THE FLYING TRUNK
HERE was once a merchant who was so rich that he could pave
the whole street with gold and almost have enough left
for a little lane. But he did not do that; he knew how
to employ his money differently. When he spent a
shilling he got back a crown, such a clever merchant
was he; and this continued till he died.
His son now got all this money; and he lived merrily,
going to the masquerade every evening, making kites out
of dollar notes, and playing at ducks and drakes on the
sea-coast with gold pieces instead of pebbles. In this
way the money might soon be spent, and indeed it was
so. At last he had no more thank four shillings left,
and no clothes to wear but a pair of slippers and an
old dressing-gown. Now his friends did not trouble
themselves any more about him, as they could not walk
with him in the street; but one of them, who was
good-natured, sent him an old trunk, with the remark,
"Pack up!" Yes, that was all very well, but he had
nothing to pack, therefore he seated himself in the
That was a wonderful trunk. So soon as any one pressed
the lock the trunk could fly. He pressed, and,
whir! away flew the trunk with him through the
chimney and over the clouds, farther and farther away.
But as often as the bottom of the trunk
 Cracked a little he was in great fear lest it might go
to pieces, and then he would have flung a fine
somersault. In that way he came to the land of the
Turks. He hid the trunk in a wood under some dry
leaves, and then went into the town. He could do that
very well, for among the Turks all the people went
about dressed like himself, in dressing-gown and
slippers. Then he met a nurse with a little child.
"Here, you Turkish nurse," he began, "what kind of a
great castle is that close by the town, in which the
windows are so high up?"
"There dwells the Sultan's daughter," replied she. "It
is prophesied that she will be very unhappy respecting
a lover; and therefore nobody may go near her unless
the Sultan and Sultana are there, too."
"Thank you!" said the Merchant's Son; and he went out
into the forest, seated himself in his trunk, flew on
the roof, and crept through the window into the
She was lying asleep on the sofa, and she was so
beautiful that the Merchant's Son was compelled to kiss
her. Then she awoke, and was startled very much; but he
said he was a Turkish angel who had come down to her
through the air, and that pleased her.
They sat down side by side, and he told her stories
about her eyes; and he told her they were the most
glorious dark lakes, and that thoughts were swimming
about in them like mermaids. And he told her about her
forehead; that it was a snowy mountain with the most
splendid halls and pictures. And he told her about the
stork who brings the lovely little children.
Yes, those were fine histories! Then he asked the
Princess if she would marry him, and she said, "Yes,"
"But you must come here on Saturday," said she. "Then
the Sultan and Sultana will be here to tea. They will
be very proud that I am to marry a Turkish angel. But
take care that you know a very pretty story, for both
my parents are very fond indeed of stories. My mother
likes them high-flown and moral, but my father likes
them merry, so that one can laugh."
 "Yes, I shall bring no marriage gift but a story," said
he; and so they parted. But the Princess gave him a
saber, the sheath embroidered with gold pieces, and
that was very useful to him.
Now he flew away, bought a new dressing-gown, and sat
in the forest and made up a story; it was to be ready
by Saturday, and that was not an easy thing.
By the time he had finished it Saturday had come. The
Sultan and his wife and all the court were at the
Princess's to tea. He was received graciously.
"Will you relate us a story?" said the Sultana; "one
that is deep and edifying."
"Yes, but one that we can laugh at," said the Sultan.
"Certainly," he replied; and so began.
And now listen well.
"There was once a bundle of Matches, and these Matches
were particularly proud of their high descent. Their
genealogical tree—that is to say, the great
fir-tree of which each of them was a little
splinter—had been a great old tree out in the
forest. The Matches now lay between a Tinder-box and an
old Iron Pot; and they were telling about the days of
their youth. 'Yes, when we were upon the green boughs!
Every morning and evening there was diamond tea for
us—I mean dew; we had sunshine all day long
whenever the sun shone, and all the little birds had to
tell stories. We could see very well that we were rich,
for the other trees were only dressed out in summer,
while our family had the means to wear green dresses in
the winter as well. But then the wood-cutter came, like
a great revolution, and our family was broken up. The
head of the family got an appointment as mainmast in a
first-rate ship which could sail round the world if
necessary; the other branches went to other places, and
now we have the office of kindling a light for the
vulgar herd. That's how we grand people came to be in
" 'My fate was of a different kind,' said the Iron Pot
which stood next to the Matches. 'From the beginning,
 I came into the world, there has been a great deal of
scouring and cooking done in me. I look after the
practical part, and am the first here in the house. My
only pleasure is to sit in my place after dinner, very
clean and neat, and to carry on a sensible conversation
with my comrades. But except the Water-pot, which is
sometimes taken down into the courtyard, we always live
within our four walls. Our only newsmonger is the
Market-basket; but he speaks very uneasily about the
government and the people. Yes, the other day there was
an old pot that fell down, from fright, and burst. He's
liberal, I can tell you!' 'Now you're talking too
much,' the Tinder-box interrupted, and the steel struck
against the flint, so that sparks flew out. 'Shall we
not have a merry evening?'
