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The motif Prayer in HCA : The Comet (1869)
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The Hans Christian Andersen Center

The motif Prayer in HCA : The Comet (1869)

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Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

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 :

"Come and look at the omen from heaven. Come out and see this marvelous sight," they cried, and everyone hastened to look.

But a little boy and his mother still stayed inside their room. The tallow candle was burning and the mother thought she saw a bit of wood-shaving in the light. The tallow formed a jagged edge around the candle, and then it curled. The mother believed these were signs that her son would soon die. The wood-shaving was circling toward him. This was an old superstition, but she believed it. The little boy lived many more years on earth. Indeed he lived to see the comet return sixty years later.

The boy did not see the wood-shaving in the candle-light, and his thoughts were not about the comet which then, for the first time in his life, shone brightly in the sky. He sat quietly with an earthenware bowl before him. The bowl was filled with soapy water, into which he dipped the head of a clay pipe. Then he put the pipe stem in his mouth, and blew soap bubbles, large and small. They quivered and spun in beautiful colors. They changed from yellow to red, and from red to purple or blue and then they turned bright green, like leaves when the sun shines through them.

The boy's mother said, "May God grant you many more years on earth – as many years as the bubbles you are blowing."

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