Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Ole the Tower-Keeper: First Visit

Ole the Tower-Keeper: First VisitOle the Tower-Keeper: First Visit

The first story the visitor told of Ole was about a strange gathering. Poets and writers and others, would gather and go to a place called either Amack or Amager. Ole got on this subject after discussing rocks and boulders and how they had seen the world pass them by. If boulders could tell the things they had witnessed!

The gathering Ole spoke of was one he had been to on occasion. His niece, who was fishwife, had also been. Everyone rode to this gathering on quill pens, much like how witches rode on broomsticks to their annual gatherings. Each of the people have songs and poems which they recite to the same tune.

Ole then wandered back off about boulders again. This boulder named Zeeland and this boulder did this. Oh, and falling stars, aren’t they neat? They’re meant for specific people you know. Ole says there will never be a falling star for him and then he says he is but grease.


If I didn’t know that this was just a fairy tale, I might say that Ole had Alzheimer’s. He jumps from subject to subject, randomly, and speaks of things which are rather odd.

I used to work at a nursing home. I took care of many people with Alzheimer’s, but one in particular would tell us that he had fifty women in the woods and that he fed his mule. The mule was a figurine that sat on the window sill in his room. He didn’t feed that figurine. While we laughed at his stories, they weren’t true. They were simply things his brain had come up with one way or the other.


Despite this entire story hopping from one thing to the next, there are some truths in this story, as there are in all things. Boulders really are old. In the grand scheme of things, we are but little blips upon the entire timeline of not only recorded history, but the entire existence of the Earth. We exist for a relatively short time compared to other things, like boulders.

We have famous rocks in our history that remain unchanged even though our history continues to move and flow around these rocks. One such rock is Plymouth Rock. Pilgrims landed in the general area of the rock and it’s still around. People go and look at it because hundreds of years ago some of the first settlers saw it and named it. That rock had probably been there a long time before any pilgrim ever thought about giving it a name. Maybe it even used to have another name. Maybe it had a Native American name and maybe before there were natives in the area, or before they even existed, animals used to rock to sun themselves upon or swim up to, depending on where the water levels were at the time.

We are small in the history of the world, just as Ole says.


Ole may have rambled on about a bunch of things, but he’s right about humanity’s lifespan and our relation to bigger things.

Weigh In

Do you think Ole is just an old man who rambles on about whatever pops into his head or do you vote on mental illness?

Do you think Ole would be fun to listen to?



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