Oh yes,” replied the counsellor; “I am
    very fond of reading useful old books, and modern ones as well, with the
    exception of every-day stories, of which we really have more than
    enough.”

    “Every-day stories?” asked the bachelor.

    “Yes, I mean the new novels that we have at the
    present day.”

    “Oh,” replied the man, with a smile; “and
    yet they are very witty, and are much read at Court. The king likes especially
    the romance of Messeurs Iffven and Gaudian, which describes King Arthur and his
    knights of the round table. He has joked about it with the gentlemen of his
    Court.”

    “Well, I have certainly not read that,” replied
    the counsellor. “I suppose it is quite new, and published by
    Heiberg.”

    “No,” answered the man, “it is not by
    Heiberg; Godfred von Gehman brought it out.”

    “Oh, is he the publisher? That is a very old
    name,” said the counsellor; “was it not the name of the first
    publisher in Denmark?”

    “Yes; and he is our first printer and publisher
    now,” replied the scholar.

    So far all had passed off very well; but now one of the
    citizens began to speak of a terrible pestilence which had been raging a few
    years before, meaning the plague of 1484. The counsellor thought he referred to
    the cholera, and they could discuss this without finding out the mistake. The
    war in 1490 was spoken of as quite recent. The English pirates had taken some
    ships in the Channel in 1801, and the counsellor, supposing they referred to
    these, agreed with them in finding fault with the English. The rest of the
    talk, however, was not so agreeable; every moment one contradicted the other.
    The good bachelor appeared very ignorant, for the simplest remark of the
    counsellor seemed to him either too bold or too fantastic. They stared at each
    other, and when it became worse the bachelor spoke in Latin, in the hope of
    being better understood; but it was all useless.

    “How are you now?” asked the landlady, pulling
    the counsellor’s sleeve.

    Then his recollection returned to him. In the course of
    conversation he had forgotten all that had happened previously.

    “Goodness me! where am I?” said he. It
    bewildered him as he thought of it.

    “We will have some claret, or mead, or Bremen
    beer,” said one of the guests; “will you drink with us?”

    Two maids came in. One of them had a cap on her head of two
    colors.3 They poured out the wine,
    bowed their heads, and withdrew.

    The counsellor felt a cold shiver run all over him.
    “What is this? what does it mean?” said he; but he was obliged to
    drink with them, for they overpowered the good man with their politeness. He
    became at last desperate; and when one of them said he was tipsy, he did not
    doubt the man’s word in the least—only begged them to get a droschky; and
    then they thought he was speaking the Muscovite language. Never before had he
    been in such rough and vulgar company. “One might believe that the
    country was going back to heathenism,” he observed. “This is the
    most terrible moment of my life.”

    Just then it came into his mind that he would stoop under
    the table, and so creep to the door. He tried it; but before he reached the
    entry, the rest discovered what he was about, and seized him by the feet, when,
    luckily for him, off came the goloshes, and with them vanished the whole
    enchantment. The counsellor now saw quite plainly a lamp, and a large building
    behind it; everything looked familiar and beautiful. He was in East Street, as
    it now appears; he lay with his legs turned towards a porch, and just by him
    sat the watchman asleep.

    “Is it possible that I have been lying here in the
    street dreaming?” said he. “Yes, this is East Street; how
    beautifully bright and gay it looks! It is quite shocking that one glass of
    punch should have upset me like this.”

    Two minutes afterwards he sat in a droschky, which was to
    drive him to Christian’s Haven. He thought of all the terror and anxiety which
    he had undergone, and felt thankful from his heart for the reality and comfort
    of modern times, which, with all their errors, were far better than those in
    which he so lately found himself.

    The Watchman’s Adventures

    “WELL, I declare, there lies a pair of
    goloshes,” said the watchman. “No doubt, they belong to the
    lieutenant who lives up stairs. They are lying just by his door.” Gladly
    would the honest man have rung, and given them in, for a light was still
    burning, but he did not wish to disturb the other people in the house; so he
    let them lie. “These things must keep the feet very warm,” said he;
    “they are of such nice soft leather.” Then he tried them on, and
    they fitted his feet exactly. “Now,” said he, “how droll
    things are in this world! There’s that man can lie down in his warm bed, but he
    does not do so. There he goes pacing up and down the room. He ought to be a
    happy man. He has neither wife nor children, and he goes out into company every
    evening. Oh, I wish I were he; then I should be a happy man.”

    As he uttered this wish, the goloshes which he had put on
    took effect, and the watchman at once became the lieutenant. There he stood in
    his room, holding a little piece of pink paper between his fingers, on which
    was a poem,—a poem written by the lieutenant himself. Who has not had,
    for once in his life, a moment of poetic inspiration? and at such a moment, if
    the thoughts are written down, they flow in poetry. The following verses were
    written on the pink paper:—


    “OH WERE I RICH!


    “Oh were I rich! How oft, in youth’s bright hour,

    When youthful pleasures banish every care,

    I longed for riches but to gain a power,

    The sword and plume and uniform to wear!

