By Hans Christian Andersen
Godfather could tell stories, ever so many
and ever so long ; he could cut out paper
figures and draw pictures, and when it came
near Christmas, he would bring out a
copy-book, with clean white pages ; on this
he pasted pictures, taken out of books and
newspapers ; if he had not enough for the
story he wished to tell, he drew them
himself. When I was little, I got several
such picturebooks, but the loveliest of them
all was the one from ' the memorable year
when Copenhagen got gas in place of the old
oil-lamps', and that was set down on the
' Great care must be taken of this book,'
said Father and Mother ; it must only
be brought out on grand occasions.'
Yet Godfather had written on the cover :
Though the book be torn, it is hardly a
Other young friends have done worse in their
Most delightful it was when Godfather
himself showed the book, read the verses and
the other inscriptions, and told so many
things besides ; then the story became a
On the first page there was a picture cut
out of ' The Flying Post ', in which one saw
Copenhagen with its Round Tower, and Our
Lady's Church; to the left of this was
pasted an old lantern, on which was written
' Train-oil ', to the right was a chandelier
on it was written ' Gas '.
'See, that is the placard,' said Godfather;
'that is the prologue to the story you are
going to hear. It could also be given as a
whole play, if one could have acted it : "
Train-oil and Gas, or the Life and Doings of
Copenhagen." That is a very good title ! At
the foot of "the page there is
still another little picture ; it is not so
easy to understand, so I shall explain it.
That is a Death-horse. He ought to have come
only at the end of the book, but he has run
on ahead to say, that neither the beginning,
the middle, nor the end is any good ; he
could have done it better himself if he
could have done it at all. The Deathhorse, I
must tell you, stands during the day
to the newspaper ; but in the evening he
slips out and posts himself outside the
poet's door and neighs, so that the man
inside may die instantly ; but he does not
die if there is any real life in him. The
Death-horse is nearly always a poor creature
who cannot understand himself, and cannot
get a livelihood ; he must get air and food
by going about and neighing. I am convinced
that he thinks nothing of Godfather's
picture-book, but for all that it may well
be worth the paper it is written on.
Now, that is the first page of the book ;
that is the placard.
It was just the last evening on which the
old oil-lamps were lighted ; the town had
got gas, and it shone so that the old lamps
seemed to be quite lost in it.
'I was in the street myself that evening,'
said Godfather. ' The people walked up and
down to look at the old and the new lighting.
There were many people, and twice as many
legs as heads. The watchmen stood about
gloomily ; they did not know when they might
be dismissed, like the
lamps ; these themselves thought so far back
they dared not think forward. They
remembered so much from the quiet evenings
and the dark nights. I leaned up against a
lamp-post,' said Godfather ; ' there was a
sputtering in the oil and the wick ; I could
hear what the lamp said, and
you shall also hear it.
' " We have done what we could," said the
lamp, " we have been sufficient for our
time, have lighted up for joy and for sorrow
; we have lived through many remarkable
things ; we have, so to speak, been the
night-eyes of Copenhagen. Let new lights now
take our place and undertake our office ;
but how many years they may shine, and what
they may light up, remains to be seen ! They
certainly shine a little stronger than we
old ones, but that is nothing, when one is
made like a gas -chandelier, and has such
connexions, as they have, the one pours into
the other ! They have pipes in all
directions and can get new strength in the
town and outside of the town ! But each one
of us oil-lamps shines by what he has in
himself and not by family relationship. We
and our forefathers have shone for
Copenhagen from immeasurably ancient times,
far far back. But as this is now the last
evening that we stand and shine in the
second rank, so to speak, here in
the street along with you, ye shining
comrades, we will not sulk and be envious ;
no, far from it, we will be glad and
good-natured. We are the old sentinels, who
are relieved by new-fashioned guards in
better uniforms than ours. We will tell you
what our family, right up to the great-
great-great-grandmother lantern, has seen
and experienced the whole of Copenhagen's
history. May you and your successors, right
down to the last gas-chandelier, experience
and be able to tell as remarkable things as
we, when one day you get your discharge !
and you will get it, you may
be prepared for that. Men are sure to find a
stronger light than gas. I have heard a
student say that it is hinted that they will
yet burn sea-water ! " The wick sputtered
when the lamp said these words ; just as if
it had water in it already.'
Godfather listened closely, thought it over
and considered that it was an excellent idea
of the old lantern, on this evening of
transition from oil to gas, to recount and
display the whole of the history of
Copenhagen. ' A good idea must not be let
slip,' said Godfather ; I seized it directly,
went home and made this picture-book for you,
it goes still farther back in time than the
lamps could go.
Here is the book ; here is the history :
" Copenhagen's Live and Doings "
it begins with pitch-darkness, a coal-black
page that is the Dark Ages.
