ENGLISH

The wild swans

DANSK

De vilde svaner


Far away in the land to which the swallows fly when it is winter, dwelt a king who had eleven sons, and on daughter, named Eliza. The eleven brothers were princes, and each went to school with a star on his breast, and a sword by his side. They wrote with diamond pencils on gold slates, and learnt their lessons so quickly and read so easily that every one might know they were princes. Their sister Eliza sat on a little stool of plate-glass, and had a book full of pictures, which had cost as much as half a kingdom.
Langt borte herfra, der hvor svalerne flyver hen, når vi har vinter, boede en konge, som havde elve sønner og én datter, Elisa. De elve brødre, prinser var de, gik i skole med stjerne på brystet og sabel ved siden; de skrev på guldtavle med diamantgriffel og læste lige så godt udenad, som indeni; man kunne straks høre, at de var prinser. Søsteren Elisa sad på en lille skammel af spejlglas og havde en billedbog, der var købt for det halve kongerige.


Oh, these children were indeed happy, but it was not to remain so always.
Oh, de børn havde det så godt, men således skulle det ikke altid blive!


Their father, who was king of the country, married a very wicked queen, who did not love the poor children at all. They knew this from the very first day after the wedding. In the palace there were great festivities, and the children played at receiving company; but instead of having, as usual, all the cakes and apples that were left, she gave them some sand in a tea-cup, and told them to pretend it was cake.
Deres fader, som var konge over hele landet, giftede sig med en ond dronning, der slet ikke var de stakkels børn god; allerede den første dag kunne de godt mærke det; på hele slottet var der stor stads, og så legede børnene: komme fremmede; men i stedet for at de ellers fik alle de kager og stegte æbler, der var at overkomme, gav hun dem kun sand i en tekop og sagde, at de kunne lade, som om det var noget.


The week after, she sent little Eliza into the country to a peasant and his wife, and then she told the king so many untrue things about the young princes, that he gave himself no more trouble respecting them.
Ugen efter satte hun den lille søster Elisa ud på landet hos nogle bønderfolk, og længe varede det ikke, før hun fik kongen indbildt så meget om de stakkels prinser, at han slet ikke brød sig mere om dem.


"Go out into the world and get your own living," said the queen. "Fly like great birds, who have no voice." But she could not make them ugly as she wished, for they were turned into eleven beautiful wild swans. Then, with a strange cry, they flew through the windows of the palace, over the park, to the forest beyond.
"Flyv I ud i verden og skøt jer selv!" sagde den onde dronning; "flyv som store fugle, uden stemme!" men hun kunne dog ikke gøre det så slemt, som hun gerne ville; de blev elve dejlige vilde svaner. Med et underligt skrig fløj de ud af slotsvinduerne hen over parken og skoven.


It was early morning when they passed the peasant's cottage, where their sister Eliza lay asleep in her room. They hovered over the roof, twisted their long necks and flapped their wings, but no one heard them or saw them, so they were at last obliged to fly away, high up in the clouds; and over the wide world they flew till they came to a thick, dark wood, which stretched far away to the seashore.
Det var endnu ganske tidlig morgen, da de kom forbi, hvor søsteren Elisa lå og sov i bondens stue; her svævede de over taget, drejede med deres lange halse, og slog med vingerne, men ingen hørte eller så det; de måtte igen af sted, højt op imod skyerne, langt ud i den vide verden, der fløj de ud i en stor mørk skov, der strakte sig lige til stranden.


Poor little Eliza was alone in her room playing with a green leaf, for she had no other playthings, and she pierced a hole through the leaf, and looked through it at the sun, and it was as if she saw her brothers' clear eyes, and when the warm sun shone on her cheeks, she thought of all the kisses they had given her.
Den stakkels lille Elisa stod i bondens stue, og legede med et grønt blad, andet legetøj havde hun ikke; og hun stak et hul i bladet, kikkede derigennem op på solen, og da var det ligesom om hun så sine brødres klare øjne, og hver gang de varme solstråler skinnede på hendes kind, tænkte hun på alle deres kys.


One day passed just like another; sometimes the winds rustled through the leaves of the rose-bush, and would whisper to the roses, "Who can be more beautiful than you!" But the roses would shake their heads, and say, "Eliza is." And when the old woman sat at the cottage door on Sunday, and read her hymn-book, the wind would flutter the leaves, and say to the book, "Who can be more pious than you?" and then the hymn-book would answer "Eliza." And the roses and the hymn-book told the real truth.
Den ene dag gik ligesom den anden. Blæste vinden gennem de store rosenhække uden for huset, da hviskede den til roserne: "Hvem kan være smukkere, end I," men roserne rystede med hovedet og sagde: "Det er Elisa." Og sad den gamle kone om søndagen i døren og læste i sin salmebog, da vendte vinden bladene, og sagde til bogen: "Hvem kan være frommere end du?" - "Det er Elisa!" sagde salmebogen, og det var den rene sandhed, hvad roserne og salmebogen sagde.


At fifteen she returned home, but when the queen saw how beautiful she was, she became full of spite and hatred towards her. Willingly would she have turned her into a swan, like her brothers, but she did not dare to do so yet, because the king wished to see his daughter.
Da hun var femten år, skulle hun hjem; og da dronningen så, hvor smuk hun var, blev hun hende vred og hadefuld; gerne havde hun forvandlet hende til en vild svane, ligesom brødrene, men det turde hun ikke straks, da jo kongen ville se sin datter.


Early one morning the queen went into the bath-room; it was built of marble, and had soft cushions, trimmed with the most beautiful tapestry. She took three toads with her, and kissed them, and said to one, "When Eliza comes to the bath, seat yourself upon her head, that she may become as stupid as you are." Then she said to another, "Place yourself on her forehead, that she may become as ugly as you are, and that her father may not know her." - "Rest on her heart," she whispered to the third, "then she will have evil inclinations, and suffer in consequence." So she put the toads into the clear water, and they turned green immediately. She next called Eliza, and helped her to undress and get into the bath. As Eliza dipped her head under the water, one of the toads sat on her hair, a second on her forehead, and a third on her breast, but she did not seem to notice them, and when she rose out of the water, there were three red poppies floating upon it. Had not the creatures been venomous or been kissed by the witch, they would have been changed into red roses. At all events they became flowers, because they had rested on Eliza's head, and on her heart. She was too good and too innocent for witchcraft to have any power over her.
I den tidlige morgen gik dronningen ind i badet, der var bygget af marmor, og smykket med bløde hynder og de dejligste tæpper, og hun tog tre skrubtudser, kyssede på dem, og sagde til den ene: "Sæt dig på Elisas hoved, når hun kommer i badet, at hun kan blive dorsk, som du! Sæt dig på hendes pande," sagde hun til den anden, "at hun kan blive styg, som du, så at hendes fader ikke kender hende! Hvil ved hendes hjerte," hviskede hun til den tredje, "lad hende få et ondt sind, at hun kan have pine deraf!" Så satte hun skrubtudserne ud i det klare vand, der straks fik en grønlig farve, kaldte på Elisa, klædte hende af, og lod hende stige ned i vandet, og i det hun dukkede, satte den ene skrubtudse sig i hendes hår, den anden på hendes pande og den tredje på brystet, men Elisa syntes slet ikke at mærke det; så snart hun rejste sig op, flød der tre røde valmuer på vandet; havde dyrene ikke været giftige og kysset af heksen, da var de blevet forvandlet til røde roser, men blomster blev de dog, ved at hvile på hendes hoved og ved hendes hjerte; hun var for from og uskyldig til at trolddommen kunne have magt over hende.