    The riches and the honor came for me;

    Yet still my greatest wealth was poverty:

    Ah, help and pity me!


    “Once in my youthful hours, when gay and free,

    A maiden loved me; and her gentle kiss,

    Rich in its tender love and purity,

    Taught me, alas! too much of earthly bliss.

    Dear child! She only thought of youthful glee;

    She loved no wealth, but fairy tales and me.

    Thou knowest: ah, pity me!


    “Oh were I rich! again is all my prayer:

    That child is now a woman, fair and free,

    As good and beautiful as angels are.

    Oh, were I rich in lovers’ poetry,

    To tell my fairy tale, love’s richest lore!

    But no; I must be silent—I am poor.

    Ah, wilt thou pity me?


    “Oh were I rich in truth and peace below,

    I need not then my poverty bewail.

    To thee I dedicate these lines of woe;

    Wilt thou not understand the mournful tale?

    A leaf on which my sorrows I relate—

    Dark story of a darker night of fate.

    Ah, bless and pity me!”

    “Well, yes; people write poems when they are in love, but a wise
    man will not print them. A lieutenant in love, and poor. This is a
    triangle, or more properly speaking, the half of the broken die of
    fortune.” The lieutenant felt this very keenly, and therefore leaned
    his head against the window-frame, and sighed deeply. “The poor watchman
    in the street,” said he, “is far happier than I am. He knows not
    what I call poverty. He has a home, a wife and children, who weep at his sorrow
    and rejoice at his joy. Oh, how much happier I should be could I change my
    being and position with him, and pass through life with his humble expectations
    and hopes! Yes, he is indeed happier than I am.”

    At this moment the watchman again became a watchman; for
    having, through the goloshes of Fortune, passed into the existence of the
    lieutenant, and found himself less contented than he expected, he had preferred
    his former condition, and wished himself again a watchman. “That was an
    ugly dream,” said he, “but droll enough. It seemed to me as if I
    were the lieutenant up yonder, but there was no happiness for me. I missed my
    wife and the little ones, who are always ready to smother me with
    kisses.” He sat down again and nodded, but he could not get the dream out
    of his thoughts, and he still had the goloshes on his feet. A falling star
    gleamed across the sky. “There goes one!” cried he. “However,
    there are quite enough left; I should very much like to examine these a little
    nearer, especially the moon, for that could not slip away under one’s hands.
    The student, for whom my wife washes, says that when we die we shall fly from
    one star to another. If that were true, it would be very delightful, but I
    don’t believe it. I wish I could make a little spring up there now; I would
    willingly let my body lie here on the steps.”

    There are certain things in the world which should be
    uttered very cautiously; doubly so when the speaker has on his feet the
    goloshes of Fortune. Now we shall hear what happened to the watchman.

    Nearly every one is acquainted with the great power of
    steam; we have proved it by the rapidity with which we can travel, both on a
    railroad or in a steamship across the sea. But this speed is like the movements
    of the sloth, or the crawling march of the snail, when compared to the
    swiftness with which light travels; light flies nineteen million times faster
    than the fleetest race-horse, and electricity is more rapid still. Death is an
    electric shock which we receive in our hearts, and on the wings of electricity
    the liberated soul flies away swiftly, the light from the sun travels to our
    earth ninety-five millions of miles in eight minutes and a few seconds; but on
    the wings of electricity, the mind requires only a second to accomplish the
    same distance. The space between the heavenly bodies is, to thought, no farther
    than the distance which we may have to walk from one friend’s house to another
    in the same town; yet this electric shock obliges us to use our bodies here
    below, unless, like the watchman, we have on the goloshes of Fortune.

    In a very few seconds the watchman had travelled more than
    two hundred thousand miles to the moon, which is formed of a lighter material
    than our earth, and may be said to be as soft as new fallen snow. He found
    himself on one of the circular range of mountains which we see represented in
    Dr. Madler’s large map of the moon. The interior had the appearance of a large
    hollow, bowl-shaped, with a depth about half a mile from the brim. Within this
    hollow stood a large town; we may form some idea of its appearance by pouring
    the white of an egg into a glass of water. The materials of which it was built
    seemed just as soft, and pictured forth cloudy turrets and sail-like terraces,
    quite transparent, and floating in the thin air. Our earth hung over his head
    like a great dark red ball. Presently he discovered a number of beings, which
    might certainly be called men, but were very different to ourselves. A more
    fantastical imagination than Herschel’s must have discovered these. Had they
    been placed in groups, and painted, it might have been said, “What
    beautiful foliage!” They had also a language of their own. No one could
    have expected the soul of the watchman to understand it, and yet he did
    understand it, for our souls have much greater capabilities then we are
    inclined to believe. Do we not, in our dreams, show a wonderful dramatic
    talent? each of our acquaintance appears to us then in his own character, and
    with his own voice; no man could thus imitate them in his waking hours. How
    clearly, too, we are reminded of persons whom we have not seen for many years;
    they start up suddenly to the mind’s eye with all their peculiarities as living
    realities. In fact, this memory of the soul is a fearful thing; every sin,
    every sinful thought it can bring back, and we may well ask how we are to give
    account of “every idle word” that may have been whispered in the
    heart or uttered with the lips. The spirit of the watchman therefore understood
    very well the language of the inhabitants of the moon. They were disputing
    about our earth, and doubted whether it could be inhabited. The atmosphere,
    they asserted, must be too dense for any inhabitants of the moon to exist
    there. They maintained that the moon alone was inhabited, and was really the
    heavenly body in which the old world people lived. They likewise talked
    politics.

