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The Jumpers

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

Once upon a time a flea, a grasshopper, and a jumping goose wanted to see which one could jump the highest; so they invited the whole world, and even a few others, to come to a festival to watch the test. They were three famous jumpers indeed, and they all met together in a big room.

"I'll give my daughter to the one who jumps the highest," said the King. "It seems so stingy to have these fellows jump for nothing."

The flea was the first to be introduced. He had such beautiful manners and bowed right and left, for he had noble blood in him, and besides, he was accustomed to move in human society, and that makes a great difference.

The grasshopper was next. He was certainly heavier than the flea, but he was equally well mannered, and wore a green uniform, which was his by right of birth. He explained that he belonged to a very ancient Egyptian family and that everyone thought a great deal of him in the country where he was then living. They had brought him in out of the fields, and put him in a three-storied card house, all made of picture cards with the colored side inwards.

The doors and windows were cut out of the body of the Queen of Hearts.

"I sing so extremely well," he explained, "that sixteen native grasshoppers who have been singing since childhood and still haven't any house of cards to live in grew even thinner with jealousy than they were before when they heard about me."

So both the flea and the grasshopper had now explained who they were, and they felt sure they were quite good enough to marry the Princess.

The jumping goose didn't say anything, but the company decided that meant he was thinking a great deal, and when the court dog sniffed at him, he reported that the jumping goose was certainly of good family. The old councilor, who had received three decorations to keep him quiet, declared that he knew that the jumping goose was gifted with magic power; you could tell by his back if the winter would be severe or mild, and that was more than you could say even for the man who writes the almanac.

"I'm not saying anything," the King remarked, "but I have my opinion of these things."

Now it was time for the trial. The flea jumped first, and he went so high that nobody could see him. So they all said he hadn't jumped at all, but had only been pretending. And that was a cheap thing to do.

The grasshopper only jumped half as high as the flea, but he jumped right into the King's face! And the King said it was disgusting.

The jumping goose stood still for a long time, lost in thought, and people began to wonder if he could jump at all.

"I hope he isn't sick," said the court dog, and gave him another sniff. Then suddenly, plop! the jumping goose jumped sideways right into the lap of the Princess, who was sitting on a little golden stool near by.

At once the King said, "To jump up to my daughter is the highest jump that can be made. But it takes brains to get an idea like that, and the jumping goose has shown that he does have brains. He is a pretty clever fellow."

And that's how the jumping goose won the Princess.

"I don't care a bit," said the flea. "I jumped the highest. She can have that old goosebone, with his stick and his wax. In this world real merit is very seldom rewarded. A fine physique is what people look at nowadays."

So the flea went away to fight in foreign service, and it is said that he was killed.

The grasshopper settled down in a ditch and pondered over the way of the world, and he too said, "Yes, a good physique is everything. A good physique is everything." Then he chirped his own sad little song, from which I've taken this story. The story may just possibly not be true, even if it is printed here in black and white.

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