The flying trunk


Den flyvende kuffert

There was once a merchant who was so rich that he could have paved the whole street with gold, and would even then have had enough for a small alley. But he did not do so; he knew the value of money better than to use it in this way. So clever was he, that every shilling he put out brought him a crown; and so he continued till he died. His son inherited his wealth, and he lived a merry life with it; he went to a masquerade every night, made kites out of five pound notes, and threw pieces of gold into the sea instead of stones, making ducks and drakes of them. In this manner he soon lost all his money. At last he had nothing left but a pair of slippers, an old dressing-gown, and four shillings. And now all his friends deserted him, they could not walk with him in the streets; but one of them, who was very good-natured, sent him an old trunk with this message, "Pack up!" - "Yes," he said, "it is all very well to say 'pack up,' "but he had nothing left to pack up, therefore he seated himself in the trunk. It was a very wonderful trunk; no sooner did any one press on the lock than the trunk could fly. He shut the lid and pressed the lock, when away flew the trunk up the chimney with the merchant's son in it, right up into the clouds. Whenever the bottom of the trunk cracked, he was in a great fright, for if the trunk fell to pieces he would have made a tremendous somerset over the trees. However, he got safely in his trunk to the land of Turkey. He hid the trunk in the wood under some dry leaves, and then went into the town: he could so this very well, for the Turks always go about dressed in dressing-gowns and slippers, as he was himself. He happened to meet a nurse with a little child. "I say, you Turkish nurse," cried he, "what castle is that near the town, with the windows placed so high?"

"The king's daughter lives there," she replied; "it has been prophesied that she will be very unhappy about a lover, and therefore no one is allowed to visit her, unless the king and queen are present."

"Thank you," said the merchant's son. So he went back to the wood, seated himself in his trunk, flew up to the roof of the castle, and crept through the window into the princess's room. She lay on the sofa asleep, and she was so beautiful that the merchant's son could not help kissing her. Then she awoke, and was very much frightened; but he told her he was a Turkish angel, who had come down through the air to see her, which pleased her very much. He sat down by her side and talked to her: he said her eyes were like beautiful dark lakes, in which the thoughts swam about like little mermaids, and he told her that her forehead was a snowy mountain, which contained splendid halls full of pictures. And then he related to her about the stork who brings the beautiful children from the rivers. These were delightful stories; and when he asked the princess if she would marry him, she consented immediately.

"But you must come on Saturday," she said; "for then the king and queen will take tea with me. They will be very proud when they find that I am going to marry a Turkish angel; but you must think of some very pretty stories to tell them, for my parents like to hear stories better than anything. My mother prefers one that is deep and moral; but my father likes something funny, to make him laugh."

"Very well," he replied; "I shall bring you no other marriage portion than a story," and so they parted. But the princess gave him a sword which was studded with gold coins, and these he could use.

Then he flew away to the town and bought a new dressing-gown, and afterwards returned to the wood, where he composed a story, so as to be ready for Saturday, which was no easy matter. It was ready however by Saturday, when he went to see the princess. The king, and queen, and the whole court, were at tea with the princess; and he was received with great politeness.

"Will you tell us a story?" said the queen,– "one that is instructive and full of deep learning."

"Yes, but with something in it to laugh at," said the king.

"Certainly," he replied, and commenced at once, asking them to listen attentively.

"There was once a bundle of matches that were exceedingly proud of their high descent. Their genealogical tree, that is, a large pine-tree from which they had been cut, was at one time a large, old tree in the wood. The matches now lay between a tinder-box and an old iron saucepan, and were talking about their youthful days. 'Ah! then we grew on the green boughs, and were as green as they; every morning and evening we were fed with diamond drops of dew. Whenever the sun shone, we felt his warm rays, and the little birds would relate stories to us as they sung. We knew that we were rich, for the other trees only wore their green dress in summer, but our family were able to array themselves in green, summer and winter. But the wood-cutter came, like a great revolution, and our family fell under the axe. The head of the house obtained a situation as mainmast in a very fine ship, and can sail round the world when he will. The other branches of the family were taken to different places, and our office now is to kindle a light for common people. This is how such high-born people as we came to be in a kitchen.'

'Mine has been a very different fate,' said the iron pot, which stood by the matches; 'from my first entrance into the world I have been used to cooking and scouring. I am the first in this house, when anything solid or useful is required. My only pleasure is to be made clean and shining after dinner, and to sit in my place and have a little sensible conversation with my neighbors. All of us, excepting the water-bucket, which is sometimes taken into the courtyard, live here together within these four walls. We get our news from the market-basket, but he sometimes tells us very unpleasant things about the people and the government. Yes, and one day an old pot was so alarmed, that he fell down and was broken to pieces. He was a liberal, I can tell you.'

'You are talking too much,' said the tinder-box, and the steel struck against the flint till some sparks flew out, crying, 'We want a merry evening, don't we?'

'Yes, of course,' said the matches, 'let us talk about those who are the highest born.'

'No, I don't like to be always talking of what we are,' remarked the saucepan; 'let us think of some other amusement; I will begin. We will tell something that has happened to ourselves; that will be very easy, and interesting as well. On the Baltic Sea, near the Danish shore'– 'What a pretty commencement!' said the plates; 'we shall all like that story, I am sure.'

'Yes; well in my youth, I lived in a quiet family, where the furniture was polished, the floors scoured, and clean curtains put up every fortnight,'

'What an interesting way you have of relating a story,' said the carpet-broom; 'it is easy to perceive that you have been a great deal in women's society, there is something so pure runs through what you say.'

'That is quite true,' said the water-bucket; and he made a spring with joy, and splashed some water on the floor.

Then the saucepan went on with his story, and the end was as good as the beginning.

The plates rattled with pleasure, and the carpet-broom brought some green parsley out of the dust-hole and crowned the saucepan, for he knew it would vex the others; and he thought, 'If I crown him to-day he will crown me to-morrow.'

'Now, let us have a dance,' said the fire-tongs; and then how they danced and stuck up one leg in the air. The chair-cushion in the corner burst with laughter when she saw it.

'Shall I be crowned now?' asked the fire-tongs; so the broom found another wreath for the tongs.

'They were only common people after all,' thought the matches. The tea-urn was now asked to sing, but she said she had a cold, and could not sing without boiling heat. They all thought this was affectation, and because she did not wish to sing excepting in the parlor, when on the table with the grand people.

In the window sat an old quill-pen, with which the maid generally wrote. There was nothing remarkable about the pen, excepting that it had been dipped too deeply in the ink, but it was proud of that.

'If the tea-urn won't sing,' said the pen, 'she can leave it alone; there is a nightingale in a cage who can sing; she has not been taught much, certainly, but we need not say anything this evening about that.'

'I think it highly improper,' said the tea-kettle, who was kitchen singer, and half-brother to the tea-urn, 'that a rich foreign bird should be listened to here. Is it patriotic? Let the market-basket decide what is right.'

'I certainly am vexed,' said the basket; 'inwardly vexed, more than any one can imagine. Are we spending the evening properly? Would it not be more sensible to put the house in order? If each were in his own place I would lead a game; this would be quite another thing.'

'Let us act a play,' said they all. At the same moment the door opened, and the maid came in. Then not one stirred; they all remained quite still; yet, at the same time, there was not a single pot amongst them who had not a high opinion of himself, and of what he could do if he chose.

'Yes, if we had chosen,' they each thought, 'we might have spent a very pleasant evening.'

The maid took the matches and lighted them; dear me, how they sputtered and blazed up!

'Now then,' they thought, 'every one will see that we are the first. How we shine; what a light we give!' Even while they spoke their light went out."

"What a capital story," said the queen, "I feel as if I were really in the kitchen, and could see the matches; yes, you shall marry our daughter."

"Certainly," said the king, "thou shalt have our daughter." The king said thou to him because he was going to be one of the family. The wedding-day was fixed, and, on the evening before, the whole city was illuminated. Cakes and sweetmeats were thrown among the people. The street boys stood on tiptoe and shouted "hurrah," and whistled between their fingers; altogether it was a very splendid affair.

"I will give them another treat," said the merchant's son. So he went and bought rockets and crackers, and all sorts of fire-works that could be thought of, packed them in his trunk, and flew up with it into the air. What a whizzing and popping they made as they went off! The Turks, when they saw such a sight in the air, jumped so high that their slippers flew about their ears. It was easy to believe after this that the princess was really going to marry a Turkish angel.

