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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "A String of Pearls"

A String of Pearls

The railroad in Denmark still extends only from Copenhagen to Korsör; it is a string of pearls. Europe has a wealth of these pearls; its most costly are named Paris, London, Vienna, Naples. And yet many a man will point out as his favorite pearl not one of these great cities but rather some little country town that is still the home of homes to him, the home of those dearest to him. Yes, often it is not a town at all, but a single homestead, a little house, hidden among green hedges, a place hardly visible as the train speeds by.

How many pearls are there on the line from Copenhagen to Korsör? We will consider just six, which most people must notice; old memories and poetry itself give a luster to these pearls, so that they shine in our thoughts.

Near the hill where stands the palace of Frederick VI, the home of Oehlenschläger's childhood, one of these pearls glistens, sheltered by Söndermarken's woody ground. It used to be called "The Cottage of Philemon and Baucis." Here lived Rahbek and his wife, Camma; here, under their hospitable roof, assembled many of the generation's finest intellects from busy Copenhagen; it was the festival home of the intellectual. Now, don't say, "Ah, what a change!" No, it is still the home of the intellect, a conservatory for sick plants, for buds which do not have the strength to unfold their true beauty of color and form or show the blossoming and fruit-bearing which is hidden within them. The insane asylum, surrounded by human love, is truly a spot of holiness, a hospital for the sick plants that shall someday be transplanted to bloom in the paradise of God. The weakest minds are assembled now here, where once the strongest and keenest met to exchange thoughts and ideas, but still the flame of generosity mounts heavenward from "The Cottage of Philemon and Baucis."

Ancient Roskilde, the burial town of Kings, by Hroar's Spring, now lies before us. The slender towers of the church lift up above the low town and mirror themselves in Issefiord.

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