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yourself!" But the soldier pretended not to hear him. "Well, just wait till to-morrow," the imp said.
The next morning, as soon as the children were up, the tin soldier was set up in the window, and it was either the black imp's doing or the wind, for the window flew open, and the soldier went over head and heels into the street. That was a dreadful fall, and he reached the ground head first, so that the bayonet stuck in the ground between two stones.
The servant and the little boy came running down at once to look for him, but though they were near treading upon him, they could not find him. If the tin soldier had cried out, "Here I am," they would have soon found him, but he did not think it would be becoming to call out, as he was in uniform.
It now began to rain, and the rain-drops fell faster and faster, until at last it came down in torrents.
When the rain was over, two boys came that way, and one of them called out, "Look here! here is a tin soldier; he shall have a sail down the gutter."
So they made a boat of a piece of newspaper, and put it into the water, and then placed the tin soldier in the middle of it. After the heavy rain the water rushed down the street, carrying away the paper boat containing the tin soldier. The water ran so fast that the boat was tossed about from side to side, so that the tin soldier
quite shook, but he did not move a feature, looking straight before him, and shouldering his musket, at which the boys were so pleased that they clapped their hands.
All at once the water ran down under the pavement, carrying with it the paper boat and the tin soldier. He was here as completely in the dark as he was in his box.
"Where am I going to now," he thought, "this is certainly the black imp's doings, but if only that dear little girl were here in the boat with me, I should not care if it were twice as dark as it is."
Now a large water-rat suddenly appeared, for it lived under the pavement. "Have you a pass," it cried.
But the tin soldier was silent, holding his gun still firmer.
The boat rushed on, and the rat after it. Oh! how the rat showed its teeth, and shouted to the bits of straw and stones, "Stop him! stop him! he has not paid toll; he has not shown his pass!
The rushing of the water grew stronger and stronger, and already the tin soldier could see light at the further end, but at the same time he heard a noise which might have frightened the bravest man. After passing underneath the pavement, the water rushed into a canal down a steep incline, a descent as dangerous to him as tumbling down a high waterfall would be to us.
He was so near upon it that there was no help
to be got, and down the boat rushed, the poor tin soldier holding himself as steady as he could. No one should be able to say that he so much as blinked his eyes. Four times the boat was whirled round and round, and was filled with water nearly to the top, so that it was evident it must sink. The water already reached up to the soldier's shoulders, and every moment the boat sank deeper and deeper, and the paper became looser and looser. The water was now over his head, and he thought of the pretty little girl whom he should now see no more. Then the paper burst, and he fell through into the water, but at that very moment he was swallowed by a large fish.
Oh, how dark it was worse than under the pavement, and there was no room to move. But the tin soldier's courage did not forsake him, and he lay there his full length with his musket under his arm.
Soon after the fish began to move its jaws, as if it were choking, and seemed to struggle very hard. All of a sudden light appeared, and a voice called out, "The tin soldier." The fish had been caught and taken to the market, where it was bought, and carried into the kitchen: The cook cut it open with a large knife, and was quite surprised to see the tin soldier lying down inside it. With two fingers she laid hold of the soldier round the body, and carried him into the room for all to see him. But this did not make the soldier proud.
He was placed upon the table, and what was very wonderful, he was in the same room where he
had been before, where he saw the same children, and the same playthings on the table. The beautiful castle was there, and the pretty little girl still standing in the doorway. He could have cried, only that would not have been like a soldier, and he looked at her, and she at him, but neither spoke a word.
Then one of the boys took the tin soldier, and threw him into the fire, without giving any reason for doing so, but no doubt the Jack-in-the-box had something to do with it.
The tin soldier stood there in the midst of the flames, and the heat was something dreadful, but whether it was the heat of the fire, or the heat of his love he did not know. His colour had clean gone, but whether caused by his travels or his grief, no one could tell. He looked at the little girl and she looked at him; but just then he felt he was melting, but still he stood firmly with the musket at his shoulder. A door was then opened suddenly, and the wind blew the little card-board girl into the fire, close by the tin soldier. She blazed up, and was burnt up directly. The tin soldier melted down into a lump, and the next morning, when the servant cleared out the ashes, she found a tin heart. Of the little girl nothing remained but the brooch, which was burnt quite black.
THE WASP AND THE BEE.
A wasp met a bee, and said to him, "Pray can you tell me what is the reason that men dislike me, while they are so fond of you? We are both very much alike, only that the broad golden rings about my body make me much better-looking than you are. We are both winged insects; we both love honey; and we both sting people when we are angry. Yet men always hate me, and try to kill me, though I am much more familiar with them than you are, and pay them visits in their houses, and at their tea-table, and at all their meals.
You, on the contrary, are very shy, and hardly ever come near them, yet they build you curious houses thatched with straw, and take care of you and feed you, even in the winter very often. I wonder what is the reason?"
The bee replied, "They dislike you because you never do them any good, but are very troublesome, and full of mischief. They know I am busy all day long making them honey. You had better pay them fewer visits, and try and make yourself useful."
POOR JOSEPH, THE MADMAN.
There was once an unhappy man, who had lost his reason, and used to go through the streets with five or six wigs on his head at once, and as many muffs on each of his arms. Though the