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The silent book or The Dumb Book - a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen

 Read "The silent book" fairy tale for all children. "The Dumb Book" story, is a short bedtime Story for kids written by Hans Christian Andersen about a lonely peasant hut that was located on the high road in the forest. In this house people did the chores, but outside in the garden was an open coffin that had been taken out of the house. No one was sitting next to the coffin, and no one was mourning the dead man. Under the dead man's head was a book containing many rare flowers he had collected from various places, and now he wanted to be buried under it. Someone asked who the man in the coffin was and was told that he was the old student who had been a lively young man in his youth and who had gladly studied dead languages.

"The silent book"
The Dumb Book
a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen

By the high-road in the forest lay a lonely peasant’s hut; the path to it led right through the farmyard. The sun shone, and all the windows were open, and in the house there seemed a great bustle and movement; but in the garden, in an arbour formed of blooming elder-branches, stood an open coffin. A dead man had been carried out, who on this morning was to be buried. Nobody stood by the coffin looking sorrowfully at the dead; no one shed a tear over him. His face was covered with a white cloth, and under his head lay a large, thick book, the leaves of which were entirely composed of blotting paper, and on each leaf lay a withered flower. It was a complete herbarium, gathered by him in different parts of the world; and was to be buried with him, for so he wished it.

“Who is the dead man?” we inquired.

“The old student,” was the reply.

He had once been a lively lad; had studied the dead languages, composed many songs, and even poems. Then something happened to him which led him to drink; and when, at last, his health was ruined, he came to reside here in the country, some friend paying for his board and lodging. He was as gentle as a child, excepting when the dark mood was on him, and then he became fierce as a lion, and would run about the woods like a hunted stag. But when we got him home again, and prevailed upon him to open his book with the dried plants, he would often sit for whole days, looking first at one plant and then at another, and at times the tears would roll down his cheeks. Heaven knows what he was thinking of. He begged us to put the book into his coffin; and now there he lies. In a little while the lid will be nailed down, and he will be at rest in the grave.

The face cloth was raised, and upon the features of the dead there was peace, and a sunbeam fell upon them. A swallow shot through the arbour with arrowy flight, turned rapidly, and twittered over the dead man’s head.

What a strange feeling it is, and no doubt we have all experienced it, that which comes over us as we turn over and read the old letters of our youthful days. An entirely new life rises before us, with all its hopes and sorrows. How many with whom we were then intimate seem dead to us, although they are still living, but we have long ceased to think of them, whom we once thought to retain in our memory for ever, and with whom we were to share every sorrow and joy. So did the withered oak-leaf in the book remind its owner of the friend, the schoolfellow, who was to have been his friend for life. He had fastened that green leaf in the student’s cap in the green wood, when they had vowed eternal friendship; and now where is he? The leaf has been preserved, but the friendship has perished. And here is a foreign hothouse plant, too delicate for the gardens of the north: the leaves seem still to keep their fragrance. She gave it him, that young lady in the nobleman’s garden. Here is a water-rose, which he plucked himself, and moistened with salt tears—a rose of sweet waters. And what tale could not the leaves of that rose tell, if they could speak. What were his thoughts when he plucked it, and kept it? Here is a lily-of-the-valley from the solitudes of the forest. Here an evergreen, from a flower-pot at the tavern; and here a simple blade of grass.

The blooming elder-branches wave their fragrant blossoms over the head of the dead. The swallow flies past again, crying, “twit, twit,” and now the men come with nails and hammer; the lid is placed over the dead man, while his head rests on the silent book, its memories withered and dead.

The End

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