Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

Urbanus

UrbanusUrbanus

There was once a monk named Urbanus. He was tasked with keeping the keys to the library. He wrote many things and often studied the scriptures. One day he sought to have some time to think about the words of the Lord and went out into the garden. In the garden there was a small bird which sang beautifully. Urbanus followed it for a few minutes listening to its voice.

We he turned to go back, everything was different. The church was much bigger. The graveyard was populated with graves that he did not recognize. There were three towers where there had been none before. He finally made his way inside, where no one recognized him. The abbot finally asked him what creature he was and how had he been called forth from the dead.

A book was brought forth from the library. It told a story of Urbanus, a monk who mysteriously disappeared three-hundred years before. Urbanus had wondered about the mysteries of God and had been caught up in a mystery himself. Urbanus realized he was but dust and with that he really did turn to dust and that was the end of Urbanus.

Observations

Hans certainly had a bit of an affinity for time travel.

Before there were printing presses, and actually for a time after, books were scarce because they were hand-copied. There may be a Bible in every hotel night-stand drawer in America, but Bibles weren’t always so easy to come by. They were copied out by hand. Have you seen how bit the Bible is? We’re talking thousands of pages copied, by hand, by monks. This is what they did all day long for years. Carpal tunnel much?

Themes

This is the last fairy tale in Hans’ collection. It’s the last one that was published, although it was published posthumously. Hans probably wrote this tale not long before he died, thus why it wasn’t published while he was still alive. He was obviously thinking about death and about religion and about an afterlife. Where would he go? What would happen to his soul? Did he understand the mysteries of God anymore than he did when he was young? Hans was old; he knew he wasn’t going to be too terribly much longer on the Earth. He probably came to a very clear realization that death catches up with all of us, no matter who we may be, and that really, we all return back to the same thing…dust.

Overall

Farewell to Hans.

Weigh In

Do you think Hans was as faithful as his writing made him sound?

What is with Hans and time travel?

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