ENGLISH

The bottle neck

DANSK

Flaskehalsen


Close to the corner of a street, among other abodes of poverty, stood an exceedingly tall, narrow house, which had been so knocked about by time that it seemed out of joint in every direction. This house was inhabited by poor people, but the deepest poverty was apparent in the garret lodging in the gable. In front of the little window, an old bent bird-cage hung in the sunshine, which had not even a proper water-glass, but instead of it the broken neck of a bottle, turned upside down, and a cork stuck in to make it hold the water with which it was filled. An old maid stood at the window; she had hung chickweed over the cage, and the little linnet which it contained hopped from perch to perch and sang and twittered merrily.
Inde i den snævre krogede gade, mellem flere fattige huse stod et hus så smalt og så højt, opført af bindingsværk, der havde givet sig i alle ender og kanter; fattige folk boede her, og fattigst så her ud på kvisten, hvor der udenfor det lille vindue hang i solskinnet et gammelt bulet fuglebur, som ikke engang havde et ordentligt fugleglas, men kun en omvendt flaskehals med prop i forneden og fyldt med vand. En gammel pige stod ved det åbne vindue, hun havde lige nu pyntet med fuglegræs buret, hvori en lille irisk hoppede fra pind til pind og sang, så det klang efter.


"Yes, it's all very well for you to sing," said the bottle neck: that is, he did not really speak the words as we do, for the neck of a bottle cannot speak; but he thought them to himself in his own mind, just as people sometimes talk quietly to themselves. "Yes, you may sing very well, you have all your limbs uninjured; you should feel what it is like to lose your body, and only have a neck and a mouth left, with a cork stuck in it, as I have: you wouldn't sing then, I know. After all, it is just as well that there are some who can be happy. I have no reason to sing, nor could I sing now if I were ever so happy; but when I was a whole bottle, and they rubbed me with a cork, didn't I sing then? I used to be called a complete lark. I remember when I went out to a picnic with the furrier's family, on the day his daughter was betrothed,– it seems as if it only happened yesterday. I have gone through a great deal in my time, when I come to recollect: I have been in the fire and in the water, I have been deep in the earth, and have mounted higher in the air than most other people, and now I am swinging here, outside a bird-cage, in the air and the sunshine. Oh, indeed, it would be worth while to hear my history; but I do not speak it aloud, for a good reason– because I cannot."
"Ja, du kan sagtens synge!" sagde flaskehalsen, ja den sagde det ikke således, som vi kan sige det, for en flaskehals kan ikke tale, men den tænkte det sådan inde i sig, som når vi mennesker taler indvendig. "Ja, du kan sagtens synge! Du, som har dine hele lemmer. Du skulle prøve som jeg at have mistet din nederdel, kun at have hals og mund og det med prop i, således som jeg, så sang du ikke. Men det er da godt, at nogen er fornøjet! Jeg har ingen grund til at synge, og jeg kan det heller ikke! det kunne jeg, dengang jeg var hel flaske og man gned mig med en prop; jeg blev kaldt den rigtige lærke, den store lærke! - og så da jeg var med buntmagerens i skoven, og datteren blev forlovet - ja det husker jeg, som om det var i går! jeg har oplevet meget, når jeg tænker mig om! jeg har været i ild og vand, nede i den sorte jord og højere oppe end de fleste, og nu svæver jeg udenfor fugleburet i luft og solskin! det kunne nok være umagen værd at høre min historie, men jeg taler ikke højt om den, for jeg kan ikke!"


Then the bottle neck related his history, which was really rather remarkable; he, in fact, related it to himself, or, at least, thought it in his own mind. The little bird sang his own song merrily; in the street below there was driving and running to and fro, every one thought of his own affairs, or perhaps of nothing at all; but the bottle neck thought deeply.
Og så fortalte den inde i sig, eller tænkte inde i sig selv sin historie, der var mærkelig nok, og den lille fugl sang lystelig sin vise og nede på gaden kørte man og gik man, hver tænkte på sit, eller tænkte slet ikke, men det gjorde flaskehalsen.


