Andersen's Fairy Tales HTML version

And then the marriage was celebrated. Six earth-worms shone as well as they could. In
other respects the whole went off very quietly, for the old folks could not bear noise and
merriment; but old Dame Snail made a brilliant speech. Father Snail could not speak, he
was too much affected; and so they gave them as a dowry and inheritance, the whole forest
of burdocks, and said--what they had always said--that it was the best in the world; and if
they lived honestly and decently, and increased and multiplied, they and their children
would once in the course of time come to the manor-house, be boiled black, and laid on
silver dishes. After this speech was made, the old ones crept into their shells, and never
more came out. They slept; the young couple governed in the forest, and had a numerous
progeny, but they were never boiled, and never came on the silver dishes; so from this they
concluded that the manor-house had fallen to ruins, and that all the men in the world were
extinct; and as no one contradicted them, so, of course it was so. And the rain beat on the
dock-leaves to make drum-music for their sake, and the sun shone in order to give the
burdock forest a color for their sakes; and they were very happy, and the whole family was
happy; for they, indeed were so.