When the wicked queen saw this, she rubbed her face with walnut-juice, so that she was quite brown; then she tangled her beautiful hair and smeared it with disgusting ointment, till it was quite impossible to recognize the beautiful Eliza.
Da den onde dronning så det, gned hun hende ind med valnøddesaft, så hun blev ganske sortbrun, strøg det smukke ansigt over med en stinkende salve og lod det dejlige hår filtre sig; det var umuligt at kende den smukke Elisa igen.


When her father saw her, he was much shocked, and declared she was not his daughter. No one but the watch-dog and the swallows knew her; and they were only poor animals, and could say nothing.
Da derfor hendes fader så hende, blev han ganske forskrækket, og sagde at det var ikke hans datter; ingen ville heller kendes ved hende, uden lænkehunden og svalerne, men de var fattige dyr og havde ikke noget at sige.


Then poor Eliza wept, and thought of her eleven brothers, who were all away. Sorrowfully, she stole away from the palace, and walked, the whole day, over fields and moors, till she came to the great forest. She knew not in what direction to go; but she was so unhappy, and longed so for her brothers, who had been, like herself, driven out into the world, that she was determined to seek them.
Da græd den stakkels Elisa og tænkte på sine elve brødre, der alle var borte. Bedrøvet listede hun sig ud af slottet, gik hele dagen over mark og mose ind i den store skov. Hun vidste slet ikke, hvor hun ville hen, men hun følte sig så bedrøvet og længtes efter sine brødre, de var vist også, ligesom hun, jaget ud i verden, dem ville hun søge og finde.


She had been but a short time in the wood when night came on, and she quite lost the path; so she laid herself down on the soft moss, offered up her evening prayer, and leaned her head against the stump of a tree. All nature was still, and the soft, mild air fanned her forehead. The light of hundreds of glow-worms shone amidst the grass and the moss, like green fire; and if she touched a twig with her hand, ever so lightly, the brilliant insects fell down around her, like shooting-stars.
Kun kort tid havde hun været i skoven, før natten faldt på; hun var kommet rent bort fra vej og sti; da lagde hun sig ned på det bløde mos, læste sin aftenbøn og hældede sit hoved op til en stub. Der var så stille, luften var så mild, og rundt omkring i græsset og på mosset skinnede, som en grøn ild, over hundrede sankthansorm; da hun med hånden sagte rørte ved en af grenene, faldt de lysende insekter, som stjerneskud, ned til hende.


All night long she dreamt of her brothers. She and they were children again, playing together. She saw them writing with their diamond pencils on golden slates, while she looked at the beautiful picture-book which had cost half a kingdom. They were not writing lines and letters, as they used to do; but descriptions of the noble deeds they had performed, and of all they had discovered and seen. In the picture-book, too, everything was living. The birds sang, and the people came out of the book, and spoke to Eliza and her brothers; but, as the leaves turned over, they darted back again to their places, that all might be in order.
Hele natten drømte hun om sine brødre; de legede igen, som børn, skrev med diamantgriffel på guldtavle og så i den dejlige billedbog, der havde kostet det halve rige; men på tavlen skrev de ikke, som før, kun nuller og streger, nej de dristigste bedrifter de havde udført, alt hvad de havde oplevet og set; og i billedbogen var alt levende, fuglene sang, og menneskene gik ud af bogen og talte til Elisa og hendes brødre, men når hun vendte bladet, sprang de straks igen ind, for at der ikke skulle komme vildrede i billederne.


When she awoke, the sun was high in the heavens; yet she could not see him, for the lofty trees spread their branches thickly over her head; but his beams were glancing through the leaves here and there, like a golden mist. There was a sweet fragrance from the fresh green verdure, and the birds almost perched upon her shoulders. She heard water rippling from a number of springs, all flowing in a lake with golden sands. Bushes grew thickly round the lake, and at one spot an opening had been made by a deer, through which Eliza went down to the water. The lake was so clear that, had not the wind rustled the branches of the trees and the bushes, so that they moved, they would have appeared as if painted in the depths of the lake; for every leaf was reflected in the water, whether it stood in the shade or the sunshine.
Da hun vågnede, var solen allerede højt oppe; hun kunne rigtignok ikke se den, de høje træer bredte deres grene tæt og fast ud, men strålerne spillede deroppe ligesom et viftende guldflor; der var en duft af det grønne, og fuglene var nær ved at sætte sig på hendes skuldre. Hun hørte vandet plaske, det var mange store kildevæld, som alle faldt ud i en dam hvor der var den dejligste sandbund; rigtignok voksede her tætte buske rundt om, men på ét sted havde hjortene gravet en stor åbning og her gik Elisa hen til vandet, det var så klart, at havde vinden ikke rørt grene og buske således at de bevægede sig, da måtte hun have troet, at de var malet af nede på bunden, så tydeligt spejlede sig der hvert blad, både det solen skinnede igennem og det der ganske var i skygge.


As soon as Eliza saw her own face, she was quite terrified at finding it so brown and ugly; but when she wetted her little hand, and rubbed her eyes and forehead, the white skin gleamed forth once more; and, after she had undressed, and dipped herself in the fresh water, a more beautiful king's daughter could not be found in the wide world.
Så snart hun så sit eget ansigt, blev hun ganske forskrækket, så brunt og fælt var det, men da hun gjorde sin lille hånd våd og gned øjne og pande, skinnede den hvide hud frem igen, da lagde hun alle sine klæder og gik ud i det friske vand; et dejligere kongebarn, end hun var, fandtes der ikke i denne verden.


As soon as she had dressed herself again, and braided her long hair, she went to the bubbling spring, and drank some water out of the hollow of her hand. Then she wandered far into the forest, not knowing whither she went. She thought of her brothers, and felt sure that God would not forsake her. It is God who makes the wild apples grow in the wood, to satisfy the hungry, and He now led her to one of these trees, which was so loaded with fruit, that the boughs bent beneath the weight. Here she held her noonday repast, placed props under the boughs, and then went into the gloomiest depths of the forest. It was so still that she could hear the sound of her own footsteps, as well as the rustling of every withered leaf which she crushed under her feet. Not a bird was to be seen, not a sunbeam could penetrate through the large, dark boughs of the trees. Their lofty trunks stood so close together, that, when she looked before her, it seemed as if she were enclosed within trellis-work. Such solitude she had never known before.
Da hun igen var klædt og havde flettet sit lange hår, gik hun til det sprudlende væld, drak af sin hule hånd, og vandrede længere ind i skoven, uden selv at vide hvorhen. Hun tænkte på sine brødre, tænkte på den gode Gud, der vist ikke ville forlade hende; han lod de vilde skovæbler gro, for at mætte den hungrige; han viste hende et sådant træ, grenene bugnede af frugt, her holdt hun sit middagsmåltid, satte støtter under dets grene og gik så ind i den mørkeste del af skoven. Der var så stille, at hun hørte sine egne fodtrin, hørte hvert lille vissent blad der bøjede sig under hendes fod; ikke en fugl var der at se, ikke en solstråle kunne trænge igennem de store tætte trægrene; de høje stammer stod så nær ved hinanden, at når hun så ligefrem, var det, som om det ene bjælkegitter, tæt ved det andet, omsluttede hende; oh, her var en ensomhed, hun aldrig før havde kendt.