He thought of the blazing furnace in the factory, where he had been blown into life; he remembered how hot it felt when he was placed in the heated oven, the home from which he sprang, and that he had a strong inclination to leap out again directly; but after a while it became cooler, and he found himself very comfortable. He had been placed in a row, with a whole regiment of his brothers and sisters all brought out of the same furnace; some of them had certainly been blown into champagne bottles, and others into beer bottles, which made a little difference between them. In the world it often happens that a beer bottle may contain the most precious wine, and a champagne bottle be filled with blacking, but even in decay it may always be seen whether a man has been well born. Nobility remains noble, as a champagne bottle remains the same, even with blacking in its interior.
Den huskede den flammende smelteovn i fabrikken, hvor den var blæst i live; den huskede endnu, at den havde været ganske varm, set ind i den buldrende ovn, dens ophavshjem, og følt sådan lyst til straks at springe lige ind i den igen, men at den lidt efter lidt, alt som den blev kølet af, fandt sig ret vel, hvor den var, den stod i række med et helt regiment af brødre og søstre, alle fra samme ovn, men nogle var blæst til champagneflasker, andre til ølflasker, og det gør en forskel! Siden ude i verden kan rigtignok en ølflaske omfatte den kosteligste Lacrymæ Christi og en champagneflaske være fyldt med sværte, men hvad man er født til, ses dog på skabelonen, adel bliver adel, selv med sværte i livet.


When the bottles were packed our bottle was packed amongst them; it little expected then to finish its career as a bottle neck, or to be used as a water-glass to a bird's-cage, which is, after all, a place of honor, for it is to be of some use in the world. The bottle did not behold the light of day again, until it was unpacked with the rest in the wine merchant's cellar, and, for the first time, rinsed with water, which caused some very curious sensations. There it lay empty, and without a cork, and it had a peculiar feeling, as if it wanted something it knew not what. At last it was filled with rich and costly wine, a cork was placed in it, and sealed down. Then it was labelled "first quality," as if it had carried off the first prize at an examination; besides, the wine and the bottle were both good, and while we are young is the time for poetry. There were sounds of song within the bottle, of things it could not understand, of green sunny mountains, where the vines grow and where the merry vine-dressers laugh, sing, and are merry. "Ah, how beautiful is life." All these tones of joy and song in the bottle were like the working of a young poet's brain, who often knows not the meaning of the tones which are sounding within him.
Alle flaskerne blev snart pakket ind, og vor flaske med; da tænkte den ikke på at ende som flaskehals, tjenende sig op til fugleglas, der altid er en hæderlig tilværelse, så er man dog noget! Den så først igen dagslyset, da den med de andre kammerater blev pakket ud i vinhandlerens kælder og første gang blev skyllet, det var en løjerlig fornemmelse. Den lå nu tom og propløs, følte sig så underlig flov, den savnede noget, men vidste ikke selv, hvad den savnede. Nu blev den fyldt med en god, herlig vin, den fik prop og blev lakket, der blev klistret udenpå: "Prima Sort," det var ligesom den havde fået første eksamenskarakter, men vinen var også god, og flasken var god; er man ung, er man lyriker! det sang og klang i den om hvad den slet ikke kendte: de grønne solbelyste bjerge, hvor vinen gror, hvor de muntre piger og lystelige svende synger og kysses; jo, det er dejligt at leve! Om alt det sang og klang det inde i flasken ligesom inde i de unge poeter, der tit heller ikke kender noget til det.


One morning the bottle found a purchaser in the furrier's apprentice, who was told to bring one of the best bottles of wine. It was placed in the provision basket with ham and cheese and sausages. The sweetest fresh butter and the finest bread were put into the basket by the furrier's daughter herself, for she packed it. She was young and pretty; her brown eyes laughed, and a smile lingered round her mouth as sweet as that in her eyes. She had delicate hands, beautifully white, and her neck was whiter still. It could easily be seen that she was a very lovely girl, and as yet she was not engaged.
En morgen blev den købt. Buntmagerens dreng skulle bringe en flaske vin af den bedste slags; og den kom med i madkurven hos skinke, ost og pølse; der var det dejligste smør, det fineste brød; buntmagerens datter selv pakkede det ind; hun var så ung, så smuk; de brune øjne lo, der var et smil om munden, der sagde lige så meget som øjnene; hun havde fine, bløde hænder, de var så hvide, dog var hals og bryst endnu hvidere, man så straks at hun var én af byens smukkeste piger og dog endnu ikke forlovet.


The provision basket lay in the lap of the young girl as the family drove out to the forest, and the neck of the bottle peeped out from between the folds of the white napkin. There was the red wax on the cork, and the bottle looked straight at the young girl's face, and also at the face of the young sailor who sat near her. He was a young friend, the son of a portrait painter. He had lately passed his examination with honor, as mate, and the next morning he was to sail in his ship to a distant coast. There had been a great deal of talk on this subject while the basket was being packed, and during this conversation the eyes and the mouth of the furrier's daughter did not wear a very joyful expression.
Og madkurven stod på hendes skød, da familien kørte ud i skoven; flaskehalsen stak frem mellem snipperne af den hvide dug; der var rødt lak på proppen, og den så lige ind i pigebarnets ansigt; den så også på den unge styrmand, der sad ved siden af hende; han var en barndomsven, portrætmalerens søn; sin styrmandseksamen havde han så flink og hæderligt nylig taget og skulle i morgen af sted med fartøj, langt bort til fremmede lande; herom var talt meget ved indpakningen, og medens der taltes herom, var der just ikke megen fornøjelse at se i øjne og om mund hos buntmagerens smukke datter.


