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The motif Graveyard in HCA : A Good Humor (1852)
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The motif Graveyard in HCA : A Good Humor (1852)

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Keywords:

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 1:

Now you know it! But I must add that when one saw my father sitting high up on the carriage of death, dressed in his long black mantle and crape-bordered, three-cornered hat, his face as round and smiling as the sun, one could not think of sorrow and graves, for that face said, "Never mind, it's going to be much better than you think."

You see, then, that from him I have my good humor and also the habit of frequently visiting the churchyard; and that is rather amusing, if one goes there in a cheerful temper. Oh, yes, I also subscribe to the Advertiser, just as he used to do.

Example 2:

The churchyard and the Advertiser were as always the things that most elevated my mind.

Everyone is free, of course, to read the Advertiser, but if anybody would like to share my walks in the churchyard, let him join my someday when the sun in (NB = is) shining and the trees are green.

Then let us ramble together among the old graves; each one is like a closed book with the cover toward you, so you can read the title that tells you what the book contains and yet says nothing at all. But from my father, and through my own experiences, I know all about it. I have written it all in a book for my own especial benefit and instruction; there is something written about most of them.

Now we are in the churchyard.

Behind this white-painted trellis, where once grew a rosebush-it is dead now, but a stray bit of evergreen from the next grave stretches a long green finger across the sod, as if to make up for the loss-there rests a man who was singularly unhappy. Yet you would not have called him unfortunate; he had sufficient income and never suffered any great calamity. His unhappiness was of his own making; as we say it, he took everything, especially his "art," too much to heart.

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