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The motif Ghost in HCA : A View from Vartou's Window (1846)
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The motif Ghost in HCA : A View from Vartou's Window (1846)

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Ghost contains among others: Sea ghost, The bone-horse, The grave-pig

Keywords:

Ghost, dead, death, soul

Description of this motif: A ghost is a dead person's soul, that has returned from the other side or never has been set free from this world despite death. The early tale "Dødningen" ('The dead man', 1830) and later "The Traveling Companion" (1838) is about a ghost, who helps the young Johannes, because he unselfishly saved the dead man's corpse from abuse.

Example :

The poor children, how gaily they play! What bright eyes and what red cheeks! But they have neither shoes nor stockings. And they are dancing and playing on the green rampart, on that very spot where, as the old story goes, the ground always sank in until an innocent child was lured with flowers and toys into its open grave, which was walled up even while the child played. Then the ramparts were firm and were soon covered with a garment of beautiful green turf. But the children have never heard that old legend, or else they would hear the poor little one still weeping beneath the mound, and the dew on the grass would seem to them the pearls of her tears.

Comment on this quote:

The tradition about the child, that was buried alive under the rampart of Copenhagen, is old folklore. According to J.M. Thiele's Danmarks Folkesagn (1843-60), 1968, vol. 1, p. 125, on "Københavns volde", it is a well-known characteristic in many traditions to make a sacrifice by burying something alive, in order to make buildings stand forever. Usually the sacrifice is an animal, but here it is a child, that is being decoyed into this cruel fate. In the lyrical picture of the old woman in Vartou, which was an institution for the elderly, founded by King Christian IV in 1607, HCA employs this dark legend to create a strong tension between the thoughtlessness of the playing children and the tale about the old woman.

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