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The motif Grave in HCA : Golden Treasure (1865)
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The motif Grave in HCA : Golden Treasure (1865)

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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 :

After a sleepless night spent in talking about their boy, the drummer and his wife had finally fallen asleep, for they knew that wherever he was God's hand was protecting him. And the father dreamed that the war was over, that the soldiers came home, and Peter was wearing a silver cross on his breast; but the mother dreamed that she walked into the church and looked at the painted pictures and the carved angels with the gilded hair and that her own dear boy, her heart's Golden Treasure, stood among the angels clad in white, and sang as sweetly as surely only the angels can sing, and was carried up into the sunshine with them, nodding tenderly to his mother.

"My Golden Treasure!" she cried, and awoke in the same instant. "Now I know that our Lord has taken him!" Then she folded her hands, leaned her head against the cotton bed curtain, and wept. "Where has he found rest? In the wide common grave they dig for so many of the brave dead, or in the deep waters of the marsh? No one will know his grave! No holy words will be read over it!" Silently the Lord's Prayer passed over her lips; her head drooped in fatigue, and she fell asleep.

Comment on this quote: The mother's dream does not predict the future, which is actually unusual in the fairytales, but she thinks that it does.
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