Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Old Grave-Stone

The Old Grave-StoneThe Old Grave-Stone

Some children were playing in the yard on a particularly large paving stone, but it wasn’t a paving stone; it was a grave stone. There were several letters on it, but some had faded away. The children asked their grandfather what it meant.

The grandfather said that the headstone must have belonged to Martha Schwane and her husband Preben. The Schwanes had been a wonderful couple who were old when the grandfather was young. The graveyard where they were buried had been sold. The headstones had been sold to make paving stones, but this one stone in particular had been kept whole.

The Schwanes had been rumored to have a lot of gold, but no one ever found any. They were a poor couple, but were generous with what they had. The old woman died first, and the man died a year later. Their house was deemed to wobbly to stay standing. It was torn down. There wasn’t a thing in the world left of Martha and her husband.

As the grandson listened to this story, he knew that he would remember the story of the Schwanes and carry their story with him. In him, their memory would be kept alive.

The End


Who buys gravestones to make a walkway? Who does that?! Who?! Really?! I don’t think I would buy gravestones to make a walkway. It seems like it would be bad luck. I know it’s just a piece of granite, or whatever, but it seems as if it would be indecent to reuse them.

History is reused, but it seems like there should be a line that has to be drawn.


Our memory can live on in other people. As time goes by, we will be so far removed from our immediate surroundings that our memory would only be remembered by other people. Your house may get torn down. The post office where you worked may get burned down. The records that were of your birth may disappear. All manner of things can happen, but if another person remembers you, you’ll still exist in a manner of speaking. Those funny things you used to do may be remembered through others. That great pie you used to make may be remembered by others.

As long as you can make an impression on others, your life will never be truly forgotten. This little boy will carry on the memory of the Schwanes. All the earthly reminders of the Schwanes may disappear, even their headstone, but the boy will remember.


It pays to make a mark on people’s lives.

Weigh In

Would you make a walkway out of headstones?

Do you think it’s good to remember those who have gone before?


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