DANSK

Den sidste perle

ENGLISH

The last pearl


Der var et rigt hus, et lykkeligt hus; alt derinde, herskab og tyende, vennerne med var lyksalige og glade, der var i dag født en arving, en søn; og moder og barn befandt sig vel.

Lampen i det hyggelige sovekammer var halv dækket til, svære silkegardiner af kostbare stoffer hang tæt trukket til for vinduerne. Gulvtæppet var tykt og blødt, som et mos. Alt var til at blunde, sove, dejligt udhvile sig på og det gjorde også vågekonen, hun sov, og det kunne hun, alt var godt og velsignet her. Husets skytsånd stod ved sengens hovedgærde; hen over barnet, ved moderens bryst, bredte sig, som et net af funklende stjerner, så rige, hver var en lykkens perle. Livets gode feer, alle havde de bragt deres gave til den nyfødte; her funklede sundhed, rigdom, lykke, kærlighed, kort alt, hvad menneskene kan ønske sig på Jorden.

"Alt er hér bragt og givet!" sagde skytsånden.

"Nej!" lød en stemme tæt ved, det var barnets gode engel. "Én fe har endnu ikke bragt sin gave, men hun bringer den, bringer den engang, om endogså år går hen. Den sidste perle mangler!"

"Mangler! her tør intet mangle og var det virkeligt så, da lad os søge hende, den mægtige fe, lad os gå til hende!"

"Hun kommer, hun kommer engang! hendes perle må til, for at kransen kan bindes sammen!"

"Hvor bor hun? Hvor er hendes hjem! sig mig det, jeg går og henter perlen!"

"Du vil det!" sagde barnets gode engel, "jeg fører dig til hende, hvor hun endogså må søges! hun har intet blivende sted, hun kommer til kejserens slot og til den fattigste bonde, intet menneske går hun sporløs forbi, dem alle bringer hun sin gave, den være en verden eller et legetøj! også dette barn må hun møde. Du tænker, tiden er lige lang, men ikke lige nyttig, nu vel, vi går at hente perlen, den sidste perle i denne rigdom!"

Og hånd i hånd svævede de hen til det sted, som for denne stund var feens hjem.

Det var et stort hus med mørke gange, tomme stuer, og forunderligt stille; en række vinduer stod åbne, så at ret den rå luft kunne trænge ind; de lange hvide, nedhængende gardiner bevægede sig ved lufttrækket.

Midt på gulvet stod en åben ligkiste og i denne hvilede liget af en kvinde, endnu i sine bedste år; de dejligste friske roser lå hen over hende, så at kun de foldede, fine hænder var synlige og det i døden forklarede, ædle ansigt med indvielsens høje, ædle alvor i Gud.

Ved kisten stod mand og børn, en hel flok var det; den mindste sad på faderens arm, det sidste farvel bragte de; og manden kyssede hendes hånd, den, der nu var som et vissent løv, og før med kraft og kærlighed havde hygget om dem. Salte, tunge tårer faldt i store dråber på gulvet; men ikke et ord blev sagt. Tavsheden hér rummede en verden af smerte. Og stille, hulkende gik de bort.

Der stod et lys, flammen vred sig for vinden og skød op sin lange, røde tande. Fremmede folk trådte ind, de lagde låget over den døde, de slog sømmene fast, stærkt lød hammerslagene gennem husets stuer og gange, de lød til hjerterne, der blødte.

"Hvorhen fører du mig!" spurgte skytsånden, "her bor ingen fe, hvis perle hører med til livets bedste gaver!"

"På dette sted bor hun, her i denne hellige time," sagde skytsenglen, og pegede hen i krogen, og der, hvor i livets dage moderen havde siddet mellem blomster og billeder, hvor hun, som husets velsignende fe, nikkede kærligt til mand, børn og venner, hvor hun, som husets solstråle, udbredte glæde og var det heles sammenhold og hjerte, der sad nu en fremmed kvinde, iført lange, side klæder, Sorgen var det, herskerinden her, moder nu i den dødes sted. Der trillede en brændende tåre ned på hendes skød, den blev en perle; den funklede med alle regnbuens farver, og englen greb den, og perlen lyste, som en stjerne med syvfarvet glans.