The night was very dark. Not a single glow-worm glittered in the moss. Sorrowfully she laid herself down to sleep; and, after a while, it seemed to her as if the branches of the trees parted over her head, and that the mild eyes of angels looked down upon her from heaven.
Natten blev så mørk; ikke en eneste lille sankthansorm skinnede fra mosset, bedrøvet lagde hun sig ned for at sove; da syntes hun at trægrenene oven over hende gik til side og Vorherre med milde øjne så ned på hende, og små engle tittede frem over hans hoved og under hans arme.


When she awoke in the morning, she knew not whether she had dreamt this, or if it had really been so.
Da hun vågnede om morgnen, vidste hun ikke, om hun havde drømt det, eller om det virkelig var så.


Then she continued her wandering; but she had not gone many steps forward, when she met an old woman with berries in her basket, and she gave her a few to eat. Then Eliza asked her if she had not seen eleven princes riding through the forest.
Hun gik nogle skridt fremad, da mødte hun en gammel kone med bær i sin kurv, den gamle gav hende nogle af disse. Elisa spurgte, om hun ikke havde set elve prinser ride igennem skoven.


"No," replied the old woman, "But I saw yesterday eleven swans, with gold crowns on their heads, swimming on the river close by.
"Nej," sagde den gamle, "men jeg så i går elve svaner med guldkroner på hovedet svømme ned af åen her tæt ved!"


" Then she led Eliza a little distance farther to a sloping bank, and at the foot of it wound a little river. The trees on its banks stretched their long leafy branches across the water towards each other, and where the growth prevented them from meeting naturally, the roots had torn themselves away from the ground, so that the branches might mingle their foliage as they hung over the water.
Og hun førte Elisa et stykke længere frem til en skrænt; neden for denne bugtede sig en å; træerne på dens bredder strakte deres lange bladfulde grene over imod hinanden, og hvor de, efter deres naturlige vækst, ikke kunne nå sammen, der havde de revet rødderne løse fra jorden og hældede ud over vandet med grenene flettet i hinanden.


Eliza bade the old woman farewell, and walked by the flowing river, till she reached the shore of the open sea.
Elisa sagde farvel til den gamle og gik langs med åen, til hvor denne flød ud i den store, åbne strand.


And there, before the young maiden's eyes, lay the glorious ocean, but not a sail appeared on its surface, not even a boat could be seen. How was she to go farther? She noticed how the countless pebbles on the sea-shore had been smoothed and rounded by the action of the water. Glass, iron, stones, everything that lay there mingled together, had taken its shape from the same power, and felt as smooth, or even smoother than her own delicate hand. "The water rolls on without weariness," she said, "till all that is hard becomes smooth; so will I be unwearied in my task. Thanks for your lessons, bright rolling waves; my heart tells me you will lead me to my dear brothers."
Hele det dejlige hav lå for den unge pige; men ikke en sejler viste sig derude, ikke en båd var der at se, hvor skulle hun dog komme længere bort. Hun betragtede de utallige småstene på bredden; vandet havde slebet dem alle runde. Glas, jern, stene, alt hvad der lå skyllet op, havde taget skikkelse af vandet, der dog var langt blødere end hendes fine hånd. "Det bliver utrætteligt ved at rulle, og så jævner sig det hårde, jeg vil være lige så utrættelig! tak for eders lærdom, I klare, rullende bølger; engang, det siger mit hjerte mig, vil I bære mig til mine kære brødre!"


On the foam-covered sea-weeds, lay eleven white swan feathers, which she gathered up and placed together. Drops of water lay upon them; whether they were dew-drops or tears no one could say. Lonely as it was on the sea-shore, she did not observe it, for the ever-moving sea showed more changes in a few hours than the most varying lake could produce during a whole year. If a black heavy cloud arose, it was as if the sea said, "I can look dark and angry too;" and then the wind blew, and the waves turned to white foam as they rolled. When the wind slept, and the clouds glowed with the red sunlight, then the sea looked like a rose leaf. But however quietly its white glassy surface rested, there was still a motion on the shore, as its waves rose and fell like the breast of a sleeping child.
På den opskyllede tang lå elve hvide svanefjer; hun samlede dem i en buket, der lå vanddråber på dem, om det var dug eller tårer, kunne ingen se. Ensomt var der ved stranden, men hun følte det ikke; thi havet frembød en evig afveksling, ja i nogle få timer flere, end de ferske indsøer kan vise i et helt år. Kom der en stor sort sky, så var det, som søen ville sige: Jeg kan også se mørk ud, og da blæste vinden og bølgerne vendte det hvide ud; men skinnede skyerne røde og vindene sov, så var havet som et rosenblad; nu blev det grønt, nu hvidt, men i hvor stille det hvilede, var der dog ved bredden en sagte bevægelse; vandet hævede sig svagt, som brystet på et sovende barn.


When the sun was about to set, Eliza saw eleven white swans with golden crowns on their heads, flying towards the land, one behind the other, like a long white ribbon. Then Eliza went down the slope from the shore, and hid herself behind the bushes. The swans alighted quite close to her and flapped their great white wings.
Da solen var ved at gå ned, så Elisa elve vilde svaner med guldkroner på hovedet flyver mod land, de svævede den ene bag den anden; det så ud som et langt hvidt bånd; da steg Elisa op på skrænten og skjulte sig bag en busk; svanerne satte sig nær ved hende og slog med deres store, hvide vinger.


As soon as the sun had disappeared under the water, the feathers of the swans fell off, and eleven beautiful princes, Eliza's brothers, stood near her. She uttered a loud cry, for, although they were very much changed, she knew them immediately. She sprang into their arms, and called them each by name. Then, how happy the princes were at meeting their little sister again, for they recognized her, although she had grown so tall and beautiful. They laughed, and they wept, and very soon understood how wickedly their mother had acted to them all.
I det solen var under vandet, faldt pludseligt svanehammen og der stod elve dejlige prinser, Elisas brødre. Hun udstødte et højt skrig; thi uagtet de havde forandret sig meget, vidste hun, at det var dem, følte, at det måtte være dem; og hun sprang i deres arme, kaldte dem ved navn og de blev så lyksalige, da de så og kendte deres lille søster, der nu var så stor og dejlig. De lo og de græd, og snart havde de forstået hinanden, hvor ond deres stedmoder havde været imod dem alle.


