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THERE' S nobody in the whole world who knows so many stories as Ole Luk-Oie . He can tell capital histories .

Well on in the evening, when the children still sit nicely at table, or upon their stools, Ole Luk-Oie comes. He comes up the stairs quite softly, for he walks in his socks: he opens the door noiselessly, and whisk ! he squirts sweet milk in the children' s eyes , a small , small stream, but enough to prevent them from keeping their eyes open; and thus they cannot see him. He creeps just among them, and blows softly upon their necks, and this makes their heads heavy . Yes ,but it doesn' t hurt them, for Ole Luk-Oie is very fond of the children; he only wants them to be quiet, and that they are not until they are taken to bed they are to be quiet that he may tell them stories .

When the children sleep, Ole Luk-Oie sits down upon their bed . He is well dressed : his coat is of silk, but it is impossible to say of what colour, for it shines red , green , and blue, according as he turns. Under each arm hecarries an umbrella: the one with pictures on it he spreads over the good children, and then they dream all night the most glorious stories; but on his other umbrella nothing at all is painted: this he spreads over the naughty children, and these sleep in a dull way , and when they awake in themorning they have not dreamed of anything.

Now we shall hear how Ole Luk-Oie, every evening through one whole week, came to a little boy named Hjalmar, and what he told him. There are seven stories, for there are seven days in the week .




“Listen,” said Ole Luk-Oie in the evening, when he had put Hjalmar to bed ; “now I' ll decorate . ” And all the flowers in the flower-pots became great trees , stretching out their long branches under the ceiling of the room and along the walls, so that the whole room looked like a beauteous bower; and all the twigs were covered with flowers , and each flower was more beautiful than a rose , and smelt so sweet that one wanted to eat it----it was sweeter than jam. The fruit gleamed like gold, and there were cakes bursting with raisins . It was incomparably beautiful . But at the same time a terrible wail sounded from the table drawer, where Hjalmar's school-book lay.

“Whatever can that be?” said Ole Luk-Oie; and he went to the table, and opened the drawer. It was the slate which was suffering from convulsions , for a wrong number had got into the sum, so that it was nearly falling in pieces; the slate pencil tugged and jumped at its string, as if it had been a little dog who wanted to help the sum; but he could not . And thus there was a great lamentation in Hjalmar' s copy-book; it was quite terrible to hear. On each page the great letters stood in a row, one underneath the other, and each with a little one at its side; that was the copy; and next to these were a few more letters which thought they looked just like the first; and these Hjalmar had written; but they lay down just as if they had tumbled over the pencil lines on which they were to stand.

“See , this is how you should hold yourselves , ” said the Copy . “ Look , sloping in this way , with a powerful swing!”

“Oh , we should be very glad to do that , ”

replied Hjalmar's Letters,“but we cannot;we are too weakly.”

“Then you must take medicine,” said Ole Luk-Oie.

“Oh,no,”cried they;and they immediately stood up so gracefully that it was beautiful to behold.

“Yes, now we cannot tell any stories,”said Ole Luk-Oie;“now I must exercise them.One, two! one, two! and thus he exercised the Letters; and they stood quite slender, and as beautiful as any copy can be. But when Ole Luk-Oie went away, and Hjalmar looked at them next morning, they were as weak and miserable as ever.




As soon as Hjalmar was in bed, Ole Luk-Oie touched all the furniture in the room with his little magic squirt, and they immediately began to converse together, and each one spoke of itself,with the exception of the spittoon, which stood silent, and was vexed that they should be so vain as to speak only of themselves, and think only of themselves, without any regard for him who stood so modestly in the corner for every one's use.

Over the chest of drawers hung a great picture in a gilt frame----it was a landscape. One saw therein large old trees,flowers in the grass,and a large lake with a river which flowed round about a forest,past many castles,and far out into the wide ocean.

Ole Luk-Oie touched the painting with his magic squirt, and the birds in it began to sing, the branches of the trees stirred, and the clouds began to move across it;one could see their shadows glide over the landscape.

Now Ole Luk-Oie lifted little Hjalmar up to the frame, and put the boy's feet into the picture,just in the high grass; and there he stood; and the sun shone upon him through the branches of the trees.He ran to the water, and seated himself in a little boat which lay there; it was painted red and white, the sails gleamed like silver,and six swans, each with a gold circlet round its neck and a bright blue star on its forehead,drew the boat past the great wood, where the trees told of robbers and witches,and the flowers told of the graceful little elves, and of what the butterflies had told them.

Gorgeous fishes, with scales like silver and gold,swam after their boat; sometimes they gave a spring, so that it splashed in the water; and birds, blue and red,little and great, flew after them in two long rows; the gnats danced, and the cockchafers said,“Boom! boom!”They all wanted to follow Hjalmar,and each one had a story to tell.