" 'Yes, let us talk about who is the grandest,' said
" 'No, I don't like to talk about myself,' retorted the
Pot. 'Let us get up an evening entertainment. I will
begin. I will tell a story from real life, something
that every one has experienced, so that we can easily
imagine the situation and take pleasure in it. On the
Baltic, by the Danish shore—'
" 'That's a pretty beginning!' cried all the Plates.
'That will be a story we shall like.'
" 'Yes, it happened to me in my youth when I lived in a
family where the furniture was polished, the floors
scoured, and new curtains were put up every fortnight.'
" 'What an interesting way you have of telling a
story!' said the Carpet-broom. 'One can tell directly
that a man is speaking who has been in woman's society.
There's something pure runs through it.'
"And the Pot went on telling his story, and the end was
as good as the beginning.
"All the Plates rattled with joy, and the Carpet-broom
brought some green parsley out of the dust-hole and put
it like a wreath on the Pot, for he knew that it would
vex the others. 'If I crown him to-day,' he thought,
'he will crown me to-morrow.'
 " 'Now I'll dance,' said the Fire-tongs; and he danced.
Preserve us! how that implement could lift up one leg!
The old Chair-cushion burst to see it. 'Shall I be
crowned, too?' thought the Tongs; and indeed a wreath
" 'They're only common people, after all!' thought the
"Now the Tea-urn was to sing; but she said she had
taken cold and could not sing unless she felt boiling
within. But that was only affectation; she did not want
to sing except when she was in the parlor with the
"In the window sat an old Quill Pen with which the maid
generally wrote; there was nothing remarkable about
this Pen except that it had been dipped too deep into
the ink, but she was proud of that. 'If the Tea-urn
won't sing,' she said, 'she may leave it alone. Outside
hangs a nightingale in a cage, and he can sing. He
hasn't had any education, but this evening we'll say
nothing about that.'
" 'I think it very wrong,' said the Tea-kettle—he
was the kitchen singer and half-brother to the
Tea-urn—'that that rich and foreign bird should be
listened to! Is that patriotic? Let the Market-basket
" 'I am vexed,' said the Market-basket. 'No one can
imagine how much I am secretly vexed. Is that a proper
way of spending the evening? Would it not be more
sensible to put the house in order? Let each one go to
his own place, and I will arrange the whole game. That
would be quite another thing.'
" 'Yes, let us make a disturbance,' cried they all.
Then the door opened and the maid came in, and they all
stood still; not one stirred. But there was not one pot
among them who did not know what he could do and how
grand he was. 'Yes, if I had liked,' each one thought,
'it might have been a very merry evening.'
"The servant-girl took the Matches and lighted the fire
with them. Mercy! how the sputtered and burst out into
flame! 'Now every one can see,' thought they, 'that we
 the first. How we shine! what a light!'—and they
"That was a capital story," said the Sultana. "I feel
myself quite carried away to the kitchen, to the
Matches. Yes, now thou shalt marry our daughter."
"Yes, certainly," said the Sultan, "thou shalt marry
our daughter on Monday."
And they called him thou because he was to belong
to the family.
The wedding was decided on, and on the evening before
it the whole city was illuminated. Biscuits and cakes
were thrown among the people, the street-boys stood on
their toes, called out "Hurrah!" and whistled on their
fingers. It was uncommonly splendid.
"Yes, I shall have to give something as a treat,"
thought the Merchant's Son. So he bought rockets and
crackers, and every imaginable sort of firework, put
them all into his trunk, and flew up into the air.
"Crack!" how they went, and how they went off! All the
Turks hopped up with such a start that their slippers
flew about their ears; such a meteor they had never yet
seen. Now they could understand that it mush be a
Turkish angel who was going to marry the Princess.
What stories people tell! Every one whom he asked about
it had seen it in a separate way; but one and all
thought it fine.
"I saw the Turkish angel himself," said one. "He had
eyes like glowing stars and a beard like foaming
"He flew up in a fiery mantle," said another; "the most
lovely little cherub peeped forth from among the
Yes, they were wonderful things that he heard; and on
the following day he was to be married.
Now he went back to the forest to rest himself in his
trunk. But what had become of that? A spark from the
fireworks had set fire to it, and the trunk was burned
to ashes. He could not fly any more, and could not get
to his bride.
 She stood all day on the roof waiting; and most likely
she is waiting still. But he wanders through the world
telling fairy tales; but they are not so merry as that
one he told about the Matches.
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