"We brothers," said the eldest, "fly about as wild swans, so long as the sun is in the sky; but as soon as it sinks behind the hills, we recover our human shape. Therefore must we always be near a resting place for our feet before sunset; for if we should be flying towards the clouds at the time we recovered our natural shape as men, we should sink deep into the sea. We do not dwell here, but in a land just as fair, that lies beyond the ocean, which we have to cross for a long distance; there is no island in our passage upon which we could pass, the night; nothing but a little rock rising out of the sea, upon which we can scarcely stand with safety, even closely crowded together. If the sea is rough, the foam dashes over us, yet we thank God even for this rock; we have passed whole nights upon it, or we should never have reached our beloved fatherland, for our flight across the sea occupies two of the longest days in the year. We have permission to visit out home once in every year, and to remain eleven days, during which we fly across the forest to look once more at the palace where our father dwells, and where we were born, and at the church, where our mother lies buried. Here it seems as if the very trees and bushes were related to us. The wild horses leap over the plains as we have seen them in our childhood. The charcoal burners sing the old songs, to which we have danced as children. This is our fatherland, to which we are drawn by loving ties; and here we have found you, our dear little sister., Two days longer we can remain here, and then must we fly away to a beautiful land which is not our home; and how can we take you with us? We have neither ship nor boat."
"Vi brødre," sagde den ældste, "flyver, som vilde svaner, så længe solen står på himlen; når den er nede, får vi vor menneskelige skikkelse; derfor må vi altid ved solnedgang passe på at have hvile for foden; for flyver vi da oppe mod skyerne, må vi, som mennesker, styrte ned i dybet. Her bor vi ikke; der ligger et lige så skønt land, som dette, hin side søen; men vejen derhen er lang, det store hav må vi over, og der findes ingen ø på vor vej, hvor vi kan overnatte, kun en ensom lille klippe rager op midt derude; den er ej større, end at vi side om side kan hvile på den; går søen stærk så sprøjter vandet højt over os; men dog takker vi vor Gud for den. Der overnatter vi i vor skikkelse som menneske, uden den kunne vi aldrig gæste vort kære fædreland, thi to af årets længste dage bruger vi til vor flugt. Kun en gang om året er det forundt os at besøge vort fædrenehjem, elve dage tør vi blive her, flyve hen over denne store skov, hvorfra vi kan øjne slottet, hvor vi blev født og hvor vor fader bor, se det høje tårn af kirken, hvor moder er begravet. - Her synes vi træer og buske er i slægt med os, her løber de vilde heste hen over sletterne, som vi så det i vor barndom; her synger kulbrænderen de gamle sange, vi dansede efter som børn, her er vort fædreland, her drages vi hen og her har vi fundet dig du kære, lille søster! to dage endnu tør vi blive her, så må vi bort over havet til et dejligt land, men som ikke er vort fædreland! hvorledes får vi dig med? Vi har hverken skib eller båd!"


"How can I break this spell?" said their sister.
"Hvorledes skal jeg kunne frelse eder!" sagde søsteren.


And then she talked about it nearly the whole night, only slumbering for a few hours.
Og de talte sammen næsten den hele nat, der blev kun blundet nogle timer.


Eliza was awakened by the rustling of the swans' wings as they soared above. Her brothers were again changed to swans, and they flew in circles wider and wider, till they were far away; but one of them, the youngest swan, remained behind, and laid his head in his sister's lap, while she stroked his wings; and they remained together the whole day. Towards evening, the rest came back, and as the sun went down they resumed their natural forms.
Elisa vågnede ved lyden af svanevingerne, der susede over hende. Brødrene var igen forvandlet og de fløj i store kredse og til sidst langt bort, men en af dem, den yngste, blev tilbage; og svanen lagde sit hoved i hendes skød og hun klappede dens hvide vinger; hele dagen var de sammen. Mod aften kom de andre tilbage, og da solen var nede, stod de i deres naturlige skikkelse.


"To-morrow," said one, "we shall fly away, not to return again till a whole year has passed. But we cannot leave you here. Have you courage to go with us? My arm is strong enough to carry you through the wood; and will not all our wings be strong enough to fly with you over the sea?"
"I morgen flyver vi herfra, tør ikke komme tilbage før om et helt år, men dig kan vi ikke således forlade! har du mod at følge med? Min arm er stærk nok til at bære dig gennem skoven, skal vi da ikke alle have stærke vinger nok til at flyve med dig over havet."


"Yes, take me with you," said Eliza.
"Ja, tag mig med!" sagde Elisa.


Then they spent the whole night in weaving a net with the pliant willow and rushes. It was very large and strong. Eliza laid herself down on the net, and when the sun rose, and her brothers again became wild swans, they took up the net with their beaks, and flew up to the clouds with their dear sister, who still slept. The sunbeams fell on her face, therefore one of the swans soared over her head, so that his broad wings might shade her.
Den hele nat tilbragte de med at flette et net af den smidige pilebark og de seje siv, og det blev stort og stærkt; på dette lagde Elisa sig, og da solen så kom frem, og brødrene forvandledes til vilde svaner, greb de i nettet med deres næb, og fløj højt mod skyerne med den kære søster, der sov endnu. Solstrålerne faldt lige på hendes ansigt, derfor fløj en af svanerne over hendes hoved, at dens brede vinger kunne give skygge. -


They were far from the land when Eliza woke. She thought she must still be dreaming, it seemed so strange to her to feel herself being carried so high in the air over the sea. By her side lay a branch full of beautiful ripe berries, and a bundle of sweet roots; the youngest of her brothers had gathered them for her, and placed them by her side. She smiled her thanks to him; she knew it was the same who had hovered over her to shade her with his wings.
De var langt fra land, da Elisa vågnede; hun troede endnu at drømme, så underligt forekom det hende, at bæres over havet, højt igennem luften. Ved hendes side lå en gren med dejlige modne bær, og et bundt velsmagende rødder; dem havde den yngste af brødrene samlet og lagt til hende, og hun tilsmilede ham taknemlig, thi hun kendte, det var ham, som fløj lige over hendes hoved, og skyggede med vingerne.


They were now so high, that a large ship beneath them looked like a white sea-gull skimming the waves. A great cloud floating behind them appeared like a vast mountain, and upon it Eliza saw her own shadow and those of the eleven swans, looking gigantic in size. Altogether it formed a more beautiful picture than she had ever seen; but as the sun rose higher, and the clouds were left behind, the shadowy picture vanished away.
De var så højt oppe, at det første skib, de så under dem, syntes en hvid måge, der lå på vandet. En stor sky stod bag ved dem, det var et helt bjerg, og på den så Elisa skyggen af sig selv, og af de elve svaner, så kæmpestore fløj de der; det var et skilderi, prægtigere end hun havde set noget før; men alt som solen steg højere og skyen blev længere bag ved dem, forsvandt det svævende skyggebillede.


Onward the whole day they flew through the air like a winged arrow, yet more slowly than usual, for they had their sister to carry. The weather seemed inclined to be stormy, and Eliza watched the sinking sun with great anxiety, for the little rock in the ocean was not yet in sight. It appeared to her as if the swans were making great efforts with their wings. Alas! she was the cause of their not advancing more quickly. When the sun set, they would change to men, fall into the sea and be drowned. Then she offered a prayer from her inmost heart, but still no appearance of the rock. Dark clouds came nearer, the gusts of wind told of a coming storm, while from a thick, heavy mass of clouds the lightning burst forth flash after flash.
Den hele dag fløj de af sted, som en susende pil gennem luften, men dog var det langsommere end ellers, nu havde de søsteren at bære. Der trak et ondt vejr op, aftnen nærmede sig; angst så Elisa solen synke, og endnu var ej den ensomme klippe i havet at øjne; det forekom hende, at svanerne gjorde stærkere slag med vingerne. Ak! hun var skyld i, at de ej kom hurtigt nok af sted; når solen var nede, ville de blive til mennesker, styrte i havet, og drukne. Da bad hun i sit hjertes inderste en bøn til Vorherre, men endnu øjnede hun ingen klippe; den sorte sky kom nærmere; de stærke vindpust forkyndte en storm; skyerne stod i en eneste stor truende bølge, der fast som bly skød fremad; lyn blinkede på lyn.


