Page images

been because the flame of the candle did not burn steadily.

And the daughter-in-law kissed the old grandfather, and led him to the great armchair by the table; and she and her husband, who was the son of the old man, and father of the little boy in bed, sat and ate their supper; and the grandfather spoke of the Danish lions and of the Danish hearts, of strength and of gentleness; and quite clearly did he explain that there was another strength besides the power that lies in the sword; and he pointed to the shelf on which were the old books, where stood the plays of Kolberg, which had been read so often, for they were very amusing; one could almost fancy one recognized the people of bygone days in them.

"See, he knew how to strike, too,” said the grandfather; "he scourged the foolishness and prejudice of the people so long as he could.” And the grandfather nodded at the mirror, above which stood the calendar, with the “Round Tower”? on it, and said, “Tycho Brahe was also one who used the sword, not to cut into flesh and bone, but to build up a plainer way among all the stars of heaven. And then he, whose father belonged to my calling, the son of the figurehead carver, he whom we have ourselves seen, with his silver hairs and his broad shoulders, he whose name is spoken of in all lands! Yes, he was a sculptor; I am only a carver. Yes, Holger Danske may come in many forms, so that one hears in every country of Denmark's strength. Shall we now drink the health of Bertel?”?

7. The astronomical observatory at Copenhagen. 8. Bertel Thorwaldsen, the great Danish sculptor.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

But the little lad in the bed saw plainly the old Kronenburgh, with the Oer Sound, and the real Holger Danske, who sat deep below, with his beard grown through the marble table, dreaming of all that happens up here. Holger Danske also dreamed of the little, humble room where the car

ver sat; he heard all that passed, and nodded in his sleep, and said:

“Yes, remember me, ye Danish folk; remember me. I shall come in the hour of need.”

And without, by the Kronenburgh, shone the bright day, and the wind carried the note of the hunting horn over from the neighboring land; the ship sailed past, and saluted, “Boom! boom!” and from the Kronenburgh came the reply, “Boom! boom!" But Holger Danske did not awake, however loudly they shot, for it was only “Good day” and “Thank you!”

There must be another kind of shooting before he awakes; but he will awake, for there is faith in Holger Danske.

Can you see Holger Danske “clad in iron and steel?” Where have you seen a picture of such clothing? Is it not curious that his beard is said to have grown into the marble? He must have been sitting there for many centuries for such a thing to happen! Do you not understand that the little boy did not know that Holger Danske was in the deep cellar, but merely believed it to be true? If so, why does the story say he knew it?

When you read that the Danish Arms consist of “three lions and nine hearts,” what do you see? Has the United States any arms? What are they?

Do you know a legend about King Canute and the waves of the sea? Can you find out anything more about Waldemar and Margaret?

Do you think the man whose face was carved into a figurehead was really Holger Danske? Do you think it possible that the grandfather could mean

that every brave man who fights for his country is a Holger Danske? Can you imagine the great figure of Holger Danske throwing its shadow on the wall and seeming to move about in the candle light? Does the grandfather believe that such heroes can do other things than fight?

What do you know about Thorwaldsen? Did you ever see a picture of his beautiful statue of Christ? Did the little boy see any other Holger Danske than the one whose beard was grown into the marble table?

Has a Holger ever come to save this United States from great danger? Would you call Washington and Longfellow and Hawthorne, Holgers? Why? Can you name a few men whom the grandfather, had he been an American, might have said were Holgers? Do you not believe that if the people of the United States need a great man he will be forthcoming if we have faith that he will come?

Do you not think that the little Danish boy, by his dreaming about Holger Danske, might have come to be the very one to aid his country most? Is it worth while for each of us to try to be a Holger?




[ocr errors]

WILL tell you the story which was told to me when I was a little boy. Every time I thought of the story it seemed to me to become more and

more charming; for it is with stories poteft as it is with many people—they

become better as they grow older. I take it for granted that you have been in the country, and have seen a very old farmhouse with a thatched roof, and mosses and small plants growing wild upon the thatch. There is a stork's nest on the summit of the gable; for we can't do without the stork. The walls of the house are sloping, and the windows are low, and only one of the latter is made so that it will open. The baking-oven sticks out of the wall like a little fat body. The elder tree hangs over the paling, and beneath its branches, at the foot of the paling, is a pool of water in which a few ducks are disporting themselves. There is a yard dog, too, who barks at all comers.

Just such a farmhouse stood out in the country; and in this house dwelt an old couple—a peasant and his wife. Small as was their property, there was one article among it that they could do without -a horse, that lived on the grass it found by the side of the highroad. The old peasant rode into

« PreviousContinue »