    But now we will descend to East Street, and see what
    happened to the watchman’s body. He sat lifeless on the steps. His staff had
    fallen out of his hand, and his eyes stared at the moon, about which his honest
    soul was wandering.

    “What is it o’clock, watchman?” inquired a
    passenger. But there was no answer from the watchman.

    The man then pulled his nose gently, which caused him to
    lose his balance. The body fell forward, and lay at full length on the ground
    as one dead.

    All his comrades were very much frightened, for he seemed
    quite dead; still they allowed him to remain after they had given notice of
    what had happened; and at dawn the body was carried to the hospital. We might
    imagine it to be no jesting matter if the soul of the man should chance to
    return to him, for most probably it would seek for the body in East Street
    without being able to find it. We might fancy the soul inquiring of the police,
    or at the address office, or among the missing parcels, and then at length
    finding it at the hospital. But we may comfort ourselves by the certainty that
    the soul, when acting upon its own impulses, is wiser than we are; it is the
    body that makes it stupid.

    As we have said, the watchman’s body had been taken to the
    hospital, and here it was placed in a room to be washed. Naturally, the first
    thing done here was to take off the goloshes, upon which the soul was instantly
    obliged to return, and it took the direct road to the body at once, and in a
    few seconds the man’s life returned to him. He declared, when he quite
    recovered himself, that this had been the most dreadful night he had ever
    passed; not for a hundred pounds would he go through such feelings again.
    However, it was all over now.

    The same day he was allowed to leave, but the goloshes
    remained at the hospital.

    The Eventful Moment—a Most Unusual Journey

    EVERY inhabitant of Copenhagen knows what
    the entrance to Frederick’s Hospital is like; but as most probably a few of
    those who read this little tale may not reside in Copenhagen, we will give a
    short description of it.

