Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Children's Novel > The complete Andersen > THE BELL-DEEP
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  

“DING-DONG!Ding-Dong!”It sounds up from the “bell-deep”in the Odense River.What river is that? Every child in the town of Odense knows that it runs at the bottom of the gardens and flows on under the wooden bridges from the dam to the water-mill.In the river grow the yellow water-lilies and brown feathery reeds; the dark velvety reed-mace grows there, high and thick;old and decayed willows, slanting and tottering,hang far out over the stream beside the monks’ meadow and by the bleach-in ground;but opposite there are gardens upon gardens,each different from the rest, some with pretty flowers and bowers like little dolls’ pleasure grounds,others display-in only cabbage and other kitchen plants; and here and there the gardens cannot be seen at all, for the great elder trees that spread themselves out by the bank, and hang far out over the streaming waters, which are deeper here and there than an oar can fathom.Opposite the old nunnery is the deepest place, which is called the“bell-deep”,and there dwellls the “River-man”.He sleeps through the day while the sun shines down upon the water;but in starry and moonlit nights he shows himself.He is very old:grandmother says that she has heard her own grandmother tell of him; he is said to lead a solitary life,and to have nobody with whom he can converse save the great old church Bell. Once the Bell hung in the church tower;but now there is no trace left of the tower or of the church,which was called St.Alban's.

“Ding-dong! Ding-dong!”sounded the Bell, when the tower still stood there;and one evening,while the sun was setting,and the Bell was swinging away bravely,it broke loose and came flying down through the air,the brilliant metal shining in the ruddy beam.

“Ding-dong!Ding-dong! Now I'm going to bed!”sang the Bell,and flew down into the Odense River where it is deepest;and that is why the place is called the “bell-deep”.

But the Bell got neither rest nor sleep.Down in the River-man's haunt it sounds and rings, so that the tones sometimes pierce upward through the waters; and many people maintain that its strains forebode the death of some one;but that is not true, for then the Bell is only talking with the River-man, who is now no longer alone.

And what is the Bell!telling? It is old, very old, the story goes;it was there long before grandmother's grand-mother was born;and yet it is but a child in comparison with the River-man, who is an old quiet personage, an oddity,with his hose of eel-skin, and his scaly jacket with the yellow lilies for buttons, and a wreath of reed in his hair and duckweed in his beard, and that is not very pretty.

What the Bell tells? To repeat it all would require years and days;for year by year it is telling the old stories,sometimes short ones, sometimes long ones,accord-in to its whim;it tells of old times,of the dark hard times,thus:

“In the church of St.Alban, the monk mounted up into the tower where the bell hung.he was young and handsome, but thoughtful exceedingly. He looked through the loophole out upon the Odense River, when the bed of the water was yet broad and the monk's meadow was still a lake:he looked out over it, and over the rampart, and over the nuns’ hill opposite,where the convent lay, and the light gleamed forth from the nun's cell; he had known the nun right well,and he thought of her, and his heart beat quicker as he thought. Ding-dong! Ding-dong !”

Yes, that is how the Bell told the story.

“Into the tower came also the silly man-servant of the bishop; and when I, the Bell, who am made of met-al,rang hard and loud, and swung to and fro, I might have beaten out his brains. He sat down close under me,and played with two little sticks as if they had been a stringed instrument; and he sang to it.’Now I may sing it out aloud, though at other times I may not whisper it.I may sing of everything that is kept concealed behind lock and bars. There it is cold and wet. The rats are eating them up alive!Nobody knows of it!Nobody hears of it!Not even now, for the Bell is ringing and singing its loud Ding-dong!Ding-dong!

{ewc MVIMAGE,MVIMAGE, !413693T1.bmp}

“There was a King;they called him Canute.He bowed himself before bishop and monk;but when he of-fended the free peasants with heavy taxes and hard words,they seized their weapons and put him to flight like a wild beast.He sought shelter in the church, and shut gate and door behind him. The violent band surrounded the church; I heard tell of it.The crows, ravens, and magpies started up in terror at the yelling and shouting that sounded around.They flew into the tower and out again,they looked down upon the throng below, and they alsolooked into the windows of the church, and screamed out aloud what they saw there.King Canute knelt before the altar in prayer, his brothers Eric and Benedict stood by him as a guard with drawn swords;but the King's servant,the treacherous Blake,betrayed his master;the throng in front of the church knew where they could hit the King,and one of them flung a stone through a pane of glass,and the King lay there dead! The cries and screams of the sav-age horde and of the birds sounded through the air, and I joined in it also; for I sang Ding-dong! Ding-dong!”

“The church bell hangs high and looks far around,gets visits from the birds and understands their language;the wind roars in upon it through windows and loopholes;and the wind knows everything, for he gets it from the air,which encircles all living things;the air makes its way into men's lungs,it knows everything that finds utterance there,every word and every sigh.The air knows it, the wind tells it,and the church Bell understands his tongue,and rings it out into the world,‘ Ding-dong! Ding-dong!’

“But it was too much for me to hear and to know; I was not able to ring it out.I became so tired,so heavy,that the beam broke, and I flew out into the shining air down where the water is deepest,and where the River-man lives, solitary and alone; and year by year I tell him what I have heard and what I know.‘Ding-dong!Ding-dong!’

Thus it sounds out of the bell-deep in the Odense River:that is what grandmother told us.

But our schoolmaster says that there is no bell that rings down there, for it can't do so; and that no River-man dwells there, for there are no River-men!And when all the other church bells are sounding sweetly, he says that it is not really the bells that are souding, but that it is the air itself which sends forth the notes;and grand-mother said to us that the Bell itself said it was the air who told it him, consequently they are agreed on that point,and this much is sure.

“Be cautious, cautious, and take good heed to they-self,”they both say.

The air knows everything. It is around us,it is in us,it talks of our thoughts and of our deeds, and it speakslonger of them than does the Bell down in the depths of the Odense River where the River-man dwells;it rings it out int the vault of heaven,far,far out,for ever and ever,till the heaven bells sound“Ding-dong!Ding-dong!”




Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved