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A Rose from Homer's Grave

Hans Christian Andersen

The A-B-C Book The Angel Anne Lisbeth At the Uttermost Parts of the Sea Aunty Aunty Toothache "Beautiful" The Beetle The Bell The Bell Deep The Bird of Folklore The Bishop of Börglum and his Men The Bond of Friendship The Bottle Neck The Brave Tin Soldier The Buckwheat Butterfly The Candles Chicken Grethe's Family The Child in the Grave Children's Prattle Clumsy Hans The Comet The Court Cards The Cripple Croak! The Daisy Dance, Dance, Doll of Mine! Danish Popular Legends The Darning Needle The Days of the Week The Drop of Water The Dryad The Elder-Tree Mother The Elf Mound The Emperor's New Clothes Everything in its Proper Place Danish Popular Legends The Farmyard Cock and the Weathercock The Fir Tree Five Peas from a Pod The Flax The Flea and the Professor The Flying Trunk Folks Say - The Galoshes of Fortune The Gardener and the Noble Family The Garden of Paradise The Gate Key The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf The Goblin and the Grocer The Goblin and the Woman God Can Never Die Godfather's Picture Book Golden Treasure A Good Humor Grandmother Great-Grandfather The Great Sea Serpent The Happy Family Heartache Holger Danske Ib and Little Christine The Ice Maiden In the Children's Room In the Duck Yard It's Quite True! Jack the Dullard The Jewish Girl The Jumpers Kept Secret but not Forgotten The Last Pearl A Leaf from Heaven Little Claus and Big Claus The Little Green Ones Little Ida's Flowers The Little Match Seller The Little Mermaid Little Tuck Luck May Lie in a Pin Lucky Peer The Marsh King's Daughter The Metal Pig The Money Pig The Most Incredible Thing Moving Day The Naughty Boy The Neighboring Families The New Century's Goddess The Nightcap of the "Pebersvend" The Nightingale The Old Church Bell The Old House The Old Oak Tree's Last Dream The Old Street Lamp The Old Tombstone Ole Lukoie Ole, the Tower Keeper On Judgment Day Peiter, Peter, and Peer Pen and Inkstand The Penman The Phoenix Bird Picturebook Without Pictures A Picture from the Ramparts The Pigs The Poor Woman and the Little Canary Bird The Porter's Son The Princess and the Pea The Psyche The Puppet-show Man The Racers The Rags The Red Shoes The Rose Elf A Rose from Homer's Grave The Shadow The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep She Was Good for Nothing The Shirt Collar The Silent Book The Silver Shilling The Snail and the Rosebush The Snowdrop The Snow Man The Snow Queen Something Soup on a Sausage Peg The Stone of the Wise Man The Storks The Storm Shifts the Signboards A Story A Story from the Sand Dunes The Story of a Mother The Story of the Year A String of Pearls Sunshine Stories The Swan's Nest The Sweethearts; or, The Top and the Ball The Swineherd The Talisman The Teapot There is a Difference This Fable is Intended for You The Thorny Road of Honor Thousands of Years from Now Thumbelina The Tinder Box The Toad The Traveling Companion Twelve by the Mail Two Brothers Two Maidens The Ugly Duckling Under The Willow Tree Urbanus A View from Vartou's Window Vänö and Glänö What Happened to the Thistle What Old Johanne Told What One Can Invent What the Old Man Does is Always Right What the Whole Family Said Which Was the Happiest? The Wicked Prince The Wild Swans The Will-o'-the-Wisps Are in Town The Windmill The Wind Tells about Valdemar Daae and His Daughters The World's Fairest Rose

Through all the songs of the east, the eternal theme is the nightingale's love for the rose. In the silent, starlit nights, the winged songster sings his serenade to his beautiful scented flower.

Under stately plantain trees, not far from Smyrna, where the merchant drives his heavily loaded camels, proudly raising their long necks and clumsily walking over the hallowed ground, I saw a hedge of blooming roses. Wild doves fluttered among the branches of the tall trees, and when the sunbeams floated on their wings they shone like mother-of-pearl. In that rose hedge one flower was more beautiful than all the rest, and to this the nightingale poured out its song of grief. But the rose was silent; no dewdrop lay like a tear of pity on her petals, and with the branch on which she grew, she bent down toward a heap of large stones.

"Here lies the sweetest singer the world has ever heard," said the rose proudly. "I will scent his grave, and when the storms tear off my petals, they shall fall on him. For the singer of the Iliad returned to this good earth whence I sprang! I, a rose from Homer's grave, am too sacred a bloom for a poor mere nightingale!"

And the nightingale sang himself to death.

Then came the bearded camel driver with his laden camels and his black slaves. His little boy found the dead bird, and in pity buried it in the grave of the great Homer while the rose trembled slightly in the wind.

The evening came, and the rose folded her petals tightly and dreamed. It dreamed that it was a beautiful sunny day and that a caravan of foreign Frankish men had come on a pilgrimage to the grave of Homer. And among the strangers was a singer from the north, from the land of drifting mists and crackling northern lights. He broke off the rose, and pressed it between the leaves of a book, and so carried it off with him to his own country, in that far part of the world. Tightly pressed in the narrow book, the rose withered away in grief until, in his own home, a poet opened the book and said, "Here is a rose from Homer's grave!"

This the flower dreamed, and in the morning the rose woke up shivering in the wind; a dewdrop fell gently from her petals upon the grave of the poet. Then the sun rose, and the day was hot, and the rose bloomed in greater beauty than ever; it was still in her warm Asia.

Then the rose heard footsteps. The strange Franks she had seen in her dream came by, and among them was the poet of the north.

He did indeed break off the rose and press a kiss upon her fresh mouth, and carry her off with him to his distant home of mists and northern lights. The rose rests now like a mummy between the leaves of his Iliad, and as in her dream she hears him say as he opens the book, "Here is a rose from Homer's grave!"

The End

Fables & Tales Nonfiction Poetry Short Stories

Aesop Andersen, H.C. Dickinson, Emily Frost, Robert Grimm Henry, O Kipling, Rudyard Longfellow, Henry Poe, Edgar Allan Shakespeare, William Thoreau, Henry Twain, Mark Wilde, Oscar