The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen

Grief - Hjertesorg

1853

This is a story in two parts; the first is not really necessary but it provides background and that is always useful. Det er egentligt en Historie i to Dele, vi her komme med; første Deel kunde gjerne være borte, - men den giver Forkundskaber, og de ere nyttige!
We were visiting friends who lived in a manor house out in the country and it so happened that my host was called away for a few days. A woman came from a nearby town; she had her lap dog along, which she carried under her arm. She had come in order to ask my host to buy stock in her tannery and she had all her papers with her. I advised her to put them in an envelope and write on the outside my friend's name and his titles: War Commissary General, Knight of the Danish Flag, etc. Vi opholdt os inde i Landet paa en Herregaard, og saa traf det sig, at Herskabet der, for en Dagstid, tog bort. Da kom der fra nærmeste Kjøbstad en Madamme, hun havde sin Moppe med og kom for, som hun sagde, at man skulde tage "Actier" i hendes Garveri. Sine Papirer havde hun med, og vi raadede hende, at slaae en Convolut om dem og uden paa at skrive Gaardeierens Adresse: "Generalkrigskommissær, Ridder, etcetera".
The woman grabbed the pen, began, and then stopped. She asked me to repeat what I had said a little more slowly. I did and she started to write once more; but in the middle of the word "Commissary" she sighed and said, "I am only a woman!" Her lap dog, which she had put down on the floor, began to growl. He had been taken along for his health and his amusement, and so he thought he wasn't supposed to be put down on the floor. He was fat and flat-nosed. Hun hørte paa os, hun tog Pennen, standsede, og bad os om at gjentage Udskriften, men langsomt. Vi gjorde det, og hun skrev; men midt i "Generalkrigs" blev hun staaende, sukkede og sagde: "jeg er kun et Fruentimmer!" Moppen havde hun sat paa Gulvet, mens hun skrev, og han knurrede; han var jo ogsaa taget med for sin Fornøielse og Sundheds Skyld, og saa skal man ikke sættes paa Gulvet. Braknæse og Fleskeryg var hans Udvortes.
"He doesn't bite," said his mistress. "He hasn't got a tooth left in his mouth. He is like a member of the family: faithful but badtempered; and that's my grandchildren's fault. They like to play 'getting married' and the dog has to be a bridesmaid, and that tires him out, the poor old thing!" "Han bider ikke!" sagde Madammen, "han har ingen Tænder. Han er ligesom Lem af Familien, trofast og arrig, men dette er han tirret til af mine Børnebørn; de lege Bryllup, og saa vil de have ham til at være Brudepige, og det anstrænger ham, det gamle Skind!"
She left and took her little dog under her arm and went home. That was the first part of the story, the one that could have been skipped. Og hun afleverede sine Papirer og tog Moppen paa Armen. Det er første Deel - som nok kunde undværes!
The lap dog died; that is the second part. "Moppen døde!" det er anden Deel.
It was about a week later. We had come to the town and had taken a room in an inn. Our windows faced the back of the building and we had a view of the yard; it was divided in two by a fence. In one half hides had been hung to dry, both tanned and untanned ones; it was a tannery and belonged to a widow, the woman we had met at the manor house. Her lap dog had died that very morning and was being buried in the yard. The widow's grandchildren--that is, the tannery owner's widow, not the lap dog's, for the dog had never been married--were busy patting the earth smooth on top of the grave. It was a beautiful grave, in which it must have been a pleasure to lie. Det var en Ugestid efter; vi kom til Kjøbstaden og tog ind paa Gjæstgiverstedet. Vore Vinduer vendte ud til Gaarden, der ved et Plankeværk var deelt i to Dele; i den ene her hang Skind og Huder, raa og barkede; her stod alle Materialer til et Garveri, og det var Enkens. -Moppen var død i denne Morgen og begravet her i Gaarden; Enkens Børnebørn, det vil sige Garverenkens, for Moppen havde ikke været gift, klappede Graven til, og det var en deilig Grav, det maatte være en Fornøielse at ligge der.
It was fenced in by broken flowerpots and covered with sand; as a tombstone there stood a beer bottle with its neck upward; it was not meant symbolically. Graven var indhegnet med Potteskaar, og bestrøet med Sand; øverst paa den havde de sat en halv Øl-Flaske med Halsen op, og det var slet ikke allegorisk.
The children danced around the grave, and the oldest of the boys, an enterprising young lad of seven, suggested that they should exhibit the grave to anyone in the street who would care to see it. The entrance fee should be one button, for that was something that every boy who wore suspenders owned; and he could even pay for a girl without losing his trousers. The proposal was carried unanimously. Børnene dandsede rundt om Graven, og den ældste af Drengene, en practisk Yngling paa syv Aar, foreslog, at der skulde være en Udstilling af Moppens Grav og det for Alle fra Strædet; Adgangen maatte betales med en Seleknap, det var Noget enhver Dreng havde, og han ogsaa kunde levere for Smaapigerne; og det Forslag blev eenstemmigt antaget.
All the children in the street and in the alley behind the yard came and paid their buttons. Many a boy that day had to wear one suspender instead of two, but at least he had seen the little dog's grave and that was worth it. Og alle Børn fra Strædet og Bagstrædet med kom og gav deres Knap, der vare mange, der kom til at gaae med een Sele den Eftermiddag, men saa havde man seet Moppens Grav, og det var nok saa meget værd.
Outside the gate of the tannery yard stood a litle girl. Although she was dressed in rags she was lovely; she had the most beautiful curly hair, and eyes so clear and blue that it was a pleasure to look at them. She didn't utter a word nor did she cry; but every time the gate was opened she peeked in. She didn't own a button and therefore she stood dejected outside the gate all afternoon, until the last of the children had left. Then she burst out crying and, hiding her eyes in her little sunburned hands, she sat down upon the ground. She alone, of all the children in the street, had not seen the little lap dog's grave! Now that was grief, a sorrow as sharp as a grownup's can be! Men udenfor Garvergaarden, tæt op til Laagen der, stod en lille pjaltet Unge, saa yndigt skabt, med det deiligste krøllede Haar og Øine saa blaae og klare, at det var en Lyst; hun sagde ikke et Ord, hun græd ikke heller, men saae saa langt hun kunde, hver Gang Laagen aabnedes. Hun eiede ikke en Knap, vidste hun, og blev derfor sørgmodig staaende udenfor, stod der til de Alle havde seet af, og Alle vare gaaede bort; da satte hun sig ned, holdt de smaa brune Hænder for Øinene og brast i Graad; hun alene havde ikke seet Moppens Grav. Det var Hjertesorg og stor, som den Voxnes tidt kan være det.
We saw it from above; and the little girl's sorrow--like many of our own--was laughable when seen from above. That is the story and if you haven't understood it, then you can buy stock in the widow's tannery. Vi saae det ovenfra - og ovenfra seet - denne, som mange af vore og Andres Sorger, - ja saa kunne vi lee af dem! - det er Historien, og den, som ikke forstaaer den, kan tage Actier i Enkens Garveri.

Copyright Anchor Books Doubleday
Hans Christian Andersen:
The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories

Translated from Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard

Copyright:
The Hans Christian Andersen Project