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.
At last one night she dreamed that their voices sounded across to her, calling to her from out in the wide world, and she could not hold back, but traveled far, far away; and yet she seemed still to be in her father's house. She never met her brothers. but in her dream she felt a sort of fire burning in her hand that did not pain her – it was the shining jewel she was bringing to her father.
When she awoke she thought for a moment that she still held the stone in her hand, but it was the knob of her distaff that she was grasping. Through that long night she had spun incessantly, and on the distaff was a thread finer than the finest spider's web; human eyes could not distinguish the separate threads in it, so fine were they. She had moistened it with her tears, and it was as strong as a rope. She arose; her decision was made – the dream must become a reality.