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The Swan's Nest

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

Between the Baltic and the North Sea there lies an old Swan's Nest, and it is called Denmark. In it have been born, and will be born hereafter, Swans whose names shall never die.

In the olden days, a flock of Swans from that nest flew over the Alps to the green plains of Milan, for it was wonderful to live there. These Swans were called Lombards.

Another flock, with brilliant shining plumage and clear, truthful eyes, alighted at Byzantium, nestled around the throne of the Emperor, and spread out their broad white wings like shields to protect him. Then Swans were known as Varangians.

From the coasts of France arose a cry of terror-terror at the bloody Swans who, with fire in their wings, flew down from the North! And the people prayed, "God save us from the wild Northmen!"

On the fresh turf of an English meadow, near the open shore, with the triple crown on his kingly head, his golden scepter stretching out over the land, stood another royal Swan.

And on the far shores of Pomerania the heathens bent the knee, for thither too, with drawn swords and under the standard of the cross, had flown the Danish Swans.

"But all that was in the ancient days!" you say.

But in times nearer our own have mighty Swans also been seen flying from the Nest. A flash of lightning cleft the air-lightning that blazed over every country in the world-for a Swan had flapped his great wings and scattered the twilight mist. Then the starry heavens became more visible and seemed nearer to the earth. That Swan's name was Tycho Brahe.

"Yes, that was years ago," you may say. "But what about now, in our own generation?"

Well, in our own generation we have seen Swans soaring together in glorious flight.

We saw one gently sweep his wings over the golden chords of the harp, and sweet music thrilled through the lands of the North. Then the wild mountains of Norway lifted their crests higher in the blazing sunlight of ancient times; the pine and the birch rustled their leaves; the Gods of the North, the heroic men and noble women of Scandinavian history, came to life again against the background of deep dark forests.

We saw a Swan strike his wing against the hard marble mountain till it broke in pieces, and new shapes of beauty which had been shut up in the stone stepped forward in the bright sunny day. Then the nations of the world raised their heads in wonder to gaze at the glorious statuary.

A third Swan we have seen spinning threads of thoughts that spread from land to land around the earth, so that words fly with lightning speed throughout the world.

Yes, our Lord protects the old Swan's Nest between the Baltic and the North Sea. Let mighty birds speed through the air to tear it to pieces. It shall never be! We have seen even the unplumed young ones circle the edge of the Nest to fight with their beaks and their claws, their young breasts bleeding.

Centuries will pass, and the Swans will still fly forth from the Nest, and they shall be seen and heard in every part of the world. Long will it be before the time comes when in spirit and truth men say, "That was the last Swan! The last song from the Swan's Nest!"

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