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 JEWISH GIRL                       527
of Christianity: the sick knight heard the call, and had neither peace nor rest. He caused himself to be lifted on his war-horse ; and the blood came back to his cheek, his strength appeared to return, and he went forth to battle and to victory. The very same pasha who had yoked him to the plough became his prisoner, and was dragged to his castle. But not an hour had passed when the knight stood before the captive pasha, and said to him, ' What dost thou suppose awaiteth thee ? ' ' I know it,' replied the Turk. ' Retribution.' c Yes, the retribution of the Christian ! ' resumed the knight. * The doctrine of Christ commands us to forgive our enemies, and to love our fellow man, for God is love. Depart in peace to thy home and to thy dear ones ; but in future be mild and merciful to all who are unfortunate.' Then the prisoner broke out into tears, and exclaimed, 1 How could I believe in the possibility of such mercy ? Misery and torment seemed to me inevitable ; therefore I took poison, which in a few hours will kill me. I must die—there is no remedy ! But before I die, do thou expound to me the teaching which includes so great a measure of love and mercy, for it is great and godlike ! Grant me to hear this teaching, and to die a Christian ! ' And his prayer was fulfilled.
That was the legend, the story that was read. It was heard and followed by them all; but Sara, the Jewish girl, sitting alone in her corner, listened with a burning heart; great tears came into her gleaming black eyes, and she sat there with a gentle and lowly spirit as she had once sat on the school bench, and felt the grandeur of the Gospel; and the tears rolled down over her cheeks.
But again the dying words of her mother rose up within her :
1 Let not my daughter become a Christian,' the voice cried; and together with it arose the words of the Law: 1 Thou shalt honour thy father and thy mother.'
' I am not baptized,' she said ; ' they call me a Jewish girl —our neighbour's boys hooted me last Sunday, when I stood at the open church door, and looked in at the flaming candles on the altar, and listened to the song of the con­gregation. Ever since I sat upon the school bench I have