What the Moon Saw: and Other Tales

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The Old Bachelor's Nightcap 184

The Marsh King's Daughter 196

The Last Dream of the Old Oak Tree. A Christmas Tale 238

The Bell-deep 244

The Puppet Showman 247

The Pigs 251

Anne Lisbeth 254

Charming 265

In the Duck-yard 272

The Girl who Trod on the Loaf 277

A Story from the Sand-dunes 285

The Bishop of Boerglum and his Warriors 316

The Snow Man 323

Two Maidens 328

The Farmyard Cock and the Weathercock 330

The Pen and Inkstand 332

The Child in the Grave 334

Soup on a Sausage-Peg 339

The Stone of the Wise Men 353

The Butterfly 367

In the Uttermost Parts of the Sea 369

The Phoenix Bird 371

* * * * *

WHAT THE MOON SAW.

[Illustration: MY POST OF OBSERVATION.]

INTRODUCTION.

It is a strange thing, that when I feel most fervently and most deeply, my hands and my tongue seem alike tied, so that I cannot rightly describe or accurately portray the thoughts that are rising within me; and yet I am a painter: my eye tells me as much as that, and all my friends who have seen my sketches and fancies say the same.

I am a poor lad, and live in one of the narrowest of lanes; but I do not want for light, as my room is high up in the house, with an extensive prospect over the neighbouring roofs. During the first few days I went to live in the town, I felt low-spirited and solitary enough. Instead of the forest and the green hills of former days, I had here only a forest of chimney-pots to look out upon. And then I had not a single friend; not one familiar face greeted me.

So one evening I sat at the window, in a desponding mood; and presently I opened the casement and looked out. Oh, how my heart leaped up with joy! Here was a well-known face at last--a round, friendly countenance, the face of a good friend I had known at home. In, fact it was the MOON that looked in upon me. He was quite unchanged, the dear old Moon, and had the same face exactly that he used to show when he peered down upon me through the willow trees on the moor. I kissed my hand to him over and over again, as he shone far into my little room; and he, for his part, promised me that every evening, when he came abroad, he would look in upon me for a few moments. This promise he has faithfully kept. It is a pity that he can only stay such a short time when he comes. Whenever he appears, he tells me of one thing or another that he has seen on the previous night, or on that same evening. "Just paint the scenes I describe to you"--this is what he said to me--"and you will have a very pretty picture-book." I have followed his injunction for many evenings. I could make up a new "Thousand and One Nights," in my own way, out of these pictures, but the number might be too great, after all. The pictures I have here given have not been chosen at random, but follow in their proper order, just as they were described to me. Some great gifted painter, or some poet or musician, may make something more of them if he likes; what I have given here are only hasty sketches, hurriedly put upon the paper, with some of my own thoughts interspersed; for the Moon did not come to me every evening--a cloud sometimes hid his face from me.

[Illustration: THE INDIAN GIRL.]

FIRST EVENING.

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