ENGLISH

What the whole family said

DANSK

Hvad hele familien sagde


What did the whole family say? Well listen first to what little Marie said.

It was little Marie's birthday, the most wonderful of all days, she imagined. All her little boy friends and girl friends came to play with her, and she wore her prettiest dress, the one Grandmother, who was now with God, had sewn for her before she went up into the bright, beautiful heaven. The table in little Marie's room was loaded with presents; there was the prettiest little kitchen, with everything that belongs to a kitchen, and a doll that could close its eyes and say "Ouch!" when you pinched its stomach; yes, and there was also a picture book, with the most wonderful stories, to be read when one could read! But to have many birthdays was more wonderful than all the stories in the book.

"Yes, it's wonderful to be alive," said little Marie. And her godfather added that it was the most beautiful of all fairy tales.

In the next room were both her brothers; they were big boys, one of them nine years old, the other eleven. They thought it was wonderful to be alive, too; that is, to live in their own way, not to be a baby like Marie, but to be real smart schoolboys, to get A's on their report cards, to have friendly fights with their comrades, to go skating in the winter and bicycling in the summer, to read about the days of knighthood, with its castles, its drawbridges, and its dungeons, and to hear about new discoveries in Central Africa. On the latter subject, however, one of the boys felt very sad in that he feared everything might be discovered before he grew up, and then there would be no adventure left for him. But Godfather said, "Life itself is the most wonderful adventure, and you have a part in it yourself."

These children lived on the first floor of the house; in the flat above them lived another branch of the family, also with children, but these all had long since been shaken from their mother's apron strings, so big were they; one son was seventeen, and another twenty, but the third one was very old, said little Marie; he was twenty-five, and engaged to be married. They were all very well off, had nice parents, good clothes, and were well educated, and they knew what they wanted. "Look forward," they said. "Away with all the old fences! Let's have an open view into the wide world! That's the greatest thing we know of! Godfather is right - life is the most wonderful fairy tale!"

Father and Mother, both older people - naturally, they would have to be older than the children - said, with smiling lips and smiling eyes and hearts, "How young these young people are! Things usually don't happen in this world just as they expect them to, yet life goes on. Life is a strange and wonderful adventure."

On the next floor - a little closer to heaven, as we say when people live in an attic - lived Godfather. He was old, and yet so young in mind, always in a good humor, and he certainly could tell stories, many and long ones. He had traveled the world over, and his room was filled with pretty tokens from every country. Pictures were hung from ceiling to floor, and some of the windowpanes were of red or yellow glass; if one looked through them, the whole world lay in sunshine, however gray the weather might be outside. Green plants grew in a large glass case, and in an enclosure therein swam goldfish; they looked at one as if they knew many things they didn't care to talk about. There was always a sweet fragrance of flowers, even in the wintertime. And then a great fire blazed in the fireplace; it was such a pleasure to sit and look into it and hear how it crackled and spat.

"It refreshes old memories to me, " said Godfather. And to little Marie there seemed to appear many pictures in the fire.

But in the big bookcase close by stood real books; one of these Godfather often read, and this he called the Book of Books; it was the Bible. In it was pictured the history of the world and the history of all mankind, of the creation, the flood, the kings, and the King of Kings.

"All that has happened and all that will happen is written in this book," said Godfather; "so infinitely much in one single book! Just think of it! Yes, everything that a human being has to pray for is entered there, and said in a few words in the prayer 'Our Father'! It is the drop of mercy! It is the pearl of comfort from God. It is laid as a gift on the baby's cradle, laid on the child's heart. Little child, keep it safely; don't ever lose it, however big you may grow, and you will never be left alone on life's changeful way; it will shine within you and you will never be lost!"

Godfather's eyes radiated joy. Once, in his youth, they had wept, "and this was also good," he said. "That was a time of trial, when everything looked dark and gray. Now I have sunshine within me and around me. The older one grows, the clearer one sees, in both prosperity and misfortune, that our Lord always is with us and that life is the most beautiful of all fairy tales, and this He alone can give us - and so it will be into eternity."

"Yes, it is wonderful to be alive!" said little Marie.

So said also the small and the big boys, as well as Father and Mother and the whole family - but first of all, Godfather, who had had so much experience and was the oldest of them all. He knew all stories, all the fairy tales. And it was right from the bottom of his heart that he said, "Life is the most wonderful fairy tale of all!"
Hvad sagde hele familien? Ja hør nu først, hvad den lille Marie sagde.

