Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Lucky Peer-VIII

Lucky Peer-VIIILucky Peer-VIII

Peer continued to live with Herr Gabriel and it soon came to be two years. He missed his family terribly. He wondered how long he would live. He wondered what he should be. Some told him to be an actor and others told him to be a tutor. Some said a teacher. He did not know what to be. He missed his mother and grandmother.

Peer was in the garden and saw something. There was an elven maiden, she looked a bit like the apothecary’s daughter. Soon there were other elven maidens. They danced around, Peer was amongst them. They were hollow in the back as elven maidens are. One of the maidens told him that an hour of their time was a hundred years in his. They told him all his family was dead.

Peer cried out to God asking why he had been forsaken, but soon Peer’s grandmother appeared and told him that he had not been forsaken. She sang with him. They sang hymns. Peer’s voice had come back.

Peer woke up in a bed. He had a terrible fever. He had been found in the garden. All feared for his death. His family was notified. Grandmother and Mother could not leave at the same time, so Grandmother braved her fears and got on a train for the first time in her life. She traveled for Peer and now tended to him.

Observations

I have no idea why in the world elf maidens are said to be hollow on the back. I’ve come across it in other stories and it’s just strange. Why would they be hollow? They’re not like chocolate Easter bunnies. They’re supposed to actually be humanoid.

Themes

Peer goes into delirium and experiences one of his worst fears. That fear is losing his family. He hasn’t seen his mother and grandmother for some time and he misses them terribly. There are things he wants in life, but he values his family above many things. If he were to lose his family, what would become of him?

Dreams and fevers can bring out some terrible, terrible things from within us. People confess secret feelings. Fears are preyed upon by our own minds. As if it wasn’t enough to be dreaming or to have a fever, or brain also has to play some terrible prank on us. Of course, we’re relieved when we wake up, but we’re still a bit terrified for a while. Sometimes we dream about small fears, but sometimes we dream about big fears. Those dreams of big fears are the ones who leave us incredibly thankful that we’ve woken up. Those are the dreams that we think about for time to come. If you have a dream like that, the subject is really something you are absolutely terrified of.

Recently, I had my own dream like this, but I didn’t dream about monsters or spiders or my teeth falling out–I dreamt about my ex and it was honestly one of the most terrifying dreams I have ever had in my life. Dreams like this are terrifying, but when you wake up, you can be exponentially grateful that the dream isn’t true.

Overall

I’m glad Peer is ok and that he gets to see his grandmother.

Weigh In

What purpose do you think these terrifying dreams serve?

In these particularly terrifying dreams, is the fear something you expect it to be, or are you surprised?

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