Hidden is not Forgotten
By Hans Christian Andersen
There was once an old manor-house with muddy
ditches and a drawbridge, which was more
often up than down ; for not all guests who
come are good. Under the eaves were holes
for shooting from, and pouring boiling water,
and even melted lead, down over the enemy if
he came too near. Inside it was high to the
rafters, and that was good for the smoke
which came from the hearth, where the great
damp logs lay. There hung on the walls
pictures of men in armour, and proud ladies
in heavy clothes, but the stateliest of them
all was living here still ; she was called
Metta Mogens ; she was the lady of the manor.
One evening robbers came there ; they killed
three of her men, and the watch-dog besides,
and then they chained Lady Metta to the
kennel with the dog-chain, and sat
themselves down in the hall, and drank the
wine from her cellar,
and all the good ale. Lady Metta stood
chained up like a dog, but she could not
Then the robber's boy came to her ; he
sneaked along quietly, so that he might not
be noticed ; otherwise they would have
Lady Metta Mogens,' said the boy, ' can you
remember when my father had to ride on the
wooden 'horse in your husband's time ? You
begged mercy for hjm then, but it had no
effect ; he had to sit till he was crippled
; but you slipped down, as I do now, and you
placed a little stone
under each of his feet, so that he could get
some ease. No one saw it, or they pretended
not to ; you were the young, gracious lady.
My father has told me this, and I have kept
it to myself, but have not forgotten it !
now I will set you free, Lady Metba Mogens.
Then they took horses from the stable, and
rode in rain and in wind, and got friendly
' That was a good return for the little bit
of service to the old man,' said Metta
' Hidden is not forgotten ! ' said the boy.
The robbers were hanged.
There stood another old mansion, it stands
there still; it was not Lady Metta Mogens' ;
it belonged to another noble family.
It is in our own days. The sun shines on the
gilt spire of the tower, little wooded
islands lie like bouquets on the water, and
round about them swim the wild swans. Roses
grow in the garden. The lady of the house is
herself the finest rose-leaf, shining in
gladness, the gladness of good
deeds, not out in the wide world, but
inwardly in the heart, where they are hidden,
but not forgotten.
She now goes from the house to an outlying
cottage in the fields. In it lives a poor,
pain-ridden girl. The window in the little
room looked to the north, and the sun did
not come there, she had only a view over a
little bit of a field which is shut in by a
high dyke. But to-day there is sunshine. Our
Lord's lovely warm sun is inside ; it comes
from the south, through the new window,
where there was only a wall before.
The invalid sits in the warm sunshine, sees
the wood and shore ; the world has become so
big and so lovely, and that at a single word
from the kind lady up at the house.
' The word was so easy, the service so
small,' says she, and the joy I gained was
unspeakably great and blessed .'
And so she does many good deeds, thinks of
all the poor people in the cottages, and in
the rich houses, where there are also
afflicted ones. It is concealed and hidden,
but it is not forgotten by our Lord.
There was another old house ; it was in the
great busy town. In the house were rooms and
halls ; but we will not go into them ; we
will stay in the kitchen, it is snug and
bright there, it is clean and neat. The
copper things shine, the table looks
polished, the sink is like a newly- scrubbed
larding-board. It has all been done by one
maid-of -all-work, and yet she has had time
to dress herself as if she were going to
church. She has ribbons in her cap black
ribbons that means mourning. Yet she has no
one to mourn for, neither father nor mother,
neither relative nor sweetheart ; she is a
poor girl. Once she was engaged to a poor
young fellow ; they thought much of each
other. One day he came to her. We two have
nothing ! ' said he, c and the rich widow
downstairs has spoken warm words to me ; she
will put me into a good position, but you
are in my heart. What do you advise me to do
think is for your happiness ! ' said the
girl. ' Be good and kind to her, but
remember, that from the moment we part, we
two cannot see each other again I '
And so some years passed ; then she met her
former friend and sweetheart on the street ;
he looked ill and miserable ; then she could
not forbear, she must ask, 'How are you
getting on ? '
Very well in every way said he. ' My wife is
honest and good, but you are in my heart. I
have fought my fight ; it will soon be
finished ! We shall not see each other now
until we meet in Heaven.' A week has passed.
Yesterday morning she read in the paper that
he was dead :
that is why she wears mourning. Her
sweetheart is dead, leaving a widow and
three step-children, the paper said.
The black ribbon betokens mourning : the
girl's face betokens it still more ! it is
hidden in the heart, but will never be
See, there are three stories ; three leaves
on one stalk. Do you wish for more
clover-leaves ? There are many in the book
of the heart hidden but not forgotten !