It is lovely here in summer! said she. And she flew past old castles of by-gone days of chivalry, where the red walls and the embattled gables were mirrored in the canal, where the swans were swimming, and peered up into the old cool avenues. In thefields the corn was waving like the sea; in the ditches red and yellow flowers were growing; while wild-drone flowers, and blooming convolvuluses were creeping in the hedges; and towards evening the moon rose round and large, and the haycocks in the meadows smelt so sweetly. This one never forgets! It is lovely here in autumn! said the little maiden. And suddenly the atmosphere grew as blue again as before; the forest grew red, and green, and yellow-colored. The dogs came leaping along, and whole flocks of wild-fowl flew over the cairn, where blackberry-bushes were hanging round the old stones. The sea was dark blue, covered with ships full of white sails; and in the barn old women, maidens, and children were sitting picking hops into a large cask; the young sang songs, but the old told fairy tales of mountain-sprites and soothsayers. Nothing could be more charming. It is delightful here in winter! said the little maiden. And all the trees were covered with hoar-frost; they looked like white corals; the snow crackled under foot, as if one had new boots on; and one falling star after the other was seen in the sky. The Christmas-tree was lighted in the room; presents were there, and good-humor reigned. In the country the violin sounded in the room of the peasant; the newly-baked cakes were attacked; even the poorest child said, It is really delightful here in winter! Yes, it was delightful; and the little maiden showed the boy everything; and the Elder Tree still was fragrant, and the red flag, with the white cross, was still waving: the flag under which the old seaman in the New Booths had
sailed. And the boy grew up to be a lad, and was to go forth in the wide world-far, far away to warm lands, where the coffee-tree grows; but at his departure the little maiden took an Elder-blossom from her bosom, and gave it him to keep; and it was placed between the leaves of his Prayer-Book; and when in foreign lands he opened the book, it was always at the place where the keepsake-flower lay; and the more he looked at it, the fresher it became; he felt as it were, the fragrance of the Danish groves; and from among the leaves of the flowers he could distinctly see the little maiden, peeping forth with her bright blue eyes–and then she whispered, It is delightful here in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter and a hundred visions glided before his mind.Thus passed many years, and he was now an old man, and sat with his old wife under the blooming tree. They held each other by the hand, as the old grand-father and grand-mother yonder in the New Booths did, and they talked exactly like them of old times, and of the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding. The little maiden, with the blue eyes, and with Elder-blossoms in her
hair, sat in the tree, nodded to both of them, and said, To-day is the fiftieth anniversary! And then she took two flowers out of her hair, and kissed them. First, they shone like silver, then like gold; and when they laid them on the heads of the old people, each flower became a golden crown. So there they both sat, like a king and a queen, under the fragrant tree, that looked exactly like an elder: the old man told his wife the story of Old Nanny, as it had been told him when a boy. And it seemed to both of them it contained much that resembled their own history; and those parts that were like it pleased them best. Thus it is, said the little maiden in the tree, some call me 'Old Nanny,' others a 'Dryad,' but, in reality, my name is 'Remembrance'; 'tis I who sit in the tree that grows and grows! I can remember; I can tell things! Let me see if you have my flower still? And the old man opened his Prayer-Book. There lay the Elder-blossom, as fresh as if it had been placed there but a short time before; and Remembrance nodded, and the old people, decked with crowns of gold, sat in the flush of the evening sun. They closed their eyes, and–and–! Yes, that's the end of the story!The little boy lay in his bed; he did not know if he had dreamed or not, or if he had been listening while someone told him the story. The tea-pot was standing on the table, but no Elder Tree was growing out of it! And the old man, who had been talking, was just on the point of going out at the door, and he did go. How splendid that was! said the little boy. Mother, I have been to warm countries. So I should think, said his mother. When one has drunk two good cupfuls of Elder-flower tea, 'tis likely enough one goes into warm climates and she tucked him up nicely, least he should take cold. You have had a good sleep while I have been sitting here, and arguing with him whether it was a story or a fairy tale. And where is old Nanny? asked the little boy. In the tea-pot, said his mother; and there she may remain.