' Now we shall turn the page ! ' said
Godfather. Do you see the pictures ? Only
the wild sea and the blustering north-east
wind ; it is driving heavy ice-floes along ;
there is no one out to sail on them except
great stone-blocks, which rolled down on to
the ice from the mountains of Norway. The
north wind blows the ice away ; he means to
show the German mountains what boulders are
found up in the north. The ice-fleet is
already down in the Sound, off the coast of
Zealand, where Copenhagen now lies ; but
there was no Copenhagen at that time. There
were great sand-banks under the water,
against one of these the ice-floes with the
big boulders struck ; the whole of the
ice-fleet stuck fast, the north-east wind
could not float them again, and so he grew
as mad as he could be, and pronounced a
curse upon the sand- bank, " the thieves'
ground," as he called it ; and he swore that
if it ever lifted itself above the surface
of the sea, thieves and robbers should come
there, gallows and wheel should be raised on
' But whilst he cursed and swore in this
manner, the sun broke forth, and in its
beams there swayed and swung bright and
gentle spirits, children of light ; they
danced along over the chilling ice-floes,
and melted them, and the great boulders sank
down to the sandy bottom.
" Sun -vermin ! " said the north wind, " is
that comradeship and kinship ? I shall
remember and revenge that. Now I pronounce a
curse ! "
" We pronounce a blessing ! " sang the
children of light. ''The sand-bank shall
rise and we will protect it! Truth and
goodness and beauty shall dwell there ! "
" Stuff and nonsense ! " said the north-east
'Of all this the lantern had nothing to tell,'
said Godfather, ' but I knew it, and it is
of great importance for the life and doings
' Now we shall turn the page ! ' said
Godfather. ' Years have passed, the
sand-bank has lifted itself ; a sea-bird has
settled on the biggest stone, which jutted
out of the water. You can see it in the
picture. Years and years have passed. The
sea threw up dead fish on the sand. The
tough lymegrass sprang up, withered, rotted,
and enriched the ground ; then came several
different kinds of grasses and plants ; the
bank became a green island. The Vikings
There was level ground for fighting, and
good anchorage beside the island off the
coast of Zealand.
' The first oil-lamp was kindled, I believe,
to cook fish over, and there were fish in
plenty. The herrings swam in great shoals
through the Sound ; it was hard to push a
boat through them ; they flashed in the
water as if there was lightning down there,
they shone in the depths like the
Northern Lights. The Sound had wealth of
fish, and so houses were built on the coast
of Zealand ; the walls were of oak and the
roofs of bark ; there were trees enough for
the purpose. Ships came into the harbour ;
the oil-lantern hung from the swaying ropes
; the north-east wind blew
and sang " U-hu-u." If a lantern shone on
the island, it was a thieves' lantern.
Smugglers and thieves exercised their trade
on " Thieves' Island ".
' " I believe that all the evil that I
wished will grow," said the north-east wind.
" Soon will come the tree, of which I can
shake the fruit."
' And here stands the tree,' said Godfather.
' Do you see the gallows on Thieves' Island
? Robbers and murderers hang there in iron
chains, exactly as they hung at that time.
The wind blew so that the long skeletons
rattled, but the moon shone down on them
very serenely, as it now shines on a rustic
dance. The sun also shone down serenely,
crumbling away the dangling skeletons, and
from the sunbeams the children of light sang
; " We know it ! we know it ! it shall yet
be beautiful here in the time to come ! Here
it will be good and splendid ! "
' " Cackle ! cackle ! " said the north-east
' Now we turn over the page ! ' said
' The bells were ringing in the town of
Roskilde, where Bishop Absalon lived ; he
could both read his Bible and swing his
sword ; he had power and will ; the busy
fishermen at the harbour whose town was
growing and was now a market-place, Absalon
wished to protect these from
assault. He sprinkled the unhallowed ground
with holy water ; Thieves' Island got a mark
of honour. Masons and carpenters set to work
on it ; a building grew up at the Bishop's
command. The sunbeams kissed the red walls
as they rose. There stood Axel's house :
The castle with its towers high hi air,
Its balconies and many a noble stair.
Boo ! hoo !
The north-east wind in fury blew. But the
stronghold stood unyielding all the same.
And outside it stood " The Haven", the
Mermaid's bower 'mid gleaming lakes, Built
in groves of green.
'The foreigners came there and bought the
wealth of fish, built booths and houses,
with bladders for windowpanes glass was too
dear ; then came warehouses with gables and
windlasses. Look! inside the shops sit the
old bachelors ; they dare not marry ; they
trade in ginger and pepper, the pepper-lads.
' The north-east wind blows through the
streets and lanes, sends the dust flying,
and tears a thatched roof off. Cows and pigs
walk about in the street-ditch.
" I shall cow and subdue them," says the
north-east wind ; " whistle round the houses
and round Axel's house. I cannot miss it !
They call it ' Gallows' Castle on Thieves'
Island '." '
And Godfather showed a picture of it, which
he himself had drawn. On the walls were
stake after stake, and on every one sat the
head of a captured pirate, and showed the
' That really happened,' said Godfather ; '
and it is worth knowing about.
Bishop Absalon was in his bath-room, and
heard through the thin walls the arrival of
a ship of freebooters. At once he sprang out
of the bath and into his ship, blew his
horn, and his crew came. The arrows flew
into the backs of the robbers, who rowed
hard to get away. The arrows
fastened themselves in their hands, and
there was no time to tear them out. Bishop
Absalon caught every living soul and cut his
head off, and every head was set up on the
outer wall of the castle. The north-east
wind blew with swollen cheeks with bad
weather in his jaw, as the sailors say.
