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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340
HOLGER THE DANE
And the spirit of the old grandfather flew on before the waving flames, for his spirit knew whither the flames desired to go. In the humble room of the peasant woman stood Frederick VI, writing his name with chalk on the beam. The flame trembled on his breast, and trembled in his heart; in the peasant's lowly room his heart too became a heart in the Danish arms. And the old grand≠father dried his eyes, for he had known King Frederick with the silvery locks and the honest blue eyes, and had lived for him : he folded his hands, and looked in silence straight before him. Then came the daughter-in-law of the old grandfather, and said it was late, he ought now to rest; and the supper table was spread.
1 But it is beautiful, what you have done, grandfather !' said she. c Holger the Dane, and all our old coat of arms ! It seems to me just as if I had seen that face before !'
' No, that can scarcely be,' replied the old grandfather ; ' but I have seen it, and I have tried to carve it in wood as I have kept it in my memory. It was when the English lay in the roadstead, on the Danish second of April, when we showed that we were old Danes. In the Denmark, on board which I was, in Steen Bille's squadron, I had a man at my sideóit seemed as if the bullets were afraid of him ! Merrily he sang old songs, and shot and fought as if he were something more than a man. I remember his face yet; but whence he came, and whither he went, I know notónobody knows. I have often thought he must have been old Holger the Dane himself, who had swum down from Kronborg, and aided us in the hour of danger : that was my idea, and there stands his picture.'
And the statue threw its great shadow up against the wall, and even over part of the ceiling ; it looked as though the real Holger the Dane were standing behind it, for the shadow moved ; but this might have been because the flame of the candle did not burn steadily. And the daughter-in-law kissed the old grandfather, and led him to the great arm-chair by the table ; and she and her husband, who was the son of the old man, and father of the little boy in the bed, sat and ate their supper ; and the grandfather spoke of the Danish lions and of the Danish hearts, of strength and of gentleness ; and quite clearly did he