"The Traveling Companion" by Hans Christian Andersen
5 stars This short fairy tale written in 1835 is classic Andersen. The master tale-spinner has woven a story where the realities of kindness win out in a world of evil.
Here's a favorite quote from the story: "Johannes and his friend stopped at an inn outside the walls because they wanted to wash and change their clothes before entering the city. The innkeeper told them that the king was a very kind and friendly man who never did anyone any harm, but what a daughter he had! Oh, God preserve us, she was a horrible princess! Oh, she was beautiful enough. There was no one lovelier to look at; but what good was that when she was as cruel and wicked as any witch, and had already caused the death of many a fine prince..."