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Pictures of Sweden

H. C. Andersen

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .There, within that now poor garden still bloom Saint Bridget's leek, and once ran flowers. King John and the Abbess, Ana Gylte, wandered one evening there, and the King cunningly asked: "If the maidens in the cloister were never tempted by love?" and the Abbess answered, as she pointed to a bird that just then flew over them: "It may happen! One cannot prevent the bird from flying over the garden; but one may surely prevent it from building its nest there!"

Thus thought the pious Abbess, and there have been sisters who thought and acted like her. But it is quite as sure that in the same garden there stood a pear-tree, called the tree of death; and the legend says of it, that whoever approached and plucked its fruit would soon die. Red and yellow pears weighed down its branches to the ground. The trunk was unusually large; the grass grew high around it, and many a morning hour was it seen trodden down. Who had been here during the night?

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