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Andersen's Fairy Tales

 The Shadow 
Page 5 of 5

THEY WERE SOON agreed, both the princess and the shadow; but no one was to know about it before she arrived in her own kingdom.
      "No one--not even my shadow!" said the shadow, and he had his own thoughts about it!
      Now they were in the country where the princess reigned when she was at home.
      "Listen, my good friend," said the shadow to the learned man. "I have now become as happy and mighty as anyone can be; I will, therefore, do something particular for thee! Thou shalt always live with me in the palace, drive with me in my royal carriage, and have ten thousand pounds a year; but then thou must submit to be called SHADOW by all and everyone; thou must not say that thou hast ever been a man; and once a year, when I sit on the balcony in the sunshine, thou must lie at my feet, as a shadow shall do! I must tell thee: I am going to marry the king's daughter, and the nuptials are to take place this evening!"
      "Nay, this is going too far!" said the learned man. "I will not have it; I will not do it! It is to deceive the whole country and the princess too! I will tell everything! That I am a man, and that thou art a shadow--thou art only dressed up!"
      "There is no one who will believe it!" said the shadow. "Be reasonable, or I will call the guard!"
      "I will go directly to the princess!" said the learned man.
      "But I will go first!" said the shadow. "And thou wilt go to prison!" and that he was obliged to do--for the sentinels obeyed him whom they knew the king's daughter was to marry.
      "You tremble!" said the princess, as the shadow came into her chamber. "Has anything happened? You must not be unwell this evening, now that we are to have our nuptials celebrated."
      "I have lived to see the most cruel thing that anyone can live to see!" said the shadow. "Only imagine--yes, it is true, such a poor shadow-skull cannot bear much--only think, my shadow has become mad; he thinks that he is a man, and that I--now only think--that I am his shadow!"
      "It is terrible!" said the princess; "but he is confined, is he not?"
      "That he is. I am afraid that he will never recover."
      "Poor shadow!" said the princess. "He is very unfortunate; it would be a real work of charity to deliver him from the little life he has, and, when I think properly over the matter, I am of opinion that it will be necessary to do away with him in all stillness!"
      "It is certainly hard," said the shadow, "for he was a faithful servant!" and then he gave a sort of sigh.
      "You are a noble character!" said the princess.
      The whole city was illuminated in the evening, and the cannons went off with a bum! bum! and the soldiers presented arms. That was a marriage! The princess and the shadow went out on the balcony to show themselves, and get another hurrah!
      The learned man heard nothing of all this--for they had deprived him of life.

      THE END.

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