THE wen was deep，and so the rope was long；the windlass had barely room to turn， when one came to liftthe bucket full of water over the edge of the well． The suncould never get down to reflect itself in the water， howev－er clear it was； but so far as it managed to shine down，green plants grew between the stones．
A family of the toad-race lived there．They were im－migrants，who had really come down there head-fore-most with the old mother－toad， who still lived． The greenfrogs， who swarm in the water， and had been there muchearlier， acknowledged relationship and called them"thewell-guests"．These quite intended to remain there； theylived very comfortably on the dry labd， as they called thewet stones．
The mother－frog had once travelled，had been in thebucket when it went up， but the light became too strongfor her， and she got a pain in her eyes； luckily she gotout of the bucket．She fell with a frightful splash into thewater， and lay three days afterwards with a pain in herback． She could not tell very much about the world upabove， but she knew， and they all knew， that the wellwas not the whole world． Mother Toad should have been able to tell one or two things， but she never answered when she was asked， and so one did not ask．
"Thick and ugly， horrid and fat she is！" said theyoung green frogs．"Her children will be just as ugly！"
"That may be so，"said Mother Toad，"but one of them has jewel in its head， or I have it myself！"
And the green frogs heard， and they stared； and asthey didn't like it，they made faces，and went to the bot-tom．But the young toads stretched their hind legs withsheer pride；each of them believed that he had the jewel，and so they sat and kept their heads very still，but finallythey asked what they were so proud of ， and what a jewelreally was．
" It is something so splendid and precious，" saidMother Toad，"that I cannot describe it！it is something that one goes about with for one's own pleasure， and which the others go about and fret over． But don't ask，Iwon't answer！"
"Well， I have not got the jewel，"said the smallest toad；it was just as ugly as it could be．"Why should Ihave such a grand thing？ And if it vexes others，it cannotgive me pleasure！ No，I only wish that I might come up to the edge of the well some time to look out． It must be charming there！"
"Better remain where you are！" said the old one．
"You know what you are doing then．Take care of thebucket，it may squash you；and if you get safely into it，you may fall out； not all fall so luckily as I did， and keeptheir limbs and eggs whole．"
"Quack！" said the little one， and it was just as when we mortals say"Alack ！"
It had such a desire to get up to the edge of the welland look out； it felt sucha longing after the green thingsup there；and when next morning the bucket， filled withwater，was being drawn up， and accidentally stopped for a moment just by the stone， on which the toad sat， the littlecreature quivered and sprang into the full bucket， and sankto the bottom of the water， which then came up and was emptied out．
"Ugh，confound it ！"said the man，who saw it．"It isthe ugliest thing I have seen，" and he made a kick with hiswooden shoe at the toad， which came， near to being crip－ pled， but escaped by getting in amongst the high stinging－nettles． It saw stalk by stalk， and it looked upwards too．The sun shone on the leaves， they were quite transparent；it was for it， as it is for us when we come all at once intoa great wood，where the sun shines through the leaves andbranches．
"It is much lovelier here than down in the well！One could wish to stay here all one's life！"， said the littletoad． It lay there one hour， it lay there two！"Now， Iwon－der what can be outside？ As I have come so far， I may as well go farther！"And it crawled as fast as it could，and came out on to the road， where the sun shone on it， andthe dust powdered it whilst it marched across the high road．
"Here one is really on dry land，"said the toad；"Iam getting almost too much of a good thing； it tickles rightinto me！"
Now it came to the ditch； the forget－me－nots grew here and the meadow-sweet；there was a hedge close by，with hawthorn and elder bushes； and the white－floweredconvolvulus climbed over it． Here were colours to be seen；and yonder flew a butterfly；the toad thought it was a flow－er which had broken loose， the better to look about theworld；it was such a natural thing to do．
"If one could only get along like that，" said the toad．"Ah！Ah！ How delightful！"
It stayed in the ditch for eight days and nights， and had no want of food． The ninth day it thought，"Farther onnow！"—but what more beautiful could be found？ Perhaps alittle toad，or some green frogs． During the past night， ithad sounded in the wind as if there were cousins in the neighbourhood．"It is lovely to live！To come up out of thewell； to lie among stinging－nettles；to crawl along a dustyroad， and to rest in the wet ditch！ But forward still！ Letus find frogs or a little toad；one cannot do without that；nature is not enough for one！"And so it set out again onits wanderings． It came into the field， to a big pond withsedges round it， and it made its way into these．
"It is too wet for you here， isn't it？" said the frogs，"but you are very welcome！—Are you a he or a she？Itdoes not matter， you are welcome all the same．"
And so it was invited to a concert in the evening， afamily concert；great enthusiasm and thin voices，—we allknow that kind．There were no refreshments，except freedrinks，—the whole pond if they liked．
"Now I shall travel farther！" said the little toad． Itwas always craving after something better． It saw the starstwinkle， so big and so clear；it saw the new moon shine，it saw the sun rise， higher and higher．
"Iam still in the well， in a bigger well； I must gethigher up！ Ihave a restlessness and a longing．"
And when the moon was full and round， the poorcreature thought，"Can that be the bucket，which is letdown， and which I can jump into， to come higher up！oris the sun the big bucket？ How big it is， and how beam-ing； it could hold all of us together． Imust watch for mychance！Oh，what a brightness there is in my head！ Idon't believe the jewel can shine better！ But I haven'tgot it， and I don't weep for it． No， higher up in bright-ness and gladness！ I have an assurance，and yet afear—it is a hard step to take！ But one must take it！ Forwards！Right out on the highway！"