    The hospital is separated from the street by an iron
    railing, in which the bars stand so wide apart that, it is said, some very slim
    patients have squeezed through, and gone to pay little visits in the town. The
    most difficult part of the body to get through was the head; and in this case,
    as it often happens in the world, the small heads were the most fortunate. This
    will serve as sufficient introduction to our tale. One of the young volunteers,
    of whom, physically speaking, it might be said that he had a great head, was on
    guard that evening at the hospital. The rain was pouring down, yet, in spite of
    these two obstacles, he wanted to go out just for a quarter of an hour; it was
    not worth while, he thought, to make a confidant of the porter, as he could
    easily slip through the iron railings. There lay the goloshes, which the
    watchman had forgotten. It never occurred to him that these could be goloshes
    of Fortune. They would be very serviceable to him in this rainy weather, so he
    drew them on. Now came the question whether he could squeeze through the
    palings; he certainly had never tried, so he stood looking at them. “I
    wish to goodness my head was through,” said he, and instantly, though it
    was so thick and large, it slipped through quite easily. The goloshes answered
    that purpose very well, but his body had to follow, and this was impossible.
    “I am too fat,” he said; “I thought my head would be the
    worst, but I cannot get my body through, that is certain.” Then he tried
    to pull his head back again, but without success; he could move his neck about
    easily enough, and that was all. His first feeling was one of anger, and then
    his spirits sank below zero. The goloshes of Fortune had placed him in this
    terrible position, and unfortunately it never occurred to him to wish himself
    free. No, instead of wishing he kept twisting about, yet did not stir from the
    spot. The rain poured, and not a creature could be seen in the street. The
    porter’s bell he was unable to reach, and however was he to get loose! He
    foresaw that he should have to stay there till morning, and then they must send
    for a smith to file away the iron bars, and that would be a work of time. All
    the charity children would just be going to school: and all the sailors who
    inhabited that quarter of the town would be there to see him standing in the
    pillory. What a crowd there would be. “Ha,” he cried, “the
    blood is rushing to my head, and I shall go mad. I believe I am crazy already;
    oh, I wish I were free, then all these sensations would pass off.” This
    is just what he ought to have said at first. The moment he had expressed the
    thought his head was free. He started back, quite bewildered with the fright
    which the goloshes of Fortune had caused him. But we must not suppose it was
    all over; no, indeed, there was worse to come yet. The night passed, and the
    whole of the following day; but no one sent for the goloshes. In the evening a
    declamatory performance was to take place at the amateur theatre in a distant
    street. The house was crowded; among the audience was the young volunteer from
    the hospital, who seemed to have quite forgotten his adventures of the previous
    evening. He had on the goloshes; they had not been sent for, and as the streets
    were still very dirty, they were of great service to him. A new poem, entitled
    “My Aunt’s Spectacles,” was being recited. It described these
    spectacles as possessing a wonderful power; if any one put them on in a large
    assembly the people appeared like cards, and the future events of ensuing years
    could be easily foretold by them. The idea struck him that he should very much
    like to have such a pair of spectacles; for, if used rightly, they would
    perhaps enable him to see into the hearts of people, which he thought would be
    more interesting than to know what was going to happen next year; for future
    events would be sure to show themselves, but the hearts of people never.
    “I can fancy what I should see in the whole row of ladies and gentlemen
    on the first seat, if I could only look into their hearts; that lady, I
    imagine, keeps a store for things of all descriptions; how my eyes would wander
    about in that collection; with many ladies I should no doubt find a large
    millinery establishment. There is another that is perhaps empty, and would be
    all the better for cleaning out. There may be some well stored with good
    articles. Ah, yes,” he sighed, “I know one, in which everything is
    solid, but a servant is there already, and that is the only thing against it. I
    dare say from many I should hear the words, ‘Please to walk in.’ I
    only wish I could slip into the hearts like a little tiny thought.” This
    was the word of command for the goloshes. The volunteer shrunk up together, and
    commenced a most unusual journey through the hearts of the spectators in the
    first row. The first heart he entered was that of a lady, but he thought he
    must have got into one of the rooms of an orthopedic institution where plaster
    casts of deformed limbs were hanging on the walls, with this difference, that
    the casts in the institution are formed when the patient enters, but here they
    were formed and preserved after the good people had left. These were casts of
    the bodily and mental deformities of the lady’s female friends carefully
    preserved. Quickly he passed into another heart, which had the appearance of a
    spacious, holy church, with the white dove of innocence fluttering over the
    altar. Gladly would he have fallen on his knees in such a sacred place; but he
    was carried on to another heart, still, however, listening to the tones of the
    organ, and feeling himself that he had become another and a better man. The
    next heart was also a sanctuary, which he felt almost unworthy to enter; it
    represented a mean garret, in which lay a sick mother; but the warm sunshine
    streamed through the window, lovely roses bloomed in a little flowerbox on the
    roof, two blue birds sang of childlike joys, and the sick mother prayed for a
    blessing on her daughter. Next he crept on his hands and knees through an
    overfilled butcher’s shop; there was meat, nothing but meat, wherever he
    stepped; this was the heart of a rich, respectable man, whose name is doubtless
    in the directory. Then he entered the heart of this man’s wife; it was an old,
    tumble-down pigeon-house; the husband’s portrait served as a weather-cock; it
    was connected with all the doors, which opened and shut just as the husband’s
    decision turned. The next heart was a complete cabinet of mirrors, such as can
    be seen in the Castle of Rosenberg. But these mirrors magnified in an
    astonishing degree; in the middle of the floor sat, like the Grand Lama, the
    insignificant I of the owner, astonished at the contemplation of his own
    features. At his next visit he fancied he must have got into a narrow
    needlecase, full of sharp needles: “Oh,” thought he, “this
    must be the heart of an old maid;” but such was not the fact; it belonged
    to a young officer, who wore several orders, and was said to be a man of
    intellect and heart.

    The poor volunteer came out of the last heart in the row
    quite bewildered. He could not collect his thoughts, and imagined his foolish
    fancies had carried him away. “Good gracious!” he sighed, “I
    must have a tendency to softening of the brain, and here it is so exceedingly
    hot that the blood is rushing to my head.” And then suddenly recurred to
    him the strange event of the evening before, when his head had been fixed
    between the iron railings in front of the hospital. “That is the cause of
    it all!” he exclaimed, “I must do something in time. A Russian bath
    would be a very good thing to begin with. I wish I were lying on one of the
    highest shelves.” Sure enough, there he lay on an upper shelf of a vapor
    bath, still in his evening costume, with his boots and goloshes on, and the hot
    drops from the ceiling falling on his face. “Ho!” he cried, jumping
    down and rushing towards the plunging bath. The attendant stopped him with a
    loud cry, when he saw a man with all his clothes on. The volunteer had,
    however, presence of mind enough to whisper, “It is for a wager;”
    but the first thing he did, when he reached his own room, was to put a large
    blister on his neck, and another on his back, that his crazy fit might be
    cured. The next morning his back was very sore, which was all he gained by the
    goloshes of Fortune.

    The Clerk’s Transformation

    THE watchman, whom we of course have not
    forgotten, thought, after a while, of the goloshes which he had found and taken
    to the hospital; so he went and fetched them. But neither the lieutenant nor
    any one in the street could recognize them as their own, so he gave them up to
    the police. “They look exactly like my own goloshes,” said one of
    the clerks, examining the unknown articles, as they stood by the side of his
    own. “It would require even more than the eye of a shoemaker to know one
    pair from the other.”

