Little Tuk - Read free bedtime stories for kids online
This is a vintage fairy tale, and may contain violence. We would encourage parents to read beforehand if your child is sensitive to such themes.
Little Tuk! An odd name, to be sure! However, it was not the little boy’s real name. His real name was Carl; but when he was so young that he could not speak plainly, he used to call himself Tuk. It would be hard to say why, for it is not at all like “Carl”; but the name does as well as any, if one only knows it.
Little Tuk was left at home to take care of his sister Gustava, who was much younger than himself; and he had also to learn his lesson. Here were two things to be done at the same time, and they did not at all suit each other. The poor boy sat with his sister in his lap, singing to her all the songs he knew, yet giving, now and then, a glance into his geography, which lay open beside him. By to-morrow morning he must know the names of all the towns in Seeland by heart, and be able to tell about them all that could be told.
His mother came at last, and took little Gustava in her arms. Tuk ran quickly to the window and read and read till he had almost read his eyes out—for it was growing dark, and his mother could not afford to buy candles.
“There goes the old washerwoman down the lane,” said the mother, as she looked out of the window. “She can hardly drag herself along, poor thing; and now she has to carry that heavy pail from the pump. Be a good boy, little Tuk, and run across to help the poor creature, will you not?”
And little Tuk ran quickly and helped to bear the weight of the pail. But when he came back into the room, it was quite dark. Nothing was said about a candle, and it was of no use to wish for one; he must go to his little trundle-bed, which was made of an old settle.
There he lay, still thinking of the geography lesson, of Seeland, and of all that the master had said. He could not read the book again, as he should by rights have done, for want of a light. So he put the geography-book under his pillow. Somebody had once told him that would help him wonderfully to remember his lesson, but he had never yet found that one could depend upon it.
There he lay and thought and thought, till all at once he felt as though some one were gently sealing his mouth and eyes with a kiss. He slept and yet did not sleep, for he seemed to see the old washerwoman’s mild, kind eyes fixed upon him, and to hear her say: “It would be a shame, indeed, for you not to know your lesson to-morrow, little Tuk. You helped me; now I will help you, and our Lord will help us both.”
All at once the leaves of the book began to rustle under little Tuk’s head, and he heard something crawling about under his pillow.
“Cluck, cluck, cluck!” cried a hen, as she crept towards him. (She came from the town of Kjöge.) “I’m a Kjöge hen,” she said. And then she told him how many inhabitants the little town contained, and about the battle that had once been fought there, and how it was now hardly worth mentioning, there were so many greater things.
All in a moment he was on horseback, and on he went, gallop, gallop! Scratch, scratch! Kribbley crabbley! and now a great wooden bird jumped down upon the bed. It was the popinjay from the shooting ground at Præstö. He had reckoned the number of inhabitants in Præstö, and found that there were as many as he had nails in his body. He was a proud bird. “Thorwaldsen lived in one corner of Præstö, close by me. Am I not a pretty bird, a merry popinjay?”
And now little Tuk no longer lay in bed. All in a moment he was on horseback, and on he went, gallop, gallop! A splendid knight, with a bright helmet and waving plume,—a knight of the olden time,—held him on his own horse; and on they rode together, through the wood of the ancient city of Vordingborg, and it was once again a great and busy town. The high towers of the king’s castle rose against the sky, and bright lights were seen gleaming through the windows. Within were music and merrymaking. King Waldemar was leading out the noble ladies of his court to dance with him.
remained to mark the spot where the royal castle had stood. The vast city had shrunk into a poor, mean-looking little town. The schoolboys, coming
not whether he had been dreaming or not, but
come to bring you greeting from Korsör. Korsör is a new town, a living town, with steamers and
more than all poets are. I once thought of sending a ship all round the world; but I did not do it, though I might as well have
grove had grown up above the bright waters of the bay, and above the grove rose the two high-pointed towers of a glorious old church. From the side of
the kings and queens of Denmark, wearing golden crowns; hand in hand they passed on into the church, and the deep music of the organ mingled with
went he knew not. It seemed
where grass grows in the very market place. Her green linen apron was thrown over her
many pretty things from Holberg’s comedies, and recited ballads about Waldemar
cried she; “it is wet, it is always wet, and it is as still as the grave in Sorö.” She
cork, and by the cork one must come out. In old times we had the finest of fish;
over the great swamp with heavy boots. So tiresome was her tone, all on the
Gustava, with her blue eyes and flaxen ringlets, was grown into a tall, beautiful girl, who, though she
poultry yard of your own! You shall never suffer hunger or want. The golden goose, the bird of good omen, shall be yours; you shall become
sail from Korsör, and at Roskilde you shall speak and give counsel wisely and well, little Tuk, like
a bright morning, and he could not remember his dream, but it was not
his book, that had lain under his pillow. He read
with a friendly nod: “Thank you, my good child, for yesterday’s help. May
dreamed, but it did not matter. There
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bucket, and in Little Tuk’s dreams, the lady helped him learn
all about geography in his dreams?
wonderful worlds when he goes to sleep.
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