It was only in the fairy tales that people were called upon to be so brave, to die for one another. Not in real-life Denmark.
Annemarie struggles with the concept of bravery. Her parents say they are willing to risk their lives for Denmark, but Annemarie is not sure that she could do the same. In this quotation, Annemarie justifies what she views as her own lack of bravery. As in other places in the novel, here Annemarie associates the war with a fairy tale-like reality. She separates what is "real-life" from the war. In doing so, Annemarie is able to keep herself outside of the war, at least for the moment. Through the rest of the novel, Annemarie grapples with the questions raised in this quotation. Where does bravery come from? Does she herself possess it? What is the reality of the war? These are all issues that Annemarie attempts to resolve for herself.