The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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314                          GRANDMOTHER
Grandmother cannot smile thus now !—yes, now she smiles ! But now he has passed away, and many thoughts and many forms of the past; and the handsome young man is gone, and the rose lies in the hymn-book, and Grandmother sits there again, an old woman, and glances down at the withered rose that lies in the book.
Now Grandmother is dead. She had been sitting in her arm-chair, and telling a long, long lovely tale; and she said the tale was told now, and she was tired ; and she leaned her head back to sleep awhile. One could hear her breathing as she slept; but it became quieter and more quiet, and her countenance was full of happiness and peace : it seemed as if a sunshine spread over her features ; and then the people said she was dead.
She was laid hi the black coffin ; and there she lay shrouded in the white linen folds, looking beautiful and mild, though her eyes were closed ; but every wrinkle had vanished, and there was a smile around her mouth; her hair was silver-white and venerable ; and we did not feel at all afraid to look on her who had been the dear good Grandmother. And the hymn-book was placed under her head, for she had wished it so, and the rose was still in the old book ; and then they buried Grandmother.
On the grave, close by the churchyard wall, they planted a rose tree ; and it was full of roses ; and the nightingale sang over the flowers and over the grave. In the church the finest psalms sounded from the organ—the psalms that were written in the old book under the dead one's head. The moon shone down upon the grave, but the dead one was not there. Every child could go safely, even at night, and pluck a rose there by the churchyard wall. A dead person knows more than all we living ones. The dead know what a terror would come upon us, if the strange thing were to happen that they appeared among us : the dead are better than we all; the dead return no more. The earth has been heaped over the coffin, and it is earth that lies in the coffin ; and the leaves of the hymn-book are dust, and the rose, with all its recollections, has returned to dust likewise. But above there bloom fresh roses ; the nightingale sings and the organ sounds, and the remem­brance lives of the old Grandmother with the mild eyes