And the Darning-Needle drew herself up so proudly that she fell out
of the handkerchief right into the sink, which the cook was rinsing out.
" Xow we 're going on a journey," said the Darniug-Xeedle. " If I
only don't get lost ! "
But she really was lost.
" I 'in too fine for this world," she observed, as she lay in the gutter.
" But I know who I am, and there 's always something in that ! "
So the Darning-Needle kept her proud behaviour, and did not lose
her good humour. And things of many kinds swam over her, chips and
straws and pieces of old newspapers.
" Only look how they sail! " said the Darning-Xeedle. "They don't
know what is under them ! I 'm here, I remain firmly here. See, there
goes a chip thinking of nothing in the world but of himself of a chip !
There 's a straw going by now. How he turns ! how he twirls about !
Don't think only of yourself, you might easily run up against a stone.
There swims a bit of newspaper. YHiat 's written upon it has long been
forgotten, and yet it gives itself airs. I sit quietly and patiently here.
I know who I am, and I shall remain what 1 am."
One day something lay close beside her that glittered splendidly ;
then the Darning-Needle believed that it ivas a diamond; but it was a
Bit of broken Bottle ; and because it shone, the Darning-Needle spoke
to it, introducing herself as a breast-pin.
" I suppose you are a diamond ? " she observed.
" Why, yes, something of that kind."
And then each believed the other to be a very valuable thing ; and
they began speaking about the world, and how very conceited it was.
'I have been in a lady's box," said the Darning-Xeedle, " and this
lady was a cook. She had five fingers on each hand, and I never saw any-
thing so conceited as those five fingers. And yet they were only there
that they might take me out of the box and put me back into it."
" AVere they of good birth ? " asked the Bit of Bottle.
" Xo, indeed," replied the Darning-Xeedle, " but very haiighty. There
were five brothers, all of the finger family. They kept very proudly
together, though they were of different lengths: the outermost, the
thumbliug, was short and fat ; he walked out in front of the ranks,
and only had one joint in his back, and could only make a single bow;
THE COOK WITH THE DARMXG NEEDLE.
but he said that if he were hacked off from a man, that man was useless
for service in war. Dainty-mouth, the second finger, thrust himself
into sweet and sour, pointed to sun and moon, and gave the impression
when they wrote. Longman, the third, looked at all the others over his
shoulder. Groldborder, the fourth, went about with a golden belt round
his waist; and little Playman did nothing at all, and was proud of it.
There was nothing but bragging among them, and therefore I went
" And now we sit here and glitter ! " said the Bit of Bottle.
At that moment more water came into the gutter, so that it over-
flowed, and the Bit of Bottle was carried away.
"So, he is disposed of," observed the Darning- Xeedle. "I remain
here, I am too fine. But that 's my pride, and my pride is honourable."
And proudly she sat there, and had many great thoughts. " 1 could
almost believe I had been born of a sunbeam, I 'm so fine ! It really
appears to me as if the sunbeams were always seeking for me under the
water. Ah ! I 'm so fine that my mother cannot find me. If I had my
240 Stories for the Household.
old eye, which broke off, I think I should cry ; but, no, I should not do
that : it 's not genteel to cry."
Oue day a couple of street boys lay grubbing in the gutter, where
they sometimes found old nails, farthings, and similar treasures. It was
dirty work, but they took great delight in it.
" Oh ! " cried one, who had pricked himself with the Darning-Needle,
" there 's a fellow for you ! "
" I 'm not a fellow, I'm a young lady ! " said the Darning-Needle.
But nobody listened to her. The sealing-wax had come off, and she
had turned black ; but black makes one look slender, and she thought
herself finer even than before.
" Here comes an egg-shell sailing along ! " said the boys ; and they
stuck the Darning-Needle fast in the egg-shell.
" White walls, and black myself! that looks well," remarked the
Darning-Needle. " Now one can see me. I only hope I shall not be sea-
sick ! " But she was not sea-sick at all. " It is good against sea-sick-
ness, if one has a steel stomach, and does not forget that one is a little
more than an ordinary person ! Now my sea-sickness is over. The finer
one is, the more one can bear."
" Crack ! " went the egg-shell, for a hand-barrow went over her.
" Good Heavens, how it crushes one ! " said the Darning- Needle.
" I 'm getting sea-sick now, I 'm quite sick."
