Andersen's Fairy Tales HTML version
It was--yes, guess! It was the pewter soldier, he that was lost up at the old man's, and had
tumbled and turned about amongst the timber and the rubbish, and had at last laid for many
years in the ground.
The young wife wiped the dirt off the soldier, first with a green leaf, and then with her fine
handkerchief--it had such a delightful smell, that it was to the pewter soldier just as if he
had awaked from a trance.
"Let me see him," said the young man. He laughed, and then shook his head. "Nay, it
cannot be he; but he reminds me of a story about a pewter soldier which I had when I was a
little boy!" And then he told his wife about the old house, and the old man, and about the
pewter soldier that he sent over to him because he was so very, very lonely; and he told it
as correctly as it had really been, so that the tears came into the eyes of his young wife, on
account of the old house and the old man.
"It may possibly be, however, that it is the same pewter soldier!" said she. "I will take care
of it, and remember all that you have told me; but you must show me the old man's grave!"
"But I do not know it," said he, "and no one knows it! All his friends were dead, no one
took care of it, and I was then a little boy!"
"How very, very lonely he must have been!" said she.
"Very, very lonely!" said the pewter soldier. "But it is delightful not to be forgotten!"
"Delightful!" shouted something close by; but no one, except the pewter soldier, saw that it
was a piece of the hog's-leather hangings; it had lost all its gilding, it looked like a piece of
wet clay, but it had an opinion, and it gave it:
"The gilding decays,
But hog's leather stays!"
This the pewter soldier did not believe.