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

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Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

God contains among others: The Holy Spirit

See also Allah, Divine light, God's Kingdom, heaven

Description of this motif: "God" is the God of christianity, which in the eyes of Andersen is the God of all people. Andersen's religious were not dogmatic, and he never accepted the dogma of the trinity; God is for Andersen one, and he never speaks of the Holy Ghost. He considered Jesus to be a chosen man.

Example 1:

"Poor people always have a nest full of youngsters," growled the master of the manor house. "If one could drown them like kittens, and keep only one or two of the strongest, it would be less of a misfortune!"

"God have mercy!" said the tailor's wife. "Children are a blessing from God; they are such a delight in the house. Every child is one more Lord's prayer. If times are bad, and one has many mouths to feed, why, then a man works all the harder and finds out ways and means honestly; our Lord fails not when we do not fail."

Example 2:

The doctor wrote a prescription for him to have filled at the pharmacy. He would not take the medicine. "What good will it do?" he said.

"You will get well again then," said his mother. "Have faith in yourself and in our Lord! If I could only see you get flesh on your body again, hear you whistle and sing; for that I would willingly lay down my life."

And Rasmus was cured of his illness, but his mother contracted it. Our Lord summoned her, and not him.

(...)

One autumn evening he was staggering through rain and wind along the muddy road from the tavern to his house; his mother had long since gone and been laid in her grave.

(...)

"What good will it do?" he said.

"That is an awful saying that you have," said she. "Remember your mother's words, 'Have faith in yourself and in our Lord.'

Example 3:

And our Lord willed that he should live. But he had his ups and downs, both in health and mind.

(...)

"You have no faith," she said, "and if we do not believe in God, what have we? You should go to Communion," she said; "you haven't been since your confirmation."

"What good will it do?" he said.

"If you say that and believe it, then let it be; the Master does not want an unwilling guest at His table. But think of your mother and your childhood. Once you were a good, pious boy. Let me read a psalm to you."

"What good will it do?" he said.

"It always comforts me," she answered.

"Johanne, you have surely become one of the saints." And he looked at her with dull, weary eyes.

And Johanne read the psalm, but not from a book, for she had none; she knew it by heart.

Example 4:

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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