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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Great-Grandfather"

Great-Grandfather

Great-Grandfather was so lovable, wise and good. All of us looked up to Great-Grandfather. As far back as I can remember, he was really called "Father's Father," and "Mother's Father" as well, but when my Brother Frederick's little son came along he was promoted, and got the title of "Great-Grandfather." He could not expect to go any higher than that.

He was very fond of us all, but he did not appear to be fond of our times. "Old times were the good times," he used to say. "Quiet and genuine they were. In these days there's too much hurrying and turning everything upside down. The young folk lay down the law, and even speak about the Kings as if they are their equals. Any ne'er-do-well can sop a rag in dirty water and wring it out over the head of an honorable man."

Great-Grandfather would get angry and red in the face when he talked of such things, but soon he would smile his kindly, sympathetic smile, and say, "Oh, well! I may be a bit wrong. I belong to the old days, and I can't quite get a foothold in the new. May God guide us and show us the right way to go."

When Great-Grandfather got started on the old days, it seemed to me as if they came back. I would imagine myself riding along in a gilded coach, with footmen in fine livery. I saw the guilds move their signs and march in procession with their banners aloft, preceded by music. And I attended the merry Christmas festivities, where people in fancy dress played games of forfeit.

True enough, in the old days dreadfully cruel and horrible things used to be done. There was torture, rack and wheel, and bloodshed, but even these horrible things had an excitement about them that fascinated me. But I also thought of many pleasant things. I used to imagine how things were when the Danish nobility freed the peasants, and when the Danish Crown Prince abolished slave trading. It was marvelous to hear Great-Grandfather talk of all these things, and to hear him tell of the days of his youth. But I think the times even earlier than that were the very best times of all - so mighty and glorious.

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