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GRANDMOTHER

 

GRANDMOTHER is very old; she has many wrinkles , and her hair is quite white; but her eyes, which shine like two stars, and even more beautifully, look at you mildly and pleasantly, and it does you good to look into them. And then she can tell the most wonderful stories; and she has a gown with great flowers worked in it , and it is of heavy silk , and it rustles . Grandmother knows a great deal, for she was a live long before father and mother, that' s quite certain ! Grandmother has a hymn-book with great silver clasps , and she often reads in that book ; in the middle of the book lies a rose , quite flat and dry ; it is not as pretty as the roses she has standing in the glass, and yet she smiles at it most pleasantly of all, and tears even come into her eyes .

I wonder why Grandmother looks at the withered flower in the old book in that way? Do you know? Why, eachtime that Grandmother' s tears fall upon the rose, its colours become fresh again; the rose swells and fills the whole room with its fragrance; the walls sink as if they were but mist , and all around her is the glorious green wood, where the sunlight streams through the leaves of the trees ; and Grandmother----why , she is young again, a charming maid with yellow curls and full blooming cheeks, pretty and graceful, fresh as any rose; but the eyes, the mild blessed eyes, they have been left to Grandmother. At her side sits a young man, tall and strong: he gives the rose to her, and she smiles; Grandmother cannot smile thus now ! ----yes , now she smiles But now he has passed away , and many thoughts and many forms of the past ; and the handsome young man is gone, and the rose lies in the hymn-book, and Grandmother sits there again, an old woman, and glances down at the withered rose that lies in the book .

Now Grandmother is dead . She had been sitting inher arm-chair, and telling a long, long lovely tale; and she said the tale was told now, and she was tired; and she leaned her head back to sleep awhile . One could hear her breathing as she slept; but it became quieter and more quiet , and her countenance was full of happiness and peace : it seemed as if a sunshine spread over her features ; and then the people said she was dead .

She was laid in the black coffin; and there she lay shrouded in the white linen folds , looking beautiful and mild , though her eyes were closed ; but every wrinkle had vanished, and there was a smile around her mouth; her hair was silver-white and venerable; . and we did not feel at all afraid to look on her who had been the dear good Grandmother. And the hymn-book was placed under her head , for she had wished it so , and the rose was still in the old book; and then they buried Grandmother.

On the grave , close by the churchyard wall , they planted a rose tree ; and it was full of roses ; and the nightingale sang over the flowers and over the grave . In the church the finest psalms sounded from the organ----the psalms that were written in the old book under the dead one's head. The moon shone down upon the grave, but the dead one was not there . Every child could go safely , even at night, and pluck a rose there by the churchyardwall . A dead person knows more than all we living ones . The dead know what a terror would come upon us , if thestrange thing were to happen that they appeared among us the dead are better than we all; the dead return no more . The earth has been heaped over the coffin , and it is earth that lies in the coffin; and the leaves of the hymn-book are dust , and the rose , with all its recollections, has returned to dust likewise . But above there bloom fresh roses ; the nightingale sings and the organ sounds, and the remembrance lives of the old Grandmother with the mild eyes that always looked young. Eyes can never die Ours will once again behold 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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