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Church, death

Description of this motif: Graveyards are a frequently present location in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales. The motif is usually not remarkably described in any way; Focus is, as one might expect, on graves, the dead, sorrow, devotion and faith. One unusual, "Gothic" romantic example is the tale about the "The Child in the Grave", in which a grieving mother goes underground at the graveyard in her longing for her late child.

Example :

"There is the Bible," said the sick woman one evening. "Read a little to me; the evening is so long, and I sadly need to hear the word of God."

Sarah bowed her head, picked up the Bible and folded her hands around it, opened it, and read aloud to the sick woman. Often the tears came into her eyes, but they shone more clearly, and the darkness lifted from her soul. "Mother, your child shall not receive the baptism of the Christians, shall not be named in their communion. You have wished it, and I shall honor your wish. In this we are united here on earth, but above this is-is a greater union in God. He leads and guides us beyond Death. 'I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.' Oh, I understand now! I do not know myself how I came to it! Through Him it was-in Him-Christ!"

And she trembled as she spoke the holy name; a baptism of fire streamed through her, stronger than her feeble frame could bear, and she sank down, more exhausted even than the sick woman whom she nursed.

"Poor Sarah!" people said. "She is worn out with labor and nursing!"

They took her to the charity hospital, and there she died, and thence she was carried to her grave. It was not to the graveyard of the Christians-that was not the place for a Jewish girl; no, outside by the wall they dug a grave for her.

But God's sun, which shines upon the graves of the Christians, shines as well upon that of the Jewish girl; and the hymns which are sung beside the Christian graves sound also beside her grave outside the wall. And out there, too, reaches the promise: "There is resurrection in Christ, in Him, the Saviour, who said to His Disciples, 'John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost!' "