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The motif Prayer in HCA : The Psyche (1861)
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The motif Prayer in HCA : The Psyche (1861)

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The motif Prayer is a part of: Ritual

Keywords:

Faith, speech, words, ritual

Description of this motif:

Prayers in a religious sense of the word, are adressed to one or more gods, divine or sacred persons in anticipation of help, blessings or a good relationship.

There are prescribed prayers, e.g. the Lord's Prayer and Ave Maria, and there are prayers, which are spontaneous and individual. Both kinds are present in Andersen's tales.

Example 1:

The morning star saw it and understood all that was stirring in the young man's mind, understood the changing color of his cheeks, the look in his eyes, while he strove to utilize the gift God had granted him.

"You are a master like those in the time of the Greeks," said his friends. "Soon the whole world will be admiring your Psyche!"

"My Psyche!" he repeated. "Mine! Yes, she must be mine! I am an artist like the mighty ones of olden times! God has given me this gift in order to raise me to the level of the nobility!" He fell upon his knees and cried in gratitude to God; but he soon forgot Him and thought only of her and her image in marble, his Psyche who stood there as though carved from snow, blushing in the morning sunlight.

Example 2:

Yes, life in a cloister is a life of long, monotonous years. He realized that temptation came from within rather than from without. Why did worldly thoughts always come over him? He punished his body for it, but that was of no avail.

One day, after many years had passed, he met Angelo, who recognized him.

"Man!" he said. "Yes, it is you! Are you happy now? Why, you have sinned against God and thrown away His divine gift, wasted your wonderful talent! What have you gained? What have you found? Are you not living a dream, a religion that's simply in your head? Why, it is all a dream, a fantasy, only beautiful thoughts!"

"Get thee behind me, Satan!" said the monk, and walked away from Angelo.

"He is a devil, a devil in flesh and blood!" mumbled the monk. "Once I gave him my little finger, and he grabbed my whole hand! But," he sighed, "the evil is within me as it is within him."

Torn and conscience-stricken, he cried out, "Oh, Lord, Lord! Be merciful and restore in me my faith!"

His weary eyes grew dim. The church bells tolled for him – the dead. He was buried in earth brought from Jerusalem, his dust mingling with the dust of pious pilgrims.

Many years later the bones were disinterred, a rosary was placed in the fleshless hands, and the skeleton was set up in a niche, with other similar ghastly forms, to make room for newcomers, as is the custom in convent graveyards. And the sun shone down on the grisly sight, while inside Mass was read and incense burned.

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