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A puppeteer tells a story about meeting a dignified student and having a life-changing conversation with him. The puppeteer wishes that his puppets were alive, and the student makes it so, except all the puppets rebel and kill the puppeteer. It turns out to have been a dream… or was it?! Anyway, since this happened, the puppeteer has been one of the happiest men alive.
Tale 102: The Two Brothers
Two brothers are growing up. One is into science and knowledge, and the other is into justice and truth. The spirit of Human Genius manifests to inspire them, and they grow up to be the celebrated Oersted brothers, Hans Christian and Anders: a scientist and a politician (who, conveniently, are personal friends of Hans Christian Andersen. Hmmm…).
Tale 103: The Old Church Bell
This tale has the clear-as-mud subtitle "Written for the 'Schiller Album.'" But anyway. In this one part of Germany, a baby boy is born, grows up, and learns about how an old bell from a church (now fallen down) used to ring during important events.
After a stint in military school, the boy leaves home and becomes—drumroll, please—a great poet by the name of Johan Christoph Friedrich Schiller. So the subtitle makes sense after all, yay!
Tale 104: The Twelve Passengers
The twelve months of the year appear as passengers requesting entry to a city on New Year's Eve. Each month has a different name, character, and so on. Kind of a cool to think about, huh?
Tale 105: The Dung Beetle
A dung beetle from the emperor's stable goes around talking to all kinds of animals and plants. At first he's annoyed that he doesn't get golden shoes like the emperor's horse does, but then he realizes that when he lands on the horse he gets to be the rider, which is a fine treat indeed.
Tale 106: What Father Does Is Always Right
A farmer goes off to the market to sell his horse. His wife kisses him goodbye, saying, as she usually does, to do whatever he wants because he always knows best. (BTW, they're married, but she calls him "Father," which is kinda odd.) The farmer trades the horse for a cow, the cow for a sheep, the sheep for a goose, the goose for a hen, and the hen for a sack of rotting apples. A horse has to be worth more than a sack of rotting apples, dontchya think? So some Englishmen bet the farmer that he'll get beaten when he gets home, and they go home with him. His wife is thrilled to hear about the "bargain" he got and kisses him. The Englishmen have to give him some gold as agreed. Let's hear it for true love!
Tale 107: The Snowman
A snowman talks to a dog in the yard, who tells him about human life and about the stove indoors. Eventually the snowman melts, and the dog sees a poker inside him to make him stand upright, which explains why the snowman was so intrigued by the stove.
Tale 108: In the Duckyard
A Portuguese duck, who thinks very highly of herself, nurses a wounded songbird back to health. Then she thinks that he's insulting her, so she bites off his head. Guess she didn't want to that songbird to live after all. The rest of the poultry gather to mourn.
Tale 109: The Muse of the Twentieth Century
This whole tale is related by a first-person narrator who describes what the muse of the twentieth century will be like. She'll be influenced by industry and machines, but she'll also be well-read. Basically, she'll be a sign of changes to come in the new era.
Tale 110: The Ice Maiden
This tale has chapters. Oh boy!
One: in Switzerland, there's a boy named Rudy. He's a goatherder, but also sells the wooden models his grandfather carves. Problem is, when he was a baby, the heartless Ice Maiden tried to claim him. Luckily, he was rescued.
Two: Grandpa sends Rudy to his uncle's house to be schooled. The journey over the mountains is kinda scary.
Three: Rudy's uncle teaches him to hunt. But then there's an avalanche, which kills the uncle. Rudy becomes the master of the house.
Four: Rudy becomes the best hunter in the village. He has a crush on a chick named Babette, so he goes to find her and her (rich) family at a competition in the mountains. Since he's such a good hunter, he does well in the competition, and he finally gets to meet Babette. Score!
Five: Rudy heads home loaded down with swag. A mysterious girl offers to guide him, but he knows the way himself. He barely reaches his village safely, and he thinks that the girl must've been a servant of the Ice Maiden.
Six: Rudy goes to visit Babette and her father, the miller. Rudy asks for Babette's hand, but the miller says she's too high above him. Rudy can only marry her if he brings back a baby eagle from its nest, alive (spoiler: the miller thinks Rudy will die doing this).
Seven: Rudy asks a bro to help him out. Rudy climbs up to the eagle's nest, despite the Ice Maiden urging Vertigo to unsettle him. He gets the baby eagle and climbs down safely.
Eight: the miller has to agree to let Rudy marry Babette. Meanwhile, the Ice Maiden looks on.
Nine: the Ice Maiden delights in sending avalanches down to harm people. She tries to send one down on a train carrying Rudy, Babette, and the miller.
Ten: Babette and Rudy are traveling with the miller to meet Babette's godmother in another village. Turns out the godmother is English, and she has two daughters and a nephew. The nephew seems to have a thing for Babette, which gets on Rudy's nerves.
Eleven: Rudy is horrified to learn that the nephew is visiting Babette's house. Babette really does love Rudy, but she also loves to torment him by flirting with the Englishman. Rudy catches the Englishman trying to sneak into Babette's room, and he and Babette get into a shouting match. Rudy leaves in a huff.
Twelve: Rudy takes a mountain route home, and starts to feel unwell. He sees a girl herding goats, and he thinks he recognizes her as being from his village. She offers him a drink of wine, and he asks her for a kiss. She gives it to him, in exchange for his engagement ring. Meanwhile, Babette sits crying and wishes Rudy would come back to her.
Thirteen: Rudy wonders whether the girl he'd seen in the mountains had been a ghost. Turns out, she was the Ice Maiden. Dun dun dun! Finally, he realizes he'd been a jerk to doubt Babette's faithfulness, so he goes and sees her. They reconcile.
Fourteen: the day before Babette and Rudy are married, she dreams that she goes away with the Englishman, and then feels bad about betraying Rudy. But it was just a dream, right?
Fifteen: before the wedding, Babette and Rudy go out rowing on a lake, and stop at a little island. They're so happy, but then the boat comes untied, and Rudy swims after it. He spies the ring, and dives after it. That's when the Ice Maiden comes and drowns him. Babette is super upset, but then God gives her a vision of grace. Basically, everything has happened according to God's plan, so Babette ends up living a happy (but lonely) life.