    “Master clerk,” said a servant who entered with
    some papers. The clerk turned and spoke to the man; but when he had done with
    him, he turned to look at the goloshes again, and now he was in greater doubt
    than ever as to whether the pair on the right or on the left belonged to him.
    “Those that are wet must be mine,” thought he; but he thought
    wrong, it was just the reverse. The goloshes of Fortune were the wet pair; and,
    besides, why should not a clerk in a police office be wrong sometimes? So he
    drew them on, thrust his papers into his pocket, placed a few manuscripts under
    his arm, which he had to take with him, and to make abstracts from at home.
    Then, as it was Sunday morning and the weather very fine, he said to himself,
    “A walk to Fredericksburg will do me good:” so away he went.

    There could not be a quieter or more steady young man than
    this clerk. We will not grudge him this little walk, it was just the thing to
    do him good after sitting so much. He went on at first like a mere automaton,
    without thought or wish; therefore the goloshes had no opportunity to display
    their magic power. In the avenue he met with an acquaintance, one of our young
    poets, who told him that he intended to start on the following day on a summer
    excursion. “Are you really going away so soon?” asked the clerk.
    “What a free, happy man you are. You can roam about where you will, while
    such as we are tied by the foot.”

    “But it is fastened to the bread-tree,” replied
    the poet. “You need have no anxiety for the morrow; and when you are old
    there is a pension for you.”

    “Ah, yes; but you have the best of it,” said the
    clerk; “it must be so delightful to sit and write poetry. The whole world
    makes itself agreeable to you, and then you are your own master. You should try
    how you would like to listen to all the trivial things in a court of
    justice.” The poet shook his head, so also did the clerk; each retained
    his own opinion, and so they parted. “They are strange people, these
    poets,” thought the clerk. “I should like to try what it is to have
    a poetic taste, and to become a poet myself. I am sure I should not write such
    mournful verses as they do. This is a splendid spring day for a poet, the air
    is so remarkably clear, the clouds are so beautiful, and the green grass has
    such a sweet smell. For many years I have not felt as I do at this
    moment.”

    We perceive, by these remarks, that he had already become a
    poet. By most poets what he had said would be considered common-place, or as
    the Germans call it, “insipid.” It is a foolish fancy to look upon
    poets as different to other men. There are many who are more the poets of
    nature than those who are professed poets. The difference is this, the poet’s
    intellectual memory is better; he seizes upon an idea or a sentiment, until he
    can embody it, clearly and plainly in words, which the others cannot do. But
    the transition from a character of every-day life to one of a more gifted
    nature is a great transition; and so the clerk became aware of the change after
    a time. “What a delightful perfume,” said he; “it reminds me
    of the violets at Aunt Lora’s. Ah, that was when I was a little boy. Dear me,
    how long it seems since I thought of those days! She was a good old maiden
    lady! she lived yonder, behind the Exchange. She always had a sprig or a few
    blossoms in water, let the winter be ever so severe. I could smell the violets,
    even while I was placing warm penny pieces against the frozen panes to make
    peep-holes, and a pretty view it was on which I peeped. Out in the river lay
    the ships, icebound, and forsaken by their crews; a screaming crow represented
    the only living creature on board. But when the breezes of spring came,
    everything started into life. Amidst shouting and cheers the ships were tarred
    and rigged, and then they sailed to foreign lands.”

    “I remain here, and always shall remain, sitting at my
    post at the police office, and letting others take passports to distant lands.
    Yes, this is my fate,” and he sighed deeply. Suddenly he paused.
    “Good gracious, what has come over me? I never felt before as I do now;
    it must be the air of spring. It is overpowering, and yet it is
    delightful.”

    He felt in his pockets for some of his papers. “These
    will give me something else to think of,” said he. Casting his eyes on
    the first page of one, he read, “‘Mistress Sigbirth; an original
    Tragedy, in Five Acts.’ What is this?—in my own handwriting, too!
    Have I written this tragedy?” He read again, “‘The Intrigue
    on the Promenade; or, the Fast-Day. A Vaudeville.’ However did I get all
    this? Some one must have put them into my pocket. And here is a letter!”
    It was from the manager of a theatre; the pieces were rejected, not at all in
    polite terms.

    “Hem, hem!” said he, sitting down on a bench;
    his thoughts were very elastic, and his heart softened strangely. Involuntarily
    he seized one of the nearest flowers; it was a little, simple daisy. All that
    botanists can say in many lectures was explained in a moment by this little
    flower. It spoke of the glory of its birth; it told of the strength of the
    sunlight, which had caused its delicate leaves to expand, and given to it such
    sweet perfume. The struggles of life which arouse sensations in the bosom have
    their type in the tiny flowers. Air and light are the lovers of the flowers,
    but light is the favored one; towards light it turns, and only when light
    vanishes does it fold its leaves together, and sleep in the embraces of the
    air.”

    “It is light that adorns me,” said the
    flower.

    “But the air gives you the breath of life,”
    whispered the poet.

