H.C. Andersen

Kjærestefolkene     eller The Sweethearts

                                eller The Top and Ball

1844

 

       
Illustration til 1. udgaven af Vilhelm Pedersen

 

Toppen og Bolden laae i Skuffe sammen mellem andet Legetøi, og saa sagde Toppen til Bolden: "Skulle vi ikke være Kjærestefolk, siden vi dog ligge i Skuffe sammen"; men Bolden, der var syet af Saffian, og bildte sig ligesaa meget ind, som en fiin Frøken, vilde ikke svare paa saadant noget.

Næste Dag kom den lille Dreng, der eiede Legetøiet, han malede Toppen over med Rødt og Gult, og slog et Messing-Søm midt i den; det saae just prægtigt ud, naar Toppen svingede rundt.

"See paa mig!" sagde den til Bolden. "Hvad siger De nu? skulde vi saa ikke være Kjærestefolk, vi passe saa godt sammen, De springer og jeg dandser! lykkeligere end vi to kunde Ingen blive!"

"Saa, troer De det!" sagde Bolden, "De veed nok ikke, at min Fader og Moder have været Saffians-Tøfler, og at jeg har en Prop i Livet!"

"Ja, men jeg er af Mahognitræ!" sagde Toppen, "og Byfogden har selv dreiet mig, han har sin egen Dreierbænk, og det var ham en stor Fornøielse!"

"Ja, kan jeg stole paa det!" sagde Bolden.

"Gid jeg aldrig faae Pidsk om jeg lyver!" svarede Toppen.

"De taler meget godt for dem!" sagde Bolden, "men jeg kan dog ikke, jeg er saa godt som halv forlovet med en Svale! hver Gang jeg gaaer til Veirs, stikker den Hovedet ud af Reden og siger: "vil De?" og nu har jeg indvortes sagt ja, og det er saa godt som en halv Forlovelse! men jeg lover Dem, jeg skal aldrig glemme Dem!"

"Ja, det skal stort hjælpe!" sagde Toppen, og saa talte de ikke til hinanden.

Næste Dag blev Bolden taget frem; Toppen saae, hvor den foer høit op i Luften, ligesom en Fugl, man kunde tilsidst slet ikke øine den; hver Gang kom den tilbage igjen, men gjorte altid et høit Spring, naar den rørte Jorden; og det kom enten af Længsel, eller fordi den havde en Prop i Livet. Den niende Gang blev Bolden borte og kom ikke mere igjen; og Drengen søgte og søgte, men borte var den.

"Jeg veed nok, hvor den er!" sukkede Toppen, "den er i Svalereden og er gift med Svalen!"

Jo mere Toppen tænkte derpaa, desmere indtaget blev han i Bolden; just fordi han ikke kunde faae hende, derfor tog Kjærligheden til; at hun havde taget en Anden, det var det aparte ved det; og Toppen dandsede rundt og snurrede, men altid tænkte den paa Bolden, der i Tankerne blev kjønnere og kjønnere. Saaledes gik mange Aar - - og saa var det en gammel Kjærlighed.

Og Toppen var ikke ung mere - -! men saa blev den en Dag heel og holden forgyldt; aldrig havde den seet saa deilig ud; den var nu en Guldtop og sprang, saa det snurrede efter. Jo, det var noget! men med et sprang den for høit og, - borte var den!

Man søgte og søgte, selv nede i Kjælderen, den var dog ikke at finde.

- - Hvor var den?

Den var sprunget i Skarnfjerdingen, hvor der laae alle Slags, Kaalstokke, Feieskarn og Gruus, der var faldet ned fra Tagrenden.

"Nu ligger jeg rigtignok godt! her kan snart Forgyldningen gaae af mig! og hvad det er for nogle Prakkere jeg er kommet imellem!" og saa skjævede den til en lang Kaalstok, der var pillet altfor nær, og til en underlig rund Ting, der saae ud som et gammelt Æble; - men det var intet Æble, det var en gammel Bold, der i mange Aar havde ligget oppe i Tagrenden, og som Vandet havde sivet igjennem.

"Gud skee Lov, der dog kommer een af Ens Lige, som man kan tale med!" sagde Bolden og betragtede den forgyldte Top.

