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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THE OLD GRAVESTONE                  423
though the countenance of the Creator was beaming over the world.                                               •*■
1 Forgotten ! Everything will be forgotten !' was re­peated in the room.
But in that moment an invisible angel kissed the boy's forehead, and whispered to him :
1 Preserve the seed-corn that has been entrusted to thee. Guard it well till the time of ripeness ! Through thee, my child, the obliterated inscription on the old tombstone shall be chronicled in golden letters to future generations ! The old pair shall wander again arm in arm through the streets, and smile, and sit with their fresh healthy faces under the lime tree on the bench by the steep stairs, and nod at rich and poor. The seed-corn of this hour shall ripen in the course of time to a blooming poem. The beautiful and the good shall not be forgotten ; it shall live on in legend and in song.'
Once there reigned a Queen, in whose garden were found the most glorious flowers at all seasons and from all the lands in the world ; but especially she loved roses, and therefore she possessed the most various kinds of this flower, from the wild dog-rose, with the apple-scented green leaves, to the most splendid Provence rose. They grew against the castle walls, wound themselves round pillars and window-frames, into the passages, and all along the ceiling in all the halls. And the roses were various in fragrance, form, and colour.
But care and sorrow dwelt in these halls : the Queen lay upon a sick-bed, and the doctors declared that she must die.
* There is still one thing that can save her,' said the wisest of them. ' Bring her the loveliest rose in the world, the one which is the expression of the brightest and purest love ; for if that is brought before her eyes ere they close, she will not die.'