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Heartache

Hans Christian Andersen

The A-B-C Book The Angel Anne Lisbeth At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea Aunty Aunty Toothache "Beautiful" The Beetle The Bell The Bell Deep The Bird of Folklore The Bishop of Börglum and his Men The Bond of Friendship The Bottle Neck The Brave Tin Soldier The Buckwheat Butterfly The Candles Chicken Grethe's Family The Child in the Grave Children's Prattle Clumsy Hans The Comet The Court Cards The Cripple Croak! The Daisy Dance, Dance, Doll of Mine! Danish Popular Legends The Darning Needle The Days of the Week The Drop of Water The Dryad The Elder-Tree Mother The Elf Mound The Emperor's New Clothes Everything in its Proper Place Danish Popular Legends The Farmyard Cock and the Weathercock The Fir Tree Five Peas from a Pod The Flax The Flea and the Professor The Flying Trunk Folks Say - The Galoshes of Fortune The Gardener and the Noble Family The Garden of Paradise The Gate Key The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf The Goblin and the Grocer The Goblin and the Woman God Can Never Die Godfather's Picture Book Golden Treasure A Good Humor Grandmother Great-Grandfather The Great Sea Serpent The Happy Family Heartache Holger Danske Ib and Little Christine The Ice Maiden In the Children's Room In the Duck Yard It's Quite True! Jack the Dullard The Jewish Girl The Jumpers Kept Secret but not Forgotten The Last Pearl A Leaf from Heaven Little Claus and Big Claus The Little Green Ones Little Ida's Flowers The Little Match Seller The Little Mermaid Little Tuck Luck May Lie in a Pin Lucky Peer The Marsh King's Daughter The Metal Pig The Money Pig The Most Incredible Thing Moving Day The Naughty Boy The Neighboring Families The New Century's Goddess The Nightcap of the "Pebersvend" The Nightingale The Old Church Bell The Old House The Old Oak Tree's Last Dream The Old Street Lamp The Old Tombstone Ole Lukoie Ole, the Tower Keeper On Judgment Day Peiter, Peter, and Peer Pen and Inkstand The Penman The Phoenix Bird Picturebook Without Pictures A Picture from the Ramparts The Pigs The Poor Woman and the Little Canary Bird The Porter's Son The Princess and the Pea The Psyche The Puppet-show Man The Racers The Rags The Red Shoes The Rose Elf A Rose from Homer's Grave The Shadow The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep She Was Good for Nothing The Shirt Collar The Silent Book The Silver Shilling The Snail and the Rosebush The Snowdrop The Snow Man The Snow Queen Something Soup on a Sausage Peg The Stone of the Wise Man The Storks The Storm Shifts the Signboards A Story A Story from the Sand Dunes The Story of a Mother The Story of the Year A String of Pearls Sunshine Stories The Swan's Nest The Sweethearts; or, The Top and the Ball The Swineherd The Talisman The Teapot There is a Difference This Fable is Intended for You The Thorny Road of Honor Thousands of Years from Now Thumbelina The Tinder Box The Toad The Traveling Companion Twelve by the Mail Two Brothers Two Maidens The Ugly Duckling Under The Willow Tree Urbanus A View from Vartou's Window Vänö and Glänö What Happened to the Thistle What Old Johanne Told What One Can Invent What the Old Man Does is Always Right What the Whole Family Said Which Was the Happiest? The Wicked Prince The Wild Swans The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town The Windmill The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters The World's Fairest Rose

The story we have for you here is really divided into two parts. The first part could be omitted, but it gives us some preliminary information which is useful.

We were staying at a manor house in the country, and it happened that the owner was absent for a day or so. Meanwhile a lady with a pug dog arrived from the next town; come, she explained, to dispose of the shares in her tannery. She had her certificates with her, and we advised her to seal them in an envelope and to write on it the address of the proprietor of the estate, "General War Commissary, Knight," etc.

She listened to us, took up the pen, then hesitated, and begged us to repeat the address slowly. We complied and she wrote, but in the middle of the "General War--" she stopped, sighed, and said, "I'm only a woman!" While she wrote, she had placed her Puggie on the floor, and he was growling, for the dog had come with her for pleasure and health's sake, and a visitor shouldn't be placed on the floor. He was characterized outwardly by a snub nose and a fleshy back.

"He doesn't bite," said the woman. "He hasn't any teeth. He's like one of the family, faithful and grouchy; but the latter is the fault of my grandchildren for teasing him. They play wedding, and want to make him the bridesmaid, and that's too strenuous for the poor old fellow."

Then she delivered her certificates and took Puggie up in her arms. And that's the first part of the story, which could have been omitted.

Puggie died! That's the second part.

About a week later we arrived in the town and put up at the inn. Our windows looked out into the tannery yard, which was divided into two parts by a wooden fence; in one section were hides and skin caps, raw and tanned. Here was all the equipment for carrying on a tanning business, and it belonged to the widow. Puggie had died that morning and was to be buried in this section of the yard. The widow's grandchildren (that is, the tanner's widow's, for Puggie had never married) covered the grave-a grave so beautiful it must have been quite pleasant to lie there.

The grave was bordered with broken flowerpots and strewn over with sand; at its head they had stuck up a small beer bottle with the neck upward, and that wasn't at all symbolic.

The children danced around the grave, and then the oldest of the boys, a practical youngster of seven, proposed that there should be an exhibition of Puggie's grave for everybody living in the street. The price of admission would be one trouser button; that was something every boy would be sure to have and which he also could give to the little girls. This suggestion was adopted by acclamation.

And all the children from the street, and even from the little lane behind, came, and each gave a button. Many were seen that afternoon going about with one suspender, but then they had seen Puggie's grave, and that sight was worth it.

But outside the tannery yard, close to the entrance, stood a ragged little girl, very beautiful, with the prettiest curly hair, and eyes so clear and blue that it was a pleasure to look into them. She didn't say a word, nor did she cry, but every time the gate was opened she looked into the yard as long as she could. She had no button, as she knew very well, so she had to stand sorrowfully outside, until all the others had seen the grave and everyone had left. Then she sat down, put her little brown hands before her eyes, and burst into tears, for she alone hadn't seen Puggie's grave. It was a heartache as great as any grown-up can experience.

We saw this from above-and seen from above, this, like many of our own and others' griefs could, made us smile! That's the story, and anyone who doesn't understand it can go and buy a share in the widow's tannery.

The End

Fables & Tales Nonfiction Poetry Short Stories

Aesop Andersen, H.C. Dickinson, Emily Frost, Robert Grimm Henry, O Kipling, Rudyard Longfellow, Henry Poe, Edgar Allan Shakespeare, William Thoreau, Henry Twain, Mark Wilde, Oscar