Andersen's Fairy Tales HTML version
woman in a most strange dress. It was quite green, like the leaves of the elder, and was
trimmed with large white Elder-flowers; so that at first one could not tell whether it was a
stuff, or a natural green and real flowers.
"What's that woman's name?" asked the little boy.
"The Greeks and Romans," said the old man, "called her a Dryad; but that we do not
understand. The people who live in the New Booths* have a much better name for her; they
call her 'old Granny'--and she it is to whom you are to pay attention. Now listen, and look
at the beautiful Elderbush.
* A row of buildings for seamen in Copenhagen.
"Just such another large blooming Elder Tree stands near the New Booths. It grew there in
the corner of a little miserable court-yard; and under it sat, of an afternoon, in the most
splendid sunshine, two old people; an old, old seaman, and his old, old wife. They had
great-grand-children, and were soon to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage;
but they could not exactly recollect the date: and old Granny sat in the tree, and looked as
pleased as now. 'I know the date,' said she; but those below did not hear her, for they were
talking about old times.
"'Yes, can't you remember when we were very little,' said the old seaman, 'and ran and
played about? It was the very same court-yard where we now are, and we stuck slips in the
ground, and made a garden.'
"'I remember it well,' said the old woman; 'I remember it quite well. We watered the slips,
and one of them was an Elderbush. It took root, put forth green shoots, and grew up to be
the large tree under which we old folks are now sitting.'
"'To be sure,' said he. 'And there in the corner stood a waterpail, where I used to swim my
"'True; but first we went to school to learn somewhat,' said she; 'and then we were
confirmed. We both cried; but in the afternoon we went up the Round Tower, and looked
down on Copenhagen, and far, far away over the water; then we went to Friedericksberg,
where the King and the Queen were sailing about in their splendid barges.'
"'But I had a different sort of sailing to that, later; and that, too, for many a year; a long way
off, on great voyages.'
"'Yes, many a time have I wept for your sake,' said she. 'I thought you were dead and gone,
and lying down in the deep waters. Many a night have I got up to see if the wind had not
changed: and changed it had, sure enough; but you never came. I remember so well one
day, when the rain was pouring down in torrents, the scavengers were before the house
where I was in service, and I had come up with the dust, and remained standing at the door-
-it was dreadful weather--when just as I was there, the postman came and gave me a letter.