Andersen's Fairy Tales HTML version
"I must tell you," said she, "that to-day is my birthday; and in honor of it, a pair of walking-
shoes or galoshes has been entrusted to me, which I am to carry to mankind. These shoes
possess the property of instantly transporting him who has them on to the place or the
period in which he most wishes to be; every wish, as regards time or place, or state of
being, will be immediately fulfilled, and so at last man will be happy, here below."
"Do you seriously believe it?" replied Care, in a severe tone of reproach. "No; he will be
very unhappy, and will assuredly bless the moment when he feels that he has freed himself
from the fatal shoes."
"Stupid nonsense!" said the other angrily. "I will put them here by the door. Some one will
make a mistake for certain and take the wrong ones--he will be a happy man."
Such was their conversation.
II. What Happened to the Councillor
It was late; Councillor Knap, deeply occupied with the times of King Hans, intended to go
home, and malicious Fate managed matters so that his feet, instead of finding their way to
his own galoshes, slipped into those of Fortune. Thus caparisoned the good man walked out
of the well-lighted rooms into East Street. By the magic power of the shoes he was carried
back to the times of King Hans; on which account his foot very naturally sank in the mud
and puddles of the street, there having been in those days no pavement in Copenhagen.
"Well! This is too bad! How dirty it is here!" sighed the Councillor. "As to a pavement, I
can find no traces of one, and all the lamps, it seems, have gone to sleep."
The moon was not yet very high; it was besides rather foggy, so that in the darkness all
objects seemed mingled in chaotic confusion. At the next corner hung a votive lamp before
a Madonna, but the light it gave was little better than none at all; indeed, he did not observe
it before he was exactly under it, and his eyes fell upon the bright colors of the pictures
which represented the well-known group of the Virgin and the infant Jesus.
"That is probably a wax-work show," thought he; "and the people delay taking down their
sign in hopes of a late visitor or two."
A few persons in the costume of the time of King Hans passed quickly by him.
"How strange they look! The good folks come probably from a masquerade!"
Suddenly was heard the sound of drums and fifes; the bright blaze of a fire shot up from
time to time, and its ruddy gleams seemed to contend with the bluish light of the torches.
The Councilor stood still, and watched a most strange procession pass by. First came a
dozen drummers, who understood pretty well how to handle their instruments; then came
halberdiers, and some armed with cross-bows. The principal person in the procession was a