As soon as the merchant's son had come down in his flying trunk to the wood after the fireworks, he thought, "I will go back into the town now, and hear what they think of the entertainment." It was very natural that he should wish to know. And what strange things people did say, to be sure! every one whom he questioned had a different tale to tell, though they all thought it very beautiful.

"I saw the Turkish angel myself," said one; "he had eyes like glittering stars, and a head like foaming water."

"He flew in a mantle of fire," cried another, "and lovely little cherubs peeped out from the folds."

He heard many more fine things about himself, and that the next day he was to be married. After this he went back to the forest to rest himself in his trunk. It had disappeared! A spark from the fireworks which remained had set it on fire; it was burnt to ashes! So the merchant's son could not fly any more, nor go to meet his bride. She stood all day on the roof waiting for him, and most likely she is waiting there still; while he wanders through the world telling fairy tales, but none of them so amusing as the one he related about the matches.
Der var engang en købmand, han var så rig, at han kunne brolægge den hele gade og næsten et lille stræde til med sølvpenge; men det gjorde han ikke, han vidste anderledes at bruge sine penge, og gav han en skilling ud, fik han en daler igen; sådan en købmand var han - og så døde han.

Sønnen fik nu alle disse penge, og han levede lystigt, gik på maskerade hver nat, gjorde papirsdrager af rigsdaler-sedler og slog smut hen over søen med guldpenge, i stedet for med en sten, så kunne pengene sagtens gå, og det gjorde de; til sidst ejede han ikke mere end fire skilling, og havde ingen andre klæder end et par tøfler og en gammel slåbrok. Nu brød hans venner sig ikke længere om ham, da de jo ikke kunne gå på gaden sammen, men en af dem, som var god, sendte ham en gammel kuffert og sagde: "Pak ind!" ja, det var nu meget godt, men han havde ikke noget at pakke ind, så satte han sig selv i kufferten.

Det var en løjerlig kuffert. Så snart man trykkede på låsen, kunne kufferten flyve; det gjorde den, vips fløj den med ham op igennem skorstenen, højt op over skyerne, længere og længere bort; det knagede i bunden, og han var så forskrækket, for at den skulle gå i stykker, for så havde han gjort en ganske artig volte! Gudbevares! og så kom han til tyrkernes land. Kufferten skjulte han i skoven, under de visne blade og gik så ind til byen; det kunne han godt gøre, for hos tyrkerne gik jo alle ligesom han i slåbrok og tøfler. Så mødte han en amme med et lille barn. "Hør du tyrke-amme!" sagde han, "hvad er det for et stort slot her tæt ved byen, vinduerne sidder så højt!"

"Der bor kongens datter!" sagde hun, "der er spået hende, at hun skal blive så ulykkelig over en kæreste, og derfor må der ingen komme til hende, uden kongen og dronningen er med!"

"Tak!" sagde købmandssønnen, og så gik han ud i skoven, satte sig i sin kuffert, fløj op på taget og krøb ind af vinduet til prinsessen.

Hun lå i sofaen og sov; hun var så dejlig, at købmandssønnen måtte kysse hende; hun vågnede og blev ganske forskrækket, men han sagde, han var tyrkeguden, som var kommet ned igennem luften til hende, og det syntes hun godt om.

Så sad de ved siden af hinanden, og han fortalte historier om hendes øjne: De var de dejligste, mørke søer, og tankerne svømmede der som havfruer; og han fortalte om hendes pande: Den var et snebjerg med de prægtigste sale og billeder, og han fortalte om storken, som bringer de søde små børn.

Jo, det var nogle dejlige historier! så friede han til prinsessen, og hun sagde straks ja!

"Men De må komme her på lørdag," sagde hun, "da er kongen og dronningen hos mig til tevand! de vil være meget stolte af, at jeg får tyrkeguden, men se til, De kan et rigtigt dejligt eventyr, for det holder mine forældre særdeles meget af; min moder vil have det moralsk og fornemt og min fader lystigt, så man kan le!"

"Ja, jeg bringer ingen anden brudegave end et eventyr!" sagde han, og så skiltes de, men prinsessen gav ham en sabel, der var besat med guldpenge, og den kunne han især bruge.

