ENGLISH

Luck may lie in a pin

DANSK

Lykken kan ligge i en pind


A Story Told For My Young American Friends

I'll tell you a story about luck. All of us know what it is to be lucky. Some know good luck day in, day out; others only now and then in their lucky seasons; and there are some people who know it only once in a lifetime. But luck comes at some time or other to us all.

Now I needn't tell you what everyone knows, that it's God who puts little children in their mother's lap; maybe in a nobleman's castle, maybe in a workingman's home, or maybe in the open field where the cold wind blows. What you may not know, though it's just as true, is that when God leaves the child he always leaves it a lucky piece. He doesn't put this where the child is born, but tucks it away in some odd corner of the earth where we least expect it. Yes, you can rest assured that it always turns up, sooner or later, and that is nice to know.

This lucky piece may turn out to be an apple. That was the case with one man, a scholar called Newton. The apple fell into his lap, and his luck came with it. If you don't know the story, get someone to tell it to you. I've a different story to tell, about a pear.

Once there was a man born poor, bred poor, and married without a penny. By the way, he was a turner by trade, but as he made nothing except umbrella handles and umbrella rings, he earned only enough money to live from hand to mouth.

"I'll never find my luck," he used to say.

Now this is a Gospel true story. It really happened. I could name the man's county and his town, but that isn't important. Wild service berries, with their red, sour fruit, grew around his house and garden as if they were the richest ornament. However, in the garden was also a pear tree. It had never borne fruit; yet the man's luck lay hidden in the tree, in the shape of a pear not yet to be seen.

One night the wind blew in a terrible gale. In the next town men said that the great mail coach was lifted from one side of the road to the other as easily as a rag, so it was not to be wondered at that a large branch was torn from the pear tree. The branch was brought into the workshop and, just as a joke, the turner made from it wooden pears, big, little, and middle-sized.

"For once my tree has borne pears," he smiled, and gave them to his children for playthings.

Among the necessities of life are umbrellas, especially in lands where it rains a lot. But the turner's family had only one umbrella between them. When the wind blew hard, their umbrella would blow inside out. Sometimes it would break, and luckily the man knew how to mend it. However, with the button and loop that held the umbrella closed, things went from bad to worse. The button would always fly off just as they thought they had the umbrella neatly folded.

One day it popped off, and the turner hunted for it everywhere. In a crack of the floor he came across one of the smallest pears he had given his children for a toy.

"If I can't find the button," he said, "I'll make this do." He fitted a string through it, and the little pear buttoned up the umbrella to perfection. It was the best umbrella fastener that ever was seen.

The next time the turner sent umbrella handles and umbrella rings to the city, he added several of the small wooden pears. They were fitted to a few new umbrellas, and put with a thousand others on a ship bound for America. Americans catch on very quickly. They saw that the little pears held better than the other umbrella buttons, and the merchant gave orders that all the umbrellas sent to him henceforth should be fastened with little wooden pears.

There was work for you - thousands of pears to be made for all the umbrellas that went to America. The turner turned them out wholesale, until the whole pear tree was used up making little wooden pears. They brought pennies that grew into dollars. There was no end to the money he made.

"My luck was in that pear tree all along," the man said. Soon he had a great factory with plenty of workmen to help him. Now that he always had time for joke he would say, "Good luck may lie in a pin."

And I who tell this story say so too, for it's a true proverb in Denmark that if you put a white pin in your mouth you'll be invisible. But it must be the right sort of pin, a lucky piece from God's own hand. I have one of them, and whenever I come to America, that new world so far away and yet so near me, I'll always carry that pin. Already my words have gone there. The ocean rolls toward America, and the wind blows that way. Any day I can be where my stories are read, and perhaps see the glitter of ringing gold - the gold that is best of all, which shines in children's eyes, or rings from their lips and the lips of their grown-ups. I and in all my friends' homes, even though they don't see me. I have the white pin in my mouth.

And luck may lie in a pin.
Nu skal jeg fortælle en historie om lykken. Vi kender alle sammen lykken: Nogle ser den år ud, år ind, andre kun i visse åringer, på en enkelt dag, ja, der gives de mennesker, som kun én eneste gang i deres liv ser den, men ser den gør vi alle.

