Andersen's Fairy Tales HTML version

The Shadow
It is in the hot lands that the sun burns, sure enough! there the people become quite a
mahogany brown, ay, and in the HOTTEST lands they are burnt to Negroes. But now it
was only to the HOT lands that a learned man had come from the cold; there he thought
that he could run about just as when at home, but he soon found out his mistake.
He, and all sensible folks, were obliged to stay within doors--the window-shutters and
doors were closed the whole day; it looked as if the whole house slept, or there was no one
at home.
The narrow street with the high houses, was built so that the sunshine must fall there from
morning till evening--it was really not to be borne.
The learned man from the cold lands--he was a young man, and seemed to be a clever man-
-sat in a glowing oven; it took effect on him, he became quite meagre--even his shadow
shrunk in, for the sun had also an effect on it. It was first towards evening when the sun
was down, that they began to freshen up again.
In the warm lands every window has a balcony, and the people came out on all the
balconies in the street--for one must have air, even if one be accustomed to be mahogany!*
It was lively both up and down the street. Tailors, and shoemakers, and all the folks, moved
out into the street--chairs and tables were brought forth--and candles burnt--yes, above a
thousand lights were burning--and the one talked and the other sung; and people walked
and church-bells rang, and asses went along with a dingle-dingle-dong! for they too had
bells on. The street boys were screaming and hooting, and shouting and shooting, with
devils and detonating balls--and there came corpse bearers and hood wearers--for there
were funerals with psalm and hymn--and then the din of carriages driving and company
arriving: yes, it was, in truth, lively enough down in the street. Only in that single house,
which stood opposite that in which the learned foreigner lived, it was quite still; and yet
some one lived there, for there stood flowers in the balcony--they grew so well in the sun's
heat! and that they could not do unless they were watered--and some one must water them--
there must be somebody there. The door opposite was also opened late in the evening, but
it was dark within, at least in the front room; further in there was heard the sound of music.
The learned foreigner thought it quite marvellous, but now--it might be that he only
imagined it--for he found everything marvellous out there, in the warm lands, if there had
only been no sun. The stranger's landlord said that he didn't know who had taken the house
opposite, one saw no person about, and as to the music, it appeared to him to be extremely
tiresome. "It is as if some one sat there, and practised a piece that he could not master--
always the same piece. 'I shall master it!' says he; but yet he cannot master it, however long
he plays."
* The word mahogany can be understood, in Danish, as having two meanings. In general, it
means the reddish-brown wood itself; but in jest, it signifies "excessively fine," which
arose from an anecdote of Nyboder, in Copenhagen, (the seamen's quarter.) A sailor's wife,
who was always proud and fine, in her way, came to her neighbor, and complained that she