Love, immortality, heart, soul
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.
She has a hymnbook with heavy clasps of silver, and often reads from it. In the middle of the book is a rose, which is very flat and dry, and not nearly so lovely as the roses she has in the vase, yet she smiles at it the most sweetly of all, and the tears even come into her eyes. Why is it that Grandmother looks that way at the withered flower in the old book? Do you know? Why, every time her tears fall upon the rose its colors become fresh again; the rose swells and fills the whole room with its perfume; the walls sink as if they were made of mist, and all about her is the green, beautiful wood, with the summer sunlight streaming through the leaves of the trees. And Grandmother-why, she's young again, a lovely girl with yellow curls and round red cheeks, pretty, graceful, fresher than any rose. But the eyes, the mild, blessed eyes, they are still Grandmother's eyes. Beside her is a man, so young, strong, and handsome; he hands her a rose, and she smiles. Grandmother cannot smile like that now. Yes, the smile is coming back now! He has gone, and with him many other thoughts and forms of the past; the handsome man has gone, and only the rose lies in the hymnbook, and Grandmother-yes, she still sits there, an old woman, glancing down at the withered rose in her book.