    Just by him stood a boy, splashing with his stick in a
    marshy ditch. The water-drops spurted up among the green twigs, and the clerk
    thought of the millions of animalculae which were thrown into the air with
    every drop of water, at a height which must be the same to them as it would be
    to us if we were hurled beyond the clouds. As the clerk thought of all these
    things, and became conscious of the great change in his own feelings, he
    smiled, and said to himself, “I must be asleep and dreaming; and yet, if
    so, how wonderful for a dream to be so natural and real, and to know at the
    same time too that it is but a dream. I hope I shall be able to remember it all
    when I wake tomorrow. My sensations seem most unaccountable. I have a clear
    perception of everything as if I were wide awake. I am quite sure if I
    recollect all this tomorrow, it will appear utterly ridiculous and absurd. I
    have had this happen to me before. It is with the clever or wonderful things we
    say or hear in dreams, as with the gold which comes from under the earth, it is
    rich and beautiful when we possess it, but when seen in a true light it is but
    as stones and withered leaves.”

    “Ah!” he sighed mournfully, as he gazed at the
    birds singing merrily, or hopping from branch to branch, “they are much
    better off than I. Flying is a glorious power. Happy is he who is born with
    wings. Yes, if I could change myself into anything I would be a little
    lark.” At the same moment his coat-tails and sleeves grew together and
    formed wings, his clothes changed to feathers, and his goloshes to claws. He
    felt what was taking place, and laughed to himself. “Well, now it is
    evident I must be dreaming; but I never had such a wild dream as this.”
    And then he flew up into the green boughs and sang, but there was no poetry in
    the song, for his poetic nature had left him. The goloshes, like all persons
    who wish to do a thing thoroughly, could only attend to one thing at a time. He
    wished to be a poet, and he became one. Then he wanted to be a little bird, and
    in this change he lost the characteristics of the former one.
    “Well,” thought he, “this is charming; by day I sit in a
    police-office, amongst the dryest law papers, and at night I can dream that I
    am a lark, flying about in the gardens of Fredericksburg. Really a complete
    comedy could be written about it.” Then he flew down into the grass,
    turned his head about in every direction, and tapped his beak on the bending
    blades of grass, which, in proportion to his size, seemed to him as long as the
    palm-leaves in northern Africa.

    In another moment all was darkness around him. It seemed as
    if something immense had been thrown over him. A sailor boy had flung his large
    cap over the bird, and a hand came underneath and caught the clerk by the back
    and wings so roughly, that he squeaked, and then cried out in his alarm,
    “You impudent rascal, I am a clerk in the police-office!” but it
    only sounded to the boy like “tweet, tweet;” so he tapped the bird
    on the beak, and walked away with him. In the avenue he met two school-boys,
    who appeared to belong to a better class of society, but whose inferior
    abilities kept them in the lowest class at school. These boys bought the bird
    for eightpence, and so the clerk returned to Copenhagen. “It is well for
    me that I am dreaming,” he thought; “otherwise I should become
    really angry. First I was a poet, and now I am a lark. It must have been the
    poetic nature that changed me into this little creature. It is a miserable
    story indeed, especially now I have fallen into the hands of boys. I wonder
    what will be the end of it.” The boys carried him into a very elegant
    room, where a stout, pleasant-looking lady received them, but she was not at
    all gratified to find that they had brought a lark—a common field-bird as
    she called it. However, she allowed them for one day to place the bird in an
    empty cage that hung near the window. “It will please Polly
    perhaps,” she said, laughing at a large gray parrot, who was swinging
    himself proudly on a ring in a handsome brass cage. “It is Polly’s
    birthday,” she added in a simpering tone, “and the little
    field-bird has come to offer his congratulations.”

    Polly did not answer a single word, he continued to swing
    proudly to and fro; but a beautiful canary, who had been brought from his own
    warm, fragrant fatherland, the summer previous, began to sing as loud as he
    could.

    “You screamer!” said the lady, throwing a white
    handkerchief over the cage.

    “Tweet, tweet,” sighed he, “what a
    dreadful snowstorm!” and then he became silent.

    The clerk, or as the lady called him the field-bird, was
    placed in a little cage close to the canary, and not far from the parrot. The
    only human speech which Polly could utter, and which she sometimes chattered
    forth most comically, was “Now let us be men.” All besides was a
    scream, quite as unintelligible as the warbling of the canary-bird, excepting
    to the clerk, who being now a bird, could understand his comrades very
    well.

    “I flew beneath green palm-trees, and amidst the
    blooming almond-trees,” sang the canary. “I flew with my brothers
    and sisters over beautiful flowers, and across the clear, bright sea, which
    reflected the waving foliage in its glittering depths; and I have seen many gay
    parrots, who could relate long and delightful stories.”

    “They were wild birds,” answered the parrot,
    “and totally uneducated. Now let us be men. Why do you not laugh? If the
    lady and her visitors can laugh at this, surely you can. It is a great failing
    not to be able to appreciate what is amusing. Now let us be men.”

    “Do you remember,” said the canary, “the
    pretty maidens who used to dance in the tents that were spread out beneath the
    sweet blossoms? Do you remember the delicious fruit and the cooling juice from
    the wild herbs?”