The young people wandered away into the green wood, and talked together. What did they talk about? The bottle could not say, for he was in the provision basket. It remained there a long time; but when at last it was brought forth it appeared as if something pleasant had happened, for every one was laughing; the furrier's daughter laughed too, but she said very little, and her cheeks were like two roses.
De to unge folk gik i den grønne skov, de talte sammen -, hvad talte de om? Ja, det hørte flasken ikke, den stod i madkurven. Det varede forunderligt længe, før den blev taget frem, men da den så blev det, var der også sket fornøjelige ting, alle øjne lo, også buntmagerens datter lo, men hun talte mindre, og hendes kinder blussede som to røde roser.


Then her father took the bottle and the cork-screw into his hands. What a strange sensation it was to have the cork drawn for the first time! The bottle could never after that forget the performance of that moment; indeed there was quite a convulsion within him as the cork flew out, and a gurgling sound as the wine was poured forth into the glasses.
Fader tog den fyldte flaske og proptrækkeren. - Ja, det er underligt således første gang at skulle trækkes op! Flaskehalsen havde aldrig siden kunnet glemme dette højtidelige øjeblik, det havde ordentligt sagt svup inde i den, da proppen gik, og så klukkede det, da vinen strømmede ud i glassene.


"Long life to the betrothed," cried the papa, and every glass was emptied to the dregs, while the young sailor kissed his beautiful bride.
"De forlovedes skål!" sagde fader, og hvert glas blev tømt til bunden og den unge styrmand kyssede sin smukke brud.


"Happiness and blessing to you both," said the old people-father and mother, and the young man filled the glasses again. "Safe return, and a wedding this day next year," he cried; and when the glasses were empty he took the bottle, raised it on high, and said, "Thou hast been present here on the happiest day of my life; thou shalt never be used by others!"
"Lykke og velsignelse!" sagde begge de gamle. Og den unge mand fyldte endnu engang glassene: "Hjemkomst og bryllup i dag et år!" råbte han, og da glassene var tømt, tog han flasken, løftede den højt i vejret: "Du har været med på den dejligste dag i mit liv, du skal ikke tjene nogen længere!"


So saying, he hurled it high in the air. The furrier's daughter thought she should never see it again, but she was mistaken. It fell among the rushes on the borders of a little woodland lake. The bottle neck remembered well how long it lay there unseen. "I gave them wine, and they gave me muddy water," he had said to himself, "but I suppose it was all well meant." He could no longer see the betrothed couple, nor the cheerful old people; but for a long time he could hear them rejoicing and singing. At length there came by two peasant boys, who peeped in among the reeds and spied out the bottle. Then they took it up and carried it home with them, so that once more it was provided for.
Og han kastede den højt i vejret. Da tænkte mindst buntmagerens datter på, at hun oftere skulle se den flyve, men det skulle hun; nu faldt den ned mellem de tætte rør ved den lille skovsø; flaskehalsen huskede endnu så lyslevende, hvorledes den lå der og tænkte efter. "Jeg gav dem vin og de giver mig sumpvand, men det er velment!" Den kunne ikke mere se de forlovede og de fornøjede gamle, men den hørte dem endnu længe jubilere og synge. Så kom to små bønderdrenge, kiggede ind i rørene, så flasken og tog den, nu var den forsørget.


At home in their wooden cottage these boys had an elder brother, a sailor, who was about to start on a long voyage. He had been there the day before to say farewell, and his mother was now very busy packing up various things for him to take with him on his voyage. In the evening his father was going to carry the parcel to the town to see his son once more, and take him a farewell greeting from his mother. A small bottle had already been filled with herb tea, mixed with brandy, and wrapped in a parcel; but when the boys came in they brought with them a larger and stronger bottle, which they had found. This bottle would hold so much more than the little one, and they all said the brandy would be so good for complaints of the stomach, especially as it was mixed with medical herbs. The liquid which they now poured into the bottle was not like the red wine with which it had once been filled; these were bitter drops, but they are of great use sometimes– for the stomach. The new large bottle was to go, not the little one: so the bottle once more started on its travels. It was taken on board (for Peter Jensen was one of the crew) the very same ship in which the young mate was to sail. But the mate did not see the bottle: indeed, if he had he would not have known it, or supposed it was the one out of which they had drunk to the felicity of the betrothed and to the prospect of a marriage on his own happy return.
Hjemme i skovhuset, hvor de boede, havde deres ældste broder, som var sømand, i går været og sagt farvel, da han skulle på en af de større rejser; moder stod nu og pakkede ind ét og andet, det fader skulle gå ind til byen med i aften for endnu engang at se sønnen før afrejsen og give ham sin og moders hilsen. En lille flaske med krydret brændevin var lagt i pakken, nu kom drengene med en større, stærkere flaske, den de havde fundet; i den kunne der gå mere end i den lille, og det var just sådan en god snaps for en dårlig mave; der var sat hypericum på. Det var ikke den røde vin som før, flasken fik, den fik de bitre dråber, men de er også gode - for maven. Den nye flaske og ikke den lille skulle med; - og så kom flasken igen på vandring, den kom ombord til Peter Jensen, og det var netop på det samme skib, hvor den unge styrmand var, men han så ikke flasken og havde heller ikke kendt den igen eller tænkt: det er den, hvoraf vi drak forlovelsens og hjemkomstens skål.


