Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

The Jewish Maiden

The Jewish MaidenThe Jewish Maiden

There was once a school where the teacher would read from the Bible, but one student did not listen, or so they thought. Her name was Sarah and she was not a Christian. She was a Jew. During this lesson in class, she was supposed to read a book. If she ever looked up from the book while the lesson was going on, the teacher would tell her to read her book.

Sarah learned of the Bible and loved it, but she was not allowed to become a Christian. Her father had promised her mother that she would never be baptized. Sarah knew she would not be allowed to convert. The other kids made fun of her for being a Jew.

Sarah grew up and went into service in a house. There the family was Christian. God said to keep the sabbath day holy, but Sarah did not know what day to choose. One day the master of the house read a story about a Christian who had been held captive by a Pasha. When the Christian finally got free, he caught the Pasha, but let him go again, all because he knew he was supposed to love all because God had said so.

After a time, the master died and his widow lived with reduced means. She could not afford to keep Sarah on, but Sarah stayed on anyway to provide help for her mistress. She would often read to her mistress from the Bible. Sarah knew the Bible was the truth and felt conflicted about the whole thing. Sarah became sick with grief over the whole thing. She slumped down at the side of her mistress and she died.

She was buried, but not in the churchyard, outside of it, because she had not been a Christian, but the same rays of light bathed her grave that bathed the graves of the Christians. The same words floating over her grave that floating over the graves of the Christians from the pulpit. God said that some would be baptized with water while others would be baptized with the fire of the Holy Ghost.


What a load of crap. They buried this poor girl outside of the church yard, even though she probably showed more Christian caring and compassion than half the Christians buried in the church yard. Just because you add the name “Christ” to your belief system doesn’t mean you’re inherently better than someone else or inherently more righteous. Muslims, and Buddhists, and Pastafarians can be righteous as well.

I am surprised that a Christian school let a Jewish girl in. This was the 1800s, not today, where something like this might be more likely to happen, money talks.


What a stupid promise to keep. I have to keep this stupid backwards promise no matter what, even though the person is dead, especially because the person is dead. Look here, keeping your word is important to me. If you tell me you’re going to do something, you better do that thing. I lose faith in you if you tell me, “Hey, I’m going to do this thing,” and then you don’t do it. Well, maybe not the first time, but if you tell me the same thing ten times and you still don’t do what you said you were going to do, then what is the point of listening to you?

With that being said, some promises are kind of stupid. The promise this man made to his dying wife was a stupid promise. He essentially made a promise for someone else–his child. You can’t make promises for someone else. That’s horrible. Maybe this person really feels like they need to keep that promise because it involved them, even if they didn’t make it. Way to guilt trip a person, dad. I think that religion is such a big part of a person’s life that you cannot expect a person to keep promises concerning it. If something comes along and they feel they have to change, then the change is probably what they need.

Reasonably, you want to keep promises concerning the big things in life, but at the same time, it’s such a big part of your life, that it may become necessary to break a promise in order for your life to not be completely miserable. Sarah should have said, “To heck with that promise I didn’t even make,” and joined whatever church she wanted to join.


Much like any other prejudice, having a prejudice never gets you very far in life.

Weigh In

What do you think of this girl’s dad?

What do you think of churchyard burying practices?


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