"Sorgens perle, den sidste, som ikke kan savnes! ved den forhøjes de andres glans og magt. Ser du skæret her af regnbuen, den, der forbinder Jorden med Himmelen. For hver af vore kære, der dør fra os, har vi en ven mere i Himmelen at længes efter. I Jordens nat ser vi opad mod stjernerne, ud mod fuldendelsen! betragt Sorgens perle, i den ligger Psychevingerne, de bærer os bort herfra!"
There was a rich and happy house. All those in it-the owners, and servants, and friends, too-were happy and cheerful, for on this day a son and heir had been born, and mother and child were doing well.

The lamp in the cozy bedroom had been partly covered, and heavy curtains of costly silken material had been drawn tightly together before the windows. The carpet was as thick and soft as moss. Everything here invited rest and sleep; it was a delightful place for repose. And the nurse found it so, too; she slept, and indeed she might, for all was well and blessed here.

The Guardian Spirit of the house stood by the head of the bed; and over the child, at the mother's breast, it spread itself like a net of shining stars, stars of great richness; each was a pearl of good fortune. Life's good fairies had brought their gifts to the newborn child; here sparkled health, wealth, happiness, love-everything that man can desire on earth.

"Everything has been brought and bestowed here," said the Guardian Spirit.

"No," said a voice near by; it was the voice of the child's good Angel. "One fairy has not yet brought her gift, but she will bring it; she'll bring it in time, even if years should pass first. The last pearl is yet lacking."

"Lacking! Nothing must be lacking here! If that actually is the case, let us go and seek the powerful fairy; let us go to her!"

"She will come! She will come someday! Her pearl must be given to bind the wreath together!"

"Where does she live? Where is her home? Tell me that, and I'll go and fetch the pearl!"

"You do want to then," said the child's good Angel. "I will guide you to her, or to where she is to be sought. She has no permanent place; she visits the palace of the emperor and the cottage of the poorest peasant. She passes no one by without leaving a trace of herself; to all she brings her gift, be it a world or a toy. And this child, also, she will come to. You think that while the time to come will be equally long one way or the other, it will not be equally profitable if you await her; well, then, we will go and fetch the pearl, the last pearl in this wealth of gifts."

And so, hand in hand, they flew to the place which at the moment was the fairy's home.

It was a large house, with dark halls and empty rooms, all strangely still. A row of windows stood open, so the fresh air could flow in, and the long white curtains rustled in the breeze.

In the middle of the floor stood an open coffin, and within it lay the corpse of a woman still in the prime of life. The loveliest fresh roses lay upon her, leaving visible only the folded, delicate hands and the noble face, beautiful in death, with the exalted solemnity of one initiated into God's service.

By the coffin stood her husband and children, a whole flock of them, the smallest of whom was held in his father's arm. They had come to bid a last farewell, and the husband kissed her hand, that which, now like a withered leaf, had once clasped theirs with strength and love. Bitter tears of sorrow fell in heavy drops upon the floor, but not a word was spoken. Silence expressed a world of grief. And silent and sobbing, they left the room.

A lighted candle stood there, the flame struggling against the wind as it shot up its long red tongue. Strangers entered the room, closed the lid of the coffin, and hammered in the nails. The hammer strokes clanged sharply through the halls and rooms of the house, resounding in the hearts that bled there.

"Where do you take me?" inquired the Guardian Spirit. "Here could live no fairy whose pearl belong among life's best gifts."

"She dwells in this very place, now at this holy hour," said the Angel, pointing to a corner.

And there, where the mother had sat in life amid flowers and pictures, and been like the good fairy of the house, where she had affectionately greeted husband, children, and friends, and, like rays of sunshine, had spread happiness, love, and harmony, and been the very heart of everything, there now sat a strange woman clad in long, heavy robes. It was Sorrow, and she now ruled here in the mother's place. A hot tear rolled down her cheek, into her lap, where it became a pearl, sparkling with all the hues of the rainbow, and as the Angel caught it up it shone with the sevenfold luster of a star.

"The Pearl of Sorrow, the last pearl, which must never be lacking! Through it the light and splendor of all other gifts are enhanced. Behold in it a reflection of the rainbow, which unites earth with heaven itself! In the place of each or our beloved ones taken from us by death, we gain one friend more to look forward to being with in heaven. In the night we look up beyond the stars, toward the end of all things. Reflect, then, upon the Pearl of Sorrow, for within it lie the wings of Psyche, which carry us away from here."




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