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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "On Judgment Day"

On Judgment Day

"

For a moment the soul shuddered, for it recognized the voices; it could not deny knowledge of the evil thoughts and desires that were now rising as witnesses against it.

"In our flesh, in our evil nature, nothing good lives!" said the soul. "But, at least with me, thoughts never turned into action; the world has not seen their evil fruit!"

The soul rushed on to escape the ugly screams, but the huge black birds swept in circles, screaming out their vicious words louder and louder, as though they wished to be heard to the ends of the world. The soul fled like a hunted stag, and at every step stumbled against sharp flint stones, painfully cutting his feet on them. "How came these sharp stones here? They seem like mere withered leaves lying on the ground."

"Each stone is some careless word you have spoken, which wounded your neighbor's heart far more deeply than these sharp flints that now hurt your feet."

"I never thought of that!" cried the soul.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged!" rang through the air.

In a moment the soul recovered from its self-abasement. "We have all sinned. But I have kept the Law and the Gospel. I have done what I could do; I am not like the others."

And then he stood at the gates of heaven itself, and the Angel who guarded the entrance asked, "Who are you? Tell me your faith, and show it to me in your works."

"I have faithfully kept all the Commandments," replied the soul proudly. "I have humbled myself in the eyes of the world. I have hated and persecuted evil and those who practice it, and I would do so still, with fire and sword, had I yet the power."

"Then you are a follower of Mohammed?" said the Angel.

"I? Never!"

" 'He who strikes with the sword shall perish by the sword,' thus spoke the Son. His religion you do not have. Are you then perchance one of the children of Israel, who with Moses said: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth?' "

"I am a Christian."

"I see it neither in your faith nor in your actions! The teaching of Christ is forgiveness, love, and mercy!

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