Nu behøver jeg ikke at fortælle, for det ved enhver, at Vorherre sender det lille barn og lægger det i en moders skød, - det kan være i det rige slot og i den velhavende stue, men også på åben mark, hvor den kolde vind blæser; dog enhver ved nok ikke, og vist er det alligevel, at Vorherre, idet han bringer barnet, også bringer en lykkegave til det, men den lægges ikke åbenlyst lige ved siden af; den lægges et sted i verden, hvor man mindst tænker på at finde den, og dog findes den altid; det er det glædelige. Den kan være lagt i et æble; det var den for en lærd mand, som hed Newton: Æblet drattede, og så fandt han sin lykke. Kender du ikke historien, så bed dem om at fortælle den, som kan den; jeg har en anden historie at fortælle, og det er en historie om en pære.

Der var en stakkels mand, som var født i armod, groet op i armod, og på den havde han giftet sig. Han var forresten drejer af profession og drejede især paraplyskafter og paraplyringe; men han havde det næppe fra hånden i munden.

"Jeg finder aldrig lykken!" sagde han. Det er en virkelig oplevet historie, og man kan nævne landet og stedet, hvor manden boede, men det er nu det samme.

De røde, sure rønnebær voksede som den rigeste pynt omkring hans hus og have. I den var dog også et pæretræ, men det bar ikke en eneste pære, og dog var lykken lagt i dette pæretræ, lagt i de usynlige pærer.

En nat stormede vinden ganske forfærdeligt; man fortalte i aviserne, at den store diligence blev af stormen løftet op fra vejen og kastet hen som en klud. Sagtens kunne da en stor gren blive knækket af pæretræet.

Grenen blev lagt ind i værkstedet, og manden drejede, i spøg, af den en stor pære og så nok en stor, derpå en mindre og så nogle ganske små.

Træet måtte dog engang sætte pærer, sagde manden, og så gav han dem til børnene at lege med.

Til livets nødvendighed i et vådt land hører nu rigtignok en paraply. Hele huset havde til fælles brug kun én; blæste vinden for stærkt, så vendte paraplyen sig, ja den knækkede endogså et par gange, men manden satte den straks i god stand igen; dog ærgerligst var det, at knappen, der skulle holde den sammen, når den var slået ned, alt for tit sprang af, eller ringen, der blev sat om den, gik itu.

En dag sprang knappen; manden søgte efter den på gulvet og fik der fat i en af de allermindste drejede småpærer, en af dem, børnene havde fået til at lege med.

"Knappen er ikke til at finde!" sagde manden, "men den lille ting kan nok gøre samme gavn!" Så borede han et hul i den, trak en lidse igennem, og den lille pære sluttede godt i den knækkede ring. Det var sandelig den allerbedste sammenholder, paraplyen endnu havde haft.

Da manden næste år skulle sende paraplyskafter til hovedstaden, hvor han leverede den slags, sendte han også et par af de drejede små træpærer med en halv ring om, og bad om, at de måtte prøves, og således kom de til Amerika. Der mærkede man snart, at den lille pære holdt langt bedre end nogen anden knap, og nu forlangte man af købmanden, at alle paraplyer, som fulgte efter, skulle lukkes med en lille pære.

Nå, der blev noget at bestille! Pærer i tusindvis! Træpærer på alle paraplyer! Manden måtte tage fat. Han drejede og drejede. Hele pæretræet gik op i de små træpærer! Det gav skillinger, det gav dalere!

"I det pæretræ var min lykke lagt!" sagde manden. Han fik nu et stort værksted med svende og drenge. Altid var han i godt humør og sagde: "Lykken kan ligge i en pind!"

Det siger også jeg, som fortæller historien.

Man har den talemåde: "Tag en hvid pind i munden, så er du usynlig!" men det må da være den rigtige pind, den, som gives os i lykkegave af Vorherre. Den fik jeg, og jeg kan også ligesom manden hente klingende guld, blinkende guld, det allerbedste, det, der blinker fra barneøjne, det, der klinger fra barnemund, og fra fader og moder med. De læser historierne, og jeg står midt i stuen hos dem, men usynlig, thi jeg har den hvide pind i munden; fornemmer jeg nu, at de er glade ved hvad jeg fortæller, ja, så siger jeg også: Lykken kan ligge i en pind!




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