"Jeg er egentlig af Saffian, syet af Jomfru-Hænder, og har en Prop i Livet, men det skulde Ingen see paa mig! jeg var lige ved at holde Bryllup med en Svale, men saa faldt jeg i Tagrenden, og der har jeg ligget i fem Aar og sivet! Det er en lang Tid, kan De troe, for en Jomfru!"

Men Toppen sagde ikke noget, han tænkte paa sin gamle Kjæreste, og jo mere han hørte, desto klarere blev det ham, at det var hende.

Da kom Tjenestepigen og vilde vende Fjerdingen: "heisa, der er Guldtoppen!" sagde hun.

Og Toppen kom igjen i Stuen til stor Agt og Ære, men Bolden hørte man intet om, og Toppen snakkede aldrig meer om sin gamle Kjærlighed; den gaaer over, naar Kjæresten har ligget fem Aar i en Vandrende og sivet, ja man kjender hende aldrig igjen, naar man møder hende i Skarnfjerdingen."

 

 THE SWEETHEARTS; or, THE TOP AND THE BALL

 

A top and a ball were lying together in a drawer among a lot of other toys. The top said to the ball, "Since we live in the same drawer, we ought to be sweethearts."

 But the ball, which was covered with a morocco leather, and thought as much of itself as any fine lady, would not even answer such a proposal.

 The next day the little boy to whom the top belonged took it out, painted it red and yellow, and drove a brass nail into it; so that the top looked very elegant when it was spinning around.

 "Look at me!" it said to the ball. "What do you think?.... Shall we be sweethearts now? We are just made for each other! You bounce and I dance. None could be happier than we two."

 "That's what you think!" said the ball. "You evidently don't realize that my father and my mother were a pair of morocco slippers, and that I have a cork in my body!"

 "Yes, but I am made of mahogany!" said the top. "The mayor himself turned me on his own lathe and had a lot of fun doing it."

 "Am I supposed to believe that?" said the ball.

 "May I never be whipped again if I'm lying!" answered the top.

 "You speak very well for yourself, but I'm afraid it's impossible. I'm almost engaged to a swallow. Whenever I bounce up in the air, it puts its head out of its nest and says, "Will you be mine? Will you be mine?" And to myself I've always said "Yes." But I promise I shall never forget you."

 "That will do me a lot of good," said the top, and that ended their conversation right then and there!

 The next day the ball was taken out, and the top saw her flying high up into the air, just like a bird; so high that you could hardly see her. And every time she came back, she bounced up again, as soon as she touched the ground. That was either because she was longing for the swallow or because she had cork in her body. At the ninth bounce the ball disappeared; the boy looked and looked, but it was gone. The top sighed; "I know where she is: she's in the swallow's nest and has married the swallow."

 The more the top thought of this, the more infatuated he became with the ball. Just because he couldn't have her, his love for her increased, but, alas! she was in love with somebody else. The top danced and spun, and in his thoughts the ball became more and more beautiful.

 Many years went by......it was now an old love affair. The top was no longer young. But one day he was gilded all over; never had he looked so beautiful. He was now a golden top, and he leaped and spun till he hummed. This certainly was something. But suddenly he jumped too high, and disappeared! They looked and looked, even down in the cellar,but he was not to be found. Where was he? He had jumped into the dustbin, where all sorts of rubbish was lying - old cabbage stalks, dust, dirt, and gravel that had fallen down through the gutter.

 "What a place to land in! Here my gilding will soon disappear. And what kind of riffraff am I with?" he mumbled, as he glared at a long, scrawny-looking cabbage stalk and at a strange round thing that looked like an apple. But it wasn't an apple - it was an old ball that for years had been lying in the roof gutter and was soaked through with water.

 "Thank goodness! At last I have an equal to talk to!" said the ball, looking at the golden top. "I want you to know that I am made of morocco leather, sewn by maiden hands, and that I have a cork in my body; but no one will think so now! I almost married a swallow, but I landed in the roof gutter instead, and there I have been for the last five years, soaked! That's a long time, believe me, for a young lady."

 But the top said nothing. He thought of his old sweetheart, and the more he listened, the more certain he felt it was she. Just then the housemaid came to throw some rubbish in the dustbin.

 "Why," she cried, "here's the golden top!"