The sun had reached the edge of the sea, when the swans darted down so swiftly, that Eliza's head trembled; she believed they were falling, but they again soared onward. Presently she caught sight of the rock just below them, and by this time the sun was half hidden by the waves. The rock did not appear larger than a seal's head thrust out of the water. They sunk so rapidly, that at the moment their feet touched the rock, it shone only like a star, and at last disappeared like the last spark in a piece of burnt paper. Then she saw her brothers standing closely round her with their arms linked together. There was but just room enough for them, and not the smallest space to spare. The sea dashed against the rock, and covered them with spray. The heavens were lighted up with continual flashes, and peal after peal of thunder rolled. But the sister and brothers sat holding each other's hands, and singing hymns, from which they gained hope and courage.
Nu var solen lige ved randen af havet. Elisas hjerte bævede; da skød svanerne nedad, så hastigt at hun troede at falde; men nu svævede de igen. Solen var halvt nede i vandet; da først øjnede hun den lille klippe under sig, den så ud, ikke større, end om det var en sælhund, der stak hovedet op af vandet. Solen sank så hurtigt; nu var den kun, som en stjerne; da rørte hendes fod ved den faste grund, solen slukkedes lig den sidste gnist i det brændende papir; arm i arm så hun brødrene stå omkring sig; men mere plads, end netop til dem og hende, var der heller ikke. Søen slog mod klippen, og gik som en skylregn hen over dem; himlen skinnede i en altid flammende ild og slag på slag rullede tordenen; men søster og brødre holdt hinanden i hænderne og sang en salme, hvoraf de fik trøst og mod.


In the early dawn the air became calm and still, and at sunrise the swans flew away from the rock with Eliza. The sea was still rough, and from their high position in the air, the white foam on the dark green waves looked like millions of swans swimming on the water.
I dagningen var luften ren og stille; så snart solen steg, fløj svanerne med Elisa bort fra øen. Havet gik endnu stærkt, det så ud, da de var højt i vejret, som om den hvide skum på den sortgrønne sø var millioner svaner, der flød på vandet.


As the sun rose higher, Eliza saw before her, floating on the air, a range of mountains, with shining masses of ice on their summits. In the centre, rose a castle apparently a mile long, with rows of columns, rising one above another, while, around it, palm-trees waved and flowers bloomed as large as mill wheels. She asked if this was the land to which they were hastening. The swans shook their heads, for what she beheld were the beautiful ever-changing cloud palaces of the "Fata Morgana," into which no mortal can enter. Eliza was still gazing at the scene, when mountains, forests, and castles melted away, and twenty stately churches rose in their stead, with high towers and pointed gothic windows. Eliza even fancied she could hear the tones of the organ, but it was the music of the murmuring sea which she heard. As they drew nearer to the churches, they also changed into a fleet of ships, which seemed to be sailing beneath her; but as she looked again, she found it was only a sea mist gliding over the ocean. So there continued to pass before her eyes a constant change of scene, till at last she saw the real land to which they were bound, with its blue mountains, its cedar forests, and its cities and palaces. Long before the sun went down, she sat on a rock, in front of a large cave, on the floor of which the over-grown yet delicate green creeping plants looked like an embroidered carpet.
Da solen kom højere, så Elisa foran sig, halvt svømmende i luften, et bjergland, med skinnende ismasser på fjeldene og midt derpå strakte sig et vist milelangt slot, med den ene dristige søjlegang ovenpå den anden; nedenfor gyngede palmeskove og pragtblomster, store, som møllehjul. Hun spurgte, om det var landet, hun skulle til, men svanerne rystede med hovedet, thi det, hun så, var Fatamorganas dejlige, altid omvekslende skyslot; derind turde de intet menneske bringe. Elisa stirrede derpå; da styrtede bjerge, skove og slot sammen, og der stod tyve stolte kirker, alle hinanden lige, med høje tårne, og spidse vinduer. Hun syntes at høre orglet klinge, men det var havet, hun hørte. Nu var hun kirkerne ganske nær, da blev disse til en hel flåde, der sejlede hen under hende; hun så ned, og det var kun havtåge, der jog hen over vandet. Ja en evig afveksling havde hun for øje, og nu så hun det virkelige land, hun skulle til; der rejste sig de dejlige blå bjerge, med cederskove, byer og slotte. Længe før solen gik ned, sad hun på fjeldet foran en stor hule, der var begroet med fine, grønne slyngplanter; det så ud, som det var broderede tæpper.


"Now we shall expect to hear what you dream of to-night," said the youngest brother, as he showed his sister her bedroom.
"Nu skal vi se, hvad du drømmer her i nat!" sagde den yngste broder og viste hende hendes sovekammer.


"Heaven grant that I may dream how to save you," she replied. And this thought took such hold upon her mind that she prayed earnestly to God for help, and even in her sleep she continued to pray. Then it appeared to her as if she were flying high in the air, towards the cloudy palace of the "Fata Morgana," and a fairy came out to meet her, radiant and beautiful in appearance, and yet very much like the old woman who had given her berries in the wood, and who had told her of the swans with golden crowns on their heads.
"Gid jeg måtte drømme, hvorledes jeg skulle frelse eder!" sagde hun; og denne tanke beskæftigede hende så levende; hun bad så inderlig til Gud om hans hjælp, ja selv i søvne vedblev hun sin bøn; da forekom det hende, at hun fløj højt op i luften, til Fatamorganas skyslot, og feen kom hende i møde, så smuk og glimrende, og dog lignede hun ganske den gamle kone, der gav hende bær i skoven, og fortalte hende om svanerne med guldkronerne på.


"Your brothers can be released," said she, "if you have only courage and perseverance. True, water is softer than your own delicate hands, and yet it polishes stones into shapes; it feels no pain as your fingers would feel, it has no soul, and cannot suffer such agony and torment as you will have to endure. Do you see the stinging nettle which I hold in my hand? Quantities of the same sort grow round the cave in which you sleep, but none will be of any use to you unless they grow upon the graves in a churchyard. These you must gather even while they burn blisters on your hands. Break them to pieces with your hands and feet, and they will become flax, from which you must spin and weave eleven coats with long sleeves; if these are then thrown over the eleven swans, the spell will be broken. But remember, that from the moment you commence your task until it is finished, even should it occupy years of your life, you must not speak. The first word you utter will pierce through the hearts of your brothers like a deadly dagger. Their lives hang upon your tongue. Remember all I have told you."
"Dine brødre kan frelses!" sagde hun, "men har du mod og udholdenhed. Vel er havet blødere end dine fine hænder, og omformer dog de hårde stene, men det føler ikke den smerte, dine fingre ville føle; det har intet hjerte, lider ikke den angst og kval, du må udholde. Ser du denne brændenælde, jeg holder i min hånd! af denne slags vokser mange rundt om hulen, hvor du sover; kun de der, og de, som skyder frem på kirkegårdens grave, er brugelige, mærk dig det; dem må du plukke, skønt de vil brænde din hud i vabler; bryd nælderne med dine fødder, da får du hør; med den skal du sno og binde elve panserskjorter, med lange ærmer, kast disse over de elve vilde svaner, så er trolddommen løst. Men husk vel på, at fra det øjeblik, du begynder dette arbejde, og lige til det er fuldendt, om der endog går år imellem, må du ikke tale; det første ord, du siger, går som en dræbende dolk i dine brødres hjerte; ved din tunge hænger deres liv. Mærk dig alt dette!"


And as she finished speaking, she touched her hand lightly with the nettle, and a pain, as of burning fire, awoke Eliza. It was broad daylight, and close by where she had been sleeping lay a nettle like the one she had seen in her dream. She fell on her knees and offered her thanks to God. Then she went forth from the cave to begin her work with her delicate hands.
Og hun rørte i det samme ved hendes hånd med nælden; den var som en brændende ild, Elisa vågnede derved. Det var lys dag, og tæt ved, hvor hun havde sovet, lå en nælde, som den, hun havde set i drømme. Da faldt hun på sine knæ, takkede Vorherre, og gik ud af hulen, for at begynde på sit arbejde.


