WHERE did we get the story from？
Would you like to know that？
We got it from the barrel， the one with the old pa-
pers in it．Many good and rare books have gone to the chandler's and the greengrocer's， not as reading， but asnecessary articles． They must have paper at the grocer'sfor starch and coffee－beans，paper for salt herrings， but－ter， and cheese． Written things are also useful． Oftenthere goes into the barrel what should not go there．
I know a greengrocer's boy，the son of a chandler；he has risen from the cellar to the shop： a man of greatreading， psper－bag reading，both the printed and the written kind．He has an interesting collection，and in itseveral important documents from the waste－paper basketof one and another， absent－minded and too much occu- pied official； confidential letters from lady friends to eachother；scandal－communications，which must go no far- ther， and not be spoken of to anyone．He is a living res－cue－institution for no small part of literature， and has alarge field to work in； he has the shops of his employerand his parents， and in these he has rescued many a book， or pages of a book， which might well deserve a second reading．
He has shown me his collection of printed and writ－ ten things from the barrel，mostly from the chandler's．There were two or three leaves of a bigger copy book： itspeculiarly beautiful and distinct writing drew my attentionto it at once．
"The student has written that，"he said，"the stu－dent who lived right opposite here， and died about a month ago．One can see he has suffered severely fromtoothache． It is very amusing to read！ Here is only a littlepart of what was written ； it was a whole book and a littlemore； my parents gave half a pound of green soap for it，to the student's landlady． Here is what I rescued．"Iborrowed it，and read it， and now I communicate it． Thetitle was：
Auntie gave me sweet things when I was little． My teeth held out and were not destroyed；now I am older，and have become a student， she spoils me still with sweet things， and says that I am a poet． I have something of thepoet in me， but not sufficient． Often when I am walking inthe streets of the town， it seems to me as if I walk in a biglibrary． The houses are bookcases， every floor a shelf withbooks． There stands an everyday story， there a good old comedy， scientific works in all departments， here filthy literature and there good reading． I can both exercise my fancy and philosophize over all the literature．There is some－thing of the poet in me， but not sufficient．Many people have certainly as much in themselves as I，and yet wear neither badge nor neckband with the name"Poet"．
There is given to them and to me a gift of God， ablessing big enough for oneself，but far too small to be given out again to others． It comes like a sunbeam，and fills the soul and the thoughts． It comes as the scent of flowers，as a melody which one knows and remembers， but cannot tell from where．
The other evening I sat in my room， wanting to read， but had neither book nor paper； just then a leaf，fresh andgreen， fell from the lime tree． The wind bore it in at thewindow to me．
I looked at the many spreading veins； a little insect crawled over these， as if it would make a thorough study ofthe leaf． Then I had to think of the wisdom of men； we al－so crawl about upon a leaf， know only it， and then at oncehold a discourse about the whole big tree， the root， the trunk， and the crown， the great tree—God， the world， and eternity， and know of the whole only a little leaf！
As I sat there， I had a visit of Auntie Milly． I showed her the leaf with the insect， told her my thoughts about it， and her eyes shone．
"You are a poet！"said she，"perhaps the gnatest we have！If I should live to see it， then I shall willingly go tomy grave！You have always amazed me with your powerful imagination，from the very day of Brewer Rasmussen's funeral．"
So said Auntie Milly， and kissed me．
Now who was Auntie Milly，and who was Brewer Rasmussen？ Mother's aunt was called"Auntie by us children， we had no other name for her．
She gave us jam and sugar， although it was a great destruction for our teeth， but she was weak where thesweet children were concerned，she said．It was cruel to deny them the little bit of sweetstuff they thought so much of．
And because of that we thought so much of Auntie．
She was an old maid， as far back as I can remember， always old！She stood still in the years．
In earlier years she suffered much from toothache，and always spoke about it， and so it was that her friend， Brewer Rasmussen， who was witty， called her"Auntie Toothache！"
He lived on his money， and came often to see Auntie， and was older than she． He had no teeth， only some black stumps．
