What one can invent

There was once a young man who was studying to be a poet. He wanted to become one by Easter, and to marry, and to live by poetry. To write poems, he knew, only consists in being able to invent something; but he could not invent anything. He had been born too late– everything had been taken up before he came into the world, and everything had been written and told about.

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Aunty

You ought to have known Aunty; she was so lovely. And yet, to be more specific, she wasn’t lovely in the usual sense of the word, but she was sweet and charming and funny in her own way – just the type to gossip about when one is in the mood to gossip and be facetious over someone. She should have been put in a play, just because she herself simply lived for the theater and everything that goes on in it. She was so very respectable, even if Agent Nob, whom Aunty called Snob, said she was stage-struck.

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The silver shilling

There was once a shilling, which came forth from the mint springing and shouting, “Hurrah! now I am going out into the wide world.” And truly it did go out into the wide world. The children held it with warm hands, the miser with a cold and convulsive grasp, and the old people turned it about, goodness knows how many times, while the young people soon allowed it to roll away from them. The shilling was made of silver, it contained very little copper, and considered itself quite out in the world when it had been circulated for a year in the country in which it had been coined. One day, it really did go out into the world, for it belonged to a gentleman who was about to travel in foreign lands. This gentleman was not aware that the shilling lay at the bottom of his purse when he started, till he one day found it between his fingers. “Why,” cried he, “here is a shilling from home; well, it must go on its travels with me now!” and the shilling jumped and rattled for joy, when it was put back again into the purse.

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The goblin and the huckster

There was once a regular student, who lived in a garret, and had no possessions. And there was also a regular huckster, to whom the house belonged, and who occupied the ground floor. A goblin lived with the huckster, because at Christmas he always had a large dish full of jam, with a great piece of butter in the middle. The huckster could afford this; and therefore the goblin remained with the huckster, which was very cunning of him.

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The elf of the rose

In the midst of a garden grew a rose-tree, in full blossom, and in the prettiest of all the roses lived an elf. He was such a little wee thing, that no human eye could see him. Behind each leaf of the rose he had a sleeping chamber. He was as well formed and as beautiful as a little child could be, and had wings that reached from his shoulders to his feet. Oh, what sweet fragrance there was in his chambers! and how clean and beautiful were the walls! for they were the blushing leaves of the rose.

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