Nu fløj han bort, købte sig en ny slåbrok og sad så ude i skoven og digtede på et eventyr, det skulle være færdigt til om lørdagen, og det er ikke så let endda.

Så var han færdig, og så var det lørdag.

Kongen, dronningen og hele hoffet ventede med tevand hos prinsessen. Han blev så nydeligt modtaget!

"Vil De så fortælle et eventyr!" sagde dronningen, "et, som er dybsindigt og belærende!"

"Men som man dog kan le af!" sagde kongen.

"Ja nok!" sagde han og fortalte: Det må man nu høre godt efter. "Der var engang et bundt svovlstikker, de var så overordentligt stolte på det, fordi de var af høj herkomst; deres stamtræ, det vil sige, det store fyrretræ, de hver var en lille pind af, havde været et stort gammelt træ i skoven. Svovlstikkerne lå nu på hylden mellem et fyrtøj og en gammel jerngryde, og for dem fortalte de om deres ungdom. 'Ja, da vi var på den grønne gren!' sagde de, 'da var vi rigtignok på en grøn gren! hver morgen og aften diamant-te, det var duggen, hele dagen havde vi solskin, når solen skinnede, og alle de små fugle måtte fortælle os historier. Vi kunne godt mærke, at vi også var rige, for løvtræerne de var kun klædt på om sommeren, men vor familie havde råd til grønne klæder både sommer og vinter. Men så kom brændehuggerne, det var den store revolution, og vor familie blev splittet ad; stamherren fik plads som stormast på et prægtigt skib, der kunne sejle verden rundt, dersom det ville, de andre grene kom andre steder, og vi har nu det hverv at tænde lyset for den nedrige mængde; derfor er vi fornemme folk kommet her i køknet.'

'Ja jeg har det nu på en anden måde!' sagde jerngryden, som svovlstikkerne lå ved siden af. 'Lige fra jeg kom ud i verden er jeg skuret og kogt mange gange! jeg sørger for det solide og er egentlig talt den første her i huset. Min eneste glæde er, sådan efter bordet, at ligge ren og pæn på hylden og føre en fornuftig passiar med kammeraterne; men når jeg undtager vandspanden, som engang imellem kommer ned i gården, så lever vi altid inden døre. Vort eneste nyhedsbud er torvekurven, men den snakker så uroligt om regeringen og folket; ja, forleden var der en gammel potte, som af forskrækkelse derover faldt ned og slog sig i stykker! den er frisksindet, skal jeg sige dem!' - 'Nu snakker du for meget!' sagde fyrtøjet, og stålet slog til flintestenen, så den gnistrede. 'Skulle vi nu ikke have en munter aften?'

'Ja lad os tale om, hvem der er mest fornemme!' sagde svovlstikkerne.

'Nej, jeg holder ikke af at tale om mig selv,' sagde lerpotten, 'lad os få en aftenunderholdning! jeg vil begynde, jeg skal fortælle sådant noget, enhver har oplevet; det kan man så rart sætte sig ind i, og det er så fornøjeligt: "Ved Østersøen ved de danske bøge!"'

'Det er en dejlig begyndelse!' sagde alle tallerknerne, 'det bliver bestemt en historie, jeg kan lide!'

'Ja, der tilbragte jeg min ungdom hos en stille familie; møblerne blev bonet, gulvet vasket, der kom rene gardiner hver fjortende dag!'

'Hvor De dog fortæller interessant!' sagde støvekosten.

'Man kan straks høre, at det er et fruentimmer, som fortæller; der går sådant noget renligt derigennem!'

'Ja det føler man!' sagde vandspanden, og så gjorde den af glæde et lille hop, så det sagde klask på gulvet.

Og potten blev ved at fortælle, og enden var lige så god som begyndelsen.

Alle tallerknerne de raslede af glæde, og støvekosten tog grøn persille af sandhullet og bekransede potten, for den vidste, det ville ærgre de andre, og: 'Bekranser jeg hende i dag,' tænkte han, 'så bekranser hun mig i morgen.'

'Nu vil jeg danse!' sagde ildklemmen, og dansede; ja, Gudbevares, hvor den kunne sætte det ene ben i vejret. Det gamle stolebetræk henne i krogen revnede ved at se på det! 'Må jeg så blive bekranset!' sagde ildklemmen, og det blev hun.

