英语版童话故事 (21)

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1872
FAIRY TALES OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
JACK THE DULLARD
AN OLD STORY TOLD ANEW
by Hans Christian Andersen

FAR in the interior of the country lay an old baronial hall, and
in it lived an old proprietor, who had two sons, which two young men
thought themselves too clever by half. They wanted to go out and woo the King's daughter; for the maiden in question had publicly announced that she would choose for her husband that youth who could arrange his words best.

So these two geniuses prepared themselves a full week for the
wooing- this was the longest time that could be granted them; but it
was enough, for they had had much preparatory information, and
everybody knows how useful that is. One of them knew the whole Latin dictionary by heart, and three whole years of the daily paper of the little town into the bargain, and so well, indeed, that he could
repeat it all either backwards or forwards, just as he chose. The
other was deeply read in the corporation laws, and knew by heart
what every corporation ought to know; and accordingly he thought he
could talk of affairs of state, and put his spoke in the wheel in
the council. And he knew one thing more: he could embroider suspenders with roses and other flowers, and with arabesques, for he was a tasty, light-fingered fellow.

"I shall win the Princess!" So cried both of them. Therefore their
old papa gave to each of them a handsome horse. The youth who knew the dictionary and newspaper by heart had a black horse, and he who knew all about the corporation laws received a milk-white steed. Then they rubbed the corners of their mouths with fish-oil, so that they might become very smooth and glib. All the servants stood below in the courtyard, and looked on while they mounted their horses; and just by chance the third son came up. For the proprietor had really three sons, though nobody counted the third with his brothers, because he was not so learned as they, and indeed he was generally known as "Jack the Dullard."

"Hallo!" said Jack the Dullard, "where are you going? I declare
you have put on your Sunday clothes!"

"We're going to the King's court, as suitors to the King's
daughter. Don't you know the announcement that has been made all
through the country?" And they told him all about it.

"My word! I'll be in it too!" cried Jack the Dullard; and his
two brothers burst out laughing at him, and rode away.

"Father, dear," said Jack, "I must have a horse too. I do feel
so desperately inclined to marry! If she accepts me, she accepts me;
and if she won't have me, I'll have her; but she shall be mine!"

"Don't talk nonsense," replied the old gentleman. "You shall
have no horse from me. You don't know how to speak- you can't
arrange your words. Your brothers are very different fellows from
you."

"Well," quoth Ja


ck the Dullard, "If I can't have a horse, I'll
take the Billy-goat, who belongs to me, and he can carry me very
well!"

And so sai

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