That was a pleasure voyage.Sometimes the forest was thick and dark,sometimes like a glorious garden full of sunlight and flowers;and there were great palaces of glass and of marble;on the balconies stood Princesses,and these were all little girls whom Hjalmar knew well----he had already played with them.Each one stretched forth her hand, and held out the prettiest sugar heart which ever a cake-woman could sell;and Hjalmar took hold of each sugar heart as he passed by, and the Princess held fast, so that each of them got a piece----she the smaller share, and Hjalmar the larger.At each palace little Princes stood sentry. They shouldered golden swords, and caused raisins and tin soldiers to shower down: one could see that they were real Princes.Sometimes Hjalmar sailed through forests,sometimes through great halls or through the midst of a town. He also came to the town where his nurse lived, who had carried him in her arms when he was quite a little boy, and who had always been so kind to him; and she nodded and beckoned,and sang the pretty verse she had made herself and had sent to Hjalmar.

I've loved thee, and kissed thee,Hjalmar, dear boy;

I've watched thee waking and sleeping;

May the good Lord guard thee in sorrow,in joy,

And have thee in His keeping.

And all the birds sang too, the flowers danced on their stalks, and the old trees nodded, just as if Ole LukOie had been telling stories to them.




How the rain was streaming down without!Hjalmar could hear it in his sleep; and when Ole Luk-Oie opened a window, the water stood right up to the window-sill:there was quite a lake outside, and a noble ship lay close by the house.

“If thou wilt sail with me,little Hjalmar,”said Ole Luk-Oie,“thou canst voyage tonight to foreign climes,and be back again tomorrow.”

And Hjalmar suddenly stood in his Sunday clothes upon the glorious ship,and immediately the weather became fine, and they sailed through the streets, and steered round by the church;and now everything was one great wild ocean. They sailed on until land was no longer to be seen, and they saw a number of storks, who also came from their home, and were travelling towards the hot countries:these storks flew in a row,one behind the other,and they had already flown far----far!One of them was so weary that his wings would scarcely carry him farther: he was the very last in the row, and soon remained a great way behind the rest; at last he sank,with outspread wings, deeper and deeper; he gave a few more strokes with his pinions, but it was of no use; now he touched the rigging of the ship with his feet, then he glided down from the sail, and----bump!----he stood upon the deck.

Now the cabin boy took him and put him into the hencoop with the Fowls, Ducks, and Turkeys;the poor Stork stood among them quite embarrassed.

“Just look at the fellow!”said all the Fowls.

And the Turkey-cock swelled himself up as much as ever he could, and asked the Stork who he was; and the Ducks walked backwards and quacked to each other,“Quackery! quackery!”

And the Stork told them of hot Africa, of the pyramids,and of the ostrich, which runs like a wild horse through the desert;but the Ducks did not understand what he said, and they said to one another:

“We're all of the same opinion, namely, that he's stupid.”

“Yes, certainly he's stupid,”said the Turkey-cock;and he gobbled.

Then the stork was quite silent,and thought of his Africa.

“Those are wonderful thin legs of yours,”said the Turkey-cock.“Pray, how much do they cost a yard?”

“Quack! quack! quack!”grinned all the Ducks;but the Stork pretended not to hear it at all.

“You May just as well laugh too,”said the Turkeycock to him,“for that was very wittily said.Or was it,perhaps, too high for you? Yes, yes, he isn't very penetrating.Let us continue to be interesting among ourselves.”

And the Hens clucked, and the Ducks quacked,“Gick!gack!gick! gack!”It was terrible how they made fun among themselves.

But Hjalmar went to the hencoop, opened the back door, and called to the Stork;and the Stork hopped out to him on to the deck.Now he had rested, and it seemed as if he nodded at Hjalmar, to thank him. Then he spread his wings, and flew away to the warm countries; but the Fowls clucked, and the Ducks quacked, and the Turkey-cock became fiery red in the face.

“Tomorrow we shall make soup of you,”said Hjalmar;and so saying he awoke, and was lying in his little bed. It was a wonderful journey that Ole Luk-Oie had caused him to take that night.”




“I tell you what,”said Ole Luk-Oie,“you must not be frightened.Here you shall see a little Mouse,”and he held out his hand with the pretty little creature in it.“It has come to invite you to a wedding. There are two little Mice here who are going to enter into the marriage state tonight. They live under the floor of your mother's storecloset: that is said to be a charming dwelling-place!”

“But how can I get through the little mouse-hole in the floor?”asked Hjalmar.

“Let me manage that,”said Ole Luk-Oie.“I will make you small.”

And he touched Hjalmar with his magic squirt, and the boy began to shrink and shrink, until he was not so long as a finger.


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