She groped in amongst the ugly nettles, which burnt great blisters on her hands and arms, but she determined to bear it gladly if she could only release her dear brothers. So she bruised the nettles with her bare feet and spun the flax.
Med de fine hænder greb hun ned i de hæslige nælder, de var som ild; store vabler brændte de på hendes hænder og arme, men gerne ville hun lide det, kunne hun frelse de kære brødre. Hun brød hver nælde med sine nøgne fødder, og snoede den grønne hør.


At sunset her brothers returned and were very much frightened when they found her dumb. They believed it to be some new sorcery of their wicked step-mother. But when they saw her hands they understood what she was doing on their behalf, and the youngest brother wept, and where his tears fell the pain ceased, and the burning blisters vanished.
Da solen var nede, kom brødrene, og de blev forskrækket ved at finde hende så tavs; de troede at det var en ny trolddom af den onde stedmoder; men da de så hendes hænder, begreb de, hvad hun gjorde for deres skyld, og den yngste broder græd, og hvor hans tårer faldt, der følte hun ingen smerter, der forsvandt de brændende vabler.


She kept to her work all night, for she could not rest till she had released her dear brothers. During the whole of the following day, while her brothers were absent, she sat in solitude, but never before had the time flown so quickly. One coat was already finished and she had begun the second, when she heard the huntsman's horn, and was struck with fear.
Natten tilbragte hun med sit arbejde, thi hun havde ingen ro, før hun havde frelst de kære brødre; hele den følgende dag, medens svanerne var borte, sad hun i sin ensomhed, men aldrig havde tiden fløjet så hurtig. En panserskjorte var alt færdig, nu begyndte hun på den næste.


The sound came nearer and nearer, she heard the dogs barking, and fled with terror into the cave. She hastily bound together the nettles she had gathered into a bundle and sat upon them.
Da klang jagthorn mellem bjergene; hun blev ganske angst; lyden kom nærmere; hun hørte hunde gø; forskrækket søgte hun ind i hulen, bandt nælderne, hun havde samlet og heglet, i et bundt, og satte sig derpå.


Immediately a great dog came bounding towards her out of the ravine, and then another and another; they barked loudly, ran back, and then came again. In a very few minutes all the huntsmen stood before the cave, and the handsomest of them was the king of the country. He advanced towards her, for he had never seen a more beautiful maiden.
I det samme kom en stor hund springende frem fra krattet, og straks efter en, og endnu en; de gøede højt, løb tilbage, og kom frem igen. Det varede ikke mange minutter, så stod alle jægerne uden for hulen, og den smukkeste iblandt dem var landets konge, han trådte hen til Elisa, aldrig havde han set en skønnere pige.


"How did you come here, my sweet child?" he asked. But Eliza shook her head. She dared not speak, at the cost of her brothers' lives. And she hid her hands under her apron, so that the king might not see how she must be suffering.
"Hvor er du kommet her, du dejlige barn!" sagde han. Elisa rystede med hovedet, hun turde jo ikke tale, det gjaldt hendes brødres frelse og liv; og hun skjulte sine hænder under forklædet, at kongen ikke skulle se, hvad hun måtte lide.


"Come with me," he said; "here you cannot remain. If you are as good as you are beautiful, I will dress you in silk and velvet, I will place a golden crown upon your head, and you shall dwell, and rule, and make your home in my richest castle." And then he lifted her on his horse. She wept and wrung her hands, but the king said, "I wish only for your happiness. A time will come when you will thank me for this." And then he galloped away over the mountains, holding her before him on this horse, and the hunters followed behind them.
"Følg med mig!" sagde han, "her må du ikke blive! er du god, som du er smuk, da vil jeg klæde dig i silke og fløjl, sætte guldkronen på dit hoved, og du skal bo og bygge i mit rigeste slot!" - og så løftede han hende op på sin hest; hun græd, vred sine hænder, men kongen sagde: "Jeg vil kun din lykke! engang skal du takke mig derfor!" og så fór han af sted mellem bjergene, og holdt hende foran på hesten, og jægerne jog bagefter.


As the sun went down, they approached a fair royal city, with churches, and cupolas. On arriving at the castle the king led her into marble halls, where large fountains played, and where the walls and the ceilings were covered with rich paintings. But she had no eyes for all these glorious sights, she could only mourn and weep. Patiently she allowed the women to array her in royal robes, to weave pearls in her hair, and draw soft gloves over her blistered fingers.
Da solen gik ned, lå den prægtige kongestad, med kirker og kupler foran, og kongen førte hende ind i slottet, hvor store springvand plaskede i de høje marmorsale, hvor vægge og loft prangede med malerier, men hun havde ikke øjne derfor, hun græd og sørgede; godvillig lod hun kvinderne iføre hende de kongelige klæder, flette perler i hendes hår, og trække fine handsker over de forbrændte fingre.


As she stood before them in all her rich dress, she looked so dazzingly beautiful that the court bowed low in her presence. Then the king declared his intention of making her his bride, but the archbishop shook his head, and whispered that the fair young maiden was only a witch who had blinded the king's eyes and bewitched his heart.
Da hun stod der i al sin pragt, var hun så blændende smuk, at hoffet bøjede sig endnu dybere for hende, og kongen kårede hende til sin brud; skønt ærkebiskoppen rystede med hovedet, og hviskede, at den smukke skovpige vist var en heks, hun blændede deres øjne, og bedårede kongens hjerte.


But the king would not listen to this; he ordered the music to sound, the daintiest dishes to be served, and the loveliest maidens to dance. After-wards he led her through fragrant gardens and lofty halls, but not a smile appeared on her lips or sparkled in her eyes. She looked the very picture of grief. Then the king opened the door of a little chamber in which she was to sleep; it was adorned with rich green tapestry, and resembled the cave in which he had found her. On the floor lay the bundle of flax which she had spun from the nettles, and under the ceiling hung the coat she had made. These things had been brought away from the cave as curiosities by one of the huntsmen.
Men kongen hørte ikke derpå, lod musikken klinge, de kosteligste retter frembære, de yndigste piger danse om hende, og hun blev ført gennem duftende haver ind i prægtige sale; men ikke et smil gik over hendes læber, eller frem på hendes øjne, sorgen stod der, som evig arv og eje. Nu åbnede kongen et lille kammer, tæt ved hvor hun skulle sove; her var pyntet med kostelige grønne tæpper, og lignede ganske hulen, hvori hun havde været; på gulvet lå det bundt hør, hun havde spundet af nælderne, og under loftet hang panserskjorten, der var strikket færdig; Alt dette havde en af jægerne taget til sig, som noget kuriøst.


"Here you can dream yourself back again in the old home in the cave," said the king; "here is the work with which you employed yourself. It will amuse you now in the midst of all this splendor to think of that time."
"Her kan du drømme dig tilbage i dit fordums hjem!" sagde kongen. "Her er det arbejde, som der beskæftigede dig; nu, midt i al din pragt, vil det more dig at tænke tilbage på hin tid."


When Eliza saw all these things which lay so near her heart, a smile played around her mouth, and the crimson blood rushed to her cheeks. She thought of her brothers, and their release made her so joyful that she kissed the king's hand. Then he pressed her to his heart. Very soon the joyous church bells announced the marriage feast, and that the beautiful dumb girl out of the wood was to be made the queen of the country.
Da Elisa så dette, der lå hendes hjerte så nært, spillede et smil om hendes mund, og blodet vendte tilbage i kinderne; hun tænkte på sine brødres frelse, kyssede kongens hånd, og han trykkede hende til sit hjerte, og lod alle kirkeklokker forkynde bryllupsfest. Den dejlige stumme pige fra skoven var landets dronning.


