Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Holger Danske

Holger DanskeHolger Danske

A grandfather was carving a figure to go on a ship and his grandson asked him about the figure. The grandfather told the grandson who the figure was. The figure was Holger Danske. He was a mighty and brave warrior who sat asleep in the castle Kronenberg waiting for the day when Denmark would need his help. Each morning ships fired their cannons to say that all was well. Holger did not wake up. One day he would.

The grandfather knew that he could not give Holger justice in his carving, but the grandson thought it very beautiful anyway. The carving had the Danish coat of arms on it. The grandfather explained to the grandson what it meant. Holger still sat asleep with his long beard, but one day he would wake up.

Holger DanskeObservations

Holger Danske is real, sort of. There are many legends about him. There actually is a statue as seen in the picture to the left. Holger Danske is the Danish wording for the person Ogier the Dane. Ogier is something of a folk hero to quite a few people. He appears in poetry. He appears in legend. He appears in artwork. He is said to have hung out with Charlemagne. He’s not necessarily connected to any real person or event. There is someone who Ogier might have been based on, but nobody can say for sure whether there was really a Holger Danske.

I didn’t include the explanation of the coat of arms of Denmark. I’m sure Hans was correct in his description of the coat of arms as he was from Denmark, but if you don’t know what it means, you simply have to read this story to find out.

Themes

Holger is a hero. He’s a people’s hero. He’s a savior. He will rise up and protect the people when they need it the most. He’s almost a Christ-like figure in the fact that he’s going to come back when we need it the most and help us all out. Both ideas are almost like having a superhero.

Superheroes help us out. They show up when we need them the most. We don’t exactly understand where they came from, or why, but we’re thankful that they’re here to help.

Holger is legendary. He is this bigger than life character. We keep these traditions because we’re always hoping that someone will be on our side when we’ve done all that we can do. Somehow when we have exhausted all of our efforts and knowledge, there will be a Holger, a Superman, or even a Jesus, to step in and save us.

Overall

This guy is going to be extremely well-rested when he wakes up.

Weigh In

Do you think we invented mythology to give us peace of mind?

If Holger was based on a real person, do you think the real person must have been epic?

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