Det var den lille Maries fødselsdag, den dejligste af alle dage syntes hun. Alle små venner og veninder kom for at lege med hende, og den fineste kjole havde hun på; den havde hun fået af bedstemoder, som var hos den gode Gud, men bedstemoder havde selv skåret og syet den, før hun gik op i den lyse, dejlige himmel. Bordet i Maries stue strålede med foræringer; der var det nydeligste lille køkken med alt, hvad der hører til et køkken, og en dukke, der kunne dreje øjnene og sige "av!" når man trykkede den på maven; ja der var også en billedbog med de dejligste historier at læse, når man kunne læse! Men skønnere end alle historier var dog det, at opleve mange fødselsdage.

"Ja, det er yndigt at leve!" sagde den lille Marie. Gudfader tilføjede, at det var det dejligste eventyr.

I stuen tæt ved gik begge brødrene; de var store drenge, den ene ni år, den anden elve. De syntes også, at det var dejligt at leve, leve på deres vis, ikke være barn, som Marie, nej være rask skoledreng, have "udmærket" i karakterbogen og kunne slås med kammeraterne i al fornøjelighed, løbe på skøjter om vinteren og på velocipede om sommeren, læse om ridderborge, vindebroer og borgfængsler, høre om opdagelser i det indre Afrika. Den ene af drengene havde dog en sorg derved, den, at der skulle opdages alting, før han blev stor; så ville han på eventyr. Livet er det dejligste eventyr, sagde jo gudfader, og i det er man selv med.

Det var i stuen at disse børn levede og tumlede sig; ovenover boede en anden gren af familien, også med børn, men disse havde rystet barnet af ærmet, så store var de; den ene søn sytten år, den anden tyve, men den tredje meget gammel, sagde lille Marie, han var femogtyve år og forlovet. De var alle lykkeligt stillet, havde gode forældre, gode klæder, gode åndens gaver, og de ville hvad de ville, "fremad! bort med alle de gamle plankeværker! fri udsigt i den hele verden! den er den dejligste, vi kender. Gudfader har ret; livet er det dejligste eventyr!"

Fader og moder, begge ældre folk – naturligvis ældre end børnene måtte de være – de sagde med smil om munden, med smil i øje og hjerte: "Hvor de er unge, de unge mennesker! det går ikke ganske i verden, som de tror, men det går. Livet er et sælsomt, dejligt eventyr!"

Ovenover, lidt nærmere himlen, som man siger, når folk bor på kvisten, boede gudfader. Gammel var han og dog så ung i sindet, altid i godt humør, og så kunne han fortælle historier, mange og lange. Vidt i verden havde han været, og fra alle verdens lande stod der yndige ting i hans stue. Der var billeder fra loft til gulv, og flere ruder var af rødt og af gult glas; så man der igennem, da lå hele verden i solskin, om der end var nok så gråt vejr udenfor. I en stor glaskasse voksede grønne planter, og i et aflukke derinde svømmede guldfisk; de så på en, ligesom om de vidste så meget, de ikke ville tale om. Altid duftede her af blomster, selv ved vintertid, og da brændte her en stor ild i kaminen; det var så morsomt at sidde og se ind i den og høre, hvor det knitrede og knagede. "Den læser gamle erindringer for mig!" sagde gudfader, og det var også for lille Marie, som viste der sig mange billeder i ilden.

Men i det store bogskab tæt ved stod de rigtige bøger; en af disse læste gudfader ofte i, og den kaldte han alle bøgernes bog, det var Bibelen. Der stod i billeder hele verdens og alle menneskers historie, skabelsen, syndfloden, kongerne og kongernes konge.

"Alt, hvad der sket er og ske vil, står i denne bog!" sagde gudfader. "Så uendelig meget i en eneste bog! tænk derover! Ja alt, hvad et menneske har at bede om, er sagt og lagt i få ord i bønnen: 'Fadervor!' den er en nådens dråbe! den er trøstens perle fra Gud. Den lægges som gave på barnets vugge, lægges ved barnets hjerte. Barnlille, gem den vel! tab den aldrig, i hvor stor du vokser, og du er ej forladt på de vekslende veje! den lyser ind i dig, og du er ikke fortabt!"

Gudfaders øjne lyste derved, de strålede af glæde. En gang, i de unge år, havde de grædt, "og det var også godt," sagde han, "det var prøvelsens tider, da så det gråt ud. Nu har jeg solskin om mig og i mig. Jo ældre man bliver, des bedre ser man i modgang og medgang, at Vor Herre altid er med, at livet er det dejligste eventyr, og det kan kun han give os, og det varer ved ind i evighed!"

"Det er dejligt at leve!" sagde den lille Marie.

Det sagde også de små og de store drenge; fader og moder, hele familien sagde det, men fremfor alle gudfader, og han havde erfaring, han var den ældste af dem alle, han kendte alle historier, alle eventyr, og han sagde, og det lige ud af sit hjerte. "Livet er det dejligste eventyr!"




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