Holger Danske 3

“The lions represent strength; and the hearts, gentleness and love.” And as he gazed on the uppermost lion, he thought of King Canute, who chained great England to Denmark’s throne; and he looked at the second lion, and thought of Waldemar, who untied Denmark and conquered the Vandals. The third lion reminded him of Margaret, who united Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. But when he gazed at the red hearts, their colors glowed more deeply, even as flames, and his memory followed each in turn. The first led him to a dark, narrow prison, in which sat a prisoner, a beautiful woman, daughter of Christian the Fourth, Eleanor Ulfeld,2 and the flame became a rose on her bosom, and its blossoms were not more pure than the heart of this noblest and best of all Danish women. “Ah, yes; that is indeed a noble heart in the Danish arms,” said the grandfather. and his spirit followed the second flame, which carried him out to sea,3 where cannons roared and the ships lay shrouded in smoke, and the flaming heart attached itself to the breast of Hvitfeldt in the form of the ribbon of an order, as he blew himself and his ship into the air in order to save the fleet. And the third flame led him to Greenland’s wretched huts, where the preacher, Hans Egede,4 ruled with love in every word and action. The flame was as a star on his breast, and added another heart to the Danish arms. And as the old grandfather’s spirit followed the next hovering flame, he knew whither it would lead him. In a peasant woman’s humble room stood Frederick the Sixth,5 writing his name with chalk on the beam. The flame trembled on his breast and in his heart, and it was in the peasant’s room that his heart became one for the Danish arms. The old grandfather wiped his eyes, for he had known King Frederick, with his silvery locks and his honest blue eyes, and had lived for him, and he folded his hands and remained for some time silent. Then his daughter came to him and said it was getting late, that he ought to rest for a while, and that the supper was on

 

the table.

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