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The motif Grave in HCA : The Old Church Bell (1861)
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The motif Grave in HCA : The Old Church Bell (1861)

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Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

See also Funeral, Graveyard

Keywords:

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 :

The boy was still only six years old, but already he knew parts of the Bible and the pious old hymns; many an evening while seated on his little cane stool, he had heard his father read Gellert's Fables and the poem about Messiah; hot tears had come into the boy's eyes, and his sister had cried at hearing of Him who had suffered death on the cross of Golgotha, that He might save us.

(...) but there were new graves in the churchyard; and there, down in the grass, close by the wall, lay the old church bell, fallen from its high position. It had developed a flaw and could ring no longer, and a new one had been put up in its place.

The mother and son had entered the churchyard and stood still before the old bell, while she told the little boy how this bell had performed its duty for centuries; it had pealed at baptisms, and joyful weddings, and funerals.

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