As a child he had eaten too much sugar， she told us children， and so one came to look like that． Auntie had certainly never in her childhood eaten sugar； she had the most lovely white teeth．She saved them too，"and did not sleep with them at night！"said Brewer Rasmussen．
That was malicious，we children knew， but Auntie said he did not mean anything by it．
One morning， at breakfast， she told of a nastydream she had had in the night： one of her teeth had fallen out．
"That means，"said she，"that I will lose a true friend．"
"Was it a false tooth？"said Brewer Rasmussen，and laughed；"then it may only mean that you will lose a false friend！"
"You are a rude old gentleman！"said Auntie，angry as I have never seen her， before or since．
Later on she said， it was only the teasing of her old friend． He was the most noble man on earth， and whenhe died he would be one of God's little angels in heaven．
I thought much over the change，and whether she would be in a position to recognize him in the new shape：When Auntie and he were both young， he had courted her．She considered too long，sat still， remained sitting too long，and became an old maid，but always a faithful friend．And then Brewer Rasmussen died．
He was carried to the grave in the most expensive hearse，and had a great following of people with orders and uniforms．
Auntie stood in mourning at the window with all us children， with the exception of the little brother whom thestork had brought a week before． When the hearse and the company had gone past， and the street was empty，Auntie
turned to go， but not I； I waited for the angel， BrewerRasmussen； he had become a little，winged child of God，and must show himself．
"Auntie，" said I，"don't you think he will come now， or that when the stork again brings us a little brother，he will bring us Brewer Rasmussen？"
Auntie was quite overpowered with my fantasy， and said，"The child will become a great poet！"And she re－ peated it during the whole of my school－time， even after myconfirmation， and now in my student years． She was， andis， to me the most sympathetic friend both in poetic acheand toothache． I have attacks of both．
"Write all your thoughts down，"said she，"and put them in the table-drawer；Jean Paul did that； he became a great poet，whom I really don't think much of： he dosen'texcite one！[You must excite，and you will excite！"] The night after this conversation， I lay in longing andpain， in vehement desire to become the great poet Auntie saw and perceived in me ：I lay in poetic ache，but there isa worse ache－toothache！ It crushed and pulverized me；Ibecame a writhing worm， with a herb bag and Spanish flies．
"I know what that is！" said Auntie．
There was a sorrowful smile about her mouth； herteeth shone so white．
But I must begin a new section in Auntie's historyand mine．
I had removed to new lodgings， and had been there a month， and I was talking to Auntie about it． I stay with a very quiet family； they do not think about me，even if I ring three times．For the rest it is truly a rack－ety house， with noise of wind and weather and people． Istay right over the gate； every cart which drives out orin，makes the pictures shake on the walls． The gate bangs， and the house shakes as if there was an earth- quake．If I lie in bed， the shock goes through all my limbs， but that is said to be good for the nerves． If itblows， and it is always blowing here in this country， then the window－catch swings back and forward and knocks against the wall． The neighbour's door-bellrings with every gust of wind．
The people in our house come home in detach－ ments， late in the evening， and far on in the night； thelodger right above me， who in the daytime gives lessons on the bassoon， comes home latest， and does not go to bed until he has gone for a little midnight walk， with heavy steps and iron－nailed boots．
There are not double windows， but there is a bro-ken pane， over which the landlady has pasted paper．
The wind blows through the crack and makes a noise like the buzzing of a hornet． It is a lullaby．
When I do fall asleep at last， I am soon wakened by a cock． Cocks and hens from the cellar－man's hen-runannounce that it will soon be morning．The little Norwe- gian ponies（they have no stable， but are tethered in thesand－hole under the stair） kick against the door in turningthemselves． The day dawns； the porter， who with his family sleeps in the garret，rattles down the stair；the wooden shoes clatter， the door bangs， the house shakes ；and when that is finished， the lodger upstairs begins toexercise his gymnastics，lifts in each hand a heavy iron ball， which he cannot hold： it falls and falls again； whilstat the same time the young people of the house， who aregoing to school， come tearing downstairs shrieking．I go to the window，open it to get fresh air， and it is refreshing when I can get it．
