Thirty-third Evening

“I am very fond of children,” said the Moon, “especially the little ones, who are so amusing. When they are not thinking of me at all, I peep into the room, between the curtain and the window frame. I like to watch them dressing and undressing. First the round, naked little shoulder comes creeping out of the frock, and then the arm slides out; or else I watch the stocking being drawn off, and a sweet little leg, so white and firm, appears, with a little white foot that’s fit to be kissed – and I kiss it too!”

“This evening – and this I must tell you! – this evening I looked through a window where there was no curtain drawn, for nobody lived opposite. I saw a whole flock of youngsters, brothers and sisters. Among them was a little girl; she is only four years old, but she can say the Lord’s Prayer as well as any of the others, and every evening the mother sits beside her bed and listens to her pray; then she gets a kiss, and the mother remains there until the child falls asleep, which happens as soon as she closes her little eyes.

“This evening the two elder children were a bit wild. One of them danced about on one leg in his long white nightgown, while the other stood on a chair where all the children’s clothes were, and announced he was posing for Greek statues. The third and fourth put their toys carefully away in a drawer, for that has to be done. Then the mother sat by the bed of the youngest, and ordered all the rest to be quiet, for their little sister was going to say the Lord’s Prayer.

“I peeped in over the lamp,” said the Moon. “The four-year-old girl lay in her bed, between the neat white linen, her small hands folded, and her little face was very serious. She was saying the Lord’s Prayer aloud.

” ‘ Why is it,’ said her mother, interrupting her in the middle of the prayer, ‘that when you’ve said, “Give us this day our daily bread,” you always add something else that I can’t quite understand? What is it? You must tell me!’

” ‘ Mother dear, please don’t be angry. I only said, “with plenty of butter on it!”‘”



Original Danish title: “Tre og tredivte Aften” translated by Jean Hersholt.