Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

A Cheerful Temper

A Cheerful TemperA Cheerful Temper

There was once a man who greatly admired his father. His father had known so many people and had seemed quite cheerful. He had gone before both the rich and the poor, this was because he was a hearse driver.

The father had been of a good temper and had read the newspaper the Intelligencer. It was a plain newspaper about all sorts of things.

The father had some wonderful stories about the graveyard to which he took his charges. This man had been picky and would find something wrong with everything. There was another man who had never said a good thing. There was another who was happy and walked around in rich clothing. There was a stingy woman and a woman who could sing beautifully, but only told the truth when she sang one particular song. There was also another young woman, who was not remarkable really, so they would let her lie.

The father buried them all and read the Intelligencer.

When he died his tombstone would read:

The man with a cheerful temper.


I bet hearse drivers were full of stories back in the day. I’m sure there are not quite as many stories to tell these days.


This man was awfully cheerful despite his job, which could be something we could look at, but we’re not going to. We’re going to look at all those people he talked about. Those people had all been very different in life, but where did they end up? They ended up dead and in the graveyard. We’re all going to end up dead at sometime or the other. It doesn’t matter if we’re stingy or mean or happy. We’re all going into the same ground.

The hearse driver knew this and happily accepted what his life would become. He didn’t let the idea of death spoil his today.


I bet this guy was fun to ride with, but how would you know? You’d be dead already.

Weigh In

Don’t you think it would be more interesting if tombstones told a little something more about the person buried below?

Would you put a joke on your tombstone?


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