“夏天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”她说。 于是他们走过骑士时代的那些古宫。这些古宫的红墙和锯齿形的山形墙倒映在小河里——这儿有许多天鹅在游着，在了望那古老的林荫大道，在了望田野里的小麦泛起一层波浪，好像这就是一个大海似的。田沟里长满了黄色和红色的花，篱笆上长着野蛇麻①和盛开的牵牛花。月亮在黄昏的时候向上升，又圆又大;草坪上的干草堆发出甜蜜的香气。“人们永远也不会忘记这些东西!” ①蛇麻(Humle)是一种多年生草本植物，也叫忽布或啤酒花。它的果穗呈球果状，是制造啤酒的重要原料。 “秋天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”小姑娘说。 于是天空显得比以前加倍的高阔，加倍的蔚蓝;树林染上最华美的红色、黄色和绿色。猎犬在追逐着;整群的雁儿在远古的土坟上飞过，发出凄凉的.叫声;荆棘丛在古墓碑上纠做一团。海是深蓝色的，上面点缀着一些白帆。老太婆、少女和小孩坐在打麦场上，把蛇麻的果穗摘下来扔进一只大桶里。这时年轻人唱着山歌，老年人讲着关于小鬼和妖精的童话。什么地方也没有这儿好。 “冬天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”小姑娘说。 于是所有的树上全盖满了白霜，看起来像白色的珊瑚。雪在人们的脚下发出清脆的声音，好像人们全穿上了新靴子似的。
陨星一个接着一个从天上落下来。在屋子里，圣诞节树上的灯都亮起来了。这儿有礼品，有快乐。在乡下，农人的屋子里奏起了小提琴，人们在玩着抢苹果的游戏;就是最穷苦的孩子也说：“冬天是美丽的!” 是的，那是美丽的。小姑娘把每样东西都指给这个孩子看;接骨木树永远在发出香气;绘有白十字架的红旗①永远在飘动着——住在水手区的那个老水手就是在这个旗帜下出外去航海的。这个小孩子成了一个年轻人，他得走到广大的世界里去，远远地走到生长咖啡的那些热带的国度里去。在别离的时候，小姑娘把她戴在胸前的那朵接骨木花取下来，送给他作为纪念。它被夹在一本《赞美诗集》里。在外国，当他一翻开这本诗集的时候，总是翻到夹着这朵纪念花的地方。他越看得久，这朵花就越显得新鲜，他好像觉得呼吸到了丹麦树林里的新鲜空气。这时他就清楚地看到，那个小姑娘正在花瓣之间睁着明朗的蓝眼睛，向外面凝望。于是她低声说：“春天、夏天、秋天和冬天在这儿是多么美丽啊!”于是成千成百的画面，就在他的思想中浮过去了。 ①这就是丹麦的国旗。 这么着，许多年过去了;他现在成了一个老头儿，跟他年老的妻子坐在一棵开满了花的树下：他们两人互相握着手，正如以前住在水手区的高祖母和高祖父一样。也像这对老祖宗一样，谈着他们过去的日子，谈着金婚。这位有一双蓝眼珠的、头上戴着接骨木花的小姑娘，坐在树上，向这对老夫妇点着头，说：“今天是你们金婚的日子啦!”于是她从她的花环上取下两朵花，把它们吻了一下;它们便射出光来，起先像银子，然后像金子。当她把它们戴到这对老夫妇的头上时，每朵花就变成了一个金色的王冠。他们两人坐在那株散发着香气的树下，像国王和王后。这树的样子完全像一棵接骨木树。
他对他年老的妻子讲着关于接骨木树妈妈的故事，他把他儿时从别人那儿听到的全都讲出来。他们觉得这故事有许多地方像他们自己的生活，而这相似的一部分就是这故事中他们最喜欢的一部分。 “是的，事情的确是这样!”坐在树上的那个小姑娘说。 “有人把我叫做接骨木树妈妈，也有人把我叫做树神，不过我的真正的名字是‘回忆’。我就坐在树里，不停地生长;我能够回忆过去，我能讲出以往的事情。让我看看，你是不是仍然保留着你的那朵花。” 老头儿翻开他的《赞美诗集》;那朵接骨木花仍然夹在里面，非常新鲜，好像刚刚才放进去似的。于是“回忆”姑娘点点头。这时头戴金色王冠的老夫妻坐在红色的斜阳里，闭起眼睛，于是——于是——童话就完了。 那个躺在床上的小孩子，不晓得自己是在做梦呢，还是有人对他讲了这个童话。茶壶仍然在桌上：但是并没有接骨木树从它里面长出来。讲这童话的那个老人正在向门外走——事实上他已经走了。 “那是多么美啊!”小孩子说。“妈妈，我刚才到热带的国度里去过一趟!” “是的，我相信你去过!”妈妈回答说。“当你喝了两满杯滚热的接骨木茶的时候，你很容易就会走到热带国度里去的!”——于是她把他盖好，免得他受到寒气。“当我正在坐着、跟他争论究竟那是一个故事还是一个童话的时候，你睡得香极了。” “那么接骨木树妈妈到底在什么地方呢?”小孩子问。“她在茶壶里面，”妈妈回答说;“而且她尽可以在那里面待下去!”