Certainly the bottle no longer poured forth wine, but it contained something quite as good; and so it happened that whenever Peter Jensen brought it out, his messmates gave it the name of "the apothecary," for it contained the best medicine to cure the stomach, and he gave it out quite willingly as long as a drop remained. Those were happy days, and the bottle would sing when rubbed with a cork, and it was called a great lark, "Peter Jensen's lark."
Der var rigtignok ikke længere vin i den, men der var noget lige så godt; den blev også altid, når Peter Jensen tog den frem, af kammeraterne kaldt: "Apotekeren;" den skænkede den gode medicin, den der hjalp for maven; og den hjalp så længe der var en dråbe i den. Det var en fornøjelig tid, og flasken sang, når man strøg den med proppen, den fik da navn af den store lærke, "Peter Jensens lærke."


Long days and months rolled by, during which the bottle stood empty in a corner, when a storm arose– whether on the passage out or home it could not tell, for it had never been ashore. It was a terrible storm, great waves arose, darkly heaving and tossing the vessel to and fro. The main mast was split asunder, the ship sprang a leak, and the pumps became useless, while all around was black as night. At the last moment, when the ship was sinking, the young mate wrote on a piece of paper, "We are going down: God's will be done." Then he wrote the name of his betrothed, his own name, and that of the ship. Then he put the leaf in an empty bottle that happened to be at hand, corked it down tightly, and threw it into the foaming sea. He knew not that it was the very same bottle from which the goblet of joy and hope had once been filled for him, and now it was tossing on the waves with his last greeting, and a message from the dead.
Lang tid var gået, den stod tom i en krog, da skete det - ja, om det var på udrejsen eller hjemrejsen, vidste flasken ikke så nøje, den havde ikke været i land: Da rejste sig en storm; store søer væltede sorte og tunge, de løftede og kastede fartøjet; masten knækkede, en sø slog en planke ind, pumperne kunne ikke mere gøre nytte; det var bælgmørk nat; skibet sank, men i det sidste minut skrev den unge styrmand på et blad: "I Jesu navn! vi forliser!" han skrev sin bruds navn, sit og skibets, stak sedlen ind i en tom flaske der stod, pressede proppen fast og kastede flasken ud i det stormende hav; han vidste ikke, at det var den flaske, hvoraf var skænket glædens og håbets skål for ham og hende; den gyngede nu på bølge med hilsen og dødsbud.


The ship sank, and the crew sank with her; but the bottle flew on like a bird, for it bore within it a loving letter from a loving heart. And as the sun rose and set, the bottle felt as at the time of its first existence, when in the heated glowing stove it had a longing to fly away. It outlived the storms and the calm, it struck against no rocks, was not devoured by sharks, but drifted on for more than a year, sometimes towards the north, sometimes towards the south, just as the current carried it. It was in all other ways its own master, but even of that one may get tired.
Skibet sank, mandskabet sank, den fløj som en fugl, den havde jo hjerte, et kærestebrev inde i sig. Og solen stod op og solen gik ned, det var for flasken at se, ligesom i dens begyndelsestid den røde gloende ovn, den havde længsel efter at flyve igen derind. Den fornam havblik og nye storme; ikke stødte den mod noget klippestykke, ikke blev den slugt af nogen haj; mere end år og dag drev den om, snart mod nord, snart mod syd, som strømningerne førte den. Den var i øvrigt sin egen herre, men det kan man også blive ked af.