" Here I will stretch myself out," said the
wind ; " here I will lie down and look at
the whole affair."
' It rested for hours, it blew for days ;
years went past.
The watchman came out on the castle tower ;
he looked to the east, to the west, to the
south, and the north. There you have it in
the picture,' said Godfather, and showed it.
' You see him there, but what he saw I shall
' From Steileborg's wall there is open water
right out to Koge Bay, and broad is the
channel over to Zealand's coast. In front of
Serritslev and Salberg commons, where the
large villages lie, grows up more and more
the new town with gabled timber houses.
There are whole streets
for shoemakers and tailors, for grocers and
ale -sellers ; there is a market-place,
there is a guild-hall, and close by the
shore, where once there was an island,
stands the splendid Church of St. Nicholas.
It has a tower and a spire, immensely high ;
how it reflects itself in the clear water !
Not far from this stands the Church of Our
Lady, where masses are said and sung,
incense gives out its odour, and wax-tapers
burn. The merchants' haven is now the
Bishop's town ; the Bishop of Roskilde rules
and reigns there.
' Bishop Erlandsen sits in Axel's house.
There is cooking in the kitchen, there is
serving of ale and claret, there is the
sound of fiddles and kettledrums. Candles
and lamps burn, the castle shines, as if it
were a lantern for the whole country and
kingdom. The north-east wind blows round
the tower and walls, but they stand firm
enough. The north-east wind blows round the
western fortifications of the town only an
old wooden barricade, but it holds out well.
Outside of it stands Christopher the First,
the King of Denmark. The rebels have beaten
him at Skelskör ; he seeks shelter in the
' The wind whistles, and says like the
Bishop, " Keep outside ! keep outside ! The
gate is shut for thee ! "
' It is a time of trouble ; these are dismal
days ; every man will have his own way. The
Holstein banner waves from the castle tower.
There is want and woe ; it is the night of
anguish. Strife is in the land, and the
Black Death; pitch-dark night but then came
Waldemar. The Bishop's
town is now the King's town ; it has gabled
houses and narrow streets ; it has watchmen,
and a town-hall ; it has a fixed gallows by
the west-port. None but townsmen can be
hanged on it : one must be a citizen to be
able to dangle there, to come up so high as
to see Koge and the hens of
" That is a lovely gallows," says the
north-east wind ; " the beautiful grows ! "
and so it whistled and blew. From Germany
blew trouble and want.
The Hansa merchants came, said Godfather ; '
they came from warehouse and counter, the
rich traders from Rostock, Lübeck, and
Bremen ; they wanted to snatch up more than
the golden goose from Waldemar's Tower ;
they had more power in the town of the
Danish King than the
Danish King himself ; they came with armed
ships, and no one was prepared. King Eric
had no mind either to fight with his German
kinsfolk ; they were so many and so strong.
So King Eric and all his courtiers hurried
out at the west -port to the town of Sorö,
to the quiet lake and the
green woods, to the song of love and the
But one remained behind in Copenhagen, a
kingly heart, a kingly mind. Do you see the
picture here, the young woman, so fine and
tender, with sea-blue eyes and flaxen hair ?
it is Denmark's Queen, Philippa, the English
Princess. She stayed in the distracted city,
where in the narrow lanes and streets with
the steep stairs, sheds, and lath-and
-plaster shops, townspeople swarmed and knew
not what to do. She has the heart and
courage of a man. She summons burghers and
peasants, inspires and encourages them. They
rig the ships and garrison the blockhouses ;
they bang away with the carbines ; there is
fire and smoke, there is lightness of heart
; our Lord will not give up Denmark ! and
the sun shines into all hearts, it beams out
of all eyes in the gladness of victory.
Blessed be Philippa ! and blessed she is in
the hut and in the house, and in the castle
of the King, where she looks after the
wounded and the sick. I have cut a wreath
it round the picture here,' said Godfather.
' Blessed be Queen Philippa ! '
Now we spring years forward ! ' said
Godfather, ' and Copenhagen springs with us.
King Christian the First has been in Rome,
has been blessed by the Pope, and greeted
with honour and homage on the long journey.
He is building here a hall of red brick ;
learning shall grow there, and display
itself in Latin. The poor man's children
from the plough or workshop can come there
too, can live upon alms, Ccan attain to the
long black gown and sing before the citizens'
Close to the hall of learning, where all is
in Latin, lies a little house ; in it Danish
rules, both in language and in customs.
There is ale-porridge for breakfast, and
dinner is at ten o'clock in the forenoon.
The sun- shines in through the small panes
on cupboards and bookcases ; in the
latter lie written treasures, Master
Mikkel's " Rosary " and " Godly Comedies ",
Henrik Harpestreng's " Leech-book ", and
Denmark's " Rhyming Chronicle " by Brother
Sorö. " Every man of breeding ought to know
these," says the master of the house, and he
is the man to make them known. He is
Denmark's first printer, the Dutchman,
Gotfred van Gehmen. He practises the blessed
black art of book-printing.
