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Love, immortality, heart, soul

Description of this motif:

Love can release, save, redeem and free the soul – give it eternal life, immortality – e.g. the little mermaid or "Alferne paa Heden" ('the faries on the moor'), who may be given eternal life from the love of a human, or, in the case of the fairies, by "a tear of remorse or empathy from the human heart", the angel's love for Inger in "The Girl, Who Trod on the Loaf", Gerda's tears, which thaw Kay's frozen heart in "The Snow Queen" or Sorrow's tear in "The Last Pearl", the pearl that lifts the soul towards the eternal.

According to Flemming Hovmann's commentary p. 95 in vol. 7 of H.C. Andersens eventyr, Dansk Sprog- og Litteraturselskab / Borgen 1990, it is a wellknown motif in popular belief, that tears have such power.

Example :

The tale has not been translated (by Hersholt) and is therefore quoted in Danish. Further information and links.

Sagnet siger, at kun ved et Menneskes trofaste Kjrlighed og ved den christne Daab kan Havfruen faae en uddelig Sjl; de smaae Blomster-Alfer forlange ikke saa meget; en Angerens eller Medlidenheds Taare fra det menneskelige Hjerte, er den Daab, der kan give dem Uddelighed, og derfor sge Alferne saa gjerne til Mennesket, og naar det fromme, gudhengivne Suk stiger fra vort Bryst, hve de sig paa dette til Gud, thi ogsaa saaledes komme de ind i den store, deilige Himmel og voxe til Engle under Evighedens mgtige Sollys.