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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesO. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 12
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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 12 Post by :twoelfling Category :Long Stories Author :Hans Christian Andersen Date :May 2012 Read :1649

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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 12


"The travellers roll through the world of men,
Like rose leaves in a stream.
The past will ne'er come back again,
But fade into a dream."--B. S. INGEMANN.

The following day, the last before Otto's departure, whilst he and Wilhelm were walking in the garden, Sophie approached them with a garland made of oak-leaves: this was intended for Otto; they were now really to lose him.

"Sophie will scarcely be up so early to-morrow morning," said Louise; "she is, therefore, obliged to present her garland to-day. I am never missing at the breakfast-table, as you well know; and I shall then bring my bouquet."

"I shall preserve both until we meet again," returned Otto; "they are vignettes to my beautiful summer-dream. When I again sit in Copenhagen, when the rain patters and the winter approaches with cold and a joyless sky, I shall still see before me Funen with its green woods, flowers, and sunshine; it will appear to me that it must still be so there, and that the garland and bouquet are only withered because they are with me in the winter cold."

"In Copenhagen we shall meet again!" said Sophie.

"And I shall see you again with the swallows!" said Louise, "when my flowers spring up again, when we have again warm summer days! As far as I am concerned, you belong to the summer, and not to the cold, calm winter."

Early on the following morning was Sophie, after all, at the breakfast table. That was to honor Otto. Mamma showed herself as the carriage was at the door. Wilhelm would accompany him as far as Odense. It was, therefore, a double leave taking, here and there.

"We will always remain friends, faithful friends!" said Wilhelm, when they parted.

"Faithful friends!" repeated Otto, and they rolled away toward Middelfart; thus far should mamma's own carriage convey the excellent Otto. Wilhelm remained behind in Odense; his coachman drove Otto, and they discoursed upon the way. They passed Vissenberg: the high, wooded hills there have received the name of the Funen Alps. The legend relates of robbers who had here deep passages underneath the high-road, where they hung bells which rang when any one passed above. The inhabitants are still looked upon with suspicion. Vissenberg appears a kind of Itri, between Copenhagen and Hamburg. (Author's Note: "Itri," Fra Diavolo's birthplace, lies in the Neapolitan States, on the highway between Rome and Naples. The inhabitants are not, without reason, suspected of carrying on the robber's trade.) Near the church there formerly lay a stone, on which Knud, the saint, is said to have rested himself when flying from the rebellious Jutlanders. In the stone remained the impression of where he had sat; the hard stone had been softer than the hearts of the rebellious people.

This, and similar legends, the coachman knew how to relate; he was born in this neighborhood, but not in Vissenberg itself, where they make the false notes. (Author's Note: A number of years ago a band of men were seized in Vissenberg who had forged bank-notes.) Every legend gains in interest when one hears it in the place with which it is connected. Funen is especially rich in such relations.

"That cairn elevates itself at Christmas upon four red posts, and one can then see the dance and merriment of the goblins within. Through that peasant's farm there drives every night a glowing coach, drawn by four coal-black horses. Where we now see a pond overgrown with reeds and roots there once stood a church, but it sank as the godless desecrated it; at midnight we still hear their sighs, and hymns of repentance."

It is true that the narrator mixed up together certain leg-ends which related to other places in the country--that he took little springs, and mingled his own thoughts with his relations; but Otto listened to him with great interest. The discourse turned also upon the family at the hall.

"Yes, they are very much liked!" said the coachman; "the gentleman may believe we know how to value them."

"And now, which of the young ladies is the best?" asked Otto.

"Yes, every one is best served by Miss Louise," returned the fellow.

"Miss Sophie is the prettiest," said Otto.

"Yes, she is also very good,--she belongs to the learned ones! She knows German, that she does! she can act comedy very excellently! I once got permission with the rest of the people to be up-stairs in the sitting-room--we stood behind the family; she did not manage her affairs at all badly."

However much the old legends interested Otto, it seemed as though he listened with more pleasure to the simple reasonings of the coachman upon the family who were become so dear to him. Words and thoughts were busied about the objects there. Wilhelm, however, was and still remained the dearest; he recollected with what mildness Wilhelm had stretched forth his hand in reconciliation, when he himself had thrust him from him. Already the happy summer days which he had spent at the country-seat, the whole visit, appeared a beautiful but short dream.

Otto felt an inward impulse to express his gratitude; his pride even, which was a fundamental feature of his character, commanded him to do this. Wilhelm's affection, his desire for a continued friendship, Otto thought he must reward; and on this account he added the following words to the few lines which he gave the coachman before his passage over the Little Belt:--

"Wilhelm, in future we will say thou to each other; that is more confidential!" "He is the first to whom I have given my thou," said Otto, when the letter was dispatched. "This will rejoice him: now, however, I myself have for once made an advance, but he deserves it."

A few moments later it troubled him. "I am a fool like the rest!" said he, and wished he could annihilate the paper. He was summoned on board. The Little Belt is only a river between the two countries; he soon found himself upon Jutland ground; the whip cracked, the wheels turned round, like the wheels of fortune, up and down, yet ever onward.

Late in the evening he arrived at an inn. From his solitary chamber his thoughts flew in opposite directions; now toward the solitary country-seat of his grandfather, among the sand-hills; now toward the animated mansion in Funen, where the new friends resided. He had opened his box and taken out what lay quite at the top, the garland of oak-leaves and the beautiful bouquet of flowers of this morning.

Most people maintain that one dreams at night of that which one has thought much about. According to this, Otto must have thought a deal about the North Sea, for of it he dreamed the whole night,-- not of the young ladies.

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O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 13 O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 13

O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 13
CHAPTER XIII"The heat-lark warbles forth his sepulchral melodies." S. S. BLICHER.The peninsula of Jutland possesses nothing of the natural beauty which Zealand and Funen present--splendid beeches and odoriferous clover-fields in the neighborhood of the salt sea; it possesses at once a wild and desolate nature, in the heath-covered expanses and the far-stretching moors. East and west are different; like the green, sappy leaf,

O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 11 O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 11

O. T., A Danish Romance - Chapter 11
CHAPTER XI"Dance and stampTill the shoe-soles drop!"--Danish Popular Song.On the following day should the much-talked-of mowing-festival take place. It was the hay-harvest which occasioned all this merriment. (Author's Note: It is true that serfdom is abolished, but the peasant is still not quite free; neither can he be so. For his house and land he must pay a tribute, and this consists in labor. His own work must give way to that of his lord. His wagon, which he has had prepared to bring home his own harvest, must, if such be commanded, go to the nobleman's land, and there render