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Drop of Water by Hans Christian Andersen


OF course you know what is meant by a magnifying glass- one of those roundspectacle-glasses that make everything look a hundred times bigger than it is?When any one takes one of these and holds it to his eyeand looks at a drop ofwater from the pond yonderhe sees above a thousand wonderful creatures thatare otherwise never discerned in the water. But there they areand it is nodelusion. It almost looks like a great plateful of spiders jumping about in acrowd. And how fierce they are! They tear off each other's legs. and arms andbodiesbefore and behind; and yet they are merry and joyful in their way.

Nowthere once was an old man whom all the people called Kribble-Krabblefor that was his name. He always wanted the best of everythingand when hecould not manage it otherwisehe did it by magic.

There he sat one dayand held his magnifying-glass to his eyeand looked ata drop of water that had been taken out of a puddle by the ditch. But what akribbling and krabbling was there! All the thousands of little creatures hoppedand sprang and tugged at one anotherand ate each other up.

"That is horrible!" said old Kribble-Krabble. "Can one notpersuade them to live in peace and quietnessso that each one may mind his ownbusiness?"

And he thought it over and overbut it would not doand so he had recourseto magic.

"I must give them colorthat they may be seen more plainly" saidhe; and he poured something like a little drop of red wine into the drop ofwaterbut it was witches' blood from the lobes of the earthe finest kindatninepence a drop. And now the wonderful little creatures were pink all over. Itlooked like a whole town of naked wild men.

"What have you there?" asked another old magicianwho had no name-and that was the best thing about him.

"Yesif you can guess what it is" said Kribble-Krabble"I'llmake you a present of it."

But it is not so easy to find out if one does not know.

And the magician who had no name looked through the magnifying-glass.

It looked really like a great town reflected therein which all the peoplewere running about without clothes. It was terrible! But it was still moreterrible to see how one beat and pushed the otherand bit and hackedandtugged and mauled him. Those at the top were being pulled downand those at thebottom were struggling upwards.

"Look! look! his leg is longer than mine! Bah! Away with it! There isone who has a little bruise. It hurts himbut it shall hurt him stillmore."

And they hacked away at himand they pulled at himand ate him upbecauseof the little bruise. And there was one sitting as still as any little maidenand wishing only for peace and quietness. But now she had to come outand theytugged at herand pulled her aboutand ate her up.

"That's funny!" said the magician.

"Yes; but what do you think it is?" said Kribble-Krabble. "Canyou find that out?"

"Whyone can see that easily enough" said the other. "That'sParisorsome other great cityfor they're all alike. It's a great city!"

"It's a drop of puddle water!" said Kribble-Krabble.

THE END




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