For the rest it is a rare house， and I live with a quiet family．That is the report I gave Auntie of my lodgings， but I gave it in a more lively way； verbal narration has a fresh－er effect than the written．
"You are a poet！"cried Auntie．"Write your thoughts down and you will be as good as Dickens！Yes， you inter- est me much more！ You paint，when you talk！You de－ scribe your house so that one can see it！ One shud－ ders！—Compose further！Put something living into it， people， delightful people， especially unhappy people！"
I really did write about the house， with all its sounds and lack of soundness， but with only myself in it， withoutany action； that came later．
It was in winter， late in the evening， after the the－ atre， frightful weather， a snow-storm， so that one could hardly force oneself forward．
Auntie was at the theatre， and I was there to take her home， but one had difficulty in walking alone， to say noth－ing of taking another． The cabs were all seized upon ：Aun－tie lived a long way out in the town； my lodging was， onthe contrary，close to the theatre；had that not been the case， we must have stood in the sentry－box until further notice． We stumbled forward in the deep snow， surrounded by the whirling snow－flakes． I lifted her， I held her，I pushed her forward． We only fell twice， but we fell softly．
We approached my gate，where we shook ourselves；
we also shook ourselves on the stair，and had still enough snow on us to fill the floor of the lobby． We got off our overcoats and goloshes， and everything which could be thrown off．The landlady lent Auntie dry stockings， and a dressing－gown；it was necessary， the landlady said， andadded，which was true， that Auntie could not possibly gohome that night， and invited her to use her sitting－room，where she would make a bed on the sofa， in front of thedoor into my room， which was always locked． And so it happened．
The fire burned in my stove， the tea－things stood onthe table， it was comfortable in the little room， althoughnot so comfortable as at Auntie's， where in winter thereare thick curtains on the doors， thick curtains on the win－dows， double carpets， with three layers of paper under－ neath； one sits there as if in a well－corked bottle with warm air．Yet， as I said， it was also comfortable in my room； the wind whistled outside．
Auntie talked and talked． Youth returned， BrewerRasmussen returned， and old memories．
She could remember when I cut my first tooth and the family joy over it．
The first tooth！The tooth of innocence， shining like a little white drop of milk，—the milk tooth． There came one， there came several， a whole row．Side by side， above and below， the most lovely children's teeth， andstill only the advance troops， not the real ones which should be for the whole life．They came and also the wis－ dom teeth with them， the men at the wings，born with pain and great difficulty． They go again， every single one！ They go before their time of service is over， even thelast tooth goes， and it is not a festival day， it is a day ofsadness．
Then one is old， even although the honour is young．
Such thoughts and conversation are not pleasant， and yet we talked about all that， we came back to childhood' syears， talked and talked； the clock struck twelve before Auntie retired to rest in the room close to mine．
"Good night，my sweet child，"she called，"now I sleep as if I lay in my own clothes－chest！"
And she went to rest， but rest there was none， nei-ther in the house nor outside． The storm shook the win-dows，knocked with the long hanging window－catches， rang the neighbour's bell in the backyard． The lodger up－stairs had come home．
He went for a little evening walk up and down，threw his boots down， went to bed and to rest， but he snored soloud that one with good hearing could hear him through the roof．
I found no rest，the weather did not go to rest either， it was lively in an unmannerly degree．The wind whistled and blew in its own manner， my teeth also began to be lively， they whistled and sang in their own way． It turned into a great attack of toothache．
There was a draught from the window． The moon shone in on the floor． The light went and came as clouds came and went in the storm． There was restlessness in thelight and shade； I looked at the movement，and I felt an icy-cold blast．
On the floor sat a figure， long and thin， as when achild draws on a slate with a pencil， something which shallrepresent a man： a single thin stroke is the body， twostrokes are arms， the legs are also two strokes， the head is many-cornered．
Soon the figure became more distinct； it got a kind ofcloak，very thin， very fine，but it showed that it was a woman．
I heard a buzzing． Was it she， or the wind buzzinglike a hornet in the window crack． No， it was herself， Mrs． Toothache！ Her terrible Satanic Majesty， God pre－serve and save us from her visit！
