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The motif Wedding is a part of: Ritual


Ritual, love, marriage

Description of this motif: Weddings are based on the church's wedding ritual, which unites two people in the sacred bonds of marriage. In Andersen's tales weddings usually are described as in a traditional folk tale: the hero gets the princess in the end, and they live happpily ever after.

Example 1:

And they hadn't finished by Christmas, either. The wind shook down the yellow leaves; the snow drifted up in the valleys as well as on the high mountains; the Ice Maiden sat in her stately palace, which grew larger during the winter. The cliffs were covered with sleet, and icicles, big and heavy as elephants, hung down. Where in summer the mountain streams poured down, there were now enormous masses of icy tapestry; fantastic garlands of crystal ice hung over the snow-covered pine trees. Over the deepest valleys the Ice Maiden rode the howling wind. The carpet of snow spread down as far as Bex, so she could go there and see Rudy in the house where he spent so much time with Babette. The wedding was to take place the following summer; and their ears often tingled, for their friends often talked about it.

Then everything was sunny, and the most beautiful Alpine rose bloomed. The lovely, laughing Babette was as charming as the early spring itself – the spring which makes all the birds sing of the summertime and weddings.

Example 2:

Rudy's and Babette's greatest happiness was drawing near, the most beautiful day, as they call it, was coming – their wedding day!

But the wedding was not to take place in the church at Bex, nor in the miller's house; the godmother had asked that the party be held at her house, and that the ceremony be performed in the pretty little church at Montreux. And the miller was very insistent that they should agree to this arrangement, for he alone knew what the godmother intended giving the young couple – her wedding gift would be well worth such a small concession to her wishes. The day was agreed upon. They would go to Villeneuve the evening before, then proceed to Montreux by boat the next morning, so that the godmother's daughters would have time to dress the bride.

"I suppose there'll be a second ceremony in this house," said the Parlor Cat. "Or else I know I wouldn't give a mew for the whole business."


Outside, the evening glow was on the Alps; the vesper bells were chiming; and the daughters of the sun sang, "That which is best shall come to pass!"

Example 3:

There were visions outside and visions inside. And Babette had a very strange dream.

It seemed to her that she had been married to Rudy for many years. He had gone chamois hunting, leaving her at home; and the young Englishman with the golden whiskers was sitting beside her. His eyes were passionate, his words seemed to have a magic power in them. He held out his hand to her, and she was obliged to follow him; they walked away from her home, always downward. And Babette felt a weight in her heart that became heavier every moment. She was committing a sin against Rudy – a sin against God Himself. And suddenly she found herself alone; her dress had been torn to pieces by thorns, and her hair had turned gray. In deep grief she looked upward, and saw Rudy on the edge of a mountainous ridge. She stretched up her arms to him, but dared neither pray nor call out to him; and neither would have been of any avail, for she soon discovered it was not Rudy, but only his cap and shooting jacket hanging on an alpenstock, as hunters often place them to deceive the chamois. In miserable grief Babette cried, "Oh, if I had only died on my wedding day – the happiest day of my life! Oh, Lord, my God, that would have been a blessing! That would have been the best thing that could have happened for me and Rudy. No one knows his future!" Then in godless despair she hurled herself down into the deep chasm. A thread seemed to break, and the echo of sorrowful tones was heard.

Babette awoke; the dream was ended, and although partly forgotten she knew it had been a frightful one, and that she had dreamed about the young Englishman whom she had not seen or thought of for several months. She wondered if he still was at Montreux, and if she would see him at the wedding. A faint shadow passed over Babette's pretty mouth, her brows knitted; but soon there came a smile, and the sparkle returned to her eye. The sun was shining brightly outside, and tomorrow was her and Rudy's wedding day!

Comment on this quote: Later, when Rudy has died, Babette blaims herself for her wish for death on their wedding day, on the the happiest day of their life. According to the narrator, the dream was given by God and thus true.