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See also Funeral, Graveyard


Death, graveyard, cross

Description of this motif: Graves are a place for melancholy, sorrow and memories, and so it is in Andersen's tales, for example in the "The Old Tombstone". The emphasis is on memories of the dead, even when oblivion prevails, as in the mercyless story "The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters":

The stork had given her shelter to the day of her death. I sang at her funeral," said the Wind, "as I had sung at her father's; I know where his grave is, and her grave, but no one else knows.

Now there are new times, changed times. The old highway is lost in the fields, old cemeteries have been made into new roads, and soon the steam engine, with its row of cars, will come to rush over the forgotten graves of unknown ancestors. Whew, whew, whew! On, on!

Example :

The churchyard and the Advertiser were as always the things that most elevated my mind.

Everyone is free, of course, to read the Advertiser, but if anybody would like to share my walks in the churchyard, let him join my someday when the sun in (NB = is) shining and the trees are green.

Then let us ramble together among the old graves; each one is like a closed book with the cover toward you, so you can read the title that tells you what the book contains and yet says nothing at all. But from my father, and through my own experiences, I know all about it. I have written it all in a book for my own especial benefit and instruction; there is something written about most of them.

Now we are in the churchyard.

Behind this white-painted trellis, where once grew a rosebush-it is dead now, but a stray bit of evergreen from the next grave stretches a long green finger across the sod, as if to make up for the loss-there rests a man who was singularly unhappy. Yet you would not have called him unfortunate; he had sufficient income and never suffered any great calamity. His unhappiness was of his own making; as we say it, he took everything, especially his "art," too much to heart.