The written leaf, the last farewell of the bridegroom to his bride, would only bring sorrow when once it reached her hands; but where were those hands, so soft and delicate, which had once spread the table-cloth on the fresh grass in the green wood, on the day of her betrothal? Ah, yes! where was the furrier's daughter? and where was the land which might lie nearest to her home? The bottle knew not, it travelled onward and onward, and at last all this wandering about became wearisome; at all events it was not its usual occupation. But it had to travel, till at length it reached land– a foreign country. Not a word spoken in this country could the bottle understand; it was a language it had never before heard, and it is a great loss not to be able to understand a language.
Det beskrevne blad, det sidste farvel fra brudgom til brud ville kun bringe sorg, kom det engang i de rette hænder, men hvor var de hænder, de der havde skinnet så hvide da de bredte dugen i det friske græs, i den grønne skov, på forlovelsens dag? Hvor var buntmagerens datter? Ja, hvor var landet, og hvilket land lå vel nærmest? Det vidste flasken ikke; den drev og den drev og var til sidst så også ked af at drive, det var ikke dens bestemmelse, men den drev alligevel, til endelig den nåede land, et fremmed land. Den forstod ikke et ord af hvad her blev talt, det var ikke det tungemål, den før havde hørt tale, og der går én meget tabt, når man ikke forstår sproget.


The bottle was fished out of the water, and examined on all sides. The little letter contained within it was discovered, taken out, and turned and twisted in every direction; but the people could not understand what was written upon it. They could be quite sure that the bottle had been thrown overboard from a vessel, and that something about it was written on this paper: but what was written? that was the question,– so the paper was put back into the bottle, and then both were put away in a large cupboard of one of the great houses of the town.
Flasken blev taget op og betragtet; sedlen inde i den blev set, taget ud, vendt og drejet, men de forstod ikke, hvad der var skrevet der, de begreb nok, at flasken var kastet over bord, og at der stod noget om det på papiret, men hvad stod dér, det var mærkeligheden, - og den blev puttet i flasken igen, og denne stillet op i et stort skab, i en stor stue, i et stort hus.


Whenever any strangers arrived, the paper was taken out and turned over and over, so that the address, which was only written in pencil, became almost illegible, and at last no one could distinguish any letters on it at all. For a whole year the bottle remained standing in the cupboard, and then it was taken up to the loft, where it soon became covered with dust and cobwebs. Ah! how often then it thought of those better days– of the times when in the fresh, green wood, it had poured forth rich wine; or, while rocked by the swelling waves, it had carried in its bosom a secret, a letter, a last parting sigh.
Hver gang fremmede kom, blev sedlen taget frem, vendt og drejet, så at skriften, der kun var med blyant, blev mere og mere ulæselig; til sidst kunne ingen mere se, at det var bogstaver. Og flasken stod endnu et år i skabet, kom så på loftet og blev skjult af støv og spindelvæv; da tænkte den på bedre dage, da den skænkede rødvin i den friske skov, og da den gyngede på bølgerne og havde en hemmelighed at bære, et brev, et afskedssuk.


For full twenty years it stood in the loft, and it might have stayed there longer but that the house was going to be rebuilt. The bottle was discovered when the roof was taken off; they talked about it, but the bottle did not understand what they said– a language is not to be learnt by living in a loft, even for twenty years. "If I had been down stairs in the room," thought the bottle, "I might have learnt it."
Og nu stod den på loftet i tyve år; den kunne have stået længere, skulle ikke huset have været bygget om. Taget blev revet af, flasken set og omtalt, men den forstod ikke sproget; det lærer man ikke af at stå på loftet, selv i tyve år. "Var jeg blevet nede i stuen," mente den rigtignok, "så havde jeg nok lært det!"


It was now washed and rinsed, which process was really quite necessary, and afterwards it looked clean and transparent, and felt young again in its old age; but the paper which it had carried so faithfully was destroyed in the washing.
Den blev nu vasket og skyllet, den kunne trænge til det; den følte sig ganske klar og gennemsigtig, den var ung igen på sin gamle alder, men sedlen, den havde båret på, den var gået i vasken.


They filled the bottle with seeds, though it scarcely knew what had been placed in it. Then they corked it down tightly, and carefully wrapped it up. There not even the light of a torch or lantern could reach it, much less the brightness of the sun or moon. "And yet," thought the bottle, "men go on a journey that they may see as much as possible, and I can see nothing." However, it did something quite as important; it travelled to the place of its destination, and was unpacked.
Flasken fyldtes nu med frøkorn, den kendte ikke den slags; den blev tilproppet og svøbt vel ind, den så hverken lygte eller lys, end sige sol eller måne, og noget skal man dog se, når man går på rejser, mente flasken, men den så ikke noget, dog det vigtigste gjorde den - den rejste og kom hen, hvor den skulle, der blev den pakket ud.


