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Hans Christian Andersen : Sixth Evening
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Hans Christian Andersen : Sixth Evening

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Sixth Evening

"I have been to Upsala," the Moon told me. "I looked down on the great plain covered with coarse grass and on the barren fields. I saw my image in the river Fyris, while the steamer frightened away the fishes into the rushes. The clouds chased one another beneath me, throwing their long shadows upon the graves of Odin and Thor and Freya, as the hills there are called. The names have been cut in the thin turf that covers the hills; here there is no memorial stone where the traveler can engrave his name, no rock wall whereon he can paint it. So the visitor cuts it into the turf, and the bare earth along the range of hills is covered with a network of letters and names - an immortality which lasts until the next growth of turf.

"Upon the hilltop a man stood, a poet. He emptied a mead horn decorated with a broad silver ring, and whispered a name that he charged the breezes not to betray; but I heard it, and I knew it. The coronet of a count sparkled above it, and therefore he did not name it aloud. I smiled. For the crown of a poet sparkles above his! The name of Eleanora d'Este is with Tasso's. I too know where the rose of beauty blooms. . . ."

Thus the Moon spoke, but then a cloud passed between us. Oh, that clouds might never come between the poet and the rose!