And so the butterfly proposed to the mint at last.That's from "The Butterfly," by Hans Christian Andersen, Patricia Conroy translation. This is not the promised Pontoppidan excerpt post. I have interrupted Lucky Per off and on over the last couple of days to read Mr Andersen, and I wanted to put this snippet onto the blog because I might refer to it when I post some Pontoppidan stuff from Lucky Per very soon. It's the knowing fairy tale tone of voice I want to remember here. The breezy casual brutality.
But the mint stood stiff and still, and at last it said, "Friendship, but no more! I'm old, and you're old! We could live for each other very well, but get married--no! Let's not make fools of ourselves in our old age!"
And so the butterfly got no one at all. He had searched too long, and that is something one shouldn't do. The butterfly became a bachelor, as it is called.
It was late autumn with rain and drizzle. The wind sent shivers down the backs of the old willow trees so that they creaked. It wasn't good flying outside in summer clothes--you'd be in for an unpleasant surprise, as they say. But the butterfly didn't fly outside, either. He had accidentally gotten inside, where there was a fire in the stove, yes, just as hot as summer. He could survive. But "surviving isn't enough!" he said. "One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower!"
And he flew against the windowpane, was seen, admired, and stuck on a pin in the curio chest. More could not be done for him.