Stanley Lambchop was a special boy. [Ever since the bulletin board above his bed had fallen and flattened him, he had been easy to fold and send in an envelope.1] This made it so he could travel inexpensively through the mail. [Stanley could mail himself anywhere in the world for a fraction of the airfare. And he had sure had a LOT of adventures that would not be available to a rounder boy. His shape had been a big help to others also. Stanley allowed himself a little smile of pride… wasn’t his mother wearing her favorite ring because he had been able to slip down into a storm drain to retrieve it? Wasn’t Abraham Lincoln’s nose still in place at Mount Rushmore because he had turned himself into a human band-aid? And right now, weren’t there a couple of museum sneak thieves playing poker in the city jail who were very sorry indeed they had ever run into a boy flat enough to pose as a painting?]2
This time Stanley’s adventure would take him around the world again. Somewhere he had never been before – to Scandinavia. Denmark, to be exact. He was super beyond excited that his friend Maggie had sent him here to visit her cousins who were living in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. He had been to Europe before. He had loved visiting France, seeing the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and the famous Mona Lisa. But Denmark was different.
Maggie’s cousins were thrilled to host her friend Stanley and show him around Copenhagen and share their Danish life. They lived in an apartment in the city in a neighborhood called Østerbro.
The apartment was five floors up. How hilarious to fold Stanley into an airplane to catch a breeze all the way up. The cousins sometimes wished they could do the same! Stanley learned that half of the people who live in the city ride bikes to school and to work. In fact there are more bicycles than people in Copenhagen! So what if being flat made it nearly impossible for Stanley to ride a bike? The basket on Maggie’s aunt’s bike was a perfect place to take a tour of the city! He was so light, it was no trouble at all! He rode all over town. There were ROADS for bikes in Copenhagen – with streetlights and signals just for the bikes! On a few of the major thoroughfares in town – there were counters showing how many bikes had crossed there that day. Stanley was the 2729th to cross the Dronning Louises Bridge that day. He thought that was pretty cool. He wondered if the counter would have seen him without the bike being that he was so flat and all.
Even if you don’t ride your bike all the time, the public transportation is so easy to use in Copenhagen. Maggie’s cousins often take the bus or the train to school and took him with them one morning. Stanley had to be careful on the train, with all those commuters traveling to and fro, he might have been sat upon. But there were good things about being flat, Stanley could swish along with the car’s sliding doors. And he could catch the train at the last second as the doors were closing – he just turned sideways and scooted on in!
Life in Copenhagen was similar to life in Oregon. People went to work and school and played soccer (or football they called it here) in the park. They liked hot chocolate and sledding when it snowed – just like at home. Copenhagen was surrounded by water and lots of history. One of the oldest places on the water in the city is known as Nyhavn – which means the “New Harbor.” It isn’t very new anymore, but Stanley loved the colorful old buildings and boats on the canal. Denmark, Stanley learned, also has a Queen. He didn’t get to meet her, but he saw her royal guards marching at the Amalienborg Palace – that was something he hadn’t seen before! And very different from Oregon!
One of his favorite things was meeting Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen’s famous children’s author. Well – he met his statue anyway. You may know Hans from his famous books – The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and The Tin Soldier. Did you know that Hans’ book The Snow Queen was the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen? Stanley was feeling a little frozen after today’s Viking biking in the snow! He felt bad for the swans that live on the lakes in the middle of Copenhagen who only had small, unfrozen sections of the lakes to swim in. He helped feed one swan a few scraps of rugbrød (Danish rye bread) but had to be careful the swan didn’t take his hand off!
All in all, Stanley had a wonderful time in Copenhagen, but was looking forward to returning home to see his friend Maggie. Her cousins would mail him home again soon so he could share all his adventures in Denmark with her![Excerpts 1 and 2 from: The Intrepid Canadian Expedition (Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures #4 and Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures #11: Framed in France.]