Posts Tagged ‘Hans Christian Andersen’

Down the Memory Lane. Visit to Odense, 2004



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Thumbelina- retold ©

Sorry. it is removed. Continue reading it in the Wow-Wow Tales-b

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The Red In My Wish List©

Hilda was eleven and she felt most disappointed with the family vacation. He mother had promised a red skirt the kind she had seen in a catalog. But the family vacation had begun and she was still in her old jeans. It was not red or mauve but blue. Her mother said it was best suited for travel. Blue Jeans was not what was in her wish list. It was red. It made her feel hurt.
All the way through the car ride she sat sulking.She did not like the picturesque scenery as the family drove down from Hagesund. She thought her siblings were left to her care just to annoy her.
On the way wherever her parents stopped over for refreshment and rest she could only think of the red skirt that had the most elegant cut she could ever imagine. The buttons and the pleated front were just made for wear. She had often seen herself in it. Now in all her clothes her mother had packed there was nothing red. It was very annoying. Two days and nights the family rode through and in the end they were in a villa by the sea.
The house was fully furnished. It belonged to a friend of his father.
The family of five soon settled in. All but Hilda. She was sore for the red skirt, pleated in front and with buttons and a belt all in red.
On the first day her father and mother shooed them to to the front garden and said,’Hilda, take good care of your little brothers.’
‘Without my red skirt, I shall not’ she said under her breath highly annoyed at the suggestion. At night after supper the family laid out board games. ‘Let us entertain ourselves,’ her mother said. Hilda scowled to see her brothers of eight and six giddily spread out to entertain themselves. ‘Without my red skirt I shall not be entertained’ she said making a face at her siblings.
Her mother coaxed her to join the group. ‘I shall read some book upstairs.’Hilda knew it would fool them. ‘I remember there are some nice books in the library.’
‘But be careful’ her father cautioned her while watching the evening news.
Her mother was sure she ought to look up some Danish authors. ‘In the fitness of things, Andersen’s tales you can read once again.’
‘In the fitness of things I should have had my red skirt,’ she muttered under her breath.
She had set her heart on the red skirt but how long it shall shut out everything else? Hilda had no answer because she was distracted by a cupboard that stood in the hall right next to the landing. It was done in mahogany and as high as her father. The door leaves were beautifully divided into three squares with designs in satin wood. Pilasters at both ends were lined with boxwood in-lay work. Age gave its character. Two doors were still in place and she tried to open. It effortlessly turned on its socket.
All she remember was that the cupboard smelt of sea and mysteries. She felt roar of the sea and smell of salt coming from far.
There were a couple of old knicknacks. Two cats with ribbon around their necks stood in one of the top compartments. She tiptoed and caught them. She said,’Is n’t time you went out into the night?’
But one cat slightly split at the seams and with one eye missing said,’ I shall let you go out quietly instead.’
She was most bewildered.’Why should I?’
The old cat was sure she was sure to come in and get into trouble. It said,’There are gypsies about. They shall surely carry you away.’
‘Of course not!’ she was certain. ‘Come and see yourself.’ the other cat purred. Hilda pulled up a stool and climbed on it to have a good look. Yes there was a picture of gypsies gadding about on the grass and some children by the stream spearing a few fishes. ‘It is true then, these children are the lost children.’ From the corner of eye she saw a fire lit up in one of the vans. Gradually the whole scene was taking on livelier colors and her eyes widened to see the van beginning to move.
‘Oho! Stop! She commanded running up to the horse drawn house. A man peeped out from within.’Children ought not be here.’ He said.
She went in front of the horses and said,’I am here. What are you going to do about it?’By then three boys of indeterminate age came with a basket of fresh catch.
She hailed one and asked,’Where are you from?’
‘Far down south’ one whimpered. Another took courage to step out from behind the first speaker,’We are the lost children.’ the second piped in.
Meanwhile the gypsy king accompanied by his wife and a brood of children came to her asking for the safe passage.
She scolded him roundly for trying to run away with all the lost children. She stamped her foot and said,’I shall not move an inch without freeing all these poor children.’Having said it without a shiver she felt good.’I can speak movingly when I am called to.’
She clapped her hands and said,’Begone you horse thieves!
If any child is ever lost I shall come hunting you down’ she harangued worthy of Joan of Arc. The gypsy king and the queen bowed in abject fear and ran for their lives leaving their caravan. She would have given a chase but she heard a fanfare and a train of riders all dressed in blue with golden lilies in their tunic. They stopped in front of her. One wight with long beard and cap trimmed with velvet took out a roll of paper. He read as an orator with proper gesticulations asking her to be the queen of the realm. ‘Whom am I speaking to?’
‘Master Gervais the first minister’
‘Why me?’
‘The people demand so.’ was his reply. She was mightily pleased that the people knew a real heroine when they saw one.
‘As a queen what do I do?’ she whispered into the ear of Gervais.
‘Lead us in wars against the Cummerbunds.’
She wanted to know who these people were. ‘Cummerbunds insist those who do not wear cummerbunds are less than human beings.’ Old Gervais said in welloiled tones she was a heroine to have defeated the Gypsies single handedly. She did not remember that war but in that wheedling tones of the First Minister she could take it was true. Just to be sure she needed proof. ‘Didn’t we take trophies? Spoils of the war?’ Hilda asked imperiously. The old Counselor nodded. She snapped her once and the old man blanched.
‘Bring the proof!’ she said somewhat annoyed.
Master Gervais came back with a bundle and laid it at her feet.
‘Open it!’
The bundle was unknotted in a trice and there lay the bandanas all red! ‘Like the red in my wish list!’
Master Gervaise smiled and he rubbed his bony hands in glee and said ‘Oh that as your finest hour, your Majesty. Gypsies all routed and their clothes dipped in their blood.’
‘The color of the clothes was something else?’
Master Gervaise took out one piece and it was still dripping and his brows darkened and he said, ‘These blood does not wash off easily.’
‘That is your concern! Do not trouble me with life of the downstairs.’ He just melted right in front of her hauteur. Hilda turned to say, ‘It’s time to attend to the lost children.’It was then she slipped and she cried,’ Ahhh!’
She looked all around in consternation if she was noticed.
And she saw her parents peering at her curiously. Her mother said she was expected to read the Andersen Stories that was by the bedside. ‘In the fitness of things, in Middlefart we read Hans Christain Andersen together’ her mother said.
Hilda made a grimace and muttered, ‘In the fitness of things, I should have had my red skirt with pleated front.’

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The Tinder Box-'the dog ran with the princess on his back'

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