'Det er dog kun pøbel!' tænkte svovlstikkerne.

Nu skulle temaskinen synge, men den var forkølet, sagde den, den kunne ikke uden den var i kog; men det var af bar fornemhed, den ville ikke synge, uden når den stod på bordet inde hos herskabet.

Henne i vinduet sad en gammel pennefjer, som pigen plejede at skrive med; der var ikke noget mærkværdigt ved den, uden at den var dyppet alt for dybt i blækhuset, men deraf var nu den stor på det. 'Vil temaskinen ikke synge,' sagde den, 'så kan den lade være! udenfor hænger i et bur en nattergal, den kan synge, den har rigtignok ikke lært noget, men det vil vi ikke tale ondt om i aften!'

'Jeg finder det højst upassende,' sagde tekedlen, der var køkkensanger og halvsøster til temaskinen, 'at sådan en fremmed fugl skal høres! Er det patriotisk? Jeg vil lade torvekurven dømme!'

'Jeg ærgrer mig kun,' sagde torvekurven, 'jeg ærgrer mig så inderlig, som nogen kan tænke sig! er det en passende måde at tilbringe aftnen på, ville det ikke være rigtigere at sætte huset på den rette ende? Enhver skulle da komme på sin plads, og jeg ville styre hele kodillen. Det vil blive noget andet!'

'Ja lad os gøre spektakel!' sagde de alle sammen. I det samme gik døren op. Det var tjenestepigen, og så stod de stille, ingen sagde et muk; men der var ikke en potte, uden den jo nok vidste, hvad den kunne gøre, og hvor fornem den var; 'ja, når jeg havde villet,' tænkte de, 'så skulle det rigtignok være blevet en munter aften!'

Tjenestepigen tog svovlstikkerne, gjorde ild med dem - Gudbevares, hvor de spruttede og brændte i lue.

'Nu kan da enhver,' tænkte de, 'se at vi er de første! hvilken glans vi har! hvilket lys!' - og så var de brændt ud."

"Det var et dejligt eventyr!" sagde dronningen, "jeg følte mig så ganske i køknet hos svovlstikkerne, ja, nu skal du have vor datter."

"Ja vist!" sagde kongen, "du skal have vor datter på mandag!" for nu sagde de du til ham, da han skulle være af familien.

Brylluppet var nu bestemt, og aftnen forud blev hele byen illumineret; boller og kringler fløj i grams; gadedrengene stod på tæerne, råbte hurra og peb i fingrene; det var særdeles pragtfuldt.

"Ja, jeg får vel også se til at gøre noget!" tænkte købmandssønnen, og så købte han raketter, knaldperler og alt det fyrværkeri, der tænkes kunne, lagde det i sin kuffert, og fløj så med det op i luften.

Rutsj, hvor det gik! og hvor det futtede.

Alle tyrkerne hoppede i vejret ved det, så deres tøfler fløj dem om ørene; sådant et luftsyn havde de aldrig set før. Nu kunne de da forstå, at det var tyrkeguden selv, som skulle have prinsessen.

Så snart købmandssønnen igen med sin kuffert kom ned i skoven, tænkte han: "Jeg vil dog gå ind i byen, for at få at høre, hvorledes det har taget sig ud!" og det var jo ganske rimeligt, han havde lyst til det.

Nej, hvor dog folk fortalte! hver evige en, han spurgte derom, havde set det på sin måde, men dejligt havde det været for dem alle sammen.

"Jeg så tyrkeguden selv," sagde den ene, "han havde øjne, som skinnende stjerner og et skæg som skummende vande!"

"Han fløj i en ildkåbe," sagde den anden. "De dejligste englebørn tittede frem fra folderne!"

Jo, det var dejlige ting, han hørte, og dagen efter skulle han have bryllup.

Nu gik han tilbage til skoven, for at sætte sig i sin kuffert - men hvor var den? Kufferten var brændt op. En gnist fra fyrværkeriet var blevet tilbage, den havde tændt ild, og kufferten var i aske. Han kunne ikke mere flyve, ikke mere komme til sin brud.

Hun stod hele dagen på taget og ventede, hun venter endnu, men han går verden rundt og fortæller eventyr, men de er ikke mere så lystige, som det han fortalte om svovlstikkerne.

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