    “Oh, yes,” said the parrot; “but here I am
    much better off. I am well fed, and treated politely. I know that I have a
    clever head; and what more do I want? Let us be men now. You have a soul for
    poetry. I have deep knowledge and wit. You have genius, but no discretion. You
    raise your naturally high notes so much, that you get covered over. They never
    serve me so. Oh, no; I cost them something more than you. I keep them in order
    with my beak, and fling my wit about me. Now let us be men.”

    “O my warm, blooming fatherland,” sang the
    canary bird, “I will sing of thy dark-green trees and thy quiet streams,
    where the bending branches kiss the clear, smooth water. I will sing of the joy
    of my brothers and sisters, as their shining plumage flits among the dark
    leaves of the plants which grow wild by the springs.”

    “Do leave off those dismal strains,” said the
    parrot; “sing something to make us laugh; laughter is the sign of the
    highest order of intellect. Can a dog or a horse laugh? No, they can cry; but
    to man alone is the power of laughter given. Ha! ha! ha!” laughed Polly,
    and repeated his witty saying, “Now let us be men.”

    “You little gray Danish bird,” said the canary,
    “you also have become a prisoner. It is certainly cold in your forests,
    but still there is liberty there. Fly out! they have forgotten to close the
    cage, and the window is open at the top. Fly, fly!”

    Instinctively, the clerk obeyed, and left the cage; at the
    same moment the half-opened door leading into the next room creaked on its
    hinges, and, stealthily, with green fiery eyes, the cat crept in and chased the
    lark round the room. The canary-bird fluttered in his cage, and the parrot
    flapped his wings and cried, “Let us be men;” the poor clerk, in
    the most deadly terror, flew through the window, over the houses, and through
    the streets, till at length he was obliged to seek a resting-place. A house
    opposite to him had a look of home. A window stood open; he flew in, and
    perched upon the table. It was his own room. “Let us be men now,”
    said he, involuntarily imitating the parrot; and at the same moment he became a
    clerk again, only that he was sitting on the table. “Heaven preserve
    us!” said he; “How did I get up here and fall asleep in this way?
    It was an uneasy dream too that I had. The whole affair appears most
    absurd.”

    The Best Thing the Goloshes Did

    EARLY on the following morning, while the
    clerk was still in bed, his neighbor, a young divinity student, who lodged on
    the same storey, knocked at his door, and then walked in. “Lend me your
    goloshes,” said he; “it is so wet in the garden, but the sun is
    shining brightly. I should like to go out there and smoke my pipe.” He
    put on the goloshes, and was soon in the garden, which contained only one
    plum-tree and one apple-tree; yet, in a town, even a small garden like this is
    a great advantage.

    The student wandered up and down the path; it was just six
    o’clock, and he could hear the sound of the post-horn in the street.
    “Oh, to travel, to travel!” cried he; “there is no greater
    happiness in the world: it is the height of my ambition. This restless feeling
    would be stilled, if I could take a journey far away from this country. I
    should like to see beautiful Switzerland, to travel through Italy,
    and,”—It was well for him that the goloshes acted immediately,
    otherwise he might have been carried too far for himself as well as for us. In
    a moment he found himself in Switzerland, closely packed with eight others in
    the diligence. His head ached, his back was stiff, and the blood had ceased to
    circulate, so that his feet were swelled and pinched by his boots. He wavered
    in a condition between sleeping and waking. In his right-hand pocket he had a
    letter of credit; in his left-hand pocket was his passport; and a few louis
    d’ors were sewn into a little leather bag which he carried in his
    breast-pocket. Whenever he dozed, he dreamed that he had lost one or another of
    these possessions; then he would awake with a start, and the first movements of
    his hand formed a triangle from his right-hand pocket to his breast, and from
    his breast to his left-hand pocket, to feel whether they were all safe.
    Umbrellas, sticks, and hats swung in the net before him, and almost obstructed
    the prospect, which was really very imposing; and as he glanced at it, his
    memory recalled the words of one poet at least, who has sung of Switzerland,
    and whose poems have not yet been printed:—

    “How lovely to my wondering eyes

    Mont Blanc’s fair summits gently rise;

    ’Tis sweet to breathe the mountain air,—

    If you have gold enough to spare.”

    Grand, dark, and gloomy appeared the landscape around him. The pine-forests
    looked like little groups of moss on high rocks, whose summits were lost in
    clouds of mist. Presently it began to snow, and the wind blew keen and cold.
    “Ah,” he sighed, “if I were only on the other side of the
    Alps now, it would be summer, and I should be able to get money on my letter of
    credit. The anxiety I feel on this matter prevents me from enjoying myself in
    Switzerland. Oh, I wish I was on the other side of the Alps.”

    And there, in a moment, he found himself, far away in the
    midst of Italy, between Florence and Rome, where the lake Thrasymene glittered
    in the evening sunlight like a sheet of molten gold between the dark blue
    mountains. There, where Hannibal defeated Flaminius, the grape vines clung to
    each other with the friendly grasp of their green tendril fingers; while, by
    the wayside, lovely half-naked children were watching a herd of coal-black
    swine under the blossoms of fragrant laurel. Could we rightly describe this
    picturesque scene, our readers would exclaim, “Delightful
    Italy!”