Then the archbishop whispered wicked words in the king's ear, but they did not sink into his heart. The marriage was still to take place, and the archbishop himself had to place the crown on the bride's head; in his wicked spite, he pressed the narrow circlet so tightly on her forehead that it caused her pain. But a heavier weight encircled her heart– sorrow for her brothers. She felt not bodily pain. Her mouth was closed; a single word would cost the lives of her brothers. But she loved the kind, handsome king, who did everything to make her happy more and more each day; she loved him with all her heart, and her eyes beamed with the love she dared not speak. Oh! if she had only been able to confide in him and tell him of her grief. But dumb she must remain till her task was finished. Therefore at night she crept away into her little chamber, which had been decked out to look like the cave, and quickly wove one coat after another. But when she began the seventh she found she had no more flax.
Da hviskede ærkebiskoppen onde ord i kongens øre, men de sank ikke ned til hans hjerte, brylluppet skulle stå, ærkebiskoppen selv måtte sætte hende kronen på hovedet, og han trykkede med ond uvilje den snævre ring fast ned over panden, så det gjorde ondt; dog der lå en tungere ring om hendes hjerte, sorgen over hendes brødre; hun følte ikke den legemlige pine. Hendes mund var stum, et eneste ord ville jo skille hendes brødre ved livet, men i hendes øjne lå der en dyb kærlighed til den gode, smukke konge, der gjorde alt for at glæde hende. Med hele sit hjerte blev hun ham dag for dag mere god; oh, at hun turde blot betro sig til ham, sige ham sin lidelse! men stum måtte hun være, stum måtte hun fuldføre sit værk. Derfor listede hun sig om natten fra hans side, gik ind i det lille lønkammer, der var smykket, som hulen, og hun strikkede den ene panserskjorte færdig efter den anden; men da hun begyndte på den syvende, havde hun ikke mere hør.


She knew that the nettles she wanted to use grew in the churchyard, and that she must pluck them herself. How should she get out there?
På kirkegården vidste hun de nælder groede, som hun skulle bruge, men selv måtte hun plukke dem, hvorledes skulle hun komme derud.


"Oh, what is the pain in my fingers to the torment which my heart endures?" said she. "I must venture, I shall not be denied help from heaven." Then with a trembling heart, as if she were about to perform a wicked deed, she crept into the garden in the broad moonlight, and passed through the narrow walks and the deserted streets, till she reached the churchyard. Then she saw on one of the broad tombstones a group of ghouls. These hideous creatures took off their rags, as if they intended to bathe, and then clawing open the fresh graves with their long, skinny fingers, pulled out the dead bodies and ate the flesh! Eliza had to pass close by them, and they fixed their wicked glances upon her, but she prayed silently, gathered the burning nettles, and carried them home with her to the castle.
"Oh, hvad er smerten i mine fingre, mod den kval mit hjerte lider!" tænkte hun, "jeg må vove det! Vorherre vil ikke slå hånden af mig!" med en hjerteangst, som var det en ond gerning hun havde for, listede hun sig, i den måneklare nat, ned i haven, gik gennem de lange alleer, ud på de ensomme gader, hen til kirkegården. Der så hun på en af de bredeste ligstene sad en kreds lamier, hæslige hekse, de tog deres pjalter af, som om de ville bade sig, og så gravede de med de lange magre fingre ned i de friske grave, tog ligene frem og åd deres kød. Elisa måtte dem tæt forbi, og de fæstede deres onde øjne på hende, men hun læste sin bøn, samlede de brændende nælder, og bar dem hjem til slottet.


One person only had seen her, and that was the archbishop– he was awake while everybody was asleep. Now he thought his opinion was evidently correct. All was not right with the queen. She was a witch, and had bewitched the king and all the people.
Kun et eneste menneske havde set hende, ærkebiskoppen, han var oppe, når de andre sov; nu havde han dog fået ret i hvad han mente: at det ikke var, som det skulle, med dronningen; hun var en heks, derfor havde hun bedåret kongen og det hele folk.


Secretly he told the king what he had seen and what he feared, and as the hard words came from his tongue, the carved images of the saints shook their heads as if they would say. "It is not so. Eliza is innocent." But the archbishop interpreted it in another way; he believed that they witnessed against her, and were shaking their heads at her wickedness. Two large tears rolled down the king's cheeks, and he went home with doubt in his heart, and at night he pretended to sleep, but there came no real sleep to his eyes, for he saw Eliza get up every night and disappear in her own chamber.
I skriftestolen sagde han til kongen, hvad han havde set, og hvad han frygtede, og da de hårde ord kom fra hans tunge, rystede de udskårne helgenbilleder med hovedet, som om de ville sige: Det er ikke så, Elisa er uskyldig! men ærkebiskoppen lagde det anderledes ud, mente, at de vidnede imod hende, at de rystede med hovedet over hendes synd. Da rullede to tunge tårer ned over kongens kinder, han gik hjem med tvivl i sit hjerte; og han lod som om han sov om natten, men der kom ingen rolig søvn i hans øjne, han mærkede, hvorledes Elisa stod op, og hver nat gentog hun dette og hver gang fulgte han sagte efter, og så at hun forsvandt i sit lønkammer.


From day to day his brow became darker, and Eliza saw it and did not understand the reason, but it alarmed her and made her heart tremble for her brothers. Her hot tears glittered like pearls on the regal velvet and diamonds, while all who saw her were wishing they could be queens. In the mean time she had almost finished her task; only one coat of mail was wanting, but she had no flax left, and not a single nettle. Once more only, and for the last time, must she venture to the churchyard and pluck a few handfuls. She thought with terror of the solitary walk, and of the horrible ghouls, but her will was firm, as well as her trust in Providence.
Dag for dag blev hans mine mere mørk, Elisa så det, men begreb ikke hvorfor, men det ængstede hende, og hvad led hun ikke i sit hjerte for brødrene! på det kongelige fløjl og purpur randt hendes salte tårer, de lå der som glimrende diamanter, og alle som så den rige pragt, ønskede at være dronningen. Snart var hun imidlertid til ende med sit arbejde, kun én panserskjorte manglede endnu; men hør havde hun heller ikke mere; og ikke en eneste nælde. En gang, kun denne sidste, måtte hun derfor på kirkegården og plukke nogle håndfulde. Hun tænkte med angst på den ensomme vandring, og på de skrækkelige lamier; men hendes vilje var fast, som hendes tillid til Vorherre.


Eliza went, and the king and the archbishop followed her. They saw her vanish through the wicket gate into the churchyard, and when they came nearer they saw the ghouls sitting on the tombstone, as Eliza had seen them, and the king turned away his head, for he thought she was with them– she whose head had rested on his breast that very evening.
Elisa gik, men kongen og ærkebiskoppen fulgte efter, de så hende forsvinde ved gitterporten ind til kirkegården og da de nærmede sig den, sad på gravstenen lamierne, som Elisa havde set dem, og kongen vendte sig bort; thi mellem disse tænkte han sig hende, hvis hoved endnu i denne aften havde hvilet ved hans bryst.


"The people must condemn her," said he, and she was very quickly condemned by every one to suffer death by fire.
"Folket må dømme hende!" sagde han, og folket dømte, hun skal brændes i de røde luer.


