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H.C. Andersen : Twenty-ninth Evening
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The Hans Christian Andersen Center

H.C. Andersen : Twenty-ninth Evening

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Twenty-ninth Evening

"I'll give you another picture from Sweden," said the Moon. "Between dark pine forests, near the dreary banks of Lake Roxen, is the old convent church of Vreta. My rays penetrated through the grating in the wall, into the spacious vault where the kings sleep in huge stone coffins. A kingly crown, symbol of earthly pomp, shines on the moldering wall above; but it is made of wood, painted and gilded, and hung on a wooden peg driven into the wall. The work has eaten into the gilded wood, while the spider has spun its web from the crown to the coffin like a mourning veil, and its is as frail as sorrow for the departed often is.

"How peacefully they sleep! I can remember them quite well. I can still see the proud smiles on their lips, from which came mighty and decisive pronouncements that brought joy or sorrow.

"When the steamboat winds its course among the mountains like a magic bark, a stranger frequently makes a pilgrimage to that church and visits the burial vault. He asks the names of the kings, but they sound unfamiliar and empty to him. He smiles at the worm-eaten crowns, and if he happens to be of a pious nature, there is a sadness reflected in is smile. Slumber on, ye dead! The Moon still remembers you and by night sends his cold rays into your silent kingdom, where the pinewood crown hangs."