But she was not really sick, though the hand-barrow went over her;
she lay there at full length, and there she may lie.
THE FIR TREE.
OUT in the forest stood a pretty little Fir Tree. It had a good place ;
it could have sunlight, air there was in plenty, and all around grew
many larger comrades pines as well as firs. But the little Fir Tree
wished ardently to become greater. It did not care for the warm sun
and the fresh air ; it took no notice of the peasant children, who went
about talking together, when they had come out to look for strawberries
and raspberries. Often they came with a whole pot-full, or had strung
berries on a straw ; then they would sit down by the little Fir Tree and
say, " How pretty and small that one is !" and the Tree did not like to
hear that at all.
Next year he had grown a great joint, and the following year he was
longer still, for in fir trees one can always tell by the number of rings
they have how many years they have been growing.
" Oh, if I were only as great a tree as the others !" sighed the little
Fir, " then I would spread my branches far around, and look out from
my crown into the wide world. The birds would then build nests in
my boughs, and when the wind blew I could nod just as grandly as the
The Fir Tree. 241
It took no pleasure in the sunshine, in the birds, and in the red
clouds that went sailing over him morning and evening.
AVhen it was winter, and the snow lay all around, white and sparkling,
a hare would often come jumping along, and spring right over the little
Fir Tree. Oh ! tin's made him so angry. But two winters went by, and
when the third came the little Tree had grown so tall that the hare was
obliged to run round it.
" Oh ! to grow, to grow, and become old ; that 's the only fine thing
in the world," thought the Tree.
In the autumn woodcutters always came and felled a few of the
largest trees ; that was done this year too, and the little Fir Tree, that
was now quite well grown, shuddered with fear, for the great stately
trees fell to the ground with a crash, and their branches were cut off, so
that the trees looked quite naked, long, and slender they could hardly
be recognized. But then they were laid upon waggons, and horses
dragged them away out of the wood. Where were they going ? "What
destiny awaited them ?
In the spring, when the swallows and the Stork came, the Tree
asked them, " Do you know where they were taken ? Did you not meet
The swallows knew nothing about it, but the Stork looked thoughtful,
nodded his head, and said,
" Yes, I think so. I met many new ships when I flew out of Egypt ;
on the ships were stately masts ; I fancy that these were the trees. They
smelt like fir. I can assure you they 're stately very stately."
" Oh that I were only big enough to go over the sea ! What kind
of thing is this sea, and how does it look 't "
" It would take too long to explain all that," said the Stork, and hf
" Rejoice in thy youth," said the Sunbeams ; " rejoice in thy fresh
growth, and in the young life that is within thee."
And the wind kissed the Tree, and the dew wept tears upon it ; but
the Fir Tree did not understand that.
When Christmas-time approached, quite young trees were felled,
sometimes trees which were neither so old nor so large as this Fir Tree,
that never rested but always wanted to go away. These young trees,
which were almost the most beautiful, kept all th^ii' branches ; they
were put upon waggons, and horses dragged the^, away out of the wood.
" Where are they all going ? " asked the -b'ir Tree. " They are not
greater than 1 indeed, one of them was much smaller. Why do they
keep all their branches ? Whither are './hey taken ? "
" We know that ! We know that ! " chirped the Sparrows. " Yonder
in the town we looked in at the windows. We know where they go.
Oli! they are dressed up in the greatest pomp and splendour that can
be imagined. We have looked in at the windows, and have perceived
that they are planted in the middle of the warm room, and adorned with
the most beautiful things gilt apples, honey-cakes, playthings, and
many hundreds of candles."
242 Stories for the Household.
"And then?" asked the Fir Tree, and trembled through all its
branches. " Aud then ? What happens then ? '
"Why, we have not seen anything more. But it was incomparable."
"Perhaps I maybe destined to tread this glorious path one day!"
cried the Fir Tree rejoicingly. " That is even better than travelling
across the sea. How painfully I long for it ! If it were only Christmas
now ! Now I am great and grown up, like the rest who were led away
last year. Oh, if I were only on the carriage ! If I were only in the
warm room, among all the pomp and splendour ! And then ? Tes, then
something even better will come, something far more charming, or else
why should they adorn me so ? There must be something grander,
something greater still to come; but what ? Oh! I'm suffering, I 'm
longing ! I don't know myself what is the matter with me ! "
" Eejoice in us," said Air and Sunshine. "Rejoice in thy fresh youth
here in the woodland."
