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See also Funeral, Graveyard


Death, graveyard, cross

Description of this motif: Graves are a place for melancholy, sorrow and memories, and so it is in Andersen's tales, for example in the "The Old Tombstone". The emphasis is on memories of the dead, even when oblivion prevails, as in the mercyless story "The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters":

The stork had given her shelter to the day of her death. I sang at her funeral," said the Wind, "as I had sung at her father's; I know where his grave is, and her grave, but no one else knows.

Now there are new times, changed times. The old highway is lost in the fields, old cemeteries have been made into new roads, and soon the steam engine, with its row of cars, will come to rush over the forgotten graves of unknown ancestors. Whew, whew, whew! On, on!

Example :

"Let me see him," said the young man. Then he laughed and shook his head. "No, it couldn't be he, but he certainly reminds me of a tin soldier I had when I was a little boy." Then he told her all about the old house and the old man and the tin soldier that had been sent over to keep him company because he was so terribly lonely. He told it just as it had happened, and the tears came into the eyes of his young wife-tears of pity for the old house and the old man.

"It might just possibly be the same tin soldier," she said gently. "I'll keep it, and remember everything you've told me. But you must show me the old man's grave."

"But I don't know where it is," he replied. "Nobody knows. All his friends were dead, and there was no one to take care of it. I was then just a little boy."

Comment on this quote: A tin soldier from the past emerges. When he was a child, the man gave the soldier to an old man, who by now has been dead for a very long time. It brings back memories.