Study Guide

Andersen's Fairy Tales Tales 131-140

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Tales 131-140

Tale 131: The Toad

  • A toad goes exploring. It meets a bunch of other critters and, in the end, is eaten by a stork.

Tale 132: Godfather's Picture Book

  • The narrator's godfather (no, not this godfather) gives him a book that was apparently inspired by a conversation between a gas lamp and an oil lamp he'd observed. The subject of the book is the history of Copenhagen. Apparently, Copenhagen started as a sandbank that some Vikings settled on, and it became the capital of Denmark, where kings and queens and other leaders lived and died.

Tale 133: The Rags

  • A Danish rag and a Norwegian rag argue about the superiority of each of their cultures. The Norwegian rag ends up becoming a piece of paper on which a Norwegian guy writes a letter to a Danish chick, while the Danish rag becomes a piece of paper on which a Danish dude writes a poem praising the beauty of Norway. How's that for irony?

Tale 134: The Two Islands

  • There used to be two islands off the coast of Zealand, but a storm swept one under the sea. The other one's supposed to follow it at some point, but nobody knows when. Spooky!

Tale 135: Who Was the Happiest?

  • Each rose on a rosebush thinks it is the happiest one: the one that's selected to become potpourri, the one that's plucked by a poet and inspires his writing, and so on. The wind observes all of their stories and it knows which one is the happiest, but it won't tell. In yo' face, rosebushes!

Tale 136: The Wood Nymph

  • In every tree lives a dryad—a wood nymph. One dryad whose tree is outside Paris desperately longs to see the city, which she's heard so much about. Her tree is uprooted and transplanted there. She even gets to walk around in human shape to explore. Everything is wonderful and amazing to see, but then she dies. Her tree dies too.

Tale 137: The Family of Hen-Grethe

  • Hen-Grethe is the person who takes care of the hens and ducks of a manor house. A long freakin' time ago, another noble family lived on that land. Their daughter, Maria, is a free spirit who marries the king's brother. She runs away from her new husband, lives by herself, and eventually marries a low-born childhood friend, Soren. She dies tragically, of course. Turns out Hen-Grethe is actually her descendant—shocker, we know.

Tale 138: The Adventures of a Thistle

  • A young lady from Scotland asks her suitor to pick a thistle for her. The thistle is incredibly flattered, and it starts to think highly of itself. It ends up painted in a portrait of the young couple, and it also ends up in a fairy tale… this fairy tale, of course.

Tale 139: A Question of Imagination

  • A young man who wants to be a writer complains about not having anything to write about. A wise old woman gives him a tour of some natural scenery, which should be inspiring, but the poor guy lacks imagination. So she advises him to become a critic instead. Unsurprisingly, he's quite successful at that.

Tale 140: Luck Can Be Found In a Stick

  • A woodcarver is unlucky, because all his luck is locked up inside a pear tree. One day he carves some of the pear wood into little wooden pears, which turn out to be better umbrella-closing mechanisms than the ones they come with. He makes his fortune off of this invention, causing him to say that luck can be found in a stick. (Though we wouldn't recommend trying to patent any sticks.)

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