The Bottle

In the olden days, when invaders were ravaging the Danish countryside, it happened that a pitched battle was fought, and the Danes won. That evening, many dead and many wounded men lay on the stricken field. One of these was an enemy, who had lost both his legs by a shot. Near-by a Danish soldier had just taken a flask filled with beer from his pocket and was about to put it to his mouth, when the desperately wounded man begged him for a drink. As the soldier bent down to give the bottle to his enemy, the wounded man discharged his pistol at him, but he missed his aim. The soldier took his bottle back, and drank half of it. As he handed the rest to his enemy, his only comment was, “You rascal, now you will get only half of it.”

When the king was told of this, in memory of the deed he granted to the soldier and to his descendants a noble coat of arms on which was blazoned a bottle, half full.

via Hans Christian Andersen : Danish Popular Legends.

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