Hans Christian Andersen
The Dream of Little Tuk
AH! yes, that was little Tuk: in reality his name was not Tuk, but that was what he called himself before he could speak plain: he meant it for Charles, and it is all well enough if one does but know it. He had now to take care of his little sister Augusta, who was much younger than himself, and he was, besides, to learn his lesson at the same time; but these two things would not do together at all. There sat the poor little fellow, with his sister on his lap, and he sang to her all the songs he knew; and he glanced the while from time to time into the geography-book that lay open before him. By the next morning he was to have learnt all the towns in Zealand by heart, and to know about them all that is possible to be known.
His mother now came home, for she had been out, and took little Augusta on her arm. Tuk ran quickly to the window, and read so eagerly that he pretty nearly read his eyes out; for it got darker and darker, but his mother had no money to buy a candle.
"There goes the old washerwoman over the way," said his mother, as she looked out of the window. "The poor woman can hardly drag herself along, and she must now drag the pail home from the fountain. Be a good boy, Tukey, and run across and help the old woman, won't you?"
So Tuk ran over quickly and helped her; but when he came
back again into the room it was quite dark, and as to a light, there was
no thought of such a thing. He was now to go to bed; that was an old turn-up
bedstead; in it he lay and thought about his geography lesson, and of
Zealand, and of all that his master had told him. He ought, to be sure,
to have read over his lesson again,
"Kickery-ki! kluk! kluk! kluk!"--that was an old hen who came creeping along, and she was from Kjoge. "I am a Kjoger hen," said she, and then she related how many inhabitants there were there, and about the battle that had taken place, and which, after all, was hardly worth talking about.
"Kribledy, krabledy--plump!" down fell somebody: it was a wooden bird, the popinjay used at the shooting-matches at Prastoe. Now he said that there were just as many inhabitants as he had nails in his body; and he was very proud. "Thorwaldsen lived almost next door to me. Plump! Here I lie capitally."
But little Tuk was no longer lying down: all at once
he was on horseback. On he went at full gallop, still galloping on and
on. A knight with a gleaming plume, and most magnificently dressed, held
him before him on the horse, and thus they rode through the wood to the
old town of Bordingborg, and that was a large and very lively town. High
towers rose from the castle of the king, and
And little Tukey lay in his bed: it seemed to him as if he dreamed, and yet as if he were not dreaming; however, somebody was close beside him.
"Little Tukey! Little Tukey!" cried someone near. It was a seaman, quite a little personage, so little as if he were a midshipman; but a midshipman it was not.
"Many remembrances from Corsor. That is a town that is just rising into importance; a lively town that has steam-boats and stagecoaches: formerly people called it ugly, but that is no longer true. I lie on the sea," said Corsor; "I have high roads and gardens, and I have given birth to a poet who was witty and amusing, which all poets are not. I once intended to equip a ship that was to sail all round the earth; but I did not do it, although I could have done so: and then, too, I smell so deliciously, for close before the gate bloom the most beautiful roses."
Little Tuk looked, and all was red and green before his
eyes; but as soon as the confusion of colors was somewhat over, all of
a sudden there appeared a wooded slope close to the bay, and high up above
stood a magnificent old church, with two high pointed towers. From out
the hill-side spouted fountains in thick streams of water, so that there
was a continual splashing; and close
Again all suddenly disappeared. Yes, and whither? It
seemed to him just as if one turned over a leaf in a book. And now stood
there an old peasant-woman, who came from Soroe, where grass grows in
the market-place. She had an old grey linen apron hanging over her head
and back: it was so wet, it certainly
When she spoke it sounded just like the noise of frogs, or as if one walked with great boots over a moor; always the same tone, so uniform and so tiring that little Tuk fell into a good sound sleep, which, by the bye, could not do him any harm.
But even in this sleep there came a dream, or whatever else it was: his little sister Augusta, she with the blue eyes and the fair curling hair, was suddenly a tall, beautiful girl, and without having wings was yet able to fly; and she now flew over Zealand--over the green woods and the blue lakes.
"Do you hear the cock crow, Tukey? Cock-a-doodle-doo!
The cocks are flying up from Kjoge! You will have a farm-yard, so large,
oh! so very large! You will suffer neither hunger nor thirst! You will
get on in the world! You will be a rich and happy man! Your house will
exalt itself like King Waldemar's tower, and will be richly decorated
with marble statues, like that at Prastoe. You
"Do not forget the diet!" said King Hroar.
"Then you will speak well and wisely, little Tukey; and when at last you sink into your grave, you shall sleep as quietly--"
"As if I lay in Soroe," said Tuk, awaking. It was bright day, and he was now quite unable to call to mind his dream; that, however, was not at all necessary, for one may not know what the future will bring.
And out of bed he jumped, and read in his book, and now all at once he knew his whole lesson. And the old washerwoman popped her head in at the door, nodded to him friendly, and said, "Thanks, many thanks, my good child, for your help! May the good ever-loving God fulfil your loveliest dream!"
Little Tukey did not at all know what he had dreamed, but the loving God knew it.
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