"It is good to be here，"she buzzed，"here are good quarters，boggy ground，mossy ground． Mosquitoes have buzzed here with poison in their sting， now I have thesting． It must be sharpened on human teeth． They shine so white as he lies here in bed． They have defied sweet and sour， hot and cold， nutshells and plum stones！ But I shallshake them， feed the root with draughts，give them cold in their feet．" That was frightful talk， and a terrible guest．
"So you are a poet！"said she；"I shall make poems about you in all the metres of pain！ I shall put iron and steel in your body， put strings in all your nerves．"
It seemed as if a glowing awl was pushed into the cheekbone． I writhed and turned myself．
"An excellent toothache！ "said she，"an organ to play on． A magnificent concert on the Jew's－harp， withkettledrums and trumpets， flutes， and the bassoon in the wisdom tooth． Great poet，great music！"
She played up， and she looked horrible， even if onesaw no more of her than the hand， the shadowy grey， icycold hand with the long thin fingers； each of them was an instrument of torture． The thumb and the forefinger had a knife-blade and a screw， the middle finger ended in a pointed awl， the next one was a gimlet，and the little fin- ger squirted mosquito venom．
"I shall teach you metres，"said she．"Great poets shall have great toothaches； little poets， littletoothaches！"
"Oh， let me be little，" I begged．"Let me not be at all！And I am not a poet， I have only attacks of compos－ ing， attacks as of toothache； go away， go away！"
"Do you recognize， then， that I am mightier than poetry， philosophy， mathematics， and music？"said she．
"Mightier than all these painted and craved marble con－ ceptions！ I am older than all of them together． I was born close by the garden of Paradise，outside where the wind blew， and the damp toad－stools grew． I got Eve to clothe myself in the cold weather，and Adam too．You can believe that there was strength in the first toothache．"
"I believe everything！"said I；"go away， go away！"
"Yes， if you will give up being a poet， never set verse on paper， slate， or any kind of writing material；
then I shall let you go， but I will come again if you make verses．"
"I swear！" said I．"Let me only never see or think of you again．"
"See me you shall， but in a fuller，and to you a dearer shape than I am now！ You shall see me as Auntie Milly； and I will say，' Versify， my sweet boy！ You are agreat poet—the greatest， perhaps， that we have ！' butbelieve me， and begin to make poetry， then I will set your verse to music， and play it on the mouth－harp！ You sweet child！Remember me， when you see Auntie Milly．"
Then she vanished．
I got a glowing awl－prick in the jawbone as a parting shot；but it soon subsided， I seemed to glide on the softwater， saw the white water－lilies with the broad green leaves bend themselves and sink down under me， witherand decay， and I sank with them， was dissolved in rest andpeace．
"Die，melt like the snow！" it sang and sounded in the water，"evaporate in the cloud，disappear like the cloud．"Down to me， through the water， shone great，illu－minating names， inscriptions on waving banners， the patentof immortality written on the wings of ephemeral flies．
The sleep was deep， sleep without dreams． I neitherheard the whistling wind， the banging gate， the neighbour'sdoorbells nor the lodger's heavy gymnastics．
Then there came a gust of wind and the unlocked door into Auntie's room burst open．Auntie sprang up and came in to me．
"You slept like an angel of God，" she said， and shehad not the heart to waken me．
I woke of myself， opened my eyes， had quite forgot- ten that Auntie was here in the house， but soon remembered it， and remembered my toothache apparition． Dreamand reality were mixed up together．
"You have written nothing last night，after we said Good-night？" she asked ；"I would like if you had！ You aremy poet， and that you will remain！"
I thought that she smiled so cunningly． I knew not if it was the real Auntie Milly who loved me， or the terribleone I had made a promise to in the night．
"Have you composed， sweet child？"
"No，no！"I cried；"you are really Auntie Milly？"
"Who else？"said she，and it was Auntie Milly；she kissed me， got into a cab， and drove home．
I wrote down what is written here． It is not in verseand shall never be printed…．
Here the manuscript stopped．
My young friend，the future grocer's assistant，could not discover the rest； it had gone out into the world as pa－per for smoked herring，butter， and green soap． It had ful－filled its destiny．
The brewer is dead， Auntie is dead， the student isdead， he from whom the sparks of thought came into thebarrel： that is the end of the story—the story of AuntieToothache．