' And books come into the King's castle, and
into the houses of the burghers. Proverbs
and songs get eternal life. Things which men
dare not say in sorrow and pleasure are sung
by the Bird of Popular Song, darkly and yet
clearly ; it flies so free, it flies so wide,
through the common
sitting-room, through the knightly castle ;
it sits like a falcon on the hand of the
noble lady and twitters ; it steals in like
a little mouse, and squeaks in the dungeon
to the enslaved peasant.
" It is all mere words ! " says the sharp
" It is spring-time ! " say the sunbeams. "
See how the green buds are peeping ! "
' Now we will go forward in our picture-book
! ' said Godfather.
' How Copenhagen glitters ! There are
tournaments and sports ; there are splendid
processions ; look at the gallant knights in
armour, at the noble ladies in silk and gold
! King Hans is giving his daughter Elizabeth
to the Elector of Brandenburg ; how young
she is, and how happy ! she treads on velvet
; there is a future in her thoughts, a life
of household happiness. Close beside her
stands her royal brother, Prince Christian,
with the melancholy eyes and the hot,
surging blood. He is dear to the townsfolk ;
he knows their burdens ; he has the poor
man's future in his thoughts. God alone
decides our fortunes !
' Now we will go on with the picture-book,
said Godfather. ' Sharp blows the wind, and
sings about the sharp sword, about the heavy
time of unrest.
' It is an icy-cold day in the middle of
April. Why is the crowd thronging outside
the castle, and in front of the old tolbooth,
where the King's ship lies with its sails
and flags ? There are people in the windows
and on the roofs. There is sorrow and
affliction, expectancy, and anxiety. They
look towards the castle, where formerly
there were torch-dances in the gilded halls,
now so still and empty; they look at the
window-balcony, from which King Christian so
often looked out over the drawbridge, and
along the narrow street, to his Dovelet, the
little Dutch girl he brought from the town
of Bergen. The shutters are closed, the
crowd looks towards the castle ; now the
gate is opening, the drawbridge is being let
down. King Christian comes with his faithful
wife Elizabeth ; she will not forsake her
royal lord, now when he is so hard beset.
' There was fire in his blood, there was
fire in his thoughts ; he wished to break
with the olden times, to break the peasants'
yoke, to be good to the burghers, to cut the
wings of " the greedy hawks " ; but they
were too many for him. He departs from his
country and kingdom, to win
friends and kinsfolk for himself abroad. His
wife and faithful men go with him ; every
eye is wet now in the hour of parting.
' Voices blend themselves in the song of
time, against him and for him ; a threefold
choir. Hear the words of the nobles ; they
are written and printed :
" Woe to thee, Christian the Bad ! the blood
poured out on Stockholm's market-place cries
aloud and curses thee ! "
And the monk's shout utters the same
" Be thou cast off by God and by us ! Thou
hast called hither the Lutheran doctrine ;
thou hast given it church and pulpit, and
let the tongue of the Devil speak. Woe to
thee, Christian the Bad ! "
1 But peasants and burghers weep so bitterly.
" Christian, beloved of the people ! No
longer shall the peasant be sold like cattle,
no longer be bartered away for a hound !
That law is thy witness I "
' But the words of the poor man are like
chaff before the wind.
' Now the ship sails past the castle, and
the burghers run upon the ramparts, so that
they may once more see the royal galley sail.
" The time is long, the time is hard ; trust
not in friends or kinsmen."
' Uncle Frederick in the Castle of Kiel
would like to be King of Denmark. King
Frederick lies before Copenhagen ; do you
see the picture here, " the faithful
Copenhagen ? " Round about it are coal-black
clouds, with picture on picture ; only look
at each of them ! It is a resounding
picture ; it still resounds in song and
story : the heavy, hard, and bitter time in
the course of the years.
How went it with King Christian, that
wandering bird ? The birds have sung about
it, and they fly far, over land and sea. The
stork came early in the spring, from the
south over the German lands ; it has seen
what will now be told.
" I saw the fugitive King Christian driving
on a heathergrown moor ; there met him a
wretched car, drawn by one horse ; in it sat
a woman, King Christian's sister, the
Margravine of Brandenburg faithful to the
Lutheran religion, she had been driven away
by her husband. On
the dark heath met the exiled children of a
king. The time is hard, the time is long ;
trust not in friend or in kin."
' The swallow came from Sönderborg Castle
with a doleful song : " King Christian is
betrayed. He sits there in the dungeon-tower
deep as a well ; his heavy steps wear tracks
in the stone floor, his fingers leave their
marks in the hard marble."
What sorrow ever found such vent As in that
furrowed stone ?
' The fish-eagle came from the rolling sea !
it is open and free ; a ship flies over it ;
it is the brave Sören Norby from Fyn.
Fortune is with him but fortune is changeful,
like wind and weather.
' In Jutland and Fyn the ravens and crows
scream : " We are out for spoil. It is grand
; it is grand ! Here lie bodies of horses,
and of men as well." It is a time of trouble
; it is the Count of Oldenburg's war. The
peasant seized his club and the townsman his
knife, and shouted loudly :
" We shall kill the wolves and leave no cub
of them alive." Clouds of smoke rise from
the burning towns.
