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The motif Mercy in HCA : What Old Johanne Told (1872)
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The Hans Christian Andersen Center

The motif Mercy in HCA : What Old Johanne Told (1872)

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Description of this motif: God's mercy is, like Luther argued, in Andersen's oeuvre only effective, if it is received in faith. It is indeed only given to those, who believe and are humble.

Example :

It was a beautiful Whitsunday morning. The church was decorated with green birch branches; there was a scent of the woods within it, and the sun shone on the church pews. The large altar candles were lighted, and Communion was being held. Johanne was among the kneeling, but Rasmus was not among them. That very morning the Lord had called him.

In God are grace and mercy.

Many years have since passed. The tailor's house still stands there, but no one lives in it. It might fall the first stormy night. The ditch is overgrown with bulrush and buck bean. The wind whistles in the old tree; it is as if one were hearing a song; the wind sings it; the tree tells it. If you do not understand it, ask old Johanne in the poorhouse.

She still lives there; she sings her psalm, the one she read for Rasmus. She thinks of him, prays to our Lord for him – she, the faithful soul. She can tell of bygone times, of memories that whistle in the old willow tree.

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