But the Fir Tree did not rejoice at all, but it grew and grew ; winter
and summer it stood there, green, dark green. The people who saw it
said, "That's a handsome tree!" and at Christmas-time it was felled
before any one of the others. The axe cut deep into its marrow, and the
tree fell to the ground with a sigh : it felt a pain, a sensation of faint-
ness, and could not think at all of happiness, for it was sad at parting
from its home, from the place Avhere it had grown up : it knew that it
should never again see the dear old companions, the little bushes and
flowers all around perhaps not even the birds. The parting was not
at all agreeable.
The Tree only came to itself when it was unloaded in a yard, with
other trees, and heard a man say,
" This one is famous ; we only want this one ! "
Now two servants came in gay liveries, and carried the Fir Tree into
a large beautiful saloon. All around the walls hung pictures, and by the
great stove stood large Chinese vases with lions on the covers ; there
were rocking-chairs, silken sofas, great tables covered with picture-
books, and toys worth a hundred times a hundred dollars, at least thr
children said so. And the Fir Tree was put into a great tub filled with
sand ; but no one could see that it was a tub, for it was hung round
with green cloth, and stood on a large many-coloured carpet. Oh, how
the Tree trembled! What was to happen now? The servants, and
the young ladies also, decked it oub. On one branch they hung little
nets, cut out of coloured paper ; every net was filled with sweetmeats ;
golden apples and walnuts hung down as if they grew there, and more
than a hundred little candles, red, white, and blue, were fastened to the
different boughs. Dolls that looked exactly like real people the Tree
had never seen such before swung among the foliage, and high on the
summit of the Tree was fixed a tinsel star. It was splendid, particularly
'This evening," said all, "this evening it will shine."
"Oh," thought the Tree, "that it were evening already! Oh that
the lights may be soon lit up ! When may that be done ? I wonder if
The Fir Tree. 243
trees will cotne out of the forest to look at me ? Will the sparrows fly
against the panes? Shall I grow fast here, and stand adorned in summer
and winter ? "
Yes, he did not guess badly. But he had a complete backache from
mere longing, and the backache is just as bad for a Tree as the head-
ache for a person.
At last the candles were lighted. What a brilliance, what splendour!
The Tree trembled so in all its branches that one of the candles set fire
to a green twig, and it was scorched.
" Heaven preserve us ! " cried the young ladies ; and they hastily put
the fire out.
Now the Tree might not even tremble. Oh, that was terrible ! It was
so afraid of setting fire to some of its ornaments, and it was quite be-
wildered with all the brilliance. And now the folding doors Avere thrown
open, and a number of children rushed in as if they would have over-
turned the whole Tree ; the older people followed more deliberately.
The little ones stood quite silent, but only for a minute ; then they
shouted till the room rang : they danced gleefully round the Tree, and
one present after another was plucked from it.
"What are they about ?" thought the Tree. " What 's going to be done ?"
And the candles burned down to the twigs, and as they burned down
they were extinguished, and then the children received permission to
plunder the Tree. Oh ! they rushed in upon it, so that every branch
cracked again : if it had not been fastened by the top and by the golden
star to the ceiling, it would have fallen down.
The children danced about with their pretty toys. No one looked at
the Tree except one old man, who came up and peeped among the
branches, but only to see if a fig or an apple had not been forgotten.
" A story ! a story ! " shouted the children : and they drew a little
fat man towards the Tree ; and he sat down just beneath it, " for then
we shall be in the green wood," said he, " and the tree may have the
advantage of listening to my tale. But I can only tell one. Will you
hear the story of Ivede-Avede, or of Klumpey-Dunipey, who fell down
stairs, and still was raised up to honour and married the Princess ? "
"Ivede-Avede!" cried some, "Klumpey-Dumpey!" cried others, and
there was a great crying and shouting. Only the Fir Tree was quite
silent, and thought, " Shall I not be in it ? shall I have nothing to do
in it ? " But he had been in the evening's amusement, and had donf
what was required of him.
