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The motif Grave in HCA : Grandmother (1845)
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The motif Grave in HCA : Grandmother (1845)

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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 :

She was laid in the black coffin, and lay shrouded in folds of white linen, looking so beautiful, though her eyes were closed. All the wrinkles were gone, and there was a smile on her lips; her hair was so silvery and so venerable, and one wasn't at all afraid to look at the corpse, for it was sweet, dear, good Grandmother. The hymnbook was placed under her head, as she had wished, and the rose was still in the old book; and then they buried Grandmother.

They planted a rose tree on the grave beside the churchyard wall. It was full of roses, and the nightingale sang over it; and in the church the organ pealed forth the finest psalms, psalms that were written in the book under the dead one's head. And the moon shone down on the grave, but the dead one wasn't there. Any child could venture safely, even at night, and pluck a rose there beside the churchyard wall. A dead person knows more than all we living ones know. The dead know what terror would sweep over us if the strange thing were to happen that they should return among us. The dead are better than we; and they return no more. Dust has been piled over the coffin; dust is inside it; the leaves of the hymnbook are dust; and the rose, with all its memories, is asleep. But above bloom fresh roses, the nightingale sings, the organ peals, and we think of the old Grandmother with the gentle, eternally young eyes. Eyes can never die. Ours will some time behold Grandmother again, as young and beautiful as when for the first time she kissed the fresh red rose which is now dust in her grave.

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