The Hans Christian Andersen Center

Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

Magic contains among others: Miraculous cure, Purification with water

Example :

Where were now the tears he had shed? What had become of the pearls of his memories? They were left in his nightcap, and in the cap they remained, for the genuine ones are never lost in the washing. The old thoughts, the old dreams, all were left in the nightcap of the pebersvend. Don't wish for that nightcap for yourself! It will make your forehead too hot, your pulse race too fast, and will bring dreams as vivid as reality.

This was experienced by the first man who wore the cap after Anton, though this was half a century later. He was the burgomaster himself, a very prosperous man, with a wife and eleven children; but he promptly dreamed of unhappy love, bankruptcy, and hard times.

"Oh, how hot this nightcap makes you!" he said, tearing it off, as one pearl after another trickled down and glittered before his eyes. "It must be the gout!" said the burgomaster. "Something glitters before my eyes!"

What he saw were tears shed half a hundred years before – shed by old Anton of Eisenach.

Everyone who later wore the nightcap had visions and dreams. The life of each became like Anton's. This grew to be quite a story – in fact, many stories – but we shall leave it to others to tell these. We have told the first of them, and we conclude with these words – don't ever wish for the nightcap of the pebersvend.

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