And the fat man told about Klumpey-Dumpey, who fell down stairs,
and yet was raised to honour and married the Princess. And the
children clapped their hands, and cried, " Tell another! tell another! "
for they wanted to hear about Ivede-Avede ; but they only got the story
of Klumpey-Dumpey. The Fir Tree stood quite silent and thoughtful;
never had the birds in the wood told such a story as that. Klumpey-
Dumpey fell down stairs, and yet came to honour and married the
" Yes, so it happens in the world ! " thought the Fir Tree, and believed
244 Stories for the Household.
it must be true, because that was such a nice man who told it. " "Well,
who can know ? Perhaps I shall fall down stairs too, and marry a
Princess ! " And it looked forward with pleasure to being adorned again,
the next evening, with candles and toys, gold and fruit. "To-morrow I
shall not tremble," it thought. " I will rejoice in all my splendour.
To-morrow I shall hear the story of Klunipey-Dumpey again, and, per-
haps, that of Ivede-Avede too."
And the Tree stood all night quiet and thoughtful.
In the morning the servants and the chambermaid came in.
"Now my splendour will begin afresh," thought the Tree. But they
dragged him out of the room, and up stairs to the garret, and here they
put him in a dark corner where no daylight shone.
" What 's the meaning of this? " thought the Tree. " "What am I to
do here ? "What is to happen ? "
And he leaned against the wall, and thought, and thought. And
he had time enough, for days and nights went by, and nobody came
up ; and when at length some one came, it was only to put some great
boxes in a corner. Now the Tree stood quite hidden away, and the
supposition was that it was quite forgotten.
"Now it's winter outside," thought the Tree. "The earth is hard
and covered with snow, and people cannot plant me ; therefore I
suppose I 'm to be sheltered here until spring comes. How considerate
that is ! How good people are ! If it were only not so dark here, and
so terribly solitary ! not even a little hare ! That was pretty out
there in the wood, when the snow lay thick and the hare sprang past ;
yes, even when he jumped over me; but then I did not like it. It is
terribly lonely up here !
"Piep! piep ! " said a little Mouse, aud crept forward, and then came
another little one. They smelt at the Fir Tree, and then slipped among
" It 's horribly cold," said the two little Mice, " or else it would be
comfortable here. Don't you think so, you old Fir Tree ? "
" I 'm not old at all," said the Fir Free. " There are many much older
" Where do you come from ? " asked the Mice. " And what do you
know ? " They were dreadfully inquisitive. " Tell us about the most
beautiful spot on earth. Have you been there ? Have you been in the
store-room, where cheeses lie on the shelves, and hams hang from the
ceiling, where one dances on tallow candles, and goes in thin and comes
out fat ? "
"I don't know that!" replied the Tree; "but I kno\v the wood,
where the sun shines, aud where the birds sing."
And then it told all about its youth.
And the little Mice had never heard anything of the kind ; and they
l-'stened and said,
" What a number of things you have seen ! How happy you must have
been ! "
' : I ? " said the Fir Tree ; and it thought about what it had told.
THE CHILDREN A>'D THE FIR TREE.
" Yes, those were really quite happy times." But then he told of the
Christmas-eve, when he had been hung with sweetmeats and candles.
"Oh!" said the little Mice, "how happy you have been, you old Fir
" I 'm not old at all," said the Tree. " I only came out of the wood
this winter. I 'm only rather backward in my growth."
" "What splendid stories you can tell ! " said the little Mice.
And next night they came with four other little Mice, to hear what the
Tree had to relate ; and the more it said, the more clearly did it remember
everything, and thought, " Those were quite merry days ! But they may
come again. Klumpey-Dumpey fell down stairs, and yet he married
the Princess. Perhaps I may marry a Princess too ! " And then the
Fir Tree thought of a pretty little birch tree that grew out in the forest:
for the Fir Tree, that birch was a real Princess.
" Who 's Klumpey-Dumpey ? " asked the little Mice.
And then the Fir Tree told the whole story. It could remember every
single word ; and the little Mice were ready to leap to the very top of
246 Stories for the Household.
the tree with pleasure. Next night a great many more Mice came, and
on Sunday two Eats even appeared ; but these thought the story waa
not pretty, and the little Mice were sorry for that, for now they also did
not like it so much as before.
" Do you only know one story ? " asked the Eats.
" Only that one," replied the Tree. " I heard that on the happiest
eveniug of my life ; I did not think then how happy I was."
<: That 's a very miserable story. Don't you know any about bacon
and tallow candles a store-room story r"
" No," said the Tree.
" Then we 'd rather not hear you," said the Eats.
