book : Hans Christian Andersen | Fairy Tales
song : Jewel | Sweet Dreams For You
As a child growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia; Hans Christian Andersen might not be the first choice of bedtime stories. But in my 20’s, this book has accompanied me through the hardest of nights. Most of us know why Little Mermaid’s longing for human legs, the invisible clothing wore by the Emperor, where the Little Match Girl stayed until the last light of fire, how the Duck becomes the Swan, and so on. On that account, I will not be the raconteuse and expound my relationship with this book. Instead, I’ll quote some parts of my favorite stories. 7 of them.
“Death has been in your house. I saw him rush off with your little child. He moves faster than the wind, and he never brings back what he takes.”
“Just tell me which way he went!” said the mother. “Tell me which way and I’ll find him!”
“I know which way,” said the woman in the black robes. “But before I tell you, you will have to sing for me all the songs you’ve ever sung for your child. I’m fond of them, I’ve heard them before. I am the Night. I saw your tears when you sang them.”
[ The Story of a Mother ]
Here is many a pretty girl who wants to take a little twirl.
She sets off marching to the drum, pretty girl, you dance and hum.
Swaying, stamping, off she goes, ‘till her shoes fall of her toes!
[ The Travelling Companion ]
When they finished the hymn and looked up, they nodded and said, “It was right for you to come, Karen.”
“It was God’s mercy,” she said.
The organ soared, and the children’s voices in the choir sounded gentle and lovely. The bright, warm sunshine steamed through the window, reaching the church pew where Karen sat. Her heart was so filled with sunlight, with peace and joy, that it burst. Her soul flew on the sunlight to God.. and no one asked about the red shoes.
[ The Red Shoes ]
“All of them so handsome except for one; that one certainly didn’t turn out well. I wish she could hatch that one over again.”
“That’s not possible, Your Grace,” said the mother. “He may not be handsome, but he has a genuinely good nature, and he swims as beautifully as any of the others; yes, I’d venture to say even a little better. I think he’ll be handsome when he grows up, or with time he might get a little smaller. He was too long in the egg, and that’s why he isn’t the right shape.” Then she plucked at the back of his neck and smoothed out his feathers.
[ The Ugly Duckling ]
“…Then in the evening I will sit on the branch by your window and sing for you, to make you both joyous and pensive. I will sing about those who are happy and those who suffer. I will sing about the evil and the good that is kept hidden from you. The little songbird flies far and wide, to the poor fisherman, to the farmer’s rooftop, to everyone who is far from you and your court. I love your heart more than your crown, and yet the crown has a scent of something sacred about it. I will come, I will sing for you..”
[ The Nightingale ]
Quickly she struck all the other matches in the bundle. She wanted so much to hold on to her grandmother, and the matches burned with such a radiance that it was brighter than the light of day, Grandmother had never looked so beautiful.. or so grand. She lifted the little girl into her arms, and they flew in radiance and joy, so high.. so high. And there was no cold, no hunger, no fear. They were with God.
[ The Little Match Girl ]
The Top didn’t say a word. He was thinking about his old sweetheart. And the more he listened, the more he felt sure that this Ball was his sweetheart. Then the maid came to empty the trash. “Hey, here’s the golden Top!” she said. And the Top was brought back to the parlor with great ceremony, but nothing was heard of the Ball. And the Top never said another word about his old love, which fades when your sweetheart has lain in the eaves for five years, seeping water. Why, you wouldn’t even recognize her if you met her in the trash bin.
[ The Sweethearts ]
Wrote this at 1:54AM and…… *yawn*