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The motif Grave in HCA : Chicken Grethe's Family (1869)
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The motif Grave in HCA : Chicken Grethe's Family (1869)

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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 1:

So they parted. With her maid, she went to the old estate where she was born and bred, and where her mother, that pious gentlewoman, lay in the churchyard vault.

Example 2:

So this was Marie Grubbe, so strangely does the ball of fortune turn. She did not live to see many more feasts of the Three Kings. Holberg wrote that she died in June, 1716, but he did not write, for he did not know, that when Mother Sören, as they called her, lay dead in Borrehouse, a flock of large black birds flew over the roof in silence. They did not scream, and it was as if they knew that at funerals one must be quiet. As soon as she was in her grave, the birds departed (...)

Example 3:

Bra! Bra!" they croaked. And "Bra, Bra!" the whole tribe croaked when the old castle was torn down. "And this they cry still, though there is nothing left to croak about," said the parish clerk, when he told the story.

(...)

"No one knew her," they said. "She had no relatives. By an act of charity she came here, and children she had none!"

Nevertheless, she had ancestors, though she did not know of them, nor did the parish clerk, for all the manuscripts he had in his table drawer.

(...)

And Chicken Grethe was buried in a good grave. No one knows where it lies except the old crow, if he isn't dead too.

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