 And the top was carried back into the living room and admired by everybody. But the ball was never heard of again. The top never spoke a word about his old sweetheart, for love vanishes when one's sweetheart has been soaking in a roof gutter for five years. Yes, you don't even recognize her when you meet her in a dustbin.

 

THE TOP AND BALL

A WHIPPING TOP and a little ball lay together in a box, among other toys, and the top said to the ball, "Shall we be married, as we live in the same box?"
But the ball, which wore a dress of morocco leather, and thought as much of herself as any other young lady, would not even condescend to reply.
The next day came the little boy to whom the playthings belonged, and he painted the top red and yellow, and drove a brass-headed nail into the middle, so that while the top was spinning round it looked splendid.
"Look at me," said the top to the ball. "What do you say now? Shall we be engaged to each other? We should suit so well; you spring, and I dance. No one could be happier than we should be."
"Indeed! do you think so? Perhaps you do not know that my father and mother were morocco slippers, and that I have a Spanish cork in my body."
"Yes; but I am made of mahogany," said the top. "The major himself turned me. He has a turning lathe of his own, and it is a great amusement to him."
"Can I believe it?" asked the ball.
"May I never be whipped again," said the top, "if I am not telling you the truth."
"You certainly know how to speak for yourself very well," said the ball; "but I cannot accept your proposal. I am almost engaged to a swallow. Every time I fly up in the air, he puts his head out of the nest, and says, 'Will you?' and I have said, 'Yes,' to myself silently, and that is as good as being half engaged; but I will
promise never to forget you."
"Much good that will be to me," said the top; and they spoke to each other no more.
Next day the ball was taken out by the boy. The top saw it flying high in the air, like a bird, till it would go quite out of sight. Each time it came back, as it touched the earth, it gave a higher leap than before, either because it longed to fly upwards, or from having a Spanish cork in its body. But the ninth time it rose in the air, it remained away, and did not return. The boy searched everywhere for it, but he searched in vain, for it could not be found;
it was gone. "I know very well where she is," sighed the top; "she is in the swallow's nest, and has married the swallow."
The more the top thought of this, the more he longed for the ball. His love increased the more, just because he could not get her; and that she should have been won by another, was the worst of all. The top still twirled about and hummed, but he continued to think of the ball; and the more he thought of her, the more beautiful she seemed to his fancy.
Thus several years passed by, and his love became quite old. The top, also, was no longer young; but there came a day when he looked handsomer than ever; for he was gilded all over. He was now a golden top, and whirled and danced about till he hummed quite loud, and was something worth looking at; but one day he leaped too high, and then he, also, was gone. They searched everywhere, even in the cellar, but he was nowhere to be found. Where could he be? He had jumped into the dust-bin, where all sorts of rubbish were lying: cabbage-stalks, dust, and rain-droppings that had fallen down from the gutter under the roof.
"Now I am in a nice place," said he; "my gilding will soon be washed off here. Oh dear, what a set of rabble I have got amongst!" And then he glanced at a curious round thing like an old apple, which lay near a long, leafless cabbage-stalk. It was, however, not an apple, but an old ball, which had lain for years in the gutter, and was soaked through with water.
"Thank goodness, here comes one of my own class, with whom I can talk," said the ball, examining the gilded top. "I am made of morocco," she said. "I was sewn together by a young lady, and I have a Spanish cork in my body; but no one would think it, to look at me now.
I was once engaged to a swallow; but I fell in here from the gutter under the roof, and I have lain here more than five years, and have been thoroughly drenched. Believe me, it is a long time for a young maiden."
The top said nothing, but he thought of his old love; and the more she said, the more clear it became to him that this was the same ball.
The servant then came to clean out the dust-bin.
"Ah," she exclaimed, "here is a gilt top." So the top was brought again to notice and honor, but nothing more was heard of the little ball. He spoke not a word about his old love; for that soon died away. When the beloved object has lain for five years in a gutter, and has been drenched through, no one cares to know her again on meeting her in a dust-bin.

H.C. Andersen: Fairy Tales

Transl. by Jean Hersholt

Heritage Press, New York 1949

Electronically Enhanced Text (c) Copyright 1996, World Library(R)
DAK Upgraded Edition, Copyright 2000, DAK Industries 2000, Inc(R)þI