Cruikshank excels himself here, showing the spindly figure of the old man loosening Peter's shadow from the ground with "wonderful dexterity" (33). He already holds one of the legs up by its ankle. Meanwhile the weird stranger's own shadow remains firmly attached to him, but crouched close to the other one like an attacker over its prey. The sundial in the center of the picture reminds us that time cannot be properly marked without a shadow. Peter will not enjoy the wealth that the man gives him in return, but will end up wandering the world in his seven-league boots (another inspiration for Andersen, in "The Goloshes of Fortune") — though in this case with the object of unravelling the secrets of nature and writing them up for posterity. [Jacqueline Banerjee]
von Chamisso, Adelbert. Peter Schlemiel. Trans. Sir John Bowering. London: Robert Hardwicke, 1861.