A story on how rumours grow by being told. Some rumours spread because people cannot resist telling tales and are unable to keep entertaining stories to themselves. The proverbial phrase that "one feather may grow into five hens", refers to how even trifles may grow through being told and retold. In such a way one's reputation may suffer too. Compare the proverb, "Words and feathers the wind carries away." [Dp 196]What the Old Man Does Is Always Right
AT 1415. Andersen has elaborated on a kind of tale that is spread all over Europe and further. The same form of barter tales are also found in the Buddhist Tripitaka, "the book of a hundred tales", from antiquity. What is ridiculed is bartering and exchanging to one's loss, and betting. Strangely, there is a happy ending anyhow, and that is where the main source of fun is.
The Fir Tree
The fir tree did not understand that being admired as a centre of attention should not come first in a life, but being rooted, growing, and thriving as oneself, no matter what.The Dead Child
The story is about getting reconciled with the death of a child. People mourn in different ways, and some grieve more than others. The first year or two after the death of a loved one may threaten mental and physical health. Most people recover their former levels of well-being, but some fail to recover even after several years. Social support can help the bereaved cope.
It could also be good to know that after a severe loss the bereaved seem to pass through several stages it could be good to know of. Outright denial of the facts and maddening anger may give way to firm acceptance. Sorrow is natural, after all.The Emperor's New Clothes
Vanity takes on many forms, in the mean courts of Europe, among the gaudy and newly rich, and others too. Vain persons seem foolish for their lack of control. Being a slave of fashion is not so very much different; it is more or less a matter of degree.The Nightingale
There are many sorts of birds that can be taught to parrot. The question is how much they understand. A far more rewarding study is that of discovering how birds communicate among themselves by sounds and movements, how they are organised, and otherwise. Some outcomes of bird-watching are astounding.Little Claus and Big Claus
AT 1535 - Tales of this type typically contain simple farmers and many episodes of trickery. It is good to alerted to that some seemingly fair ones have underhand motives, and folk tales bring home such understanding without severe costs. Life experience, on the other hand, may be an expensive master.
Perhaps half of the European folk tales deal in various trickeries, deceit, and tomfooleries. It could be good to know of the inerited "arsenal" so as not to be deceived in life and victimised. The Andersen tale continues as AT-type 1737.The Tinder-Box
AT 567 - It seems that those who get helped by magic have a hard time in finding security. Magic may or may not help such ones. Becoming a member of the royalty may not be quite good enough.Blockhead-Hans
AT 853 - The art of outwitting a princess by words or deeds for getting her and her wealth is a favorite theme. How people converse in real life may be a bit different.
Marrying upwards and entering a well-smelling dung may not be as pleasant as it looks like. Status and standing resulting from merit is fine, though.How to Tell a True Princess
When the father of the home is the "king of the castle", his daughters are true princesses. "My home is my castle" reflects the same attitude. Many folk tales may be understood in such a light.
The idea that royalty is more delicate and noble than others looks bogus. They are more or less victims of etiquette and ceremonies and a glaring public, though. And they may not be free from arrogance and bad influences either.
Unknown to many today, Germans once took part in "royal breeding" all over Europe. For example, the offspring of Queen Victoria (she was of the House of Hanover and her mother was German) and her German-born cousin-consort Prince Albert (Franz Albrecht August Karl Emanuel, Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha), had nine children, and many of the royal families of Europe stem from these 3/4 Germans.
The idea that true princesses have "blue blood" may stem from a certain breed with protruding veins in the wrist area. Being "delicate" takes on many forms apart from the foolish ones: Hemophilia in certain royal families of Europe is well known. This hereditary bleeding disorder makes it difficult to control bleeding even after minor injuries. It is better to be sound than getting blue marks for very little and perhaps bleed for hours and days from minor wounds.The Swineherd
AT 900 - A haughty woman is ridiculed and humbled by the man she makes out with.
It is not wise to trust merely in social status and renown and not lessen evils along the fit way of steady progress.