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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 :

As soon as the words were said, he found himself back in his home. Long white curtains draped the windows, and in the middle of the floor a black coffin stood. In this he lay, sleeping the quiet sleep of death. His wish was fulfilled-his body was at rest, and his spirit was free to travel. "Call no man happy until he rests in his grave," said Solon, and here his words proved true again.

Every corpse is a sphinx of immortality. The sphinx in this black casket that confronts us could say no more than the living man had written two days before:

"Stern Death, your silence has aroused my fears.
Shall not my soul up Jacob's ladder pass,
Or shall your stone weight me throughout the years,
And I rise only in the graveyard grass?

"Our deepest grief escapes the world's sad eye!
You who are lonely to the very last,
A heavier burden on your heart must lie
Than all the earth upon your coffin cast!"

Comment on this quote: This bitter, sarcastic ending is charateristic. The galoshes of fortune fulfills wishes. The man, who was wearing them, wanted to be free from all the longing and trouble of this world, "to reach a happy goal, the happiest goal of all", and the galoshes gave him death.