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THE SHEPERDESS AND THE CHIMNEY-SWEEP
 HAVE you ever seen a very, very old clothes-press, quite black with age, on which all
sorts of flourishes and foliage were carved? Just such a one stood in a certain
room. It was a legacy from a grandmother, and it was carved from top to bottom
with roses and tulips; the most curious flourishes were to be seen on it, and
between them little stags popped out their heads with zigzag antlers. But on
the top a whole man was carved. True, he was laughable to look at; for he
showed his teeth, -laughing one could not call it,—had goat's legs, little
horns on his head, and a long beard. The children in the room always called him
General-clothes-press-inspector-head-super-intendent Goatslegs, for this was a
name difficult to pronounce, and there are very few who get the title; but to
cut him out in wood—that was no trifle. However, there he was. He looked
down upon the table and toward the mirror, for there a charming little porcelain
shepherdess was standing. Her shoes were gilded, her gown was tastefully looped
up with a red rose, and she had a golden hat and cloak; in short, she was most
exquisite. Close by stood a little chimney-sweep, as black as a coal, but of
porcelain too. He was just as clean and pretty as another; as to his being a
sweep, that was only what he represented; and the porcelain manufacturer could
just as well have made a prince of him as a chimney-sweep, if he had chosen;
one was as easy as the other.
There he stood so prettily with his ladder, and with a little round face as fair
and as rosy as that of the shepherdess. In reality this was a fault; for a little
black he certainly ought to have been. He was quite close to the shepherdess; both
stood where they had been placed; and as soon as they were put there, they had
mutually promised each other eternal fidelity; for they suited each other
exactly—they were young, they were of the same porcelain, and both
Close to them stood another figure three times as large as they were. It was an
old Chinese, that could nod his head. He was of porcelain too, and said that he
was grandfather of the little shepherdess; but this he could not prove. He
asserted, moreover, that he had authority over her, and that was the reason
he had nodded his assent to the General-clothes-press-inspector-head-super-intendent
Goatslegs, who paid his addresses to the shepherdess.
"In him," said the old Chinese, "you will have a husband who, I verily believe,
is of mahogany. You will be Mrs. Goatslegs, the wife of a
General-clothes-press-inspector-head-super-intendent, who has his shelves full
of plate, besides what is hidden in secret drawers and recesses."
"I will not go into the dark cupboard," said the little shepherdess; "I have
heard say that he has eleven wives of porcelain in there already."
"Then you may be the twelfth," said the Chinese. "To-night, as soon as the old
clothes-press cracks, as sure as I am a Chinese, we will keep the wedding." And
then he nodded his head, and fell asleep.
But the little shepherdess wept, and looked at her beloved—at the porcelain
 "I implore you," said she, "fly hence with me; fore here it is impossible for us
"I will do all you ask," said the little chimney-sweep. "Let us leave this place.
I think my trade will enable me to support you."
"If we were only down from the table," said she. "I shall not be happy till we are
far from here, and free."
He consoled her, and showed her how she was to set her little foot on the carved
border and on the gilded foliage which twined around the leg of the table, brought
his ladder to her assistance, and at last both were on the floor; but when they
looked toward the old clothes-press, they observed a great stir. All the carved
stags stretched their heads out farther, raised their antlers, and turned round
their heads. The General-clothes-press-inspector-head-superintendent gave a jump,
and called to the old Chinese, "They are eloping, they are eloping!"
At this she grew a little frightened, and jumped quickly over the ridge into
Here lay three or four packs of cards, which were not complete, and a little
puppet-show, which was set up as well as it was possible to do. A play was
being performed, and all the ladies, Diamonds as well as Hearts, Clubs,
and Spades, sat in the front row, and fanned themselves with the tulips
they held in their hands, while behind them stood the varlets. The play
was about two persons who could not have each other, at which the shepherdess
wept, for it was her own history.
"I cannot bear it longer," said she; "I must get out of the drawer."
But when she had got down on the floor, and looked up to the table, she saw
that the old Chinese was awake, and that his whole body was rocking.
"The old Chinese is coming!" cried the little shepherdess; and down she fell
on her porcelain knee, so frightened was she.
"A though has struck me," said the chimney-sweep; "let us creep into the great
pot-pourri jar that stands in the corner; there we can lie on roses and lavender,
and if he comes after us, throw dust in his eyes."
" 'Tis of no use," said she. "Besides, I know that the old Chinese and the
Pot-pourri Jar were once betrothed; and when one has been once on such terms,
a little regard always lingers behind. No; for us there is nothing left but to
wander forth into the wide world."
"Have you really courage to go forth with me into the wide world?" asked the
chimney-sweep tenderly. "Have you considered how large it is, and that we can
never come back here again!"
"I have," said she.
And the sweep gazed fixedly upon her, and then said, "My way lies up the chimney.
Have you really courage to go with me through the stove, and to creep through all
the flues? We shall then get into the main flue, after which I am not at a loss
what to do. Up we mount, then, so high, that they can never reach us; and at the
top is an opening that leads out into the world."
And he led her toward the door of the stove.
"It looks quite black," said she; but still she went with him, and on through
all the intricacies of the interior, and through the flues, where a pitchy
"We are now in the chimney," said she; "and behold, behold, above us is shining
the loveliest star!"
It was a real star in the sky that shone straight down upon them, as if to show
them the way. They climbed and they crept higher and higher. It was a frightful
way; but he lifted her up, he held her, and showed her the best places on which
to put her little porcelain feet; and thus they reached the top of the chimney,
and seated themselves on the edge of it; for they were tired, which is not to be
The heaven and all its stars were above them; they could see far around, far away
into the world. The poor shepherdess had never pictured it to herself thus; she
leaned her little head on her sweep, and wept so bitterly that all the gilding
of her girdle came off.
 "Oh, this is too much!" said she; "I cannot bear it. The world is too large. Oh,
were I but again on the little table under the looking-glass! I shall never be
happy till I am there again. I have followed you into the wide world; now, if you
really love me, you may follow me home again."
And the chimney-sweep spoke sensibly to her, spoke to her about the old Chinese and
the General-clothes-inspector-head-superintendent; but she sobbed so violently, and
kissed her little sweep so passionately, that he was obliged to give way, although
it was not right to do so.
So now down they climbed again with great difficulty, crept through the flue, and
into the stove, where they listened behind the door, to discover if anybody was in
the room. It was quite still; they peeped, and there, on the floor, in the middle
of the room, lay the old Chinese. He had fallen from the table in trying to follow
the fugitives, and was broken in three pieces; his whole back was but a stump, and
his head had rolled into a corner, while General-clothes-press-inspector-head-superintendent
Goatslegs was standing where he had ever stood absorbed in thought.
"How dreadful!" said the little shepherdess. "My old Grandfather is dashed to pieces,
and we are the cause. I never can survive the accident." And she wrung her little
hands in agony.
"You see," said the sweep, "we might have spared ourselves these disagreeables,
"If we had but mended my old grandfather!" said the shepherdess. "Does it cost much?"
And mended he was. The family had his back glued, and his neck riveted, so that
he was as good as new, except that he could not nod.
"Meseems, you have grown haughty since you were dashed to pieces," said
General-clothes-press-inspector-head-superintendent Goatslegs. "However,
I think there is not so very much to be proud of. Am I to have her, or am I not?"
The chimney-sweep and the little shepherdess looked so touchingly at the
old Chinese; they feared he would nod, but he could not, and it was
disagreeable to him to tell a stranger that he had constantly a rivet
in his neck. So the little porcelain personages remained together. They
blessed the old grandfather's rivet, and loved each other till they fell to pieces.