Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Ole the Tower-Keeper: Third Visit

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

On the third visit to Ole the visitor went on moving day. There was commotion in the streets. Objects were scattered here and there. Objects were packed upon carts and being carried around from house to house. Everyone was busy and Ole thought it was best that he wasn’t in all the commotion himself.

Ole began to think upon Death’s moving day. Death would come for everyone one day. He had an omnibus on which he carried the souls away. Each person had something they had accumulated in life. Each of these people would be given something from their life to help them on Death’s journey, that’s why it was important to have done something in life.

Ole thought about evil people of the world and what objects they would have upon their journey. For one evil king it would be two teeth from two brothers.

Nobody knew when Death’s moving day was, not the hour, not the day, and not the month. It was best always to be mindful of when a person’s moving day with Death might come.


This story says that Louis XI had his Lord High Constable executed and that he also ordered his two young sons to stand underneath so they could be covered in the blood of their father. These two sons were then imprisoned where a tooth was pulled from their heads each day. This is what the story says anyway.

I can’t find a lot of truth to this story. If I had a chance to dig further into history, I might find something. Louis XI did have his Lord High Constable executed at one point. This man was named Louis de Luxembourg and for whatever reason he did not please the king. As per Wikipedia, all of Louis’ children lived on until at least six years after he was executed. I can’t find any description of any of these sons having their teeth pulled out.

Maybe it’s really true, or maybe it was just a nasty rumor.

A note on moving day–it used to be something of a tradition in various European societies that certain days of the year were moving days. These were the days you started new jobs or moved house. It’s just how people operated in society at the time.


Ole is right, none of us know when Death is coming for us, so it’s always a good idea to be mindful of what we might be taking with us. You’re going to have accomplishments, lack of accomplishments, good deeds, and bad deeds. How do all of those stack up in your life? Are people going to remember you? Are they going to forget you? Will you be respected when you’re gone? Did you do something horrendous that would surely be recognized and punished in the afterlife?

You could be dead any day and at any time, what legacy are you leaving behind and what will weigh your soul down on your journey in the afterlife?


Anytime, any day, anywhere…

Weigh In

If Death gave you something or your life to carry with you on your journey, what do you think he would give you?

Do you believe Ole was meditating on dying soon when he told this story?


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