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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696               THE CHILD IN THE GRAVE
1 It is not so beautiful on earth. Do you see, mother— do you see them all ? Oh, that is happiness !'
But the mother saw nothing which the child pointed out—nothing but the dark night. She looked with earthly eyes, and could not see as the child saw, whom God had called to Himself. She could hear the sounds of the music, but not the word—the Word in which she was to believe.
1 Now I can fly, mother—I can fly with all the other happy children into the presence of the Almighty. I would fain fly ; but, if you weep as you are weeping now, I might be lost to you—and yet I would go so gladly. May I not fly ? And you will come to me soon—will you not, dear mother %'
* Oh, stay! stay!' entreated the mother. ' Only one moment more—only once more I should wish to look at thee, and kiss thee, and press thee in my arms.'
And she kissed and fondled the child. Then her name was called from above—called in a plaintive voice. What might this mean ?
1 Hearest thou ? ' asked the child. ' It is my father who calls thee.'
And in a few moments deep sighs were heard, as of weeping children.
'They are my sisters,' said the child. 'Mother, you surely have not forgotten them ? '
And then she remembered those she had left behind. A great terror came upon her. She looked out into the night, and above her dim forms were flitting past. She seemed to recognize a few more of these. They floated through the Hall of Death towards the dark curtain, and there they vanished. Would her husband and her daughters thus flit past ? No, their sighs and lamentations still sounded from above : and she had been nearly forgetting them for the sake of him who was dead !
' Mother, now the bells of heaven are ringing/ said the child. ' Mother, now the sun is going to rise.'
And an overpowering light streamed in upon her. The child had vanished, and she was borne upwards. It became cold round about her, and she lifted up her head, and saw that she was lying in the churchyard, on the grave of her child.
But the Lord had been a stay unto her feet, in a dream,