Away from the gorgeous regal halls was she led to a dark, dreary cell, where the wind whistled through the iron bars. Instead of the velvet and silk dresses, they gave her the coats of mail which she had woven to cover her, and the bundle of nettles for a pillow; but nothing they could give her would have pleased her more. She continued her task with joy, and prayed for help, while the street-boys sang jeering songs about her, and not a soul comforted her with a kind word.
Fra de prægtige kongesale blev hun ført hen i et mørkt, fugtigt hul, hvor vinden peb ind af det gitrede vindue; i stedet for fløjl og silke gav de hende det bundt nælder hun havde samlet, det kunne hun lægge sit hoved på; de hårde brændende panserskjorter, hun havde strikket, skulle være dyne og tæppe, men intet kærere kunne de skænke hende, hun tog igen fat på sit arbejde og bad til sin Gud. Udenfor sang gadedrengene spotteviser om hende; ingen sjæl trøstede hende med et kærligt ord.


Towards evening, she heard at the grating the flutter of a swan's wing, it was her youngest brother– he had found his sister, and she sobbed for joy, although she knew that very likely this would be the last night she would have to live. But still she could hope, for her task was almost finished, and her brothers were come.
Da susede mod aften, tæt ved gitteret, en svanevinge, det var den yngste af brødrene, han havde fundet søsteren; og hun hulkede højt af glæde, skønt hun vidste, at natten, som kom, muligt var den sidste hun havde at leve i; men nu var jo arbejdet også næsten fuldført og hendes brødre var her.


Then the archbishop arrived, to be with her during her last hours, as he had promised the king. But she shook her head, and begged him, by looks and gestures, not to stay; for in this night she knew she must finish her task, otherwise all her pain and tears and sleepless nights would have been suffered in vain. The archbishop withdrew, uttering bitter words against her; but poor Eliza knew that she was innocent, and diligently continued her work.
Ærkebiskoppen kom for at være den sidste time hos hende, det havde han lovet kongen, men hun rystede på hovedet, bad med blik og miner at han ville gå; i denne nat måtte hun jo ende sit arbejde, ellers var alt til unytte; alt, smerte, tårer og de søvnløse nætter; ærkebiskoppen gik bort med onde ord imod hende, men den stakkels Elisa vidste, hun var uskyldig, og vedblev sit arbejde.


The little mice ran about the floor, they dragged the nettles to her feet, to help as well as they could; and the thrush sat outside the grating of the window, and sang to her the whole night long, as sweetly as possible, to keep up her spirits.
De små mus løb på gulvet, de slæbte nælderne hen for hendes fødder, for dog at hjælpe lidt, og droslen satte sig ved vinduets gitter, og sang den hele nat, så lystigt den kunne, at hun ikke skulle tabe modet.


It was still twilight, and at least an hour before sunrise, when the eleven brothers stood at the castle gate, and demanded to be brought before the king. They were told it could not be, it was yet almost night, and as the king slept they dared not disturb him. They threatened, they entreated. Then the guard appeared, and even the king himself, inquiring what all the noise meant. At this moment the sun rose. The eleven brothers were seen no more, but eleven wild swans flew away over the castle.
Det var endnu ikke mere end dagning, først om en time ville solen komme op, da stod de elve brødre ved slottets port, forlangte at føres for kongen, men det kunne ikke ske, blev der svaret, det var jo nat endnu, kongen sov og turde ikke vækkes. De bad, de truede, vagten kom, ja selv kongen trådte ud, og spurgte hvad det betød; da kom solen i det samme op, og der var ingen brødre at se, men hen over slottet fløj elve vilde svaner.


And now all the people came streaming forth from the gates of the city, to see the witch burnt. An old horse drew the cart on which she sat. They had dressed her in a garment of coarse sackcloth. Her lovely hair hung loose on her shoulders, her cheeks were deadly pale, her lips moved silently, while her fingers still worked at the green flax. Even on the way to death, she would not give up her task. The ten coats of mail lay at her feet, she was working hard at the eleventh, while the mob jeered her and said,
Ud af byens port strømmede det hele folk, de ville se heksen blive brændt. En ussel hest trak kærren, hvori hun sad; man havde givet hende en kittel på, af groft sækketøj; hendes dejlige lange hår hang løst om det smukke hoved; hendes kinder var dødblege, hendes læber bevægede sig sagte, mens fingrene snoede den grønne hør; selv på vejen til sin død slap hun ikke det begyndte arbejde, de ti panserskjorter lå ved hendes fødder, den elvte strikkede hun på. Pøbelen forhånede hende.


"See the witch, how she mutters! She has no hymn-book in her hand. She sits there with her ugly sorcery. Let us tear it in a thousand pieces."
"Se til heksen, hvor hun mumler! ikke en salmebog har hun i hånden, nej sit lede kogleri sidder hun med, riv det fra hende i tusinde stykker!"


And then they pressed towards her, and would have destroyed the coats of mail, but at the same moment eleven wild swans flew over her, and alighted on the cart. Then they flapped their large wings, and the crowd drew on one side in alarm.
Og de trængte alle ind på hende og ville sønderrive det; da kom elve hvide svaner flyvende, de satte sig rundt om hende på kærren og slog med deres store vinger. Da veg hoben forfærdet til side.


"It is a sign from heaven that she is innocent," whispered many of them; but they ventured not to say it aloud.
"Det er et tegn fra Himmelen! hun er vist uskyldig!" hviskede mange, men de vovede ikke højt at sige det.


As the executioner seized her by the hand, to lift her out of the cart, she hastily threw the eleven coats of mail over the swans, and they immediately became eleven handsome princes; but the youngest had a swan's wing, instead of an arm; for she had not been able to finish the last sleeve of the coat.
Nu greb bødlen hende ved hånden, da kastede hun i hast de elve skjorter over svanerne og der stod elve dejlige prinser, men den yngste havde en svanevinge i stedet for sin ene arm, thi der manglede et ærme i hans panserskjorte, det havde hun ikke fået færdig.


"Now I may speak," she exclaimed. "I am innocent."
"Nu tør jeg tale!" sagde hun, "jeg er uskyldig!"


Then the people, who saw what happened, bowed to her, as before a saint; but she sank lifeless in her brothers' arms, overcome with suspense, anguish, and pain.
Og folket som så, hvad der var sket, bøjede sig for hende som for en helgeninde; men hun sank livløs i brødrenes arme, således havde spænding, angst og smerte virket på hende.


"Yes, she is innocent," said the eldest brother; and then he related all that had taken place; and while he spoke there rose in the air a fragrance as from millions of roses. Every piece of faggot in the pile had taken root, and threw out branches, and appeared a thick hedge, large and high, covered with roses; while above all bloomed a white and shining flower, that glittered like a star. This flower the king plucked, and placed in Eliza's bosom, when she awoke from her swoon, with peace and happiness in her heart.
"Ja, uskyldig er hun!" sagde den ældste broder, og nu fortalte han alt hvad der var sket, og medens han talte, udbredte sig en duft, som af millioner roser, thi hvert brændestykke i bålet havde slået rødder og skudt grene; der stod en duftende hæk, så høj og stor med røde roser; øverst sad en blomst, hvid og skinnende, den lyste, som en stjerne, den brød kongen, satte den på Elisas bryst, da vågnede hun med fred og lyksalighed i sit hjerte.


And all the church bells rang of themselves, and the birds came in great troops. And a marriage procession returned to the castle, such as no king had ever before seen.
Og alle kirkeklokker ringede af sig selv og fuglene kom i store flokke; det blev et bryllupstog tilbage til slottet, som endnu ingen konge havde set det.





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