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  • 538
  • Date :
  • 11/10/2004


    GRANDMOTHER is very old, her face is wrinkled, and her

hair is quite white; but her eyes are like two stars, and they

have a mild, gentle expression in them when they look at you,

which does you good. She wears a dress of heavy, rich silk,

with large flowers worked on it; and it rustles when she

moves. And then she can tell the most wonderful stories.

Grandmother knows a great deal, for she was alive before

father and mother- that's quite certain. She has a hymn-book

with large silver clasps, in which she often reads; and in the

book, between the leaves, lies a rose, quite flat and dry; it

is not so pretty as the roses which are standing in the glass,

and yet she smiles at it most pleasantly, and tears even come

into her eyes. "I wonder why grandmother looks at the withered

flower in the old book that way? Do you know?" Why, when

grandmother's tears fall upon the rose, and she is looking at

it, the rose revives, and fills the room with its fragrance;

the walls vanish as in a mist, and all around her is the

glorious green wood, where in summer the sunlight streams

through thick foliage; and grandmother, why she is young

again, a charming maiden, fresh as a rose, with round, rosy

cheeks, fair, bright ringlets, and a figure pretty and

graceful; but the eyes, those mild, saintly eyes, are the

same,- they have been left to grandmother. At her side sits a

young man, tall and strong; he gives her a rose and she

smiles. Grandmother cannot smile like that now. Yes, she is

smiling at the memory of that day, and many thoughts and

recollections of the past; but the handsome young man is gone,

and the rose has withered in the old book, and grandmother is

sitting there, again an old woman, looking down upon the

withered rose in the book.

    Grandmother is dead now. She had been sitting in her

arm-chair, telling us a long, beautiful tale; and when it was

finished, she said she was tired, and leaned her head back to

sleep awhile. We could hear her gentle breathing as she slept;

gradually it became quieter and calmer, and on her countenance

beamed happiness and peace. It was as if lighted up with a ray

of sunshine. She smiled once more, and then people said she

was dead. She was laid in a black coffin, looking mild and

beautiful in the white folds of the shrouded linen, though her

eyes were closed; but every wrinkle had vanished, her hair

looked white and silvery, and around her mouth lingered a

sweet smile. We did not feel at all afraid to look at the

corpse of her who had been such a dear, good grandmother. The

hymn-book, in which the rose still lay, was placed under her

head, for so she had wished it; and then they buried


    On the grave, close by the churchyard wall, they planted a

rose-tree; it was soon full of roses, and the nightingale sat

among the flowers, and sang over the grave. From the organ in

the church sounded the music and the words of the beautiful

psalms, which were written in the old book under the head of

the dead one.

    The moon shone down upon the grave, but the dead was not

there; every child could go safely, even at night, and pluck a

rose from the tree by the churchyard wall. The dead know more

than we do who are living. They know what a terror would come

upon us if such a strange thing were to happen, as the

appearance of a dead person among us. They are better off than

we are; the dead return no more. The earth has been heaped on

the coffin, and it is earth only that lies within it. The

leaves of the hymn-book are dust; and the rose, with all its

recollections, has crumbled to dust also. But over the grave

fresh roses bloom, the nightingale sings, and the organ sounds

and there still lives a remembrance of old grandmother, with

the loving, gentle eyes that always looked young. Eyes can

never die. Ours will once again behold dear grandmother, young

and beautiful as when, for the first time, she kissed the

fresh, red rose, that is now dust in the grave.


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