' King Christian is a prisoner in Sönderborg
Castle ; he cannot escape, or see Copenhagen
and its bitter distress. On the North Common
stands Christian III, where his father stood
before. In the town is despair; famine is
there, and plague.
' Up against the church wall sits an
emaciated woman in rags ; she is a corpse ;
two living children lie on her lap and suck
blood from the dead breast.
Courage has fallen, resistance falls. Oh,
thou faithful Copenhagen !
' Fanfares are blown. Listen to the drums
and trumpets ! In rich dresses of silk and
velvet, and with waving plumes, come the
noble lords on gold-caparisoned horses ;
they ride to the old market. Is there a
joust or tournament after the usual custom ?
Burghers and peasants in their best array
are flocking thither. What is there to see ?
Has a bonfire been made to burn popish
images ? or does the hangman stand there, as
he stood at Slaghoek's death fire ? The
King, the ruler of the land, is Lutheran,
and this shall now be solemnly proclaimed.
' High and mighty ladies and noble maidens
sit with high collars and pearls in their
caps, behind the open windows, and see all
the show. On an outspread carpet, under a
canopy, sit the councillors of state in
antique dress, near the King's throne. The
King is silent. Now his will
is proclaimed in the Danish tongue, the will
of the statecouncil. Burghers and peasants
receive words of stern rebuke for the
opposition they have shown to the high
nobility. The burgher is humbled ; the
peasant becomes a thrall. Now words of
condemnation are uttered against
the bishops of the land. Their power is past.
All the property of the church and cloisters
is transferred to the King and the nobles.
' Haughtiness and hate are there, pomp and
' The time of change has heavy clouds, but
also sunshine ; it shone now in the hall of
learning, in the student's home, and names
shine out from it right on to our time. Hans
Tausen, the son of a poor smith in Fyn :
It was the little lad from Birkende who came,
His name flew over Denmark, so widely spread
his fame ;
A Danish Martin Luther, who drew the Gospel
And gained a victory for truth and for the
' There also shines the name of Petrus
Palladius ; so it is in Latin, but in Danish
it is Peter Plade, the Bishop of Roskilde,
also the son of a poor smith in Jutland.
Among the names of noblemen shines that of
Hans Friis, the Chancellor of the kingdom.
He seated the students at his table, and
looked after their wants, and those of the
schoolboys too. And one name before all
others is greeted with hurrahs and song :
While but a single student here
At learning's desk is seated,
So long shall good King Christian's name
With loud Hurrahs be greeted.
Sunbeams came amongst the heavy clouds in
that time of change.
Now we turn the page.
' What whistles and sings in " The Great
Belt " under the coast of Samsö ? From the
sea rises a mermaid, with seagreen hair ;
she tells the future to the peasant. A
prince shall be born, who will become a king,
great and powerful.
' In the fields, under the blossoming
white-thorn, he was born. His name now
blooms in song and story, in the knightly
halls and castles round about. The exchange
sprang up with tower and spire ; Rosenberg
lifted itself and looked far out over the
ramparts ; the students themselves got a
house of their own, and close beside it
stood and still points to Heaven the " Round
Tower ", which looks toward the island of
Hveen where Uranienborg once stood. Its
golden domes glittered in the moonlight, and
mermaids sang of the master there whom kings
visited, the sage of noble blood, Tycho
Brahe. He raised the name of Denmark so high,
that along with the stars of heaven it was
known in all the cultured lands of the world.
And Denmark spurned him away from her.
He sang for comfort in his grief :
" Is not Heaven everywhere ?
What more then do I require ! "
'His song lives in the hearts of the people,
like the mermaid's song about Christian the
' Now comes a page which you must look at in
earnest,' said Godfather ; ' there is
picture after picture, as there is verse
after verse in the old ballads. It is a song,
so joyful in its beginning, so sorrowful in
A king's child dances in the castle of the
King ; how charming she is to see ! She sits
on the lap of Christian the Fourth, his
beloved daughter Eleonora. She grows in
womanly virtues and graces. The foremost man
amongst the nobles, Corfitz Ulfeldt, is her
bridegroom. She is still
a child, and still gets whippings from her
stern governess ; she complains to her
sweetheart, and with good right too. How
clever she is, and cultured and learned ;
she knows Latin and Greek, sings Italian to
her lute, and is able to talk about the Pope
' King Christian lies in the chapel- vault
in Roskilde Cathedral, and Eleonora's
brother is King. There is pomp and show in
the palace in Copenhagen, there is beauty
and wit ; foremost is the Queen herself,
Sophia Amalia of Lyneborg. Who can guide her
horse so well as she ? Who
dances with such dignity as she ? Who talks
with such knowledge and cleverness as
Denmark's Queen ? " Eleonora Christina
Ulfeldt ! " these words were spoken by the
French Ambassador " in beauty and cleverness
she surpasses all."
' From the polished dancing-floor of the
palace grew the burdock of envy ; it hung
fast, it worked itself in and twisted around
itself, the scorn of contempt. " The
baseborn creature ! her carriage shall stop
at the castle-bridge : where the Queen
drives, the lady must walk." There is
a perfect storm of gossip, slander, and lies.
' And Ulfeldt takes his wife by the hand in
the quietness of the night. He has the keys
of the town gates ; he opens one of them,
horses wait outside. They ride along the
shore, and then sail away to Sweden.
