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IN Denmark there lies an old castle named Kronborg. It lies close by the re Sound, where the great ships pass through by hundreds every day----English, Russian, and likewise Prussian ships. And they salute the old castle with cannons----“Boom!”And the castle answers again with cannons“Boom!”for that's what the cannons say instead of“Good day”and“Thank you!”In winter no ships sail there, for the whole sea is covered with ice quite across to the Swedish coast; but it has quite the look of a high road. There wave the Danish flag and the Swedish flag, and Danes and Swedes say Good day and “Thank you! to each other, not with cannons, but with a friendly grasp of the hand; and one gets white bread and biscuits from the other----for strange fare tastes best. But the most beautiful of all is old Kronborg; and here it is that Holger the Dane sits in the deep dark cellar, where nobody goes. He is clad in iron and steel, and leans his head on his strong arm; his long beard hangs down over the marble table, and has grown into it. He sleeps and dreams, but in his dreams he sees everything that happens up here in Denmark. Every Christmas-eve comes an angel, and tells him that what he has dreamed is right, and that he may go to sleep in quiet, for that Denmark is not yet in any real danger; but when once sucha danger comes, then old Holger the Dane will rouse himself, so that the table shall burst when he draws out his beard! Then he will come forth and strike, so that it shall be heard in all the countries in the world.

An old grandfather sat and told his little grandson all this about Holger the Dane; and the little boy knew that what his grandfather told him was true. And while the old man sat and told his story, he carved an image which was to represent Holger the Dane, and to be fastened to the prow of a ship; for the old grandfather was a carver of figure-heads----that is, one who cuts out the figures fastened to the front of ships, and from which every ship is named. And here he had cut out Holger the Dane, who stood there proudly with his long beard, and held the broad battlesword in one hand while with the other he leaned upon the Danish arms.

And the old grandfather told so much about famous Danish men and women, that it appeared at last to the little grandson as if he knew as much as Holger the Dane himself, who, after all, could only dream; and when the little fellow was in his bed, he thought so much of it, that he actually pressed his chin against the coverlet, and fancied he had a long beard that had grown fast to it.

But the old grandfather remained sitting at his work, and carved away at the last part of it; and this was the Danish coat of arms. When he had done, he looked at the whole, and thought of all he had read and heard, and that he had told this evening to the little boy; and he nodded, and wiped his spectacles, and put them on again, and said,

“Yes, Holger the Dane will probably not come in my time; but the boy in the bed yonder may get to see him, and be there when the push really comes.”

And the old grandfather nodded again: and the more he looked at his Holger the Dane the more plain did it become to him that it was a good image he had carved. It seemed really to gain colour, and the armour appeared to gleam like iron and steel; the hearts in the Danish arms became redder and redder, and the lions with the golden crowns on their heads leaped up.

“That's the most beautiful coat of arms there is in the world!”said the old man.“The lions are strength, and the heart is gentleness and love!”

And he looked at the uppermost lion, and thought of King Canute, who bound great England to the throne of Denmark; and he looked at the second lion, and thought of Waldemar, who united Denmark and conquered the Wendish lands; and he glanced at the third lion, and remembered Margaret, who united Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. But while he looked at the red hearts, they gleamed more brightly than before; they became flames which moved, and his heart followed each of them.

The first heart led him into a dark narrow prison: there sat a prisoner, a beautiful woman, the daughter of King Christian Ⅳ, Eleanor Ulfeld; and the flame, which was shaped like a rose, attached itself to her bosom and blossomed, so that it became one with the heart of her, the noblest and best of all Danish women.“That is one of the hearts in the arms of Denmark,”said the old grandfather.

And his spirit followed the second flame, which led him out upon the sea, where the cannons thundered and the ships lay shrouded in smoke; and the flame fastened itself in the shape of a ............

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