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Thousands of Years from Now

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

[written in 1853]

Yes, thousands of years from now men will fly on wings of steam through the air, across the ocean. The young inhabitants of America will visit old Europe. They will come to see the monuments and the great cities, which will then lie in ruins, just as we in our time make pilgrimages to the ruined splendors of southern Asia. Thousands of years from now they will come!

The Thames, the Danube, and the Rhine still roll in their valleys, Mont Blanc still stands firm with its snowy summit, the northern lights still glitter over the lands of the North, but generation after generation has become dust. Mighty names of today are forgotten-as forgotten as those who already slumber under the hill where the rich corn merchant sits and gazes out across his flat and waving cornfields.

"To Europe!" cry the young sons of America. "To the land of our ancestors, that glorious land of memory and legends! To Europe!"

The ship of the air comes. It is crowded with passengers, for this is a much faster crossing than by sea. The electromagnetic wire under the ocean has already cabled the number of the aerial travelers. Already Europe is in sight-the coast of Ireland. But the passengers are still asleep and will not be called until they are over England. It is there that they still take their first step onto the soil of Europe, in the land of Shakespeare, as the intellectual call it, or the land of politics and land of machines, as it is called by others.

Here they stay a whole day! That is all the time this busy generation can give to the whole of England and Scotland. Then they rush on, through the tunnel under the English Channel, to France, the country of Charlemagne and Napoleon. The learned among them speak of Moli�re and the classic and romantic school of remote antiquity; others applaud the names of heroes, poets, and scientists whom our time does not yet know, but who will in afterdays be born in that crater of Europe, Paris.

Now the steamboat of the air crosses the country whence Columbus set sail, where Cortez was born, and where Calder�n sang his dramas in resounding verse. Beautiful, black-eyed women still live in those blooming valleys, and the ancient songs tell of the Cid and the Alhambra.

Then through the air, across the sea, to Italy, where once stood old, eternal Rome. It has vanished! The Campagna is a desert; a solitary ruined wall is shown as the remains of St. Peter's, and there is even doubt that this ruin is authentic.

On to Greece, to spend a night in the hotel at the top of Mount Olympus, just so they can say that they have been there. Then to the Bosporus, for a few hours' rest and to see the spot where Byzantium stood; and where legends tell of the harems of the Turks, poor fishermen are now spreading their nets.

Over the ruins of the mighty cities of the Danube, cities that we in our days know not yet; and on the rich sites of some of those which time shall yet bring forth, the air travelers sometimes descend, only to depart again quickly.

Down below lies Germany, which was once covered with a massive network of railways and canals. Germany, where Luther spoke, and Goethe sang, and Mozart once held the scepter of music! Great names of science and art now shine there-names still unknown to us. One day's stopover for Germany, and one for the other-the country of Oersted and Linnaeus, and for Norway, land of old heroes and young Norwegians. Iceland is visited on the journey home; the geysers burst forth no more, the volcano Hecla is extinct, but that great island is still fixed in the foaming sea, mighty monument of legend and poetry.

"There is really a great deal to be seen in Europe," says the young American proudly. "And we've seen it in eight days; and it is quite possible, as the great traveler" (and here he names one of his contemporaries) "tells us in his famous book, How to See All Europe in Eight Days."

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