' Now we turn the page, even as fortune
turns itself for these two.
' It is autumn ; the day is short, the night
is long ; it is grey and damp, the wind so
cold, and rising in strength. It whistles in
the leaves of the trees on the rampart, the
leaves fly into Peter Oxe's .courtyard,
which stands empty and forsaken by its
owners. The wind sweeps out over
Christianshaven, round Kai Lykke's mansion,
now a common jail. He himself has been
from honour and home ; his scutcheon is
broken, his effigy hanged on the highest
gallows. Thus is he punished for his wanton
thoughtless words about the honoured Queen
of the land. Shrilly pipes the wind, and
rushes over the open place where the mansion
of the Lord High Steward has stood ; only
one stone of it is now left " that I drove
as a boulder down here on the floating ice,"
whoops the wind. " The stone stranded where
Thieves' Island has since grown, under my
curse, and so it came into the mansion of
Lord Ulfeldt, where the lady sang to the
read Greek and Latin, and bore herself
proudly : now only the stone stands up here
with its inscription :
" TO THE ETERNAL SHAME AND DISGRACE OF THE
TRAITOR CORFITZ ULFELDT "
" But where is she now, the stately lady ?
Hoo-ee ! hoo-ee ! " pipes the wind with
ear-splitting voice. In the Blue Tower,
behind the palace, where the sea-water beats
against the slimy walls, there she has
already sat for many years. There is more
smoke than warmth in the chamber ; the
little window is high up under the ceiling.
Christian the Fourth's petted child, the
daintiest of maids and matrons, in what
discomfort and misery she sits. Memory hangs
curtains and tapestries on the smoke -
blackened walls of her prison. She remembers
the lovely time of her childhood, her
father's soft and beaming features ; she
remembers her splendid wedding ; the days of
her pride, her hours of hardship in Holland,
in England, and in Bornholm.
Naught seems too hard for wedded love to
faithfulness is not a cause for shame.
Still, he was with her then ; now she is
alone, alone for ever. She knows not his
grave, no one knows it.
Her faithfulness to him was all her crime.
' She sat there for years, long and many,
whilst life went on outside. It never stands
still, but we will do that for a moment here,
and think of her, and the words of the song
I keep my promise to my husband still
In want and great necessity.
' Do you see the picture here ? ' said
Godfather. ' It is winter-time ; the frost
makes a bridge between Lolland and Fyn, a
bridge for Carl Gustav, who is pushing on
irresistibly. There is plundering and
burning, fear and want, in the whole land.
' The Swedes are lying before Copenhagen. It
is biting cold and a blinding snow; but true
to their king, and true to themselves, men
and women stand ready for the fight. Every
tradesman, shopman, student, and
schoolmaster is up on the ramparts to defend
and guard. There is no fear
of the red-hot balls. King Frederick swore
he would die in his nest. He rides up there
and the queen with him. Courage, discipline,
and patriotic zeal are there. Only let the
Swede put on his grave-clothes, and crawl
forward in the white snow, and try to storm
Beams and stones are
rolled down on him ; yea, the women come
with brewing cauldrons and pour boiling
pitch and tar over the storming enemy.
This night king and commoner are one united
power. And there is rescue and there is
victory. The bells ring ; songs of
thanksgiving resound. Burgherfolk, here you
won your knightly spurs !
What follows now ? See the picture here.
Bishop Svane's wife comes in a closed
carriage. Only the high and mighty nobility
may do that. The proud young gentlemen break
the carriage down ; the bishop's wife must
walk to the bishop's house.
Is that the whole story ? Something much
bigger shall be broken next the power of
Burgomaster Hans Nansen and Bishop Svane
grasp hands for the work, in the name of the
Lord. They talk with wisdom and honesty ; it
is heard in the church and in the burgher's
One hand-grip of fellowship, and the haven
is blocked, the gates are locked, the alarm
The power is given to the king alone,. ,he
who remained in his nest in the hour of
danger ; he governs, he rules over great and
small. It is the time of absolute monarchy.
Now we turn the page and the time with it.
" Hallo, hallo, hallo ! " The plough is laid
aside, the heather gets leave to grow, but
the hunting is good. '' Hallo, hallo ! "
Listen to the ringing horn, and the baying
hounds ! See the huntsmen, see the king
himself, King Christian V : he is young and
gay. There is merriment in palace and in
town. In the halls are wax-lights, in the
courtyards are torches, and the streets of
the town have got lamps. Everything shines
so new ! The new nobility, called in from
Germany, barons and counts, get favours and
gifts. Nothing passes current now except
titles and rank, and the German language.
' Then sounds a voice that is thoroughly
Danish ; it is the weaver's son who is now a
bishop ; it is the voice of Kingo ; he sings
his lovely psalms.
' There is another burgher's son, a
vintner's son ; his thoughts shine forth in
law and justice ; his law-book became
gold-ground for the king's name ; it will
stand for times to come. That burgher's son,
the mightiest man in the land, gets a coat
of arms and enemies with it, and so the
sword of the executioner is raised over the
head of Griffenfeldt. Then grace is granted,
with imprisonment for life. They send him to
a rocky islet off the coast of Trondhjem,
Munkholm Denmark's St. Helena.