"What trouble they have taken with that bottle over yonder!" said one, "and very likely it is broken after all." But the bottle was not broken, and, better still, it understood every word that was said: this language it had heard at the furnaces and at the wine merchant's; in the forest and on the ship,– it was the only good old language it could understand. It had returned home, and the language was as a welcome greeting. For very joy, it felt ready to jump out of people's hands, and scarcely noticed that its cork had been drawn, and its contents emptied out, till it found itself carried to a cellar, to be left there and forgotten. "There's no place like home, even if it's a cellar." It never occurred to him to think that he might lie there for years, he felt so comfortable. For many long years he remained in the cellar, till at last some people came to carry away the bottles, and ours amongst the number.
"Hvor de der udenlands har gjort dem ulejlighed med den!" blev der sagt, "og så er den dog vel knækket!" men den var ikke knækket. Flasken forstod hvert evige ord, der blev sagt, det var i det tungemål, den havde hørt ved smelteovnen og hos vinhandleren og i skoven og på skibet, det eneste rigtige gode gamle sprog, det man kunne forstå; den var kommet hjem til sit land, den fik velkomsthilsen! den var af bare glæde nær sprunget dem ud af hænderne, den mærkede knap til, at proppen kom af, og den selv blev rystet ud og sat ned i kælderen for at blive gemt og glemt; hjemmet er bedst, selv i kælderen! det faldt den dér aldrig ind at tænke over, hvor længe den dér lå, den lå godt og det i åringer, så kom der en dag folk herned, tog flaskerne og den med.


Out in the garden there was a great festival. Brilliant lamps hung in festoons from tree to tree; and paper lanterns, through which the light shone till they looked like transparent tulips. It was a beautiful evening, and the weather mild and clear. The stars twinkled; and the new moon, in the form of a crescent, was surrounded by the shadowy disc of the whole moon, and looked like a gray globe with a golden rim: it was a beautiful sight for those who had good eyes.
Udenfor i haven var gjort stor stads; brændende lamper hang i guirlander, papirslygter strålede som store tulipaner i transparent; det var også en dejlig aften, vejret stille og klart; stjernerne skinnede så blanke og nyet var tændt, egentligt så man den hele runde måne som en blågrå kugle med gylden halvkant, det så godt ud, for gode øjne.


The illumination extended even to the most retired of the garden walks, at least not so retired that any one need lose himself there. In the borders were placed bottles, each containing a light, and among them the bottle with which we are acquainted, and whose fate it was, one day, to be only a bottle neck, and to serve as a water-glass to a bird's-cage. Everything here appeared lovely to our bottle, for it was again in the green wood, amid joy and feasting; again it heard music and song, and the noise and murmur of a crowd, especially in that part of the garden where the lamps blazed, and the paper lanterns displayed their brilliant colors. It stood in a distant walk certainly, but a place pleasant for contemplation; and it carried a light; and was at once useful and ornamental. In such an hour it is easy to forget that one has spent twenty years in a loft, and a good thing it is to be able to do so.
I de afsides gange var også nogen illumination, i det mindste så megen, at man kunne se at komme frem; der stod mellem hækkene opstillet flasker, hver med et lys i, dér stod også flasken, som vi kender, den der engang skulle ende som flaskehals, som fugleglas; den fandt i dette øjeblik her alt så mageløst dejligt, den var igen i det grønne, var igen med til glæde og fest, fornam sang og musik, surren og murren af de mange mennesker, især fra den kant af haven, hvor lamperne brændte og papirslygterne viste kulører. Selv stod den vel i en afsides gang, men just det havde noget for tanken, flasken stod og bar sit lys, stod her til nytte og fornøjelse, og det er det rette; i en sådan time glemmer man tyve år på loftet - og det er godt at glemme.


Close before the bottle passed a single pair, like the bridal pair– the mate and the furrier's daughter– who had so long ago wandered in the wood. It seemed to the bottle as if he were living that time over again. Not only the guests but other people were walking in the garden, who were allowed to witness the splendor and the festivities. Among the latter came an old maid, who seemed to be quite alone in the world. She was thinking, like the bottle, of the green wood, and of a young betrothed pair, who were closely connected with herself; she was thinking of that hour, the happiest of her life, in which she had taken part, when she had herself been one of that betrothed pair; such hours are never to be forgotten, let a maiden be as old as she may. But she did not recognize the bottle, neither did the bottle notice the old maid. And so we often pass each other in the world when we meet, as did these two, even while together in the same town.
Tæt forbi den gik et enkelt par, arm i arm, som brudeparret ude i skoven: styrmanden og buntmagerens datter; det var for flasken, som om den levede det om igen! I haven gik gæster og der gik folk, som turde se på dem og stadsen, og mellem disse gik en gammel pige, frændeløs, men ikke venneløs, hun tænkte netop på det samme som flasken, hun tænkte på den grønne skov og på et ungt brudepar, der kom hende meget ved, hun var part deri, hun var halvparten, det var i hendes lykkeligste time, og den glemmer man aldrig, selv om man bliver nok så gammel en jomfru. Men hun kendte ikke flasken, og den kendte ikke hende, således går man hinanden forbi i verden - til man mødes igen, og det gjorde de to, de var jo kommet i by sammen.