    But neither the student nor either of his travelling
    companions felt the least inclination to think of it in this way. Poisonous
    flies and gnats flew into the coach by thousands. In vain they drove them away
    with a myrtle branch, the flies stung them notwithstanding. There was not a man
    in the coach whose face was not swollen and disfigured with the stings. The
    poor horses looked wretched; the flies settled on their backs in swarms, and
    they were only relieved when the coachmen got down and drove the creatures
    off.

    As the sun set, an icy coldness filled all nature, not
    however of long duration. It produced the feeling which we experience when we
    enter a vault at a funeral, on a summer’s day; while the hills and the clouds
    put on that singular green hue which we often notice in old paintings, and look
    upon as unnatural until we have ourselves seen nature’s coloring in the south.
    It was a glorious spectacle; but the stomachs of the travellers were empty,
    their bodies exhausted with fatigue, and all the longings of their heart turned
    towards a resting-place for the night; but where to find one they knew not.
    All the eyes were too eagerly seeking for this resting-place, to notice the
    beauties of nature.

    The road passed through a grove of olive-trees; it reminded
    the student of the willow-trees at home. Here stood a lonely inn, and close by
    it a number of crippled beggars had placed themselves; the brightest among them
    looked, to quote the words of Marryat, “like the eldest son of Famine who
    had just come of age.” The others were either blind, or had withered
    legs, which obliged them to creep about on their hands and knees, or they had
    shrivelled arms and hands without fingers. It was indeed poverty arrayed in
    rags. “Eccellenza, miserabili!” they exclaimed, stretching
    forth their diseased limbs. The hostess received the travellers with bare feet,
    untidy hair, and a dirty blouse. The doors were fastened together with string;
    the floors of the rooms were of brick, broken in many places; bats flew about
    under the roof; and as to the odor within—

    “Let us have supper laid in the stable,” said
    one of the travellers; “then we shall know what we are
    breathing.”

    The windows were opened to let in a little fresh air, but
    quicker than air came in the withered arms and the continual whining sounds,
    “Miserabili, eccellenza”. On the walls were inscriptions,
    half of them against “la bella Italia.”

    The supper made its appearance at last. It consisted of
    watery soup, seasoned with pepper and rancid oil. This last delicacy played a
    principal part in the salad. Musty eggs and roasted cocks’-combs were the best
    dishes on the table; even the wine had a strange taste, it was certainly a
    mixture. At night, all the boxes were placed against the doors, and one of the
    travellers watched while the others slept. The student’s turn came to watch.
    How close the air felt in that room; the heat overpowered him. The gnats were
    buzzing about and stinging, while the miserabili, outside, moaned in
    their dreams.

    “Travelling would be all very well,” said the
    student of divinity to himself, “if we had no bodies, or if the body
    could rest while the soul if flying. Wherever I go I feel a want which
    oppresses my heart, for something better presents itself at the moment; yes,
    something better, which shall be the best of all; but where is that to be
    found? In fact, I know in my heart very well what I want. I wish to attain the
    greatest of all happiness.”

    No sooner were the words spoken than he was at home. Long
    white curtains shaded the windows of his room, and in the middle of the floor
    stood a black coffin, in which he now lay in the still sleep of death; his wish
    was fulfilled, his body was at rest, and his spirit travelling.

    “Esteem no man happy until he is in his grave,”
    were the words of Solon. Here was a strong fresh proof of their truth. Every
    corpse is a sphinx of immortality. The sphinx in this sarcophagus might unveil
    its own mystery in the words which the living had himself written two days
    before—

    “Stern death, thy chilling silence waketh dread;

    Yet in thy darkest hour there may be light.

    Earth’s garden reaper! from the grave’s cold bed

    The soul on Jacob’s ladder takes her flight.


    Man’s greatest sorrows often are a part

    Of hidden griefs, concealed from human eyes,

    Which press far heavier on the lonely heart

    Than now the earth that on his coffin lies.”

    Two figures were moving about the room; we know them both.
    One was the fairy named Care, the other the messenger of Fortune. They bent
    over the dead.

    “Look!” said Care; “what happiness have
    your goloshes brought to mankind?”

    “They have at least brought lasting happiness to him
    who slumbers here,” she said.

    “Not so,” said Care, “he went away of
    himself, he was not summoned. His mental powers were not strong enough to
    discern the treasures which he had been destined to discover. I will do him a
    favor now.” And she drew the goloshes from his feet.

    The sleep of death was ended, and the recovered man raised
    himself. Care vanished, and with her the goloshes; doubtless she looked upon
    them as her own property.



    1. He died in 1513. He married Christine, daughter of the
      Electoral Prince Ernest of Saxony.
    2. An evening paper in Copenhagen.
    3. In the time of king Hans, chambermaids were obliged to wear
      caps of two colors.