And it stepped out， as well as such a crawling crea－ture can， and then it was on the highway where peoplelived；there were both flower-gardens and Kitchen-gar- dens． It rested beside a kitchen-garden．
"How many different beings there are， which I havenever known！ and how big and blessed the world is！ Butone must also look about in it ，and not remain sitting inone place，" and so it hopped into the kitchen-garden．"How green it is！ how lovely it is here！"
"I know that well enough！" said the caterpillar onthe leaf．"My leaf is the biggest one here！it hides halfthe world， but I can do without that．"
"Cluck， cluck， was heard， and fowls came trippinginto the garden．The foremost hen was long－sighted；she saw the caterpillar on the curly leaf， and pecked at it， sothat it fell to the ground， where it wriggled and twisted it－self．The hen looked first with one eye and then with the other， for it did not know what was to be the end of thiswrigglins．
"It does not do that with any good intent，" thoughtthe hen， and lifted its head to peck at it． The toad becameso frightened，that it crawled right up towards the hen．
"So it has friends to help it！" said the hen，"look atthat crawler！" and it turned away．"I don't care a bitabout the little green mouthful： it only tickles one'sthroat！" The other fowls were of the same opinion，and sothey went away．
"I wriggled myself away from it！"said the caterpillar，"it is a good thing to have presence of mind；but the hard-est task remains，to get back onto my cabbage leaf． Whereis it？"
And the little toad came and expressed its sympathy．It was glad that it had frightened the hens with its ugliness．
"What do you mean by that？" asked the caterpillar．"I wriggled myself away from them． You are very unpleas－ant to look at！May Ibe allowed to occupy my own place？Now I smell cabbage！ Now Iam close to my leaf！ There is nothing so nice as one's own！ But I must get higher up！"
"Yes，higher up！ said the little toad，"higher up！ itfeels as I do！ but it is not in a good humour today；thatcomes from the fright． We all wish to get higher up！" Andit looked up as high as it could．
The stork sat in his nest on the farmer's roof；he chattered， and the mother－stork chattered．
"How high up they live！"thought the toad；"if one could only get up there！"
In the farm－house lived two young students． The one was a poet， the other a naturalist； the one sang and wrotein gladness about all that God had made，and as it was re－flected in his heart； he sang it out， short， clear，and richin melodious verse．The other took hold of the thing itself；aye ，split it up，if necessary．He took our Lord's cre－ation as a vast sum in arithmetic， subtracted， multiplied，wanted to know it out and in and to talk with understand-ing about it；and it was perfect understanding，and hetalked in gladness and with wisdom about it．They weregood， happy fellows， both of them．
"There sits a good specimen of a toad，"said thenaturalist．"Imust have it in spirit．"
"You have two others already， said the poet；"letit sit in peace， and enjoy itself！"
"But it is so beautifully ugly， "said the other．
"Yes， if we could find the jewel in its head！"saidthe poet，"I myself would help to split it up．"
"The jewel！" said the other；"you are goot at natu－ral history！"
"But is there not something very beautiful in the common belief that the toad， the very ugliest of animals，often carries hidden in its head the most precious jewel？Is it not the same with men？What a jewel had not Aesop，and Socrates ！"—The toad heard no more，and it did notunderstand the half of it． The two friends went on， and itescaped being put in spirit．
"They also talked about the jewel！" said the toad．"It is a good thing that I have not got it； otherwise Ishould have got into trouble．"
There was a chattering on the farmer'sroof； the fa－ther-stork was delivering a lecture to his family， and theylooked down askance at the two young men in the kitchen－garden．
"Man is the most conceited creature！" said thestork．"Listen how they chatter！ And yet they can't givea single decent croak． They are vain of their oratoricalpowersand their language！ And it is a rare language！ Itbecomes unintelligible every day's journey that we do．The one doesn't understand the other．Our language wecan talk over the whole world， both in Denmark and inEgypt． And men can't fly at all！ They fly along by meansof an invention which they call a railway， but they oftenbreak their necks with that． I get shivers in my bill whenI think of it； the world can exist without men．We can dowithout them． Let us only keep frogs and rain-worms！""That was a grand speech！" thought the little toad．"What abig man he is，and how high he sits， higher tham "I must go to Egypt，"it said，"if only the storkwould take me with it； or one of the young ones． Iwoulddo it a service in return on its wedding－day．Yes，Iamsure I shall get to Egypt， forI am so lucky． All the long－ing and desire which I have is much better than having ajewel in one's haed．"
And it just had the jewel ；the eternal longing and desise，upwards，always upwards！It shone within it ，shone in gladness， and beamed with desire．
At that moment came the stork；it had seen the toad in the grass， and he swooped down， and took hold of the little creature， not altogether gently．The bill pinched，the wind whistled；it was not pleasant ，but upwards it went—up to Egypt，it knew ；and so its eyes shone，as if a spark flew out of them．"Quack！ ack ！"
The body was dead， the toad was killed． But thespark from his eyes， what became of it？
The sunbeam took it， the sunbeam bore the jewelfrom the head of the toad． Whither？
You must not ask the naturalist， rather ask the po－et； he will tell it you as a story；and the caterpillar is init， and the stork－family is in it． Think！ The caterpillar istransformed， and becomes a lovely butterfly！The stork-family flies over mountains and seas， to distant Africa，and yet finds the shortest way home again to Denmark， tothe same place，the same roof！ Yes， it is really almosttoo like a fairy tale， and yet it is true！ You may quitewell ask the naturalist about it ； he must admit it，and youyourself know it too， for you have seen it．
But the jewel in the head fo the toad？
Look for it in the sun，see it there if you can ．Thesplendour there is too strong． We have not yet got theeyes to look into all the glories which God has created，but some day we shall get them，and that will be theloveliest story， for we shall be in it ourselves！