The bottle was taken from the garden, and again sent to a wine merchant, where it was once more filled with wine, and sold to an aeronaut, who was to make an ascent in his balloon on the following Sunday. A great crowd assembled to witness the sight; military music had been engaged, and many other preparations made. The bottle saw it all from the basket in which he lay close to a live rabbit. The rabbit was quite excited because he knew that he was to be taken up, and let down again in a parachute. The bottle, however, knew nothing of the "up," or the "down;" he saw only that the balloon was swelling larger and larger till it could swell no more, and began to rise and be restless. Then the ropes which held it were cut through, and the aerial ship rose in the air with the aeronaut and the basket containing the bottle and the rabbit, while the music sounded and all the people shouted "Hurrah."
Flasken kom fra haven til vinhandleren, blev igen fyldt med vin og solgt til luftskipperen, der næste søndag skulle gå op med ballonen. Der var en stimmel af mennesker, for at se til, der var regimentsmusik og mange tilberedelser, flasken så det fra en kurv, hvori den lå ved en levende kanin, der var ganske forknyt, idet den vidste, den skulle op med for at gå ned med faldskærm, flasken vidste hverken om op eller ned, den så, at ballonen bovnede så stor, så stor, og da den ikke kunne blive større, begyndte at løfte sig højere og højere, blive så urolig, tovene, der holdt den, skar man over og den svævede med luftskipperen, kurven, flasken og kaninen; musikken klang, og alle mennesker råbte: Hurra!


"This is a wonderful journey up into the air," thought the bottle; "it is a new way of sailing, and here, at least, there is no fear of striking against anything."
"Det er løjerligt sådan at gå til vejrs!" tænkte flasken, "det er en ny sejlads; deroppe kan man da ikke løbe på!"


Thousands of people gazed at the balloon, and the old maid who was in the garden saw it also; for she stood at the open window of the garret, by which hung the cage containing the linnet, who then had no water-glass, but was obliged to be contented with an old cup. In the window-sill stood a myrtle in a pot, and this had been pushed a little on one side, that it might not fall out; for the old maid was leaning out of the window, that she might see. And she did see distinctly the aeronaut in the balloon, and how he let down the rabbit in the parachute, and then drank to the health of all the spectators in the wine from the bottle. After doing this, he hurled it high into the air. How little she thought that this was the very same bottle which her friend had thrown aloft in her honor, on that happy day of rejoicing, in the green wood, in her youthful days.
Og mange tusinde mennesker så efter ballonen, og den gamle jomfru så også efter den; hun stod ved sit åbne kvistvindue, hvor buret hang med den lille irisk, der dengang ikke havde vandglas, men måtte nøjes med en kop. I vinduet selv stod et myrtetræ, det var lidt flyttet til side, for ikke at stødes ud, idet den gamle pige bøjede sig frem for at se; og hun så i ballonen tydeligt luftskipperen, der lod kaninen gå ned med faldskærm og derpå drak alle menneskers skål og kastede så flasken højt i luften; ikke tænkte hun på, at hun havde set just den flyve højt for hende og hendes ven på glædens dag i den grønne skov, i ungdoms tid.


The bottle had no time to think, when raised so suddenly; and before it was aware, it reached the highest point it had ever attained in its life. Steeples and roofs lay far, far beneath it, and the people looked as tiny as possible.
Flasken fik ikke tid til at tænke, det kom den så uventet med ét at være på sit livs højdepunkt. Tårne og tage lå dybt nede, menneskene var så bittesmå at se.


Then it began to descend much more rapidly than the rabbit had done, made somersaults in the air, and felt itself quite young and unfettered, although it was half full of wine. But this did not last long. What a journey it was! All the people could see the bottle; for the sun shone upon it. The balloon was already far away, and very soon the bottle was far away also; for it fell upon a roof, and broke in pieces. But the pieces had got such an impetus in them, that they could not stop themselves. They went jumping and rolling about, till at last they fell into the court-yard, and were broken into still smaller pieces; only the neck of the bottle managed to keep whole, and it was broken off as clean as if it had been cut with a diamond.
Nu sank den og det med en anderledes fart end kaninen; flasken gjorde kolbøtter i luften, den følte sig så ung, så ellevild, den var halvfuld af vinen, men ikke længe. Hvilken rejse! Solen skinnede på flasken, alle mennesker så efter den, ballonen var alt langt borte, og snart var også flasken borte, den faldt på et af tagene og så var den itu, men der var en sådan flugt i stumperne, at de ikke kunne blive liggende, de sprang og de trillede, til de nåede ned i gården og lå i endnu mindre stykker, kun flaskehalsen holdt, og den var som skåret af med en diamant.


