Andersen's Fairy Tales
How we cite our quotes:
"'Now he sees your beauty, but beauty fades,' she said." (She Was No Good.35)
Okay, okay, we get it. Beauty is impermanent. So you shouldn't make important life choices, like who to marry, based solely on appearances. But people do make choices based on beauty sometimes, like when they buy a painting. When is it okay to let appearances influence your decision-making, and when is it not?
Inger dressed in her very best clothes and put on her new shoes. She lifted her skirt a little as she walked and was very careful where she trod, so that she would not dirty or spoil her finery. That one must not hold against her; but when the path grew muddy, and finally a big puddle blocked her way, she threw the bread into it rather than get her shoes wet. (The Girl Who Stepped on Bread.12)
This, dear Shmoopers, was a terrible idea. Inger ends up spending many long years doing penance as a horrible frozen statue before she can get this bread-wasting stain off her soul. So don't prioritize your appearance over food, especially not food you could feed your poor family with.
Anne Lisbeth was like milk and blood: young, gay, and lovely to look at. Her eyes were bright and her teeth shiny white. She stepped lightly in the dance; she was thoughtless and frivolous. And what did all this beauty and lightheartedness get her?… An unwanted child… (Anne Lisbeth.1-2)
Since Ann Lisbeth likes strutting around, being all beautiful and lively (which is what "gay" was used to mean back then), she ends up with an unwanted child. Um. Luckily, here in the 21st century, we know that you have to do more than look pretty to get pregnant.