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

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

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

496                         THE LAST PEARL
4 Here she dwells ; here in this sacred hour,' said the angel, and pointed to a corner of the room ; and there, where in her lifetime the mother had taken her seat amid flowers and pictures ; there, whence, like the beneficent fairy of the house, she had greeted husband, children, and friends; whence, like the sunbeams, she had spread joy and cheerfulness, and been the centre and the heart of all —there sat a strange woman, clad in long garments. It was Sorrow, now mistress and mother here in the dead lady's place. A hot tear rolled down into her lap, and formed itself into a pearl glowing with all the colours of the rainbow. The angel seized it, and the pearl shone like a star of sevenfold radiance.
The pearl of Sorrow, the last, which must not be wanting ! it heightens the lustre and the power of the other pearls. Do you see the sheen of the rainbow—of the bow that unites heaven and earth ? For each of our dear ones who dies and leaves us, we have one friend more in Heaven to long for. Through the earthly night we gaze upward to the stars, looking for perfection. Contemplate it, the pearl of Sorrow, for it hides within itself the wings that shall carry us to the better world.
Have you ever seen a maiden ? I mean what our paviours call a maiden, a thing with which they ram down paving-stones in the roads. A maiden of this kind is made altogether of wood, broad below, and girt round with iron rings ; at the top she is narrow, and has a stick passed across through her waist; and this stick forms the arms of the maiden.
In the shed stood two Maidens of this kind. They had their place among shovels, hand-carts, wheelbarrows, and measuring tapes ; and to all this company the news had come that the Maidens were no longer to be called - maidens ', but ' hand-rammers ' ; which word was the newest and the only correct designation among the paviours