"That would make a capital bird's glass," said one of the cellar-men; but none of them had either a bird or a cage, and it was not to be expected they would provide one just because they had found a bottle neck that could be used as a glass. But the old maid who lived in the garret had a bird, and it really might be useful to her; so the bottle neck was provided with a cork, and taken up to her; and, as it often happens in life, the part that had been uppermost was now turned downwards, and it was filled with fresh water. Then they hung it in the cage of the little bird, who sang and twittered more merrily than ever.
"Den kunne godt bruges til fugleglas!" sagde kældermanden, men han havde selv hverken fugl eller bur og det var for meget at anskaffe sig disse, fordi han nu havde flaskehalsen, der kunne bruges som glas, den gamle jomfru på kvisten kunne have brug for den, og så kom flaskehalsen derop, fik en prop i sig, og hvad der før vendte op, kom nu ned, således som det tit sker ved forandringer, fik frisk vand og blev hængt foran buret til den lille fugl, der sang, så det klang efter.


"Ah, you have good reason to sing," said the bottle neck, which was looked upon as something very remarkable, because it had been in a balloon; nothing further was known of its history. As it hung there in the bird's-cage, it could hear the noise and murmur of the people in the street below, as well as the conversation of the old maid in the room within. An old friend had just come to visit her, and they talked, not about the bottle neck, but of the myrtle in the window.
"Ja, du kan sagtens synge!" var det, flaskehalsen sagde; og den var jo mærkelig, den havde været i ballonen, - mere vidste man ikke af dens historie. Nu hang den som fugleglas, kunne høre folk rumle og tumle nede på gaden, høre den gamle piges tale inde i kamret: der var just besøg, en jævnaldrende veninde, de talte sammen - ikke om flaskehalsen, men om myrtetræet ved vinduet.


"No, you must not spend a dollar for your daughter's bridal bouquet," said the old maid; "you shall have a beautiful little bunch for a nosegay, full of blossoms. Do you see how splendidly the tree has grown? It has been raised from only a little sprig of myrtle that you gave me on the day after my betrothal, and from which I was to make my own bridal bouquet when a year had passed: but that day never came; the eyes were closed which were to have been my light and joy through life. In the depths of the sea my beloved sleeps sweetly; the myrtle has become an old tree, and I am a still older woman. Before the sprig you gave me faded, I took a spray, and planted it in the earth; and now, as you see, it has become a large tree, and a bunch of the blossoms shall at last appear at a wedding festival, in the bouquet of your daughter."
"Du skal sandelig ikke kaste to rigsdaler bort for en brudebuket til din datter!" sagde den gamle pige, "du skal hos mig få en nydelig én, fuld af blomster! Ser du, hvor dejligt træet står. Ja, det er såmænd en stikling af det myrtetræ, du gav mig dagen efter min forlovelsesdag, det jeg selv skulle, når året var omme, tage mig min brudebuket af, men den dag kom ikke! de øjne blev lukkede, som skulle have lyst for mig til glæde og velsignelse i dette liv. På havsens bund sover han sødt, den englesjæl! - Træet blev et gammelt træ, men jeg blev endnu ældre, og da træet sygnede hen, tog jeg den sidste friske gren, satte den i jorden, og grenen er nu blevet sådan et stort træ og kommer så dog til sidst til bryllupsstads, bliver brudebuket for din datter!"


There were tears in the eyes of the old maid, as she spoke of the beloved of her youth, and of their betrothal in the wood. Many thoughts came into her mind; but the thought never came, that quite close to her, in that very window, was a remembrance of those olden times,– the neck of the bottle which had, as it were shouted for joy when the cork flew out with a bang on the betrothal day. But the bottle neck did not recognize the old maid; he had not been listening to what she had related, perhaps because he was thinking so much about her.
Og der stod tårer i den gamle piges øjne; hun talte om sin ungdoms ven, om forlovelsen i skoven; hun tænkte på skålen der blev drukket, tænkte på det første kys, - men det sagde hun ikke, hun var jo en gammel pige; hun tænkte på så meget, men tænkte slet ikke på, at lige udenfor hendes vindue var endnu et minde fra hin tid: halsen af den flaske, der sagde svup, da proppen knaldede af til skålen. Men flaskehalsen kendte heller ikke hende, for den hørte ikke efter hvad hun fortalte - dels og formedelst, at den tænkte alene på sig selv.





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