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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 1:

When the spring sun shone again Ib guided his plow across the field, and one day it struck against something that seemed to be a firestone. A piece like a big black wood shaving came out of the ground, but when Ib examined it he found it was a piece of metal. And where the plow blade had cut into it, the stone gleamed brightly with ore. He had found a big, heavy, golden bracelet of ancient workmanship. For he had disturbed a viking's grave and discovered the costly treasure that had been buried in it. Ib showed his find to the clergyman, who explained to him how valuable it was and sent him to the District Judge. The latter in turn reported the discovery to the curator of the museum in Copenhagen and recommended that Ib take the treasure there in person.

"You have found in the earth the best thing you could have found!" said the District Judge.

"The best thing," thought Ib. "The very best thing for me – and in the earth! Then, if that is the best, the gypsy woman was right."

Example 2:

The icy hand of death was already on Christine. Her youngest child, expected in prosperity but born in misery only a few weeks ago, was already in its grave, and Christine was close to it herself. She lay forsaken, sick unto death, in a miserable room, amid poverty which she might have endured in her younger days at Seishede, but which now, accustomed as she had been to better things, she felt most painfully.