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The Tinder Box

Notes from the writer: Congratulations! You found this secret page! This story is adapted from the story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. I just wrote it for fun! Hope you enjoy it!

A soldier retired and went back home. On the road he met an ugly old witch, whose lower lip dangled right down on her breasts.

“Good day, soldier,” she said “What a great sword you’ve got there. I can see you are an every inch soldier! Could you do me a favor?”

“What can I do for you?” The soldier asked.

“It is a big tree.” The witch pointed a tree near by them. “It’s hollow to the roots. I’ll tie a rope around your middle. You can find a hole through. Then when you call me I can pull you up.”

The soldier thought “What the fuck?” He asked the witch, “Why would I go deep down under that tree?”

“For money,” the witch said. “Listen carefully. When you touch bottom you’ll find yourself in a great hall. It is very bright there. You will see three doors. In the first room, you will find a lot of copper coins. In the second room, you will find a lot of silver coins. In the third room, you will find a lot of gold coins. The most important thing is you should get an old tinder box for me, which my grandmother forgot the last time she was down there.”

The soldier thought, “This witch is crazy and ugly. I don’t want to get entangled with her.” However, he gave no sign of it, “Oh, witch. How about I tie a rope around your middle. You go down there, fetching the tinder box on your own?”

“OK!” the witch said. Then the witch went down there. A few moments later, the witch called the soldier to pull her up. Then the witch stood on the road again, with a tinder box and a big bag full of copper, silver, and gold coins.

“Thank you, soldier!” The witch gave the bag to the soldier, “You helped me get the tinder box. This is your reward!” The witch took out a candle from the tinder box, “If you have any problems and you want help, light this candle I’ll show up and help you.”

The soldier took the bag and the candle, saying goodbye to the witch and went for a town.

It was a prosperous town. The soldier took the best room at the best hotel and ordered all the good food he liked to eat at the best restaurant. He put on magnificent clothes and boots because he had so much money. Now he had turned out to be such a fashionable gentleman. People made friends with him, telling him many things about their town and about their King. The King had a very pretty Princess.

“Where can I see her?”, the soldier inquired.

“You can’t see her on ordinary days,” everyone said. “She lives in a palace under heavy security, but maybe you can see her from a distance when she goes on a tour.”

On a festival day, the Princess went out in a carriage. She waved to the people on both sides of the road. The soldier saw her. She was as beautiful as people said. The soldier fell in love with her at first sight.

The soldier spent money everyday to get close to nobility for finding chances to meet the Princess, but his efforts had no effect. Because he spent money without make any, and wound up with only two coppers. He had to quit his fine quarters to live in a little garret. He also changed into civilian clothes. Alas and alack. None of his friends came to see him or help him.

One evening when he sat in the dark, the thought occurred to him, “The witch said, if I light the candle, she will show up and help me.” So he bought a box of matches with his only two copper coins from a little match girl on the street.

The soldier lit the candle. The witch did show up. She smiled, making her even uglier, “What can I do for you?” The soldier told her that he wanted to marry the Princess. “Well, I can fulfill your wish, in another way.”

“In another way? What do you mean?” The soldier asked.

Suddenly the witch turned into the Princess. “How about that? I am willing to marry you.”

The soldier was surprised, he took two steps back without thinking, “What is this? Your true appearance is an old witch.”

The witch was the spitting image of the Princess, as lovely as the Princess was. She smiled, “You only fell in love with her appearance. Do you know her? Do you know her character? Do you love her character? Now I look just like her. So there’s no difference between the two of us. By the way, how do you know my true appearance is an old witch? ”

The witch transformed into another appearance. It was a young girl. Compare to the sweetness and loveliness of the Princess, the girl was grim and tough, but she was no less beautiful than the Princess. “Does appearance really matter? I think I am better than the Princess. I can have any appearance I want.”

The soldier said, with a gasp, “OK. Could you turn into Paige Keane?”

“Who is Paige Keane?” The witch asked.

“Never mind. You said you can turn into anyone, I just want to try.” The soldier said.

The witch giggled, “If you piss me off, I will turn into the ugly, old witch.”

The soldier asked, “Why are you helping me? Why did you single me out?”

The witch smiled, “Trust me, I didn’t single you out. I asked many men, but some of them thought I was a crazy old woman, the others disliked and avoided my ugliness. Only you helped me. And you were not greedy after I told you there was a lot of money down there. So just take this as a reward. ”

Then the soldier and the witch got married. They lived happily ever after.


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