And they went back to their own people. The little Mice at last
stayed away also ; and then the Tree sighed and said,
" It was very nice when they sat round me, the merry little Mice, and
listened when I spoke to them. Now that 's past too. But I shall re-
member to be pleased when they take me out."
But when did that happen ? "Why, it was one morning that people
came and rummaged in the garret : the boxes were put away, and the Tree
brought out ; they certainly threw him rather roughly on the floor, but a
servant dragged him away at once to the stairs, where the daylight shone.
" Xow life is beginning again !" thought the Tree.
It felt the fresh air and the first sunbeams, and now it was out in the
courtyard. Everything passed so quickly that the Tree quite forgot to
look at itself, there was so much tc look at all round. The courtyard was
close to a garden, and here everything was blooming ; the roses hung
fresh and fragrant over the little paling, the linden trees were iu blossom,
and the swallows cried, " Quinze-wit ! quinze-wit ! my husband 's come !"
But it was not the Fir Tree that thev meant.
" Xow I shall live ! " said the Tree, rejoicingly, and spread its branches
far out ; but, alas ! they were all withered and yellow ; and it lay in the
corner among nettles and weeds. The tinsel star was still upon it, and
shone in the bright sunshine.
In the courtyard a couple of the merry children were playing, who
had danced round the tree at Christmas-time, and had rejoiced over it.
One of the youngest ran up and tore off the golden star.
" Look what is sticking to the ugly old fir tree," said the child, and
he trod upon the branches till they cracked again under his boots.
And the Tree looked at all the blooming flowers and the splendour of
the garden, and then looked at itself, and wisjied it had remained in the
dark corner of the garret ; it thought of its fresh youth in the wood, of
the merry Christmas-eve, and of the little Mice which had listened so
pleasantly to the story of Klumpey-Dumpey.
" Past'! past !" said the old Tree. " Had' I but rejoiced when I could
have done so ! Past ! past !"
And the servant came and chopped the Tree into little pieces ; a whole
bundle lay there . it blazed brightly under the great brewing copper,
and it sighed deeply, and each sigh was like a little shot : and the
children who were at play there ran up and seated themselves at the
The Swineherd. 247
fire, looked into it, and cried, " Puff! puff!" But at each explosion,
which was a deep sigh, the tree thought of a summer day iu the woods,
or of a winter night there, when the stars beamed ; he thought of
Christmas-eve arid of Klurapey-Dumpey, the only story he had ever
heard or knew how to tell ; and then the Tree w r as burned.
The boys played in the garden, and the youngest had on his breast a
golden star, which the Tree had worn on its happiest evening. ]S'ow
that was past, and the Tree's life was past, and the story is past too :
past ! past ! and that 's the way with all stories.
THERE was once a poor Prince, who had a kingdom which was quite
small, but still it was large enough that he could marry upon it, and
that is what he wanted to do.
Now, it was certainly somewhat bold of him to say to the Emperor's
daughter, " Will you have me ? " But he did venture it, for his name
was famous far and wide : there were hundreds of Princesses who would
have been glad to say yes ; but did site say so ? Well, we shall see.
On the grave of the Prince's father there grew a rose bush, a very
beautiful rose bush. It bloomed only every fifth year, and even then it
bore only a single rose, but what a rose that was ! It was so sweet that
whoever smelt at it forgot all sorrow and trouble. And then he had a
nightingale, which could sing as if all possible melodies w r ere collected
in its little throat. This rose and this nightingale the Princess was to
have, and therefore they were put into great silver vessels and sent to
The Emperor caused the presents to be carried before him into the
great hall where the Princess was playing at " visiting" with her maids
of honour, and when she saw the great silver vessels with the presents
in them, she clapped her hands with joy.
" If it were only a little pussy-cat ! " said she.
But then came out the rose bush with the splendid rose.
" Oh, how pretty it is made ! " said all the court ladies.
"It is more than pretty," said the Emperor, "it is charming."
But the Princess felt it, and then she almost began to cry.
" Fie, papa ! " she said, " it is not artificial, it 's a natural rose !
" Pie," said all the court ladies, " it 's a natural one ! "
" Let us first see what is in the other vessel before we get angry,"
said the Emperor. And then the nightingale came out ; it sang so beau-
tifully that they did not at once know what to say against it.
" Superbe ! cliarmant ! " said the maids of honour, for they all spoke
French as badly as possible.
"How that bird reminds me of the late Emperor's musical snuff-box,"