But the dance goes merrily in the palace
hall ; splendour and pomp are there ; there
is lively music, and courtiers and ladies
Now comes the time of Frederick IV !
See the proud
ships with the flag of victory ! See the
rolling sea ! it can tell of great exploits,
of the glories of Denmark. We remember the
names, the victorious Sehested and
Gyldenlöwe ! We remember Hvitfeldt, who, to
save the Danish fleet, blew up his ship, and
flew to Heaven with the Danish flag. We
think of the time, and the struggle of those
days, and the hero who sprang from
the Norwegian mountains to the defence of
Denmark, Peter Tordenskjold. From the
glorious surging sea, his name thunders from
coast to coast.
There flashed a lightning through the
A thunder rumbled through the whispering age
A tailor-lad sprang from the tailor's board,
From Norway's coast sailed out a little
And over Northern seas there flew again
The Viking spirit, youthful, girt with steel.
Then there came a fresh breeze from
Greenland's coast, a fragrance as from the
land of Bethlehem ; it bore tidings of the
Gospel light kindled by Hans Egede and his
The half leaf here has therefore a gold
ground ; the other half, which betokens
sorrow, is ashen-grey with black specks, as
if from fire sparks, as if from disease and
In Copenhagen the plague is raging. The
streets are empty ; the doors are barred,
and round about are crosses marked with
chalk ; inside is the plague, but where the
cross is black, all are dead.
' In the night the bodies are carried away,
without the tolling-bell ; they take the
half -dead from the streets with them ; the
army wagons rumble, they are filled with
corpses. But from the ale-houses sound the
horrid songs of the drunkard and wild
shrieks. In drink they seek to forget their
bitter distress ; they would forget, and
end-end ! Everything comes to an end. Here
the page ends with the second time of
distress and trial for Copenhagen.
King Frederick IV is still alive ; his hair
has grown grey in the course of the years.
From the window of the palace he looks out
upon the stormy weather ; it is late in the
In a little house by the Westgate a boy
plays with his ball ; it flies up into the
garret. The little one takes a tallow-candle
and goes up to search for it ; he sets fire
to the little house, and so to the whole
street. It flares in the air, so that the
clouds shine. The flames increase ! There is
food for the fire ; there is hay and straw,
bacon and tar, there are piles of firewood
for the winter-time,
and everything burns. There is weeping and
shrieking and great confusion. In the tumult
rides the old king, encouraging and
commanding. There is blowing up with powder,
and pulling down of houses. Now there is
fire also in the north quarter, and the
churches are burning, St. Peter's and Our
Lady's. Listen to the bells playing their
last tune :
" Turn away thy
wrath, Lord God of Mercy ! "
' Only the (i Round Tower " and the castle
are left standing ; round about them are
smoking ruins. King Frederick is good to the
people ; he comforts and feeds them ; he is
with them ; he is the friend of the homeless.
Blessed be Frederick IV !
See this page now !
'See the gilded carriage with footmen round
it, with armed riders before and behind it,
coming from the castle, where an iron chain
is stretched to prevent the people from
coming too near. Every plebeian man must go
over the square with bare head ; because of
this not many are
seen there, they avoid the place. There
comes one now with downcast eyes, with hat
in hand, and he is just the man of that
time, whom we name with pride :
His words like a cleansing storin-wind rang
For sunshine in days yet to come ;
And smuggled-in fashions like grasshoppers
In haste to escape and get home.
It is wit and humour in person ; it is
Ludwig Holberg. The Danish theatre, the
scene of his greatness, has been closed, as
if it were the dwelling-place of infamy. All
merriment is coffined ; dance, song, and
music are forbidden and banished. The dark
side of religion is now in power.
"The Danish prince ! " as his mother called
him ; now comes his time with sunshiny
weather, with the song of birds, with
gladness and gaiety, and true Danish ways.
King Frederick V is king. And the chain is
taken away from the square beside the castle
; the Danish theatre is opened again ; there
is laughter and pleasure and good humour.
And the peasants hold their summer festival.
It is a time of gaiety after the time of
fast and oppression.
The beautiful thrives, blossoming and
bearing fruit in sound, in colour, and in
creative art. Hearken to Gretry's music !
Watch the acting of Londemann ! And
loves what is Danish. Louisa of England,
beautiful and gentle ; God in his Heaven,
bless you ! The sunbeams sing in lively
chorus about the queens in the Danish land
Philippa, Elizabeth, Louisa !
The earthly parts have long been buried, but
the souls live, and the names live. Again,
England sends a royal bride, Matilda, so
young, and so soon forsaken ! Poets will
sing of thee in times to come, of thy
youthful heart and time of trial. And song
has power, an indescribable power
through times and peoples. See the burning
of the castle, King Christian's castle !
They try to save the best they can find.
See, the dockyard men are dragging away a
basket with silver plate and precious things.
It is a great treasure ; but suddenly they
see through the open door, where the flames
are bright, a bronze bust of King Christian
IV. Then they cast away the treasure they
are carrying ; his image is much more to
them ! that must be saved, however heavy it
may be to carry. They know him from Ewald's
song, from Hartmann's lovely melody.
