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Holger Danske

Joyfully he sang the grand old ballads as he fought and struggled, and it seemed as if he was something more than a man like me! I can remember his face still, but where he came from, or what became of him, I don't know. Nobody knows. I have often wondered if it could have been old Holger Danske himself who had swum out from the Kronborg to help us in that terrible hour. That was in my mind, and there stands his portrait!"

The great shadow of the figurehead spread up the wall, and even over the ceiling, and it looked as if the real Holger Danske was standing there. As they watched it the shadow seemed to move, but perhaps that was just because the candle flame was flickering.

Then the daughter-in-law kissed the old man and led him to the great armchair at the head of the table, and she and her husband, who was the old grandfather's son, and father to the little boy in bed, ate their supper with him. And the old grandfather told them of the Danish lions and Danish hearts, of strength and gentleness.

Then he very plainly explained to them that there is another strength beside the strength of the sword. He pointed to his bookshelf filled with old books. There stood the comedies of Holberg, which we so often read, for they are so very amusing that in them one seems to recognize those people of bygone days. "He knew how to strike, too. For in his plays he ridiculed the foolishness and prejudice around him as much as he dared."

The old grandfather nodded towards the mirror, where hung the calendar with a picture of the Round Tower. "Tycho Brahe was another who could use the sword, not to cut at men's flesh and bones, but to carve a plainer path among the stars of heaven. And then there was Bertel Thorvaldsen, whose father was a wood carver like me. We have seen him ourselves, with his silvery locks falling to his broad shoulders. His name is known throughout the world; he was a sculptor-I am only a carver. Yes, Holger Danske can appear in many shapes, so that every country in the world knows of Denmark's strength!

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