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

A String of Pearls

Only one grave shall we seek here; it is not that of the mighty Queen Margrethe; no within the white-walled churchyard which we speed close by is the grave, and over it lays a small, plain stone. The master of the organ, the reviver of the old Danish romances, rests here. We recall, "The clear waves rolled" and "There dwelt a king in Leire." Roskilde, burial place of kings-in your pearl we see the insignificant gravestone whereon is cut a lyre and the name Weyse.

Now we reach Sigersted, near the town of Ringsted. The bed of the river is low here; yellow corn waves over the spot where Hagbarth's boat lay at anchor, not far from Signe's maiden bower. Who does not know the legend of Hagbarth, who was hanged on the oak tree while the bower of Signe burst into flames? Who can forget that legend of immortal love?

"Beautiful Sorö, encircled by woods!" Your quiet old cloistered town peeps out through its mossy trees; the keen eyes of youth from the academy can look across the lake toward the world's highway and hear the roar of the locomotive's dragon as it speeds through the woods. Sorö, pearl of poetry, you are guarding the dust of Holberg! Your palace of learning stands beside the deep woodland lake like a great white swan, and near by, like the bright starflower of the woods, there gleams a tiny cottage, whence pious hymns echo throughout the land; words are spoken within, and the peasant listens and learns of Denmark's bygone days. As the song of the bird is to the greenwood, so is Ingemann to Sorö.

On to the town of Slagelse! What is mirrored here in this pearl's luster? Gone forever is the cloister of Antvorskov; vanished are the rich halls of the castle, even the last remaining wing; yet one relic of olden times still lingers here, the wooden cross on the hill. It has been repaired again and again, for it marks the spot where, legend tells us, Saint Anders, holy priest of Slagelse, awoke, after having been brought there from Jerusalem in a single night.

Korsör, birthplace of Baggesen, master of words and wit!

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