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The motif Priest in HCA : A String of Pearls (1856)
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The motif Priest in HCA : A String of Pearls (1856)

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Description of this motif: One can find several priests in Andersen's tales, but they seldomly play important roles. "A Story" (1851) stars a priest, though.

Example 1:

"Beautiful Sorö, encircled by woods!" Your quiet old cloistered town peeps out through its mossy trees; the keen eyes of youth from the academy can look across the lake toward the world's highway and hear the roar of the locomotive's dragon as it speeds through the woods. Sorö, pearl of poetry, you are guarding the dust of Holberg! Your palace of learning stands beside the deep woodland lake like a great white swan, and near by, like the bright starflower of the woods, there gleams a tiny cottage, whence pious hymns echo throughout the land; words are spoken within, and the peasant listens and learns of Denmark's bygone days. As the song of the bird is to the greenwood, so is Ingemann to Sorö.

On to the town of Slagelse! What is mirrored here in this pearl's luster? Gone forever is the cloister of Antoorskov (NB: Antvorskov); vanished are the rich halls of the castle, even the last remaining wing; yet one relic of olden times still lingers here, the wooden cross on the hill. It has been repaired again and again, for it marks the spot where, legend tells us, Saint Anders, holy priest of Slagelse, awoke, after having been brought there from Jerusalem in a single night.

Comment on this quote:

"Saint Anders was a priest at St Peder's church in Slagelse (d. 1205) and was, according to the legend, on a pilgrim journey brought home from Jerusalem in a few hours by a horseman on a white horse, so that he could wake up on Hvilehøj". (Flemming Hovmann's commentary in vol. 7 of H.C. Andersens eventyr, Dansk Sprog- og Litteraturselskab / Borgen 1990, p. 208. Translated by LBJ)

Example 2:

"(...) Möllers' Emil, as we called him then; yes, he was your grandfather, my late husband, the dean. He was a student at Sorö then, and had just passed his second examination.

(...) Then he went to Sorö and found Emil there. You can imagine how glad we were to see him, and he to see us. He was so thoughtful and charming; he took us to see the church, and the graves of Absalon and Holberg; (...) It was almost Whitsuntide, and he promised that in a few days he would be in Copenhagen to join us and his family. Ah, those few hours in Sorö and at the Crab Inn I count among the choicest pearls of my life!

"Next morning we again started very early, for we had a long trip to Roskilde, where we wanted to see the church and Father wanted to visit an old school friend that evening.

Example 3:

There, before we parted, we were betrothed. (...)

"Afterwards, when Emil received his post at Assens, we were married. (...)

"And you needn't laugh at me, you young people, for sitting so still here, day after day! I have really a wonderful journey ahead of me; I shall soon have to travel at a speed far greater than the railway's. For when our Lord calls me I shall go to join your grandfather; and when you have completed your work on this dear earth, you too will join us; and then, if we talk over the days of our mortal life, believe me, dear children, I shall say then as I do now, 'From Copenhagen to Korsör is a perfect string of pearls!'"

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