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Description of this motif:

Humility is in Andersen's writings almost always connected with persons' being world-oriented, thus often also against its creator, God, or being self-centered. Self-satisfied and self-sufficient characters are often exposed in Andersen' oeuvre. Their charateristics are pettiness, intolerance, a narrow mind, insensibility, being ungratified, because the world seems cruel and unjust and doesn't give them enough, and arrogant pride. The proud and self-sufficient persons thinks that all that is good comes from him-/herself. The humble sees the world around her and her own conditions as sent from God. The humble is satisfied with the facts of life and even thanks (God) for everything.

The rose in "The Snail and the Rosebush" is, in contradiction to the snail, a pious grateful and extrovert type, giving its best to the world. "The Snail and the Rosebush" is a textbook example of the motif and is in addition extraordinary, because God isn't mentioned explicitly as the source of the gifts of life.

Example :

Now a very old man, who from his age might have been the grandfather of everybody in the room, spoke up. "Why, that must be the tombstone of Preben Svane and his wife," he said. "Yes, of course, that grand old couple were almost the last to be buried in the churchyard of the old convent. In my childhood days I knew them as an honorable old couple. Everybody knew them and loved them; they were like a king and queen in this town. People said they had more than a barrelful of money, and yet they always dressed simply, in very coarse cloth-but their linen was always snowy white. Yes, they were a lovable old pair, Preben and Martha. When they sat on the bench at the top of the stone staircase, over which the old linden tree spread its branches, nodding friendly and gently to passers-by, it made you glad to see them.

"They were so wonderfully kind to the poor people! They gave them food and clothing, but there was good sense, and a true Christian spirit, in all their charity.