Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Dumb Book

The Dumb BookThe Dumb Book

An old man died and he requested that he be buried with a book of pressed plants. The book did not mean anything to anyone else, but while the man was still alive he would look through this book and recall the memories of his past. This plant reminded him of this person. This leaf reminded him of a best friend. This flower reminded him of a love he once had. The man got his wish and was buried with his book that had told the story of his life.

Observations

Pressing flowers into books is a real thing, although I haven’t really seen anybody do it in a while. I have seen the occasional four-leaf clover pressed in the pages of a book. It’s just a simple way to remember something in your life. You picked this flower on your first date with your spouse, or whatever the case may be.

I assume dumb in this story means “not speaking” rather than “stupid,” because the old man’s book is not stupid; it’s just silent.

Themes

This book recalled this man’s life. Those pressed flowers triggered memories for him. To him, this book was a record of all the good and bittersweet moments in his life. It was important to him. Why not be buried with it?

To someone else, this book would just look like a random book with plants pressed inside of it. Only to the man himself would this book hold significance. The book only spoke to the man. The book spoke to no one else. Each of us own objects that only speak to us and only we know the significance behind each object.

Overall

Poor old guy, at least he had his book.

Weigh In

Do you think pressed flowers are a good idea?

Would you be buried with a treasured object?

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