There is power in the words and the song,
and it shall sound even twice as strong for
the poor Queen Matilda.
Now we shall turn farther on in our
On Ulfeldt's Place stood the stone of shame
; where is there one on the earth like it ?
By the Westgate a column was raised ; how
many are there like it on the earth ?
The sunbeams kissed the boulder, which is
the foundation under the " Column of Freedom
". All the church bells rang, and the flags
waved ; the people hurrahed for the
Crown-Prince Frederick. In the hearts and on
the lips of old and young were the names of
Bernstorff , Reventlow, Colbjörnson. With
beaming eyes and thankful hearts they read
the blessed inscription on the column :
" The King has decreed it : Serfdom shall
cease ; the agrarian laws shall be set in
order and put in force, that the free yeoman
may become brave and enlightened, diligent
and good, a worthy citizen, and happy "
' What a day of sunshine ! What ' a Summer
festival " !
' The spirits of light sang : " The good
grows ! The beautiful grows ! Soon the stone
on Ulfeldt's Place will fall, but Freedom's
column shall stand in sunshine, blessed by
God, the king, and the people."
We have a highway old and wide
And to the ends of earth it goes.
' The open sea, open for friend or foe ; and
the foe was there. It sailed up, the mighty
English fleet ; a great power came against a
little one. The fight was hard, but the
people were brave.
Each stood firm with dauntless breath,
Stood and fought and met his death.
1 They won the admiration of the foe, and
inspired the poets of Denmark. That day of
battle is still commemorated with waving
flags Denmark's glorious second of April,
the battle-day at the Roadstead.
' Years passed. A fleet was seen in Ore
Sound. Was it bound for Russia or Denmark ?
No one knew, not even on board.
' There is a legend in the mouth of the
people, that that morning in Ore Sound, when
the sealed orders were broken open and read,
and instructions given to take the Danish
fleet, a young captain stepped forward to
his chief, a son of Britain, noble in word
and deed : "I swore," was his word, " that
to my death I would fight for England's flag
in open and honourable fight, but not to
overpower the weak." And with that he sprang
And so to Copenhagen sailed the fleet.
While far from where they fought the battle
Lay he, the Captain no one knows his name
A corpse sea-cold, hidden by waters dark,
Until he drifted shorewards, and the Swedes,
Beneath the starry sky who cast their nets.
Found him, and bore him in their boat to
And - cast the dice to win his epaulettes !
' The enemy made for Copenhagen ; the town
went up in flames, and we lost our fleet,
but not our courage and our faith in God ;
He casteth down, but He raiseth up again.
Our wounds were healed as in the battles of
Valhalla. Copenhagen's history is rich in
Our faith has been from times of old
That God is ever Denmark's friend,
If we hold firm, He too will hold,
And still the sun shine in the end.
' And soon the sun shone on the rebuilt
city, on the rich cornfields, on the workers'
skill and art ; a blessed summer day of
peace, where poetry raised her Fata Morgana
so rich in colour, with the coming of
And in science a discovery was made, far
greater than that of a goldhorn in olden
days, a bridge of gold was found :
A bridge for thought to dart
At all times into other lands and nations.
' Hans Christian Oersted wrote his name
there. And see ! beside the church by the
castle was raised a building to which the
poorest man and woman gave gladly their mite.
' You remember from the first part of the
picture-book,' said Godfather, ' the old
stone-blocks, which rolled down from the
mountains of Norway, and were carried down
here on the ice ; they are lifted again from
the sandy bottom at Thorwaldsen's bidding,
in marble beauty, lovely to see ! Remember
what I have shown you and what I have told
you ! The sand -bank in the sea raised
itself up and became a breakwater for the
harbour, bore Axel's house, bore the
bishop's mansion and the king's castle, and
now it bears the temple of the beautiful.
The words of the
curse have blown away, but what the children
of the sunlight sang in their gladness,
about the coming time, has been fulfilled.
So many storms have gone past, but may come
again and will again pass. The true and the
good and the beautiful have the victory.
And with this the picture-book is finished ;
but not the history of Copenhagen far from
it. Who knows what you yourself may yet live
to see ! It has often looked black and blown
a gale, but the sunshine is not yet blown
away that remains ; and stronger yet than
the strongest sunshine is God ! Our Lord
reigns over more than Copenhagen.'
So said Godfather, and gave me the book. His
eyes shone, he was so certain of the thing.
And I took the book so gladly, so proudly,
and so carefully, just as I lately carried
my little sister for the first time..
And Godfather said : ' You are quite welcome
to show your picture-book to one or another
; you may also say that I have made, pasted,
and drawn the whole work. But it is a matter
of life or death, that they know at once
from where I have got the idea of it. You
know it, so tell
it them ! The idea is due to the old
oil-lamps, who just, on the last evening
they burned, showed for the town's
gas-lights like a Fata Morgana, all that had
been seen from the time the first lamp was
lighted at the harbour, till this evening
when Copenhagen was lighted both with oil
' You may show the book to whom you please,
that is to say, to people with kind eyes and
friendly hearts ; but if a death-horse
should come, then close GODFATHER'S